Models Conflict on Whether Davis Needs Senior Housing

Share:
Elaine Roberts Musser had an excellent column this week in the Vanguard. If you did not read it, you should. I am following up on it but I will not do it justice.

I start at a midpoint in her article which I think is actually the starting point for any discussion not just on senior housing but on development overall. I think it too often gets over-shadowed in the whole housing debate. The question is one of internal need.

Elaine Roberts Musser writes:

“Necessary to the process will be for developers to consider “internal” community needs rather than “external” needs of those who live outside Davis. (This is not an elitist attitude, by the way, but a recognition that the efforts of the City Council need to be directed toward addressing community problems first and foremost, if at all possible. This is the charge of the City Council.)”

What is interesting about internal need is that regional housing boards like SACOG do not use internal housing need, instead they use what is called a Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) in order to figure out what the “fair share” of growth for a community is. Of course the problem is that at least in part those numbers are externally driven. SACOG like other “Councils of Goverments” is a pseudo-elected body made up of representatives from various governmental bodies. The very idea of a RHNA mandate for growth is a strict limit on local autonomy.

We started this week with a discussion on the reduction of sprawl at a state level. However, communities within that framework ought to have a good deal of say as to how, when, and how much they should grow. Some communities would like to grow quicker than others. I certainly believe that is something within their rights.

A true internal needs assessment for Davis is not surprisingly a matter of controversy. But there is quite a bit of locally driven demand from the university in the form of both faculty and staff as well as students. As I have mentioned at other points in time, the university could go a long way toward helping to alleviate the student housing crunch if they were willing to take up their own fair-share of proposed growths. According to statistics, UC Davis has among the lowest, if not the lowest, on-campus housing in the UC system.

Like any model, internal housing needs depends on the assumptions of the model. And here is where the article by Elaine Roberts Musser to me is so important.

The Housing Element Steering Committee (HESC) determined that there would be “an “internal need” for somewhere between 200 to 400 units of senior housing between now and the year 2013.”

Ms. Roberts Musser goes on to argue:

“The members I talked with and a person on city staff are indicating there is very little justification for the numbers arrived at, ostensibly because it is a difficult figure to quantify.”

But here is the key point that I think underscores the problematic nature of such projections.

“The notion that all seniors want to downsize is fallacious. An AARP survey indicates otherwise. Actually 83% of those 45 and older would prefer to stay in their existing home, and not downsize.”

This is consistent with a number of seniors or soon-to-be seniors I have spoken with. The other key point that many miss, is that a lot of seniors also do not want to live in what they think of as segregated communities or “Senior Ghettos” to use a more pejorative term (remember the original meaning of ghetto was simply a segregated community rather than a dilapidated one. Here is one definition: “a ghetto is an area, usually within a city, in which members of a particular cultural, ethnic, religious or national group live in high concentration, whether by choice or by force.”)

Ms. Roberts Musser then raises the key point: if we re-orient the model to use the 83% figure, we come up with strikingly different results.

“If that statistic is applied to:

Tandem Properties’ alleged “internal need” of 800 units by year 2013, the “internal need” shrinks to 136 units;

HESC’s estimated “internal need” of 200-400 units by year 2013, the “internal need shrivels to between 34-68 units.

In fact, the current wait list for Shasta Point and Eleanor Roosevelt, both essentially low-income senior facilities, is virtually zero. As is the wait-list at Atria Covell Gardens, an assisted living facility for the elderly.”

These assumptions are instructive however because they allow us to understand in concrete mathematical terms the nature of the debate and why I consistently hear from different individuals very different figures on the need for senior housing.

I want to bring up a second key point, one that was not raised in the Tuesday column, and that is about the nature of the Covell proposal.

Everyone knows the history of the original Covell Village proposal and the ensuing debate and campaign battle for Measure X. The Covell Partners, who I shall continue to reference as such, recognized some of the errors of their campaign and decided to scale-down their proposal.

Except that they really have not. What they have done is broken down the proposals by stages. The senior housing facility will only occupy the lower third of the property. Stages 2 and 3 would follow after successful approval of stage 1. They do not like to publicize this fact, but they have admitted it to various people that they have met with during the course of their outreach or focus group efforts.

In other words, if you were concerned about the Covell Village site because of the size and traffic impacts, then be mindful about how the big picture looks here.

