OAKLAND -- A group that champions local control has lost its legal challenge against a Bay Area regional growth plan aimed at steering development to locate near public transit centers.

In a decision released Thursday, Judge Evelio Grillo of Alameda County Superior Court upheld the Bay Area Plan, which encourages compact growth as a way to reduce greenhouse gases. The plan was adopted last year by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the Association of Bay Area Governments.

Bay Area Citizens, a group critical of regional government, asserted the plan was too harsh in encouraging what it called "stack and pack" housing near transit centers.

Judge Grillo, however, ruled the group failed to prove its case that the plan was improperly developed and failed to look at reasonable alternatives.

Bay Area Citizens was represented in the case by lawyers for the Pacific Legal Foundation.

The regional plan designates areas eligible for state funding to encourage housing near transit centers.

Contact Denis Cuff at 925-943-8267. Follow him at Twitter.com/deniscuff