The Sycamore Light Rail Station Health Impact Assessment is underway Mesa, Arizona. Sycamore Station—literally the east end of the light rail system—is the proposed location for 300 units of new affordable housing. The project is moving through the review process and funding is dependent on affordable housing tax credits. It is one of the first TOD projects proposed since the onset of the “Great Recession.”
The Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), City of Mesa, and the ASU Urban Planning Program are partnering to prepare the HIA. LISC has established a $50 million revolving fund to incent, leverage and guide development in key station areas along the light rail line. As a component of providing funding, LISC has established a set of criteria—one of those criteria being the preparation of an HIA. To ensure that HIA preparation doesn’t slow a project or impact potential funding, a unique approach is being taken for HIA preparation.
Rather than requiring an HIA for every development project, an innovative approach was identified that will result in the completion of an HIA for the entire Light Rail Station (LRT) planning area which is approximately ½ mile radius of the station. The HIA recommendations will serve as the basis for standards and guidelines that will be a component of the LISC revolving fund criteria and by the City of Mesa for the zoning and site plan review process.