BART's AB2923 Guidance
BART’s AB2923 Guidance Document OUTLINE
Analysis by North Berkeley Now! co-founder and volunteer Jeff Hobson
BART staff wrote a 20-page outline of what will eventually be a very long document. The document is meant (a) to provide city staff with background they need in order to write zoning to comply with AB 2923 and (b) to provide city staff and other stakeholders (like us!) info on how BART will implement AB 2923.
Introduction: The outline’s first 13 pages are an Introduction, restating information that has already been presented in other forums -- mostly about what AB 2923 requires of BART and cities. It’s a useful primer.
The other chapters: The other six chapters of the outline cover the four parameters set in AB 2923 -- Residential Density, Building Height, Floor-Area Ratio (FAR), and Parking (vehicle and bicycle) -- plus “General Zoning and Conformance” and “Other Related Efforts”. The outline gives a very short description of what will be in the chapter plus a set of questions that the chapter will answer. Most of these questions look like things that are clearly addressed in AB 2923, by other BART policies, or by the “zoning is not development” concept.
There are two key points from this outline:
- “Zoning is not development”: This is a key point stated in the outline and repeated several times by BART staff during the webinar. AB 2923 only has requirements for city zoning. But “AB 2923 does not set requirements for actual development of BART property.” The city and BART may allow an actual project that is smaller than the zoning allows.
- Floor-Area Ratio requirement will limit city flexibility: BART staff pointed out that AB 2923’s language about the Floor-Area Ratio (FAR) requirement is very strict and will be hard to meet for larger properties. They pointed out this requirement was NOT in BART’s 2017 TOD Guidelines; it was only added in the text of AB 2923 itself. But they said the requirement will make it hard for cities to include zoning rules that decrease the buildable area -- setbacks, open space requirements, shadow planes, etc. -- while also keeping height at only the levels envisaged in AB 2923 (7 stories at NBB + Ashby, for example). I presume that if cities were to allow taller buildings, they could impose more of these rules that limit the bulk of the buildings.