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What is the difference between a PDA, a TPA (Transit Priority Area) and a TPP (Transit Priority Project) and are they related or linked in any way?

There is a significant difference between a PDA and both a Transit Priority Area and a Transit Priority Project;.  While there may be overlap in the areas defined as a PDA, TPP, or TPA, they are not directly related or linked.

A PDA is a planning and financing tool that is part of the Plan Bay Area, a regional plan. PDAs are broadly defined as places with convenient public transit service prioritized by local jurisdictions that are suitable for housing, jobs and services growth.  By State law, Plan Bay Area and PDAs do not regulate or dictate local zoning and cannot supersede local land use authority and local control. PDAs impose no land development review authority or mandate on the local jurisdictions have no relationship or linkage to the State environmental review laws. Therefore, they do not authorize how environmental review is performed and determined on a project within its boundaries.

Unlike a PDA, Transit Priority Projects (TPP) and Transit Priority Areas (TPA) are prescribed and regulated by State law.  State laws relating to TPPs and TPAs must be followed by the local jurisdiction. They are defined as follows:

  1. A Transit Priority Project is a type of development that is either 100% residential or a mixed-use development (where 50% of the project is residential), that has a floor area ratio (ratio of total building square footage to total lot square footage) of 0.75, a minimum net density of at least 20 dwelling units per acre, and is located within ½-mile of a local transit stop or a high quality transit corridor (corridor with a fixed route bus service with service intervals of no longer than 15 minutes during the peak commute hours).
  2. A Transit Priority Area is a geographic area within ½-mile of a major transit stop included in a Transportation Improvement Program or a Regional Transportation Plan.

State environmental review laws include very specific provisions that allow for streamlined environmental review for TPPs and projects within Transit Priority Areas. A discussion of the environmental laws that are relative to TPPs and TPAs can be found in the May 18, 2020 City Council informational report on Priority Development Areas.  The environmental review streamlining provisions for TPPs and TPAs are applicable and available regardless of whether or not the area is designated a Priority Development Area.

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