OAKLAND — One after another, they stepped to the lectern, pleading. Don't take the land, they told City Council members. Don't put houses on it. If we lose it, it's gone forever.
This wasn't a scene from some Central Valley agricultural town, with fecund acres being gobbled up at a rapid pace. This was a bustling urban enclave in late January, and the appeals came from anxious residents and business owners demanding that city officials protect factories, not farms.
"Many businesses, even small businesses like mine on a half an acre, give you 40 good jobs," Bob Tuck, owner of Atlas Heating and Air Conditioning Co., insisted at the packed hearing on Oakland's land-use policies. "If you pave over our business land, it's never going to give you another economic crop. Let's make sure that it doesn't become a residential zone."
Large tracts of land are increasingly hard to find in California's crowded cities. Freeways are more congested than ever. Elected officials and environmentalists are clamoring for developers to build new houses within existing urban boundaries instead of fostering more traffic and sprawl.
At the same time, California lost nearly 340,000 manufacturing jobs in the last five years, making some industrial zones look like remnants of a more vibrant age.
So what's a canny developer to do?
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Monday, March 13, 2006
Factories are Essential
from: "Seeing Factories as Essential Parts: The shape of modern American cities may be changing as urban planners weigh the conflicting merits of housing versus industry." By Maria L. La Ganga and Roger Vincent, Los Angeles Times, 13 March 2006