As Regional and State Growth Rates Fall, What Will Be the Impact on Davis?

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The Sacramento Bee reported back on December 18, 2008 that the regional and state growth rates have fallen to its lowest levels in more than a decade.

In six counties surrounding Sacramento which include Yolo, Sutter, Yuba, Placer, El Dorado and Sacramento Counties, the growth rate from July 1, 2007 to July 1, 2008 was only 1.39%. Separately, Yolo County grew at 1.46 percent adding around 3,000 people. Placer was the fastest growing county in California at 2.6 percent. Sacramento grew at a rate below the statewide level at 1.11 percent.

Statewide the growth rate was actually lower at 1.16%.

More people moved out of California than moved into California during this time period.

What does all of this mean for Yolo County and Davis?

Davis has spent considerable time and energy focusing on the issue of growth. One of the arguments in recent years has been that Davis must take on its fair share of new growth. That was a more poignant argument in the early part of this decade was population growth was exploding and the housing market booming.

Regional governance groups like SACOG (Sacramento Area Council of Governments) and RHNA (Regional Housing Needs Assessment) have developed models for growth based on allocations of fair share. In other words, the basic model determines how much of the region’s growth a given area should accommodate.

The problem is that this has become a moving target for local growth politics. Back during the Measure X debate, the argument used by proponents was the Davis would be penalized if it did not take on its supposed fair share of growth.

However, by 2007, RHNA had come out with new numbers suggesting that Davis needed to take on a much smaller share of growth–considerably less than the current projected growth rate of 1%. When it did however, the debate was shifted in Davis.

First, the 1% growth requirement became a growth cap. Now 1% is the target and the limit rather than the threshold that we need to meet.

Second, the debate in Davis is about internal housing needs rather than regional fair share growth allocations. Frankly this is what the debate always should have been about from the beginning.

In this sense, falling state and regional rates may relieve some pressure for Davis to grow. However, perceptions about the internal needs of Davis, which have thus far been more theoretic and less concrete, have continued to drive the debate.

Frankly, for everyone but the most ardent no-growther, the question is really about where, how, and how quickly we grow. I am not in the no-growth camp. I would also prefer not to put a number on our growth rate.

From my perspective one problem with housing in Davis is that UC Davis has taken on less than its share of student housing. UC Davis has the lowest percentage of on-campus housing in the UC system. There are several advantages for UC Davis to provide more housing. First, they can subsidize it, which lowers the costs to the students. Second, they have a large amount of available land. A good, dense, and environmentally friendly project on the UC campus would go a long way toward helping the city better assess its own needs.

A recent survey of apartments in Davis found that the vacancy rate in the city of Davis increased slightly this fall to .8 percent. However, the rental rates continued to rise by an average of 4.36 percent. Interestingly, though the vacancy rate was higher this year, the rate of increase was also higher than the previous year where a .7 percent vacancy yielded a 4.18 percent increase in rent. This despite the depressed housing market and economy.

In the comparable cities, Woodland saw a 4.1 percent vacancy rate but a 4.8 percent rent increase. On the other hand, West Sacramento nearly has 20% of its apartments vacant and the resultant rate only saw a .6 percent increase.

Clearly Davis needs more student housing. The argument again for UC Davis to provide on-campus housing is first that they have the land and can subsidize the property, but second that UC Davis’ growth in recent years is a large culprit in the lack of student housing in Davis. By providing more housing, more single family units within the city could be freed up for people who work in Davis but have not been able to live here.

This is the strongest pressure driving the need for Davis to grow. Earlier this month, the Vanguard suggested one option, similar to what Cal Poly did, which is create a large and dense housing complex on campus. A facility of that sort, highly innovative and land conscious, could take a huge pressure off the city to have to expand its borders.

For all of the talk about internal housing needs, very few of the proposed projects in the Housing Element Steering Committee’s top sites have a sizable student housing component. Almost all of them focus instead on single family residences with a few affordable and multifamily dwellings thrown in the mix.

In other words, with perhaps the exception of Nishi, which has other problems, there are no plans put forth to deal with the largest internal housing need we have.

