Guest Commentary: General Plan Housing Element Process

by Matt Williams

In 2007 if you wanted to unify the residents of Davis, the best bet was to raise the topic of how and how much Davis will accommodate the demand for additional housing. Thus far, January 2008 is following the same pattern, with

· The City Council voting on Tuesday night to bring back for discussion the Resolution Regarding Annual Growth Parameter passed by the Council on March 8, 2005 . . . also known as the One Percent (1%) Growth Guideline, the text of which can be read here and

· The Housing Elements Steering Committee (HESC) coming to final decisions about the Community Workshop scheduled for Thursday, January 24th from 7:00 to 9:30 PM at the Holmes Junior High School Multi-purpose Room. The HESC has conducted 24 public meetings since February 8, 2007, and the second Community Workshop is intended to:

1) Share with the public an explanation of how Davis will meet the RHNA allocation,

2) Show HESC’s ranking of 37 future potential sites for housing,

3) Show the Principles and Tradeoffs HESC has used to ranking potential housing sites

4) Get feedback from the public on the above three items, including changes to the ranking of the 37 future potential housing sites, and

5) Get feedback from the public on what directions Housing in the Davis Community should take in the years to come. Some of the feedback questions the HESC will be asking are:

a) Housing Density and Intensity Near Downtown and Neighborhood Nodes – Which of the following strategies for developing housing sites, if any, would you support or suggest?

¨ Locate new housing as near as possible to downtown

¨ Avoid infill housing that is developed at higher densities than the surrounding area

¨ Allow for increased densities above existing densities for housing development near the downtown or neighborhood centers, when the site offers flexibility to address potential neighborhood impacts.

¨ Disperse higher density housing throughout the City

¨ Other

b) Housing Development Within the City as Compared to Peripheral Sites – Which of the following strategies would you support or suggest?

¨ Maximize “infill” development within the current City limits.

¨ Protect agricultural lands as much as possible.

¨ Expand City boundaries to all development of peripheral sites where services and facilities can easily be extended consistent with community housing needs.

¨ Other

c) Variety of Housing Types – Which of the following strategies would you support or suggest?

¨ Strive to maintain the current mix of housing types and tenure, including an adequate supply of affordable and workforce housing.

¨ Place greater emphasis on rental housing

¨ Place greater emphasis on ownership (for-sale) housing

¨ Place greater emphasis on ownership (for-sale) moderate income housing

¨ Place greater emphasis on senior (age-restricted) housing

¨ Place greater emphasis on attached housing and smaller housing units

¨ Place greater emphasis on single family detached housing

¨ Other

The HESC and Planning Department Staff have produced an excellent comparative growth map that shows visually the impact of density and growth rate decisions.

Neither of these two events transpired without significant disagreement, and all Davis residents should take the opportunity to participate in the next steps the Council and HESC take in the coming weeks.

Some of you may be asking yourselves, why does Davis need to grow at all? The reality is that if there is no demand for additional housing, Davis does not need to, nor will it grow. However, the story does not end with that statement. California General Plan law requires each city and county to have land zoned to accommodate its fair share of the regional housing need. This fair share is known as the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA), which for Davis is calculated by the Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG). Information about RHNA is available here.

To comply with the RHNA requirements of California law, Davis is not required to make development happen, but it must eliminate barriers to the production of 498 additional housing units by ensuring that enough land is available to accommodate that RHNA allocation specified by SACOG for the period from January 1, 2006, to June 30, 2013. The RHNA allocations for the whole Sacramento five-county region are available here.

One of the significant areas of disagreement within the HESC members has centered around the charge it was given by the City Council regarding Growth Rate. On the one hand, the RHNA allocation is only 498 additional residential units between January 2006 and December 2013. On the other hand, the Planning Department Staff’s interpretation of the 1% Growth Guideline as a target rather than as a cap means over 2,300 additional residential units over the same period. One can’t help but ask the following question:

“City Council members and Davis residents came out in force in March 2007 to strongly oppose Yolo County’s recommendation to consider 2,100 additional residential units in the HESC planning area in the 23 years between now and 2030. Given that, why is the City Council and HESC now considering even more units over 6 years?”

No matter what your answer is to that question, the HESC and City Council need your feedback. One could even add a fourth set of feedback questions to the three groups HESC has identified above:

d) Volume of Housing Growth – Which of the following growth rate targets between now and December 2013 would you support or suggest?

¨ Only grow by the RHNA mandated allocation of 498 additional residential units.

¨ Grow at a rate between 498 and 1,500 additional residential units.

¨ Grow at a rate of between 1,500 and 2,300 additional residential units

¨ Grow at a rate higher than 2,300 additional residential units.

¨ Other

To put those numbers into further context, (click here), the Planning Department Staff provided the HESC with a breakdown of the inventory of residential units for which certificates of occupation (181), building permits (115) or other additional permits (339) have been issued or approved. Those 635 already approved (or built) units more than meet the RHNA allocation, and further they raise the Planning Department Staff growth under their interpretation of the 1% Growth Guideline to 2,950 units between now and December 2013.