From my perspective, it is going to take a long time to convince me that a senior facility at Covell Village really serves internal housing needs. In as much as I would be willing to support development, modest as that support would be, I would start with meeting internal needs for students and faculty through infill development. And I mean really infill development in properties that are already located within current city boundaries and that are already zoned residential. I do not see a need to develop Covell Village in the next general plan period. As the HESC showed us, we can meet our RHNA mandated growth by relying strictly on infill. I would suggest we bracket this discussion until after we have exhausted those possibilities.

—Doug Paul Davis reporting

Share:

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.

Related posts

24 thoughts on “Models Conflict on Whether Davis Needs Senior Housing”

  1. Mike Harrington

    It has been awhile, so bear with me. When Ruth and I were on the housing needs subcommittee together (about 2002-3), we worked with staff to come up with a needs analysis. With one major flaw, the report did a pretty good job, and staff worked hard on it.

    The basic new unit number was about 150 (+-). However, in column 9, Ruth and the CC majority of Boyd and Puntilo wanted “natural growth” factored in, meaning, people here who have kids who grow up and want to live here. Without getting into the analysis of that idea, the “natrual growth” doubled the number, and the final housing needs number far exceeded 300 units.

    What this did was support the 1% per year growth target, which led to the CC majority legislatively creating the “need” for Covell Village to “satisfy” those internal growth needs. I know that the current CC has attempted to re-label that 1% as a cap, but I distinctly remember it was a minimum target, a basic “housing need” number to meet or exceed. (I am almost positive that the lawyers for CV wrote some of that language.)

    So, as the CC majority and Halloween 4 devise a “seniors needs analysis,” watch for what they do to create that need.

    I have a degree in Sociology from UCD, and one of the main points I learned in the organizations class was to look at how stats are used to justify the need for various government programs. That is exactly what the CC majority did with the “natural growth” needs analysis years ago, and they are doing it again with the seniors.

    The URC across from Sutter Hospital is a great project, but you have to remember that it was billed and justified for local needs, when it fact they had to advertise far and wide to fill the rooms. Here, Halloween 4 is far, far larger, and will be a national draw and growth engine in that quadrant.

    Elaine and DPD, keep up the great work!

    Mike

    ps Go Sociology!

    pps Why do I call it Halloween 4? Because this will be the fourth time that the CV partners are trying to get their huge project approved. I call it Halloween because Helen Thompson tried her infamous October 05 “Boogey Man” letter to attempt to scare the voters into supporting Measure X (“if you dont approve, Steve Gidaro will get you!!”). Then, Bill Ritter and the No on X Committee struck back, with the powerful Halloween Ad attacking and ridiculing the CV partners and their boogey man tactics.

  2. Mike Harrington

    It has been awhile, so bear with me. When Ruth and I were on the housing needs subcommittee together (about 2002-3), we worked with staff to come up with a needs analysis. With one major flaw, the report did a pretty good job, and staff worked hard on it.

    The basic new unit number was about 150 (+-). However, in column 9, Ruth and the CC majority of Boyd and Puntilo wanted “natural growth” factored in, meaning, people here who have kids who grow up and want to live here. Without getting into the analysis of that idea, the “natrual growth” doubled the number, and the final housing needs number far exceeded 300 units.

    What this did was support the 1% per year growth target, which led to the CC majority legislatively creating the “need” for Covell Village to “satisfy” those internal growth needs. I know that the current CC has attempted to re-label that 1% as a cap, but I distinctly remember it was a minimum target, a basic “housing need” number to meet or exceed. (I am almost positive that the lawyers for CV wrote some of that language.)

    So, as the CC majority and Halloween 4 devise a “seniors needs analysis,” watch for what they do to create that need.

    I have a degree in Sociology from UCD, and one of the main points I learned in the organizations class was to look at how stats are used to justify the need for various government programs. That is exactly what the CC majority did with the “natural growth” needs analysis years ago, and they are doing it again with the seniors.

    The URC across from Sutter Hospital is a great project, but you have to remember that it was billed and justified for local needs, when it fact they had to advertise far and wide to fill the rooms. Here, Halloween 4 is far, far larger, and will be a national draw and growth engine in that quadrant.

