By Phil Matier

DUBLIN (KPIX 5) — There’s a backlash to BART plans for new housing at some of its stations around the Bay Area. Suburban communities are worried they could get “big-timed” by the transit agency.

The push to let BART build additional dense housing units and transit villages on BART parking lots in suburban towns had a who’s who of Tri-Valley mayors, city councilemembers and lawmakers lining up Monday at the Dublin/Pleasanton BART station to say “no.”

At issue is a bill passed in Sacramento that would allow BART to turn its station parking lots into housing and office space – but at the same time limiting the say that locals would have over the developments.

“There is the right way to do things, and then there is the BART way,” said state Sen. Steve Glazer (D-Orinda).

State Assemblywoman Catharine Baker said the legislation is not necessary, pointing to the hundreds of units of housing that have gone up next to the Dublin BART stations. “We have housing,” said Baker. “What is the problem?”

While the BART board is officially neutral, Director Nick Josefowitz, who represents San Francisco, said the bill is a needed push.

“The point of this legislation is to build homes that are affordable for working families in the best pace to build them, right up next to a BART station,” said Josefowitz.

“This is a power grab by the cities to push that housing solution onto the suburbs,” said Glazer.

For Dublin Mayor David Haubert, it’s about balance. “If we put more homes here, that’s just more people on the streets driving to Silicon Valley tech jobs,” said Haubert, noting that BART only goes so far south toward Silicon Valley.

For Lafayette Mayor Don Tatzin it’s about changing the face of the community. ”Our concern is that they will put BART profits ahead of residents,” he said.

But there is one thing they all agree on. “We are facing a regional affordability crisis like no one has ever seen,” said Josefowitz.

BART maintains it can build 20,000 units of new housing at various locations around the Bay Area by 2040. Gov. Brown has until the end of the month to sign the bill or veto it.

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