In sharp contrast to the national election results, Bay Area election results showed millions of voters marked their ballots “yes” for a more sustainable and inclusive future.
Greenbelt Alliance led the charge to not only renew voter protections for Sonoma County’s community separators, but also triple the amount of land protected.
Yesterday at polling places throughout the region, Bay Area residents continued 2014’s trend of voting for open space conservation and smart growth. Greenbelt Alliance endorsed positions on several ballot measures, and we won on all of them! These essential measures will make the Bay Area a better place to live, so thank you to everyone who voted.
Last night, the Oakland City Council officially adopted a housing impact fee—the single largest local source of funding for affordable homes in the city’s history. The new funding will generate an estimated $60 million over the next 10 years for the construction and preservation of affordable homes.
Greenbelt Alliance created the San Jose Urban Village Toolkit to cut through technical jargon and help neighbors get organized so they can engage with each other, the city, and developers on neighborhood plans. The toolkit also guides residents through the planning process and helps them identify and build on what makes their neighborhood great.
2015 was a big year for open space protection in the Bay Area. The Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) voted to expand the region’s Priority Conservation Area (PCA) Program significantly. Priority Conservation Areas are exactly what they sound like: natural areas, recreation lands, farms, ranches, and urban open spaces that should be protected from development. Local governments nominate open spaces as PCAs, and ABAG vets and approves the nominations. Now that the PCA Program has been expanded, there are 165 PCAs across the Bay Area, covering over 2 million acres.
We did it! On March 11, the Santa Clara County Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCo) struck down the City of Morgan Hill’s proposal to expand its boundaries and annex an area known as the Southeast Quadrant—236 acres of nearby farmland. Greenbelt Alliance began fighting this ill-conceived effort over 10 years ago. Had the annexation been approved, the Southeast Quadrant would have been lost forever to suburban development. Even worse, it would have set an alarming precedent for agriculture throughout the region by allowing development on active farmland.
In a big year-end win for greenbelts, all five Sonoma County supervisors came out strongly in favor of extending voter protections for community separators and adding to them in 2016! Community separators are one of the important tools protecting the greenbelt lands between Sonoma’s cities and towns from sprawl development.
On November 18, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission voted to significantly increase its investment in conservation by expanding its first-in-the-nation Priority Conservation Area grant program by over 60% to $16.4 million. This is a major validation of the importance of safeguarding these lands from sprawl.
Yesterday, San Francisco residents overwhelmingly said yes to more affordable homes by voting for Proposition A. Prop A is a $310 million bond for affordable housing that will directly fund building more homes for low-income and middle-class individuals and families.