Where should the majority of new ownership housing be located for new UCD Faculty and Staff? (Select One)

  • Davis (42%, 361 Votes)
  • UC Davis Campus (31%, 270 Votes)
  • Woodland (Spring Lake) (25%, 217 Votes)
  • Elsewhere (2%, 21 Votes)

Total Voters: 869

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Enterprise Pushes For Senior Housing On the Covell Site

imageCity of Davis

Last night, the Davis Enterprise ran a full-1200 word front page special on the push by the Covell Partners to re-package their failed 2005 project as Senior Housing. The push which began with a new proposal before the HESC (Housing Element Steering Committee), continued with a letter writing campaign that eventually nullified the HESC workshop, and continued this fall with a number of handpicked Seniors coming before the city council asking for a senior housing facility at the site formerly known as Covell Village.

The Enterprise article features Janice Bridge, the former School Board Member, who has been on the fore of pushing for a senior housing project. Of course those with a fairly good memory will recall that Janice Bridge was one of the leaders of the Covell Village project as well, serving as Secretary of the group Neighbors for Covell–a very different project that did not offer the senior housing and scale-down options that just three years later Ms. Bridge is now pushing for. The argument made by Janice Bridge is that their 4000-square foot house is too big for them and they need a smaller house.

‘If you could move us old fogeys out of our house and into an age-appropriate space, then instead of creating a new development that is family-oriented that needs new parks and new schools, the kids could go to the parks and the schools that are being underutilized in our area,’ said Janice Bridge.

Bridge and her husband, Adam, live in a 4,000-square-foot home on B Street. The house served them and their three children well, but now that the kids are grown up and out, the house is too big.

‘I am sitting in a house that is 4,000 square feet,’ Bridge said. ‘For me, my home is not appropriate for the lifestyle I want to lead. This house should have lots of active kids running up and down the stairs like it did 20 years ago. I look around and all I see are more houses like this one.’

The Enterprise goes on to write that the Covell Village developers have been meeting with almost 600 people who are “curious about or interested in a plan to build a senior-oriented community north of Covell Boulevard between J Street and Pole Line Road.”

Interesting that it is not until about halfway through the article that the real agenda appears(although as soon as I saw the article’s headline last night, it was obvious where this was going).

The Enterprise continues:

The community would include ‘micro-neighborhoods,’ a care-continuum, services for seniors and recreation options for a healthier, more active lifestyle than many senior communities offer, according to Project Coordinator Lydia Delis-Schlosser.

The concept has not yet been submitted to the city, but the developers – who also proposed Covell Village on the site, a 1,864 housing unit project that voters rejected in 2005 – hope to submit something to the city soon.

‘If we’re comfortable with how we’re progressing with meeting the needs of the community, then we would like to submit a pre-application in about a year,’ Delis-Schlosser said.

According to this article, the plan includes about 800 units and will be built out over 10 years. Sounds reasonable, until you realize it is only on the southern-third of the property, something that does not appear to be mentioned in the article.

The Enterprise continues:

‘The biggest benefit to non-seniors is these big houses are opened up,’ said developer Bill Streng, one of the owners of the property. ‘My block used to have 20 kids, and now it only has four.’

The biggest benefit to seniors, Streng said, is a neighborhood that would have all their needs in one place. Seniors, like everyone else, have different needs and desires, and Streng said he and his partners want to address them all in one place.

‘This is something John (Whitcombe) and I want to do, aside from financial reasons, you want to have something to leave,’ said Streng, who is 82. ‘The more we study and the more we see, the more we want to do it.’

The problem with this article is that it once again appears to slant the article. The article does quote Elaine Roberts Musser (senior citizens advocate and Chair of the Senior Citizen’s Commission) a few times.

They bury her skepticism of the project until the very end of the article:

Good transportation is key for seniors, said Roberts Musser, so a senior development would have to include plenty of options – other than personal vehicles – for getting around.

But Roberts Musser would also like the City Council to consider how to pay for all this. The question is, will Davis be able to support a large, senior neighborhood?

‘Honestly, and this is personal, but my feeling is I would like to have us worry more about commercial development right now, whatever generates tax revenue,’ she said. ‘We’re so strapped right now. I’m not willing to build more residential when we really haven’t built up our tax revenue.’

The problem with this article is that it portrays quite heavily the perspective of Janice Bridge and the Covell Partners. However, there is a whole other side of the story that is either buried in the case of Elaine Roberts Musser or completely untold.

Back in November the Vanguard ran a story on this and suggested that many seniors are not interested in this kind of housing. Much of this push appears to be developer driven. Indeed, Janice Bridge is not a developer, but does anyone else find it interesting that one of the strongest advocates for Covell Village I is now the leading spokesperson again, this time as a citizen pushing for Senior Housing as a means to downsize?

The developers of Covell Village have suggested we need a seniors-only facility. As the Vanguard suggested in November, many seniors do not want to live in a seniors-only community. They enjoy a more mixed community where families with children and even students also live.

That thought was backed up with a slew of email received from senior readers of the Vanguard, many of whom whole heartedly agree.

The question is what type of housing would work best for seniors. Some have suggested instead of facility like an Eleanor Roosevelt Circle, a series of smaller condominiums and townhouses may be the best fit. An added advantage there might be that we could build a small amount over time which would serve the senior population.

The big issue here is that we are again facing the prospect of developer driven development. It is clear that the Covell Village partners are driving the discussion here and in so doing, we are not getting perhaps a clear picture of what seniors in this community actually want.

Thus my first suggestion would be to find out what seniors actually want. How many people are looking to downsize from their current homes? How many people would like to live in a Senior-only community? How many people would be willing to trade for a smaller existing home with another resident?

This type of inquiry should occur not at the behest of a developer, but rather with leadership from groups like the Senior Citizen’s Commission. Let us determine what the internal housing demand really is for seniors, what seniors really want, the numbers that we are really talking about, and the time frame that we are really looking at.

