News

Gov. Brown signs BART housing bill

Agency hopes to build 20,000 units by 2040; Tri-Valley leaders express disappointment

On Sunday, Gov. Jerry Brown approved AB 2923, which will allow BART to build housing on or near their stations. It's expected that the new housing will be built on the district's existing parking lots, like the one here at the Dublin/Pleasanton BART stop. (Photo by Erika Alvero)

Joining the flurry of bills addressed by the governor in his last legislative actions on the job, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill on Sunday evening allowing BART to build housing on or near its stations -- a measure that garnered vehement push-back from some Tri-Valley and East Bay leaders.

Assembly Bill 2923 will allow BART to construct and govern housing on its land within half a mile of its stations such as on parking lots at Tri-Valley BART stops, a move that proponents say will create more transit-oriented developments, addressing both the state's housing shortages and increasing traffic congestion.

But opponents, including local leaders State Sen. Steve Glazer (D-Orinda) and Assemblywoman Catharine Baker (R-Dublin), say that local cities should be the ones charged with housing, and that the BART agency isn't equipped for the task.

"We need to build more housing but this new law seriously undermines neighborhood voices and community choices," Glazer said in a statement Monday. "Land-use decisions have always been placed in the hands of local cities, where they have developed the expertise to manage the environmental reviews and complex land-use."

"BART continues to struggle to fulfill its primary mission of transportation, and helping BART do that successfully should be our focus," Baker said in her own statement. "While this bill was well-intentioned, it has very negative consequences for BART’s ability to succeed and for local communities to build housing with the expertise and local perspective that only our local communities have."

After Brown signed the bill Sunday (deadline day for the governor to endorse or veto), BART officials said that by 2040 they hope to have built 20,000 new housing units, at least 35% of them designated as affordable.

The bill, co-authored by Assemblymen David Chiu (D-San Francisco) and Tim Grayson (D-Concord), was supported by business groups, unions and transportation officials, though the nine-member BART Board of Directors officially took a neutral stance on the bill.

"By signing this bill into law, the governor is sending a powerful message to residents throughout the Bay Area that the same old 'Not In My Back Yard' arguments will no longer be able to drown out their voices and calls for more affordable housing," Grayson said Sunday.

"The current regional housing crisis has shone a bright light on the need to accelerate development, especially in places where a transit infrastructure already exists," BART General Manager Grace Crunican said in a statement Sunday night.

Since the measure has passed, the BART board will be required to establish zoning standards by July 1, 2020.

In the bill's text, Chiu argues that BART needs to have some land-use authority in order to develop the most effective transit-oriented housing.

"Transportation services are uniquely tied to land use patterns," he said, adding that since the district is "governed by an elected Board of Directors," Bay Area residents have greater input on their decisions compared to other agencies.

But city leaders opposing the measure say that they are the ones who understand and know their communities, and should be in charge of all planning-related issues and development.

"We know how to build homes here in Dublin," said Dublin Mayor David Haubert at a press conference on Sept. 17 at the Dublin-Pleasanton BART station, in which a host of local leaders gathered to protest AB 2923. "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."

Pleasanton Mayor Jerry Thorne agreed, pointing to examples of transit-oriented development that the city of Pleasanton has 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."

Baker, who spearheaded the press conference in conjunction with Glazer, said that the cities least affected by the 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.

However, BART's Crunican said that the transit agency wants to continue working collaboratively with cities.

"We have found that working closely with neighborhoods and local elected officials to consider community needs is not only respectful, it's the most efficient way to get the job done," Crunican said in her statement Sunday.

Information from the Bay City News Service was used in this article.

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Comments

22 people like this
Posted by Pete
a resident of Downtown
on Oct 1, 2018 at 4:59 pm

Keep voting democrat it’s working for you.


3 people like this
Posted by Sjdunbar
a resident of Livermore
on Oct 1, 2018 at 5:17 pm

Oh please Mr. Thorne, that station has been there for years and you have 2 housing developments to show for it and a bunch of asphalt parking lots around a mutli-hundred-million state investment.


24 people like this
Posted by Lou
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 1, 2018 at 11:18 pm

Brilliant idea Democrats!

Democrats: "Build stack and pack housing on the BART parking lots so no one with jobs can drive and park at the BART station anymore to take BART to work!!! No problem!"

Democrats: "Why does anyone need a job anyway?"

Democrats: "Why does anyone need a car anyway?"

Democrats: "Why does anyone need parking lots?"

Everyone else: "Well, can't wait to referend every housing or commercial project the BART self-approves on its parking lots."

Everyone else: "Disband BART"


29 people like this
Posted by Demcrotic
a resident of Birdland
on Oct 2, 2018 at 8:45 am

The Democrats have are ruining the system. It seems like they are going to the extreme in hoping to get some attention. Let me name a few - sanctuary cities, open borders, advanced alerts on ICE plans, etc... What happened to common sense people? What's next? Don't be surprised if teh Democrats will sponsor laws protecting drivers who drove without a license, and also protecting drivers who drove without proper insurance!!!


24 people like this
Posted by Charlie Brown
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Oct 2, 2018 at 9:35 am

This is only the beginning. The "State" just like in Communist and Socialists countries know what is best for you.


