Monday Morning Thoughts: Not Everyone on Board with Reduced Sterling

Sterling Apartments – original proposal

On Wednesday, the Planning Commission will review the Sterling project and recommend certification of the EIR and approvals of planning applications.  Staff notes, as the Vanguard reported last week, that the project applicant has modified the project based on neighborhood concerns.

The changes have resulted “in an approximately 25% reduction in the project scale and density, relative to the number of units, bedrooms, and parking, compared to the original proposal.”

The previous proposal for redeveloping the former EMQ FamiliesFirst site at 2100 5th Street in Davis into Sterling Apartments generated a tremendous amount of opposition from neighbors at the nearby Rancho Yolo site.  After working through a conflict resolution process, the developers have come back with a scaled down proposal.

The existing facilities and trees would be removed and redeveloped with a roughly 160-unit market-rate, student-oriented apartment building, with a separate affordable apartment component.

The original proposal called for 244 total units (203 market-rate student units with 727 bedrooms, and 41 affordable units with 74 bedrooms) and four- and five-story buildings.

The applicant has now reduced the size, height, and density of the project from the original proposal to three and four stories with 198 total units and 611 bedrooms, and also reduced the parking structure.

The revised 160-unit market-rate site now will have a three- and four-story apartment building, a parking structure, a two-story leasing office/clubhouse building, and site improvements.  The apartments will contain a mix of one to five bedroom units, with a total of 540 single-occupancy bedrooms.

The four-story (five-level) parking structure provides 343 parking spaces. Five additional surface parking spaces are provided.  The affordable site will have 38 surface parking spaces.

The neighbors have agreed to these changes, however, not everyone appears to be in agreement.

Some are calling this a “mega-dorm” project and are concerned that, while the size has been reduced from four and five stories down to three and four stories, the mass and scale is still too large.  There are concerns about traffic impacts on the intersection of Fifth Street and Pole Line Road, streets which are already heavily traveled.

There are two cited concerns here.  The first has to do with what is known as the “bed lease” where each bed or bedroom is associated with a separate lease agreement.  There are advantages to this in that it maximizes occupancy.

But it produces a situation where the apartments become de facto dormitories where each bedroom has an individual bathroom and is basically a single-occupancy room, targeting students by only renting by the bed.  This will address the student population but will obviously not be rented to average non-students and families in need of rental housing.

On the other hand, with students as the single-largest group needing rental housing, perhaps the city can eventually overcome this problem by creating more apartments to service students, and leaving single-family homes to families needing homes.

A second problem – one that has been raised before – is the complaint that they are not planning enough parking with 540 single-occupancy bedrooms served by 348 parking spaces.  There is a fear that extra parking needs would spill over to the surrounding areas.

In our view, based on our analysis from last fall, there are actually far too many parking spaces.  In our analysis last September, we found that, based on data from the UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies, only 30 percent of 36,000 students traveled to campus by car.

Breaking down the data further, less than half the students and just 42.7 percent of undergraduates have “access to a car.”  And that number shrinks as we move into town.

Those who live outside of Davis are nearly all driving into town, with 91.5 percent having access to a car.  Of those who live in Davis, less than half have access to a car.

Calvin Thigpen, a PhD candidate in Transportation Technology and Policy (TTP) at UC Davis,  told the Vanguard that having access to a car is not a perfect measure of car-ownership as “some students could be referring to the same shared car.”  He estimates that about 14,939 students have “access to a car.”  That breaks down to 10,862 undergraduate students and 4077 graduate students.  Based on that question, he would guess that the number of actual student-owned cars is an overestimate.

The parking lot would allow for 64.4 percent of the residents to have a vehicle.  That is well above the 42.7 percent of undergraduates who have access to a car, according to the latest surveys.

At that rate, the parking lot would only need 230 spaces.  That gives the parking lot over 100 spaces of fudge factor, which seems more than enough for the lot.

Overall, this leads to a few interesting questions that readers and the community should consider.  The neighbors appear to be agreeable to the scaled down project – does it make sense to continue this “battle,” for lack of a better term?

As we noted last week in our analysis, with the university only going to 90/40 in terms of new students and total student housing on campus, and with a 0.2 percent vacancy level, the strategy for slow growth advocates seems odd.

The battle lines have constantly been to reduce the size of the projects on site, reducing the number of units.  On one level, that makes sense as it reduces potential noise, sight, and traffic impacts at the site.

But on another level it means that there will likely have to be more of these infill apartment projects which will actually increase the impact overall in the city.

—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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125 thoughts on “Monday Morning Thoughts: Not Everyone on Board with Reduced Sterling”

  1. Ron

    The original proposal was the very definition of a “straw man” proposal.  I spoke with the developer’s representative after a meeting at the site, and he already acknowledged (months ago) that the proposal would likely be scaled back somewhat.

    I have yet to see the supposed “support” for the “revised” proposal from Rancho Yolo, etc.

    Unfortunately, the Vanguard is still focusing its efforts on encouraging dormitory-like structures far from campus, rather than on campus.  (Even though the LRDP is not finalized.)  It’s also unfortunate that the city’s LRDP subcommittee has encouraged this type of development (e.g., up to “2 miles away from campus”, essentially including the entire city).  Another fine example of our representatives at work, on our “behalf”.

    Also, a “lack of parking” does not translate into a lack of motor vehicle usage, one way or another.

    1. Don Shor

      Unfortunately, the Vanguard is still focusing its efforts on encouraging dormitory-like structures far from campus, rather than on campus.

      False. Five seconds with Google:
      Hexter’s Letter to City Proposes Inadequate UCD Campus Housing …
      Feb 7, 2017 –
      Guest Commentary: UCD Needs to Provide More … – Davis Vanguard
      Dec 18, 2016 –
      Guest Commentary: Housing is Our City and … – Davis Vanguard
      Dec 19, 2016 –
      Commentary: On UCD Housing Obligations | Davis Vanguard
      Sep 30, 2016 –
      Analysis: Additional Campus Housing Will Help but … – Davis Vanguard
      Sep 22, 2016 –
      Commentary: UCD Can and Must Do Better with On-Campus Housing …
      Aug 19, 2016 –
      My View: The University Has a Real Problem with Housing | Davis …
      Jan 16, 2016
      Commentary: Housing and UC Davis | Davis Vanguard
      Oct 27, 2015
      Letter: Imperative and Urgent Need for More On … – Davis Vanguard
      Dec 20, 2016 -…

      It’s not a binary choice, despite the efforts of yourself and others to frame it that way. UCD needs to provide more housing on campus. We need more housing in town. The one does not preclude the other.

    2. David Greenwald

      “Unfortunately, the Vanguard is still focusing its efforts on encouraging dormitory-like structures far from campus, rather than on campus.”

      No, we’re not.

      1. Ron

        David:

        It seems that you have a very “short memory”:

        From article:  “The bottom line is that if the council approves the reduced project – as they really should at this point – that means we are probably going to need another apartment complex to house those 200 students that are not being housed at Sterling.”

        http://www.davisvanguard.org/2017/03/commentary-scaled-sterling-good-deal-davis/

        If you’re going to advocate for something, at least admit it.

        1. David Greenwald Post author

          You should be a lawyer, the way you have completely misrepresented my comment.

          Here is your statement: “Unfortunately, the Vanguard is still focusing its efforts on encouraging dormitory-like structures far from campus, rather than on campus.”

          Notice the component parts of you statement: “encouraging dormitory-like structures” “far from campus” “rather than on campus.”

          What I wrote last week was “if the council approves the reduced project – as they really should at this point…”

          Nowhere in there does it mention that we are encouraging dormitory like structures, all we basically said was given the agreement with the neighbors, the council should approve a given project. Nowhere did we weigh on anything you stated – dormitory like structures, far from campus, not on campus.

          Don flat out contradicted your statement with a show of all the articles where we pushed for more housing on campus and supported 100/50.

          So you’ve taken one small comment and completed misrepresented what it meant and then said, “If you’re going to advocate for something, at least admit it.” I would question whether my comment was even tantamount to advocacy, all I said is “they really should at this point” even though the thrust of the article was that it was probably a bad deal for Davis.

          I would be fair to say, I don’t have an automatic and inherent problem with building dormitory like structures, but I’m not out there advocating for them at the exclusion of other projects or on-campus housing.

          I don’t think you have any legs to stand on here and certainly not to arrogantly proclaim: “If you’re going to advocate for something, at least admit it. (Failing to do so reminds me of another “frequent commenter”, on the Vanguard.)”

        2. Ron

          David:  “Nowhere in there does it mention that we are encouraging dormitory like structures, all we basically said was given the agreement with the neighbors, the council should approve a given project. Nowhere did we weigh on anything you stated – dormitory like structures, far from campus, not on campus.”

          And yet, your other quote (pasted above) clearly states advocates that the council should approve it.  No – it doesn’t take a lawyer to read English.