Unfortunately, once again, the Enterprise really only brings us one side of the story. They bring us the Janice Bridge story, which many have to view with skepticism given her past support for a very different Covell Village project. What would she have done had Covell Village I passed, pushed for a Senior Housing facility in the Northwest Quadrant?

The Enterprise could have interviewed others from the Senior Citizens Commission to give us a very perspective, perhaps someone like Tansey Thomas,a commissioner, would offer her a very different take. But unfortunately, we do not get that perspective.

For those who want to try to argue that this is a fair and balanced article, consider this, there was a total of 1269 words in the article only the last 79 words of the article expressed any kind of skepticism or alternative viewpoint to the dominant position. The only even remotely skeptical comments are buried at the end. That’s fair and balanced? That’s objective?

The Vanguard gives you the other side of the story here, talk to seniors, you find a variety of different perspectives on this issue, unfortunately we do not get to hear them in the Enterprise, maybe we will in the comment section of the Vanguard.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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93 thoughts on “Enterprise Pushes For Senior Housing On the Covell Site”

  1. mike harrington

    One more thought.One of the reasons why I opposed CV was that it literally tied up huge percentages of precious CC Commission and staff time for a project that I viewed as DOA. It mostly occupied city government for about 2 years. There was a real cost … for example, as the global warming debate heated up, nothing happened here. There was no excess CC or Commission or staff time to deal with the issue. Once CV failed in Nov 05, suddenly things started to happen on a range of other issues important to the city.Now, CV is going to do it to us again.There has to be a …loser's price… for what they did to the city up to Nov 05, and what is coming.

  2. Blog Administrator

    Dear poster who has now had multiple post deleted:First, you are not a moderator therefore you do not get to decide what does and does not get posted on this blog.Second, if you cannot express yourself in manner that is more mature than an an 8 year old, then you do not get to register your dissent.The Vanguard has generally had an unwritten caveat that comments regarding public figures get more leeway here than comments regarding fellow members on the board. The rule is really in relation to the latter rather than former.You have two choices, you can register your dissent without the childish moniker or you can email the blogger.

  3. David M. Greenwald

    …In this case, clearly the Enterprise story is not fully balanced, nor is the Vanguard….I think you miss the point, I do not make an attempt to be balanced. I try to do four things primarily:1. Provide people with more information than they would get from the newspaper2. Cover the other side of the story3. Cover stories that the other papers do not cover4. Give my viewpoint on current issues and controversies in townThe newspaper claims to be impartial and unbiased and on multiple occasions I have argued that they do in fact take sides and most of the time it favors the developer/ more conservative side of issues. As a newspaper that is problematic. This is not a newspaper. This is a blog. I have always been up front about where I am coming from, but the views expressed here represent my viewpoint.The other advantage that the blog offers is that people can instantly respond. In some cases, they offer alternative perspectives. In others they add additional information. In still others, they have corrected errors or perceived errors in the main article. That dialogue is very valuable and it gives people a real sense of the issues facing Davis.That's what I offer this community and I stand behind it.

  4. Anonymous

    …This is a blog. I have always been up front about where I am coming from, but the views expressed here represent my viewpoint….There is no confusion on this point. But given points 1-3, your objective is to be credible. If the information you are providing is MORE biased than the Enterprise, then, how are you MORE credible? As I stated previously, you don't combat bias with MORE bias, you combat it with more facts and more importantly more balance. Otherwise, you're still less credible than the Enterprise, which I don't think is your purpose as an information source. Unless, as I also stated, your only purpose is to draw in those who already blindly follow your viewpoint.Your position regarding yesterday's Enterprise, however, is well taken.

  5. David M. Greenwald

    I view it as me telling my side of the story. And I rely on my understanding of the situation, the issues, and my analytic ability to do it.I guess the question is: do you find value in editorials? Do you find value in magazines like the Nation? If you do, then this is the type of place where you want to get your information.

  6. David M. Greenwald

    BTW, I disagree with you on the Target issue.The way I see it, the EPA's position was that this is not a danger, there is no reason they can't lay the foundation.The community group said, wait a second, let's find out what is down there and then see what we need to do.The Enterprise basically took the EPA's view of that situation verbatim and gave lipservice to the community group.I said look, let's find out what's down there, I don't think the delay is going to throw off the schedule, let's be on the safe side, if there is no problem, then lay the foundation.I don't see how my position is more biased than the Enterprise's position, and they clearly took a stance.

  7. Anonymous

    …I guess the question is: do you find value in editorials? Do you find value in magazines like the Nation? If you do, then this is the type of place where you want to get your information…I hear you. Where I see a distinction is when you're covering or …reporting… a previously unreported issue. Your obligations to objectivity, in my opinion, are greater when you're the first to cover the story. Excluding facts or failing to cover multiple angles of the story reveals an insecurity in your own position and a lack of faith in your readers' intelligence.In general, I like editorials. I don't like it disguised as reporting, and that is how you sign off your daily stories. Blogging is at its best when it's responding to stories or issues that are actively being covered. It contributes to declining media credibility when the line is blurred between reporting and editorializing. Obviously this is your blog and you're fit to run it how you wish. I'm also fit to point out weaknesses in it (for as long as you allow!). I just think that now there is still a vacuum for credible in-depth information about Davis issues.

  8. Anonymous

    …I don't see how my position is more biased than the Enterprise's position, and they clearly took a stance….You're more biased in that they contacted the regulatory authority, you did not. That's the whole ballgame for me and a huge omission by you, IMO. You ONLY covered the local community group's perspective. They covered both, though not with equal weight. That defines more bias to me.But that's probably enough detour of the discussion…..

  9. David M. Greenwald

    I had the letter from the regulatory agency. I'm not convinced that the Enterprise did use the letter as well. What they quote is verbatim what was in the letter. Given when I got the information, and the fact that I ran the story on Monday, I was comfortable that I understood the EPA's position fairly well and do not believe that the Enterprise conveyed any better information than what I had access to.

