On Thursday, January 28th, the BART Board of Directors voted 6-3 to adopt a policy that requires that 20% of all housing developed on BART land must be affordable to very low and low income households! This huge win comes after two years of efforts led by EBHO and TransForm with support by NPH and other community partners and members to advance an affordable housing policy at BART.
The policy applies on a station-by-station basis. While individual projects don’t necessarily have to meet the 20% mark, cumulatively there must be 20% affordable units at each station where new housing is built. This allows flexibility for either inclusion of units within a market-rate building or having a separate non-profit developed affordable project on a portion of the BART site. Both approaches have been used in the past.
The 20% figure is a floor – greater weight will be given to project proposals that include more affordable units or deeper affordability.
We are delighted BART has adopted this policy and we hope that it means that they will fully comply with the Surplus Land Act, including giving first priority to developers that propose the largest number of affordable units at the deepest affordability target.
The policy resolution was put forward and driven by BART Director Zachary Mallett, who noted in a press release that “low- to moderate-income households who live in transit-rich environments are many times more likely to make use of transit services for both work and non-work trips than market-rate households. As a result, this policy will help preserve transit-oriented development at BART stations for populations more likely to make use of the transit services. It creates a win-win.” Thank you to Mallet for his forward-thinking and leadership!
We also appreciate Director Rebecca Saltzman for her strong support and efforts. Other Directors who voted in favor are Nick Josefowitz, Joel Keller, John McPartland and Tom Radulovich. Thanks to all of them.
In addition to Jeff Levin of EBHO and Joel Ramos of TransForm, special thanks to Adhi Nagraj (BRIDGE Housing), Nur Kausar (EAH Housing), Lily Gray (MidPen Housing) and Susan Friedland (SAHA), who spoke in support of the policy along with NPH executive director, Amie Fishman. And thank you to NPH Policy Director, Michael Lane, and Evvy Stivers of Housing Leadership Council of San Mateo County for their strong advocacy. Finally, hats off to Elizabeth Wampler and the Great Communities Collaborative for supporting this multi-year effort, and making this advocacy campaign possible
Next steps will include working with BART staff on concrete implementation strategies, funding mechanisms, and ways to integrate this policy into BART’s comprehensive transit-oriented development policies. Stay tuned!