Tracy Voters to Decide on Downtown Transit Development Plan

August 2, 2020 at 5:36 pm

Map of the proposed development area and ValleyLink station

Map of the proposed development area and ValleyLink station

Image courtesy of the City of Tracy

Tracy voters will be asked to approve an exemption to the city’s growth management ordinance to facilitate development for a potential ValleyLink station. The goal of ValleyLink, established in 2018, is to provide transportation between the Dublin-Pleasanton BART station and the ACE (Altamont Corridor Express) commuter service. Among the stations proposed is one in downtown Tracy.

The ValleyLink Transport-Oriented Development (TOD) Policy requires that stations have a minimum of 2,200 housing units within a half-mile radius. The city of Tracy is proposing development in an area bordered by 12th Street, Schulte Road, Tracy Boulevard, and MacArthur Drive (see above). This area includes Tracy’s downtown, where the ValleyLink station would be located, and currently contains 1,750 housing units. There is potential for 1,050 more to be built. However, the city growth management ordinance limits the construction of new homes to 600 each year.

This is where the voters come in. They will be asked to approve an exemption to the growth management ordinance for development projects near commuter rail stations, capped at 2,200 units (the ValleyLink minimum). The measure also plans to designate at least 10% of the homes as affordable housing. While the development plan remains to be finalized, it will include new apartments, medium-density homes, and bicycle and pedestrian lanes to connect the eventual ValleyLink station to the Tracy Transit Center. Should the measure be passed, 760 acres of land between MacArthur Drive and Chrisman Road (known as Urban Reserve 1) would also be open to development.

A growth management ordinance exemption, known as Measure M, was also on the ballot two years ago. It proposed to exempt deed-restricted senior housing, attached homes, and detached homes on lots of less than 4,000 square feet from the city ordinance. Measure M was defeated by a wide margin, with 78.2% of votes, totaling 20,632, for no and 21.8%, totaling 5,756, for yes. Mayor Pro Tem Nancy Young and Mayor Robert Rickman also expressed concerns about the development plan, per the Tracy Press, particularly that it lacked too many key details about traffic, housing prices, and street improvements.