Fortunately, the Council has voted to clarify the wording of the 1% Guideline Resolution. Sue Greenwald and Steve Sousa both made motions to that effect, and both Sousa and Ruth Asmundson stated on the record Tuesday night that the 1% Growth Guideline was always intended to be a cap, not a target. So if you have an opinion about the 1% Growth Guideline, let your Council members know your thoughts, and be sure to ask them to be more explicit in their charge to the HESC.

You may ask, why do we need a Growth Guideline at all? The answer to that is clear when you look at the following annual building permits issued numbers:

1998: 999

1999: 926

2000: 566

2001: 206

2002: 307

2003: 265

2004: 135

2005: 250

2006: 104

The huge spikes in 1998 and 1999 represent the rapid build-outs of the Mace Ranch and Wildhorse developments. Council wanted to be sure that did not happen again, so they adopted the resolution, which begins as follows:

The City Council finds that an annual average growth parameter for the City is appropriate for future growth management and planning after considering:

a. The internal housing needs identified in the “Internal Housing Needs Analysis” report.

b. The most recent and likely future fair share housing needs issued by the Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG).

The idea behind the resolution is good, but it was never intended to be anything other than a cap . . . to prevent a recurrence of the problems experienced with Mace Ranch and Wild horse. To their credit, Council appears poised to clarify any misunderstandings that may exist vis-à-vis the 1% Growth Guideline.

In closing, please read and act on the following HESC flyer:

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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64 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    Thanks for the instructive Guest Commentary Matt. Perhaps we should all consider writing-in our answers to your fourth set of feedback questions on the 24th.

  2. Anonymous

    Thanks for the instructive Guest Commentary Matt. Perhaps we should all consider writing-in our answers to your fourth set of feedback questions on the 24th.

  3. Anonymous

    Thanks for the instructive Guest Commentary Matt. Perhaps we should all consider writing-in our answers to your fourth set of feedback questions on the 24th.

  4. Anonymous

    Thanks for the instructive Guest Commentary Matt. Perhaps we should all consider writing-in our answers to your fourth set of feedback questions on the 24th.

  5. davisite

    Matt….all interesting questions but perhaps far too big a mouthful to be digested at one sitting.
    Your statement that housing construction will be determined solely by need reflects the simplistic argument of the pure free-market idealogues. Many more factors,ie cultural values, societal priorities, who has political/economic power, whose “ox is gored” are determinant,to name just a few. Economics is pitched as some sort of real science. As President Truman once commented, “line up all the economic”experts” and they all point in different directions!” As for your statement that it was the Planning Department’s interpretation that made the 1% a target rather than a cap,you are rewriting history. The Planning Department was following
    the current Council Majority’s(Asmundson,Saylor, Souza) and Puntillo’s position that not only was the 1% a target but that their self-imposted 1% ordinance now made it a mandatory growth rate with State penalties for non-compliance. With the current housing glut and temporary absence of pressure from their Developer patrons, we are seeing the current Council Majority reelection candidates Saylor and Souza taking on the mantle of born-again populists. Changing the Council majority in the upcoming June 2008 election will be what determines Davis’ future.

  6. davisite

    Matt….all interesting questions but perhaps far too big a mouthful to be digested at one sitting.
    Your statement that housing construction will be determined solely by need reflects the simplistic argument of the pure free-market idealogues. Many more factors,ie cultural values, societal priorities, who has political/economic power, whose “ox is gored” are determinant,to name just a few. Economics is pitched as some sort of real science. As President Truman once commented, “line up all the economic”experts” and they all point in different directions!” As for your statement that it was the Planning Department’s interpretation that made the 1% a target rather than a cap,you are rewriting history. The Planning Department was following
    the current Council Majority’s(Asmundson,Saylor, Souza) and Puntillo’s position that not only was the 1% a target but that their self-imposted 1% ordinance now made it a mandatory growth rate with State penalties for non-compliance. With the current housing glut and temporary absence of pressure from their Developer patrons, we are seeing the current Council Majority reelection candidates Saylor and Souza taking on the mantle of born-again populists. Changing the Council majority in the upcoming June 2008 election will be what determines Davis’ future.

  7. davisite

    Matt….all interesting questions but perhaps far too big a mouthful to be digested at one sitting.
    Your statement that housing construction will be determined solely by need reflects the simplistic argument of the pure free-market idealogues. Many more factors,ie cultural values, societal priorities, who has political/economic power, whose “ox is gored” are determinant,to name just a few. Economics is pitched as some sort of real science. As President Truman once commented, “line up all the economic”experts” and they all point in different directions!” As for your statement that it was the Planning Department’s interpretation that made the 1% a target rather than a cap,you are rewriting history. The Planning Department was following
    the current Council Majority’s(Asmundson,Saylor, Souza) and Puntillo’s position that not only was the 1% a target but that their self-imposted 1% ordinance now made it a mandatory growth rate with State penalties for non-compliance. With the current housing glut and temporary absence of pressure from their Developer patrons, we are seeing the current Council Majority reelection candidates Saylor and Souza taking on the mantle of born-again populists. Changing the Council majority in the upcoming June 2008 election will be what determines Davis’ future.

