Council Explores Legal Options on Brisbane NIMBY Plan

The city of Brisbane made its claim for NIMBY of the year with its audacious proposal to accept 8 million square feet of commercial and industrial development on almost 700 acres of vacant urban land and not a single unit of housing for the thousands of jobs that would come with it. The city’s stunning rejection of any housing as part of the Brisbane Baylands project brought a quick and sharp response from the Bay Area Council, which on Thursday urged the city Planning Commission during a community study session to reconsider the no-housing plan and began exploring legal options for challenging any final decision on the project that doesn’t include a residential component. A state Supreme Court ruling from the 1970s found that local planning and development decisions must also consider broader regional impacts.

The Council believes that failing to provide any housing for thousands of new workers would have significant regional impacts, adding to the Bay Area’s already historic housing shortage, its choking traffic, growing megacommutes and overcrowded mass transit. Indeed, the Brisbane Baylands site owned by Council member Universal Paragon Corporation is identified in regional plans as a Priority Development Area because of the housing it can support right next to regional mass transit systems. The Council has long advocated for including housing at Brisbane Baylands. Legal action would represent an unprecedented last resort for the Council, but there is too much at stake not to prepare for a Brisbane decision that wholly rejects the city’s responsibility to consider the region’s public welfare. In addition to a legal challenge, an idea has been floated to annex the land to another jurisdiction that would be more amenable to accepting housing. Additional study sessions are scheduled for November and December and the Council will be following closely. To engage in the Council’s housing policy work, please contact Senior Vice President Matt Regan.


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