          By the way, I find it interesting that you’re taking it upon yourself to provide the “neighbors’ opinions”.  So far, it seems that the only ones who are supporting this proposed development are the usual “pro-development suspects”.

          (P.S. – I believe that the Vanguard is experiencing some technical problems today, regarding comments that disappear when logging in.)

           

        3. Ron

          David”  “The bottom line is that if the council approves the reduced project – as they really should at this point – that means we are probably going to need another apartment complex to house those 200 students that are not being housed at Sterling.”

          Also – “built into” your comment is an underlying assumption that it’s the city’s responsibility to house “200 students” that would theoretically be displaced by not pursuing the original Sterling “straw man” proposal (despite the fact that it was apparently “modified” by the developer).  (No mention of UCD’s unilateral decision and corresponding lack of responsibility to increase international student enrollment – which might be undermined by Trump’s actions, regardless.)

          In other articles, I recall you mentioning the “need” to create several large-scale apartment complexes within the city, as a result of UCD’s plans to increase enrollment.

          When advocating something, it’s best to simply acknowledge it, rather than “couch it” in other terms.

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            You are correct – built into my comment is something called math. The math is simple. We have a housing shortage now, we have a university promising only to build for 90 percent of new students, and even if they get to 100 (which they have not committed to), we will have a need for additional apartments in Davis.

            “In other articles, I recall you mentioning the “need” to create several large-scale apartment complexes within the city, as a result of UCD’s plans to increase enrollment.”

            Your comment went beyond my basic argument which is the city doesn’t have enough units and the university isn’t committing to build enough to suggest something that I’m not advocating for.

            “When advocating something, it’s best to simply acknowledge it, rather than “couch it” in other terms.”

            Didn’t advocate location, method or form. Hence, you are misrepresenting me. I ask you politely, to stop.

        4. Ron

          David:  “You are correct – built into my comment is something called math.  The math is simple.”

          Some commenters are in the habit of performing simple calculations, as “proof” of a broader argument (which has significantly more variables).  I’ve seen this many times, on the Vanguard.

          In this case, the LRDP is not even finalized – including UCD’s housing plans, as well as its tentative plans to increase international student enrollment (which might not even come to fruition, given Trump’s recent actions).

          Also, adding “X” numbers of units does not necessarily equate to housing “X” numbers of increased enrollment.  Given other options that students have, the relationship is not linear.

          (P.S. – There’s still a technical problem, in that I need to log out to see your comments today.)

           

        5. Howard P

          Yes, Ron… and some commenters feel no need to use math, nor facts, to make, and/or “prove” their assertions.  As I suspect you well know.

          BTW, do you realize your “non-linear”/other choices argument(s) can be used by UCD to justify little/no new housing on campus?

        6. Matt Williams

          Ron said . . . “Some commenters are in the habit of performing simple calculations, as “proof” of a broader argument (which has significantly more variables).  I’ve seen this many times, on the Vanguard.”

          And some Vanguard readers follow imaginary lines of logic to see “proofs” where there are no such proofs intended . . . only data and the correlation/amagamation of data as evidence to be considered.

          Some Vanguard readers also believe there are “right answers” to questions for which there is so much subjectivity and/or uncertainty that “right answers” are an impossibility.  There is a reason that the expression “you can’t please all the people all the time” exists (and resonates).

        7. Ron

          Yes, Howard.  I agree.  Of course, it’s probably worse to “pretend” that one doesn’t have an opinion, except for one supported by whatever “selective information” that they might choose to present.

          I understand that UCD is already using “non-linear/other options” argument, regarding the 10% referenced by David.  However, unlike the city, the university is initiating the proposed increase in enrollment, and can also reserve housing exclusively for students.

        8. David Greenwald

          I can’t help Ron if you put me on ignore.

          “can also reserve housing exclusively for students.”

          I find it  that one of your points of complaint has been that this development is basically designed for students, and that it’s a selling point for the university to have the ability to do so.  You can’t have it both ways.

          To state my position clearly for everyone else reading:

          1.  If the neighbors and developers have reached an agreement, I support the city going forward on this project

          2.  I am agnostic on the issue of student oriented apartments

          3.  I support the university expanding to 100/ 50 from 90/40

          Anything else I need to clarify?

        9. Ron

          David:

          I didn’t hit “ignore”, so I’m not sure what happened.

          Yes – it’s better for everyone (including students) for student-oriented housing to be located on campus.  (For example, students won’t have to negotiate a daily “commute” through a congested city, if such developments are located on campus.  Depending upon class schedule, some students may need to travel back-and-forth between campus and the development several times per day.)

          Again, I’m not seeing anyone who has changed their mind regarding this development, let alone the concerns of entire neighborhoods (and beyond).  A slight reduction in the massive size of the development (which appears to have been planned for some time) does not constitute a “concession” to the neighborhood, or the city.

        10. David Greenwald

          “Again, I’m not seeing anyone who has changed their mind regarding this development, let alone the concerns of entire neighborhoods (and beyond).”

          Wasn’t there a conflict resolution process with the neighbors and didn’t they reach an agreement?  If I’m wrong, I’m sure one of my friends from Rancho Yolo will correct me.

        11. Matt Williams

          David Greenwald said . . . “Wasn’t there a conflict resolution process with the neighbors and didn’t they reach an agreement?  If I’m wrong, I’m sure one of my friends from Rancho Yolo will correct me.”

          David, I walk three days a week with 3-4 members of the Rancho Yolo Community, including their Board President.  Rancho Yolo selected three negotiators from the community to negotiate with the developer under the watchful supervision of the City.  The process was very similar to the one followed by the Rose Creek neighborhood with Hyatt House.  The end result was indeed an agreement.

          Ron’s propaganda is either underinformed or maliciously misleading. Only he can answer which of those two options is the case.

          Ron said . . . Again, I’m not seeing anyone who has changed their mind regarding this development, let alone the concerns of entire neighborhoods (and beyond).

          The only reason you are not seeing it Ron is that you are not looking.

        12. Ron

          Matt:

          Let’s see the “agreement”, then.  (Including documented evidence of the entire process that you’re referring to.)

          And again, Rancho Yolo doesn’t speak for the entire community, nor are they the only neighbors. (Also, I have yet to see any statement from anyone in that community that the process you’re referring to has changed their position.)

          In the case of Rose Creek, the neighborhood actually received something tangible, in return. (And, the primary reason that there was an “agreement” is that the city council essentially told that neighborhood that the hotel would be approved, regardless. Is that also what happened, with Sterling?)

          Again, Sterling’s developer representative had personally told me (months ago) that a reduction in the size of the proposal was likely (words to that effect).  (Apparently, well-before any supposed agreement.)  What, exactly, did Rancho Yolo supposedly receive as part of the “agreement”?

        13. Ron

          David:

          That’s a loaded question, isn’t it?  (Maybe you should ask that question of those who participate in various protests, whom you might support.)

          Perhaps it’s because I see the city making mistakes, with the apparent support of some. Perhaps even some undue pressure to come to an “agreement”, as experienced by the Rose Creek neighbors. (Watch out, Trackside neighbors – and others.)

          Really, I’d think that you’d welcome such challenges.

           

        14. David Greenwald

          I don’t care about what your motivation is in general, I mean instead of taking at face value representations from two people who have knowledge about the conflict resolution policy, you’re response is “let’s see the agreement.”  You’re being a pain in that respect, for no apparent reason.  If you’re view is that they don’t speak for the whole neighborhood, fine, that’s a valid point.  But to question that there was a conflict resolution process and an agreement is frankly insulting.

        15. Ron

          David:

          Again, the only people who have mentioned an “agreement” are Matt, and you.  (And, you didn’t seem to know much about it.)  You’re suggesting Matt’s brief statement should be relied upon as complete and factual, regarding this (apparently new) process of engaging in (and perhaps coercing) private “agreements” with some neighbors, to facilitate various developments?  (Again, look at the Rose Creek process.)

          Now, that’s a story that might be worth exploring in the Vanguard.

          If there is such an agreement, this is not something to be kept confidential.  Such decisions impact others, including those who are not part of any agreement.

          Also, the manner in which the city “handled” Rose Creek should not be a “model” for other potential agreements.  (Essentially telling that neighborhood that the hotel would be approved, even if there was no agreement.)

          In any case – yes – let’s see the agreement, including the documented process which led to it. Informally mentioning it (without providing documentation and details) is a disservice to the entire city, and may ultimately represent a threat to all neighborhoods which are subjected to unwanted developments.

          1. Don Shor

            So in the course of one day, you started with a false assertion, you’ve insinuated that David and Matt are lying, you’ve cast aspersions on the city’s resolution policy, implied that they use coercion, and demanded proof and documentation of the agreement.
            All under the privilege of anonymity on the Vanguard.
            You’re on a roll.

