Are regional housing goals an intrusion into local land use planning or a necessary tool to ensure the creation of affordable housing throughout the area? It depends who we ask.
Among the issues that Novato City Council member Jeanne MacLeamy has with ABAG's administration of their housing projections is a subtle but significant change. Instead of merely identifying parcels where future housing projects might be built, MacLeamy says, the agency is now insisting that actual construction eventually ensure on those same sites.
Novato, a city of 50,000 people, has little available land left for new residential development, something that MacLeamy thinks should be factored into the ABAG housing needs projections.
Novato and other cities have also complained that ABAG will not count "granny units" or other second units toward their municipal housing targets. Affordable housing advocate David Grabill says these might be considered market rate housing, but are virtually never affordable.
In Novato, permits and other administrative costs can easily reach $60,000 before construction even begins, further distancing them from any prospect of affordability.
The Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) includes all nine bay area counties seen at left, plus the cities within them.