Solano County

Bay Area makes growth plans

By From page A1 | April 20, 2014

FAIRFIELD — Critics call it a move toward “rack-and-stack” housing and supporters a way to promote compact communities built around mass transit hubs.

Plan Bay Area sets forth how the nine-county Bay Area will handle an expected population influx of 2 million people by 2040. Solano County is to grow from 413,000 residents to 511,000.

It is a departure from growth models in recent decades. It de-emphasizes the suburban model where many people drive cars to reach such daily destinations as the supermarket and commute long distances on freeways to work.

Instead, 80 percent of future Bay Area residential development is to be funneled into 200 “priority development areas.” These are to be neighborhoods where people can easily walk to stores, schools and other destinations. They are to have higher-density housing near bus, train and Bay Area Rapid Transit stations.

For example, Fairfield wants more housing in its West Texas Street area. This is an older part of town with Allan Witt Park, shopping centers and businesses. It is near the Fairfield Transportation Center, where commuters catch buses and car pools.

Fairfield also wants to create a priority development area from scratch on vacant land near Peabody and Vanden roads. It would build higher density homes near a proposed train station, as well as a Main Street, USA-style business area.

Every Solano County city has picked at least one priority development area. They all have named their downtowns as such areas.

Though local communities still have the final say on how they grow, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission will use transportation grants as an incentive to encourage the more compact, Plan Bay Area-style growth. The initial allocation is $18.7 million for the county.

Driving Plan Bay Area are state laws to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to link land use and transportation planning. The Association of Bay Area Governments and Metropolitan Transportation Commission passed Plan Bay Area in July 2013.

Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.

Barry Eberling

Barry Eberling

Barry Eberling has been a reporter with the Daily Republic since 1987. He covers Solano County government, transportation, growth and the environment. He received his bachelors of art degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara and his masters degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley.

Discussion | 3 comments

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  • The MisterApril 20, 2014 - 8:51 am

    "Plan Bay Area" is Agenda 21. Punish, I mean really punish, any community "leader" who embraces or even tolerates this United Nation's take over of our country. Bottom line: Your local elected politicians have turned over the power and authority you've entrusted to them to un-elected regional non-governmental associations (like STA, like ABAG) who can now raise your taxes, exercise eminent domain, make regulations (not laws) that you have to abide by... and you can't do jack about it because these people aren't governmental and aren't elected.

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  • Dont Return Incumbent Politicians - DRIPApril 20, 2014 - 4:56 pm

    One of the prime movers in Plan Bay Area is none other than our own Jim Spering. Mr. Spering would rather do away with any authority now held by cities and counties and give full power to the nameless, faceless, unelected bureaucrats who are the people pushing One Bay Area, or whatever it is called. Do you think local voters should have a say in what goes on locally? Most of us say yes but Jim and the unknown, unaccountable daydreamers who are the instigators behind Plan Bay Area say to us: sit down and shut up, we know better than you how you should live your lives. Run Spering out of office, now! By the way, it's called "Stack and Pack."

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  • Rick WoodApril 21, 2014 - 1:08 am

    I don't see how we take the development pressure off agricultural land unless we direct that development elsewhere. It's not the whole answer, but it's an essential part of it.

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