AB 2923 Implementation
Updated June 24, 2019
What is Assembly Bill (AB) 2923?
On September 30, 2018, Governor Brown signed AB 2923, state legislation that affects zoning requirements on existing BART-owned property within ½ mile of stations in Alameda, Contra Costa, and San Francisco Counties. AB 2923 includes two core components:
TOD Standards: Transit-oriented development (TOD) zoning standards must be set for developable BART-owned properties within ½ mile of stations in the counties of Alameda, Contra Costa and San Francisco by July 1, 2020. The standards must meet or exceed those contained in Table 1 and Figure 1 from the TOD Guidelines (2017), shown below. Cities and counties have until July 1, 2022 to rezone BART’s property to align or exceed adopted standards.
Development Streamlining: Developers in an exclusive negotiating agreement with BART to develop its property may apply for expedited approval from local cities and counties, as articulated in Senate Bill 35 (2017, Weiner), if:
- the project is at least 50% residential;
- a minimum of 20% of proposed housing is affordable to low- or very low- income households;
- the height is within one story of the tallest approved height within a ½ mile; and
- the construction plan meets required labor standards described in the bill.
Immediately after AB 2923 was signed into law, BART’s General Manager sent a letter reaffirming BART’s ongoing partnerships with the affected local jurisdictions in advancing development on BART’s property. BART’s Board discussed the bill in December 2018, and staff presented a proposed implementation approach in January 2019.
Since then, BART has been working hard to confirm the current zoning on its property and has met with all affected local jurisdictions to discuss potential paths forward for AB 2923 implementation. BART’s Board reviewed and discussed findings from this analysis and outreach in June 2019.
BART staff will be conducting public engagement to develop two documents during fiscal year 2020: a guidance document offering greater clarity around certain bill provisions, and a 10-year work plan for transit-oriented development, providing transparency about how and when BART will develop its property with housing or commercial uses.
BART will also be fulfilling additional bill requirements, such as a parking replacement strategy, an anti-displacement strategy, and reporting back to the State of California Housing and Community Development department on its progress towards development.
Commonly Asked Questions
Below are some of the more commonly asked questions about AB 2923 and its relationship to BART’s TOD Program:
- What is BART’s position on AB 2923?
BART has ambitious goals for its TOD program, which includes production of 20,000 homes – 35% of them affordable – and 4.5 million square feet of commercial space on its property by 2040.
BART did not initiate, sponsor, or author AB 2923. BART staff answered technical questions from the Bill’s author as it would for any request during a legislative process. However, consistent with the BART Board’s neutral position on the bill, staff did not participate in crafting the legislation.
- Why does BART develop its land in the first place?
BART owns 250 acres of developable land in the Bay Area, much of it in close proximity to station entrances. Studies show that developing housing and jobs near transit stations result in an increase in transit ridership, a decrease in driving, and an increase in active transportation, which result in better safety, environmental, health, and economic benefits.
For more on BART’s TOD Program goals, please visit www.bart.gov/TOD.
- What is BART’s real estate development process?
BART does not directly develop its properties. Instead, as with many public agencies, BART conducts a competitive process to select a private developer to develop the project and negotiates a long-term ground lease with that developer.
In this partnership, the private developer’s role is to:
- Design the project;
- Secure funding;
- Engage the community;
- Participate in the City’s review and entitlement process;
- Build the project;
- Recruit tenants, and
- Operate and maintain the project during the term of the lease.
BART’s role is to:
- Participate in the City’s zoning process for BART property in advance of any development;
- Identify site-specific goals and objectives that will guide the developer selection and negotiation process;
- Conduct a transparent process to select a developer;
- Prepare a station access study, and guide all decisions related to replacement parking and other transit-related amenities provided by the project;
- Negotiate the terms of the deal with the developer, including provisions relating to financing, the project components and operation of the project;
- Ensure the project maintains and/or improves safety and operation of BART’s core functions during its construction and for the duration of the ground lease;
- Ensure the project meets the core goals and objectives identified at the beginning of the process;
- Execute the ground lease and ensure the developer complies with the terms of the agreements throughout the life of the project.
This process is further described in BART’s TOD Guidelines.
- How does AB 2923 change BART’s development process?
It is important to distinguish the zoning requirements of AB 2923 from actual development.The bill requires BART and affected local jurisdictions to ensure zoning of BART property meets certain minimums and maximums in local zoning regulations. However, the bill states no requirements around the actual development of BART-owned land.
BART’s own goal is nonetheless to produce 20,000 housing units and 4.5 million square feet of commercial space on its property by 2040, which will require an increase in development above BART’s current pace. Initial interviews of local jurisdiction staff indicate that cities and counties would like development on BART property to occur at well more than one dozen stations (see Board presentation from June 13, 2019).