        16. Howard P

          David… (your 6:43 post)… the word ‘pain’ reminded me of a medical experience an acquaintance had… suffered from chronic hemorrhoids… very painful… finally saw a proctologist who performed a hemorrhoidectomy… then, he was a perfect *******…

        17. Ron

          Don:

          That’s b.s., and you know it.  Irresponsible to make such a statement. Incorrect, on many levels (not worth responding to, individually).

          If you think I’ve violated Vanguard policy, then censor it. (Actually, your comment would probably qualify for that.)

          1. Don Shor

            Correct on every level.

            Unfortunately, the Vanguard is still focusing its efforts on encouraging dormitory-like structures far from campus, rather than on campus.

            — false assertion

            the only people who have mentioned an “agreement” are Matt, and you. (And, you didn’t seem to know much about it.) You’re suggesting Matt’s brief statement should be relied upon as complete and factual,

            — implying they are lying.

            process of engaging in (and perhaps coercing) private “agreements” with some neighbors

            — implying coercion.

            It’s not “irresponsible” for me to point out your standard operating procedure on the Vanguard.

        18. Matt Williams

          Ron, there is an easy way for you to get a simple direct answer to all your questions.  Contact the planner in the Community Development and Sustainability Department who is responsible for the Sterling project (see http://cityofdavis.org/city-hall/community-development-and-sustainability/test-development-projects), make an appointment, and conduct an interview.  You attended the September 29, 2016 Community Meeting at the Families First site, so you know exactly who the planner is (Eric Lee).  Show some initiative and do some due diligence.

          Further, if you took the time to review the comments submitted during the EIR process (see http://cityofdavis.org/home/showdocument?id=6062) you would find that 33 of the 43 comments submitted were from Rancho Yolo residents, and the 10 not from Rancho Yolo were heterogeneous (two from NAMI-Yolo, one from the Yolo-Solano AQMD, one from Eileen Samitz, one from Alan Hirsch, two from Jack and Jane Schafer-Kramer, one from myself, and one from one other person).

          Rancho Yolo clearly had (A) the critical mass of comments and (B) along with the Schafer-Kramers, the closest neighborhood proximity.  They had also taken the time to get legal representation from Legal Services of California.  They didn’t just talk the talk, they walked the walk.  The fact that the City and the developer reached out to them comes as no surprise.

        19. Ron

          Matt:

          Thanks for the suggestions, but you’re the one who stated that Rancho Yolo had come to some type of agreement, and specifically mentioned your personal knowledge and involvement with Rancho Yolo.  And yet, there are no details.  For example:

          Was leadership selected to represent all of Rancho Yolo residents, specifically to engage in negotiations regarding this particular development?  (Or, did the leadership already exist, for a variety of purposes?)

          Is leadership supporting the proposed development, or just agreeing to not take a position regarding the development?

          What are the terms of the agreement?  (In other words, what is each party getting out of it, and what are they giving?)

          Does the agreement preclude individual residents of Rancho Yolo from expressing their opinions, or engaging in legal action on their own (or with their peers)?

          You’ll probably recall that some of these types details were discussed on the Vanguard, regarding the agreement surrounding Hyatt.  And yet, there are absolutely no such details, regarding Rancho Yolo and Sterling.

          Not sure why you’re mentioning the EIR process, in response to questions regarding the “agreement” that you brought up.

          And finally, I’m wondering why you’re (once again) involved in (and meeting with) neighbors and others who are concerned about various developments. And in this case, apparently stating that there’s “agreement” among members of a particular community, regarding a proposed development.

           

        20. Ron

          Don:

          Again, your conclusions regarding my statements is incorrect.  If anyone is interested, they can read the entire thread and arrive at their own conclusions.

          Never said anyone was lying, for example.

          From what was reported on the Vanguard, it did appear that coercion was a factor in the Hyatt agreement.  (By the time that the final “negotiations” were suggested, the city had already made it clear that they intended to approve a hotel on the site.)  Still, in the case of Hyatt, the terms of the agreement were at least more clear and tangible.

          All we have here is Matt stating that the leadership of Rancho Yolo has “agreed”, or something to that effect. (Actually, I’m not sure what he is stating, at all.)

          I must say that I’m sometimes disappointed in the Vanguard’s editorial efforts.  Quite often, there doesn’t appear to be an openness to encourage full and honest discussion.  (In fact, there appears to be outright hostility to that concept.)  Seems ironic for a publication such as the Vanguard to take that approach. Unfortunately, I don’t have much faith that you’ll see or understand that point. (Even David doesn’t, at times.)

          1. Don Shor

            You’re just digging your hole deeper here, Ron.
            You made a false assertion.
            You’ve repeatedly questioned the veracity of what David reported about Rancho Yolo and Sterling. If you imply repeatedly that you don’t think they’re telling the truth, you are accusing them of lying.
            You have now clearly accused the city of coercion in the Hyatt process.
            If you had more self-awareness, you’d realize that you pissed David off tonight, and now you are critiquing his “editorial efforts.”
            I hope you will reconsider your approach.

        21. Ron

          Don:

          You’re completely clueless, regarding your comments tonight.  Sorry to see that.

          I have realized that some associated with the Vanguard don’t like to be challenged, regardless of facts (or lack thereof). And, that’s unfortunate.

          If such hostility continues, the Vanguard will probably continue its march toward homogeneity.

          1. Don Shor

            You’re completely clueless,

            I strongly urge you to reconsider your approach on the Vanguard.

        22. Matt Williams

          Ron said . . .

          Thanks for the suggestions, but you’re the one who stated that Rancho Yolo had come to some type of agreement, and specifically mentioned your personal knowledge and involvement with Rancho Yolo.

          Actually Ron, you were the first to reference the Rancho Yolo agreement in your 9:34 am comment.

          And yet, there are no details.  For example:

          Was leadership specifically selected to represent all of Rancho Yolo residents, specifically to engage in negotiations regarding this particular development?  (Or, did the leadership already exist, for a variety of purposes?)

          I answered that question in my 6:24 pm comment “Rancho Yolo selected three negotiators from the community to negotiate with the developer under the watchful supervision of the City.”

          Is leadership supporting the proposed development, or just agreeing to not take a position regarding the development?

          To get an answer that will satisfy you, that is a question you will have to ask either Eric Lee or the Rancho Yolo Community Association.

          What are the terms of the agreement?  (In other words, what is each party getting out of it, and what are they giving?)

          To get an answer that will satisfy you, that is a question you will have to ask either Eric Lee or the Rancho Yolo Community Association.

          Does the agreement preclude individual residents of Rancho Yolo from expressing their opinions, or engaging in legal action on their own (or with their peers)?

          To the best of my knowledge the agreement does not preclude individual residents from expressing their individual opinions.  Regarding legal action, to get an answer that will satisfy you, that is a question you will have to ask either Eric Lee or the Rancho Yolo Community Association.

          You’ll probably recall that some of these types details were discussed on the Vanguard, regarding the agreement surrounding Hyatt.  And yet, there are absolutely no such details, regarding Rancho Yolo and Sterling.

          Again, to get an answer that will satisfy you, that is a question you will have to ask either Eric Lee or the Rancho Yolo Community Association, or Sterling.

          And finally, I’m wondering why you’re (once again) involved in (and meeting with) neighbors and others who are concerned about various developments.

          I answered that question in my 6:24 pm comment David, I walk three days a week with 3-4 members of the Rancho Yolo Community, including their Board President.”  It is a group of 25 to 35 walkers know as the Brisssk Morning Walkers, that regularly reaches out to the community in the Enterprise The daily discussions while walking cover a wide range of topics from Open Space Preservation, to City Finance, to the Arts, to the Environment, to Oil Trains, to Energy, to Water, to Senior issues, to Healthcare, to politics, etc.  It is no surprise that with 10% or more of the walkers being residents of Rancho Yolo, we often talk about the latest goings on in that wonderful Davis neighborhood. We meet every Tuesday and Thursday at 7:00 am at Peets in the Marketplace, as well as Saturday at 8:00 am at Common Grounds in South Davis.  We walk 4 miles in just over an hour.  Good times.  Good exercise.  Good people from most all walks of life, but to-date, not a single developer.  It is participative democracy in action.  Citizens talking to citizens.

        23. Ron

          Matt:

          I did not mention an agreement in my 9:34 a.m. comment.  However, there was some allusion to an agreement (without details/evidence), in the article (to which I was responding).

          Again, basic information, such as terms of agreement (that you brought up) were not included in your lengthy response.

          There’s a saying in auditing:  “If it’s not in writing, it doesn’t exist.”  (Verbal/informal statements can be used to support other documented evidence.)  I don’t doubt that something occurred, but we have no idea what it is, or the depth of its support or opposition, even within Rancho Yolo.

        24. Matt Williams

          Ron said . . . “Not sure why you’re mentioning the EIR process, in response to questions regarding the “agreement” that you brought up.”

