Today the land use law firm of Kassouni Law filed the opening brief in an important case challenging the Plan Bay Area’s Sustainable Communities Strategy adopted by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG). Kassouni Law represents Michael Shaw of Freedom Advocates, Rosa Koire, and the Post-Sustainability Institute. MTC and ABAG were directed by law to craft a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the state to 1990 levels by the year 2025. However, the end result is a 150 page manifesto of social engineering run amok which will fail to hit its greenhouse gas emissions target.
The plan over time will drastically reduce if not outright ban the development of many vacant parcels in the Bay Area, thereby forcing residents to work and live in small, high density Priority Development Areas (PDAs). Not only that, important environmental protections provided by the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) will be eliminated for favored developers who build in these PDAs, creating serious equal protection and environmental concerns. Federal transportation funds administered by MTC will be withheld from cities and counties unless they agree to the draconian land use restrictions imposed, bribery in common parlance.
An independent study prepared for the government by Economic Planning Systems, Inc. (EPS.) has concluded the Plan is infeasible, as it relies on a number of legislative and Constitutional changes, including the repeal of Proposition 13, which has helped keep property taxes in check for 40 years, and which has also restricted the state’s ability to raise taxes without a 2/3 super majority vote.
Even if the plan is adopted, any positive effects on the environment will be virtually nil according to studies performed by the Environmental Protection Agency. Further, given the CEQA modification for PDAs, the impact on the environment may be negative.
It is hoped that the Alameda County Superior Court, where the case has been filed, will see through the charade of sustainable development and restore common sense for the people of California.