Inasmuch as the world is going to end in a few weeks -- you won't need a day planner after Dec. 21 -- the emails I've recently received may not be all that important, but they convey some serious resentment over development plans for two upscale East Bay communities.
In Lafayette, the outrage is over a flurry of new construction projects that include an apartment complex, condominiums, townhomes, senior residences and a luxury residential development.
"The clear majority of Lafayette residents oppose the downtown development that is being foisted upon us by a City Council that has lost touch with its residents," Eliot Hudson wrote.
"Those many residents who have opposed such planning are repeatedly frustrated by the consistent failure of news reporting to accurately reflect the depth and breadth of estrangement between involved residents and the city."
So he's not only ticked off at stupid officeholders ruining his town, he's ticked off at stupid journalists.
Another writer, whose subject line was concise -- "The rape of Lafayette" -- said he doesn't even live in the city but hates what's happening to it.
Folks in Danville aren't any happier, as witnessed by a turnout of more than 200 last week at a Planning Commission meeting that usually commands the attention of a quilting bee. Residents weren't there to applaud the commissioners. At issue is the proposed rezoning of 10 downtown acres to accommodate higher density, low-income residences, per state housing requirements.
"I myself am not opposed to development," wrote Heather Gass, "as long as it is done responsibly, with private money and market driven. However, everything in this plan is about government regulation and control.
"Why aren't we allowed to grow our local cities the way we want to? Why are we being forced to up-zone our towns?"
The convoluted answer touches on SB375 (the Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions), the California Department of Housing and Community Development (committed to preserving affordable housing), the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (targeting residential growth figures) and the Association of Bay Area Governments (that assigns communities those numbers).
The government is a master of streamlining, isn't it?
The Lafayette and Danville projects are alike only in the resistance they've met. Lafayette's are largely driven by private developers who see money to be made. The city can't refuse to review their applications. Danville's proposal is dictated by arcane regulations intended to ensure "smart growth" in case the Mayan forecast of doom fizzles out.
From the ABAG website: "Plans for housing must include sufficient affordable units so that people don't have to commute from homes outside the Bay Area to jobs within the region. The goal is more livable communities, offering more housing and transportation choices, a higher quality of life and a vibrant economy."
You can see why Danville residents might balk. Their community is plenty livable, thanks. It's neither a job center that attracts commuters nor a hub of transportation alternatives. And if you don't think its economy is vibrant, check out the real estate prices. The well-intended state regulations seem a little out of place.
The natives are restless in Lafayette and Danville, and it's not because of the Mayan forecast.
Contact Tom Barnidge at firstname.lastname@example.org