Workforce and Affordable Housing Opportunities on Public Lands | Plans + Projects | Our Work

Workforce and Affordable Housing Opportunities on Public Lands

Transit-Oriented Development

The Bay Area has some of the highest housing costs in the nation, and the construction of affordable housing has long fallen short of regional needs. One way to help solve this problem is to build more housing near transit services for lower- and moderate-income residents. MTC in 2016 launched a study to assess the potential for transit-oriented housing development on parcels that are:

  • Owned by public agencies
  • Located in Priority Development Areas and within a half-mile of rail stations or along select bus corridors
  • Suitable for development of new housing affordable to residents with middle- and lower-income jobs

MTC in September 2018 finalized a Public Lands Affordable Housing Action Plan for the Public Lands Study, with a Viable Public Lands for Workforce Housing downloadable database of the nearly 700 publicly-held acres identified and a Public Lands for Workforce Housing interactive Web map.

The Public Lands Study focused on stations served by:

Other locations identified in the Public Lands Study include San Francisco Bay Ferry’s Vallejo terminal; Amtrak Capitol Corridor stations in Alameda and Contra Costa counties, and the Suisun/Fairfield station in Solano County; the Soscol Gateway Transit Center in Napa; and along the bus rapid transit corridor now under construction by AC Transit along the International Blvd./East 14th corridor in the East Bay. The study’s assessment criteria also were applied to data provided by the City and County of San Francisco, which conducted a similar parcel assessment.

The Public Lands Study’s 2018 action plan provides a set of recommendations (see tab below) to spur development of affordable and workforce housing on publicly-owned land near transit services. Development sites served by transit are particularly promising, as residents can capitalize on the region’s transportation infrastructure investments and developers can capitalize on funding opportunities specifically geared toward transit-served parcels.

Recommendations in the 2018 Action Plan include:

  • Prioritize housing construction on agency-owned land
  • Review and streamline parcel disposition and development
  • Reduce development costs and risks by streamlining project approvals
  • Create local funding resources to boost affordable housing production and retention
  • Enhance project feasibility through planning and zoning regulations that support housing
  • Leverage regional resources

The 2016-18 Workforce Housing on Public Lands Study assessed nearly 700 sites in all nine Bay Area counties for their suitability for new housing development. Use this interactive Web map to find these publicly-owned parcels.

The Public Lands for Workforce Housing database includes the following information about each of the nearly 700 publicly-owned parcels identified as possible housing development sites:

  • Assessor parcel number (APN)
  • Size
  • Current owner
  • Jurisdiction and Priority Development Area (PDA)
  • Current zoning or General Plan designation
  • Current use status (e.g., vacant or surface parking; underutilized in San Francisco)
  • Whether site is expected to achieve a competitive score for location-based criteria results for Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) and California’s Affordable Housing & Sustainable Communities (AHSC) funding programs