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Tri-Valley leaders oppose BART housing bill

Baker, Glazer and others say transit agency should not have development jurisdiction

Housing and traffic congestion are hot-button issues facing the Bay Area, but one proposed solution currently on the governor's desk has garnered significant opposition from leaders across the Tri-Valley and in other East Bay communities.

A collection of around 20 East Bay representatives, mayors and council members gathered across from the Dublin-Pleasanton BART station Monday morning to protest Assembly Bill 2923, which would allow BART to construct and govern housing on its land within half a mile of its stations such as parking lots at Tri-Valley BART stops, a move critics see as blatantly circumventing local control.

The Monday press conference was spearheaded by local State Assemblywoman Catharine Baker (R-Dublin) and State Sen. Steve Glazer (D-Orinda), who have both come out in opposition to the measure.

"This is a bill with the right goal, which is more housing, particularly at our transit centers," said Baker, who emceed the event throughout, as others stepped up to also call on Gov. Jerry Brown to veto the bill. "But it has the wrong way to do it, that will actually take us backwards."

"Our cities are acting responsibly," Glazer added. "A transit agency has never been given land use authority anywhere in California, anywhere. And we're going to give that special privilege to BART?"

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The bill passed both houses of the State Legislature in August, with a 26-13 vote in the Senate and a 46-28 vote in the Assembly. It was enrolled and presented to Brown on Sept. 6, who is expected to decide on whether to sign or veto the bill at some point before the end of this month. As of Tuesday afternoon, the governor has taken no action on AB 2923.

In the bill's text, lead author Assemblyman David Chiu (D-San Francisco) argues that by allowing BART to construct transit-oriented developments on-site and near their stations, the state can address affordable housing shortages, traffic congestion and environmental challenges.

"In the state-mandated sustainable communities strategy for the Bay Area, locating affordable and market-rate housing near high-capacity transit is a primary tool with which to address these challenges and will keep the Bay Area on track to meet its state-mandated greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets," Chiu wrote.

He adds that "transportation services are uniquely tied to land use patterns" and that the BART district needs to have some land use authority in order to develop the most effective transit-oriented housing. He also points to the fact that the district is "governed by an elected board of directors, granting the people of the San Francisco Bay Area a greater measure of input on the district's decisions than the constituents of other agencies have on their agencies."

If passed, the bill would require the BART board to establish zoning standards by July 1, 2020.

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However, the officials at the Monday press conference opposed Chiu's proposal on multiple counts, saying that AB 2923 would revoke jurisdiction from those best-qualified to create housing, adding that BART has its own problems to deal with right now.

"Cities make communities," said Concord Mayor Edi Birsan. "Railroads run trains." He said that the bill would jeopardize their own transit-oriented development projects currently underway.

Several of the speakers pointed to the Avalon Dublin Station apartments looming behind them behind them as an example of how cities were indeed stepping up to the housing plate.

"We know how to build homes here in Dublin," said Dublin Mayor David Haubert. "And we've done that. We've done our part, and we don't think that taking away our housing and planning authority and ability is the right thing to do."

Baker said that the cities least affected by the prospective bill were the ones that were "most behind on housing" -- San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose. "The communities that are most doing their jobs and meeting their housing numbers are in the Tri-Valley and on this background podium behind me," she said.

She stated earlier that the group's opposition to AB 2923 was not a form of NIMBY-ism.

"What you're not hearing is 'Please don't build this in my backyard,'" she said. "You're hearing 'Do it, but let us do it in collaboration.'"

As a body, the nine-member BART Board of Directors has taken a neutral stance on the bill, but director Debora Allen was present Monday, also in opposition to AB 2923.

"The BART organization has its hands full," Allen said. "And it should stick to transit, until I can get a real solid handle on running that in a safe, clean, reliable manner."

"AB 2923 will ruin the spirit of cooperation that has evolved between cities and BART, or the development of properties," she added.

Pleasanton Mayor Jerry Thorne called the bill "unconstitutional," and pointed to examples of transit-oriented housing that the city of Pleasanton had created.