  8. davisite

    Matt….all interesting questions but perhaps far too big a mouthful to be digested at one sitting.
    Your statement that housing construction will be determined solely by need reflects the simplistic argument of the pure free-market idealogues. Many more factors,ie cultural values, societal priorities, who has political/economic power, whose “ox is gored” are determinant,to name just a few. Economics is pitched as some sort of real science. As President Truman once commented, “line up all the economic”experts” and they all point in different directions!” As for your statement that it was the Planning Department’s interpretation that made the 1% a target rather than a cap,you are rewriting history. The Planning Department was following
    the current Council Majority’s(Asmundson,Saylor, Souza) and Puntillo’s position that not only was the 1% a target but that their self-imposted 1% ordinance now made it a mandatory growth rate with State penalties for non-compliance. With the current housing glut and temporary absence of pressure from their Developer patrons, we are seeing the current Council Majority reelection candidates Saylor and Souza taking on the mantle of born-again populists. Changing the Council majority in the upcoming June 2008 election will be what determines Davis’ future.

  9. Matt Williams

    davisite said …

    Your statement that housing construction will be determined solely by need reflects the simplistic argument of the pure free-market idealogues.

    I believe the ideal combination is having a cap to limit/control the high side of growth, together with market demand (or the absence of it) determining the low side of growth. We appear to have that combination here in Davis.

    If market demand is zero, then zero additional residential units will be built. Zero is definitely lower than the annual proportion of 498 units over the eight year allocation period of RHNA. Zero build-outs in any individual year is not a violation of the RHNA principles. The 498 only has to be the capacity to satisfy market demand at that level. So in a period of horrible demand, we could (hypotetically) see zero units actually permitted and built in every year between now and 2013.

    With that said, zero demand is not realistic, especially in a highly attractive place to live like Davis. That is where a cap like the 1% Growth Guideline comes in. I’m not sure that 1% is the right level. It may be too high, but it does mean that the maximum number of units that can be built in any single year most likely won’t exceed 350. The reason the number is a bit hard to pin down is that there are exclusions for affordable housing, so in fact it is a “1% plus” Guideline.

  10. Matt Williams

    davisite said …

    Your statement that housing construction will be determined solely by need reflects the simplistic argument of the pure free-market idealogues.

    I believe the ideal combination is having a cap to limit/control the high side of growth, together with market demand (or the absence of it) determining the low side of growth. We appear to have that combination here in Davis.

    If market demand is zero, then zero additional residential units will be built. Zero is definitely lower than the annual proportion of 498 units over the eight year allocation period of RHNA. Zero build-outs in any individual year is not a violation of the RHNA principles. The 498 only has to be the capacity to satisfy market demand at that level. So in a period of horrible demand, we could (hypotetically) see zero units actually permitted and built in every year between now and 2013.

    With that said, zero demand is not realistic, especially in a highly attractive place to live like Davis. That is where a cap like the 1% Growth Guideline comes in. I’m not sure that 1% is the right level. It may be too high, but it does mean that the maximum number of units that can be built in any single year most likely won’t exceed 350. The reason the number is a bit hard to pin down is that there are exclusions for affordable housing, so in fact it is a “1% plus” Guideline.

  11. Matt Williams

    davisite said …

    Your statement that housing construction will be determined solely by need reflects the simplistic argument of the pure free-market idealogues.

    I believe the ideal combination is having a cap to limit/control the high side of growth, together with market demand (or the absence of it) determining the low side of growth. We appear to have that combination here in Davis.

    If market demand is zero, then zero additional residential units will be built. Zero is definitely lower than the annual proportion of 498 units over the eight year allocation period of RHNA. Zero build-outs in any individual year is not a violation of the RHNA principles. The 498 only has to be the capacity to satisfy market demand at that level. So in a period of horrible demand, we could (hypotetically) see zero units actually permitted and built in every year between now and 2013.

    With that said, zero demand is not realistic, especially in a highly attractive place to live like Davis. That is where a cap like the 1% Growth Guideline comes in. I’m not sure that 1% is the right level. It may be too high, but it does mean that the maximum number of units that can be built in any single year most likely won’t exceed 350. The reason the number is a bit hard to pin down is that there are exclusions for affordable housing, so in fact it is a “1% plus” Guideline.

  12. Matt Williams

    davisite said …

    Your statement that housing construction will be determined solely by need reflects the simplistic argument of the pure free-market idealogues.

    I believe the ideal combination is having a cap to limit/control the high side of growth, together with market demand (or the absence of it) determining the low side of growth. We appear to have that combination here in Davis.

    If market demand is zero, then zero additional residential units will be built. Zero is definitely lower than the annual proportion of 498 units over the eight year allocation period of RHNA. Zero build-outs in any individual year is not a violation of the RHNA principles. The 498 only has to be the capacity to satisfy market demand at that level. So in a period of horrible demand, we could (hypotetically) see zero units actually permitted and built in every year between now and 2013.