The West Village will break ground this year and provide an additional 2000 units or so for student housing. That is a good start, but with UC Davis continuing to grow and not enough student housing at present, West Village is clearly not enough.

Many residents are not opposed to growth with good, environmentally friendly projects that continue to preserve the character of Davis. The problem is from many of our perspectives, the new subdivisions that we have seen in town could have been plopped down anywhere in the country. That’s not the kind of large scale growth we would like to see.

Give me a housing project I can get behind and I will. I would like to focus on environmentally sustainable, smaller houses so that middle income people can afford them, a student housing component, a senior housing component, and a work force housing component.

The city of Davis has already approved housing for Verona, for Simmons, and for Grande. That’s over 200 units right there. In addition, West Village will provide a large number of units over three phases. In addition, Lewis is proposing 600 units, on a property that would be better served with a business park. The Wild Horse Ranch will be proposing somewhere just under 200 units in the coming months for a project that would require a Measure J vote.

In this housing market, that is more than enough housing to last us the foreseeable future. I would like to see one additional project, and that would be a high density, UC Davis campus project that provides 3000 to 5000 beds on the UC Campus in an environmentally sustainable way. If we do that, I think we our needs for a while in terms of housing.

The external pressures have lessened and the housing market is in bad shape. That will give us time to work on making what we do have as carbon neutral as possible–a very worthwhile endeavor in the coming years.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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48 thoughts on “As Regional and State Growth Rates Fall, What Will Be the Impact on Davis?”

  1. Anonymous

    The idea of those who inherit their wealth or land being opposed to projecs or proposals that would benefit the public is nothing new. There are many rural landowners in Yolo County who inherited their large holdings and yet consistently oppose public parks since they already have theirs. The idea that the same occurs in Davis isn't surprising.

  2. Anonymous

    DPD, please define …carbon neutral….Also, people ought to realize that there is a cost premium the more …green… the house is built. This raises the cost of housing in an already expensive city. I certainly advocate for as much sustainable development as possible, however, until home lenders begin recognizing the energy savings and qualifying potential home owners for higher loan amounts, home ownership, affordable housing, and sustainable development will be difficult to reconcile if all other factors are equal (density, location, etc.).

  3. Anonymous

    …Grow too large or too fast and the character and fabric of Davis will change…The issue for me is not whether the character of Davis changes because cities change regardless, whether its the demographics or physical appearance. The key issue is whether it improves or declines. There is very little correlation between the size of a city and its quality of life. It's all in how you do it. That's why focusing on numbers is pointless to me.

  4. Anonymous

    If the no-growth people really cared about global warming, green energy, leaving less of a carbon footprint, etc. then they would have approved Covell Village. I remember reading the plan and I thought it sounded great- a neighborhood that had shops nearby, where you wouldn't need a car to get groceries, that had nicer housing. Those of you that are …waiting for the right project… are full of it because that was the best project I've seen come along in ages. It was meant for my demographic- students who have graduated, people who work in Davis who are still in apartments who want a nicer apartment but can't quite afford a house yet. Thanks for restricting our options yet again. I fail to see how developing Cannery area and Covell Village area would impact the rest of Davis negatively. To me, this is useless land- it is not being used for farming, no rare animals live there, it is just being wasted.To everyone trashing the University- they are the only ones I see actually working on student housing. In the past few years, they have rebuilt those huge dorms, they have added those private apartments across from the ARC, and now they are working on West Village, so please stop repeating that tired stat about UCD providing the least student housing because they are definitely working on it, much more than the city is.I think we should repeal Measure J because it gives the NIMBYs too much power and I would support anyone in city council who would do this.

  5. UCD Grad

    In response to …Another View… and …Anonymous… (who derided the worship of Ceres):I call BS on both of you. 1.) Yes. I'm sorry to burst your bubble, Another View, but we do need to …mouth off… about carbon footprints and densification. The vast majority of families do not need these 2,400 sf (and larger!!) monstrosities. We need a move back to smaller homes. It was good enough for us in the 50's through the 70s, before this ridiculous acquisitive drive took over America. There are many more aspects to quality of life than an uber-big McMansion.2.) Ceres-baiter: I don't know about you, but I like my food natural, hold the melamine, please. Keep paving over our prime farmland at the rate of almost 3000 acres per day (Michael Pollan, …Open Letter to the Next Farmer-in-Chief,… New York Times, October 26, 2008), and all of our food will have to come from elsewhere. And UC Davis needs to provide housing for more than merely its undergraduate students. Good faculty refuse to come here because of the home prices here, so simply providing student housing is not the panacea everyone is making it out to be.

