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Draft 2030 – And Danville’s Future

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Danville’s Town Manager addresses Draft 2030 – and concerns raised during the public hearing phase of the General Plan Update.

Dear Editor,

Work is continuing on Danville’s 2030 General Plan update. The Draft 2030 Plan and EIR were released for public review in October 2012, and has been the subject of some very well-attended Planning Commission hearings over the last two months.

Consistent with each of our earlier general plans, the vision set out in the Draft 2030 Plan is one of upholding Danville’s small town character and preserving the unique qualities that make this an exceptional place. For the past 30 years, the Town has honored this vision through careful planning, without compromise.

Several more hearings are expected in the months to come, before a final plan is adopted. As the process continues, we are actively listening and committed to ensuring that all voices are heard. The Draft 2030 Plan is a work in progress, and changes will be made in response to feedback provided. The ultimate goal is to adopt a plan that is for our Town and by our Town.

I’d like to touch on a few of the key points or issues raised so far:

Concerns regarding growth as a potential threat to the quality of life enjoyed by our residents

This has never been a static community, and some amount of change contributes to a healthy, thriving town. Our Town has grown carefully and slowly, reinforcing rather than changing what we are. At the same time, we are part of a growing sub-region, where Danville has been a strong advocate for local control and has led the opposition to county approvals for thousands of homes permitted adjacent to our boundaries.

The Town’s 1987 and 1999 General Plans forecast populations of 43,000 by 2005 and 44,020 by 2010. Market conditions have driven lower actual numbers — 41,715 in 2000 and 42,040 in 2012. Although the 2030 Plan forecasts a population of up to 46,500 by 2030, we expect the actual population to be less.

The State’s role in planning for housing supply

California requires all cities and towns to plan for housing growth through a process known as the “Regional Housing Needs Allocation” or RHNA. This is a mandatory process which carries potential legal and financial consequences. In the Bay Area, this occurs through the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG).

RHNA does not require the Town to build housing, but rather requires the Town to designate land that could be developed for that purpose. All housing and development built in Danville is market-driven. As part of our Draft 2030 Plan, the Town must designate at least 9.6 acres of additional land for multi-family housing. Fourteen different housing “opportunity sites” are being considered for this purpose.

Questions have arisen regarding whether the RHNA process requires “affordable” or “low income” housing to be built. While the RHNA process is intended to encourage greater affordability, multi-family housing built in Danville has historically included market-rate rental and for-sale housing which achieves affordability through product design. These homes have always met the Town’s high standards and reinforced our community character. As current generations continue to age, we see a growing demand to house our empty nesters and senior citizens.

Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act of 2008 (SB 375)

The Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act of 2008 or SB 375, requires each region within the state to carry out planning activities with the goal of reducing statewide greenhouse gas emissions.

Currently, ABAG and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) are leading an effort to prepare a regional Sustainable Communities Strategy to implement SB 375. Known as “One Bay Area” and “Plan Bay Area”, that effort is undergoing a separate and broader hearing process through ABAG and MTC, and is not related to the Town’s General Plan update effort.

Compliance with SB 375 is not mandatory. However, it allows for conditions to be imposed on future transportation funds, including directing such funds into designated Priority Development Areas which have the capacity to accommodate infill housing closer to transit service. The Town is required to meet state-established greenhouse gas reduction levels by 2020 and 2050.

The Draft 2030 Plan does contain voluntary sustainability policies that address existing practices and programs promoting energy and water conservation, recycling, green building and greenhouse gas reduction, and reduce Town costs.

Measure S

The Town remains committed to upholding Measure S, approved by the voters in 2000. This measure requires voter approval to change the General Plan designation for Open Space, Agricultural, or Parks and Recreation lands. The Draft 2030 General Plan makes no changes to Measure S, but does describe how the measure has been implemented since the time of its passage in 2000.

Summary

The Draft 2030 General Plan reflects the Town’s strong commitment to local control and protecting Dan- ville’s the unique character and charm. This website includes the draft documents that are currently under review, presentation materials from each of the recent Planning Commission hearings, and Frequently Asked Questions that respond to feedback received and materials that have been distributed within our community. We hope that this information provides additional information and insights into what our General Plan is.

We continue to place a high value on citizen involve- ment as a way of creating better planning outcomes, and look forward to working together to ensure that the 2030 General Plan continues to uphold our shared community vision.

Sincerely,

Joseph A. Calabrigo, Danville Town Manager