    With that said, zero demand is not realistic, especially in a highly attractive place to live like Davis. That is where a cap like the 1% Growth Guideline comes in. I’m not sure that 1% is the right level. It may be too high, but it does mean that the maximum number of units that can be built in any single year most likely won’t exceed 350. The reason the number is a bit hard to pin down is that there are exclusions for affordable housing, so in fact it is a “1% plus” Guideline.

  13. Anonymous

    Matt,

    Thanks for the helpful summary. I am glad that some residents are actually going to these meetings and getting facts, rather than simply responding to the extremists and alarmists who oppose growth at all costs.

    Many have written in this blog about the economics of growth from the city’s perspective, most of whom claim that the revenues from taxes do not pay for the increased costs. I don’t believe those statements to be true, but even if they are true, they certainly don’t have to be true. Davis is facing a significant economic squeeze, that is about to be compounded because of the state’s financial condition. Davis has a significant problem with school revenues, a looming water and sewage problem, and an annual fiscal budgeting problem. Housing development growth can provide fiscal help, long and short term, with all of those problems. Increased developer fees and proffers for development, otgether with on going “association fees” for homeowners, can more than pay the increased costs associated with development. And, with some increased high rise development downtown for affordable housing and apartments, Davis can allow for increased housing availability for people from all income levels.

    Remember, the county is facing a significant economic squeeze also. If Davis doesn’t provide for growth at our borders, the county will, or they will renegotiate the cost of the agreement between the city and county.

  14. Anonymous

    Matt,

    Thanks for the helpful summary. I am glad that some residents are actually going to these meetings and getting facts, rather than simply responding to the extremists and alarmists who oppose growth at all costs.

    Many have written in this blog about the economics of growth from the city’s perspective, most of whom claim that the revenues from taxes do not pay for the increased costs. I don’t believe those statements to be true, but even if they are true, they certainly don’t have to be true. Davis is facing a significant economic squeeze, that is about to be compounded because of the state’s financial condition. Davis has a significant problem with school revenues, a looming water and sewage problem, and an annual fiscal budgeting problem. Housing development growth can provide fiscal help, long and short term, with all of those problems. Increased developer fees and proffers for development, otgether with on going “association fees” for homeowners, can more than pay the increased costs associated with development. And, with some increased high rise development downtown for affordable housing and apartments, Davis can allow for increased housing availability for people from all income levels.

    Remember, the county is facing a significant economic squeeze also. If Davis doesn’t provide for growth at our borders, the county will, or they will renegotiate the cost of the agreement between the city and county.

  15. Anonymous

    Matt,

    Thanks for the helpful summary. I am glad that some residents are actually going to these meetings and getting facts, rather than simply responding to the extremists and alarmists who oppose growth at all costs.

    Many have written in this blog about the economics of growth from the city’s perspective, most of whom claim that the revenues from taxes do not pay for the increased costs. I don’t believe those statements to be true, but even if they are true, they certainly don’t have to be true. Davis is facing a significant economic squeeze, that is about to be compounded because of the state’s financial condition. Davis has a significant problem with school revenues, a looming water and sewage problem, and an annual fiscal budgeting problem. Housing development growth can provide fiscal help, long and short term, with all of those problems. Increased developer fees and proffers for development, otgether with on going “association fees” for homeowners, can more than pay the increased costs associated with development. And, with some increased high rise development downtown for affordable housing and apartments, Davis can allow for increased housing availability for people from all income levels.

    Remember, the county is facing a significant economic squeeze also. If Davis doesn’t provide for growth at our borders, the county will, or they will renegotiate the cost of the agreement between the city and county.

  16. Anonymous

    Matt,

    Thanks for the helpful summary. I am glad that some residents are actually going to these meetings and getting facts, rather than simply responding to the extremists and alarmists who oppose growth at all costs.

    Many have written in this blog about the economics of growth from the city’s perspective, most of whom claim that the revenues from taxes do not pay for the increased costs. I don’t believe those statements to be true, but even if they are true, they certainly don’t have to be true. Davis is facing a significant economic squeeze, that is about to be compounded because of the state’s financial condition. Davis has a significant problem with school revenues, a looming water and sewage problem, and an annual fiscal budgeting problem. Housing development growth can provide fiscal help, long and short term, with all of those problems. Increased developer fees and proffers for development, otgether with on going “association fees” for homeowners, can more than pay the increased costs associated with development. And, with some increased high rise development downtown for affordable housing and apartments, Davis can allow for increased housing availability for people from all income levels.

    Remember, the county is facing a significant economic squeeze also. If Davis doesn’t provide for growth at our borders, the county will, or they will renegotiate the cost of the agreement between the city and county.

  17. 無名 - wu ming

    the kind of housing, and the income levels of resident (be they renters or owners) that they allow are perhaps more salient than the absolute number of houses, in terms of preserving the college town sort of community that davis once had, and ought to strive for IMO.

    no growth doesn’t help things, and the wrong kind of growth can make it worse. what is needed is adequate rental units to accomodate the student population at a vacancy rate above the insanely low 0.7% we’ve hovered at for much of the past decade, plus urban brownstone levels of dense housing within walking distance of downtown.

    if we keep building mcmansions, we’re never going to get back to the point where students and local kids can afford to settle down and raise families here.

