The Limitations Of Infill Development In The Bay Area

<p>A home builder points to the "no-growth, anti-housing environmental alliance" that restricts greenfield development as the primary reason the Bay Area is unable to house its growing population.</p>
October 22, 2007, 1pm PDT | Irvin Dawid
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"The Association of Bay Area Governments projects that the nine-county Bay Area region will add nearly 1.5 million residents by 2030. The question is: How and where is the Bay Area going to house its additional 1.5 million residents?"

To date, only one of the nine counties has kept pace with population and job growth, and "not one county met the needs of its moderate- and lower-income residents, and only six of the Bay Area's 101 cities did so."

"The real reason (the area) has failed to produce sufficient housing to accommodate its growing populations is because the Bay Area, with its excessive land-use regulations, is arguably the nation's least hospitable region in which to build housing.

Indeed, the past 30 years of no-growth, anti-housing activism, led by Bay Area environmental groups, has resulted in counties and cities designating more than 1 million acres of land as permanent open space - perhaps more than any other metropolitan area in the world.

Yet the no-growth, anti-housing environmental alliance continues to agitate for even further land-use restrictions, arguing that the Bay Area is 'built out'."

"Bay Area environmental groups argue that most of the home building and development that occurs between now and 2030 ought to be confined to the 16 percent of the region's land area that already is developed.

They suggest that most of 1.5 million additional residents expected in the Bay Area over the next quarter century can be accommodated by smaller-scale, infill housing development."

"If housing were built on every single one of these infill parcels they would yield only a quarter of the new housing needed to keep pace with population growth. So even under the most optimistic scenario, three-quarters of the Bay Area's future housing need is going to have to come from green field development."

"Bay Area environmentalists refuse to accept this reality. A consortium of local environmental groups actually proposes that the region add an additional 1 million acres of land to the inventory of permanent space over the next three decades - about the same time the Bay Area will be adding those 1.5 million new residents."

Thanks to Steve Levy

Full Story:
Published on Sunday, October 21, 2007 in The San Francisco Chronicle
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