Comstock's magazine 0119 - January 2019 - Page 57

nance, which will restrict certain low-density, car-oriented uses within a quarter mile of the city’s 23 light rail stations, such as gas stations, auto repair businesses, warehouses and drive-through restaurants. The ordinance also reduces minimum parking requirements around these stations. The City’s goal is to preserve these transit areas for “appropriate development opportunities,” such as housing. Corless also points to the issue of cost: “Even though we’re in the Bay Area’s economic orbit, it’s harder to get high rents, which makes the margins really thin for developers,” says Corless, who held senior positions at the Bay Area’s Met- ropolitan Transportation Commission. “We can’t get the same rent or sale price as in the Bay Area, but we have the same labor costs.” The public sector, he adds, can help address the fund- ing gap and eliminate red tape. In 2017, Caltrans awarded a $492,000 grant through its Sustainable Communities Plan- ning Grant program to SACOG and SacRT. The two agencies provided a combined local match of $202,000, bringing the total project cost to $694,000, which will help fund an inter- agency framework to guide future TOD. The board of directors for SacRT has prioritized the sale of surplus and underutilized property, hoping to foster new TOD and increased ridership, says Jessica Gonzalez, director of marketing, communications and outreach for SacRT. The agency has signed a purchase and sale agreement for sever- al properties: 880-936 Arden Way, 2200 Cemo Circle and the land at the University/65th Street light rail station, which SacRT is selling to a developer while retaining certain bus stop rights. Other potential TOD include Calvine Road/Au- berry Drive and the Power Inn Road light rail station. When built out, the properties are expected to provide a total of over 1,000 housing units, according to Gonzalez. “Recently, with interest rates rising and retail housing slowing, there is some concern by developers to move for- ward,” Gonzalez says. “However, if we can show the devel- opers the great potential, then we may be able to capitalize on this opportunity to bring about a new way of thinking and make transit a serious first option.” About 350 feet from the tunnel to Sacramento State, a new development is under construction at the 65th Street Transit Village. Kuchman Architects PC assisted in the entitlement processing of the student housing project — a 90-unit build- ing with bicycle-parking spaces inside and commercial space on the ground floor with other amenities, and entertainment in walking distance. With the bus-transfer location and light rail station, the project offers an example of what TOD in Sac- ramento can look like. January 2019 | 57