VACAVILLE — Opponents of the regional One Bay Area growth plan say it is one bad idea.
They disagree with the proposed plan’s focus on building high-density housing near mass transit centers and using federal transportation dollars as a carrot. They call it “stack-and-pack” housing being pushed onto cities and citizens by unelected bureaucrats in a way that will transform the Bay Area.
They made their case Thursday at what they billed as a town hall meeting at the Travis Credit Union. They said they wanted to educate local citizens and elected officials. About 100 people attended.
Several local regional agencies have been working on One Bay Area in response to state laws to combat global warming and link land use with transportation. They are the Association of Bay Area Governments, Metropolitan Transportation Commission, Bay Area Air Quality Management District and Bay Conservation and Development Commission.
Speaker Heather Gass said the roots of the plan extend back to the late 1980s and early 1990s, to efforts by the United Nations to promote sustainable development across the globe. She sees it as a see a usurpation of local control by regional agencies.
“It calls for the social re-engineering of our cities and towns,” said Gass, a Danville resident and member of Citizens Town Hall, which she described as a clearing house for information.
One Bay Area calls for priority development areas near mass transit centers in the nine Bay Area counties and its various cities. Among the local priority development areas are West Texas Street, North Texas Street and the Peabody Road area near a planned train station in Fairfield, downtown Vacaville and the Suisun City waterfront.
The One Bay Area website presents the program as “a collaborative approach to many of the challenges we face together.” It lists protecting natural resources and air quality, creating sufficient affordable housing and having an efficient transportation system as among its goals.
A draft One Bay Area plan and environmental impact report is to be released in March.
Gass said the ideology is getting people out of cars, into high-density housing and leaving the rest of undeveloped land as open space. She’s not against high-density housing, she said.
“I just say that people should have a choice,” Gass said. “You are living where you’re living because you want to live there, not because you’re forced to live there.”
Also speaking were Dixon resident Gary Rannefeld and Vacaville resident Mark Ackerman.
“There’s not a cookie-cutter approach to housing,” Ackerman said. “We live where we want to. We shouldn’t have the government tell us where to live. That’s what it’s coming to.”
Gass recommended that cities take such steps as cancel their Association of Bay Area Governments memberships and remove the priority development designations. She and other opponents said cities might lose federal dollars funneled through regional agencies to encourage One Bay Area policies, but would also lose the strings that are attached.
Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.