    Elaine and DPD, keep up the great work!

    Mike

    ps Go Sociology!

    pps Why do I call it Halloween 4? Because this will be the fourth time that the CV partners are trying to get their huge project approved. I call it Halloween because Helen Thompson tried her infamous October 05 “Boogey Man” letter to attempt to scare the voters into supporting Measure X (“if you dont approve, Steve Gidaro will get you!!”). Then, Bill Ritter and the No on X Committee struck back, with the powerful Halloween Ad attacking and ridiculing the CV partners and their boogey man tactics.

  3. Mike Harrington

    It has been awhile, so bear with me. When Ruth and I were on the housing needs subcommittee together (about 2002-3), we worked with staff to come up with a needs analysis. With one major flaw, the report did a pretty good job, and staff worked hard on it.

    The basic new unit number was about 150 (+-). However, in column 9, Ruth and the CC majority of Boyd and Puntilo wanted “natural growth” factored in, meaning, people here who have kids who grow up and want to live here. Without getting into the analysis of that idea, the “natrual growth” doubled the number, and the final housing needs number far exceeded 300 units.

    What this did was support the 1% per year growth target, which led to the CC majority legislatively creating the “need” for Covell Village to “satisfy” those internal growth needs. I know that the current CC has attempted to re-label that 1% as a cap, but I distinctly remember it was a minimum target, a basic “housing need” number to meet or exceed. (I am almost positive that the lawyers for CV wrote some of that language.)

    So, as the CC majority and Halloween 4 devise a “seniors needs analysis,” watch for what they do to create that need.

    I have a degree in Sociology from UCD, and one of the main points I learned in the organizations class was to look at how stats are used to justify the need for various government programs. That is exactly what the CC majority did with the “natural growth” needs analysis years ago, and they are doing it again with the seniors.

    The URC across from Sutter Hospital is a great project, but you have to remember that it was billed and justified for local needs, when it fact they had to advertise far and wide to fill the rooms. Here, Halloween 4 is far, far larger, and will be a national draw and growth engine in that quadrant.

    Elaine and DPD, keep up the great work!

    Mike

    ps Go Sociology!

    pps Why do I call it Halloween 4? Because this will be the fourth time that the CV partners are trying to get their huge project approved. I call it Halloween because Helen Thompson tried her infamous October 05 “Boogey Man” letter to attempt to scare the voters into supporting Measure X (“if you dont approve, Steve Gidaro will get you!!”). Then, Bill Ritter and the No on X Committee struck back, with the powerful Halloween Ad attacking and ridiculing the CV partners and their boogey man tactics.

  4. Mike Harrington

    It has been awhile, so bear with me. When Ruth and I were on the housing needs subcommittee together (about 2002-3), we worked with staff to come up with a needs analysis. With one major flaw, the report did a pretty good job, and staff worked hard on it.

    The basic new unit number was about 150 (+-). However, in column 9, Ruth and the CC majority of Boyd and Puntilo wanted “natural growth” factored in, meaning, people here who have kids who grow up and want to live here. Without getting into the analysis of that idea, the “natrual growth” doubled the number, and the final housing needs number far exceeded 300 units.

    What this did was support the 1% per year growth target, which led to the CC majority legislatively creating the “need” for Covell Village to “satisfy” those internal growth needs. I know that the current CC has attempted to re-label that 1% as a cap, but I distinctly remember it was a minimum target, a basic “housing need” number to meet or exceed. (I am almost positive that the lawyers for CV wrote some of that language.)

    So, as the CC majority and Halloween 4 devise a “seniors needs analysis,” watch for what they do to create that need.

    I have a degree in Sociology from UCD, and one of the main points I learned in the organizations class was to look at how stats are used to justify the need for various government programs. That is exactly what the CC majority did with the “natural growth” needs analysis years ago, and they are doing it again with the seniors.

    The URC across from Sutter Hospital is a great project, but you have to remember that it was billed and justified for local needs, when it fact they had to advertise far and wide to fill the rooms. Here, Halloween 4 is far, far larger, and will be a national draw and growth engine in that quadrant.

    Elaine and DPD, keep up the great work!

