Workforce Displacement at the Forefront of Bay Area Regional Planning Debate

Finding common ground on how to plot growth and promote affordable housing in the Bay Area — with its nine counties, 101 cities, two major planning agencies and multitude of special interest groups — is proving to be a tough task in the famously disjointed region.

Efforts to update the state-mandated regional planning guideline, known as Plan Bay Area 2040, by 2017 are under way by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and Association of Bay Area Governments. But in the nation’s costliest metropolitan area — where the median priced home was $650,000 in August, affordable to roughly 20 percent of local residents — regional planning has become politically contentious.

Business and real estate leaders, ranging from the Bay Area Council to Building Industry Association Bay Area, say the lack of more affordable housing in the region for low- and moderate-income workers is mainly due to local city officials dragging their feet on approving new multi-family housing developments unpopular with their constituents.

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