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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.