20 people like this
Posted by Mike F
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Oct 2, 2018 at 9:51 am

Lou nailed it right on the head. I have so many friends leaving the state now I know why.


20 people like this
Posted by Rose
a resident of Parkside
on Oct 2, 2018 at 9:58 am

Maybe a little off topic - the danger of removing planning power from local jurisdictions, but I just don't understand the demographic that these stack and pack developments are built for. Certainly they are not affordable for most young singles or couples who are not tech workers. Certainly not for seniors. If it is for millenials, my experience with my own, and all of my friends' is that as soon as they start a family, they are all desperately seeking single family homes even if they have to drive an hour or more. Unless they were raised in an urban setting like San Francisco (the bay area's really only urban setting), an apartment isn't generally what they are seeking for their kids to live in. It seems that folks from other countries that are conditioned to high density are OK with it, but every single immigrant/visa holder that we know - and they are many - seek a single family home, or as close to it as possible...in the long-term, who is going to live in all of these apartment/condo dwellings that we so feverishly persue...am I naive? And affordable housing - don't even get me started on Pleasanton's policy of collecting fees and avoiding the issue - it will be back to bite us big time, maybe BART will indeed get to solve our problem for us.


29 people like this
Posted by Ruth
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 2, 2018 at 10:11 am

an example of why i didnt vote for Brown and why i wont vote for Newsom either, not that my lack of a vote will make any difference


22 people like this
Posted by JA
a resident of Del Prado
on Oct 2, 2018 at 10:16 am

So the people who operate the trains are now in charge of planning for city. Kind of like putting your auto mechanic in charge of running a restaurant. Socialism has arrived in the US. Every place it has shown it’s ugly face people have been empoverished and suffering increased. Vote the bums out of office.

Housing problem is due to more and more people showing up from outside.... you can build 1M more housing units, and it will not help.


8 people like this
Posted by clearly
a resident of another community
on Oct 2, 2018 at 12:09 pm

Its not the fault of those elected - its the ones who puttjem there46B


22 people like this
Posted by Diana
a resident of Dublin
on Oct 2, 2018 at 12:58 pm

But Ruth and the rest of the people sick of these failed Democrat policies which has bankrupted this beautiful State and our quality living go to the polls and vote sensible, we can change this tyranny taking over California. Vote John Cox for Governor! #StopNewsomeNOW! His policies will be worse than Jerry Brown. Look at San Francisco under Newsome's watch.


25 people like this
Posted by Cecilia
a resident of The Knolls
on Oct 2, 2018 at 1:05 pm

VOTE John Cox for Governor!
Stop this tyranny-takeover orchestrated by Jerry Brown, Gavin Newsome and their failed policies.


6 people like this
Posted by do not want a DICTATOR
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 2, 2018 at 1:33 pm

Keep promoting your Republican crap, and your DICTATOR IS WAITING AT THE WHITE HOUSE TO WELCOME YOU


9 people like this
Posted by Grumpy
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Oct 2, 2018 at 2:41 pm

Grumpy is a registered user.

How quickly this discussion went off the rails... Instead of discussing the local impact of this policy, we the readers get nothing but spittle-inflected paranoia, catastrophizing, and empty threats to leave the state. Have the conservatives in this area become a bunch of whining snowflakes?

Let’s talk about this specific policy. I don’t see how it’s any different from what Pleasanton already wanted to do with the BART parking lot. Remember, it’s why the city on its own volition shrunk Owens down to one lane. So we were going to be stuck with this project no matter what.

The big problem with this bill is that BART hasn’t shown any competence in real estate development. In fact, they haven’t shown much competence as a board. They just realized they have no law enforcement authority in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties?

So I’m not sure whether they’ll do this project decently. Maybe they will. Another garage would be good. The shame of it is that there is a parking shortage problem that BART is not addressing. If they were compelled to address that too, to build 2x or 3x the spaces and fund it by apartments, then I’d have supported this in a heartbeat.

Instead, this law just forces BART to solve a problem that isn’t theirs and that they didn’t want to solve. It’s a strange experiment, and my fear is that the authors of the law don’t care that it is an experiment.


3 people like this
Posted by Robert S. Allen
a resident of Livermore
on Oct 2, 2018 at 4:28 pm

With AB 758, the legislature took away funding for BART to Livermore and gave it to Valley Link. Maybe just as well, since Isabel and Greenville/ACE would not be BART stations and subject to AB 2923. A real disappointment, though.

BART still need an East Bay train yard for Blue Line, like it has for the other lines (Red, Yellow, and Green) under the Bay and through San Francisco. Also a shop to repair and maintain Blue Line train cars, but it looks like that won't come until BART extends to an ACE transfer station at Greenville. The rest of the Blue line is in subway, on aerial structure, or in a constricting freeway median.








11 people like this
Posted by Pete from Pleasanton
a resident of Castlewood
on Oct 2, 2018 at 5:14 pm

The governor does not care what the Tr-Valley thinks. He does what he wants, unfortunately.


