Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Bay Area adopts historic climate-change rules

John Upton in the Bay Citizen (San Francisco) has more on the new coastal development regulations in the Bay area: New developments on the shores of San Francisco Bay won't be approved unless they offer economic or environmental benefits that outweigh the cost of protecting against rising seas, under rules adopted Thursday by regional leaders.

The new rules, written to reduce the risk of flooding as the climate changes, are the most advanced and detailed of their kind in the nation. “What we’re doing today goes beyond the Bay Area,” San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission Chairman Sean Randolph said before joining in a unanimous vote to approve the guidelines. “It has national significance.”

But the guidelines are significantly less ambitious than a proposal to discourage all waterfront construction that the commission, which has jurisdiction over the shoreline, initially planned.

...“We believe that the version adopted today removed the impediments to proactive collaboration on sea-level rise,” DMB Associates Vice President David Smith said. “Our concerns with the earlier versions of the amendments were that they established prohibitions and presumptions that would have thwarted solutions.” Smith says the Redwood City project could benefit its neighbors by encouraging the development of a levee system to protect the area from flooding, for example.

...“These policies discourage projects that would develop in dumb places, and it encourages tidal marsh restoration in undeveloped areas,” said David Lewis, executive director of the nonprofit Save the Bay. “That’s what the original draft of the policies was calling for.”...

San Francisco at night, shot from Treasure Island by Bsteckler, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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