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SANDAG Releases 35-Year Growth Plan For San Diego County

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April 27, 2015 1:22 p.m.

GUESTS:

Charles Muggs Stoll, director of land use and transportation planning, SANDAG

Jack Shu, president, Cleveland National Forest Foundation

Related Story: SANDAG Releases 35-Year Growth Plan For San Diego County

Transcript:

This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

Our top story on Midday Edtion, the San Diego Association of governments or Sendak is starting a series of public workshops to introduce its new regional development plan. It is called San Diego forward and it addresses San Diego transportation sustainability and growth needs after the year 2050. This plan as a required update to Sendak's highly controversial regional transportation plan submitted in 2011. Critics of that plan relate to much on expanding freeways and the court agreed that it did not adequately reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Joining me is Charles Mux still, he is SAN Diego's Director of land-use and transportation planning and mugs, you prefer mugs.
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Welcome to the show. Mux Sandy Draper but is called a blueprint for the regions growth over the next 35 years. And addition to an updated regional transportation plan, what else is included in the San Diego forward plan?
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We combined will be call our regional comprehensive plan with regional transportation plan and then also the last regional transportation plan had something called a sustainable community strategy or an SES so all three of those things are combined here. The conference of plan looks at a lot of infrastructure and issues in San Diego and how the transportation section can be coordinator did with those. A big part of the company's a plan is looking at the updated land-use that has been done by all of the jurisdictions, all the cities and the county and which has got a lot more development and already developed areas so we have been working on a transportation network to be due to that. And are sustainable community strategy is required by the state of California to address, to develop a plan that results in reducing per capita greenhouse gases for the region.
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And there's a health component to this as well.
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Yes and we've been looking at that point more lately. Looking at the connection between infrastructure and help and we have a very big active transportation program which is mostly bicycle and pedestrian projects and the more we can provide choices for people to write or to walk, that provides kind of inherent active physical activity into a person's daily routine the more we can do that the more we will have be able to impact cap and we've done a lot of work of the last three years with the County Health and Human Services agency on that.
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That this plan and vision SAN Diego's growth needs by 2050. How much bigger will San Diego be at that time?
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We are going to add about a million more people. We are a little over 3 million on so we will be a little over 4 million in 2015 50 and the thing to remember about 2/3 of that growth is just simply births over deaths. It is us growing ourselves, it is not like the last 35 years where there's a lot of in migration either from other parts of the country or their parts of the door. There'll still be some of that but when much, much lesser degree. So along with that million new people we expect about a half million new jobs and about 300,000 new housing units and I said before the housing units are going to be done we believe in a very different way based on what the jurisdictions in the cities and county are doing.
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Right, the regional plan stays flat fee that our view of the future is changing. What do the planners mean by that?
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I think you look over the past 35 years a lot of just warning sample be used used to be that well over about 2/3 of the planned new housing units in our region were going to be single-family homes. Now it is about a little over 80% of the new housing units that we project of those 300,000 are multi family. That's a big change. That's way that we different than we had over the past 35 years and so we are developing a transportation network that will service that.
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And at this plan proposes spending $200 billion in the regional transportation network over the next three decades. What will that money pay for?
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It pays for virtually everything. They pays for transit both capital which is new things like if we extend a trolley line and also the operations which pays for the drivers of the vehicles and the maintenance of those vehicles. Pays for the improvements to highways which are largely adding to our existing system, adding carpool lanes and managed lanes manage lanes to our existing freeway system. The maintenance and operations for that local streets and roads is a big component of the dollars that are spent by each of the cities and the county. It also includes things like the active transportation I mentioned, some dollars on open space preservation as a result of the investments we are making and some programs for been pouring, carpooling, transportation demand, etc.
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Does the vocal this go to expand highways and freeways?
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No, not at all. Have evolved that goes to transit capital and operations and as I said the vast majority of the dollars that are going into our freeway system art to put in carpool or manage lanes which in many cases are used user like on I 15 our new rapid service uses the manage lanes on I-15, it is a very successful service so those investments are kind of there on the freeway system but their servicing our making our transit system more efficient.
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Earlier today I spoke with Jack Schuh, he's President of the Cleveland national Forest foundation, Dako filed a lawsuit against Sendak's last regional transportation plan which is now before the state Supreme Court.
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Jack, first of all, welcome to the program
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Thank you for having me on. This is great.
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The San Diego forward plan introduced by SANDAG is being promoted as a new view for a land-use and transportation for our region. What's your assessment of the plant?
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The plan is still preliminary. It is a draft plan and we still have not seen the full environment will impact report. But we do have some preliminary view is on it. Based on what will come out.
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And those are?
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The plan has new language which is refreshing and good. However we don't see any change in policy or funding structure. That's -- in terms of transportation mining and doing a better San Diego.
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So what are those changes exactly that you see as positive?
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The plan does predict the reduction of vehicle miles traveled into the future. That's consistent with what's happening nationally. But if we are going to have fewer cars in the future the question would be why are we planning and building more freeways, more roadways here in San Diego?
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So from your understanding of this new plan, the San Diego forward plan, those additional freeways are still an integral part of SANDAG's plan?
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Correct. And that is a lot of new language about bike ways and open space and transit in the plan. But unless we really are seriously thinking about the transit first plan, one that builds transit first rather than freeways first we are not really talking about a real change in what we are going to have in the future. SANDAG's plans are pretty much for the most part we have been doing since 1990s and just 10 years ago which is built more freeways and occasionally here and there, improve our transit system and bikeways.
