Analysis: How SB 35 Might Impact Local Community Planning and Development

Last fall, the state legislature approved SB 35, and the question was going to be how it impacted local communities.  A report released earlier reported that 97.6 percent of California cities and counties were failing to approve the housing needed to keep pace with population growth, which put the bill in the crosshairs of legislation aimed to fast track development.

“When 97 percent of cities are failing to meet their housing goals,” the bill’s author, Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, said in a statement in February, “it’s clear we need to change how we approach housing in California.”

SB 35 would take effect when cities and counties lag behind annual progress reports.  It would apply only to those projects that comply with existing zoning, would pay the prevailing wage and ensure at least ten percent of new units are affordable or priced below market value.

One such project is at the old Vallco Mall in the city of Cupertino.  As the Mercury News reported: “Mixed into the project will be 2,402 residential units — a huge jump from the 389 units in the city’s plan — and a major boost to the housing stock in a city where booming job growth and sluggish housing creation has driven the cost of renting or buying a home through the roof. Half of the proposed residential units would be reserved for qualifying low-income residents making $84,900 or less for a family of four.”

The catch is that the developers plan to do it without giving Cupertino’s city leaders a chance to say no.  The development company, in a move that will be watched very carefully, submitted the application under SB 35, which eliminates political delays that the developers believe had bogged down its redevelopment efforts for the four previous years.

It became just the second proposal, the Mercury News reported, under the law “which seeks to fast track affordable housing focused projects, following an application submitted for a 260-unit project at 1900 Fourth St. in Berkeley” earlier this year.

“It has now gotten to a point where we do not have any confidence that this process can come to a conclusion in a timely manner,” said Reed Moulds, managing director of Sand Hill. “This housing crisis needs to be resolved in a manner that actually provides near-term solutions, and sites like this have an opportunity to do a lot of good for the housing situation.”

This part should sound familiar: “[T]he Vallco plan isn’t likely to get a warm reception from Cupertino residents who have sought to slow the city’s growth, concerned about increasing traffic, overcrowding city schools and losing local retail shops. The Better Cupertino political action group, for example, has fought against turning Vallco into a major office and housing project.”

The city officials would have 180 days to approve the proposal under SB 35, and that is assuming it meets the city’s zoning and planning requirements.

One councilmember said that, while it appeared the city could not reject the plan, “he’s hopeful city officials, Sand Hill and local residents can continue working together and possibly come up with a better project.”

There is also concern that the developer is using SB 35 to rush the plan through.  “Cupertino residents were told they would have a voice in the planning process, and now that’s been taken away,” some leaders have said.

The Vallco is a symbol of suburban decline.  It was built in the 1970s “as a state-of-the-art” shopping center.  Now the mall is a ghost town of empty store fronts, and many are shut with metal gates.

The Sand Hill Property Company bought Vallco, now closed and deserted, in 2014 and is putting the property at the forefront of a new fight – one that pits land use principles of slow growth against a statewide affordable housing crisis.

There are lots of big questions which SB 35 and this situation raises for Davis.  One is whether Measure R, which is up for renewal in two years, will stand up in the face of increasing pressure from the state to build more housing.  The second is how efforts like SB 35 will impact communities like Davis.  Given that many of the housing properties in Davis would have to have their land use designations changed, it might be that Davis would avoid this sort of forced development.

But, then again, it may be that SB 35 is simply the first domino in a series of dominoes that will take planning out of the hands of local government bodies.  That all remains to be seen.

—David M. Greenwald reporting


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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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117 thoughts on “Analysis: How SB 35 Might Impact Local Community Planning and Development”

  1. Ron

    From article:  “Last fall, the state legislature approved SB 35, the question was going to be how it impacted local communities.  A report released earlier reported that 97.6 percent of California cities and counties were failing to approve the housing needed to keep pace with population growth which put the in the cross-hairs of legislation aimed to fast-track development.”

    There is a fundamental flaw in the logic of these assertions.  Although existing housing stock can sometimes be filled with more residents, building more housing facilitates endless population increases in such areas.  When a given area becomes too crowded or expensive, folks move on to other areas where growth and development is more welcome (as is happening now).  There is nothing “wrong” with that process.  However, there’s plenty “wrong” with forcing communities to continue to accept endless development.

    It’s as if crazy people at the state level have suddenly become in charge of the planning process. (Or more accurately – the destruction of the planning process.)

     

    1. David Greenwald Post author

      That’s assuming that demand creates supply rather than trying to artificially curtail demand through the suppression of supply. You haven’t made a showing to substantiate your position.

      1. Howard P

        Another good movie, “Field of Dreams”… ‘build it and they will come’… also fiction, loosely based on reality…

        Corollary… ‘don’t build it, and they won’t come’… equally fictional… loosely based on reality…

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            Given that huge portions of the state are experiencing a housing crisis, that may or may not be a useful metric.

        1. Richard McCann

          Ron, note that 97% of California communities failed to build sufficient housing to meet population growth. That means even if Davis exceeded the average built statewide, it still didn’t meet its share for population growth.

        2. Ron

          Your comment did not address whether or not Davis is in the top 3%, to meet its share of population growth (whatever that means).

          Davis is, in fact, exceeding it’s fair share, according to SACOG.

          And again, if housing isn’t built, then it will impact population growth (for a given area).  That’s one reason that folks are leaving California.

          Economic crashes also impact this.  Folks move to where jobs are located (and where the local economy is in relatively good shape), and where housing costs are not excessive. That’s simply a fact, not an “advocacy”.

    2. Jeff M

      Oh yes… the scarcity mindset.  It is related to the fear of change mindset.

      If we build more lanes, it will cause more traffic.

      If we build more homes, it will cause more people.

      Abundance is so SCARY!   Make things scarce and my hamlet will be less chaotic, more ordered… more calming.

      Talk about abundance… there is abundant cognitive dissonance, irony and hypocrisy in these positions.  They are nonsensical positions.

      And note that those that fight against increased humanity is generally done from locations of high-density humanity and locations where the income levels are very high.   And those that invite more development are generally from locations of low density and low economic circumstances.

      I think this is why those of means that push a scarcity view also virtue signal their “caring” political views.  What great cover!   Caring for the environment is one side of their platform.  And then they vote for everything that requires people other than themselves to accept any significant sacrifice in comfort to care for those people in need.  Look at me!  I care!

      Sorry, but Davis sits in the middle of one of the fastest growing regions in the nation.  It is also home to one of the fastest growing universities in the nation.  The state is going to have to break-up the cult of Davis no-growers.  SB 35 is only the beginning.   If you don’t like reality of greater humanity in and around Davis, you better be looking for a new place to live.

      And note… this includes me.

        1. Don Shor

          The Los Angeles Basin has “Abundance”, and it’s a giant sh*thole.

          I first encountered this attitude when I moved here from San Diego (which many Northern Californians seemed to think was a suburb of Los Angeles). It was actually one of my first experiences with prejudice, and it still startles me when I hear people make weird, sweeping generalizations about an area as enormous as the L.A. basin.
          I spent plenty of time in the L.A. area as a kid, having family in Pasadena and Whittier. There are many very attractive parts of the Los Angeles basin. It’s a huge area with plenty of nice communities, a great climate, and fantastic beaches. And the air quality has gotten substantially better over the decades thanks to the Clean Air Act and California’s even tighter air quality regulations.
          It’s not to everyone’s taste, any more than New York or Chicago would be. I personally wouldn’t want to live in any of those places. But it presumably has enough attractions to tens of millions of people to keep them there. It ain’t no sh*thole, dude.

        2. Alan Miller

          > The Los Angeles Basin has “Abundance”, and it’s a giant sh*thole.

