Sierra Club Opposes West Davis Active Adult Community

(From Press Release) – Citing grounds of unplanned sprawling development, the Sierra Club announced its opposition to Measure L in Davis CA on the November 2018 municipal ballot. Measure L is a vote to allow the annexation of a 75 acre parcel of farmland on the northwest periphery of the City and the subsequent development of a senior housing project including 410 single-family, single-story detached homes and a 150 units of low-income senior housing.

The endorsement of the opposition to this ballot measure follows an extensive evaluation process by the local Sierra Club Yolano Group, the Sierra Club Mother Lode Chapter Political and Executive Committees, and the Sierra Club California Local Measure Review Committee.

The Sierra Club has long-standing official policies designed to minimize urban housing sprawl and maximize intensive infill development. These include planning policies which stimulate conservation of open space and preservation of natural areas and agricultural lands, The Sierra Club opposes sprawl as a pattern of increasingly inefficient and wasteful land use that is devastating environmental and social conditions.

“While the Sierra Club is highly supportive of the 4.25 acres of the project planned for 150 high-density apartments reserved for low-income senior occupancy, we do not support the adjacent development which will turn more than 60 acres of productive farm land into single-story, single-family homes on large lots”, said Alan Pryor, chair of the local Sierra Club Yolano Group. “This development is inconsistent with official Sierra Club land use and urban planning policies. Instead, it is reminiscent of sprawling development of the 1950s and 1960s with a sea of uniformly low-slung buildings laid out in a rectilinear fashion. It is the antithesis of smart urban planning”, he added.

Additionally, he noted, WDAAC does NOT meet any of the Sacramento Council of Governments’ (SACOG) Seven Blueprint Principles for Smart Growth (www.sacog.org) including:

  1. Compact development
  2. Mix of land uses
  3. Transportation options
  4. Quality design
  5. Use of existing assets (land or buildings)
  6. Housing options
  7. Preserving natural resources

This project clearly suffers from lack of density and needs more different and diverse building types with an integrated transportation infrastructure.

There are also concerns that this new project encroaches into the undeveloped northwest quadrant of the City. Properly planned, the northwest quadrant of Davis offers an important opportunity for meeting development needs in Davis in a manner that reflects Davis values – vibrant integrated and connected neighborhoods, affordable co-housing, community gardens and edible vegetation, appropriate commercial, and live-work buildings, all bordered by protected farmland and open space.

Working towards these goals necessitates a General Plan update or a Northwest Specific Plan. Piecemeal development, focusing on one project at a time, will preclude this important planning opportunity.

The Sierra Club is the nation’s largest and oldest environmental group and has almost 1,000 members in the City of Davis.

For more information please call Alan Pryor at 916-996-4811 or go to www.NoOnWDAAC.org


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43 thoughts on “Sierra Club Opposes West Davis Active Adult Community”

  1. Tia Will

    the subsequent development of a senior housing project including 410 single-family, single-story detached homes and a 150 units of low-income senior housing.”

    I am hoping this will be a one liner question. How was the need for these specific numbers of housing units derived to begin with?

      1. Tia Will

        Keith

        That would certainly be the cynics view. I am curious about how much identified need plays into the developers thinking when designing a project. With a scarcity of housing overall, it is probably advantageous to be able to sell a project as a benefit “to the entire community”. I am wondering how this calculation is arrived at since it seems to me, from recent adventures in real estate, that a fair number of those seeking homes in Davis are not current Davis residents.

    1. Ken A

      I know an OB/GYN that does volunteer work teaching kids about safe sex and doing prenatal counseling for at risk women.  I don’t know her mix between fully paid work days and no pay volunteer work days but I’m pretty sure it is not 150 volunteer days for every 410 paid days (if Tia asks the MDs she knows why they do more “market rate” work than “low income” work I’m pretty sure she will get the same answer as when she asks a developer why they typically build more “market rate” properties than low-income properties)…

    1. Craig Ross

      Maybe Alan Pryor can explain how what he’s done here is legal.  Because it seems to me that he should have recused himself from anything to do with WDAAC given his duel roles.

        1. Craig Ross

          Since I’m not a lawyer, that may well be true.  But since we are talking about a non-profit and Alan Pryor has two separate interests, one as a leader of the No on L campaign and the second as a fiduciary on the Sierra Club board, and he is using his position on the board to enhance the prospects of the campaign he is a leader on, it again seems like a legal conflict.  Given that, feel free to obfuscate all you want.

        2. Craig Ross

          Given that you are neither Alan nor an attorney, perhaps you can butt out until Alan responds (which is what I’m waiting for before deciding whether to file a complaint).