  10. Anonymous

    …I had the letter from the regulatory agency. I'm not convinced that the Enterprise did use the letter as well. What they quote is verbatim what was in the letter….That is a switch from your opinion the other day, which is fine. It wouldn't be the first time the Enterprise has done what you state either.But you weren't certain and you didn't contact them. Do you strive to achieve the Enterprise's standards or surpass them? Again IMO, contacting the EPA yourself would have been the most basic thing to do since you broke the story. If you were interested in where the story takes you and not so much where you intended to take the story, I would consider your blog a more credible source of information. You're a post-secondary graduate. Even in a blog, it's okay to be forthcoming with weaknesses in your own argument. It actually improves your credibility. Failing to conduct due diligence when breaking a story undermines it.

  11. Anonymous

    …and finally how much of the Enterprise EPA article should have been dedicated to the …community group…? Given that the community group was essentially Pam Nieberg's letter and it was not clear whether it actually represented the views of FFOG, the Enterprise probably covered the story correctly. Perhaps you can remind us what Pam Nieberg's professional expertise is in the area of ground soil contamination(?).

  12. Anonymous

    To the last post re whether or not my letter to EPA represented the FFSOG. Indeed it did. I brought this issue to the FFSOG at a meeting, as I always do, and it was abundantly clear that all of the FFSOG and the community members in attendance wanted the letter written and for this issue to be made public asap. The letter was sent to the FFSOG board and community members prior to going to EPA, the electeds, and the news media.My back ground is in working for many years in toxicological research at the university. In addition, though, with the roughly $200,000 in grants we have received from EPA to do this oversight work, we have hired a technical advisor who is an expert in this type of soil and grounwater contamination and in its clean-up. We rely heavily on his expertise.

  13. Anonymous

    Can we separate the issue – senior housing needs – from the other detritus? I don't know Ms. Bridge but I do know that a person's bank account or home square footage should have no impact on the relative merit of their opinions. My spouse and I are 55 and planning for the future. We want to stay in Davis. We can't find suitable senior housing that would allow us to age in place. (and no, as former residents of an East Davis Stanley Davis home, they are not really suitable. the halls are narrow, the bathrooms tiny, and to refit them to ADA standards for wheelchairs would be cost prohibitive. We went so far as to get bids until we abandoned the idea because the Stanley Davis floorplans are not easily modified to ADA standards.)It would be great to survey people (and by people, I mean more than 600). We want a single-story floorplan (hard to find in Davis, lots of flex space and storage for the inevitable returning kids and eventually, for medical equipment, but we don't need formal living rooms and dining rooms. We will need garages for cars. When we can't drive, our caretaker will need somewhere to park. We're not interested in living in a neighborood of only seniors. And we are not interested in tiny spaces. We're sure that others have different needs for their golden years. We should ascertain what they are.Another approach is for any new housing to meet all ADA standards so that it can be used for families and/or seniors.The houses in Mace Ranch are mostly two story and not amenable.I'd like to see a discussion of these senior issues without it always reverting back to the anti/pro development issue.

  14. Anonymous

    …My back ground is in working for many years in toxicological research at the university. …You provided a …blizzard of words…. Are you claiming this is the same as expertise in soil contamination?Why wasn't the letter authored by your expert? Would that not have carried more weight? What is FFSOG's official role in the regulatory process?

  15. Anonymous

    …In addition, though, with the roughly $200,000 in grants we have received from EPA to do this oversight work, we have hired a technical advisor who is an expert in this type of soil and grounwater contamination and in its clean-up…Now this is very interesting. DPD spends most of the original article setting up the case to discredit the same agency that is funding the technical expertise of the community group that is questioning the integrity of the EPA.

  16. Point of Order

    …Now this is very interesting. DPD spends most of the original article setting up the case to discredit the same agency that is funding the technical expertise of the community group that is questioning the integrity of the EPA….In your opinion, has the EPA been effective under the Bush administration? Aggressive in tackling pollution and polluters under Bush? In short, is DPD wrong on this point?

  17. Anonymous

    …In your opinion, has the EPA been effective under the Bush administration? Aggressive in tackling pollution and polluters under Bush? In short, is DPD wrong on this point?…The question is really, why would the EPA fund local technical expertise in something they are trying to hide. I'm sharp enough to know that of all the EPA superfund sites, this one may not be highest on the list for W.

  18. Anonymous

    …The question is really, why would the EPA fund local technical expertise in something they are trying to hide….I doubt if they are trying to overtly hide it, they just aren't prioritizing or being aggressive with it. It's benign neglect rather than a conspiracy.Besides as I understand it, the two things are done independently, and the one decision was made long before the other.If the EPA can look like it's doing something without really doing anything, that's the best of all worlds.

  19. Anonymous

    …Besides as I understand it, the two things are done independently, and the one decision was made long before the other….But this is the …Bush EPA…. Conspiracy flows from the top down. Don't make accusations or defend accusations you're not capable of verifying.

  20. Point of Order

    …Bashing the Davis Enterprise nearly daily with your free ink sounds like an 8 year old whining everyday !…Last seven days, only one mention of the Davis Enterprise. How can that be?Previous seven days, only two mentions of the Davis Enterprise.Previous seven days, only two mentions of the Davis Enterprise, neither one of them critical.Previous seven days, one mention of the Davis Enterprise, and it was a positive mention.So in the month of December and the first three days of January, there is a grand total of six mentions of the Davis Enterprise and only three of those are critical relating to the two issues mentioned here–the Covell Village site and the EPA.That's in a month of coverage. Hardly as you describe near daily.That's three out of 45 postings over that period.

  21. Anonymous

    …I doubt if they are trying to overtly hide it, they just aren't prioritizing or being aggressive with it. It's benign neglect rather than a conspiracy….And what does this exactly mean? Please answer why the EPA would fund a local level community group expertise to scrutinize something they're trying to hide? Whether it's from the top of the Federal food chain down or not, please explain this. If you cannot draw a direct connection, then do not attempt to connect dots that likely do not exist.

  22. Point of Order

    …But this is the …Bush EPA…. Conspiracy flows from the top down. Don't make accusations or defend accusations you're not capable of verifying. …The question was NEVER answered:In your opinion, has the EPA been effective under the Bush administration? Aggressive in tackling pollution and polluters under Bush? In short, is DPD wrong on this point?