          Actually Ron, when 33 out of the 43 formally submitted comments are from a single neighborhood democracy is in action, and those 33 comments are staking a claim to being an important voice in the community on this issue.

          Further, when you look at the other 1o formally submitted comments, what do they have in common?

          edited

          The simple answer is that the detail issues those 10 comments raise have very little in common, unlike the 33 Rancho Yolo comments that have everything in common.

          So, the EIR is like the sacrament … the outward and visible sign of the inward and spiritual grace.  The EIR is tangible black-and-white evidence on an official legal document that clearly shows Rancho Yolo’s commitment to being heard.

          For what it is worth, it is also tangible evidence of the following comments I submitted

          Comments:
          i.  The traffic study commissioned for the project should look at traffic all the way down to Howard Way (along 5th Street). Not including traffic to Howard Way is a fatal flaw of the study.

          ii. There should be no more than one parking spot per 10 beds. Zipcar should also be available as an option (for example, 20 spots total for Zipcar). The remaining 50 spots should be for visitors only. The residents should be primarily non-automobile. The bus system is right there (Route A) – Route A on the Unitrans system is the most-used route. The students shouldn’t need vehicles.

          iii.  If you’re putting 454 trips per day on that corridor, 90% are going to be end to end. I take issue with the traffic study. It isn’t comprehensive enough.

          [moderator] edited

        25. Ron

          Don:  “I strongly urge you to reconsider your approach on the Vanguard.”

          Sorry, but I don’t like being threatened.  Not a good journalistic practice to do so, either.

           

        26. Matt Williams

          Ron said . . . There’s a saying in auditing:  “If it’s not in writing, it doesn’t exist.”  (Verbal/informal statements can be used to support other documented evidence.) 

          The same saying applies to audit industry standards for the definition of conflict of interest.  Feel free to provide a link to such standards that you have cited many, many times over.  The Institute of Internal Auditors or the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners may be able to help you with that linked standard.

          [moderator] Let’s stop discussing this issue until or unless there is an actual thread on the topic. Noting this on both comments.

        27. Ron

          Matt:

          We’ve had communications regarding conflict of interest, previously.  (Most of which was deleted.)  Again, you fail to understand the difference between auditing standards, vs. criteria.  It seems that you don’t like to honestly and openly discuss this subject, perhaps due to your personal relationships with those who might be affected. (And yet, you’re the one who keeps bringing this subject up, at this point.)

          [moderator] Let’s stop discussing this issue until or unless there is an actual thread on the topic. Noting this on both comments.

      2. Richard McCann

        Ron

        To demand proof of conversations and documentation on the comments section of a website article is completely unreasonable. You will have to accept the assertions made here, and then to the City Council meeting for the hearing on the issue and make your demands there. That is the only forum in which you will have the legal standing to make such a demand. It is pointless and a waste of everyone’s time to try to make such a demand here. You will have to live with the fact that you can only get so far in a discussion forum. Right now all of the evidence presented in this comment section are lined up against you. You will need to develop your own evidence other than your unhappiness to address these.

        1. Ron

          Richard:

          This has nothing to do with my level of “happiness”.

          Again, I’m not the one who is stating that there is an “agreement”, in which absolutely no details are provided (including basic terms of the agreement).  If this is going to be brought up by someone (as a reason that a particular development should be approved), they ought to be able to provide at least some basic information (as was the case with Rose Creek).

          In terms of “evidence lined up against me”, there is no evidence.  However, there are plenty of commenters (including some associated with the Vanguard) who apparently don’t like to be questioned. (And yes – those folks are “lined up against me”)
          [moderator] comment edited.

        2. David Greenwald

          Ron: I’m pretty much done dealing with this.

          But I’ll note that the main point that Richard made was this: “To demand proof of conversations and documentation on the comments section of a website article is completely unreasonable.”

          It was a similar point I made yesterday.

          You didn’t focus on his main point, you focused on the last line: “You will need to develop your own evidence other than your unhappiness to address these.”

          There is a basic courtesy here that you are lacking.  The courtesy goes something like this – you are free to disagree with people’s conclusions, but unless you have evidence that a representation is false, you generally grant people the benefit of the doubt.

          You’re not doing that and so you are in effect calling me a liar without evidence.

          The sad part is that I know this message will not be understood by you.  You don’t get it and you don’t want to get it.

        3. Ron

          David:

          I’m sorry that you’re taking my challenge, personally.

          Again, you (and others) are stating that there’s some type of an “agreement” with the leadership of Rancho Yolo, and that this is a REASON to support the development.  And yet, absolutely no basic information regarding this agreement has been provided. (Again, I’m not doubting that “something” occurred, but we have no idea what it is, let alone use it as a reason to support a development.)

          Sorry if those facts sound “rude” to you.

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            I’ve taken your comments personally because there is no other way to interpret them.

            Once again you have misrepresented my statement: “stating that there’s some type of an “agreement” with the leadership of Rancho Yolo, and that this is a REASON to support the development.” What I have stated is that there is a conflict resolution process which resulted in some sort of agreement, given that, the council probably should approve the project. I never said that that was a reason for you or anyone else to support the project.

            What you fail to recognize is my phrasing. From the council’s standpoint if they want to use conflict resolution in these matters, they are almost bound by that agreement – are they not? They can’t very well say, well we wanted conflict resolution but that agreement is unacceptable. That’s illogical. Hence my comment. You’ve taken that as advocacy when in fact I questioned whether it was in the best interest of the community last week.

        4. Matt Williams

          David,

          Ron’s rhetorical style is very similar to Donald Trump’s

          — I believe it, therefore it is true

          — If you don’t believe it, then you need to shut up

          Do you take Donald Trump’s comments personally?

        5. Ron

          David:

          Thanks for that additional explanation (which has somehow disappeared, after I logged in).

          I can see your point, but only if the parties involved “believed” that they had any real power to engage in a “negotiation”.  For example, in the case of Rose Creek, the council apparently made it clear that a hotel would be approved, and then essentially told the neighbors to “work something out” with the developers.  That’s appropriately described as coercion.  However, in the case of Rose Creek, at least we know something of what each side received, in the “negotiation”.  (And, the neighborhood did receive a tangible/real benefit.) With Sterling, it’s much less clear.  (Especially since the developer representative told me months ago that the proposed development would likely be scaled back, somewhat.  Now that I think about it, I recall you stating the same thing, on the Vanguard – also many months ago.)

          We also have no idea if the leadership of Rancho Yolo is simply choosing to not actively oppose the proposed development, or how individual residents feel about it. (Actually, we still no nothing at all, regarding the “agreement”.) And, I would disagree with you, in that this provides no basis for “supporting” the proposed development.

          If I understand your position correctly, the reason that you think that the “scaled back” Sterling proposal may not be best for the community is because you think that the original proposal might be better.  (And, that the community is “responsible” to provide housing for future students who are theoretically displaced by the reduction in the proposed size.)  (Again, Sterling is essentially designed as a mega-dorm, with separate bathrooms for each bedroom, etc.  It is not “workforce” housing, and will be unaffordable for most families.  This type of development is unprecedented, in Davis.)

        6. David Greenwald

          It comes down to the issue I raise in today’s column – we don’t know how many units we need, we don’t know how where they will go, we don’t know when we might need them by.  That means that all of these decisions are being made in a bit of an information vaccuum.  Right now, all we know is that the city has a shortage of available housing for an increasing student population and we have a university that to this point has not committed to fully solve that shortfall.  So is the agreement in the best interest of the community?  Right now, I cannot say yay or nay.

        7. Ron

          And David, there is this comment (and other similar comments from you).  I know that you deny this (as stated above), but it’s clearly advocacy.  No need to be defensive – just own up to it.  Is there some reason you’re avoiding doing that (which I don’t understand)? (Unfortunately, I suspect that you and others will continue to attack me again, instead.) Also, do you think that the “mysterious agreement” with Rancho Yolo leadership (whatever it is) bounds the council to approve the development? (If so, maybe they should just disregard the rest of the process, and approve it. Might save a lot of arguing. Perhaps it really is a “done deal”?)

          From article:  “The bottom line is that if the council approves the reduced project – as they really should at this point – that means we are probably going to need another apartment complex to house those 200 students that are not being housed at Sterling.”

          http://www.davisvanguard.org/2017/03/commentary-scaled-sterling-good-deal-davis/

        8. Howard P

          David… you have a quick # of City units needed… you implied it yourself, and others have given the other necessary parameters as to current # of MF & SF rental units… take the # of existing MF units, multiply by 0.002… number of vacant units, on average… multiply by 20 to 25… current need for a ‘healthy’ vacancy rate… add in another 1-3 % growth need by the time a MF project is identified, entitled, and built.  That will get you to a pretty accurate #, at least for discussion/planning purposes.

