Metropolis Council on Thursday laid out its land use planning priorities for areas close to Challenge Join stations, passing a resolution directing metropolis workers to assist with the Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Equitable Transit-Oriented Improvement (eTOD) research.

The research will result in station-area plans for Challenge Join’s Orange and Blue gentle rail strains, Gold Line bus fast transit line, Crimson and Inexperienced commuter rail strains, and MetroRapid bus routes. The plans are supposed to increase transit ridership by permitting denser growth close to stations whereas additionally stopping displacement of current residents and creating reasonably priced housing. 

Inside six months, metropolis workers will advocate preliminary insurance policies for Council to undertake based mostly on their work with Capital Metro. Inside 14 months, staffers will publish a complete “eTOD Coverage Plan,” which Council might undertake in its entirety or alter earlier than adopting. Council hopes that together with metropolis workers in Capital Metro’s eTOD planning will result in seamless administration of the brand new land use laws.

Rules might embrace zoning that permits taller and denser buildings with relaxed website growth constraints like impervious cowl, setback, and ground space ratio necessities. Different land use instruments might embrace density bonus packages and decreased parking necessities, together with parking maximums. The decision makes clear that every TOD space shall be completely different, and that neighbors will assist form the planning.

“Permitting the best attainable ridership is how we’re going to get essentially the most out of our funding,” stated Mayor Professional Tem Natasha Harper-Madison, who sponsored the decision. A UCLA research, talked about within the decision, decided that for funding in gentle rail to be worthwhile, areas close to stations want at the least 56 residents and jobs per acre. Harper-Madison famous that such density “will even make it extra probably that we get as a lot federal funding as attainable.” 

The eTOD Coverage Plan will even inform how Challenge Join’s $300 million in anti-displacement funding is spent. The decision talked about many potential anti-displacement insurance policies, together with land-banking, acquisition of current reasonably priced housing, tax increment financing, proper to remain and proper to return insurance policies, and buying properties, together with these partially within the gentle rail proper of means, for reasonably priced housing. 

A lot of the talk on the decision occurred between Harper-Madison and Council Member Ann Kitchen by way of back-and-forth amendments tweaking the decision’s language. 

Kitchen wished to incorporate language that broadens the position of neighborhood teams and different stakeholders within the crafting of the plans. Harper-Madison argued that whereas group engagement is essential, it needs to be accomplished in an equitable means, involving individuals who normally don’t take part in neighborhood land use debates.

“Whereas the will to telescope the planning course of right down to the neighborhood-level is appreciated, the intent of this decision is to have equitable processes that produce equitable outcomes. Neighborhood energy constructions are largely dominated by single household householders who’re usually older and wealthier than the median resident of our majority-renter metropolis,” Harper-Madison wrote to justify altering one in every of Kitchen’s amendments. “With out all voices on the desk, we find yourself with methods that reinforce financial segregation and perpetuate the suggestions loop of institutionalized poverty.”

Harper-Madison and Kitchen additionally disagreed over whether or not the eTOD research ought to embrace non-MetroRapid bus routes. Kitchen argued that as a result of common bus routes can change – Capital Metro reorganized its bus routes as not too long ago as 2018 – they shouldn’t be a part of the research. She additionally urged that the planning deal with the highest-capacity routes. Harper-Madison known as the inclusion of bus strains a key fairness concern. “It will be my hope that this Council can be supportive of growth patterns to equitably serve our low-income residents and communities of colour who disproportionately depend on the bus,” Harper-Madison stated. 

Within the ultimate model of the decision, non-MetroRapid bus routes weren’t included as potential eTOD areas. Nonetheless, the decision does direct metropolis workers to discover transit-oriented land use insurance policies in sure areas with out designating them as eTODs.

Picture by Larry D. Moore, CC BY-SA 4.0, by way of Wikimedia Commons.

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