  23. Anonymous

    …In your opinion, has the EPA been effective under the Bush administration? Aggressive in tackling pollution and polluters under Bush? In short, is DPD wrong on this point?…Comparatively speaking, no. Now answer my question. Why would they fund a local grassroots oversight group in an a politically active college town if, of the thousands of superfunds sites across the country, they had something to hide at this one?

  24. Anonymous

    ……In your opinion, has the EPA been effective under the Bush administration? Aggressive in tackling pollution and polluters under Bush? In short, is DPD wrong on this point?……I'll also add that most of the Bush ineffectiveness resides with high-level policy issues. Do you claim that the Bush administration has tampered with Federal policy at site-specific superfund sites?

  25. Point of Order

    One example is that the Bush administration ended the polluters pay portion of the superfund program. So that has taken away funding for the portion and shifted the burden onto the taxpayers. That's just one example of how the Bush administration has weakened superfund cleanup.Pam describes the money for the advisor as a grant, which leads me to believe it is a separate fund.Doesn't matter if they do provide money for advisers if the EPA is less aggressive in their enforcement of environmental laws.This is not limited to Davis, it's nationwide, it comes from the top and is passed down.You saw this in the initial article where this very employee, name escapes me, mentioned that the rules have changed under Bush.

  26. Anonymous

    Sorry folks about getting back to the main subject, but having just looked over the many comments earlier, I noticed the posting (12:55pm) by Sue Greenwald. In light of Sue's recent strong advocacy for preserving commercial zoning within the city I find it a bit odd that Sue is recommending …good quality… condos which would require changing the commercial zoning to residential. If she is worried that the city might be running out of commercially zoned land, then why change the commercially zoned P,G and E to residential? I can understand why Sue (being a downtown resident) always advocating for downtown issues, but this seems to be a bit of a conflict of interest. It certainly contradicts her position on preserving commercially zoned land within the city.

  27. Anonymous

    …Pam describes the money for the advisor as a grant, which leads me to believe it is a separate fund….You're undermining your own argument. Since it's a different funding source, then there is no internal conflict at the EPA. Either make a direct connection in this case or don't.

  28. Anonymous

    Good article, David. I felt the same way when I read the article. In my opinion, the Enterprise blew it using a very out-spoken advocate for Covell Village (and just about any other sprawl the development) as a spokesperson for this article. Jan has no credibility as a representative of the general senior population, as she is so obviously biased toward sprawl development and its developers. If the Enterprise wanted to do a balanced article, the reporter should have interviewed other seniors in the community who have not been such outspoken advocates for developers. To my knowledge, Jan has never been on the council, but is a newly appointed member of the Senior Commission. Covell Village II was ranked very low as a potential residential development site by the Housing Update Committee. That committee was nearly unanimous in that decision, despite the fact that the Committee was weighted toward the development side due to the method of appointments to the committee: three appointments per council member, with three of the council members having been strong proponents of Covell Village. The council should not even be interested in considering this proposal for senior housing during this housing cycle unless they are willing to admit that the year and a half work of the Housing Update Committee was a waste and a sham.Davis does not need a senior-only housing development of this type. What we need is senior-suitable housing throughout the community, in every housing development. Perhaps a mix of single family and condos or townhouses. If the Bridges need a smaller house, I recommend they look at some of the homes available in my neighborhood–east Davis. There are many very nice smaller (1200 to 1500 sq. ft. homes) built by Stanley Davis in the 70′ that are perfect for down-sizing seniors. I speak from experience,as I am a senior and I live in one. I don’t need any thing else. I believe there are also many other smaller options throughout the community that do come on the market from time to time. The Bridges should keep their eyes on the Enterprise for those options. That way, they can find a smaller existing home, a young family with small children can move into their 4000 sq. ft. home and use those underutilized parks and schools in their neighborhood, and we would all be happy. Plus, we would not have the further drain on our city finances that new sprawl housing development produces. It’s a win-win all around.It is too bad that Tandem Properties cannot accept the fact that the voters gave a resounding …NO… to their last sprawl development proposal. If they would come forward with a proposal that was much smaller, with higher density, work-force housing and other types on a small portion of the land (maybe the southern third) and leave the rest as open space (satisfy the 2 to 1 requirement on site), the proposal would probably pass with no problems.But they are back with the same proposal under the guise of senior housing and in phases. What the Enterprise and the developers are not telling you is that this proposal for 800 homes in only the first phase. There is a second phase for roughly the same number of houses and then a third phase later on. When Whitcombe first tossed out this proposal at a Housing Update Committee meeting, it was clearly divided into two phases on the lower roughly two thirds of the property. When asked about putting a permanent easement on the upper third, Whitcombe declined. That is a clear signal he intends to develop it and the entire parcel with Covell Village II.

  29. martin

    The problem is traffic. The article doesn’t present a solution for the added vehicles on the City streets. I guess if only senior citizens can live there, there will be no impact on the school? And these senior citizens who do not benefit from the school quality will vote for school funding? I don’t think so.

  30. No buying it

    Poor Janice. I have an idea. Tear down your home and you could have several smaller homes built on your property. Your home is on B Street already so it’s centrally located, I would imagine, and would be useful for a lot of seniors.Pass the tissue please.By the way DPD, they have talked to 600 people? We have a population of over 60,000. That is not impressive at all. Thank you for the story David. I’ll start getting my violin ready for the next …We Shall Overcome… rendition by Johnny Whitcombe, et al.

  31. Mike Harrington

    What CV IV is not telling all those seniors is that the development is a ruse to get approval of the top 2/3rds of the onsite acreage without the public benefit mitigation required by the 2001 General Plan. It’s a cynical attempted manipulation of seniors, again.Why IV ? The loand owners bought the land out of bankruptcy in the early 90s for a song. They tried twice to change the zoning from ag to residential and failed.The third time was Measure X, Nov 05, and they failed 60/40.Now, they are trying to use seniors on the lower 1/3 to get the approval for the top 2/3rds, for massive, billion dollar profits while dodging the public benefit mitigation requirements. Disgusting.