          Even if UC adds housing (another 2-4 year planning horizon, at best, assuming they commit today), that would be a good working number, particularly given that there are many voices that could easily extend the 2-4 years (min., in recent past) it takes to get a housing project approved and built in Davis.

          The pull-back on Sterling is indicative, of need vs. community ‘will’…  hope that helps frame the discussion… at this point, if approved next week, Sterling is ~ two years from occupancy.  It is what it is…

          1. Don Shor

            Putting this another way:
            The 0.2% vacancy rate was based on a total of 15 units available in the city at the time of the survey. So if you want to get it to 2% vacancy rate, you need 150 units. If you want the 5% that’s considered healthy for a rental market, you need to add 375 units. Assume growth in the student population and the resident renter population of the town, you need to add some to that. These are round numbers, but greater precision isn’t really necessary. If you don’t add them at Sterling, they are needed somewhere else. If you don’t add them somewhere else, the vacancy rate stays very low and students and non-student renters pay a premium. Or they live somewhere else.
            This isn’t rocket science.

        9. Ron

          Quote from Howard, from other article today:  “Perhaps we should put as much effort/resources into finding secure housing/food/MH resources for the folk who do not own a car, nor a bicycle, as we do for student housing/’growth’.  Perhaps we should zone for the homeless as well.

          But no… pretty much everyone here would prefer to go on and on about other ‘housing needs’… # of min/max parking spaces, vacancy rates… whatever.”

          I actually found that comment meaningful, and surprising.

          http://www.davisvanguard.org/2017/03/commentary-no-city-plan-student-housing/#comment-355148

           

        10. Matt Williams

          Ron said . . . “Thanks for that additional explanation (which has somehow disappeared, after I logged in).”

          Ron, the disappearance pattern you are describing is consistent with the Ignore Commenter feature of the Vanguard.  You have apparently clicked on the Ignore Commenter link inadvertently, or meant to click on the Report Comment link and by mistake clicked on the link above it.  If you want to start seeing David’s comments again you will need to submit a request to Technical Support.

        11. Howard P

          Don… that’s kinda’ a part of the point (your 4:23 post) I was trying to make, but thank you for confirming, and perhaps simplifying… yet, we have the time and opportunity factor… something about “stop digging, when you are already in a hole”.

          Best…

        12. Mark West

          Don: “The 0.2% vacancy rate was based on a total of 15 units available in the city at the time of the survey. So if you want to get it to 2% vacancy rate, you need 150 units. If you want the 5% that’s considered healthy for a rental market, you need to add 375 units.

          I think your math fails to incorporate the demand now being met by groups of students living in single family homes (mini-dorms in the vernacular). There are roughly 5000+ single family homes currently being rented in town. If only 10% of those are occupied by an average of four unrelated adults per house (students or otherwise) then we have an additional 2000 beds in excess demand for the existing apartments. If, as I expect, the percentage is closer to 50% of the rental homes, then we are looking at an unmet need of greater than 10,000 beds (not to mention those forced to live outside of town).

          If we added 375 new apartment units tomorrow I doubt it would have a significant impact on the apartment vacancy rate.

        13. Howard P

          Ron… your 3:38 post (yesterday) intrigues me… why do you consider my post, which you quoted, “surprising”?

          Are you surprised that there are homeless in Davis? That I care about their situation?

          Please explain the source of your “surprise”… I’d truly like to understand… those who know me would express no surprise at all…

        14. Ron

          Howard:

          The reason that it surprised me is because no one else is speaking up for the most vulnerable among us.  (Those without homes, or any form of transportation.) Some go as far as to suggest eliminating Affordable housing programs, as well.

          And yet, the entire political focus is limited to those who already have existing options for housing, one way or another.

          Ultimately, it seems that most are simply self-interested, one way or another. (Or, only care about those whom we personally know, etc.)

          1. Don Shor

            The reason that it surprised me is because no one else is speaking up for the most vulnerable among us. (Those without homes, or any form of transportation.) Some go as far as to suggest eliminating Affordable housing programs, as well.

            The city’s Affordable Housing program has nothing whatsoever to do with homelessness. To conflate them in the same paragraph is either clueless or disingenuous.
            Here are the income levels to qualify for Davis affordable housing ownership:

            120% of Area Median Income (2016 state income data):
            Household Size Income Limit
            1 person $64,600
            2 people $73,850
            3 people $83,050
            4 people $92,300
            5 people $99,700
            6 people $107,050
            More info here: http://cityofdavis.org/city-hall/city-manager-s-office/housing-and-grants-management/affordable-housing-program/ownership
            Homeless citizens need shelter. They aren’t going to be served by means of the Affordable Housing program. I commend Mayor Davis and some local members of our community who make efforts to bring attention to this issue. But it has nothing to do with development or housing projects, unless you are advocating that those be considered for means of providing temporary shelters.

            Ultimately, it seems that most are simply self-interested, one way or another.

            I seriously don’t know why you say crap like this.

        15. Ron

          Don:  “I seriously don’t know why you say crap like this.”

          Maybe because it’s true?  (I guess that moderators don’t have to word their comments, more thoughtfully.)

          Again, absolutely no focus (by most) on those who have no homes or transportation. It’s all about “me”, or those I personally know (e.g., my employees whom I can’t sufficiently compensate, for example).

        16. Howard P

          Well, Ron, I have known some of the homeless, by names and faces… engaged with them… brought/bought the food (I do not give money), clue them in to resources… facilitated a close friend who brought them socks, ponchos, daypacks, etc. (even when she was recovering from foot surgery, and who is dangerously near being ‘poor’ herself (she has enough family/close friends to keep her from being homeless)).

          One of the most memorable was a guy named Wes… he passed, of a heart attack, probably induced in part by exposure, about 5 weeks after I met him… he was the clear leader of about 3 guys and a dog… after talking with him for about 20 minutes, wondered how a guy like that ended up in that situation… sobering, to say the least.

          No family claimed his body… the Public Guardian’s office saw to his cremation and interment at Knight’s Landing cemetery… every year, on the Friday before Memorial Day, there is a ceremony, sponsored by the PG’s office to read the names, share recollections when their cremains are interred in the crypt.  I was there, as my friend who ‘adopted’ the ‘lost boy’s could not.

          I spoke up, quoting John Donne, in part, particularly, from parts of,

          No man is an island entire of itself; every man
          is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
          if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe
          is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as
          well as any manner of thy friends or of thine
          own were; any man’s death diminishes me,
          because I am involved in mankind.
          And therefore never send to know for whom
          the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

          But that’s just me… I’d add ‘suffering’ to the ‘death’ thing… if we allow ‘suffering’, doing nothing, we are diminished, IMHO…

        17. Howard P

          Ron… have to agree (emphatically) with Don… tying my posts re: concern of having zoning to have non-profits to shelter and help the homeless with their basic  (inc. MH) needs, to “affordable housing” is a great perversion (yeah, I freely use that word), and an affront to the point I attempted to convey.

          Knock it off… you are behaving like an ASS, IMHO. You remind me of someone in high power who twists things, and never apologizes when caught…

          [Don, feel free to edit my ‘a-word’, but I was p***ed off… je suis desolee]

        18. Ron

          Howard:

          Thanks for sharing that story, as well as the quote from John Donne.

          Regarding Affordable housing, I understand that there are some programs specifically designed for the homeless (and/or very-low income). (That’s what I was thinking of, when I made the comment.)

        19. Howard P

          Ron… those ‘programs’ in the public sector do not exist, except for a pilot project in W Sac, as I recall…

          It is the ‘faith community’ or other community based ‘charities’ who provides the bulk of services… Community Meals, inter-faith rotational shelter (only a few months in winter), STEAC… many are not ‘low income’… they are ‘no income’… some get SS, SSI… many don’t… many beg (but there are some charlatans there, particularly ‘Romas’).  If you want to put your money or efforts where your mouth is, I can assist.

          I, my spouse and several friends bring our ‘time, talents and treasures’ to that effort…

           

        20. Howard P

          Yes, Don (most recent post)… there is some public funds distributed to the private efforts… but the major sources of funding commitments are private, not public.

        21. Ron

          Per my link, above:

          “Affordable housing units that are partially funded with government subsidies will often be affordable to households at or below $46,140 (for a household of 4).  These units are marked with a “G” in the chart.”

          (Wonder if anyone is busy performing calculations showing the need for housing for these folks.)

  2. Eileen Samitz

    David,

    In addition, these dorm 4- and 5- bedroom “suites” do not provide housing for families who need rental housing. This Sterling project with its single-room-occupancy “rent-by-the-bed” situation belongs on campus, not in the City. It is exclusive by design. Traditional 1,2 and 3 bedroom apartments can be rented by anyone, not targeting just students.

