Sunday, August 21, 2011

Developers withdraw opposition to Bay Area planning document that takes sea level rise into account

Julia Scott in the Bay Area News (San Francisco): The Bay Area's most powerful developers, trades councils and chambers of commerce have withdrawn their opposition to a planning document that makes sea level rise part of the approval process for new development at the edges of San Francisco Bay.

The Bay Conservation and Development Commission will discuss the draft Bay Plan Amendment concerning climate change -- the region's first effort to codify the long-term threat of sea level rise as a factor in the development of low-lying areas that surround the bay -- at its meeting Sept. 1.

Despite the announcement that groups like the Bay Planning Coalition and the Bay Area Council are withdrawing opposition, several city officials still have problems with the fact that the BCDC, which normally just regulates public access, is taking on the role of land use arbiter. San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed sent in a letter of objection, and officials in Martinez, Fairfield and Suisun City continue to oppose the amendment.

….BCDC Executive Officer Will Travis said his agency's goals and jurisdiction have been "deeply misunderstood." The commission only has power to deny projects within a 100-foot shoreline band around the bay, and it cannot deny a proposalvbased on whether it adequately addresses the impacts of sea level rise or flooding.

"The logic has been, 'We can't afford to deal with the problem and, therefore, the problem can't exist.' We realize it takes a long time to get an awareness of why these changes are necessary. We're in the first stages of that," said Travis. The Bay Plan Amendment requires projects to submit a risk assessment that takes into account both flood risk and sea level rise, and have a plan to cope with all eventualities…

The Golden Gate Bridge shot by Mila Zinkova, who photographs more than polar scenes. Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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