Save Mount Diablo’s mission is to preserve Mount Diablo’s peaks, surrounding foothills and watersheds through land acquisition and preservation strategies designed to protect the mountain’s natural beauty, biological diversity and historic and agricultural heritage; enhance our area’s quality of life; and provide recreational opportunities consistent with protection of natural resources.
Land use projects that Save Mount Diablo typically engages in are usually located near or beyond the urban edge; could affect important open space resources, wildlife habitat and movement corridors, creeks, or aesthetics; and may have the potential to affect natural viewsheds. They might also result in land preservation, mitigation, and recreational opportunities.
In general, we support the concept of infill development. Because infill development does not usually affect the lands that are most significant to the achievement of this mission, Save Mount Diablo does not typically engage in activities related to infill projects.
We also recognize that organizational allies, such as Greenbelt Alliance and East Bay Housing Organizations, have greater expertise and an increased focus on development that occurs within the current urban footprint.
However, Save Mount Diablo understands that population growth in the San Francisco Bay Area is occurring. In their draft Plan Bay Area 2040 (released April 2017), the Metropolitan Transportation Commission estimates an additional 819,000 new households will be added to the nine-county Bay Area between 2010 and 2040, an increase of 31 percent.
In the 10 cities adjacent to Save Mount Diablo’s area of interest and in unincorporated Contra Costa, the number of households is expected to increase from 289,400 in 2010 to 379,100 in 2040 (a 31 percent increase; Brentwood, Dublin, and Concord show household growth greater than 40 percent).
As such, Save Mount Diablo supports addressing the need for housing in a range of types and affordability levels.
Therefore, Save Mount Diablo is supportive of residential infill developments that address the following set of evaluation criteria in a superior way, go through a transparent evaluation process, and reflect recent innovations in the fields of urban and environmental design and smart growth. Most criteria and language are from the Greenbelt Alliance infill project endorsement program.
1) Resource protection and superior mitigation
2) Efficient use of Land
5) Transportation options
6) Environmental design
7) Community and economic benefits
8) Community engagement
Save Mount Diablo strongly supports infill, smart growth, and transit-oriented development (TOD) at the general plan and specific plan policy level because those kinds of projects often create fewer impacts, can be used to improve existing communities, and take some pressure off lands that should be protected.
Please note that Save Mount Diablo does not evaluate specific project designs or how an infill project may fit in with an existing neighborhood, because to do so would not be consistent with our core endeavors and would depart from our areas of expertise.
Save Mount Diablo has a great deal of expertise in the policy and project review arena. We would only consider endorsing a specific project, infill or otherwise, based on the potential for unusually large open-space preservation gains.
1) Infill—development of unused and underutilized land within urban areas, usually served by urban services (as opposed to greenfield sprawl on urban edges). Infill development keeps resources where people already live and is the key to accommodating growth and redesigning our cities to be environmentally and socially sustainable.
2) Density—the number of units per acre, either net (just buildings) or gross (buildings and streets).
3) Smart growth—urban planning and transportation theory that concentrates growth in compact, walkable urban centers to avoid sprawl. It advocates compact, transit-oriented, sustainable, walkable, bicycle-friendly land use, including neighborhood schools, complete streets, and mixed-use development with a range of housing choices.
4) Transit-oriented development (TOD)—higher density and mixed-use development around transit centers, particularly rail and light rail, generally within a radius of one-quarter to one-half mile from a transit stop, as this is considered to be an appropriate scale for pedestrians.