    1. David Greenwald

      You are correct, these dorms do not provide housing for families who need rental housing.  The biggest problem for families who need rental housing – and my family is one of them – is that there is not enough housing for students in Davis and so single family homes are getting used for students rather than families.  Efforts to provide more rental housing for students should also indirectly benefit families in Davis who need rental housing.

      1. Howard P

        David… do you not realize that some students also have families?  Know many (but not %-age wise) students, in early 20’s, who have already started families of their own… I decided to wait, until graduation, getting a steady job, to start mine… some don’t…

        Just because you are a young student doesn’t mean you don’t have a spouse and/or children…

        1. Howard P

          Follow-up… “dorm” situations are not conducive to ‘family’ situations…

          Traditionally dorms have common restrooms/baths… and common eating areas (cafeterias/dining halls)… lived in that environment for 3 years as a student… was fine, and a pretty good allocation of space.

          Trends in ‘student apartments’ has gone from 2 bedrooms, two students to each room, with one or two bathrooms, one kitchen, to 1 ba/br, etc.  Not very efficient for housing… despite dramatic increases in tuition, the average UCD student has access to a lot more financial resources (even figuring in inflation) than 30-40 years ago.  Particularly the “out-of State-ers”…

          A night out at a restaurant, etc. was maybe a twice a quarter thing for me… when we were dating, was a ‘splurge’ to go to a $2 movie @ 194 Chem, and dinner @ Mr. B’s.  Bicycles (Schwinns) were our only transportation, other than walking. And I had a tuition free ride as a NMS (and a good summer job).  Books, lodging and food were the killers… no cell phone, no internet, no CATV… doing much better now!

    2. Richard McCann

      Howard P

      The market works this way: undergrads (who almost never have additional family members in the UCs–not so true with the CSUs) are currently living in many single family dwellings around town. (About 5,000 of the 14,000 SF homes are rentals here). By giving these students more options to rent in apartments, they move out of the SF homes, that will likely continue to be rentals. Those now vacant SF rentals become available to the grad students who often have families with them (and the additional UC staff that we continue to ignore in these discussions as well.)

      It’s foolish to build more housing for student families when the cheaper solution is to move younger single students out of the existing SF housing stock.

  3. Todd Edelman

    Wow, I’m sorry that I didn’t move here soon enough to make informed comments on the EIR. I’m sorry because this project is so many layers of unfortunate:

    At Davis Futures Forum on Sunday evening a packed City Council Chambers had a general look at a lot of tremendously varied infill housing and projects in Portland, Oregon, but for me what was more useful was one slide about minimum parking requirements in Portland for apartment buildings. Both Portland and Davis– no, let’s focus in and make it Both Portland and the revised proposal for the Sterling Apartments – refer to “units” though Portland’s parking ratio is based per unit and Sterling’s is per bed, but let’s say that a 160-unit apt. bldg. -just the market rate part; more on that in a second – in Portland and Sterling is the essentially the same thing, with the same number of residents: The parking minimum for this type of building in Portland is .33 per unit. So, a 160-until bldg. would have about 54 car parking spaces. The revised Sterling has 343, almost seven times as much. the Vanguard’s extensive research on the issue produces a figure of 230, still more than four times as much. More seriously the former but definitely both are based on the idea that we have to equip the building for the cars of potential tenants. Because why exactly? It is it fair to criticize this when Sterling has a 1:1 ratio of beds-to-bike parking and most people in Davis recognize that supplying bike parking is a good thing? Yes, it is… because both UC Davis and the city policies emphasize active travel and/or use of transit. They do… and yet the city at least is well below targets for bicycle modal share this year. I don’t mean that they’ve reached 75% of the goal (pathetic enough), nor much more 50% or 60% of the target set three years ago for a 25% modal share for trips to work, shopping and entertainment. I’ve done a non-scientific evaluation in several key areas/activities everywhere on the generally north end of town from the Sutter Health Complex and related offices just west of the 113, to the “pig shopping center” just east of 113 on West Covell, then Oak Tree Plaza (Nugget) and Nugget Field Wildhorse: On a sunny but not warm day recently out of approximately 1,500 cars parked at all these places there were about 25 bicycles. That’s a 1.75% modal share and I won’t patronize anyone’s math skills further.

    It’s an absolute falsehood that feet (walking), various types of bicycles + public transportation (from Unitrans to Capitol Corridor) + carshare (including truckshare) + classic car rental + taxi/car hailing + paratransit + homeworking cannot supply virtually all the mobility needs of all ages and abilities of people in Davis; there’s a vastly different outcome when the goal is to provide parking for people who own cars. Essentially, Sterling could have zero private automobile storage and be fine at its size in the current proposal, the original and even bigger than that. Our city’s arbitrary and quite gluttonous minimum parking requirement facilitated a lie told to residents of Rancho Yolo and really everyone around town. The premise is rotten and against city goals and policy, but we view it like a Commandment.

    Yes, there are other gluttony issues with Sterling (the ridiculous number of bathrooms which take up a huge amount of space and are very expensive to build), a potential impact on water infrastructure and expanding this category further the ridiculous notion of segregating poor people on the noisier end of the site, and, as I understand it, not allowing them to access the market rate part’s pool and other facilities. (The plan at the Cannery is roughly similar, but at the least affordable housing residents there can use the pool…) And consider what could be done with the money not used for building a parking structure at about $20,000 per space: Close to $7,000,000 for everything from more housing to lots of fancy bicycles that can truly replace cars for most trips around town to a small movie theatre onsite that neighbors can also visit to a start on improvements to the intersection of Pole Line and 5th — instead the plan is provide storage for cars that will end up being parked much of the time, like all cars. Sterling is a model for supplying parking and bathrooms in extremely unnecessary numbers.

    I think that an integrated building is better with dwellings that can work for anyone, with shared facilities on side catering to different needs. UC Davis needs to build housing on campus, but there should also be a formal way for it to subsidize the construction of apartments around town that anyone can live in.

    As far as further details go – and these form the basis of a very weak compromise – there are so many changes necessary in the current proposal beyond the mature and anti-entitled reverse of its automobile-lifestyle placation: Smart bathroom design isn’t two bathrooms, but separating the toilet from the other part (and this is more hygienic to boot); the bicycle parking plan creates a circuitous route for most tenants — the design should facilitate a direct-as-possible route from anywhere in the building towards the street with your bike more or less on the way there. This extreme general flaw is based on bicycles as toys, for sport or a casual cruise: Not to make it easy to go shopping. Further, the planned bike racks have a vertical orientation to save space: These are difficult to use with a heavier (normal) bicycle, especially for small and weaker people (um, yeah – this design is sexist.)

    A nice building for 600 people or somewhat more could be created at this site if the city’s regulations facilitated rather than restricted or ignored its goals, and if we dispense of the notion that it’s necessary to own a car in a town like Davis or what Davis can be in a few year.

     

    1. Howard P

      No way in hell that Davis can afford to build the transit/public transportation system that Portland has, in the next quarter century… not happening… we are ~ 10% the size, and public transit is dependent on users (and broad based subsidies)… it’s actually a bit surprising we have as much public transit as we do…

    2. Todd Edelman

      Howard P:
      Contradicting me is one thing, and with referenced facts its even better – but using strawman arguments is always a kind of polite hate speech.  So what’s with the straw-y arguments? Did I even imply that Davis has to have the same public transport system as Portland?

      Without private cars, there will be a huge demand for buses from this development, eventually making increased services easy to justify. Perhaps not right away, no — but consider a future with a re-developed PG&E service yard – actually all the entirely of the light-industrial, low-level and no-level zone along both sides of 5th east of L, north of 2nd and east of Pole Line is begging for a huge amount of carfree housing in mixed-use developments. The developer can even get some praise for building the first large carfree housing solution off-campus, an anchor for a huge new sustainable neighborhood 5 min from the high speed rail station and Downtown..  and 10 min from campus.

      1. Don Shor

        In order for those sorts of things to happen (5th to 2nd development etc.) you would have to have interested and willing landowners, a revised General Plan with new zoning, and a developer willing to take those risks. We might be able to get the General Plan part. I’m very dubious about the other parts.

        It has been established pretty firmly over many years that PG&E is not interested in moving, selling, or developing their property. There aren’t that many parcels left now along 2nd Street. There could be some infill developed or redeveloped there, but not much.

        Redeveloping 5th Street east of L was actually part of the economic development strategy developed by a process involving DSIDE and a peripheral task force subcommittee over several years, starting in about 2010. The other parts of that strategy were Nishi, MRIC, and the business park near the hospital. As you can see, the whole thing has kind of fallen apart. 5th Street never even got put out to a request for expressions of interest.

        It is perhaps frustrating to people who have a more global planning perspective that Davis plans and builds in such a piecemeal fashion. But I don’t see that changing any time soon. There are serious impediments to making significant changes in how things are planned and developed here. Measure R is one of the impediments, and a strong cohort of residents who oppose almost any project and who have the political clout to keep them from happening.

