Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Perfect Trap

Right now in Pasadena, the General Plan public discussion is taking place prior to the final reviews of the revised elements of the updated plan. This discussion is being impacted by the SB 375 legislation, which requires a specific process to take place whenever General Plans are updated and adopted. As you can see from the flowchart above, the state has created a process that forces massive development rights into any General Plan update that can't be legally challenged by communities that do not have the desire or the ability to accommodate this kind of growth as projected by SCAG. The full article on this legislation's impact is here.

How this will play out in Pasadena's General Plan adoption remains to be seen. It's controversial because all of the public comments to date have been largely in objection to the condo development and traffic gridlock already created under the old General Plan, and the accompanying loss of local character and historic fabric that's so important to the residents.

Examples of steps that other cities have taken under just AB 32 in order to define their response to the Greenhouse Gas Emissions are online at the State Attorney General's website as a pdf file. This is the original intent of the Assembly Bill, which simply follows Federal precedent and asks cities to formulate their own methods of compliance with GHG requirements.

SB 375 has completely twisted the emission control agenda to define GHG emissions as totally commuter-traffic dependent, when in fact the emissions from from manufacturing, power plants, warehousing, industrial and the related transport of goods and construction activites, which are over 70% of the GHG count, are the major producers of emissions. However, this legislation forces cities and counties to ignore those components and focus on constructing condos and public transit, which have Federal dollars attached to them. How this reduces the GHG component is a mystery, however, it generates huge housing numbers based upon the GHG computations from SCAG.

I also thought that exemption from CEQA was completely illegal. Oh well.