          > It ain’t no sh*thole, dude.

          This is what we call, in the business, “a difference of opinion”.

    3. Richard McCann

      Ron, you’re ignoring that people don’t just move to live somewhere–they move to have jobs. Just ask those living in the Upper Midwest where cities are losing population because they are losing jobs. And substantial research shows that thriving industries prefer to locate together to better access well trained labor, to share suppliers and to share in gained knowledge. That’s why we first had Pittsburgh, then Detroit, then Silicon Valley (and New York City throughout).

      1. Howard P

        Yep… that and better climate… never wanted to live in snow for three months, 80/80 (eighty degrees/eighty percent humidity) for 3 months… go figure…

        We moved to Davis, as a known quantity, and for a better job… almost 40 years ago…

        Grew up near Redwood City… “climate best, by government test”…

  2. Jim Hoch

    David did a very careful analysis some time back that showed that adding millions of people to the state of California did NOT exacerbate the housing shortage. Maybe he should send that article to Scott.

  3. Ron

    Here’s an article that was recently in the Enterprise, regarding the exodus of folks from the state.

    “That especially holds when some numbers appear to back up the untruth. In terms of people leaving California, there is such a number: California had a net population outflow to other states of 625,000 residents between 2007 and 2014. Newborn children and immigrants more than made up for that loss, so don’t expect the state to lose congressional or Electoral College clout after the next census in 2020.

    Rather, of those who left during the latest years for which statistics exist, the vast majority earned less than $30,000 per year. A net total of 469,000 of those leaving had no college degree. Given the prevailing levels of rents and home prices in California, it’s easy to see their financial motive in leaving for far lower-priced states like Texas, Nevada, Oregon and Arizona.”

    https://www.davisenterprise.com/forum/opinion-columns/whos-leaving-california-its-not-who-you-think/

    It’s difficult to see how anyone earning less than $30,000/year can live anywhere in California (without subsidies of some type), even if local planning is forcibly bypassed. The “build-our-way-to-affordability” approach won’t work, and will significantly and negatively impact communities throughout the state. (Not to mention highways, water availability, the environment in general, etc.)

    It’s time for our leaders to acknowledge reality, and stop buying into the b.s. peddled by development interests (who constantly change their propaganda to whatever works, at the moment).

    1. Craig Ross

      Find your solution odd.  It’s difficult for anyone earning less than $30K (which I think is a very low number) to live anywhere, so let’s make it more expensive by continuing to restrict housing.  How odd.

      1. Ron

        What “solution”? And, does your “solution” offer any relief to those earning less than $30,000/year?

        And, at what point (if any) do you think that we should stop trying to build our way to affordability?

        Seems like you’re advocating for a return to the old days, when developers were in full control throughout California.

        1. Don Shor

          What “solution”? And, does your “solution” offer any relief to those earning less than $30,000/year?

          The solution is smaller units with higher density, with fewer external costs added on by local governments.
          That means reducing the requirements for energy efficiency, for percentage of landscaping on the site, for artificially mandated affordable units, and all those other things Davis and other like-minded communities add that increase the cost of building housing.
          It means you make provision of housing and reducing the per-unit cost a planning priority and you seek to remove the many costs and obstacles that have been accrued by one requirement after another. Perhaps you provide a waiver for unique housing alternatives such as mini houses or modular housing developments.
          It means you actually consider having more mobile home parks.
          It means you incentivize higher densities wherever housing is proposed.
          It means increasing the zoning densities for more properties in town.
          It means you identify peripheral parcels that can be brought into the city and developed, and then set higher zoning densities for those.
          It means the city acts to put them on the ballot, rather than wait for developers to work up proposals.
          If you want to provide affordable housing, it’s probably simpler to subsidize it via vouchers than to have the developers pass the cost on to the other residents of the complex.

        2. Richard McCann

          Don Shor, I disagree with you on one point: “That means reducing the requirements for energy efficiency,”

          In general energy efficiency generally pays for itself for residents. There is a problem of developers and landlords recovering the higher upfront costs, but that can be addressed through different financing mechanisms. And more importantly, it is much more costly to add energy efficiency at a later date, and we will NEED to reduce energy use in buildings to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We’re being short sighted if we just try to solve today’s housing crisis by burning tomorrow’s future.

          1. Don Shor

            Ok, perhaps a more analytical approach that focuses on efficacy. Perhaps we could review how the marginal benefit of each energy efficiency requirement compares to the marginal cost increase of construction. Now that we have a local energy provider, perhaps builders could work within a local cap-and-trade market where they buy energy credits elsewhere on the grid.

        3. Richard McCann

          Ron, I’m not hearing your solution. We can’t shut the doors to California to everyone who wants to move to most consistently thriving economy in the country (despite the claims of woe by conservatives who can’t stand the state’s success.) And you haven’t provided any evidence that we can’t build our way to affordability. We certainly saw what overbuilding does to housing market prices in 2008. Housing became much more affordable for many people.

        4. Ron

          Richard:

          Again, I’m just noting the trends, and the decisions that folks make when faced with inflated housing costs (and general decline in quality of life, for a given area).  In fact, some of those folks have found solutions that work well, for them.  For example (from article below):

          “I’m living in a house twice the size at a quarter of the cost. No daily gunfire. No daily traffic nightmares. People are friendlier and pace is more relaxed. Sense of community. I’m not the only former Californian here. I have met a bunch of others who feel the same sense of relief.”

          https://www.sfgate.com/expensive-san-francisco/article/Californians-leaving-Texas-Arizona-Nevada-migrate-12640684.php

          I know a couple who is moving to Nevada, soon (to purchase a house).  They’ve had it with the cost of renting, traffic, and general rudeness in the Bay Area. (Plus, the area that they’re moving to is close to some scenic, outdoor recreational areas, while still offering a bargain price.)

          At some point, I suspect that areas that folks are moving to will also realize the problems associated with endless growth/development.  (But, that’s in the future.)

          In fact, Davis used to be a destination to escape such problems. Not anymore. It’s essentially become an extension of the Bay Area.

           

        5. Howard P

          Richard, you appear to disagree with ~ 10% of Don’s ‘points’ (Don’s 10:12 post)… I affirm 90-100% of them.

          Sounds like a “plan”… if we get serious about housing affordability…

          But some are not… they just want others to “go away, don’t bother us”… perhaps we should have adopted that mantra about thirty(?) years ago.

        6. Ken A

          Just like some (but not all) want to stop development to keep home prices and rents high, some (but not all) want to stop development to stop change.  Today on the radio they were talking about the most popular last name by state some other Davis residents that heard it said they liked living in CA better when the three most popular last names were not “Garcia, Hernandez and Lopez”

          https://blogs.ancestry.com/cm/whats-the-most-popular-surname-in-your-state/

          I told them that no one is stopping them from moving to UT where the three most popular last names are “Smith Johnson and Anderson” (NV and AZ both have the same top three last names “Smith, Johnson and Garcia”)…

        7. Rik Keller

          Don Shor: Thanks for your list of proposed affordable housing solutions. I’m going to discuss them briefly one-by-one.

          The solution is smaller units with higher density, with fewer external costs added on by local governments.

          First part: YES! But the developers will always say that isn’t what the “market” is asking for. And they will continue trying to do the larger-lot, larger unit model of development that they understand and get higher profit margins from.

          Second part: Typical red herring proffered by Building Industry Association types (“if only the government would get out of the way with their onerous health and safety regulations, affordable housing would flow down from the heavens!”),  unsupported by evidence. We only need to look at areas like Las Vegas (or plenty of places in California) in the last housing bubble where land supply was essentially limitless and construction rates through the roof, but housing prices rose crazily.