"It's a problem that does not exist," he said. "And I believe that local people who live here are the ones that should decide what our local community looks like."

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Tri-Valley leaders oppose BART housing bill

Baker, Glazer and others say transit agency should not have development jurisdiction

by Erika Alvero / Pleasanton Weekly

Uploaded: Tue, Sep 18, 2018, 4:39 pm

Housing and traffic congestion are hot-button issues facing the Bay Area, but one proposed solution currently on the governor's desk has garnered significant opposition from leaders across the Tri-Valley and in other East Bay communities.

A collection of around 20 East Bay representatives, mayors and council members gathered across from the Dublin-Pleasanton BART station Monday morning to protest Assembly Bill 2923, which would allow BART to construct and govern housing on its land within half a mile of its stations such as parking lots at Tri-Valley BART stops, a move critics see as blatantly circumventing local control.

The Monday press conference was spearheaded by local State Assemblywoman Catharine Baker (R-Dublin) and State Sen. Steve Glazer (D-Orinda), who have both come out in opposition to the measure.

"This is a bill with the right goal, which is more housing, particularly at our transit centers," said Baker, who emceed the event throughout, as others stepped up to also call on Gov. Jerry Brown to veto the bill. "But it has the wrong way to do it, that will actually take us backwards."

"Our cities are acting responsibly," Glazer added. "A transit agency has never been given land use authority anywhere in California, anywhere. And we're going to give that special privilege to BART?"

The bill passed both houses of the State Legislature in August, with a 26-13 vote in the Senate and a 46-28 vote in the Assembly. It was enrolled and presented to Brown on Sept. 6, who is expected to decide on whether to sign or veto the bill at some point before the end of this month. As of Tuesday afternoon, the governor has taken no action on AB 2923.

In the bill's text, lead author Assemblyman David Chiu (D-San Francisco) argues that by allowing BART to construct transit-oriented developments on-site and near their stations, the state can address affordable housing shortages, traffic congestion and environmental challenges.

"In the state-mandated sustainable communities strategy for the Bay Area, locating affordable and market-rate housing near high-capacity transit is a primary tool with which to address these challenges and will keep the Bay Area on track to meet its state-mandated greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets," Chiu wrote.

He adds that "transportation services are uniquely tied to land use patterns" and that the BART district needs to have some land use authority in order to develop the most effective transit-oriented housing. He also points to the fact that the district is "governed by an elected board of directors, granting the people of the San Francisco Bay Area a greater measure of input on the district's decisions than the constituents of other agencies have on their agencies."

If passed, the bill would require the BART board to establish zoning standards by July 1, 2020.

However, the officials at the Monday press conference opposed Chiu's proposal on multiple counts, saying that AB 2923 would revoke jurisdiction from those best-qualified to create housing, adding that BART has its own problems to deal with right now.

"Cities make communities," said Concord Mayor Edi Birsan. "Railroads run trains." He said that the bill would jeopardize their own transit-oriented development projects currently underway.

Several of the speakers pointed to the Avalon Dublin Station apartments looming behind them behind them as an example of how cities were indeed stepping up to the housing plate.

"We know how to build homes here in Dublin," said Dublin Mayor David Haubert. "And we've done that. We've done our part, and we don't think that taking away our housing and planning authority and ability is the right thing to do."

Baker said that the cities least affected by the prospective bill were the ones that were "most behind on housing" -- San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose. "The communities that are most doing their jobs and meeting their housing numbers are in the Tri-Valley and on this background podium behind me," she said.

She stated earlier that the group's opposition to AB 2923 was not a form of NIMBY-ism.

"What you're not hearing is 'Please don't build this in my backyard,'" she said. "You're hearing 'Do it, but let us do it in collaboration.'"

As a body, the nine-member BART Board of Directors has taken a neutral stance on the bill, but director Debora Allen was present Monday, also in opposition to AB 2923.

"The BART organization has its hands full," Allen said. "And it should stick to transit, until I can get a real solid handle on running that in a safe, clean, reliable manner."

