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Transit-Oriented Development Ordinance

The Transit-Oriented Development Ordinance was approved on December 11, 2018 and amended on February 4, 2020. The Ordinance regulates certain land uses located on properties within ½ mile of an existing or proposed light rail station. The purpose of the ordinance is to incentivize transit supportive uses near light rail stations, and to preserve transit areas for appropriate development opportunities.


Please read the staff report for details.

The Ordinance Amendments revised how distance is measured between light rail stations and properties. Distance was previously measured as-the-crow flies or air space. The amendments changed the way staff measures distance to using existing roads, streets, and pathways. To see if your property would continue to be subject to the Transit-Oriented Development Ordinance, please click on the map image below. (Please note that this tool is to be used as a guide, and determination is still subject to staff verification.)

 

The Transit-Oriented Development Ordinance Amendments also rezoned 61 properties to the M-T Industrial and Transit-Area Zone in the Cannon Industrial Park and along Railroad Drive that are no longer subject to the TOD Ordinance. The purpose of the M-T Zone is to allow commercial and industrial uses to continue to operate near light rail stations in areas that were historically zoned for commercial and industrial uses, while simultaneously encouraging the area to transition to a community that relies less on driving and more on walking, bicycling, and transit use. To determine which zoning district a property is in, please see this map.

The initial Transit-Oriented Development Ordinance was unanimously approved by the City of Sacramento City Council on December 11, 2018.  The Ordinance became effective beginning on January 10, 2019.  The staff report may be viewed here and the meeting video may be viewed here.  

Why was the Transit-Oriented Development Ordinance amended on February 4, 2020?

City Council requested staff to conduct additional outreach to affected property owners/businesses, particularly in industrial areas of the City, and return to City Council in the first quarter of 2019. City Council requested staff to return with recommended next steps in addressing concerns regarding significant barriers between properties with existing industrial uses and light rail stations.

 

On April 2, 2019, City Council reviewed a proposed framework for revising the TOD Ordinance and directed staff to reevaluate the ¼ and ½ mile distance from light rail stations and consider revising the TOD Ordinance distance to account for the length of time required to walk and bike from the light rail station to the property instead of “as the crow flies” distance.

 

Revising the TOD Ordinance measuring distance methodology more accurately identifies transit-supportive uses that are within one-quarter mile or one-half mile walking or biking distance from a light rail station.

 

Based on conversations with business and property owners and field observations, City staff developed a proposed new zoning district that encourages existing industrial areas to operate, while also providing flexibility for other types of land uses, such as multi-unit housing and job-intensive office and retail uses that over time may transition into a transit-supportive environment.

 

The new zone recognizes that certain industrial areas near light rail stations lack pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure and neighborhood-serving amenities and services to facilitate significant Transit-Oriented Development. The City adopted a new zoning district (M-T Industrial and Transit-Area Zone) specifically for industrial areas near certain light rail stations that would permit commercial and industrial uses, such as wholesale stores and manufacturing uses to continue to operate in certain areas near light rail stations while encouraging higher-intensity residential, commercial, retail, office, and mixed uses by right. Auto-oriented uses, such as drive-through restaurants, auto body shops, and gas stations, and low employment intensity uses, such as mini storage and warehouse uses, continue to be prohibited within ¼ mile from a light rail station.

 

Why Transit-Oriented Development?

The Transit-Oriented Development Ordinance helps ensure that the investments made in our regional transit systems are continually supported and utilized to their full extent. The ordinance encourages the following anticipated community benefits:

  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create healthier communities through increased transit ridership
  • Increase pedestrian access around businesses
  • Provide long-term return on investments for landowners
  • Provide easy access to goods and services for seniors and other persons with access and functional needs who are unable to drive
  • Create more vibrant transit centers and corridors with a mix of pedestrian friendly uses

Incentivizing Transit Supportive Uses:

For uses that increase transit ridership, such as high-density housing and job-intensive uses, the City approved the following incentives:

  • Building review incentives for multi-unit housing projects with 25 or more units
  • Reduced parking requirements near transit stations (for all land uses, existing and future)
    • ¼ mile of a light rail station: no minimum required off-street vehicle parking
    • ½ mile of a light rail station: required off-street vehicle parking reduced by 50%

Preserving Transit Areas for Future Transit Oriented Development:

The following uses are prohibited within a ¼ mile of an existing or proposed light rail station:

  • Auto-sales, storage, rental (outdoor)
  • Auto-service, repair
  • Drive-through restaurant
  • Gas station large*
  • Gas station (small)
  • Mini storage; locker building
  • Warehouse; distribution center

The following uses require a conditional use permit within a ½ mile of an existing or proposed light rail station platform:

  • Auto - sales, storage, rental
  • Auto service, repair
  • Cannabis cultivation
  • Cannabis manufacturing, nonvolatile
  • Drive-through restaurant
  • Equipment - rental, sales yard
  • Gas station (large)*
  • Gas station (small)
  • Manufacturing, service and repair
  • Mini storage; locker building
  • Plant nursery
  • Warehouse; distribution center
  • Wholesale store

*Prohibited Citywide but allowed with a conditional use permit if located greater than 1/4 mile from the center of an existing or proposed light rail station platform and located within 500 feet of freeway right-of-way or located within 500 feet of a roadway with six or more lanes.  Defined as gas stations capable of fueling more than ten vehicles simultaneously. 

Projects with planning applications submitted prior to October 1, 2018 are exempt from the ordinance

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Click on the map below to explore all the properties that no longer are required to provide off-street parking within ¼ mile of a light rail station and properties where off-street parking requirements have been reduced by 50% (between ¼ mile and ½ mile from a light rail station)..

 

Transit Oriented Development Map Grid

Additional resources on Transit-Oriented Development

Regional TOD Planning

TOD and Housing Affordability

TOD and Public Health

TOD and Greenhouse Gas Reduction

TOD Case Studies

Fiscal Impacts of TOD