  18. 無名 - wu ming

    the kind of housing, and the income levels of resident (be they renters or owners) that they allow are perhaps more salient than the absolute number of houses, in terms of preserving the college town sort of community that davis once had, and ought to strive for IMO.

    no growth doesn’t help things, and the wrong kind of growth can make it worse. what is needed is adequate rental units to accomodate the student population at a vacancy rate above the insanely low 0.7% we’ve hovered at for much of the past decade, plus urban brownstone levels of dense housing within walking distance of downtown.

    if we keep building mcmansions, we’re never going to get back to the point where students and local kids can afford to settle down and raise families here.

  19. 無名 - wu ming

    the kind of housing, and the income levels of resident (be they renters or owners) that they allow are perhaps more salient than the absolute number of houses, in terms of preserving the college town sort of community that davis once had, and ought to strive for IMO.

    no growth doesn’t help things, and the wrong kind of growth can make it worse. what is needed is adequate rental units to accomodate the student population at a vacancy rate above the insanely low 0.7% we’ve hovered at for much of the past decade, plus urban brownstone levels of dense housing within walking distance of downtown.

    if we keep building mcmansions, we’re never going to get back to the point where students and local kids can afford to settle down and raise families here.

  20. 無名 - wu ming

    the kind of housing, and the income levels of resident (be they renters or owners) that they allow are perhaps more salient than the absolute number of houses, in terms of preserving the college town sort of community that davis once had, and ought to strive for IMO.

    no growth doesn’t help things, and the wrong kind of growth can make it worse. what is needed is adequate rental units to accomodate the student population at a vacancy rate above the insanely low 0.7% we’ve hovered at for much of the past decade, plus urban brownstone levels of dense housing within walking distance of downtown.

    if we keep building mcmansions, we’re never going to get back to the point where students and local kids can afford to settle down and raise families here.

  21. Anonymous

    “….I don’t believe those statements to be true, but even if they are true, they certainly don’t have to be true.”

    …an Urban Limit line and a City
    Council that is not in the pockets of the Developers who have speculated on property on Davis’ periphery would be a good beginning. Like our energy crisis, new paradigms are needed;revenue “conservation” would be a good beginning.

  22. Anonymous

    “….I don’t believe those statements to be true, but even if they are true, they certainly don’t have to be true.”

    …an Urban Limit line and a City
    Council that is not in the pockets of the Developers who have speculated on property on Davis’ periphery would be a good beginning. Like our energy crisis, new paradigms are needed;revenue “conservation” would be a good beginning.

  23. Anonymous

    “….I don’t believe those statements to be true, but even if they are true, they certainly don’t have to be true.”

    …an Urban Limit line and a City
    Council that is not in the pockets of the Developers who have speculated on property on Davis’ periphery would be a good beginning. Like our energy crisis, new paradigms are needed;revenue “conservation” would be a good beginning.

  24. Anonymous

    “….I don’t believe those statements to be true, but even if they are true, they certainly don’t have to be true.”

    …an Urban Limit line and a City
    Council that is not in the pockets of the Developers who have speculated on property on Davis’ periphery would be a good beginning. Like our energy crisis, new paradigms are needed;revenue “conservation” would be a good beginning.

  25. Not so fast!

    “Increased developer fees and proffers for development, otgether with on going “association fees” for homeowners, can more than pay the increased costs associated with development.”

    I am literally cringing at this statement. Putting expenses on the backs of homeowners associations is a recipe for disaster. Seniors on fixed incomes and families on modest incomes cannot take huge hits in fees, especially if there is a need to make basic roof repairs. These folks can be priced right out of their homes this way. This is part of the reason right now for the foreclosure meltdown. It has not been well publicized that homeowners associations have had to foreclose on those who cannot meet their monthly assessments, or emergency assessments to cover badly needed repairs.

    Matt – excellent and very instructive article. But please explain to me the weird symbols you used in places. I am afraid I am computer slang language challenged!

    One point I would like to make here. I honestly don’t think Covell Village failed because folks were necessarily against growth. What we want is smart growth. Right now, we have a city in fiscal crisis, that cannot afford to deliver basic services – even if some on the City Council don’t believe it (particulary Souza, who claims we can weather anything). Until we can get on a sound fiscal footing, more housing does not seem like a good answer. Business that generates sales tax revenue is what is needed, not more housing that requires the delivery of more services like more police, fire, park maintenance, etc.

  26. Not so fast!

    “Increased developer fees and proffers for development, otgether with on going “association fees” for homeowners, can more than pay the increased costs associated with development.”

    I am literally cringing at this statement. Putting expenses on the backs of homeowners associations is a recipe for disaster. Seniors on fixed incomes and families on modest incomes cannot take huge hits in fees, especially if there is a need to make basic roof repairs. These folks can be priced right out of their homes this way. This is part of the reason right now for the foreclosure meltdown. It has not been well publicized that homeowners associations have had to foreclose on those who cannot meet their monthly assessments, or emergency assessments to cover badly needed repairs.