  6. Anonymous

    dear gradMaybe if we didn't worship the preservation of farmland to the extreme detriment to the growth of Davis we could build enough housing to attract those faculty who would improve the productivity of farmland to more than offset whatever minor amount of farmland we would consume for the growth of one of the great land grant universities in the world. For the equivalent of one days lost farmland (using your value) Davis could provide enough housing for everyone who wanted to be here for quite some time. Some of those who would come might contribute to increases in productivity that would more than offset the impact of lost production.

  7. Anonymous

    Maybe if we didn't worship the preservation of farmland to the extreme detriment to the growth of DavisExactly! I'm all for farmland that is being used for actual farming but the land for Cannery and Covell Village is not being used for anything! But then when they don't have that …farmland… excuse, then they say we need …open space…. Newsflash, if you filled in Cannery and Covell Village there is still going to be tons of open space around it.

  8. Anonymous

    Good faculty refuse to come here because of the home prices here, so simply providing student housing is not the panacea everyone is making it out to be.No but providing student housing will be the panacea for lack of student housing. Come on 0.7%!!! How is anyone OK with that?

  9. Matt Williams

    DPD said:The city of Davis has already approved housing for Verona, for Simmons, and for Grande. That’s over 200 units right there. In addition, West Village will provide a large number of units over three phases. In addition, Lewis is proposing 600 units, on a property that would be better served with a business park. The Wild Horse Ranch will be proposing somewhere just under 200 units in the coming months for a project that would require a Measure J vote.In this housing market, that is more than enough housing to last us the next several years. I would like to see one additional project, and that would be a high density, UC Davis campus project that provides 3000 to 5000 beds on the UC Campus in an environmentally sustainable way. If we do that, I think we are set for a while in terms of housing.The external pressures have lessened and the housing market is in bad shape. That will give us time to work on making what we do have as carbon neutral as possible–a very worthwhile endeavor in the coming years.David, I agree with most of what you have said in your last three paragraphs, but in fairness any of the people who have (like me) frequently argued that the demand for Davis housing is regional, have to now accept the reality of that argument’s twin sibling. Specifically, that even in its reduced state, the demand for Davis housing (both internal and external) will always substantially exceed Davis’ housing supply.That reality does not in any way diminish the applicability of your final paragraph. We clearly need to get greener and smarter in how the new housing we approve is delivered. This national housing pause will help us do that.I would also like to reemphasize the fact that the biggest and most appropriate impact on adding housing to Davis would be (is) UCD stepping up to the commitment it made in the November 2002 UC Housing in the 21st Century report (available at http://www.ucop.edu/busops/htfreport.pdf) of the University of California Housing Task Force. That commitment was to provide on campus housing for 40% of UCD’s students by the 2011-2012 academic year. Were UCD to make good on that pledge, appartment vacancy rates would increase to reasonable levels, monthly rental costs would decline, and the supply of affordable housing would soar. Unfortunately the new UCD strategic plan, which is available online at http://www.housing.ucdavis.edu/about/strategic_plan/, shows a much lower percentage than 40. The City of Davis needs to engage UCD in active, open dialogue that moves UCD delivering on their 2002 pledge to the UC Regents.

  10. Rich Rifkin

    …Give me a housing project I can get behind and I will. I would like to focus on environmentally sustainable, smaller houses….You want a wow factor? I think this New York Times story provides that answer for Davis’s future: The passive house.From the Times: Using ultrathick insulation and complex doors and windows, the architect engineers a home encased in an airtight shell, so that barely any heat escapes and barely any cold seeps in. That means a passive house can be warmed not only by the sun, but also by the heat from appliances and even from occupants

  11. Matt Williams

    My brother and sister-in-law are in from Tucson, where the housing issues and sentiments are remarkably similar to those we have in Davis. Ironically, Catherine read that same New York Times article to us last night. It was fascinating to say the least.