  32. mike harrington

    Something else occurred to me: once again the CV partners are being led down a dead end path by their consultants.Follow the General Plan, and ask the community what it believes is needed up there, instead of manufacturing a …need… by conducting workshops to TELL seniors what THEY …want….I can promise you: hundreds of people will turn out to stop this project and devote the needed resources to the campaign.

  33. Anonymous

    The Davis Enterprise editor gave its enthusiastic new reporter Claire St. John, the opportunity to write 3 articles addressing different aspects of the Measure X/Covell Village issue(was it already 6 years ago?). Claire did a remarkable investigative reporting job on her own and extensively interviewed the leadership of both sides of the issues. She was scrupulous in offering equal space to both sides in the lengthy 3 articles that were published by the Enterprise.Measure X(approval of the Covell Partner’s Covell Village proposal),which was editorially supported by the Enterprise, lost 60%/40%, a landslide by political measure… we have not seen this kind of journalism in the Enterprise since then!!!.

  34. no on X supporter

    This is a Trojan Horse. The Covell Village developers are not interested in senior housing per se, instead they are interested in building a massive housing project. Only three years ago they were proposing an enormous housing project (approximately 1,900 homes) known as Covell Village for the entire site. Covell Village was overwhelmingly rejected, yet now the developers are proposing 800 senior homes for the lower 1/3 of the property, reserving the rest for additional housing and development later on. These folks really are shameless.Janice Bridge and a small band of so called

  35. Mike Hart

    The Davis Enterprise is a business no different than the Hotdogger, the Fast and Easy Mart or the Grad. They sell papers to households and unless we have growth, their market is stagnant (or thanks to the internet, perhaps in decline). Anything they write regarding growth is suspect- they simply want to expand their market. More houses = more customers.If seniors in 4,000 sf houses really are an issue- we need the city to change policies toward so-called …in-law… cottages. This would allow owners of homes to build a smaller cottage on-site, or partition their home and create a rental income with their home. They keep their garden, neighborhood and address this way. But Davis does not support this policy. The city should see that this is implemented long before they even think about bringing CV back from the grave…

  36. Olga

    …The big issue here is that we are again facing the prospect of developer driven development….I hate your developer driven development. Back in Russia we had it much better. Good housing projects designed by government. Best kind called Potemkin Village. Every housing block had good vodka and one tree. Much better than your American developer driven development. Here in America Vodka no good and many homelessness.

  37. Courtney

    Complaining about a developer driving the process is foolish. I live in Village Homes. The developers, Mike and Judy Corbett, drove that process. Does that make it bad?Village Homes is not perfect, but it’s what their creative minds came up with. The worst is to repress all creativity to please group-think. If you want to have some creative ideas, allow people who are investing their money in a project design a good project. If you want to repress all creativity, allow a committee to make the decisions. But don’t expect anything innovative to come out of a committee where the members of the committee are not invested in the project.

  38. Mike Hart

    Olga rocks.The Peoples Republic of Davis is a funny place… The city staff are very pro-development and want to see more sprawl. Just put a bike lane in it and toss a solar panel on the roof and call it smart growth. For a developer, it is like shooting fish in a barrel. The problem for developers is that the citizens generally don’t want to see more sprawl. Developers can support candidates who want growth, have the city hire staff that encourages growth and fund all the studies they want, but in the end, we don’t want it. Developers should advocate development plans, they just run the risk of wasting their time and money if they don’t pay attention to what the public wants.

  39. Corky Brown

    Jan was a very popular and productive two term member of the Davis School Board when her kids were DJUSD students. She was a gung ho board member and very visible at school sites in supporting teachers.Jan has always involved herself in community affairs and as an aging …boomer… is trying to determine how she will shelter herself and Tom in their Golden Years I still have a Jan Bridge for School Board pencil in my Davis Political Trinket Treasure Chest. It was refreshing to have a Trustee that didn’t use the DJUSD as a spring board to the Council.

  40. Covell Village redux

    Corky, a small correction: Janice Bridge was a one term DJUSD Trustee from 1993-1997. Like you she was a big-time supporter of the massive Covell Village project.Janice Bridge, Bill Streng and other well-healed pro-developer seniors attended the Senior Citizen

  41. Mitch Mifkin

    Traffic at poleline is still a concern, regardless of what type of development is proposed. Even if it is industrial, there will be impacts from larger trucks.Traffic will kill this project, just like the last one. If they can deal with the traffic issue, then they may get this approved. Just depends on the voters.

  42. Sue Greenwald

    I have talked with a number of 600 people who attended the Covell Village II presentations, and I can tell you that response varied. Some were supportive and many were very unimpressed. A few who called me to lobby for the project soon agreed that they would prefer to live in a good quality higher density condo village at the PG&E site near AMTRAK and downtown, or similar central site, if it were only available. To my mind, the large, age-segregated peripheral subdivisions which were popular among affluent seniors in the second half of the last century are not the cutting-edge development that best suits Davis. First, I think that all of our new housing should be handicap accessible so that people can age in place. I also hope that we include sufficient senior-compatible housing in all of our new development. For starters, an adequate percentage of new homes should be smaller and one story. We could try clusters of age-segregated housing within age-integrated communities. But for myself and many empty-nesters I talk with, I would like to see more nice condos for the full range of income levels in elevator buildings walking or wheel-chair distance to downtown, so that seniors can partake fully on our vibrant cultural life when we are less mobile and when we are no longer allowed to drive. I am not opposed to some age-segregated condo and apartment buildings, but I believe that many seniors would like to live in well-designed age-integrated urban neighborhoods.

  43. SODAite

    Mike Hart….you are right about City Staff…talk about job security…the planning dept is looking at job security and what they were trained to do…plan growth. A bit of a conflict of interest in my mind, but not sure how to mitigate that….however one way would be for staff to present a better (or any) summary of planning commission discussion of items which come before the CC. I would like that to be a requirement of all PC discussions that had votes with perhaps the PC Chair signing off on the summary. Too often the staff does not even mention the PC discussion. Good topic and discussion DPD….I read right through it last night also and the story went on and on…..