    Matt – excellent and very instructive article. But please explain to me the weird symbols you used in places. I am afraid I am computer slang language challenged!

    One point I would like to make here. I honestly don’t think Covell Village failed because folks were necessarily against growth. What we want is smart growth. Right now, we have a city in fiscal crisis, that cannot afford to deliver basic services – even if some on the City Council don’t believe it (particulary Souza, who claims we can weather anything). Until we can get on a sound fiscal footing, more housing does not seem like a good answer. Business that generates sales tax revenue is what is needed, not more housing that requires the delivery of more services like more police, fire, park maintenance, etc.

  27. Not so fast!

    “Increased developer fees and proffers for development, otgether with on going “association fees” for homeowners, can more than pay the increased costs associated with development.”

    I am literally cringing at this statement. Putting expenses on the backs of homeowners associations is a recipe for disaster. Seniors on fixed incomes and families on modest incomes cannot take huge hits in fees, especially if there is a need to make basic roof repairs. These folks can be priced right out of their homes this way. This is part of the reason right now for the foreclosure meltdown. It has not been well publicized that homeowners associations have had to foreclose on those who cannot meet their monthly assessments, or emergency assessments to cover badly needed repairs.

    Matt – excellent and very instructive article. But please explain to me the weird symbols you used in places. I am afraid I am computer slang language challenged!

    One point I would like to make here. I honestly don’t think Covell Village failed because folks were necessarily against growth. What we want is smart growth. Right now, we have a city in fiscal crisis, that cannot afford to deliver basic services – even if some on the City Council don’t believe it (particulary Souza, who claims we can weather anything). Until we can get on a sound fiscal footing, more housing does not seem like a good answer. Business that generates sales tax revenue is what is needed, not more housing that requires the delivery of more services like more police, fire, park maintenance, etc.

  28. Not so fast!

    “Increased developer fees and proffers for development, otgether with on going “association fees” for homeowners, can more than pay the increased costs associated with development.”

    I am literally cringing at this statement. Putting expenses on the backs of homeowners associations is a recipe for disaster. Seniors on fixed incomes and families on modest incomes cannot take huge hits in fees, especially if there is a need to make basic roof repairs. These folks can be priced right out of their homes this way. This is part of the reason right now for the foreclosure meltdown. It has not been well publicized that homeowners associations have had to foreclose on those who cannot meet their monthly assessments, or emergency assessments to cover badly needed repairs.

    Matt – excellent and very instructive article. But please explain to me the weird symbols you used in places. I am afraid I am computer slang language challenged!

    One point I would like to make here. I honestly don’t think Covell Village failed because folks were necessarily against growth. What we want is smart growth. Right now, we have a city in fiscal crisis, that cannot afford to deliver basic services – even if some on the City Council don’t believe it (particulary Souza, who claims we can weather anything). Until we can get on a sound fiscal footing, more housing does not seem like a good answer. Business that generates sales tax revenue is what is needed, not more housing that requires the delivery of more services like more police, fire, park maintenance, etc.

  29. Matt Williams

    Not so fast! said…

    But please explain to me the weird symbols you used in places. I am afraid I am computer slang language challenged!

    NSF, when Doug (David) asked me to pen this guest article, I was glad to oblige. I typed it in Microsoft Word and then emailed the file to him for copying and pasting into the Blog software. I liberally used Word’s bulleted list capability, and chose specific bullet characters that made the article more instruvtive (specifically check boxes in the lists of questions the HESC will be asking on the 24th.

    Unfortunately, Google’s Blog software “looked at” those bullet characters and “choked” on them, converting them to what you see here.

    Sorry for the inconvenience. I will know better next time I write a guest article.

  30. Matt Williams

    Not so fast! said…

    But please explain to me the weird symbols you used in places. I am afraid I am computer slang language challenged!

    NSF, when Doug (David) asked me to pen this guest article, I was glad to oblige. I typed it in Microsoft Word and then emailed the file to him for copying and pasting into the Blog software. I liberally used Word’s bulleted list capability, and chose specific bullet characters that made the article more instruvtive (specifically check boxes in the lists of questions the HESC will be asking on the 24th.

    Unfortunately, Google’s Blog software “looked at” those bullet characters and “choked” on them, converting them to what you see here.

    Sorry for the inconvenience. I will know better next time I write a guest article.

  31. Matt Williams

    Not so fast! said…

    But please explain to me the weird symbols you used in places. I am afraid I am computer slang language challenged!

    NSF, when Doug (David) asked me to pen this guest article, I was glad to oblige. I typed it in Microsoft Word and then emailed the file to him for copying and pasting into the Blog software. I liberally used Word’s bulleted list capability, and chose specific bullet characters that made the article more instruvtive (specifically check boxes in the lists of questions the HESC will be asking on the 24th.

    Unfortunately, Google’s Blog software “looked at” those bullet characters and “choked” on them, converting them to what you see here.