  12. Rich Rifkin

    Matt: …… the people who have frequently argued that the demand for Davis housing is regional have to now accept the reality of that … the demand for Davis housing (both internal and external) will always substantially exceed Davis’ housing supply….I would replace …always… with …normally…. We are, now, not living in …normal… times.Regional housing demand is falling dramatically. This story from Fortune Magazine claims housing prices in our area will decline another 22.2% in 2009! Regionally, prices have fallen 33% to date since the market peaked, according to Fortune. In other words, a Sacramento area house which peaked at $400,000 will fetch approximately $207,000 a year from now.I realize the fall in Davis itself has not been (and in the coming year probably will not be) so dramatic. Nonetheless, I think it’s fair to say that for the present we don’t need to build any more single family homes in Davis to absorb internal or regional demand. (Building student apartments is another matter. The vacancy rate is ridiculous.)

  13. Anonymous

    Rich Rifkin said:…I think its fair to say that for the present we don’t need to build any homes in Davis……Easy for someone to say who lives in a house that I’m told belongs to their parents. This reminds me of a movie I saw in high school Biology where they put rats in a cage and let them multiply. The first rats establish territory and won’t let any others into their zones.

  14. David M. Greenwald

    Anonymous:You can’t make your point without getting personal?Wouldn’t opening up single family dwellings in the core of the city alleviate some of your concerns?

  15. Henry Cisneros

    David said: …Give me a housing project I can get behind and I will….Of all the projects you mentioned are there any that you supported? Like Sue Greenwald you keep coming back to some pie in the sky pet project that floats around in your heads while complaining about every tangible project that is proposed by people willing to invest their own capital. As for my family we have been holed up in a small apartment waiting for the housing market to break for years not willing to bury the family under debt while we send the kids to the Davis schools. Something nobody has mentioned, people who want to send their kids to Davis schools, who went to UCD and want to stay but work in surrounding communities. Why shouldn’t Davis be allowed to grow to accomodate people like us who have kids born here, who went to school here, who work near here, who participate in civic life here, who want to educate their kids here, who give to charity here, who go to church here and who do volunteer work in this community? So I say give me a project I can afford and I will support it with my hard earned dollars. Housing in Davis is still twice what it costs in Dixon, Woodland, and West Sac even in a declining market. Developers still want to build here despite the risks of diminishing returns, falling prices and a frozen credit market because there is pent up demand. As Matt Williams points out regional demand will always keep pressure on the Davis market. This is not actually correct. Davis could overbuild and bring supply and demand more into balance so that people with the median income could afford the median priced home but the nimby’s on this blog would have a fit protecting their own property values through quality of life arguments by trying to restrict demand as they have done for years.You guys all argue that the university should build more housing but when they try to do it they get sued by neighbors worried about their views, oh I mean traffic. How much time was lost by the university because of lawsuits on West Village?

  16. Matt Williams

    Rich, I agree with your point about the Sacramento SMSA …region…. However, Davis’ …region… extends far beyond the SMSA. As has been discussed many times here and elsewhere, a huge proportion of UCD graduates leave Davis with one of their possible life goals being to return to the place they had so much fun and personal growth. They often have to go off to LA, San Jose, Bakersfield, or my personal favorite Ithaca, NY to make their fortune. But once that fortune is made they find the sirens song of Davis gets louder and louder in their ears, and since they have the economic where-with-all to make it happen, they become an active part of Davis’ housing demand. Yes, that demand is also shrinking, but it is always going to be huge relative to Davis’ housing supply.David, I second your point to anonymous.

  17. David M. Greenwald

    …I think the financial and housing circumstances of the poster is relevent in understanding their views….Maybe it is. Maybe it is not. There is a difference of course between pointing out someone’s current situation and making derrogatory remarks about them. Moreover since most people are anonymous on here, why are we holding those who have the courtesy of revealing their identities to a higher standard, that doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. Finally I would argue that that point goes both ways. You can argue that people who own homes are being selfish, well you can argue the same for those who don’t own homes but who want to. Is that really conducive to good dialogue on these issues?