          That means reducing the requirements for energy efficiency, for percentage of landscaping on the site, for artificially mandated affordable units, and all those other things Davis and other like-minded communities add that increase the cost of building housing.

          Nope. Energy efficiency is a no-brainer for affordability.  When planned and built in from the start, marginal costs are low and pay-off times are extremely short. If by “artificially-mandated” affordability you mean inclusionary requirements, that is one of the only ways that affordable housing (that stays affordable) actually gets built.

          It means you make provision of housing and reducing the per-unit cost a planning priority and you seek to remove the many costs and obstacles that have been accrued by one requirement after another.

          Vague. This says nothing. And see under second part of #1 above.

          Perhaps you provide a waiver for unique housing alternatives such as mini houses or modular housing developments.

          Now we are (maybe?) getting somewhere. This is pretty vague. There’s been a lot done in the past few years to allow and encourage more “granny flats” and things like that. Modular housing has been a pipe dream for a long time, but we’re a long way from bringing it up to scale. I don’t know that is has been demonstrated that this would provide better affordability on a large scale.

          If by “waiver” you mean not charging standard development fees, you’ll have to pass that along to make it up elsewhere. This sounds very much like the inclusionary units that you are against because they end up being (at least partially) subsidized by the market rate units.

          It means you actually consider having more mobile home parks.

          I don’t object to this. But, to say the least,  it’s not a political winner for decision-makers. It’s hard enough to preserve the ones we have!

          It means you incentivize higher densities wherever housing is proposed.

          California’s Density Bonus law already does this (in exchange for providing a percentage of affordable housing.) There have been some recent changes to make it more effective (https://urbanize.la/post/new-year-brings-tweaks-california-density-bonus-law). Whether this functions as an incentive to provide more affordable housing depends on the particulars of the jurisdiction and their standard market/allowed densities/ building costs, projected price structures, etc.

          It means increasing the zoning densities for more properties in town.

          Yes. But again, good luck to the political types who attempt this! It’s a lot easier to do for places without a residential constituency yet (e.g., vacant land on the periphery)

          It means you identify peripheral parcels that can be brought into the city and developed, and then set higher zoning densities for those.

          Agreed!

          It means the city acts to put them on the ballot, rather than wait for developers to work up proposals.

          As a trained city planning professional, I agree! BUT, as an experienced city planning professional, I have a career of seeing good long-range land use plans being put on the shelf and ignored the first time a developer waves some cash around. Welcome to my world! It’s terrible!

          If you want to provide affordable housing, it’s probably simpler to subsidize it via vouchers than to have the developers pass the cost on to the other residents of the complex.

          I think it can be a bit of both. Vouchers work for rental housing (if there is rental housing available), and inclusionary requirements work for ownership and rental  housing. Bottom line is that affordable housing (at least for the lower income groups–you can still build affordable market rate housing for moderate income in some cases) is going to happen only to the extent that subsidies are available, whether these are from other market rate units in the same development, municipal fee reductions that are passed on to other developments in the whole community, federal tax credits, or having requirements that sort out the developers/investors willing to take a lower rate of return.

          Finally, I think what we are increasingly seeing is that the affordable housing “crisis” is, in many ways, actually an income stagnation crisis and an increase in income equality crisis.

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            ” But the developers will always say that isn’t what the “market” is asking for. And they will continue trying to do the larger-lot, larger unit model of development that they understand and get higher profit margins from.”

            That’s not true, three of the new developments that will be going through the process have a good chunk of micro-units. I think that is in fact going to be the next wave.

      2. Howard P

        Craig, Ron is correct… there need be no “solution”, in his view, as there is no”problem”… he’s got “his”… QED, “no problem”…

        1. Ron

          Howard:  I felt the same way, long before I had “mine”.  And, I’ve been priced out of my original home.

          I’m old enough to have witnessed the alternative, when developers fully controlled the planning process. Apparently, they’re finding a receptive audience in Sacramento, once again. (Sometimes in conjunction with some employers, who financially support the “YIMBY” movement.)

          1. Don Shor

            if most of the younger folks think like you apparently do.

            It’s possible they are a little tired of being told that the best place for them to live is “elsewhere.”

        2. Ron

          Don:  I wouldn’t presume to speak for younger folks, just as I wouldn’t presume to speak for middle-age folks.  (I don’t know about you, but I can’t even necessarily speak for my “significant other”.)

          In any case, it’s really more about income, than age.  A lot of the higher-income folks that are moving to the Bay Area are younger (and “whiter”) than the lower-income folks that they’re replacing. That’s been one of the consistent criticisms of the YIMBY movement.

          In general, folks will do what makes the most sense regarding their own situation. (Or, they’ll try in vain to change things to suit their situation.)

        3. Craig Ross

          “I’m worried about the future, if most of the younger folks think like you apparently do.
          It will be their world.”
          Maybe you should let it be our world and quit interfering.

        4. Ron

          Craig:  Apparently, there’s nothing stopping you from participating, now.  (While simultaneously implying that you speak for other young people.)

          Hope that you’re not suggesting that only young people should be listened to. Also hope that other young people don’t also share your arrogance. (Fortunately, I strongly suspect that’s not the case.)

          Strange, how some on here seem to think that they can speak for entire cohorts.

        5. Jim Hoch

          “I worry about a world controlled by people like Ron.”

          Unlikely that one can control the world by commenting on The Vanguard 75 times a day.

        6. Ron

          As per my email to Don and David earlier this afternoon, I pointed out a reason that their “count/comparison” may not be accurate. I alluded to this, in another comment below (thereby adding to my “running total”, either way.

          They have not responded.

        7. Howard P

          Thank you for “sharing”, Ron… (your 9:01 P post)

          Yes, you are perfectly right in expecting others to fulfill your every whim… on your terms, your timeline… after all, you live in Davis! It is your right!

        8. Ron

          Howard:  If David and Don are putting out inaccurate information regarding me (or regarding any other issue), do they not have an obligation to correct it? I’m not sure if that’s the case, but they also haven’t responded. (And yet, David had time to make another comment, since then.)

          As is often the case, your input adds nothing to the conversation.  Moderation (or at least self-reflection) is in order. Honestly, I don’t know why you engage this way. You often seem to have no point, other than to insult. Is that useful, to anyone?

    2. Howard P

      It’s time for our leaders to acknowledge reality, and stop buying into the b.s. peddled by development interests (who constantly change their propaganda to whatever works, at the moment).

      What’s the expression for ‘rolling on the floor, laughing’… (or gagging)  So similar a charge that could reasonably be made against to “anti-development”, ‘stasis’ (pretending to be “progressive”) folk… here we have a poster child for that… must have gone to the Marie Antoinette Academy for Social Values… “let them eat…”
      ..
       

    1. Rik Keller

      David Greenwald said: This is why I don’t think the metric “above state average” is very helpful.

      Explain why it is not “helpful” in your view. And why just looking at city of Davis growth and UCD enrollment growth on their own in isolation is more “helpful” as you were arguing the other day.

      You realize that the California line in the chart above is merely the sum of the 6 sets of lines underneath, right? And that they are all generally following the same overall trends?

      Now graph UC system (and UC-Davis) enrollment against that. Better yet, show all of these as annual growth rates for direct comparison… (or send me the data and I will do it).

      1. David Greenwald Post author

        Because if the baseline is too low, showing that our housing growth is slightly above it, does not therefore make it adequate

        1. Rik Keller

          That is not even an answer. Tell you what: I’ll take that data and tell you in a subsequent post what it shows in reality.

