Berkeley is working to collect community input on plans to build housing at BART. Image: COB

The city of Berkeley announced four new surveys this week designed to help set community priorities for plans to build housing at local BART stations in compliance with state laws.

On Monday, the city held its second large community meeting about the planning process leading up to the selection of developers to build housing at the North Berkeley and Ashby BART stations. About 200 people joined the Zoom “open house” to share their ideas about project priorities including affordable housing, building form, land use, public space, and station access and parking.

During Monday’s meeting, the BART project team announced new community surveys about four of those issues — affordable housing, land use, building form and public space — and gave people time to fill them out. The surveys will be active until Feb. 22 for those who did not attend the meeting or wished to take more time with their responses. Survey responses will be collected anonymously.

The BART planning project is still in the preliminary stages, with the completion of project designs not expected until the winter of 2023, according to the current project timeline.

The ongoing community process will result in a “visioning” document outlining project priorities, with the selection of developers — who will present their own project designs — not expected until the winter of 2021 at the earliest.

The bulk of the people who attended Monday’s call ranked affordable housing as their biggest concern. Numerous people also asked about parking plans. The city said detailed parking analyses are already underway, looking at BART stations in Berkeley and El Cerrito, with results to be presented when they are available.

On Monday, staff said the city’s Housing Advisory Commission was set to discuss the BART planning project at a special meeting Wednesday night, looking in part at how to create new funding sources that could help Berkeley build more affordable housing at the BART stations on a faster timeline.

The project team has been working in recent years to collect community input so Berkeley can create its own zoning rules that will comply with state laws about housing developments near BART.

Those efforts stemmed from moves at the state level in 2018 when then-Gov. Jerry Brown approved Assembly Bill 2923, changing local requirements for housing within a half-mile of BART stations in Alameda County and elsewhere in the Bay Area.

Berkeley and other affected jurisdictions have until July 1, 2022, to rezone BART property to conform with the state’s new legal standards.

A video of Monday night’s meeting has been posted online along with the meeting presentation. Sign up for project updates and meeting announcements from the city of Berkeley about the Ashby and North Berkeley BART station planning process. See the city’s BART planning project website for more information.

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Emilie Raguso (former senior editor, news) joined Berkeleyside in 2012 and covered politics, public safety and development until her departure in 2022. In 2017, Emilie was named Journalist of the Year...