  18. David M. Greenwald

    …Cisneros…:…Of all the projects you mentioned are there any that you supported?…I have admittedly high standards, but I think the city does not have high enough standards on housing projects they have approved.I had no problem putting housing at Simmons or Verona. I think the projects that were approved were too dense for the neighborhoods they were going into, and I think that that has to be a consideration. I would like Davis to adopt very high standards for environmental sustainability….Davis could overbuild and bring supply and demand more into balance so that people with the median income could afford the median priced home…The only way that would happen is if Davis built so much that it no longer resembled the town we live in currently. Is that really what YOU want?…You guys all argue that the university should build more housing but when they try to do it they get sued by neighbors worried about their views, oh I mean traffic. How much time was lost by the university because of lawsuits on West Village?…People invest their life savings into their homes. Most people are not looking at their homes as an investment per se, but they do want to continue to have a good quality of life. Developers do not get sued when they work with the neighbors on a project they all can agree to. The last year and a half of Grande’s saga bears that out.Time would not be wasted if things were done right the first time. Speed and volume are not the only considerations.You say time was lost, while I have some problems with the final arrangement worked out, I just don’t agree that time was lost by anything other than failure to work with the neighbors on conditions acceptable to everyone.Another case in point is Wild Horse Ranch, they came forward in January with a proposal that nearly every neighbor hated and they came to council to voice their disapproval. Council did not put that proposal forward. Instead they had to go back to the drawing board. They have since revamped their project. Were the neighbors a bunch of nimby’s because they had concerns with the project design? You’d argue that they were. But these are their homes, their neighborhood, don’t they have some right to have say over it? So what has happened now is that the new design has much stronger support, there are neighbors who oppose any development there, but most are not like that and because the developers are working with them, their concerns are being met.The school board described Grande as a win-win-win situation, I think that’s how we ought to aim to do every project and if we did, you would find that people like me would not be opposing many of them.

  19. Matt Williams

    Henry, there are huge plots of land on the UCD campus that would be ideal sites for student dormitories. Now that Twoomey Field has been supplanted by the new football stadium putting highrise dorms on that land would be an ideal use of space, would infuse lots of walk-in student traffic for downtown businesses, would convert zero acres of prime farmland to urban use, and would be a much greener solution than West Village. No one from Davis has sued the University for any of the multi story campus buildings they have built near A Street, I can’t imagine anyone would sue to prevent dorms. Bottom-line, high-rise domrs close to UCD’s core campus is a win-win-win-win-win proposition. — It is a win for UCD students because their campus life will be more concise and less expensive and richer. — It is a win for Davis’ downtown because of all the close-proximity walk-in trade that will be added. — It is a win for all renters in Davis because occupancy rates will go up to …normal… levels and monthly retal rates will go down. — It is a win for all people looking for affordable housing in the core of Davis because thousands of students who used to need affordable housing will no longer be part of Davis’ housing demand because they are living in dormitories. — It is a win for air quality because fewer students will be driving cars and more Davis workers can now live in Davis an no longer drive to work. Those are 5 wins. I’m sure others will add more.Bottom-line it is a huge win for both Davis and UCD.

  20. David M. Greenwald

    Last point:…Housing in Davis is still twice what it costs in Dixon, Woodland, and West Sac even in a declining market….Davis is a better place to live than any of those three in terms of schools, in terms of proximity of the university, in terms of standard of living, and a whole host of other things that have nothing to do with the availability of housing.