      1. Alan Pryor

        Yes, I am involved in the No on Measure L campaign and the Sierra Club – but this is not at all uncommon. The Sierra Club endorses dozens of candidates or Measures in each election cycle and very many Sierra Club members actively partake in those campaign activiites.

        Note that the Sierra Club has both a 501(c)3 AND a separate 501(c)4 organizational status. The 501(c)3 non-profit is prohibited from engaging in any campaign activities or promotions while the 501(c)4 does actively support different campaigns both with endorsements and, in some cases, with donations. Donations to the 501(c)3 entity are strictly firewalled with absolutley no commingling of funds allowed for any political campaign purposes. The Sierra Club is otherwise not making any monetary or any in-kind contributions of any type to the No on Measure L campaign. The endorsement and press release is the sole involvement of the Sierra Club in this Measure

        This is very similar to what occurred in the Sierra Club’s recent decision to support Dean Johansson’s Yolo Co DA race except in that campaign, the Sierra Club 501(c)4 endorsed the candidate, made a donation to the campaign’s FPPC committee, and a number of our members worked on the campaign. Similar Sierra Club activities occur throughtout the nation every election cycle and we have been thoroughly and totally vetted to ensure these activities are all permissable under bot FPPC and IRS guidelines.

        Another similar example, I’m sure, is the Davis Vanguard. They are a 501(c3) non-profit which would seemingly prohibit any support for any political campaign. However, as long as they are not expending 501(c3) funds supporting any campaigns, they or their principals can independently endorse any campaign or candidate they wish in any manner they choose (within statutory/regulatory limits, of course).

        1. Ron

          Alan:  “Another similar example, I’m sure, is the Davis Vanguard. They are a 501(c3) non-profit which would seemingly prohibit any support for any political campaign. However, as long as they are not expending 501(c3) funds supporting any campaigns, they or their principals can independently endorse any campaign or candidate they wish in any manner they choose (within statutory/regulatory limits, of course).”

          I understand that this is not necessarily true, regarding any particular candidate (and related coverage on a non-profit media outlet/blog).  As noted on the “other” Davis blog several weeks ago, a complaint has been initiated against the Vanguard in regard to the district attorney’s race.

          I also understand that this does not necessarily apply to campaigns that aren’t focused on an individual candidate (such as Measure L). (If that wasn’t the case, I suspect that the Vanguard would be subject to a lot more complaints.)

        2. Jim Hoch

          Most humorous post of the day.

          First let me note that intersectionality is highly valued in progressive circles. Second I believe Craig has mistaken the Sierra Club with S.H.I.E.L.D.  which is a fictional government agency in the Marvel universe. 

          “The question is whether you, as an officer of both, should have recused yourself.  Did you seek legal advice before taking part in this endorsement?”

        3. Craig Ross

          I believe you are quite mistaken Jim Hoch.  An officer in a 501c4 has fiduciary responsibility to the organization.  Alan Pryor is using his position in one organization to aid another.  That is not intersectionality, that is in fact, a conflict of interest.

        4. Alan Miller

          The question is whether you, as an officer of both, should have recused yourself.  Did you seek legal advice before taking part in this endorsement?

          Believe me, non-profits can get away with all kinds of S–t.  Even more so, because so many people give them angelic status, when in fact many are  fronts for laundering of corporate campaign monies and often pay their upper management quite handsome salaries (but not profits, no no no!  . . . and we do the work of God!  The good God, not the bad God)

        5. Alan Pryor

          …so many people give them angelic status, when in fact many are  fronts for laundering of corporate campaign monies and often pay their upper management quite handsome salaries

          In case anyone is still reading…I am retired with no pension. I do not make a handsome salary from anybody. In fact, I do not nor have I ever received a dime from the Sierra Club or No on Measure L or any of the other 4 non-profits I serve. In fact, I give them all money. None of these organizations are fronts for money laundering. And judging from the comments I receive on this blog, no one is giving me “angelic status”.

          …just sayin’

        6. Ron

          Alan P:  “In fact, I do not nor have I ever received a dime from the Sierra Club or No on Measure L or any of the other 4 non-profits I serve.”

          If a complaint is initiated and successful, you might have to “pay taxes” on that zero amount!

          Alan P:  “And judging from the comments I receive on this blog, no one is giving me “angelic status”. 

          You’d have to be named “Robb”, for that to occur. (“Dean” might work as well.)

          (Pretty sure that my second comment will appropriately be “deleted”. 🙂 I’m almost willing to report it, myself!)

           

        7. Craig Ross

          What you’re saying is irrelevant Alan Pryor and I think you know it.  You are using your position at Sierra Club to further your involvement with the No on L campaign.  That is a conflict of interest.  You need to rescind your view and then recuse yourself.  That is the appropriate cure.  Pam Nieberg too.

        8. Craig Ross

          “If a complaint is initiated and successful, you might have to “pay taxes” on that zero amount!”