- How does AB 2923 affect BART patron parking at?
AB 2923 states that “the district shall establish a “parking replacement policy, consistent with the district’s practice at auto-dependent stations and the district’s station access policy, with specific provisions to ensure that, after the construction of the eligible TOD project, auto-dependent stations are still accessible by private automobile. The policy shall specifically consider the parking replacement needs for auto-dependent end-of-the-line stations”
BART’s parking replacement decisions are guided by its Board-adopted Station Access and TOD Policies. While parking replacement will be strongly prioritized at Auto Dependent stations, BART’s policy is to strive for little to no replacement parking in more urban, walkable, and transit accessible areas (classified as “Urban with Parking”). BART’s practice has already long been to complete a station access study considering parking replacement needs for any station, which is now required according to AB 2923.
- Why were Table 1 and Figure 1 of the TOD Guidelines developed?
Prior to the introduction of AB 2923, BART’s Board-adopted TOD Policy required staff to publish a TOD Guidelines document. The intent of this document was to clearly articulate BART’s expectations and process for TOD, and to define key terms in the TOD Policy. The Policy states that BART will only solicit for development at stations with a “transit-supportive land use plan.” Understanding that such a “transit-supportive land use plan” would vary by place- but not wanting to develop a unique definition for each of the 48 BART stations- BART developed the TOD place types identified in Table 1 and Figure 1 of the 2017 TOD Guidelines. It is important to note that this is intended to be a living document that could be modified as needed over time to respond to changing conditions.
- How were Table 1 and Figure 1 of the TOD Guidelines developed?
BART staff developed the TOD place types in several sequential steps and using existing, published information from other sources. BART’s primary source was the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s Priority Development Area (PDA) place types. These were developed for the state-mandated Sustainable Communities Strategy, known as Plan Bay Area, through a public process wherein local jurisdictions could self-classify into one of seven place types. For the purposes of simplicity, BART grouped these seven types into three applicable types.
The Plan Bay Area place types were last updated in 2013 and were not up to date with current conditions when BART published the TOD Guidelines in 2017. Moreover, not every station was assigned a place type in 2013. To update and assign place types, BART staff applied the Board-adopted goal of reducing vehicle-related greenhouse gas emissions to assign higher intensity place types to the locations reflecting known physical characteristics associated with lower vehicle miles traveled. As developed by the Center for Neighborhood Technology, these are:
- proximity to major job centers;
- overall residential density;
- block size/walkability;
- mix of land uses; and
- transit connectivity
As noted, this was a systemwide initiative intended to function as guidance and a statement of interest from BART. It was not developed for use in a bill such as AB 2923.
- Can BART change the place type designations in AB 2923?
AB 2923 clearly states that Table 1 and Figure 1 from the 2017 Guidelines shall be the applicable standard for that bill. As state law, only the state legislature can change the place type designations.
- How does BART plan to act on these TOD zoning standards?
AB 2923 restricts BART’s actions with respect to setting TOD zoning standards. Table 1 and Figure 1 of the 2017 TOD Guidelines establishes the minimum zoning standards and is the default condition if the BART Board does not adopt new standards by July 1, 2020.
As of the June 13, 2019 BART Board meeting, it is BART’s express intent not to set standards beyond the bill requirements, and to focus its efforts instead on clarifying point of confusion in the bill language by publishing a publicly-vetted guidance document.If you would like to provide comments or receive updates on this document, sign up for BART’s TOD email list.
- Are the height limits intended to be minimum requirements, or maximum allowable limits?
There are a number of areas, including height limits, that will require additional clarity beyond the language in the legislation. BART staff has met with staff from all affected local jurisdictions and identified a list of questions about AB 2923 that will require analysis and clarification.
As noted above, BART intends to develop a document providing guidance on unclear areas of the bill. That document will be available for public review and comment and all updates will be posted on this web page.To receive notifications please sign up for BART’s TOD email list.
- Who is paying for AB 2923 implementation?
No state funds were allocated to cover expenses associated with AB 2923 implementation, either for BART or the affected local governments. BART has allocated its own operating funds to conduct community engagement and publish required documentation. Local governments may consider applying for planning funds from the state or region to rezone BART-owned properties; however as a special district,BART is not eligible for these funds.
BART’s partner developers cover nearly all of the expenses associated with designing, entitling, constructing and operating actual transit-oriented development projects.
Staying informed about BART’s AB 2923 Implementation
All updates on AB 2923 Implementation will be posted on this website. BART is committed to keeping information updated as new materials are available.
To receive updates when new materials are available, sign up for BART’s TOD email list.
BART AB 2923 Activities To Date
Letter from General Manager to Local Elected Officials Following Bill Adoption
Station-Specific Activities and Presentations