    Mike

    ps Go Sociology!

    pps Why do I call it Halloween 4? Because this will be the fourth time that the CV partners are trying to get their huge project approved. I call it Halloween because Helen Thompson tried her infamous October 05 “Boogey Man” letter to attempt to scare the voters into supporting Measure X (“if you dont approve, Steve Gidaro will get you!!”). Then, Bill Ritter and the No on X Committee struck back, with the powerful Halloween Ad attacking and ridiculing the CV partners and their boogey man tactics.

  5. Papa Jon

    Being a senior in a large single family home, I too would like to stay here until I die. BUT, I also understand that the time will come when I can neither do all the work to keep my home kept up with a presentable yard nor afford to have it all done by professionals. So, while I may be put in the 83% number from above, I will also need senior housing at some point in the future. So take that 83% number with a grain of salt, as it probably does not truly represent what will actually happen, only what people say they would like. Time will tell.

  6. Papa Jon

    Being a senior in a large single family home, I too would like to stay here until I die. BUT, I also understand that the time will come when I can neither do all the work to keep my home kept up with a presentable yard nor afford to have it all done by professionals. So, while I may be put in the 83% number from above, I will also need senior housing at some point in the future. So take that 83% number with a grain of salt, as it probably does not truly represent what will actually happen, only what people say they would like. Time will tell.

  7. Papa Jon

    Being a senior in a large single family home, I too would like to stay here until I die. BUT, I also understand that the time will come when I can neither do all the work to keep my home kept up with a presentable yard nor afford to have it all done by professionals. So, while I may be put in the 83% number from above, I will also need senior housing at some point in the future. So take that 83% number with a grain of salt, as it probably does not truly represent what will actually happen, only what people say they would like. Time will tell.

  8. Papa Jon

    Being a senior in a large single family home, I too would like to stay here until I die. BUT, I also understand that the time will come when I can neither do all the work to keep my home kept up with a presentable yard nor afford to have it all done by professionals. So, while I may be put in the 83% number from above, I will also need senior housing at some point in the future. So take that 83% number with a grain of salt, as it probably does not truly represent what will actually happen, only what people say they would like. Time will tell.

  9. Eric Gelber

    It is important to recognize the difference between seniors who need housing and a need for senior housing. Many seniors are financially well off and can live wherever they choose. Some seniors need specialized supportive services, which they can receive either in their own homes, if they have the resources, or in licensed assisted living facilities.

    Beyond that, however, seniors-only housing is segregated, exclusionary housing. It discriminates based not only on age but also familial status—primarily affecting families with children. As others have noted, the vast majority of seniors do not want to live in segregated housing or communities. And even if they do, and even if there are exceptions to fair housing laws that permit senior housing, the City must decide if it is good policy.

    There is a local need for affordable housing for low and moderate income residents. There is a local need for accessible housing for seniors and people with disabilities. There is neither a demand nor sound justification for segregated housing—whether based on age or other demographic characteristics.

  10. Eric Gelber

    It is important to recognize the difference between seniors who need housing and a need for senior housing. Many seniors are financially well off and can live wherever they choose. Some seniors need specialized supportive services, which they can receive either in their own homes, if they have the resources, or in licensed assisted living facilities.

    Beyond that, however, seniors-only housing is segregated, exclusionary housing. It discriminates based not only on age but also familial status—primarily affecting families with children. As others have noted, the vast majority of seniors do not want to live in segregated housing or communities. And even if they do, and even if there are exceptions to fair housing laws that permit senior housing, the City must decide if it is good policy.

    There is a local need for affordable housing for low and moderate income residents. There is a local need for accessible housing for seniors and people with disabilities. There is neither a demand nor sound justification for segregated housing—whether based on age or other demographic characteristics.

  11. Eric Gelber

    It is important to recognize the difference between seniors who need housing and a need for senior housing. Many seniors are financially well off and can live wherever they choose. Some seniors need specialized supportive services, which they can receive either in their own homes, if they have the resources, or in licensed assisted living facilities.

    Beyond that, however, seniors-only housing is segregated, exclusionary housing. It discriminates based not only on age but also familial status—primarily affecting families with children. As others have noted, the vast majority of seniors do not want to live in segregated housing or communities. And even if they do, and even if there are exceptions to fair housing laws that permit senior housing, the City must decide if it is good policy.

