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AB 2923, a Transit-Oriented Development Bill, Would Give BART Land Use and Zoning Controls Within One-Half Mile of the Lafayette BART Station

Post Date:06/11/2018 11:33 AM

AB 2923 Latest Developments 

What Lafayette Has Done

The City of Lafayette has worked diligently to meet its housing obligations. In fact, since 2006, over 300 multifamily and townhouse units have been built or approved within ½ mile of the Lafayette BART station. You can find a table providing a list of downtown projects with below-market-rate housing units that Lafayette has approved since 2000 here.

Pro and Con Arguments

Pro and con arguments concerning AB 2923, a bill that, if passed, would give BART local control over development and zoning near its stations, were published August 4, 2018, by the Bay Area News Group. The con argument was authored by Lily Mei, Mayor of Fremont, and Lafayette Mayor Don Tatzin, and signed by a number of Bay Area mayors and public officials. You can read both arguments below:

Pro: A bill badly needed for more Bay Area housing: It's no secret among affordable-housing advocates and experts that transit-oriented development is one of our most critical tools.

Con: Legislation would undermine city and county control: BART could override local city or county zoning and adopt its own zoning standards.

Opposition to AB 2923

  • The Contra Costa County Mayors Conference, at its meeting August 3, 2018, took an oppose position on this bill. You can read the Conference's opposition letter here.
  • The Lafayette Homeowners Council, on August 5, 2018, wrote an opposition letter, which you can read here
  • The California Chapter of the American Planning Association continues to oppose AB 2923. You can find the Association’s letter here.
  • Three of the nine elected BART Board Members, including Debora Allen of District 1, have written a letter in opposition to AB 2923. You can read their letter here.
  • Watch a video of Assemblywoman Catharine Baker, who represents the 16th Assembly District, which includes Lafayette, voicing her opposition to AB 2923 here.
  • Read an opposition letter from Lafayette School District Superintendent Richard Whitmore, dated August 13, 2018, here
  • More than 55 elected officials, including mayors, councilmembers and supervisors, sent a letter to the Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California urging NPH to drop its endorsement of AB 2923. You can read that letter here

What You Can Do

On August 16, 2018, AB 2923 made it out of the Senate Committee on Appropriations and now heads to the Senate Floor and then Assembly Floor for concurrence with a deadline of Aug. 31. Please write your representatives about the impact this bill could have on Lafayette. 

AB 2923 In the News

Lafayette Mayor Don Tatzin was quoted in a August 15, 2018, San Francisco Chronicle article about AB 2923, Housing on BART land has been a third-rail issue. Will this effort be different? “Why does BART suddenly need this greater power?” asked Lafayette Mayor Don Tatzin, who, like other critics, said he has no problem with development next to a BART station — he just doesn’t want BART to control the process.

You can read the entire article here


AB 2923 Overview 

Assembly Bill 2923, sponsored by Assembly Members David Chiu and Timothy Grayson, will remove a city’s zoning and land use authority on BART-owned land within ½ mile of a transit station and hand it over to the BART Board. The bill, which will affect Alameda, Contra Costa and San Francisco counties, requires BART to adopt transit-oriented development (TOD) standards that establish minimum development regulations for the land that it currently owns, or may own in the future. You can read AB 2923 here. Although this is a statewide bill, it only affects three Bay Area counties. Cities in these counties would have their local zoning authority abolished on BART-owned land within a 1/2 mile buffer zone around station entrances wherein BART could develop projects under its own standards for density and height. You can see a parcel map of Lafayette with BART's proposed 1/2 mile radius here.

BART currently owns the commuter parking lots on the north side of Highway 24 in Lafayette. BART’s current TOD standards for the Lafayette station are a minimum height of five stories and a minimum density of 75 housing units per acre. You can read BART’s full TOD guidelines here. The current zoning for the BART-owned parcels in Lafayette is R-10, which permits single-family homes on ¼ acre lots. In the downtown located south of the freeway, Lafayette allows multifamily housing at a maximum density of 35 housing units an acre and a maximum height of three stories. The City Council has sent a letter to Sacramento objecting to the loss of local control over land use. You can read that letter here. The City of Lafayette would like to hear your views on Assembly Bill 2923. Should BART decide local land use and development issues or should these decisions be made by city governments through their local zoning processes? Please provide your opinion on this important matter here.

The bill has passed through committee and is now going to the full Senate for a vote. The Council asked Mayor Don Tatzin to send another letter opposing AB 2923 to Senators on the Transportation and Housing and Governance and Finance Committees, which you can read here.  

It is important to make your views known to the co-authors and Lafayette’s representatives in the Legislature, Assembly Member Baker and Senator Glazer, you can email them at the following addresses: 

  • Assembly Member David Chiu: Email him here.
  • Assembly Member Timothy Grayson: Email him here.
  • Senator Steven Glazer: Email him here.
  • Assembly Member Catharine Baker: Email her here.