Plan Bay Area Lawsuit Settled By Regional Agencies, Homebuilders’ Trade Group
OAKLAND, CA—The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) announced today that they have reached agreement with the Building Industry Association of the Bay Area (BIA) in the lawsuit filed by the BIA following MTC's and ABAG's July 2013 adoption of Plan Bay Area, an integrated transportation and land-use strategy for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area. The out-of-court settlement provides for a full dismissal of all claims by the BIA, and for each party to bear its own costs. In return, MTC and ABAG have agreed to adopt a new methodology for regional population, housing and development forecasts that will be used for the next update to Plan Bay Area; and to adopt this new methodology at a public hearing after gathering public input.
The settlement further obliges MTC and ABAG to monitor regional development patterns, including the tracking of residential development by type and the tracking of local governments' issuance of building permits. The parties acknowledge that MTC and ABAG retain their governmental discretion over how this monitoring will be performed, and that MTC and ABAG will accept and disclose public comment on key assumptions to be used in the preparation of the state-mandated Sustainable Communities Strategy to be incorporated in the next Plan Bay Area update, scheduled for adoption in 2017.
"We're pleased to have been able to work so quickly and effectively with the BIA to craft an agreement that addresses the BIA's concerns; safeguards MTC's and ABAG's essential planning unctions; and saves each party the time and expense of an unnecessary court case," said MTC Chair and Orinda City Councilmember Amy Rein Worth. "We look forward to maintaining our positive relationship with the BIA and to working collaboratively with the organization in the future."
Plan Bay Area is the region's first long-range transportation plan to meet the requirements of California's landmark 2008 Senate Bill 375, which calls on each of the state's 18 metropolitan areas to develop a Sustainable Communities Strategy to accommodate future population growth and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from cars and light trucks.
Noting that Plan Bay Area is the successor to Transportation 2035, the long-range plan adopted by MTC in 2009, Commission Chair Worth described the new plan as evolutionary rather than revolutionary. ABAG President and Clayton City Councilmember Julie Pierce added, "For decades, MTC has been charged by state and federal law to produce a long-term regional transportation plan, while ABAG has been responsible for assessing regional housing needs. Plan Bay Area puts these elements together in a way that makes sense."
The complete Plan Bay Area can be viewed on MTC's website at www.mtc.ca.gov, and on ABAG's website at www.abag.ca.gov. MTC is the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area's transportation planning, coordinating and financing agency. ABAG is the official regional planning agency for the Bay Area's cities and counties.