"AB 2923 will ruin the spirit of cooperation that has evolved between cities and BART, or the development of properties," she added.

Pleasanton Mayor Jerry Thorne called the bill "unconstitutional," and pointed to examples of transit-oriented housing that the city of Pleasanton had created.

"It's a problem that does not exist," he said. "And I believe that local people who live here are the ones that should decide what our local community looks like."

Comments

Livermore Resident
Livermore
on Sep 19, 2018 at 12:10 pm
Livermore Resident, Livermore
on Sep 19, 2018 at 12:10 pm

Thank goodness BART is not in Livermore!
We don't need cesspool developments created by a cesspool train system.


Rich
Livermore
on Sep 19, 2018 at 1:26 pm
Rich, Livermore
on Sep 19, 2018 at 1:26 pm

BART has been barely able to run a transit system and now we want them to be responsible for housing? BART has been taxing communities in Alameda County since the 1970's but has extended the lines into other counties who refused to pay those same taxes before living up to their obligations in Alameda County. The trains always cost more than promised and under perform at every level. Paying their workers more than most municipalities and are still unable to manage their employees effectively. Yes, why not give them responsibilities for housing? This is just stupid.


Steve
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 19, 2018 at 2:43 pm
Steve, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 19, 2018 at 2:43 pm

I see their game. The system is cash strapped so they borrow a page from the railroad development approach of 150 years ago. Give the land to the transit system and let them reap the development revenue. On paper that's not a bad idea, except this is the land that belongs to the cities. These hubs are prime real estate and you'll be trading the benefit to the municipality and giving it to the transit system. The problem is that the transit system is inept and it's going to take more than money to fix it.


Rob
Mohr Park
on Sep 19, 2018 at 7:55 pm
Rob, Mohr Park
on Sep 19, 2018 at 7:55 pm

Build the high speed rail system to run in a triangle from SF to Modesto to Sac. Put housing along it. Or Plan B, build 50,000 homes over the hill (roughly the number planned in the next 15 years) with no solutions because it is easier in the moment.


Pleasanton Parent
Pleasanton Meadows
on Sep 19, 2018 at 8:22 pm
Pleasanton Parent , Pleasanton Meadows
on Sep 19, 2018 at 8:22 pm

Another vote for - get your core "competency " right before you branch into something new.

This is nothing more than a money / revenue scheme.


Realist
Harvest Park Middle School
on Sep 20, 2018 at 12:33 am
Realist, Harvest Park Middle School
on Sep 20, 2018 at 12:33 am

Why have housing mandates on local communities if the State is going to circumvent the whole process and approve housing through other means?


b
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 20, 2018 at 9:41 am
b, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 20, 2018 at 9:41 am

These stations all need more parking for BART riders, not more giant apartment boxes. BART needs to get it’s own house in order before using land for non-BART purposes.


Map
Del Prado
on Sep 30, 2018 at 5:46 pm
Map, Del Prado
on Sep 30, 2018 at 5:46 pm

Failed miserably at running a “take all the money you need” transit system so what could possibly go wrong with these idiots taking over housing? Sounds like another one of Gov. Moonbeams ideas, not enough parking now for Bart’s riders, we want those parking lots that we have already paid for.


Ab2923 is law now
Country Fair
on Oct 1, 2018 at 10:06 am
Ab2923 is law now, Country Fair
on Oct 1, 2018 at 10:06 am

I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but on Sunday Governor Brown signed AB 2923 m, giving Bart housing authority over their properties. As sad day in California.


Pete
Downtown
on Oct 1, 2018 at 8:00 pm
Pete, Downtown
on Oct 1, 2018 at 8:00 pm

Keep voting democrat it’s working for you


Map
Del Prado
on Oct 2, 2018 at 4:10 pm
Map, Del Prado
on Oct 2, 2018 at 4:10 pm

Only good news is that moonbeams reign of stupidity is almost over, let’s see what else he will be sticking us with on his final days. Time for something different and it’s not going to be Newsom, anybody out there willing to save California??


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