        You’ve got a lot to overcome to achieve what you’ve described. I’d be very surprised if you’ll ever find a developer willing to risk capital on it.

        1. Todd Edelman

          Don, thanks for all of that, both the facts and the analysis ;-). I can’t learn everything from the City Hall website, the LocalWiki or the mobsters getting a trim at the barber shop.

          Clearly “New East Davis” has to get started as a part of more comprehensive plan, which hopefully we can figure out how to happen/re-launch as Measure R-ism encourages more peripheral construction of housing in Woodland only easily accessed without the bus or the bike, so that people have to drive to and from Davis, mitigating the positives of itself. Everything done badly in Woodland affects Davis, too.

          My earlier thought and perhaps still a reasonable response about PG&E is: Since a service facility for large utility vehicles – i.e. a facility with marginal tactical relevance for Downtown – is more appropriate at the periphery of Davis with easy access to 113 or 80, has a swap been considered?

        2. Howard P

          Let’s see… moving the PG&E corp yard from across the street from the Davis electrical substation to a peripheral site… moving it away from the major natural gas pipelines adjacent to and/or under it (the main NG pipelines are on Second, and on L streets).

          Actually the PG&E corp yard and facilities adjacent were indeed developed at the periphery of the City… when they came into being… before Fifth Street extended past L…

          Yeah, more polite “hate speech”…

          1. Don Shor

            What I have been told — and I think what you have described in more detail — is that the PG&E yard is where it is for a lot of very good reasons, that it would be extremely expensive to move it, and that there would be no advantage to PG&E to do so. I also think there might be site toxicity issues normal for corporation yards that have been in place since the days before we were more careful with petrochemicals and pesticides. Ultimately it would take years to put together the deal that would result in PG&E moving, and they have no incentive to participate. So it’s a pipe dream. Nothing wrong with pipe dreams, it’s just that they shouldn’t be used in any aspect of realistic planning.

        3. Mark West

          “they shouldn’t be used in any aspect of realistic planning.”

          I think we generally do our planning on too short of a time-frame, for example, the 10-year expected term of a functioning General Plan. If we are looking at 10-20 years then I would agree that ‘pipe dreams’ have little place in ‘realistic planning.’ However, if we switch to a 50-year timeframe, then it is reasonable to think about the PG&E yard moving. That doesn’t mean it is going to happen, just that it is reasonable to consider the prospects as part of realistic planning. The same could be said for the rail line, though I think 100 years is more likely there.

           

        4. Howard P

          Don… ‘blown’ transformers were taken to the yard… are you familiar with the term PCB?  See, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polychlorinated_biphenyl#History

          ‘Roundup’ would be a minor/trivial contaminant by comparison.

          Am not aware of any Phase I (much less more detailed) site assessment on the site.

          For a number of reasons, I do not believe there is anywhere near a “clear and present danger” to the public given the current uses and protocols, due to pavement/soil contamination… unless disturbed… the biggest risk in the area was the leaking gasoline tanks from the gas station @ NE corner @ Fifth and L.  That was ‘abated’ decades ago…

          Yet, although it is highly unlikely that the PG&E corp yard will be redeveloped, per se, in any of our lifetimes, there is a possibility that PG&E could, with the right security, open up a portion of the site, off L, between Third and Fourth, as a leased site for surface parking, perhaps with trams/shuttles (ala SLO) to the downtown… that actually has a possibility of happening, if approached diplomatically, and cooperatively… but their on-site security and lack of soil disturbance would be paramount to any consideration by PG&E.

          Your assessment of ‘pipe dream’ for relocation/redevelopment is pretty much spot on, but it would not be tobacco in the pipe… something more like MJ or opium.

          Damn… got to stop using “polite hate speech”!

          1. Don Shor

            ‘Roundup’ would be a minor/trivial contaminant by comparison.

            RoundUp wouldn’t be a contaminant at all. But it wasn’t uncommon to use simazine or prometon (Triox) for weed management in the old days, sometimes at rates that worked as pre-emergent and sometimes at higher rates for longer-term soil sterilization. I have no idea what the practices were there in the 1970’s, but both of those were common.
            We had a contract with them to manage their weeds in the 1980’s (not using those). That was to control the weeds that grew on the perimeter areas. It seemed hardly any weeds grew in the main parts of the yard.

        5. Howard P

          Mark… yeah, if we can anticipate 50-100 years out, that might work for the PG&E site.   100 years ago, airplanes started to be real… rockets weren’t… women couldn’t vote… SS wasn’t conceived of… cel phones?  Computers?  Penicillin?

          I agree on the RR thing tho’… existing R/W must be preserved on a 100-200 year time frame.

          As to General Plans, a 20-30 year horizon is probably the most we can hope for, assuming there is a 5-10 year reality check within that “window”…

          Sorry, Mark, that you’ve now (apparently) been a target for my “polite hate speech”… mea culpa…

        6. Mark West

          “Sorry, Mark, that you’ve now (apparently) been a target for my “polite hate speech”… mea culpa…”

          I suspect we are all guilty of that, especially as we all apparently think alike.
           

        7. Todd Edelman

          I don’t see anything concrete that connects – at a technical or functional level – a substation, the service yard and the gas line. My understanding is that it’s not a repair facility for power equipment, just PG&E vehicles. I’m not denying the likely presence of the chemicals you both mention… and I still don’t know if a swap was ever considered.

          And the given the proximity to Toad Hollow… all this stuff has maybe been leaching to the Bypass for decades?

          Pipedream scenario:

          June 6, 2017: City of Davis files eminent domain claim against PG&E
          May 8, 2o18: U.S. Supreme Court overturns Appellate Court ruling, orders PG&E to vacate land in Davis in trade for (…….)
          July 20, 2019: U.S. Supreme Court overturns Appellate Court ruling, orders University of California to house 75% of its students on campus, and to pay share of construction costs for new apartments in Davis.

  4. Howard P

    Ron… tired of digging into the one part of this thread…

    Do you not understand that the homeless have far less than $40 k per year?

    To equate ‘affordable housing’ to homelessness, again I say, is perverted.

    1. Ron

      Howard:

      Did you miss my other comment, above? (Not sure why you’re asking that question.)

      “Affordable housing units that are partially funded with government subsidies will often be affordable to households at or below $46,140 (for a household of 4).  These units are marked with a “G” in the chart.”

      http://cityofdavis.org/home/showdocument?id=3264

      Wonder if anyone is busy performing calculations to show the need for housing for these folks.

       

       

       

      1. Don Shor

        There is also some Section 8 housing available for people in Davis. Are you actually interested in this topic? Yes, there are people addressing this issue. In fact, affordable housing/low-income housing have strong advocates in Davis. Again, those aren’t relevant to homelessness, but they are factored into new developments.

        1. Howard P

          Watch out, Don… you are getting close to a “trap”, set, in my opinion, by Ron… the homeless are not “low-income”… by and large, they are no income, or perhaps getting some SSI… they are not in “the workforce”, per se, they are dependent on begging, their wits [survival skills… a certain %-age are PTSD, but had military training (first Gulf War, and Iraq, based on what he told me)… Wes was one of those], and private charity, and most, if not all would not qualify for even “very low income” housing…

          1. Don Shor

            Ron is hopelessly conflating separate issues. I would hope we have both made that point sufficiently now. We’ll see.

        2. Howard P

          Don.. timed out on a previous addition to my post, and promise, this will be my last contribution on this topic…

          The so-called “progressives”, including “Old North” leadership, and Mr H, shut down expansion of STEAC food/clothes closet @ Fifth and D… the record is clear (most, as Mr H and ST lobbied/threatened staff behind the scenes, as well)… they did not want to have homeless/low income folk in their neighborhoods… Ms G also was active in getting the “unclean/unwashed” folk from getting services at DCC.  Hypocrites, all, IMO…

          It is all in the record at PC and CC levels…

          Suspect Ron considers himself a progressive…

      2. Howard P

        Did not miss it… it was irrelevant to the homeless issue.

        Yes, some private/public ‘censuses’ indicate there are, at any given time, hundreds of homeless in Yolo County, at least two dozen in Davis… they sleep under overcrossings, make ‘caves’ by the stretch of old Putah Creek between I-80 and UPRR, find respite from the weather to sleep in front of vacant commercial buildings in the Core…

        The ‘censuses’ are suspect… many of the homeless will not cooperate… it is reasonable to assume the numbers are 1.5-2 times the ‘official’ numbers.

        Homelessness goes well beyond ‘shelter’, but that is a critical part of it, particularly in the winter.  It is also about food, health care (particularly MH care, and dentistry).  Try this… with $20 in your pocket, little/no ID, no credit cards, no family, “live on the streets” for a year.  I’ll even show you what charities are available, in a limited way, to sustain your life.  Report back… btw, you have to give up a laptop/smart phone, etc., for it to be a realistic experience.