    Sorry for the inconvenience. I will know better next time I write a guest article.

  32. Matt Williams

    Not so fast! said…

    But please explain to me the weird symbols you used in places. I am afraid I am computer slang language challenged!

    NSF, when Doug (David) asked me to pen this guest article, I was glad to oblige. I typed it in Microsoft Word and then emailed the file to him for copying and pasting into the Blog software. I liberally used Word’s bulleted list capability, and chose specific bullet characters that made the article more instruvtive (specifically check boxes in the lists of questions the HESC will be asking on the 24th.

    Unfortunately, Google’s Blog software “looked at” those bullet characters and “choked” on them, converting them to what you see here.

    Sorry for the inconvenience. I will know better next time I write a guest article.

  33. Sue Greenwald

    Asmundson, Souza and Saylor have consistently treated the housing 325 units as a goal, not a cap.

    They have consistently talked about the need to plan for this number of units.

    Last week, Don Saylor and Ruth Asmundson even voted against even bringing back the resolution for a discussion of whether to clarify it.

    I welcome any real change in council direction. But my concern is whether there will be a change in direction that lasts AFTER the coming June election.

    I hope the council not only votes to clarify that the 325 units a year is a cap and not a goal, but also gives instructions to the growth steering committee that reflects this change of policy direction

  34. Sue Greenwald

    Asmundson, Souza and Saylor have consistently treated the housing 325 units as a goal, not a cap.

    They have consistently talked about the need to plan for this number of units.

    Last week, Don Saylor and Ruth Asmundson even voted against even bringing back the resolution for a discussion of whether to clarify it.

    I welcome any real change in council direction. But my concern is whether there will be a change in direction that lasts AFTER the coming June election.

    I hope the council not only votes to clarify that the 325 units a year is a cap and not a goal, but also gives instructions to the growth steering committee that reflects this change of policy direction

  35. Sue Greenwald

    Asmundson, Souza and Saylor have consistently treated the housing 325 units as a goal, not a cap.

    They have consistently talked about the need to plan for this number of units.

    Last week, Don Saylor and Ruth Asmundson even voted against even bringing back the resolution for a discussion of whether to clarify it.

    I welcome any real change in council direction. But my concern is whether there will be a change in direction that lasts AFTER the coming June election.

    I hope the council not only votes to clarify that the 325 units a year is a cap and not a goal, but also gives instructions to the growth steering committee that reflects this change of policy direction

  36. Sue Greenwald

    Asmundson, Souza and Saylor have consistently treated the housing 325 units as a goal, not a cap.

    They have consistently talked about the need to plan for this number of units.

    Last week, Don Saylor and Ruth Asmundson even voted against even bringing back the resolution for a discussion of whether to clarify it.

    I welcome any real change in council direction. But my concern is whether there will be a change in direction that lasts AFTER the coming June election.

    I hope the council not only votes to clarify that the 325 units a year is a cap and not a goal, but also gives instructions to the growth steering committee that reflects this change of policy direction

  37. Matt Williams

    Sue, a review of last Tuesday’s streaming video clearly shows/documents Ruth saying, “The 1% was actually a ceiling. When the previous Council adopted it, it was seen as a Cap or a Ceiling when we looked at our Housing Allocation.”

    Souza said it is a “valve at the end of the system, and when you reach that point you shut that valve, and you don’t issue another permit.” He also said, “We don’t have to grow. We never wanted to grow faster than the parameter. You didn’t even have to come close to it. In fact you could be at where we are right now. What is it now point two percent?”

    As the discussion evolved, the body language from the dias seemed to indicate that Ruth’s vote came down the way it did as a result of the wrangling over the sequence and format of the motions. It appeared that she observed that the motion (when it was finalized) would get your vote, Lamar’s vote and Steve’s vote. She therefore had the luxury to make a vote of priciple against the wrangling, without endangering the success or failure of the motion itself.

    Bottom-line, the Resolution is indeed coming back to Council for discussion/clarification. Lets make sure that the clarification provides the maximum quality of life benefits to the City possible.

  38. Matt Williams

    Sue, a review of last Tuesday’s streaming video clearly shows/documents Ruth saying, “The 1% was actually a ceiling. When the previous Council adopted it, it was seen as a Cap or a Ceiling when we looked at our Housing Allocation.”

    Souza said it is a “valve at the end of the system, and when you reach that point you shut that valve, and you don’t issue another permit.” He also said, “We don’t have to grow. We never wanted to grow faster than the parameter. You didn’t even have to come close to it. In fact you could be at where we are right now. What is it now point two percent?”

    As the discussion evolved, the body language from the dias seemed to indicate that Ruth’s vote came down the way it did as a result of the wrangling over the sequence and format of the motions. It appeared that she observed that the motion (when it was finalized) would get your vote, Lamar’s vote and Steve’s vote. She therefore had the luxury to make a vote of priciple against the wrangling, without endangering the success or failure of the motion itself.

    Bottom-line, the Resolution is indeed coming back to Council for discussion/clarification. Lets make sure that the clarification provides the maximum quality of life benefits to the City possible.