          Earlier in a another post we were talking about population growth in Davis compared to enrollment growth at UCD. You tried to say the Davis’ land use policies “stopped” growth in Davis. I demonstrated that you were wrong and that the population growth rate in Davis has actually been about at overall Califoronia levels for the last 17 years, and furthermore, it closely tracked statewide growth rates for 1980-1990, 2000-2010, and 2010-2017 periods. Furthermore, Davis has built more housing relative to its population growth than other areas.

        2. Ken A

          I’m wondering if Rik understands that you can have  no or little “growth” in the actual size of a city and little or no “growth” in the number of units in a city at the same time that there is “growth” in the number of people in the city and the “growth” in the average size of the people in the city (Google “obesity epidemic” if you don’t think the average person in Davis is bigger than 20 years ago).

          I can post actual “data” that shows more people live here and the average BMI of the people that live here keeps increasing but that does not mean that the city is any “bigger” or that we have built new housing  for all the Mountain Dew drinking college kids that keep moving here.

        3. Rik Keller

          Ken A. said: I’m wondering if Rik understands that you can have  no or little “growth” in the actual size of a city and little or no “growth” in the number of units in a city at the same time that there is “growth” in the number of people in the city…

          I wonder if you understand that I have close to 20 years of professional demographic/socioeconomic analysis experience. And you have… what qualifications exactly?

          You brought this up yesterday. And as I said then, I am well aware that population growth, household growth and dwelling unit growth can all vary based on persons/household and vacancy rate.

          But guess what? Davis had a higher housing unit growth rate than California (and Yolo County as a whole) from 2010-2017 and a higher ratio of housing growth rate to population growth rate over that time period too.

        4. Mark West

          Rik Keller: “Davis had a higher housing unit growth rate than California (and Yolo County as a whole) from 2010-2017 and a higher ratio of housing growth rate to population growth rate over that time period too.”

          So your argument is that other entities have neglected the housing shortage too so it is appropriate for Davis to do so as well? Sounds like the type of logic my teenage sons use on a regular basis (‘he did it too’).

          Davis has a housing shortage. My preferred approach to addressing the issue is to build high-density multi-family housing to help alleviate the shortage. What is your approach? Spouting meaningless statistical comparisons?

        5. Rik Keller

          Mark West,

          Way to just blunder into a conversation that you don’t have the background on and start tossing around insults. Nice to meet you too! Seems like you don’t really have a gift with connecting with people. And given provisional election results so far, it looks like you were only saved from finishing dead last thanks to someone who wasn’t even really campaigning. SHOCKING.

          Anyway, I think you might have me confused with someone else. I have been advocating for this kind of stuff for 25 years since I got my master’s degree in community and regional development (I wrote my thesis on compact city planning in 1994). So you’re getting to the party rather late. But I still welcome you aboard– if you are are genuine, that is.

          If you actually want to accomplish the things that you are talking about though, one of the first things you should have picked up along the way is that opening farmland to unfettered development on the periphery of a city is the exact wrong way to go about it. What that gets you is suburban sprawl: Elk Grove, the bait-and-switch of Springlake, etc., etc. It does not get you the “high-density, multi-family housing” that you are calling for.

          If you go through some of my posts on this site you’ll see that I have been advocating for real affordability and against fake affordable projects like, for example, Nishi. I produced a long analysis that actually looked into the affordability numbers for Nishi in a way that no one else had, and found that the project claims were startingly bogus. The project did pump tons of money into obtaining votes though, so there we are.

          As far as this particular topic that you called “spouting meaningless statistical comparisons”: you should read up a little. David Greenwald made a statement  in an article a couple of days ago that, through its land-use policies since 2000, the city of Davis had “stopped” development. He made no comparisons to any outside context whatsoever. To provide actual context, I then brought up statistics showing that growth rates (both population and housing units) in Davis for almost the last 40 years since 1980 have been close to the state of California and the United States as a whole, except for one decade out of the four where there was a growth bubble in Davis (1990 to 2000). That is an important comparison, and it goes against the propaganda that people like Greenwald are trying to shove down out throats.

          In addition to national and state fluctuations in growth trends, another important context is that UC Davis enrollment rates have accelerated in the last 20 years, with enrollment growth in the past 7 years at over 4 times the statewide rate of population growth. And this, coupled with the University not providing its fair share of student housing, has been pushing out affordable family and workforce housing in Davis. Greenwald is on record recently saying he doesn’t care about families and workforce seeking affordable rental housing in Davis and they should just look elsewhere.

          Greenwald is clearly engaged in an dishonest (and extremely clumsy) data propaganda effort with the ultimate purpose of getting rid of Measure R. To the extent that you have the same goal, your talk of affordable housing sounds good, but given that you completely misunderstand how to achieve it, and are not interested in the larger context of growth dynamics in the world’s 6th largest economy, it does not ring true.

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            “David Greenwald made a statement in an article a couple of days ago that, through its land-use policies since 2000, the city of Davis had “stopped” development. ”

            “Greenwald is on record recently saying he doesn’t care about families and workforce seeking affordable rental housing in Davis and they should just look elsewhere.”

            “Greenwald is clearly engaged in an dishonest (and extremely clumsy) data propaganda effort with the ultimate purpose of getting rid of Measure R.”

            I would have expected this stuff from Eileen or Ron, but not you.

        1. Rik Keller

          Don Shor said: Given how low the allocations have been for Davis, that hasn’t been much of a bar to clear. Since this is your area of expertise, perhaps you can explain these allocations.

          I agree there should be discussion of the larger context of RHNA allocations (I know WAY too much about how that particular sausage is made). Unfortunately, HCD has not published a dataset with the actual numbers for SB35 compliance by jurisdiction and instead merely provided percentages. It would be a tedious process to locate all the RHNA allocations and match these to the SB35 report data for each jurisdiction. Someone should do that!

          In the meantime, I am working with the data we have. This data, combined with other data I have published comparing Davis’ population and housing unit growth rates to the U.S., California, and neighboring jurisdictions; and a comparison of Davis  rent/housing cost changes to California and neighboring jurisdictions, have provided a much broader context to see the big picture than Greenwald’s context-free so-called”analysis” pieces. And the fact is, taken as a set, this data directly contradicts the narrative that he is trying to sell.

          I don’t really see why you consider UCD “exogenous” to the Davis population and housing planning process. The university certainly seems like an endogenous part of the community, even though there is a long history of poor planning coordination between the city and the campus.

          I have used the term “exogenous demand” to describe the housing demand created by skyrocketing UC Davis enrollment rates that have not been adequately met by through the provision of a fair share of on-campus housing. These enrollment increases in the last 20 or so years (and especially in the last 7) are so many more times than existing growth rates across the state, neighboring jurisdictions, and Davis that they represent a giant housing burden on the city of Davis to address that is literally coming from outside of city limits. They are directly responsible for squeezing out our workforce and families from affordable housing options. The university has reaped the benefits of these enrollment increases while exporting many of the costs to the city.

           

        2. Rik Keller

          Here’s one of your whoppers that you are trying to use to argue for getting rid of Measure R:

          David Greenwald said: ““What has changed, then, is not UC Davis policies for enrollment growth, but rather the city’s policies for growth that have slowed if not stopped since 2000.”

          It’s amazing how much wrong you can pack in a single sentence! Are you always this terrible with numbers and context? Do you have any sort of relevant analytical background or training in statistics and socio-economic data analysis?

          WRONG #1. As clearly shown in the attached table, growth in the city of Davis has been consistent with California and the U.S as a whole in 3 out of the 4 time periods in the last 37 years (1980-1990, 2000-2010, and 2010-2017; Davis had an anomalous housing/population growth rate bubble from 1990 to 2000).