Like this comment
Posted by member
a resident of Dublin
on Oct 3, 2018 at 12:24 am

Since BART owns the parking lots, but what goes on top requires indirect balance evenly if its strange policy not used that much in USA.

The stack and pack buildings are going geared towards the demographics that are serious savers in budgeting. Don't forget that there are those to compromise to live in the apartments and condos peruse. As well as those who decided to realize these new residential apartments/condos are just going be stayed in place more healthy senior housing that will become affordable over the long years. Especially the first two floors in residential and only second/third floor in mixed-use buildings. Not too many staircases to climb/go down and crowded elevators until night time luck. While the others that had no chances and lost try their best to get a apartment close to the elevators.

While the people arriving from outside pool together as to get something close to single family. Those inside starting up a family seeking single-family as well being desperate may forget that its still need to be a multi generational issue on how to get a home. Also it's not really a strange experiment, because its already happening all over certain other countries being done properly. BART isn't being forced to solve that unwanted problems,except the cities.


7 people like this
Posted by Theresa & Arthur C.
a resident of Country Fair
on Oct 3, 2018 at 9:51 am

For all the naysayers that insisted we'd never see any meddling from ABAG/ICLEI & those "wonderful" folks who lovingly embrace UN Agenda 21...we told you so.

Keep voting for democrats & putting your heads in the sand & these crooks in public office will only continue to trample on our civil rights and destroy our communities.


6 people like this
Posted by Campbell
a resident of Del Prado
on Oct 3, 2018 at 10:53 am

Campbell is a registered user.

Because BART does such a good job running a transit system we now want them in the housing business. SMH


5 people like this
Posted by James
a resident of Val Vista
on Oct 3, 2018 at 11:47 am

You all do know that the Democrat Party is now the Commucrat Party. Keep them in control of the state and you will soon know what its like to live in Detroit.


4 people like this
Posted by Lessismore
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Oct 4, 2018 at 1:28 pm

DEM or REP

We are about to allow the worst run, missed managed and corrupt agency to take on a project of this size. They can not run BART by itself

I hope someone not on the BART board is watching where the money ends up.

I ride BART almost every day. Maybe clean and safe train cars are where they should start and then in increase the parking. Want more people to take BART add parking!


4 people like this
Posted by Robert Adam
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 5, 2018 at 8:35 am

Bankrupt the state?? Are you out of your mind? California has an 18 billion surplus this year alone. Stop listening to that Faux channel. It's making you embarrass yourself in public.


2 people like this
Posted by buklau
a resident of Avila
on Oct 5, 2018 at 12:34 pm

The inner cities have been voting democrat down-ballot for 50 years. That will be Tri-valley soon..same thing happened to Antioch.


2 people like this
Posted by Robert Adam
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 6, 2018 at 12:42 am

California's pension plans are 70% funded. They rank #26 in the country. Why don't you talk about Kentucky's pension liability, only 31% funded? Is it because right wing propaganda you listen to never mentions it? They rank 49th in the country. Arizona is only 60% funded. Kansas only 65%. Texas 73%, not much better than Cali. Find another venue to spill your hate. We're far too smart to fall for your idiotic rhetoric. All you do is repeat crap you hear. You're too lazy to do any research of your own even thou this info is public and readily available. Zip it!


1 person likes this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Oct 6, 2018 at 8:11 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

It helps to provide information links: Web Link Pacific Research Institute, September 2018, Wayne H. Winegarden, Ph.D.

“In the end, political mandates cannot change economic realities. California can proceed as if the current promises of the public pension systems can be met, but there are costs of doing so. These costs, which will be imposed on future generations, will include higher tax burdens, bleaker economic prospects, and fewer core public goods and services.”

My own conclusion is that school districts and cities are struggling to keep up with mandatory contributions that are eating up large portions of their budgets. Following schools, Pleasanton in particular, our students are being squeezed into overcrowded schools because the district says there’s no money for operating another school—without telling us the real problem is pensions. The state created the problem; the state needs to fix the problem. But as several articles point out, current legislators and candidates are not talking about this issue, much less a correction.


2 people like this
Posted by Robert Adam
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 6, 2018 at 8:58 am

Deficits don't matter. Look what's happening to the federal budget...until Dems get back into power then all you'll hear from Republthugs is DEFICIT DEFICIT DEBT BLAH BLAH. Right after they give themselves another tax break that is. Sick, shameless thugs!


Like this comment
Posted by Frankie
a resident of Alisal Elementary School
on Oct 11, 2018 at 9:17 am

Frankie is a registered user.

Brown is still pissed at Pleasanton because of our local officials refusal over the past decade or so to comply with AB 35 (build local housing supply near employment centers) which also led to a successful lawsuit by an affordable watch dog advocacy group against the City. This has been coming for years and rather than take on NIMBYs by approving more medium density housing distributed throughout town for so long, we are now as a community responsible for our arrogance or unwillingness to meet the housing mandates. Dont get me wrong! This is awful and BART is incompetant. They cant even provide a safe efficient transit system because they pay janitors and station agents who do nothing but give you attitude, more than our teachers. But now as a result of politically kicking the can down the street and screaming local control for so long, we will suffer with high density on all remaining vacant lands. Its our own fault.


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