Local opinion columnists

Plan Bay Area supports economy, environment, choices

By From page A9 | August 18, 2013

Local elected officials on the Association of Bay Area Governments Executive Board and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission voted last month to adopt Plan Bay Area, the region’s first integrated transportation and land-use strategy.

The plan, developed to meet the requirements of Senate Bill 375, seeks to accommodate needed housing growth and transportation investments within the nine Bay Area counties, while decreasing per capita greenhouse gas emissions from cars and light trucks. It also recognizes that the Bay Area’s enviable economy cannot grow without building new housing in transit corridors close to the region’s major employment centers.

With Solano County’s population of 413,786 projected to increase 24 percent between 2010 and 2040, Plan Bay Area’s proposed growth and conservation strategies aim to improve travel time from home to work and to schools while also improving access to open space, active recreation and services.

Contrary to what some opponents claim, Plan Bay Area is locally driven, with local jurisdictions defining where they wish to see future housing, retail, office and mixed-use development.

As part of the plan, elected officials from Solano’s cities nominated 11 priority development areas including Vallejo’s downtown and waterfront transit hub, the neighboring downtowns of Fairfield and Suisun City, and Vacaville’s historic district. These areas are where local officials believe future growth brings positive amenities to their communities. The priority development areas are complemented by locally nominated priority conservation areas, which were designed to preserve open space and agricultural land.

A priority development area designation does not change any local zoning, general plan or land use controls. That is why local residents will continue to have the same voice in determining local land use decisions as they’ve always had. Solano County residents that don’t live in a priority development area will notice little if any change. If anything, the plan should improve their quality of life.


Parts of the Bay Area – Oakland, San Francisco and San Jose – are already planning for more housing near jobs and transit to meet their projected job and population growth. Focusing more of the region’s new housing in larger urban areas allows us to take some of the pressure off of smaller towns and rural areas, allowing them to focus on preserving small-town character, open space and farmland.

This type of long-range planning for the needs of future generations is essential to protect our economy and our quality of life. Plan Bay Area does not have any impact on property rights and it will not force residents to move from single-family homes or give up their cars.

Rather, it provides more options for the range of people who live here now by considering connections to transit, housing for all income ranges, proximity to jobs, and open space. It also provides more choices for your children and grandchildren whether they choose to live in a single-family home or an apartment and whether they choose to take public transit or drive their own cars.

Finally, attracting more jobs and revenue to Solano County will depend on our ability to better connect our employment centers with new housing and transportation investments and doing so in ways that reduce commuter traffic. As we implement the plan, focusing on our priority development areas, we will also be developing new strategies to mitigate traffic congestion on Interstate 80 and increase the efficiency of tracks serving both freight trains and commuter trains along the Capital Corridor (e.g. adding passing tracks).

Plan Bay Area is a work in progress, because we are required to update and revise it every four years, allowing us to learn from local best practices and new information. We look forward to developing additional ways to engage and involve the public when we revisit this process again in 2015.

To learn more about Plan Bay Area, visit www.onebayarea.org/.

Linda Seifert is chairwoman of the Solano County Board of Supervisors. The Association of Bay Area Governments is the official regional planning agency for the nine counties and 101 cities and towns of the Bay Area. Formed by local government leaders in 1961, it is recognized as the first council of governments in California.Seifert sits on the association’s executive board.

Linda Seifert


Discussion | 5 comments

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  • The MisterAugust 18, 2013 - 11:31 am

    From the very first paragraph of Linda's propaganda piece we find the pattern of deceit surrounding this usurpation, "Local elected officials on the (ABAG and MTC)...". Do you, local serfs, know that you did not elect anyone to be on these new de facto layers of government? These Agenda 21 organizations are like government in that they have the power of eminent domain and dictate planning and permits. They are not, however, a government. True governments get their power from the consent of the governed. These organization are not subject to the people in anyway... you cannot vote for the people running these organizations, you cannot be one of these people, and you cannot recall one of these people for violating the public trust. How did we become under the authority of these non-government organization? Your local "leaders", from county supervisors to mayors and councilmembers, sold you out. You'll have to figure out why they violated your trust... ignorance, self-promotion, greed... and I suggest you remember this come election day.

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  • KerryOctober 05, 2013 - 12:04 am

    Wow.......someone drank some Plan Bay Area Kool-Aid! Of course, get to the bottom of the piece and it turns out the "author" is on the Solano Board of Supervisors. Like almost all Bay Area Supes, from Marin County, East, South etc....Ms Seifert has jumped on the progressive bandwagon without spending a minute asking herself who she is on the Board to serve. - Is it the developers? You know, the ones mostly owned by Goldman Sachs or Lehman Bros who line the pockets of the politicians and take advantage of housing mandates courtesy of Plan Bay Area to plunk down massive developments in quiet, peaceful, established neighborhoods? - Is it the people who may some day move to your county? Thus aligning with growth planners and special interests to make sure that those people who may someday settle in your community are incentivized to do so? Incentivized by offering them gulag style housing along the freeway and making sure each and every town in California and holy....the country.....looks *pretty much the same*....retail shops on the bottom, apartments or condos on the top. We've all seen them. - Is it the people who voted these folks into office and are current residents of the towns which they are charged with representing? I don't see that very much. These politicians are in bed with the developers. In 2007 as the economy spiraled down, the only sector that pulled us back was construction/development....now pols are aligned with this business. Everyone's laughing except you and me, property owners whose quality of life and single most major asset is now being threatened by this soviet style Plan Bay Area. Any questions....check out Senate Bill 1. No editorial needed.

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  • George Guynn, JrAugust 18, 2013 - 9:12 pm

    Linda, if you really believe what you wrote above, you are ready for the funny farm. You went on vacation and didn't even show for the vote on this measure! Now, you claim to support it?!! What ever happened to your oath of office as Supervisor? Did you have your fingers crossed? I attended the local public meetings on Plan One Bay Area and didn't see much public support for your positions above. Can't wait till the next election to see you, Jim Spering and your other Agenda 21 buddies hit the road and have to get a real job!

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  • PaulAugust 23, 2013 - 8:38 pm

    Word Smith...much speaking. I would recommend a visit to a Supervisors meeting. Its time to put Representatives of the People into these positions instead these folk are given a sript to folow a world wide agenda. Google Agenda 21.

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  • JOBs?August 25, 2013 - 9:58 am

    "413,786 projected to increase 24 percent between 2010 and 2040"......Rather, it provides more options for the range of people who live here now by considering connections to transit, housing for all income ranges, proximity to JOBS, and open space...........What jobs?.....Seems this factor is decreasing.....Taxes and Regulations on Businesses increase under this type of Planning?

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