  44. Anonymous

    The Enterprise is doing what they have done historically. Provide free advertising and for the developer-driven projects. In this case, Covell Village II would be just as big and bad as Covell Village I. The Vanguard is incorrect in assuming that this 800 new senior proposal is a

  45. Sorry Corky

    Corky, I’m glad you have good memories of Janice Bridge on the DJSUD School Board. Some of us have less than favorable memories of her on the board.We’re not responsible for ensuring that she and her husband have a cushy retirement and a smaller home. If she can’t live in her 4000 sq foot home then think of those in a hospital or those who are homeless or don’t have much at all. She is quite selfish obviously. It smells of GREED!If she doesn’t like the fact that we don’t want Sun City here then she can move to Roseville or Lincoln.

  46. Chuck

    …Yes. Ever since I started hearing this woman complain that she has to live in a 4,000 sg ft house – my heart has just bled for her…….Jan has no credibility as a representative of the general senior population, as she is so obviously biased toward sprawl development and its developers….I could do without the personal disparagements of Ms. Bridge. It undermines the credibility of other things you present. I do not personally agree with her on everything, but I thought she did a worthy job while on the school board, and I respect her for that effort, and I will at least hear her out.I am a soon to be senior, and she raises issues that make some sense to me.On the other hand, who are you and what track record do you have that we should read these anonymous personal attacks and still take you seriously on your other points? Are you just a shill for something? Or do you have some serious credibility?Personally, I’d rather hear Elaine Musser’s take on all this.

  47. New Vanguard Admirer

    Very interesting.Two weeks ago, this Blog was flogged by its critics over the perception that it was biased.Last week, this Blog argued that the DE Target article which essentially took the side of the EPA in the struggle and ignored the concerns of local citizen groups. The Blog and its author again flogged for bias, and there were those who defended the Enterprise.Well folks 25 comments before me, there is a diversity views on the subject, but not one person has argued that this article isn’t biased.This blog was in fact right all along. The author, David Greenwald does not argue that he is unbiased, he argues that he provides the other side of the story.Well thank God for that because without this blog, this community would be in the DARK as to what is really going on. Thank you DPD, I really never realized how biased the Enterprise was until you pointed it out.

  48. Mike Harring

    8 years ago, Covell Village Partners asked me as a new 2 week old CC member to support a project that was 95% like what went to the voters as Measure X. I told them that it was too big, dense, horrible traffic, unsafe for school kids, and lacked the 2/1 onsite, outboard land mitigation that was going to be in the 2001 General Plan. They called it …land thievery,… and for the rest of my CC term they would not talk with me on City planning issues. When Measure X was coming up to the Nov 05 vote, I told some of the Yes on X leadership that if they lost, I would probably oppose any future project that had only 2/1 adjacent mitigation. Those leaders were surprised: …why?… I said that if they are going to shoot at the public with Measure X, and lost, then the next time they will have to come to us with greater than 2/1 mitigation. In other words, there is no free second bite at the apple. Or, if you shoot at a grizzly, and miss, it will cost you.What I told them is most of them were PAID to plan that project and run the campaigns. The Covell Village Partners paid a small fortune to those consultants. In contrast, all of us opponents were volunteers. The Measure X debacle cost us thousands of hours of volunteer time, mostly during evenings and weekends. So Measure X made us sacrifice for 2-3 years to stop a horrible, unsafe project, and now it will cost them if they want to try it again. I am thinking maybe 3/1 mitigation for that project might be the toll cost for the failed Measure X ?So, when some of you talk about accepting the 2/1 adjacent mitigation, I remember my pre-Nov 05 discussions, and I am reluctant to accept a 2/1, even if they offered it, which they are not.Anyone else have any thoughts about Covell Village having to compensate and increase the public benefit for putting the city through hell for 3 years with Measure X and losing?

  49. Anonymous

    …Two weeks ago, this Blog was flogged by its critics over the perception that it was biased.Last week, this Blog argued that the DE Target article which essentially took the side of the EPA in the struggle and ignored the concerns of local citizen groups. The Blog and its author again flogged for bias, and there were those who defended the Enterprise….I was one of those who criticized the Vanguard, and I’m still here. The issue wasn’t whether the Enterprise was biased. On the EPA article, they were less biased than the Vanguard. In this case, clearly the Enterprise story is not fully balanced, nor is the Vanguard.I’ve still yet to have any takers on my question regarding how being MORE biased makes the Vanguard MORE credible.Regarding the Covell property, it’s such a polarizing issue with excessive hyperbole everywhere that virtually nobody is credible.It will ultimately be a political decision and the citizens will be able to vote for whatever proposal is brought forward.

  50. Anonymous

    When the Bush administration took over, they slashed funding for superfund enforcement, so they were only able to do clean up work on half of the new sites.Also there was a 64% reduction of fines paid by polluters.

  51. Anonymous

    …When the Bush administration took over, they slashed funding for superfund enforcement, so they were only able to do clean up work on half of the new sites.Also there was a 64% reduction of fines paid by polluters….It’s irrelevant in this case as the polluter is long gone and the EPA is itself the cleanup agency. And what does this have to do with grant funding for localized community oversight group expertise?