          WRONG #2. As clearly shown in the attached table, UC Davis enrollment growth has increased dramatically since 2000, and especially in the last 7 years. This is especially true when compared to the steady decline of population growth rates across the U.S, California, and Davis.

          WRONG #3: As clearly shown in the attached table, growth has not stopped in Davis since 2000. Growth rates are very close to growth rates in the U.S. and California as a whole, as well as neighboring jurisdictions that don’t have a Measure R

          https://www.dropbox.com/s/aqmg287sdvo4dd2/HU%20growth-1980-2017.png

          [Seems like “is” has its standard meaning in your sentence, so I’ll give you credit for that.]

           

           

      2. Rik Keller

        David Greenwald said: I would have expected this stuff from Eileen or Ron, but not you.

        I can go back, wade through the low signal to noise ratio of these article commentary threads, and quote your statements if you’d like…

        Let’s discuss again why you are presenting Davis growth numbers out of context. You stated that the land use policies instituted in 2000 slowed and “stopped” (your words) growth. But when we step back and look at the larger context, Davis growth rates (soft-capped by policy at a 1% annual growth rate of housing units with exceptions for affordable units) are completely consistent with national and statewide trends. That crucial piece of context completely blows up your groundwork for trying to get rid of Measure R.

        Look this chart of example showing U.S. and California annual growth rates from 1990-2016 [can someone please embed this in my post]:
        https://www.dropbox.com/s/1ivy025kft4t5f9/IMG_9770.JPG

        Rather than the “sky is falling” alarmism that you’d like to stoke, this shows that since a little after 2000, both U.S. and California population growth rates have been below 1%. Population growth rates in Davis have been consistent with this at 0.85% for 2000-2010 and 0.69% for 2010-2017. Davis has mirrored overall trends in the national and state economies and population dynamics.

        And for more context, I put together this chart showing growth rates for housing units for the U.S., California, Yolo County, Davis, and Woodland by decade for 1980-2017. It also shows UC Davis enrollment growth rates for comparison [can someone please embed this in my post]:
        https://www.dropbox.com/s/aqmg287sdvo4dd2/HU%20growth-1980-2017.png

        As shown in this chart, Davis had annual housing unit growth rates slightly higher than the California from 1980-1990 (2.33% compared to 1.95%). Then there was a huge growth bubble in Davis from 1990-2000 compared to every other jurisdiction shown in the table. Then from 2000-2010 and 2010-2017, Davis returned to growth rates very similar to the U.S. and California averages.

        One really notable thing is that blue bar at the end showing UC Davis enrollment growth rates. From 1980-1990 UC Davis average annual enrollment growth was just slightly higher than housing unit growth in California as a whole and Davis. Enrollment growth rates plummeted from 1990-2000, but have increased massively since 2000 , such that from 2010-2017 annual UCD enrollment growth was more than 5 times the U.S. housing unit growth rate and more than 6 times California’s and Davis’ housing unit growth rate. This, combined with UCD failing to provide its fair share of housing for students on campus, has put tremendous external pressure on city of Davis housing availability, especially squeezing out the affordable rental family and workforce households that Greenwald doesn’t consider a priority to plan for.

         

         

         

        1. Ron

          Rik:  “I can go back, wade through the low signal to noise ratio of these article commentary threads, and quote your statements if you’d like…”

          You don’t have to wade very far back.  Such comments are even included in this article. For example:

          From David’s article, above:  “One is whether Measure R, which is up for renewal in two years, will stand up in the face of increasing pressure from the state to build more housing.”

          Then, there’s the following gem, when I pointed out that Howard apparently opposes Measure R, despite the fact that the outcome of the Measure R vote for both Nishi 1.0 and 2.0 aligned perfectly with Howard’s acknowledged votes/preferences:

          David (regarding Howard’s views):  “He just said he doesn’t support Measure R. Did you not read that?”

          Hard to make sense out of that internal conflict. But, I suspect that we’ll still see some convoluted arguments, going forward.

          And frankly, this is one of the less-aggressive articles (in regard to criticizing Measure R) that David has written.

           

           

        2. David Greenwald

          “I can go back, wade through the low signal to noise ratio of these article commentary threads, and quote your statements if you’d like…”

          I went back through my recent article and think you misquote me…
          “Let’s discuss again why you are presenting Davis growth numbers out of context. You stated that the land use policies instituted in 2000 slowed and “stopped” (your words) growth.”
          What I said was that growth slowed or stopped after 2000.  In fact, I think that’s accurate.  Stopped was in reference to the lack of new market rate multifamily housing that were finally approved (but not yet built) in 2017.  I believe from 2002 to 2017, there were no new market rate multifamily housing units in Davis.
          In terms of out of context – it depends what you think the important context is.  I happen to believe that baselining Davis housing growth to a state growth that is itself inaccurate is not a good way to proceed.
          But the other problem is that we have an internal market that generates demands and UC Davis is part of that.  So it doesn’t matter if parts of California are growing more slowly if UC Davis and the Sacramento region are growing more rapidly.

        3. Howard P

          Ron… respectfully suggest you consider the term “convoluted” carefully… look to your own posts… do you even know what a “volute” is?  I do.

        4. Rik Keller

          David Greenwald said “slowed or stopped after 2000”

          Exactly my point. You said “stopped”. And you provided no further context like you did in the comment just now. As for your claim that “I believe from 2002 to 2017, there were no new market rate multifamily housing units in Davis,” you are trying to claim that Measure R shut this down? According to the City, there were 262 building permits issued for multifamily rental units between 2010 and 2017. Does that fit your narrative? Did you mention that context?

          You want to go ahead and quote your statements about how you are against planning for affordable family and rental workforce housing?

          And stop putting words in my mouth and saying I am calling for “BASELINING” or “INDEXING” Davis growth to California growth. I am merely providing a comparison and CONTEXT for your out of context claims. You have yet to address that data, but instead just keep trying to spin it to fit your propaganda goals.
          What’s really amusing in your original article that is supposedly about SB 35 (not “Prop 35” and you article URL calls it), is that for an “investigative journalist” you didn’t even bother to investigate the numbers to see how various communities were doing. If you had, you would have found that Davis has made greater progress than every other city in the region in meeting its State-assigned share of the regional housing need (RHNA) for very-low-income and low-income households (there’s your “index” or “baseline”): more than, for example, Woodland, West Sacramento, Winters, Dixon, Vacaville*, Fairfield, Sacramento, Elk Grove, Rancho Cordova, Folsom, and Roseville.

          * Davis has better in VLI, worse in LI

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            Actually what I said was: “What has changed, then, is not UC Davis policies for enrollment growth, but rather the city’s policies for growth that have slowed if not stopped since 2000. In 2000, the city population was 60,308. In 2016, it was 68,314.”

            The clear context of the article was student housing. Clearly if I’m presenting in the paragraph that population went from 60 to 68K all growth hasn’t “stopped.” So again clearly I meant something other than all growth in the city has literally stopped.

            “You want to go ahead and quote your statements about how you are against planning for affordable family and rental workforce housing?”

            I’d like you to quote that, because that is not my position.

          2. Don Shor

            you would have found that Davis has made greater progress than every other city in the region in meeting its State-assigned share of the regional housing need (RHNA) for very-low-income and low-income households (there’s your “index” or “baseline”): more than, for example, Woodland, West Sacramento, Winters, Dixon, Vacaville*, Fairfield, Sacramento, Elk Grove, Rancho Cordova, Folsom, and Roseville.