    There is a local need for affordable housing for low and moderate income residents. There is a local need for accessible housing for seniors and people with disabilities. There is neither a demand nor sound justification for segregated housing—whether based on age or other demographic characteristics.

  12. Eric Gelber

    It is important to recognize the difference between seniors who need housing and a need for senior housing. Many seniors are financially well off and can live wherever they choose. Some seniors need specialized supportive services, which they can receive either in their own homes, if they have the resources, or in licensed assisted living facilities.

    Beyond that, however, seniors-only housing is segregated, exclusionary housing. It discriminates based not only on age but also familial status—primarily affecting families with children. As others have noted, the vast majority of seniors do not want to live in segregated housing or communities. And even if they do, and even if there are exceptions to fair housing laws that permit senior housing, the City must decide if it is good policy.

    There is a local need for affordable housing for low and moderate income residents. There is a local need for accessible housing for seniors and people with disabilities. There is neither a demand nor sound justification for segregated housing—whether based on age or other demographic characteristics.

  13. Anonymous

    Calling the proposal Halloween 4 is childish and doesn’t help the discussion. Its only purpose is to demean the proponents of the project and, by extension, demean yourself.

  14. Anonymous

    Calling the proposal Halloween 4 is childish and doesn’t help the discussion. Its only purpose is to demean the proponents of the project and, by extension, demean yourself.

  15. Anonymous

    Calling the proposal Halloween 4 is childish and doesn’t help the discussion. Its only purpose is to demean the proponents of the project and, by extension, demean yourself.

  16. Anonymous

    Calling the proposal Halloween 4 is childish and doesn’t help the discussion. Its only purpose is to demean the proponents of the project and, by extension, demean yourself.

  17. Elaine Roberts Musser

    DPD, outstanding follow-up to my column on senior housing. It is sometimes difficult to separate out senior housing issues from general housing issues, but the Covell Village folks have made this mandatory because of their push to roll out a proposal of senior housing only.

    Mike, thanks for the background information. I think it is very illustrative of process problems we have with the City Council in general. When the numbers don’t work out the way the Council majority wants them to, suddenly things are tweaked to “adjust” the numbers to what is needed to bolster the Council majority’s desires. Then the numbers essentially become meaningless.

    A case in point is the entire budget mess. “Unmet needs” are set off to the side of the budget, a magic wand is waved, and voila! We have a “balance budget”. Meanwhile potholes go unaddressed, and city employee benefits go underfunded, heading the city in the direction of bankruptcy.

    Your point about URC having to advertise far and wide for customers/residents is right on point. The same thing happened with Eleanor Roosevelt Circle. It is not elitist to want to concentrate efforts on taking care of citizens within the city limits first and foremost.

    While it is true we cannot keep outsiders from buying/renting a residence in Davis, we certainly don’t need to build vastly more housing than there is an internal need for, just so developers can make a pot of money, while taxes and fee increases go through the roof to pay for the increased need in city and county services new housing inevitably brings (Mike Hart’s well-taken point).

    Eric Gelber raises another good issue – how much age-restricted housing to we want to have? A lot of seniors don’t want to live in seniors only complexes or developments. Yet Covell Village folks (Tandem Properties) are proposing just that – a huge 800 unit seniors-only project. Does the city want to promote segregation by age, or intergenerational interaction?

    Papa Jon, you make another excellent point. Senior housing issues are a bit more complex, because the elderly may want to “age in place” – but for health reasons that is not always possible. We want to make sure we have enough housing options for seniors so that if they must downsize, appropriate housing opportunities like assisted living or skilled nursing are available. He is absolutely correct in pointing out that the 83% AARP statistic must be taken with some skepticism. This is especially true because it was taken from some 45 years olds, who are going to have a much different view than a 65 year old.

    As you can see from the above discussion, the issue of general housing can be complicated, but the issue of senior housing is far more complex. In my view, the bigger issue is why aren’t these sorts of discussions going on with the City Council present? They need to hear these concepts, comments, criticisms. When the Mayor limits public comment, and turns a deaf ear, we end up with projects that do not meet the internal needs of our city. Measure J then kicks in to rectify any misconceptions the City Council may have had.

    However, as Matt Williams has suggested, a much better approach is to have public discourse long before proposals are made to the City Council. Why isn’t the City Council facilitating that process? They facilitated HESC – this would just be a logical extension. It would also give developers ideas on what they SHOULD propose, instead of what they WANT to propose.