  52. Don Shor

    This is an interesting post that is getting lost in the EPA discussion. …Can we separate the issue – senior housing needs – from the other detritus? I don’t know Ms. Bridge but I do know that a person’s bank account or home square footage should have no impact on the relative merit of their opinions. My spouse and I are 55 and planning for the future. We want to stay in Davis. We can’t find suitable senior housing that would allow us to age in place. (and no, as former residents of an East Davis Stanley Davis home, they are not really suitable. the halls are narrow, the bathrooms tiny, and to refit them to ADA standards for wheelchairs would be cost prohibitive. We went so far as to get bids until we abandoned the idea because the Stanley Davis floorplans are not easily modified to ADA standards.)It would be great to survey people (and by people, I mean more than 600). We want a single-story floorplan (hard to find in Davis, lots of flex space and storage for the inevitable returning kids and eventually, for medical equipment, but we don’t need formal living rooms and dining rooms. We will need garages for cars. When we can’t drive, our caretaker will need somewhere to park. We’re not interested in living in a neighborood of only seniors. And we are not interested in tiny spaces. We’re sure that others have different needs for their golden years. We should ascertain what they are.Another approach is for any new housing to meet all ADA standards so that it can be used for families and/or seniors.The houses in Mace Ranch are mostly two story and not amenable.I’d like to see a discussion of these senior issues without it always reverting back to the anti/pro development issue….

  53. Vanguard fans

    Great article and discussion today David. Regardless of what the infamous …Anonymous… says you do cover the news or issues that are not covered by the Enterprise. Thank you!I think it’s funny that Anonymous says the following yet still finds the time to log on and blog, …The National Enquirer is by far, more credible than this blog. Bashing the Davis Enterprise nearly daily with your free ink sounds like an 8 year old whining everyday! I and many others can see how you have lost control of your blog, and your credibility.Shame on you !1/3/09 7:19 PM…Keep up the great work David! The reason your blog is growing so much is that you look at other sides of issues than simply the conservative side of issues like the Enterprise.Give ’em hell! We love the Vanguard.

  54. Sue Greenwald

    Anonymous 7:54: I wrote an op-ed piece for the Enterprise in which I explained that I feel that smart growth entails building our jobs closer to our existing housing stock, and our new housing closer to our existing jobs, in order to reduce reliance on autos and to build more lively, vital neighborhoods. Because of this, I feel that it would be better planning to keep the Hunt-Wesson zoned for high tech, since it is surrounded by existing housing, and to use the underused PG&E yard for a high-density, high quality downtown residential neighborhood. I have been quite consistent on this issue, and have always done my best to explain my reasoning.

  55. Black Bart

    This entire scene is so laughable on so many levels because it fails to address the central issue of a general shortage of all classes of housing in Davis.Sue’s answer for every question is housing on the pge site and nothing else is worthy. Its amazing that after 9 years on the council she has so little to show for her desire to build housing along the tracks.Jan Bridge lives in 4000 square foot home but wants to downsize. Well sell it and move to something smaller. Shouldn’t be hard to do even if it requires a disability act remodel. Oh yeah and then there is the Covell Village advocate in her arguing for dense housing from her mansion.Then there are the Covell Partners who always seem to come up plans that maximize their profit instead of providing the type of housing Davis needs.Then there are the perenially anti-housing types who oppose any projects that don’t perfectly fit what they imagine others should build.Maybe we do need senior housing, we also need student housing and workforce housing and housing for young families and affordable housing. We need lots of housing because while everywhere else around here overbuilt Davis underbuilt. So the answer isn’t what type of housing to build o where to build it the answer is to build all types of housing all around here saturating demand with supply and inviting those that want to live here and contribute to making Davis a vibrant and diverse community welcome.

  56. Sue Greenwald

    Ron, When and if a majority of the council will support it, the PG&E project can be accomplished. It has tremendously exciting potential, and an overwhelming majority of citizens I have spoken with are behind it.

  57. No on Xer

    I disagree with this point:…I don’t know Ms. Bridge but I do know that a person’s bank account or home square footage should have no impact on the relative merit of their opinions….Look I know Janice, she can be nice at times and she can be other things at other times, we won’t print here.But this story is exactly about her because she made it about her.It’s not that she owns a 4000 sf house per se, it’s that her story was used to promote the project.So a true examination of her story is indeed in order.It goes to the credibility of her claim.The fact is she was one of the most vocal non-paid supporters of the project three years ago. Now she is promoting the new project using her personal story as a rouse to promote senior housing.Is that a credible claim? I don’t think so.From a secondary stand point, we can evaluate the project itself. I think there are seniors on both sides of the issue. The Enterprise doesn’t portray that diversity and in so doing, they do us a disservice.

  58. Anonymous

    We need housing of all types so I think the city should continue to work with the Covell Village developer to develop that land. People who are against this at all costs are anti-senior, anti-student, anti-everyone but themselves. If we develop nothing, no group’s housing needs are met.I could not care less about Ms. Bridge’s background or how big her house is. That topic is being used to sidetrack this discussion. Even if she is a complete hypocrite (or whatever she is being accused of), we still need more senior-suitable housing in Davis!!

  59. Let

    A thoughtful discussion on senior issues including housing would be welcome in our community. But, what is taking place here, promoted by both the Covell Village Partners and the Davis Enterprise is an attempt to dupe the public into supporting once again a huge development project at a site which is hugely problematic and in which the voters three years ago said NO in a resounding fashion. But the Covell Village Partners don

  60. Anonymous

    Sorry Sue (10:10 pm posting last night) but you are clearly inconsistent with your new policy of preserve commercial zoning at Hunt Wesson yet not at P,G and E. Everyone can understand why you would prefer nice condos closer to where you live so why not be upfront about it? I notice that you do not mention the zoning change of commercial to residential that would be needed for P,G and E. Besides, what about the toxics issues at P,G and E? ). I saw a posting a while ago that commercial can go on sites with toxics but not housing. Also, what about the impacts on the nearby neighborhoods and pressure for housing that an 100-acre high tech park would put on the adjacent Covell Village site for another huge residential project (duh, like the Covell Village Partners are trying for again.) Besides it was made clear in the commercial viability study that the city did that a 100-acre high tech park was infeasible (and

  61. Covell Village Road Show

    Jan Bridge wasted no time in using her new position with the Senior Citizens Commission to champion her own personal pro-developer agenda and Davis Enterprise

  62. Anonymous

    …Lewis Homes wants to build homes, period….Pull your upper most extremity out of your rectal cavity, sir.Lewis does not build homes. The company is not called Lewis Homes. It’s called Lewis Planned Communities. Once the project is approved by the city, Lewis will develop the infrastructure, streets, greenbelts, etc., and then Lewis PC will sell lots to local builders who will build the houses, apartments, office buildings and so on. Lewis will not build a single house. After you are done removing said head from said cavity, be sure to wipe.

