Monday, November 27, 2006

We are not alone...

From the left coast, an interesting way of dealing with regional growth.

To ensure that market-rate and low-income housing keeps up with population growth, California law has since 1984 required regional agencies, such as [The Association of Bay Area Governments], to mandate how many new units individual cities must build. It also requires individual cities to outline how they will meet those goals — although it does not actually require cities to build housing, according to Cha.

For the first time, ABAG will create those quotas based on economic growth — those cities showing signs of job and residential growth near major transit corridors will be assigned a higher housing responsibility.
And, naturally, the quotas are causing concern for some.
San Francisco is protesting a new method by which Bay Area cities and towns will be asked to create new housing, in part because it would double the amount The City is recommended to build.

...For San Francisco, ABAG will boost local quotas for the creation of new housing — which were 20,000 between 2002 and 2009 — to 40,000 between 2009 and 2016, according to San Francisco Planner Sarah Dennis. In the past seven years, The City has struggled to meet its allocation, creating only 13,000 new units by the end of 2005.

“We would be looking at 5,000 or 6,000 units a year, which San Francisco has never seen,” Dennis said. “It’s hard to imagine, especially at a time when the market is cooling off.”

Despite San Francisco’s protests, ABAG created the new methodology “based on what cities and communities have said about their own parameters, restrictions and challenges,” Cha said.
To some extent, we've seen some regional coordination in Maryland -- namely, during the Reality Check Plus visioning exercise. But, so far, nothing that carries the power of law has been enacted.

Is it about time?


Anonymous said...

Time for what?

Relative to what San Franciso's doing, all the power of law is providing, per what you quoted, was to require cities to outline how they'll meeting housing goals. It doesn't mandate cities actually build anything.

When this discussion mentioned San Francisco, were they referring to the 740,000 population (shrinking 5% since 2000) city itself? It's also the second highest density city in the U.S.

Or, were they referring to the 7 million population San Jose-S.F.-Oakland Combined Statistical Area, fifth largest CSA in the country?

It would help to know which San Francisco they meant when saying 5,000 new units per year are needed.

Comparing 700,000 population S.F. to 90,000 population Columbia seems irrelevant. Similarly, comparing a 7 million CSA behemoth's housing situation to Town Center or even HoCo's housing situation seems irrelevant.

If, instead, you're citing that discussion to compare that CSA to the 4th largest, 8 million population Washington-Baltimore-Northern Virginia CSA, then that seems relevant. Spreading that estimated 5,000 housing units per year for S.F. across the 32 municipalities that comprise the DC-Balt-NoVa CSA would equal 157 new housing units per municipality per year. Extrapolating out 30 years, that would be 4710 new housing units for the entirety of Howard County - a sum 790 less than the oft-mentioned 5500 new housing units just in Town Center.

That makes me think the 5000 number was just for dense S.F. city itself.

If your point was more regional coordination is in order, few would disagree. To do so, most efforts would obviously be at the state level. With today's accessibility to information and collaborative tools, it should be an inclusive, productive, and well-checked process.

Hayduke said...

The 5000 units/year mentioned in the story are for SF the city, not the CSA. I brought this up, however, as an example -- both of the good and bad -- of regional coordination.