  18. Elaine Roberts Musser

    DPD, outstanding follow-up to my column on senior housing. It is sometimes difficult to separate out senior housing issues from general housing issues, but the Covell Village folks have made this mandatory because of their push to roll out a proposal of senior housing only.

    Mike, thanks for the background information. I think it is very illustrative of process problems we have with the City Council in general. When the numbers don’t work out the way the Council majority wants them to, suddenly things are tweaked to “adjust” the numbers to what is needed to bolster the Council majority’s desires. Then the numbers essentially become meaningless.

    A case in point is the entire budget mess. “Unmet needs” are set off to the side of the budget, a magic wand is waved, and voila! We have a “balance budget”. Meanwhile potholes go unaddressed, and city employee benefits go underfunded, heading the city in the direction of bankruptcy.

    Your point about URC having to advertise far and wide for customers/residents is right on point. The same thing happened with Eleanor Roosevelt Circle. It is not elitist to want to concentrate efforts on taking care of citizens within the city limits first and foremost.

    While it is true we cannot keep outsiders from buying/renting a residence in Davis, we certainly don’t need to build vastly more housing than there is an internal need for, just so developers can make a pot of money, while taxes and fee increases go through the roof to pay for the increased need in city and county services new housing inevitably brings (Mike Hart’s well-taken point).

    Eric Gelber raises another good issue – how much age-restricted housing to we want to have? A lot of seniors don’t want to live in seniors only complexes or developments. Yet Covell Village folks (Tandem Properties) are proposing just that – a huge 800 unit seniors-only project. Does the city want to promote segregation by age, or intergenerational interaction?

    Papa Jon, you make another excellent point. Senior housing issues are a bit more complex, because the elderly may want to “age in place” – but for health reasons that is not always possible. We want to make sure we have enough housing options for seniors so that if they must downsize, appropriate housing opportunities like assisted living or skilled nursing are available. He is absolutely correct in pointing out that the 83% AARP statistic must be taken with some skepticism. This is especially true because it was taken from some 45 years olds, who are going to have a much different view than a 65 year old.

    As you can see from the above discussion, the issue of general housing can be complicated, but the issue of senior housing is far more complex. In my view, the bigger issue is why aren’t these sorts of discussions going on with the City Council present? They need to hear these concepts, comments, criticisms. When the Mayor limits public comment, and turns a deaf ear, we end up with projects that do not meet the internal needs of our city. Measure J then kicks in to rectify any misconceptions the City Council may have had.

    However, as Matt Williams has suggested, a much better approach is to have public discourse long before proposals are made to the City Council. Why isn’t the City Council facilitating that process? They facilitated HESC – this would just be a logical extension. It would also give developers ideas on what they SHOULD propose, instead of what they WANT to propose.

  19. Elaine Roberts Musser

    DPD, outstanding follow-up to my column on senior housing. It is sometimes difficult to separate out senior housing issues from general housing issues, but the Covell Village folks have made this mandatory because of their push to roll out a proposal of senior housing only.

    Mike, thanks for the background information. I think it is very illustrative of process problems we have with the City Council in general. When the numbers don’t work out the way the Council majority wants them to, suddenly things are tweaked to “adjust” the numbers to what is needed to bolster the Council majority’s desires. Then the numbers essentially become meaningless.

    A case in point is the entire budget mess. “Unmet needs” are set off to the side of the budget, a magic wand is waved, and voila! We have a “balance budget”. Meanwhile potholes go unaddressed, and city employee benefits go underfunded, heading the city in the direction of bankruptcy.

    Your point about URC having to advertise far and wide for customers/residents is right on point. The same thing happened with Eleanor Roosevelt Circle. It is not elitist to want to concentrate efforts on taking care of citizens within the city limits first and foremost.

    While it is true we cannot keep outsiders from buying/renting a residence in Davis, we certainly don’t need to build vastly more housing than there is an internal need for, just so developers can make a pot of money, while taxes and fee increases go through the roof to pay for the increased need in city and county services new housing inevitably brings (Mike Hart’s well-taken point).

