Judge denies Bay Area Citizens petition against Plan Bay Area

A San Francisco Bay Area court has denied a regional environmental group’s petition to halt transportation and housing plans that are being imposed by unelected Bay Area regional bureaucracies in the joint Plan Bay Area blueprint for future regional planning.

Judge denies petitionIn June 4 ruling, Judge Evelio Grillo of the Superior Court of the State of California for the County of Alameda denied a petition by Bay Area Citizens, an environmental group based in Lafayette, California.

In his opinion, Grillo said: “In 1997, the [State] Legislature passed legislation that required regional transportation agencies to prepare and adopt regional transportation plans.”

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), according to the judge, ” . . . is responsible for providing comprehensive regional transportation planning for the region comprised of the City and County of San Francisco and the Counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, and Sonoma.”

MTC is run by a board of directors not elected directly by voters. The chairperson of MTC is Amy Worth of the Orinda City Council. Worth was elected by voters to her position on the city council. She was not elected by voters to the MTC job.

In 2002, the Legislature passed a law that, according to Grillo’s opinion, “would require improved mileage and therefore less greenhouse gas emission from cars and light duty trucks.”

Grillo’s opinion, is tentative, according to a lawyer associated with Bay Area Citizens. This lawyer criticized MTC’s plans as “draconian, coercive, and unworkable plans that are designed to so sharply limit how and where we can live, and where we can travel.”

In his opinion, Grillo stated: “In 2007, the Legislature enacted SB [Senate Bill] 375 which required the MTC to adopt a sustainable communities strategy.” The judge went on to say: “The sustainable communities strategy was to be designed to meet both greenhouse gas reduction targets and to consider the land use and transportation needs of metropolitan areas.”

Implementing legislation like SB 375 states: “The sustainable communities strategy shall . . . identify the general location of uses, residential densities, and building intensities within the region.”

SB 375 also states that the sustainable community strategies “shall . . . identify regions within the area sufficient to house an eight-year projection of the regional housing need for the region . . . ”

Over the last 18 months, residents of Orinda, Lafayette, Danville, and Larkspur have expressed outrage over the plans of MTC and the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) to regulate vehicle use and to require the construction of housing for low-income individuals.

On July 18, 2013, the directors of MTC and ABAG voted to support Plan Bay Area, a scheme to regulate transportation and housing patterns in the nine-county Bay Area.

Furthers hearings on the complaint of Bay Area Citizens are scheduled.