  63. Enterprise + Lewis + Covell =

    Here is what Lewis says about itself from their website:A History of Accomplishment from 1955Yesterday…A Leading Developer In The Western StatesAs the Lewis Group of Companies begins its 53rd year, many long-tenured employees under the direction of a second and third generation management team continue the tradition of quality, integrity and stability that was of paramount importance to Ralph and Goldy Lewis when they founded their home building firm in Claremont in 1955.Strict adherence to this philosophy has resulted in the development of more than 56,000 homes, 10,000 apartments and 14 million square feet of retail, office, and industrial space. Since 1955, the Lewis organization has developed new communities in California, Nevada, Arizona, and Utah, totaling in excess of 25,000 acres.In 1999, the Lewis family sold a portion of its business, Lewis Homes, to Kaufman and Broad (KB Home), creating the largest homebuilder in the United States at that time. Today And Tomorrow…Greater Versatility As The Lewis Group Of CompaniesThe Lewis Group of Companies continues today as one of the nation’s largest privately held real estate development companies. The Lewis Group focuses on developing mixed-use planned communities and residential subdivisions in California and Nevada, as well as building and owning rental communities, shopping centers, office parks, and industrial buildings.

  64. Flaky Flix

    Sue is pushing the PGE site because it is never going anywhere. This way she can claim that she is for appropriate growth while being against every project that has a chance of moving forward. During her last campaign she said in the Bee that she thought the 1%growth rate was too high. That is her honest perspective. She couldn’t care less about anyone who doesn’t own a home and would like to get one someday. She thinks they should live elsewhere until they can afford Davis. She has even said as much to people she thought of as friends. People who supported her until they realized that her policies were keeping them down.Sue’s real problem is that she went to college back when Paul Ehrlich’s Famine 1975 was published and she still has this Malthusian approach to her thinking. She believes that by keeping others out she is protecting the lifestyle of those already here. Sadly, there are many in this town who agree with her.

  65. Anonymous

    Just an FYI. On the commercial viability study, it was Sue that pushed hard for the study to be done and it was the City that chose the group which did the study. Unfortunately, Sue refuses to accept the findings that a high tech park is infeasible. The question still stands as to why is Sue inconsistent in her position on preserving commercial land in the city with P,G and E? It seems pretty coincidental that she wants to selectively change the zoning at P,G and E from commercial to residential for

  66. Keeping them honest

    The Vanguard was founded as an antidote to the biased reporting of the Davis Enterprise.Recent Davis Enterprise articles written by Claire St. John (Target/EPA &

  67. Chuck

    Where is Elaine Musser in all of this discussion? I thought she was active on this blog. She is someone with some credibility to speak on this topic rather than these anonymous and pseudonymous posers. I want some elaboration on her perspectives on this.

  68. Anonymous

    …I too was looking forward to hearing Elaine’s thoughts….I think you may discover that Elaine has already weighed in here under several …pseudonymous poser… comments.

  69. Letters to the Editor

    Published in today’s Davis Enterprise:LETTERS: Commission helps guide planning Elaine Roberts Musser | Davis | January 10, 2009 22:39 With great interest I read Claire St. John’s Jan. 2 article titled ‘Senior Living.’ Discussed was the recent debate in regard to senior housing in Davis, and whether there is a need for more options. Since I was quoted extensively in the piece, I would like to note two things in clarification. First, I was speaking as an individual, and not in my capacity as the chairwoman of the Davis Senior Citizens Commission. Second, the issue of how much senior housing is needed in the future was left out of the picture entirely. It is one thing to posit the notion that more senior housing options are needed. It is quite another to make the leap of faith that we will need as many as 800 units between now and 2013, as developers suggest. Our commission is putting the finishing touches on a set of senior housing guidelines, which lists various factors that should be taken into account before any housing developments are proposed. This discussion was considered by city staff, who ultimately estimated only a maximum (upper limit) of 150 more units of senior housing would be required. The disconnect between these two figures of developers as opposed to city staff is stark. It is probably attributable to the difference between 1) an expensive wish list versus 2) what is essential and we can afford as a city. The reality is that Davis suffers from a serious budget deficit. Building more residential housing requires more city services we cannot meet the expense for at this time. Davis citizens have already been hit with a massive sewer increase, and may see their water rates increase even more. Add to the mix the expense for excessively more city services, and a recipe for disaster will be created. It is imperative that the City Council tread carefully in the future, moving forward with good planning principles. Our commission hopes to provide a set of guidelines that will assist in that process. Elaine Roberts Musser Davis

  70. Letters to the Editor

    Published in today’s Davis Enterprise:Planning should address all needs Eric Gelber | Davis | January 10, 2009 22:39Claire St. John’s article, ‘Senior living: Should developers focus on small homes for retirees?’ (Enterprise, Jan. 2), describes the undeniable shortage of housing in Davis suitable to meet the needs of seniors. It does not follow, however, that the solution is the development of a huge seniors-only community, as has been proposed by local developers for the former Covell Village site. There may be a place for age-restricted continuing care communities. And, with unlimited resources, such alternatives could be made available to all those who want them. But when resources – including developable land and public funding – are in such short supply, communities should seriously consider whether they can afford this exclusionary housing model for the relatively few seniors who would choose it, particularly if they had viable, inclusive alternatives. Most housing needs of seniors are not unique to that age group. People with disabilities, regardless of age, need accessible housing and often use supportive services. Many low-income families and others need and rely on public and private alternative transportation options. Many nonseniors – including individuals, couples and small families – prefer smaller homes. Low-income households of all ages need affordable housing. Local planning priorities should address the housing and related needs of all Davis residents, including seniors. But, with resources in short supply, we must carefully consider whether we can afford to meet the needs of one group by large-scale development of segregated, restricted communities that deny housing opportunities to others with similar needs based solely on age. Eric Gelber Davis

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