Shall the City of Tracy adopt an ordinance exempting development projects in transit oriented development areas near commuter rail (e.g. Valleylink) that designate at least 10% of dwelling units for rent or sale as affordable workforce housing based on the City of Tracy's area median income (adjusted for household size) from the City's Growth Management Ordinance, with the exemption limited to 2,200 units per transit oriented development area, to preserve and maintain community character?
(MAJORITY 50% +1 APPROVAL REQUIRED)
Measure Y Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the downtown transit-oriented development (TOD) project?
Between the introduction of Valley Link commuter rail service and the City’s focus on constructing housing and increasing investment in the Downtown area, the project is intended to have a transformative effect on Tracy’s central area. The Downtown TOD Project is a long-range planning and urban design study that is evaluating how the introduction of commuter rail service will impact development opportunities in and around the Downtown area. Based on a broad, multi-phase outreach process, the project will identify the community’s vision and preferred land use and circulation concept for the area.
2. Why is there a transit-oriented development measure on the ballot?
Under the City’s growth management ordinance (GMO, Measure A), the overall rate of residential growth is limited to 750 residential growth allotments (RGAs) granted annually. This makes implementation of both large and small-scale residential projects difficult, especially during times of strong market conditions. Measure Y exempts up to 2,200 residential units in each TOD area from the annual limit, which requires voter approval. There is currently one TOD area, which is located in downtown Tracy. This exemption will add greater flexibility to implement the TOD plan if successful.
Plans for the Valley Link light rail service include a Downtown Tracy station. These facilities are very costly and in order to attract additional funding to construct the facility and other supportive structures, such as a parking garage, a TOD zoning designation is required. The ballot measure is intended to allow new residential development in the TOD area, which would require an exemption from Tracy’s growth management ordinance (GMO, Measure A). The City’s GMO limits the development of residential units to a maximum of 750 units annually.
3. When does the Valley Link commuter rail expansion plan to start operation?
According to Valley Link, the project is planned to begin commuter service as soon as 2027-28.
4. Does the ordinance allow for more than 2,200 residential units to be exempted from multiple TODs?
Downtown TOD is currently the only Council-designated TOD area and the only planned Valley Link station within Tracy’s City limits. Based on housing forecasts, it will take at least a decade to build the 2,200 residential units. If the City were to identify other TODs, they would first need to be planned with community input, evaluated for environmental and utility impacts, annexed into the City, and be designated by City Council in order to qualify for the RGA exemption.
5. How does the proposed TOD ordinance compare to the amount of development currently allowed under the City’s GMO (Measure A)?
While development levels vary with cycles, the chart below shows an annual residential forecast assuming that the market will remain strong (e.g. developers will maximize the annual RGA limit of 750) and that the TOD exemptions will take 10 years to be built. At this level, the exemption reflects about ¼ of all residential units that would be built in Tracy annually.
6. What type of housing will TOD create?
TOD will create a broad range of housing and mixed-use development types ranging from lower density (e.g. single family dwellings) to higher density mixed-use (e.g. multi-story flats above ground floor retail along corridors). While most of the units will be market-rate, some units will be set-aside as affordable workforce housing (see the definition below).
7. What is workforce housing?
Workforce housing is a requirement, commonly applied in communities across the State, for market-rate developers to set aside a percentage of affordable apartments or homes within new developments. The developers must rent or sell those units at a lower price to low- or moderate-income households depending on the local program.
8. What affordability requirements will apply to development within the TOD?
As part of the ballot measure, the City is requiring a 10% affordability component to be available for working households that fall within the Area Median Income (AMI) incomes shown as follows:
9. Is workforce housing the same as Section 8 housing?
No. workforce housing will accommodate working households who may not afford market-rate housing in the City.
10. Will the TOD plan require new infrastructure?
As part of the adoption by City Council, infrastructure items, such as road widening, bicycle lanes, sidewalk improvements, and a potential parking garage next to the Valley Link station, will be considered subject to community input. To be approved, infrastructure items will need to meet all City’s standards.
11. Who will pay for new infrastructure needs?
The TOD plan will likely result in new infrastructure costs. Development impact fees paid by developers will generate infrastructure funding at the time building permits are issued for new construction. Development impact fees are a common mechanism to make sure new development pays its own way and is currently used in Tracy, as well as elsewhere in California.
12. What happens if Measure Y does not pass?
The Valley Link adopted a policy of a certain critical mass of residential units within a ½ mile radius of the station in each city along the commuter line. The Valley Link project will likely proceed regardless of the outcome of the measure. Measure Y was intended to encourage the implementation of TOD and workforce housing development. If the measure fails, these goals may be more difficult to achieve.
13. Who pays for development in TOD areas?
While the City has funded the initial planning efforts through a combination of local and federal funding sources, the private sector will be responsible for all development costs within the TOD area. The City has mechanisms in place to make sure that developers pay their own way with regard to capital needs, such as roadway improvements, public safety services and facilities, and recreation facilities.
14. Is the City of Tracy advocating for Measure Y?
No, the City is prohibited by law from advocating in favor of the measure. Providing information about Measure Y, its intended uses, and other factual information is permissible.
15. Where can I find planning-related information for the TOD?
For additional resources, please visit https://tracydowntowntod.org/about.