Login Form

Al Dugan of Novato, an opponent of Plan Bay Area's push for high-density housing.

Al DuganASSOCIATION of Bay Area Government chief Ezra Rapport's Marin Voice last Sunday states the Plan Bay Area is not "one size fits all."

On the contrary, Plan Bay Area's "top down" method of projecting growth and allocating housing mandates is the epitome of a one-size-fits-all approach.

ABAG projections for population for Marin for 2010 to 2040 are absurd and deeply flawed. ABAG is projecting population growth of 33,000 as of 2040.

This is radically different than the projections by the state in the 2013 Department of Finance Demographic Research Unit report.

How did Marin get assigned 33,000 in population growth?

ABAG's top-down planning arbitrarily assigned 1 percent of the overestimated Bay Area population growth to Marin.

The state report is designated as the single offical source of demographic data for state planning and budgeting.

The department of finance projects the total population for Marin from 2010 to 2020 will decline by 1,370 people, with a projection of a growth of 6,818 or 2.7 percent from 2010 to 2040. This is a projection based on the specific study of the demographics of Marin County.

ABAG says the state's numbers are incorrect. Really?

The ABAG population projection for Marin, used to decide Regional Housing Need quotas is 484 percent higher than the Department of Finance population projection for Marin.

How does ABAG explain this outrageous variance? The difference, ABAG says, per is projected jobs of 18,400, that of course don't exist and in no way reflect past job growth inMarin.

How did Marin get the projected 18,400 jobs?

The issue is this "top down" planning starts with a job forecast of 1.1 million jobs for 2010 to 2040 for the entire Bay Area. The actual percentage based on 18,390 is 1.6 percent, but in the ABAG report rounds it off to 2 percent. This "top down" planning has no local input of substance.

The proper way to project job growth would be for each jurisdiction to provide its estimated job growth for 2010 to 2040 based on its General Plans, which would provide meaningful context and support for projected growth, which could then be linked to a projected population growth.

The Plan Bay Area for Marin is then adopted by the California Department of Housing and Community Development. That department immortalizes this farfetched number into the amount of housing that needs to be built in Marin.

Since there is no statutory way to correct the state's housing quotas, land must be rezoned by the local jurisdictions to comply.


The developers, builders and institutional investors win, all in the name of New Urbanism.

Cities can be sued by developers for not zoning per ABAG's goals, which usurps local control.

This is the definition of flawed "top-down, one-size-fits-all planning" and does not take into consideration critical issues such as local general plans, fiscal conditions, funding for services, water, sewer, schools or any other local issues.

If ABAG does not revisit these skewed projections and properly address Marin as an anomaly and outlier, I believe it is time for our county, and Novato, to exit ABAG and its flawed formulas and projections based on "top-down, one-size-fits-all planning", and take control of our own local and county needs.

Marin needs its own Council Of Governments.

Al Dugan of Novato is an activist involved in opposition to Plan Bay Area and regional pressure to build high-density affordable housing.