  39. Matt Williams

    Sue, a review of last Tuesday’s streaming video clearly shows/documents Ruth saying, “The 1% was actually a ceiling. When the previous Council adopted it, it was seen as a Cap or a Ceiling when we looked at our Housing Allocation.”

    Souza said it is a “valve at the end of the system, and when you reach that point you shut that valve, and you don’t issue another permit.” He also said, “We don’t have to grow. We never wanted to grow faster than the parameter. You didn’t even have to come close to it. In fact you could be at where we are right now. What is it now point two percent?”

    As the discussion evolved, the body language from the dias seemed to indicate that Ruth’s vote came down the way it did as a result of the wrangling over the sequence and format of the motions. It appeared that she observed that the motion (when it was finalized) would get your vote, Lamar’s vote and Steve’s vote. She therefore had the luxury to make a vote of priciple against the wrangling, without endangering the success or failure of the motion itself.

    Bottom-line, the Resolution is indeed coming back to Council for discussion/clarification. Lets make sure that the clarification provides the maximum quality of life benefits to the City possible.

  40. Matt Williams

    Sue, a review of last Tuesday’s streaming video clearly shows/documents Ruth saying, “The 1% was actually a ceiling. When the previous Council adopted it, it was seen as a Cap or a Ceiling when we looked at our Housing Allocation.”

    Souza said it is a “valve at the end of the system, and when you reach that point you shut that valve, and you don’t issue another permit.” He also said, “We don’t have to grow. We never wanted to grow faster than the parameter. You didn’t even have to come close to it. In fact you could be at where we are right now. What is it now point two percent?”

    As the discussion evolved, the body language from the dias seemed to indicate that Ruth’s vote came down the way it did as a result of the wrangling over the sequence and format of the motions. It appeared that she observed that the motion (when it was finalized) would get your vote, Lamar’s vote and Steve’s vote. She therefore had the luxury to make a vote of priciple against the wrangling, without endangering the success or failure of the motion itself.

    Bottom-line, the Resolution is indeed coming back to Council for discussion/clarification. Lets make sure that the clarification provides the maximum quality of life benefits to the City possible.

  41. Anonymous

    Please invite your friends and neighbors to the January 24th meeting to take a better look at Cannery Park which is really a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

    Let’s face it everyone, Lewis purchased the property to avoid an election because there are basically no other properties available within the city limits. Their VP admitted at a council meeting that Lewis purchased the property with the full intent to have the property rezoned.

    In reviewing the county records, one can probably determine how much Lewis purchased the property for from ConAgra (double-digit millions I am sure), so they have plenty riding on this plan.

    Their VP also said the property is not marketable as an industrial business park. I do not recall the property being on the market under that scenario. The fact is this, they can make more money with a rezone rather than an industrial park.

    I invite more discussion on this issue and encourage all of the citizens of Davis to look behind the wool.

  42. Anonymous

    Please invite your friends and neighbors to the January 24th meeting to take a better look at Cannery Park which is really a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

    Let’s face it everyone, Lewis purchased the property to avoid an election because there are basically no other properties available within the city limits. Their VP admitted at a council meeting that Lewis purchased the property with the full intent to have the property rezoned.

    In reviewing the county records, one can probably determine how much Lewis purchased the property for from ConAgra (double-digit millions I am sure), so they have plenty riding on this plan.

    Their VP also said the property is not marketable as an industrial business park. I do not recall the property being on the market under that scenario. The fact is this, they can make more money with a rezone rather than an industrial park.

    I invite more discussion on this issue and encourage all of the citizens of Davis to look behind the wool.

  43. Anonymous

    Please invite your friends and neighbors to the January 24th meeting to take a better look at Cannery Park which is really a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

    Let’s face it everyone, Lewis purchased the property to avoid an election because there are basically no other properties available within the city limits. Their VP admitted at a council meeting that Lewis purchased the property with the full intent to have the property rezoned.

    In reviewing the county records, one can probably determine how much Lewis purchased the property for from ConAgra (double-digit millions I am sure), so they have plenty riding on this plan.

    Their VP also said the property is not marketable as an industrial business park. I do not recall the property being on the market under that scenario. The fact is this, they can make more money with a rezone rather than an industrial park.

    I invite more discussion on this issue and encourage all of the citizens of Davis to look behind the wool.

  44. Anonymous

    Please invite your friends and neighbors to the January 24th meeting to take a better look at Cannery Park which is really a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

    Let’s face it everyone, Lewis purchased the property to avoid an election because there are basically no other properties available within the city limits. Their VP admitted at a council meeting that Lewis purchased the property with the full intent to have the property rezoned.

    In reviewing the county records, one can probably determine how much Lewis purchased the property for from ConAgra (double-digit millions I am sure), so they have plenty riding on this plan.

    Their VP also said the property is not marketable as an industrial business park. I do not recall the property being on the market under that scenario. The fact is this, they can make more money with a rezone rather than an industrial park.

    I invite more discussion on this issue and encourage all of the citizens of Davis to look behind the wool.

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