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Kieffer Katz

Our CASA: Greenbelt Alliance CEO Joins MTC Housing Task Force

These days, discussion of the Bay Area’s worsening housing crisis is even more inescapable than bandwagon Warriors fans. Fortunately, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) is taking strong action, and Greenbelt Alliance CEO Jeremy Madsen is in position to help lead the way.

After playing a key role in shaping the recently adopted Plan Bay Area 2040, Jeremy was asked to join the Committee for Affordable and Sustainable Accommodations (CASA) an MTC task force focused on solving the housing crisis. As a member of CASA’s 18 person steering committee, he has a unique opportunity to advocate for smart growth and robust protections for the Bay Area greenbelt.

Jeremy is joined on the steering committee by an unprecedented assembly of diverse voices and perspectives, including local government officials, the mayors of Oakland, San Jose, and San Francisco, and representatives from major employers. Put simply, CASA is a once-in-a-generation opportunity with the potential to profoundly impact the Bay Area for years to come. However, while the steering committee is united in the belief that housing is the most pressing issue facing our communities, there is no consensus on the best way to solve that problem.

That’s where we come in. While MTC Chair Jake Mackenzie and San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo have historically supported the environment and smart growth policies, Jeremy is the strongest voice on the steering committee who speaks specifically on these issues. By advocating for a plan that recognizes how inextricably linked issues of environmental conservation and smart growth are, Jeremy can advance our vision for the Bay Area; one that includes homes people can afford and a well-preserved greenbelt of critical natural and agricultural lands.

As the bay area’s expert on preserving open spaces, preventing sprawl, and promoting smart, infill development, Greenbelt Alliance can offer an easy-to-follow blueprint for the continued development of our cities and towns. By defining urban growth boundaries and protecting the greenbelt, we can help spur healthy, sustainable, and inclusive growth throughout the region. Creating these clear boundaries is one of the best tools we have to help foster the creation of modern, transit-oriented, and affordable communities.

By inviting Greenbelt Alliance to join CASA, the MTC is clearly showing how much they value our expertise on smart growth and protecting the at risk lands that are so vital to the health and identity of the Bay Area. We can only hope that, in working with the rest of our partners on the committee, we can reward their faith by ensuring that anyone who wishes to live here, regardless of income level, can afford to do so. And by continuing to defend the greenbelt, we can ensure those residents enjoy the clean water, local food, and fresh air that define our chosen home for generations to come.

Read this piece in the San Francisco Business Times to learn more about what CASA hopes to accomplish from the committee’s three co-chairs: Fred Blackwell, CEO of the San Francisco Foundation; Leslye Corsiglia, executive director of SV@Home; and Michael Covarrubias, chairman and CEO of TMG Partners.

Photo: Clint Sharp via Flickr

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