          That’s not true.  The easiest fix is still to cure it which would be to rescind the endorsement, and then recuse himself from future votes.  If he persists, he could be fined.  He could also be removed by the Sierra Club from his position.

        9. Matt Williams

          Craig Ross said . . . “What you’re saying is irrelevant Alan Pryor and I think you know it.  You are using your position at Sierra Club to further your involvement with the No on L campaign.  That is a conflict of interest.  You need to rescind your view and then recuse yourself.  That is the appropriate cure.  Pam Nieberg too.”

          Craig, are you sure you aren’t viewing this backward. It is just as possible that Alan and Pam are using their positions in the No on L campaign to further then interests of the Sierra Club.  If that is indeed the case, is that a conflict of interest? Do you know what the legal definition of conflict of interest is?  In case you don’t, here it is.
          Conflict of Interest
          A term used to describe the situation in which a public official or fiduciary who, contrary to the obligation and absolute duty to act for the benefit of the public or a designated individual, exploits the relationship for personal benefit, typically pecuniary.

          That definition prompts me to ask you the following question … What personal benefit (pecuniary or non-pecuniary) are either Alan or Pam receiving? 

        10. Matt Williams

          For the record, I have not taken either a past or present position on Measure L … either for or against.  In addition I will not be taking any future position on Measure L.  I notified Jason and Dave Taormino and Alan Pryor of that several months ago.

  2. Ron

    I’m wondering about the impact on city finances resulting from a proposal that would likely encourage folks who enjoy low property taxes (as a result of Proposition 13) to explore these possibilities:

    1)  transfer their low property tax to this development;

    2)  keep their old house (and its low property taxes);

    3)  transfer their low property tax from a second home to this development.  (Proposition 13 allows folks to enjoy low property taxes on a second home, as well.)

    Of course, these possibilities would preclude those who aren’t already enjoying low property taxes, as a result of purchasing years ago.

    It will be interesting to see the dynamics if Proposition 5 passes in November, as well. (This would allow those 55 years and older to transfer their low property tax anywhere in California. I read that it’s expected to pass.)

      1. Ron

        Suggest you either:

        1) See Keith’s 8:50 a.m. response (above), and/or

        2)  Refer to the analysis that a member of the city’s finance and budget commission performed which shows a deficit for this proposal (although I’m not sure if this even accounts for the expected/low property taxes from this development).

        http://documents.cityofdavis.org/Media/Default/Documents/PDF/CityCouncil/Finance-And-Budget-Commission/Agendas/20180312/07C-Solomon-Updated-Fiscal-Models.pdf

        Of course, discussing questions and reviewing analyses is something that one would have to be open to in the first place. (Perhaps not the primary purpose of some who participate on the Vanguard.)

         

         

    1. Ken A

      I’m pretty sure Ron is wrong and that it will NOT be possible to transfer the tax basis from a “second home” to the WDACC.

      “Under certain conditions, persons aged 55 and older may transfer the Prop 13 base year value of their principal residence to a replacement residence. This is a one-time-only benefit”

      With the rare case that the new WDACC is “exactly” equal to the current home the county will be betting MORE property tax every year since “The replacement must be of equal or lesser current market value”

      http://www.assessor.saccounty.net/LowerMyTaxes/BaseYearValueTransfers/Pages/default.aspx

      1. Ron

        Ken:  Thanks for the reminder, regarding the primary residence rule.  Of course, this would not preclude someone from (temporarily) making a second home a primary residence, and then transferring the tax.  (But, I suspect that very few would do this in regard to WDAAC, so it’s probably not a significant issue.)

        However, you’re second statement is misleading, if Proposition 5 passes (as expected).  In that case, only the difference in value (between the old home and new home) will be subject to “regular” tax rates (simplified example, as follows):

        Old home value = $500,000

        New home value = $600,000

        In this case, $500,000 of the value of the new home would be taxed at a lower amount, with the difference (of $100,000) taxed at a “regular” rate. (And, this will be the case regardless of where one moves to/from, throughout California.)

        If a new home is of lesser value than the old home, the entire (lower) tax rate would be applied to the new home.  (It’s even pro-rated, so that the new home would be taxed at a lower total amount than the old home!)

        If you doubt this, you can verify it yourself by researching Proposition 5.

        1. Ron

          As a side note, I’m wondering if the entire state will simply implode under its own (debt) weight, especially if Proposition 5 passes, the gas tax is repealed, pension/medical costs continue to increase, we enter an (inevitable) recession, and the housing market crashes again.

          Fasten your seat belts!  (We might be in for a bumpy, but slow-motion disaster!)

        2. Ron

          Another probable result of Proposition 5 will be the proliferation of senior/retirement communities throughout the state.  Seniors will be encouraged by the ability to transfer their tax to such communities, which will no doubt (also) be a focus of real estate agent pitches.

