Land Use Planning and Entitlements for Zero Net Energy in the BAYLANDS

By: Charla Gomez AICP, LEED ND, Founder, Pristis Sustainability Advisors, San Francisco California The Baylands is a 700-acre master plan proposal for the City of Brisbane CA, on one of the largest undeveloped sites on the west side of the San Francisco Peninsula. The Baylands offers a unique opportunity to redevelop a well-located brownfield site — a precious commodity in the Bay Area — into a world-class sustainable and “regenerative” community. At stake is how the developer, Universal Paragon Corporation, can commit to deliver the project’s entire development program (about 12 million-square-feet of various land uses) with carbon neutral buildings. In 2015 the City of Brisbane adopted a sustainability framework for Baylands that follows One Planet Living (OPL), the highly aspirational framework created by Bioregional in the UK. The OPL framework calls for carbon neutral buildings as one of its core principles, and, most likely, it will be mandatory for the developer to build the project accordingly. This is because compliance with Baylands’ energy goal will need to be in alignment with the fast approaching Zero Net Energy (ZNE) goals of California for residential by 2020 and commercial by 2030. Thus, the delivery of carbon neutral buildings in Baylands is simply a necessity. Land use planning challenges Also at stake is also how Baylands can decide on its final land use plan, which should allocate the renewable energy generation capacity required to offset the energy demand of its carbon neutral buildings, including 4,400 dwelling units. The planning process for the Baylands has taken several years and it is currently under review by the City Council, with a projected approval...
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