The Bay Area must create more workforce housing if we are to sustain healthy economic growth, continue to attract and retain top talent and address the growing affordability crisis. Those were among the messages underlying a robust discussion by the Bay Area Council’s Housing and Sustainable Development Committee on Tuesday (April 28) that focused on specific actions for meeting the Bay Area’s huge housing needs. The discussion comes as the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the Association of Bay Area Governments begin work on the next round of Plan Bay Area – the region’s housing and transportation blueprint for the next 25 years. The committee provided valuable input on a Regional Economic Strategy being developed by the Bay Area Council Economic Institute that will help inform Plan Bay Area 2.0. The Council believes that the last iteration of Plan Bay Area significantly underestimated the region’s housing needs and inadequately considered important economic factors.

The committee, which is chaired by Michael Covarrubias, Chairman and CEO of TMG Partners, explored both old and new solutions, including seeking needed reforms to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), leveraging new technologies to streamline local housing permitting processes and rally grassroots support for housing and looking at ways to alter the state’s tax structure to remove disincentives for housing. The committee also voted to support two key housing bills — AB 35 and AB 1335. AB 1335 authored by Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins would generate up to $700 million annually for a variety of affordable housing programs. To engage in the Council’s housing work, please contact Senior Vice President Matt Regan.

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