    Eric Gelber raises another good issue – how much age-restricted housing to we want to have? A lot of seniors don’t want to live in seniors only complexes or developments. Yet Covell Village folks (Tandem Properties) are proposing just that – a huge 800 unit seniors-only project. Does the city want to promote segregation by age, or intergenerational interaction?

    Papa Jon, you make another excellent point. Senior housing issues are a bit more complex, because the elderly may want to “age in place” – but for health reasons that is not always possible. We want to make sure we have enough housing options for seniors so that if they must downsize, appropriate housing opportunities like assisted living or skilled nursing are available. He is absolutely correct in pointing out that the 83% AARP statistic must be taken with some skepticism. This is especially true because it was taken from some 45 years olds, who are going to have a much different view than a 65 year old.

    As you can see from the above discussion, the issue of general housing can be complicated, but the issue of senior housing is far more complex. In my view, the bigger issue is why aren’t these sorts of discussions going on with the City Council present? They need to hear these concepts, comments, criticisms. When the Mayor limits public comment, and turns a deaf ear, we end up with projects that do not meet the internal needs of our city. Measure J then kicks in to rectify any misconceptions the City Council may have had.

    However, as Matt Williams has suggested, a much better approach is to have public discourse long before proposals are made to the City Council. Why isn’t the City Council facilitating that process? They facilitated HESC – this would just be a logical extension. It would also give developers ideas on what they SHOULD propose, instead of what they WANT to propose.

  20. Elaine Roberts Musser

    DPD, outstanding follow-up to my column on senior housing. It is sometimes difficult to separate out senior housing issues from general housing issues, but the Covell Village folks have made this mandatory because of their push to roll out a proposal of senior housing only.

    Mike, thanks for the background information. I think it is very illustrative of process problems we have with the City Council in general. When the numbers don’t work out the way the Council majority wants them to, suddenly things are tweaked to “adjust” the numbers to what is needed to bolster the Council majority’s desires. Then the numbers essentially become meaningless.

    A case in point is the entire budget mess. “Unmet needs” are set off to the side of the budget, a magic wand is waved, and voila! We have a “balance budget”. Meanwhile potholes go unaddressed, and city employee benefits go underfunded, heading the city in the direction of bankruptcy.

    Your point about URC having to advertise far and wide for customers/residents is right on point. The same thing happened with Eleanor Roosevelt Circle. It is not elitist to want to concentrate efforts on taking care of citizens within the city limits first and foremost.

    While it is true we cannot keep outsiders from buying/renting a residence in Davis, we certainly don’t need to build vastly more housing than there is an internal need for, just so developers can make a pot of money, while taxes and fee increases go through the roof to pay for the increased need in city and county services new housing inevitably brings (Mike Hart’s well-taken point).

    Eric Gelber raises another good issue – how much age-restricted housing to we want to have? A lot of seniors don’t want to live in seniors only complexes or developments. Yet Covell Village folks (Tandem Properties) are proposing just that – a huge 800 unit seniors-only project. Does the city want to promote segregation by age, or intergenerational interaction?

    Papa Jon, you make another excellent point. Senior housing issues are a bit more complex, because the elderly may want to “age in place” – but for health reasons that is not always possible. We want to make sure we have enough housing options for seniors so that if they must downsize, appropriate housing opportunities like assisted living or skilled nursing are available. He is absolutely correct in pointing out that the 83% AARP statistic must be taken with some skepticism. This is especially true because it was taken from some 45 years olds, who are going to have a much different view than a 65 year old.

    As you can see from the above discussion, the issue of general housing can be complicated, but the issue of senior housing is far more complex. In my view, the bigger issue is why aren’t these sorts of discussions going on with the City Council present? They need to hear these concepts, comments, criticisms. When the Mayor limits public comment, and turns a deaf ear, we end up with projects that do not meet the internal needs of our city. Measure J then kicks in to rectify any misconceptions the City Council may have had.

    However, as Matt Williams has suggested, a much better approach is to have public discourse long before proposals are made to the City Council. Why isn’t the City Council facilitating that process? They facilitated HESC – this would just be a logical extension. It would also give developers ideas on what they SHOULD propose, instead of what they WANT to propose.

Leave a Reply

X Close

Newsletter Sign-Up

X Close

Monthly Subscriber Sign-Up

Enter the maximum amount you want to pay each month
$ USD
Sign up for