            Given how low the allocations have been for Davis, that hasn’t been much of a bar to clear. Since this is your area of expertise, perhaps you can explain these allocations.
            2006 – 13
            http://davismerchants.org/vanguard/SACOG%20allocations%20Yolo%20Co%202006%20-%2013.png
            2013 – 21
            http://davismerchants.org/vanguard/SACOG%20allocations%202013%20-%2021%20Yolo.pngNote: these are screen captures saved to my server. The original document in each case is the REGIONAL HOUSING NEEDS PLAN (2006 – 13 and 2013 – 21).
            There has been discussion in the past that UCD creates an exception in the RHNA allocation process for Davis, but that information came to me second-hand and I have never verified it.
            Regarding your other comments, I don’t really see why you consider UCD “exogenous” to the Davis population and housing planning process. The university certainly seems like an endogenous part of the community, even though there is a long history of poor planning coordination between the city and the campus.

        5. Rik Keller

          Let’s step back and summarize the conversation:

          Greenwald: “that car over there with the giant ‘R’ painted on it is going really slow. It’s terrible!”

          Me: “well, actually, there are thousands of cars that are going about that slow. It probably has to do with something other than the painted letter on that car.”

          Greenwald: “But that car was going faster before it had the giant letter R painted on it!”

          Me: “yeah, and the other thousands of cars were going faster then too.”

          Greendwald: “Don’t try to “index that car! We must remove that giant painted letter R!”

          [a car with a giant painted UCD logo on it drives by at 6 times the speed of the other cars, careening toward a bunch of people and causing them to flee]

          Greenwald: [pause for a beat] “I told you we needed to get rid of the giant painted letter R!”

          [end scene]

        6. Rik Keller

          Here’s a collection of noxious quotes that lay out Greenwald’s position on affordable workforce and family housing quite clearly (from comment threads in http://www.davisvanguard.org/2018/06/view-nishi-referendum-measure-r/)

          Greenwald said “even if you build 1, 2, 3 bedroom apartments, students are the most likely to live there.”

          Greenwald said: “I believe that student housing…should be tackled first.”

          Hmmmm. Prioritizing the exogenous housing demand created by skyrocketing UCD enrollment rates that have already pushed family and workforce households out for years, by calling for ignoring family and workforce housing even more and focusing on housing for students?

          Greenwald said: “…multifamily housing is not a good solutino [sic] for families with children.”

          Greenwald said: ” I believe a single family home is a more appropriate location for most families.  My proposed solution for cost is big A affordable housing.”

          Hmmmm. Taking one of the the key affordable housing solutions for families completely off of the table? Saying that the 15% of designated “big A” affordable ownership units in single family residential development is the only “solution”?

          But what about current unmet demand for families with children looking to rent rather than purchase their housing? Greenwald already stated that they are not a priority to him. But he has further words; even the better off ones should move away:

          Greenwald says: “families … who can afford [market rate rents]… can buy a home in another community for that amount per month.”

          Hmmmmm. Even if they can afford the rent, families who want to be in Davis for the schools, bike-friendliness, etc. should just move to a cheaper area and buy?

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            I do not believe my quotes support your statement above. I have stated that I believe we should tackle student housing first, there several reasons for that. First, students represent 65 to 85% of all renters in the community which means addressing that issue should ease the housing crunch on all groups. Second, I believe that student housing is easiest to address through supply.

            That does not mean that I believe we should not address other housing needs, I only expressed an order of priority.

            Second, I don’t believe that apartments are the best way to address housing for families. For one thing they are expensive. For another thing, it is not the best structure for families themselves.

            That does not mean I do not believe we should address housing for families, only that I believe we need to find other ways to do so.

        7. Rik Keller

          David Greenwald said “That does not mean I do not believe we should address housing for families, only that I believe we need to find other ways to do so.”

          You are backpedaling furiously and trying to soften your statements now. What “other ways”?

          1) You are trying to take one of the biggest solutions (affordable rental housing for families) off the table entirely.

          2) Your only proposed “solution”: the meager % of mandated inclusionary ownership units in SFR developments

          3) Because it is somehow more “difficult,” you say workforce and family housing should be on the backburner until we address student housing need.

           

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            “3) Because it is somehow more “difficult,” you say workforce and family housing should be on the backburner until we address student housing need.”

            I also believe we have basically addressed our student housing need at this point – especially with Davis Live and possibly Plaza 2555 coming up in the next month.

        8. Ron

          Rik (to David):  What “other ways”?

          Slowly/subtly/repeatedly undermine support for Measure R?

          Also, has anyone count how many articles David has written, regarding student housing? How many articles regarding workforce/family rental housing (which could have been built at these sites, instead)?

          (I wonder if there’s a “counter”, for that?)

        9. Ron

          Clarification – rental housing for non-student families, workforce, singles, couples, and students could have been approved, instead of the megadorm proposals.

          Ooh – just saw that David’s probably “coming out with something later this summer”!

        10. Ron

          David:  “Plaza 2555 coming up in the next month.”

          Still pushing the megadorms.  EVERY SINGLE ONE has been approved, so far.

          Guess we’d better hope that your “proposal – later this summer” for rental housing (suitable for a broader range of populations) is a good one. Hope it doesn’t require weakening or eliminating Measure R.

          Oh, wait – are you in charge of these decisions? If not, then maybe it’s NOW time to start approving more inclusive housing.

        11. David Greenwald

          We’ll see what the new proposal looks like at some point.  Previously it had townhouses and micro-homes, not exactly mega-dorm material.

        12. Ron

          If you’re referring to Plaza 2555, Eileen had a very different analysis, than the one that you presented. This was discussed at length on the Vanguard, some time ago.

          Perhaps it’s fortunate that she apparently supports the Davis Live proposal, as you do. If nothing else, it’s nice to see some agreement.

        13. David Greenwald

          It’s largely immaterial as their proposal is changing.

          Regardless, my point was we pretty much have addressed the student housing needs at this point.

           

        14. Rik Keller

          David Greenwald said: “we pretty much have addressed the student housing needs at this point.”

          WTF?!

          Monday you were saying “I would be more concerned that UC Davis actually builds the 9050 it has promised.  So far there is a plan for UC Davis to add 5200 beds.  Officials at UC Davis assure me that they are working on the remaining 3800 beds, but it is reasonable to be concerned that, five years from now when the public has moved on to other focuses, the pressure might not be on.”

          But on Thursday, everything is cool and no worries anymore! Good to know!

          David Greenwald also said on Monday: What that tells you is that UC Davis since 2000 has grown at about its historic rate, except for the during the 1990s when it essentially stopped growing.

          Another WRONG-filled statement!

          UC Davis enrollment rates were very close to California housing growth rates from 1980-1990 (2.41% vs. 1.95%) AND 1990-2000 (0.73% vs. 0.89%) . But then from 2000-2010, UC Davis enrollment growth rates were 75% more than California housing growth rates, and from 2010 to 2017 the UCD enrollment growth rate was 6.3 times the California housing growth rate and 3.9 times the California population growth rate!

           

           

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            Those are two separate issues. One is a planning issue – and the other is making sure UC Davis follows through on their commitment.

  4. Howard P

    Strange, how some on here seem to think that they can speak for entire cohorts.

    Stranger still, how some on here seem to think that they can speak for the entire community.

    They often dismiss those who do not share the “world view” that they think/believe everyone should have,,, they seem to be prone to use a lot of adjectives to discredit those who are not in “lock step” (or goose stepping?) with their views…

    1. Ron

      The community (or at least those who choose to participate) is represented by existing policies, zoning, SACOG allocations, etc.  As well as the outcome of Measure R elections.

        1. Ron

          Well, if you want to keep score, then my views might still be closer to the community, than yours.

          In reality, there’s a continuum of views.