          That, combined with the aging of the population will make the upcoming period an especially lucrative time to be in the “senior-living” facility business, and will also increase turnover (thereby also helping the real estate industry – which is behind/supporting Proposition 5.)

          And of course, those (who are 55 years of age and older) who are able to (individually) take advantage of the opportunity will benefit.

          However, for cities and the state as a whole (including those under 55 or who won’t/cannot take advantage of Proposition 5), it is not such good news. Proposition 5 essentially expands Proposition 13, limiting its potential benefits to those who are already benefiting from it.

           

        3. Ken A

          Ron:

          Explain how my statement is “misleading” if MORE tax money will be coming in under both the current law and the law proposed Prop 5.

          P.S. I’ve been told by CPAs that the IRS wants you to live in another home for at least two full years to make it your “primary” residence so just like if you quit a job and work full time at a former part time job for two full years it really is a “primary” job or residence after two years.

        4. Ron

          O.K. – your comment was “misleading” (although I suspect not purposefully so) in the following ways (if Proposition 5 passes, as it’s expected to):

          Your citation is from the Sacramento county assessor, which will be overridden.  In fact, all county assessor citations would be overridden.  Therefore, it will no longer be a “one time benefit”, or “limited to a house of equal or lessor value”.

          Regarding fiscal impacts:

          “Annual property tax losses for cities, counties, and special districts of around $150 million in the near term, growing over time to $1 billion or more per year (in today’s dollars). Annual property tax losses for schools of around $150 million per year in the near term, growing over time to $1 billion or more per year (in today’s dollars). Increase in state costs for schools of an equivalent amount in most years.[8]

          https://ballotpedia.org/California_Proposition_5,_Property_Tax_Transfer_Initiative_(2018)

           

        5. Ken A

          I clicked a few links but I could not find the math for the claim:

          “Annual property tax losses for cities, counties, and special districts of around $150 million in the near term, growing over time to $1 billion or more per year (in today’s dollars).

          Of find out what they mean by “near term” (this Christmas or 2020?) or “over time” (10 years or 50 years?).

          It is also important to remember that quite a few people can already move and take tax basis so the law will only impact seniors that move to areas that currently don’t already allow it or move multiple times as Seniors.

          P.S. Prop 5 and the Gas Tax repeal will not make much of a difference since CA (and IL) just keep kicking the can down the road with no way to ever keep all the promises they have made (like Venezuela the Federal Government can print money to technically keep a promise by paying a retired cop “90% of his last years pay” with a check for $10K that will buy him a cup of coffee and a sandwich…

          http://www.pensiontsunami.com/

          http://www.pensiontsunami.com/

        6. Ron

          Ken:  I’m not sure if we’re actually disagreeing regarding anything at this point.  But, the bottom line is that Proposition 5 will make it easier for seniors to transfer their low property tax anywhere in California.

          And, as developers pursue more senior facilities (such as WDAAC) throughout California as a result of the new law, those communities will receive comparatively less taxes (while still incurring the full costs of those developments – which isn’t controlled or addressed by Proposition 13).

          Its not exactly a recipe for fiscal soundness or stability, from the point of view of cities, counties, and the state. But, I’m pretty sure that the development/real estate interests backing Proposition 5 don’t give a damn about that. And frankly, some seniors who would directly benefit may not care that much, either.

        7. Ron

          Oh, and for the “build everything” folks (who support WDAAC as a result of that point of view), there’s this (from the link I posted above):

          The Mercury News: “California voters should reject Proposition 5, a regressive measure that would provide additional property tax breaks to long-term homeowners — especially those with pricier houses — who already pay significantly lower tax bills. … What’s clear is that many of those who do downsize would add to the competition for a short supply of more-affordable smaller homes, squeezing out first-time buyers. This isn’t a solution to our housing crisis. In fact, it might make it worse.”

          The Sacramento Bee: “If more older homeowners moved, it might make more houses available for younger families and ease California’s housing crunch. Proposition 5, however, is not how to make that happen. Instead, the Nov. 6 ballot measure would make property taxes in California even less fair while devastating the budgets of local schools and governments. Voters should reject it. … Proposition 5 is a reminder that California’s property tax system does need to be made more equitable. But this measure would only make it worse. That is the wrong direction for California.”

        8. Ron

          In reference to my citation above, it would be particularly ironic if the houses that are alleged to be “freed up” by WDAAC are purchased and occupied by even more seniors, e.g., from the Bay Area!

          Instead of “Dormville”, maybe it’s going to be “Seniorville” – if it isn’t, already? (Either way, housing for either of these groups doesn’t seem to “pay the bills”, from the city’s point of view.)

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