  5. Ron

    My main point remains.  There is a significant effort to “justify” large-scale, student-oriented housing in less-than-ideal locations.  This type of design is unprecedented, in Davis.

    Some are not even willing to wait until the LRDP process has been completed, to provide an opportunity to ensure that such housing is located in the best possible place (on campus).  Since such decisions are essentially permanent, it would be best for all parties (including students) to give the LRDP process a chance. Rest assured, some of us are still working toward an optimal solution. (Unfortunately, some have, and will continue to denigrate that effort.)

    In the meantime, there are folks who don’t have ANY housing options (and are not students), who are prohibited from living on campus.  Very few speak up for them.

     

     

     

      1. Ron

        Are there any other apartment complexes with 4-5 bedrooms, each with its own bathroom?  Do you think this will be “affordable” to families, for example?

        1. Don Shor

          In 2016 there were 556 units in Davis that had 4 bedrooms. I don’t know how many bathrooms those have.
          Families are unlikely to live in Sterling, any more than they are likely to live in the many dozens of other apartment complexes in Davis that were designed primarily for students.

    1. Don Shor

      http://davismerchants.org/vanguard/davisapartmentmap.png
      A significant number of these apartment complexes are large-scale, student-oriented housing. Many are not much closer to campus than Sterling.
      Even if the LRDP was changed to the 100%/50% requested by the city council, it would not eliminate the need for rental housing in town. This point has been made many times before. You are just using the LRDP as your current excuse to oppose apartment housing.

      1. Ron

        Don:  “You are just using the LRDP as your current excuse to oppose apartment housing”.

        That’s an outright lie.  If you weren’t the moderator, I would “report” that comment.

        Again, the design for single-room occupancy is what makes Sterling different.

         

        1. Howard P

          David… just understand it’s Ron’s SOP… asking for documentation from the poster is kinda’ like asking a certain high level federal official for the same… ain’t a happening thing.

        2. Don Shor

          Single-room leasing (‘bed lease’) is not uncommon at all. About 11% of apartments in Davis are now under ‘bed-lease’ arrangements. Vacancy rate for those (counted by the bed) is about 1%. Four-bedroom units are most common for this, but some 2 – 3 bedroom also are under bed-lease.

        3. Matt Williams

          Howard P said . . . “David… just understand it’s Ron’s SOP… asking for documentation from the poster is kinda’ like asking a certain high level federal official for the same… ain’t a happening thing.”

          Agreed Howard. 
          edited

          As I said yesterday, Ron’s rhetorical style is very similar to that certain high level federal official’s

          — I believe it, therefore it is true

          — If you don’t believe it, then you need to shut up

          [moderator] off topic comment removed

        4. David Greenwald

          Howard P : I’m asking for his evidence because I happen to know he’s wrong.

          According to the latest housing survey, 950 units are “bed Lease” arrangements.  Sixty-three percent of leased beds were located in four-bedroom units.

          He’s not aware of any large scale apartments that lease by the bed, that’s only because he’s not familiar with apartments in Davis.

        5. Ron

          Again, Sterling is designed to be single-room occupancy (and lease), from the start (for the entire development, except for the affordable housing component).  4-5 bedrooms, each with its own bathroom.  Essentially, a dormitory located far from campus.  Requiring a daily (or more frequent) “commute” through a congested city.

          Whether or not there are other “somewhat” similar complexes, it’s not an appropriate site for this type of large-scale facility.

          A permanent decision, impacting the entire city (and setting a precedent).  All because some don’t even want to wait for completion of the LRDP process, to ensure that such facilities are located on campus (where it’s better for everyone).

           

           

           

          1. Don Shor

            All because some don’t even want to wait for completion of the LRDP process,

            I rest my case.

          2. David Greenwald Post author

            And there are 600 beds leased in 4-bedroom apartments in the city on a bed lease basis. That’s just among the ones that were surveyed from 2016. There is nothing unprecedented about Sterling and you have failed to prove otherwise.

      2. Howard P

        Lets see… Greystone and the apt complex on Cantrill, opposite the PD station were specifically designed, and marketed to students… New Harmony was designed/marketed for low/moderate income families… Eleanor Roosevelt was designed/marketed to low/moderate income seniors.  Things ‘morph’ over time… many of the older apartment complexes Ivy Town (forget the new name), 1111 J, Cranbrook, Americana Arms, Arlington Farms, etc., were originally designed/marketed for students.

        Yet, we can not legally restrict housing by “status”, except in limited circumstances…

    2. Matt Williams

      Ron said . . . “There is a significant effort to “justify” large-scale, student-oriented housing in less-than-ideal locations.”

      Ron, as is often the case you are looking at open dialogue in absolute terms. What you (and others) see as “efforts to justify” is not seen that way by moderates in the center who are trying to become informed about the many facets of the student housing issue.  They are looking to educate themselves on a complex issue.

      I have recently had half a dozen different people come up to me and ask me “Who is Ron, and why does he want to censor what can be discussed in the Vanguard?” Some of the half dozen have gone on to ask what harm you see in free-wheeling, open dialogue on the Vanguard and in the larger Davis community.  Others in the half dozen have wondered aloud about your unilateral insistence that all discussion of subjects that don’t comport with your strongly-held values must cease.  One of the half dozen asked, “What right does Ron have to believe he can make up my mind for me?”

      My own personal opinion is that in the USA, our individual right of free speech is protected by the Constitution.  As a result Tim Ruff (as an example of an individual member of the Development profession) and you (in your non-anonymous alter ego) both have the same rights to express your opinions on housing, as well as bring forward proposals to the community for community action.

      Your proposal is that the City step aside and wait until the University completes its LRDP process.  Others feel differently.  Democracy says all sides get to fully express their viewpoints.  Censorship says parts of the public need to zip their lips until the “all clear” signal is given.

      Davis prides itself in being a free market of ideas.  How does your form of unilateral judgmental censorship fit into that free market?

  6. Ron

    Also, I understand that it’s designed to be single-room occupancy (and leased that way).  Also, students won’t necessarily be able to “choose” their room mates.

  7. Ron

    David:

    Perhaps I’ve accidentally hit “report comment” when attempting to respond to you.  (In any case, your comment has “disappeared” when I logged in.)

    Again, I don’t know of any other large-scale apartment complex in Davis, in which each room is planned to be leased individually.

    Soon, I’ll need to move on to other commitments, today.  Also, it’s kind of tiring and overwhelming to argue with a group of obvious supporters of this type of development, on my own.  (Especially when misleading comments and outright lies are being used, by some.)

    As I said, the most frequent commenters on the Vanguard seem to be those who pretty much “think alike”, and attack those who challenge their thoughts.  Maybe it’s best to simply let you guys agree with each other, without challenge.

    Regarding Matt’s most recent statement (above), that’s simply unsupported character assassination. (Something that he accused me of, for discussing a factual situation.) He is on an entirely different plane, then anyone else. Not even worth responding to.

    1. Howard P

      Wow!  

      If anyone thinks, I, David, Matt W, Don, Tia, Keith, Mark W, Jim F, etc. [including historically, Frankly, Jerry, etc.] are presenting a united front on anything is clearly delusional.  We find “common ground” occasionally… like wanting facts and civility… although none of us is batting 100% on that…

      But as you have said, I am just a troll… feel free to ignore my voice… an accusation you have never backed off on… I care not. Was taught to “consider the source”…

  8. Howard P

    Sidebar, David and Don…this ‘lease by bed’ concept is foreign to me… can you point me towards a source to better understand… questions include:

    per actual bed, or ‘imputed’ bed?  Some of the folk I lived with/knew, would take a bedroom, that could have included two beds, as a room for their sole use (one bed)… other roommates worked out a fair share of the rental share… landlord was not involved…

    does the ‘bed’ rental mean that other tenants have no control who lives with them?  Maybe even sharing a bedroom?  What I was used to was renting a 2 bdr apartment that whether the tenants were 2, 3, 4, more, the same rent was owed and the tenants on the lease were jointly/severably responsible for that rent.

    Sure glad it won’t affect me or mine in the foreseeable future… we own a house which is shared with a child, and have two other children living in a house my daughter owns.

    Rent is not a part of our reality…

    Any links, directions on the concept greatly appreciated…

    1. Don Shor

      If they’re managed as Student Housing Apartments (SHA) by master leases through the university, the housing office provides placement services. Adobe at Evergreen on Shasta is an example. It’s 120 units (and incidentally is just about as far from the north edge of campus as Sterling will be from the east edge of campus). So you can self-select, and do that with roommates, or they’ll help to match you. All on a first-come first-serve basis, and with a 1% fall vacancy rate it is obviously advisable to get in when continuing students start lining up their housing for the next year in February.
      http://housing.ucdavis.edu/prospective/sha-general-information.asp

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