BART to build housing at stations

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- California's new law that requires BART to build housing at its stations is as much about local control as it is about transforming empty parking lots into transit villages.

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"The bill was unnecessary," said California State Senator Steven Glazer, a Democrat from Orinda. "It was a power grab by BART and its supporters. The issue is not whether we want more housing in the area around BART, the issue is how you do it."

"You can already start to see it," said BART Director Rebecca Saltzman, who says the district will proceed responsibly now that Assembly Bill 2923 is law and that BART won't force a plan on any municipality without its input.

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"This is going to be a process between BART, between the cities and even after a property is zoned, we're very collaborative with the cities on approval of the actual development," explained Saltzman.

Dublin, San Leandro and Oakland already have housing at several stations. Pleasant Hill has long had a transit village and hundreds of units--with more under construction and Walnut Creek has approved a project that will include a total replacement of existing parking.

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But for other communities like Lafayette, there's still skepticism.

"Parking is a major concern for us," explained Lafayette's new mayor Cameron Burks. "If BART does decide to develop on their property, we want to make sure that we collaborate with them very very closely and that they do consider the nature of our town, the character of our town and the success that we've had in developing high density units, affordable units right near our transportation."

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