          And with Nishi (and the megadorms), no one was actually arguing against student housing. The question was/is – where is the best location, and who should be responsible for housing designed exclusively for students. (And, perhaps an additional question regarding whether or not UCD should be aggressively pursuing non-resident, full-tuition students if they’re not going to take responsibility for that decision.)

        2. Howard P

          C’mon!   Ron and others (E,R,R group) ‘rightfully’ seem to believe that those who disagree with them are troglodytes, or ‘trolls’… they have superior acumen and values… who are we to question their “wisdom”?

        3. Ron

          Howard:  I have no idea what you’re talking about.

          Also, this might be a good time to point out that you publicly acknowledged your opposition (multiple times), to Nishi 1.0.  And, are now questioning the WDAAC.  While simultaneously criticizing Measure R, at times.

          You’re a riddle wrapped in an enigma.  Given the amount that you comment on here (as well as the nature of your comments), it’s almost as if you’re sharing free-flow, semi-conscious thoughts (based upon some inherent/internal biases – without any reflection), at times.

          If it wasn’t for the fact that you actually have some knowledge of some subjects, your ramblings would probably be entirely dismissed.

          Given that you’re always commenting (and often making snarky comments), the Vanguard might go out of business, without you.

          1. Don Shor

            Given that you’re always commenting (and often making snarky comments), the Vanguard might go out of business, without you.

            Ron, you have about 1,000 more comments on the Vanguard than Howard does.

        4. Howard P

          You are absolutely correct when you post,

          I have no idea …

          Staff should have discouraged Nishi 1.0 and WDAAC, and recommended disapproval…

          Measure J/R guaranteed a vote by folk who are clueless…

          My position is consistent… you spout nonsense, here…

        5. Ron

          Well, the outcome of Measure R in regard to Nishi (by voters, rather than city officials) is exactly what you preferred.  Perhaps the same thing will occur with WDAAC.

          Perhaps voters are smarter than you give them credit for. (Although the fiscal analysis was not fully presented, for Nishi 2.0.)

        6. Howard P

          Ron, please extricate your head…

          Nishi 2.0 (actually, Nishi 3.0, but your head was elsewhere[?]) should have been evaluated by staff, and given the previous versions, recommended by staff, and PC, other commissions to CC for approval… it isn’t perfect, by any means, but good enough… unlike its previous ‘lives’…

          I resented having to vote for the current measure… so yeah, I can oppose “J/R”, as it is currently written… but since it was up for a vote (Nishi) yeah voted for it… but would have preferred that it was not subject to a vote by folk who have no clue…

          Ron, feel perfectly free to report my comment here, as I care not…

        7. Ron

          Howard:  “I resented having to vote for the current measure…”

          You probably would have resented it more, if you did not have an opportunity to vote on Nishi 1.0 (as would have been the case, without Measure R). (As you already know, I’m using the common terms, for the proposals.)

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            He just said he doesn’t support Measure R. Did you not read that?

        8. Ron

          Yeah, but Howard’s “voting record” does not support that position. Conversely, the Measure R outcomes (for both versions of Nishi) are in alignment with his position.

          Pretty difficult to make a coherent argument, after that. But, I’m sure that you, Don, and Howard will continue to try. (Along with your occasional “supporting staff”.)

          And yet, you might even come up with some convoluted argument. You’re pretty talented at political b.s.

  5. Ron

    Don:  “Ron, you have about 1,000 more comments on the Vanguard than Howard does.”

    Are you just making up figures, now?  Many of my comments are in response to the trio/cabahl of you, David, and Howard, ganging up on me.  (That’s fine, as I know who dominates the Vanguard.)

    Howard comments on almost every subject.  Which is fine, but different than what I do.

    Honestly, anyone who comments on here has to ask themselves if it’s worthwhile to even start. Once you step in this pile of (excrement), there’s no turning back. Especially with you three, on here. (Along with some of your occasional/supporting staff.)

    Thank goodness that (once in awhile), we get a different point of view (e.g., Rik’s recent contributions). Seems like others have moved on (including to the “unmentionable” other blog).
     

    1. David Greenwald Post author

      “Are you just making up figures, now? ”

      There is a counter on the back end. You’ve made 5882 comments and Howard 4980. So 900

      1. Ron

        Wow.  How many were made in response to continuing challenges, from you, Don, or Howard? (Earlier, a lot of my responses were made to Matt, but this is no longer occurring. Used to go late into the night. I have since made peace, with him.)

        How many times has Howard been challenged? Might he be challenged less, as a member of the “cabahl”?

        But, point taken. This is probably not the healthiest activity to engage in.

        1. Ron

          Also – please let me know if your comparison was inaccurate, e.g., for the reason mentioned in my email to you earlier this afternoon.

          Thanks.

           

  6. Todd Edelman

    Job sites should not be approved until there is appropriate housing within an reasonable distance…. that is also approved.

    We’re not quite up to our needed skill level in accommodating population. Google etc. has no inherent right to build a mega-campus in an area that cannot sustain it in an holistic fashion. If jobs need to be created to meet demand etc then allow them only in places that can accommodate them or be rapidly developed to do so…. and without displacing current populations.  More homeworking and a four day work week would help, just like the removal of parking minimums.

    1. Ken A

      This may come as a surprise to Todd but Google is not having any problem getting people to work for them and even pays to bus some of them to the campus from other counties.  Some people even fly (in small planes) from Yolo County to work at Google…

      1. Alan Miller

        > Some people even fly (in small planes) from Yolo County to work at Google…

        Wow, there’s an environmentally friendly form of transportation.

      1. Howard P

        Actually, rocks change… but takes really, really long time (that’s why we have sand! [and gravel])… still, damn good point…

        [when you walk on a beach, you are walking on former mountains…]

  7. Todd Edelman

     

    The following – for review at the Planning Commission this evening – does not seem like a Trojan Horse, but I am curious if it gets in the way of improvements during e.g. re-use situations.

    From what I can see it would specifically not apply to Core Area or General Plan regulations, etc.

    Discussion Item: Potential Ordinance Regarding Administrative Approvals
    (Community Development Administrator Katherine Hess)

    Proposal to consider expanding the types of planning applications that may be approvable through an administrative process.
    Recommendation: Provide comments to assist staff in preparation of a zoning ordinance amendment expanding the type of uses that may potentially be considered through an administrative process, rather than requiring a Planning Commission hearing.

  8. Jeff M

    In fact, Davis used to be a destination to escape such problems. Not anymore. It’s essentially become an extension of the Bay Area.

    I think this the most important point made here today.

    I divorced my wife after she had multiple affairs but I kept coming home from work expecting her to be there with affection for me and nobody else.

    … not really true as I have been married for 37 years and expect it to work out.

    But illustrative of the cognitive dissonance being demonstrated by some that are clinging to a past Davis life that is no longer valid.  Measure R is analogous of the fictionalized husband above locking his wife in the basement so he can continue his blissful marriage.

    1. Ron

      Thanks, but I don’t think this is a good analogy.

      Folks generally don’t start becoming concerned until an area is becoming overly-impacted (an admittedly subjective term).  In other words, as it reaches its limits of livability, and the costs are no longer worth it for those moving in.  (Or, if they’re simply unable to do so, due to costs outpacing incomes.)

      Davis isn’t an island.  The entire region is becoming impacted.  Look at Folsom’s “solution” (see link below), which will continue making problems worse (even for I-80, passing through Davis).  The same goes for Elk Grove, Roseville, Natomas, Rancho Cordova, and so on.  Also, where’s the water going to come from, to serve this endless development?

      What, exactly, is the “advantage” of endless growth/development? I have yet to see a coherent justification. However, I have seen the results of failing to reign in growth/development.

