The SF Bay Area Example: RhodeMap RI could lead to Demolished Local Neighborhoods

SF Bay Area Region: Existing neighborhoods, including 169,000 homes, to be demolished

Supporters of the controversial RhodeMap RI plan claim that there’s nothing in the plan to give local residents and elected officials any concern about a potential loss of their property rights or an erosion of the sovereignty of their locally elected governments.

However, based on research by the Center’s consultant on this issue, John Anthony, the case of the San Francisco Bay area provides the most stark and startling example of how blind dedication to, or forced compliance with a national “sustainable development” agenda, enforced by a regional authority run by unelected ideologues, actually did supersede the will of the local people and their duly elected officials.

Plan Bay Area is a regional development plan operating in conjunction with California state law.[i]  The “Association of Bay Area Governments” (ABAG)[ii] is the regional governing group that manages planning for a 9-county area. The enormity of the planners’ objectives have drowned out local voices.

With the goal of deconstructing existing suburbs in favor of erecting new, hi-density “growth centers”, ABAG is advancing a program that displaces over 1000 middle and low-income residents out of their homes in favor of building low-income housing.”[iii]  So outraged are community members that traditionally conservative and liberal groups are now working together to attempt to stop the planners.  They see this as government abridging the rights of all citizens.[iv]

HomeDemolitionYet, Bay Area residents are having little effect. According to research by the Cato Institute, the regional board continues to push through its plan to demolish 169,000 single-family homes on the questionable claim that by 2040 most residents will prefer multi-family dwellings.[v]

The RhodeMap RI plan, if adopted on December 11, 2014 into the state’s official guide plan, will establish the state of Rhode Island as a similar region to Plan Bay Area, and recommends establishment of an “Urban Redevelopment Authority”, similar to ABAG, with similar powers,as stated in the RhodeMap RI plan itself, to “assume permitting and development control”[vi] over local communities. 

In Rhode Island, “growth center” plans have already been developed for multiple communities. Will existing neighborhoods in the Ocean State be similarly demolished? Will local residents and officials even have a say?

John Anthony is the president of Corporate Measures, a consulting firm specializing in assisting businesses in gaining profitable growth while retaining a productive and enthusiastic workforce. Mr. Anthony founded corporate Measures in 1989.  Recently, he has devoted his time to assisting communities and businesses to understand and navigate the complexities of Sustainable Development planning.

[i] Plan Bay Area and California SB375:

[ii] ABAG:

[iii] Bay area Priority Development Areas:


[v] Plan Bay Area:

[vi] RhodeMapRI draft plan, p 119;

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