MTS votes to allow development of empty lots into affordable housing

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - The Metropolitan Transit System voted Thursday to allow their empty and underused parking lots to be developed into affordable housing.

The MTS Board voted unanimously in favor of the recommendations from advocacy group Circulate San Diego. Earlier this year, the organization released a report that estimated the MTS had nearly 60 acres of property that can be converted into more than 8,000 apartment or condo units near trolley and bus stops. The nonprofit, which advocates for sustainable growth and green transportation, recommended 3,000 of the hypothetical units be reserved for affordable housing.

At the time of the report’s release, MTS officials said they were interested in the idea but noted development of the lands could be an effective solution to future housing needs, but is not an end-all answer.

RELATED: Under-utilized MTS land could be used for affordable housing

Circulate San Diego Executive Director and General Counsel Colin Parent, who wrote the report, said of Thursday’s decision: “We applaud Chair [Georgette] Gómez for championing this major victory. The new policy incorporates our recommendations and will help the region alleviate the current housing crisis.”

Parent added, “They're not giving up the land. What they would be doing is putting out the land for bid and the highest bidder will likely be the one selected to develop those properties. So, this actually is going to make money for the transit agency."

The exact approach will now be worked out. The MTS Board has called on staff for a procedural manual to be completed within the next three months.

Other groups who joined Circulate San Diego’s effort include Housing You Matters, the San Diego Housing Federation and Malick Infill Development.

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