      And yes – sorry to say, but limiting growth does limit population increases for a given area. (This is a fact that some simply don’t want to acknowledge.)

      Is the region ultimately destined to become another (aptly-named) “basin”, as in the Los Angeles basin?

      Many of these folks are migrating from the Bay Area, to escape the cost of living there.

      And, if these areas aren’t affordable for someone wanting to live in the region, then they’re probably out of luck (without some kind of subsidy).

       
      http://www.sacbee.com/news/business/real-estate-news/article211168769.html#storylink=cpy
       

       

      1. David Greenwald Post author

        “And yes – sorry to say, but limiting growth does limit population increases for a given area. (This is a fact that some simply don’t want to acknowledge.) ”

        It’s more complicated than that. First of all, how are you defining growth – is growth housing or people? Part of the problem is that with the university growing, you end up with more people coming into town whether you build housing for them or not. Limiting housing therefore pushes more people to have to commute into town or jam into existing housing. That’s what we are seeing right now – a huge amount of people commuting into town because they can’t afford housing or find housing and thus, we end up with traffic impacts. And then we have students living a larger number to a unit than the unit was designed for which has created its own impacts. So you can control housing growth all you want in Davis, but that’s not going to limit growth.

        1. Ron

          I was defining growth as “development”, both residential and commercial.

          You are referring to growth created by UCD, which is somewhat akin to commercial development.  (Especially when considering its pursuit of non-resident, full-tuition students – as a private institution would do).

          If I’m not mistaken, we’ve discussed student housing (and the best location for it), in the past.  We’ve also discussed the option to match enrollment decisions with the construction of on-campus student housing, as some other universities are doing.  We’ve also discussed options to pursue agreements (between the city, and UCD).

          Pretty sure that the topic has been covered, in depth. It really has no place in this discussion, regarding SB-35. A more applicable topic would be SACOG requirements (and comparisons with other communities and the state as a whole, as Rik noted above).

          As a side note, I emailed you and Don approximately 3 hours ago, regarding an issue that may/may not impact one of your earlier statements.  Perhaps if you have time to comment on here, you might also have time to address that question.

        2. Ron

          To clarify further, UCD growth is somewhat akin to commercial development (but without tax benefits for the city, as compared to commercial enterprises).

          Since UCD is the “primary game” in town (but doesn’t directly contribute to the city as a commercial enterprise would, to help offset its costs and impacts), this exacerbates the city’s fiscal challenges.

  9. Jim Frame

    The biggest bar to privately-developed affordable housing is that the financial incentive just isn’t there for the developer.  Why build low-end housing when high-end is so much more profitable?  There’s a seemingly inexhaustible supply of Bay Area residents who want to cash out of their highly-inflated homes and move to Davis, either to retire or to commute, and they’re only too happy to pay prices that aren’t anywhere near the affordable category.

    With regard to SB35:  it has a poison-pill that I’m surprised no one has mentioned:  it requires the payment of prevailing wages.  I’d can’t imagine any fully-private development in Davis — past, current or planned — that pays prevailing wages.  That can be a big bump; for my business it nearly triples the labor cost.  Paying PW may or may not be good public policy, but it sure doesn’t help with affordability.

     

    1. Howard P

      it requires the payment of prevailing wages.  I’d can’t imagine any fully-private development in Davis — past, current or planned — that pays prevailing wages.  That can be a big bump; for my business it nearly triples the labor cost.  Paying PW may or may not be good public policy, but it sure doesn’t help with affordability.

      Actually, if a portion of the project is given/dedicated to a City, PrevailWage is required (several appellate court cases, where local entities tried to do a ‘work-around’… some got ‘caught’).

      Jim’s main point, (bolded) is spot on… there are ‘trade-offs’ … you can’t have your Kate, and Edith, too…

    1. Howard P

      Perhaps we should go back to 1917, and eliminate all “growth” since Davis became an incorporated City…

      My bad,,, neither of my parents were alive then… I should have no right to opine..

    2. Howard P

      Only came here in ’72, long-time since ’79… I’m just a ‘newbie’ … we should preserve/respect the “long time folks’ ”  who should have the divine right to no add more to the mix of the community, except under their ‘terms and conditions’… maybe a test for who can live here, and how, using E,R,R standards…

  10. Craig Ross

    Ron:

    ”Guess we’d better hope that your “proposal – later this summer” for rental housing (suitable for a broader range of populations) is a good one. Hope it doesn’t require weakening or eliminating Measure R.
    Oh, wait – are you in charge of these decisions? If not, then maybe it’s NOW time to start approving more inclusive housing.”
    Looks like you bought into the wedge issue on inclusive housing.  News flash: housing is almost always exclusive .

  11. Jeff M

    From a friend that read the VG every so often, but lacks an account to post…

    I am posting because I Jeff M support this message…

    To Ron…

    The mitigations address the symptoms, not the underlying problems.  And that is the issue, our collective failure to address the underlying problems, along with our corollary infatuation with wallowing in analysis of the alternatives related to the symptoms.

    1. Are you willing to talk about the cumulative impacts of a continuously burgeoning university enrollment (in their singular pursuit of their education mandate and in search of ever increasing revenues to support their business model)?

    2. Are you willing to acknowledge their institutional mission in terms of its impact our community-wide housing prices and availability – given that we have now consumed all greenfield sites within the community – as mandated by THEIR legions of small-world, sustainability obsessed graduates and faculty?

    3. Are you willing to acknowledge the unique purchasing preferences and discretionary budgetary allowances attributable to an ever growing cohort of (18-27 year old university students – and those subsequent impacts on community character and revenue patterns which increasingly dominate the Davis economy?

    4. Are you willing to talk about the impacts on our local K-12 school enrollment as the result of “local, institutional land use demands” which have resulted in all available land being dedicated to construction of apartments to house the continually expanding university enrollment?

    5. Are you willing to talk about the absence of local private sector employer sponsored “matching fund” contributions to those made by their local employee-alumni of our local K-12 schools?

    6. Do you want to  talk about the consequences of mandated, prevailing wage on all construction costs undertaken by the university – making their projects 25-30% higher than for comparable private sector development?

    7. Do you want to talk about  state statutes that remove all properties leased by a state institution from otherwise taxable rolls?

    8. Are you willing to talk about the implications of what all of the issues – taken together – portend for the city’s finances?

    9. Are you willing to compare and contrast – with other peer communities – what kind of job the community is doing in terms of generating economic activity and growing the base of local, education-appropriate employment opportunities?

    10. Do you want to talk about how effectively and constructively the Davis community has capitalized on the IP coming out of the university – along with the creative potential of all its young graduates – over the past four decades?

    11. Do you want to talk about how effective the university has been in garnering robust research funding, supporting grants and access to world leading private research facilities from all its many local “research partners” who have located to our Davis environs – in order to be closer to the university?

    12. Are you willing to engage in a conversation about whether Davis could be an even better version of itself 15-20 years from now – and what might that look like, and why that might be important, and how that conversation might lead us a better understanding of the many concerns of residents within the community – particularly their concerns about the consequences of growth and change, potential impacts on their home values and potential increases in local congestion – while also recognizing and celebrating that we are a community especially well-equipped with the resources and opportunities to afford better pathways forward for tomorrow’s generation?

    Maybe it’s too complicated for you to deal with, but all of these issues are totally intertwined and interlinked.

     If you might want a chance at constructing a workable, enduring win-win strategy for the university and the community – it’s absolutely essential that all of these issues be on the table for discussion, negotiation and collaboration.
     
    If we don’t want to, and are unwilling to, talk about issues at this level – then let the dysfunction continue.  But at least be honest enough to admit that it is a dysfunction of our own doing.

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