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Now Jack, your organization filed a lawsuit against the last regional transportation plan. Do you think you you will be suing over this plan?
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That's way too early for us to say anything about that. We try to avoid litigation whenever we can and give every opportunity for our regional planning organizations to do better. SAN Diego's got one of the worst plants not plans if not the worst plan in California. The Attorney General intervened in our case. The highest law enforcement prosecutor in California said that SANDAG's plan is deficient. In many ways. And we hope that we cannot with that in the future.
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The states. Where as I understand is going to review a lower court's decision against SANDAG's last regional transportation plan and that's a plan you were referring to? The Attorney General cannot also said she was against. What happens if the Supreme Court upholds the decision against the plan? Where does that leave speakers plan? Where does that leave SAN Diego's regional development plan?
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Hopefully they will go back and try to fix their errors. Errors in which we can have a plan that has more information as to the health impacts, to having better alternatives and litigation for when houseguests emissions. The Supreme Court pretty much affirmed four out of the five court ruling so that really is I think a real confirmation that there court was correct and we are just waiting for the Supreme Court to rule on one of those five issues.
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Okay, Jack, thank you so much. I've been speaking with Jack Shu, he's President of the Cleveland national Forest. Thanks for your time.
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Thank you.
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I'm back now with Muggs told, he's SANDAG's Director of land-use and transportation planning. So Muggs, what's your response to these criticisms from Jack Shu.
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There's a lot of things that he said. I think the fact of the matter is that the plan we approved in 2011 is still the plan that exist today, this new plan is a draft that's out for review but we're we are very proud of the plan. We believe it really set us on a course for the future. It does have a tremendous amount of transit in it as well as a lot of other investments that I talked about earlier. So I think the new plan we have just takes that even further and I think the fact of the matter is we are working with all of our member agencies to match up with the investments we are making with the land use decisions that they are making and we think that the issues that he brings up are not fully accurate, frankly.
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Let me ask you the same question I asked him, what does happen next if the state Supreme Court upholds the decision against the plan? Do you go back to square one?
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I don't think anybody really knows that. I really wouldn't -- I don't want to speculate on where the Supreme Court is going to go. Prior to presenting the case there so I think it is way too premature to speculate on what that would mean. I know that he stated that the Supreme Court affirmed four of the five issues and that's not true at all. What they did is they decided on one issue that they wanted to look at and that's all the Supreme Court has weighed in on on the the case so far.
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Okay, do you know when this decision is going to be made by the stays up in court?
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It is hard to say. It takes a while to get through the process for minder standing of the process. You've got to do briefings and the back-and-forth. It can take months ended some cases even years to get through this Supreme Court process so Julliard to say.
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Muggs there are proposals that the cap you should amend its general plan. San Diego County up to allow for the developments to be built in undeveloped semi rural areas of the North County. To satisfy the demand therefore housing. So how much difference will SANDAG's emphasis on urbanized elements make if the county allows these big developments in previously agricultural areas to take place?
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Again, I think that's a little bit speculative but I think the way I would react to that is to talk about the roles. SANDAG is not a land-use authority. We provide a lot of support and information and data to all of our member agencies of which the county and all of the other cities are our member agencies. So we roll up all of that information and look at where things are going from a regional level and it is very clear from a regional level more development is moving into a already developed areas. But in terms of looking at any amendments or exceptions to the regional science, that's the responsibility of the member agencies. In this case that would be the responsibility of the county. They are much closer to the issues and to projects on the ground and we are. So I think it is very important to look at the county's responsibility to assess those sorts of things.
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Does SANDAG have any authority at all to discourage that?
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I think what we do -- we try to provide incentives to our member agencies and to provide tools or them to help support them in developing their plans. But is not for us to discourage actions that are rightfully the responsibility of the land-use authority.
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There's a series of public workshops are just beginning on the San Diego forward plan to introduce the public to this plan. Telus little bit about those.
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We spent the last more than two years developing this plan and we have been out in several communities. We've got a number of workshops we met with the number of agencies so we done a lot of that already but now that the draft plan is out for review we've got a series of seven public workshops scheduled around the region and just to go through the list we are going to be meeting in the month of May in Escondido, La Mesa, we are going to have one meeting the old town area, the Caltrans office. Oceanside, send music euro, Jacob center in San Diego and up in the UTC area so we are really trying to set these workshops out throughout the region to give people an opportunity to come and understand the plan and give us their comments.
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Would you be making -- not you specifically but will SANDAG be making a presentation or will they just basically be handing out copies of the plan? How does it work?
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We will have an overview presentation that Jim these workshops we are looking opinion on a panel of folks from the -- from those particular communities to have a panel discussion about the plan and issues contained in it and then there will be opportunities for questions to be submitted and to add to the dialogue of each one of these workshops.
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Will you be taking comments from the public? And considering them as you consider this draft proposal?
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Absolutely. We have a public hearing set in June at our regular Board Meeting as well as were going to be planning another public hearing in the North County, that one hasn't been set yet but it will also be in June.
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The first public workshop is scheduled from -- for May 12 in Escondido. I've been speaking with Muggs Stoll, SANDAG is Director of land-use and transportation planning. Thank you for coming and speaking with us.
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Thank you for the opportunity. If I could say San Diege Forward.com is the website with all the information.
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Thank you for that.
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Thank you.
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