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.
It’s official. Our efforts to protect our greenbelt has resulted in the Association of Bay Area Government (ABAG) designating nearly half a million acres of new Priority Conservation Areas (PCAs). The new PCAs will cover an area more than 13 times the size of San Francisco!
On December 9, Mountain View took two important steps toward creating a more vibrant and affordable city by approving a long-term vision for the El Camino Real corridor and voting to significantly increase funds for new affordable homes.
With leadership from Greenbelt Alliance, voters dedicated $118 million over 15 years to protect and steward open spaces with Santa Clara County Measure Q in the November 2014 elections.
Santa Clara County’s Measure Q has officially passed, so we are ecstatic to announce huge wins for the Bay Area and Greenbelt Alliance—winning on all ballot measure positions that we endorsed. Our endorsements and your support made this happen.
On July 17, the Bay Area made its strongest regional commitment yet to protecting our natural and agricultural lands. The Association of Bay Area Governments unanimously approved the new and improved Priority Conversation Area Program.