Contra Costa County Seal

Contra Costa County
Community Development Department
Redevelopment Division
The Pleasant Hill BART
Station Design Charrette

Pleasant Hill BART Station For-Sale Housing Issues

The issue of for-sale housing at any BART station reflects two legitimate interests: local residents living near a BART station and the regionís taxpayers who support BART.† Any development at the Pleasant Hill BART station will seek to reconcile these two interests.† To date, BART has been willing to balance the local interests with the more regional interests by allowing for 50 units of for-sale house.† This approach would allow for some housing diversity in the area, while still ensuring that BART will control enough of the site to ensure its long-term integrity as a regional transit facility.

Local residents who live around a BART station typically want new residential development in their neighborhood to be ownership housing.† Ownership housing is perceived as providing more long-term stability to a neighborhood as well as preserving and enhancing property values. 

The taxpayers who have paid for the BART system and who want transit to remain a critical part of the region's mobility network generally wish to ensure that the land uses around BART stations remain transit supportive and transit friendly.† To support these constituents, the BART Board has adopted a strong policy to lease, rather than sell, land around BART stations. The four main reasons for this policy are as follows:

Control over land uses:† BART's continued ability to ensure that land uses adjacent to its stations support transit ridership and are transit friendly.

Share in increased property values:† BART's ability to share in additional revenue generated by increases in property values and revenues created by development will help support the cost of operating the train system and will enhance the public's investment in the BART infrastructure.

Density:† To take maximum advantage of the public's investment in BART's infrastructure, higher density at the BART stations is preferred. In general, ownership housing is built at lower density than rental units.†

Parcelization of ownership constrains Transit Oriented Development:† To build the station and supporting infrastructure, BART and the County assembled many smaller parcels into larger parcel.† Subdividing into smaller privately owned plots (condos or townhomes) reverses this effort and may limit future options.

How to determine how much land to convert to private ownership and how much to preserve in public ownership to protect the public's interest is a difficult decision to make and one that should be made by elected officials with public input.† This charrette has highlighted this issue and identified it as an issue that will need further discourse.† People interested in ownership housing should work with the County Board of Supervisors and the BART Directors to evaluate a new policy and programming options.†

The overall development program on the site, including the total number of residential units, does not change significantly based on whether or not the units are for-sale or for rent.† Therefore, the planning process should focus on establishing a basic number of units to be built on the site. The ownership issue can be resolved at a later date and through a different process that reflects these diverse interests.

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