  21. Anonymous

    DavidI have a good friend who married well and his wife’s family bought them a house in Davis. A house he would never be able to afford on his and her salaries as dedicated, competent teachers. He is humble about it and supports construction of housing for people who can’t afford Davis’ overpriced supply restricted market.The poster whose personal circumstances I wrote about is a public person who chooses to post under his real name and consistantly is opposed to decent salaries for working people trying to make ends meet while he is benefitting from the largesse of his family something not everybody has available. Not only does he consistently complain about the earnings of workers in the public sector now he argues against providing housing that is affordable to them. So in the spirit of there but for fortune go you or I in this holiday season I want to take him to task for my perceived insensitivity to his fellow communty members.While it is true that people will bias their posts through the vision of their own personal circumstances, I believe we get a fuller debate understanding those circumstances.By the way I only have been told that he lives in his parents house I have never had this confirmed so I would be happy to retract this should I be wrong.But still there are lots of people here who have property acquired through inheritance of one kind or another. I don’t begrudge their luck in life I just begrudge their callousness towards others that are not as fortunate.

  22. David M. Greenwald

    I was objecting as much to the tone of the question as anything else.I am in the opposite situation, I live in an apartment, I would like to buy a house someday, but not at the expense of sacrificing what it is about Davis that has kept me here beyond graduate school.

  23. henry cisneros

    David you posted months ago about the ratio of housing prices between Davis an other areas nearby. At that time the ratios were about 1.5:1 now they are over 2:1 when is enough enough? And yes we could build out Davis and break the back of the housing market and yes it would change Davis and yes I would favor doing so. As for the people who bought in Davis and are going to be underwater in their mortgages I feel sorry for you. We need to regain affordability so that people pay 28% of their income for their mortgage and their income is no less than 36% of their mortgage debt with 20% down. These are the traditional standards that we lost sight of and created the housing bubble that is driving housing prices down statewide. We should not restrict building and keep people who would otherwise be able to afford a home from buying to protect those who made bad business decisions by buying all the housing bubble nonsense of the last decade. A good solution would be debt relief for those underwater in fraudulently marketed mortgages while encouraging more construction to provide housing for those who can afford the traditional mortgage standards that increasing supply would accomodate.

  24. David M. Greenwald

    …Cisneros…:It looks to me like our priorities are just irreconcilably different. You are willing to change Davis’ character to lower housing prices, I’m not. …We should not restrict building and keep people who would otherwise be able to afford a home from buying to protect those who made bad business decisions by buying all the housing bubble nonsense of the last decade….That’s not what is driving my policy preferences they are more driven by quality of life, character of Davis, and environmental concerns.

  25. Another View

    This comment will probably be considered sacrilage on this blog, but I will say it anyway. Originally I come from the Washington, D.C. area, where you get more for your money. Here, the houses are horribly close together, with no property to speak of. The houses themselves are getting smaller and smaller. The construction is shoddy at best. Everyone on this blog seems to decry …urban sprawl…, and encourages …densification…. Rich Rifkin praises a 1000 sq ft house. Do any of you have a clue?I had a wonderful 4 bedroom house in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., that was about 2400 square feet in size or thereabouts, along with attic, garage, and full basement besides. It was sitting on a half acre wooded lot. I loved, loved, loved it. I’ll take urban sprawl anyday, if it means I can live on some property, with a comfortable distance from my neighbor. It was a perfect house for a family of five.My children and I lost our home in a divorce. The details are not relevant. Just suffice it to say, it was through no fault of our own. I and the children escaped to CA, to get away from a continuing abusive relationship. The home we live in now(in Davis) is a 3 bedroom shack in comparison. The construction is shoddy, falling apart. By a lot of people’s standards in this town, our home is a nice size, but to me it is squeezed in. When you have lived in a lovely house, large and spacious, it is hard to get used to …tenement… living.The trend here is for smaller and smaller. Yuck!!! Californians are getting less and less bang for the buck. The house I am living in now would not even be allowed in the Washington D.C. area, bc it would not be considered up to code!!! Sadly, it seems to be the wave of the future, as I see the same sort of thing creeping into construction in Washington D.C. when I visit there. Houses are creeping closer and closer together.In consequence, people will stay put, and refuse to downsize. Why should they give up a nice home, to go live in a shoddy shack? Wish I could go back home, but home is no longer what it was, and I do not have the wherewithal or correct circumstances to make the trip. Before you mouth off about …carbon footprints…, and …densification…, stop and think hard about reasonable quality of life. Tempers flare less and life is so much nicer when there is a bit of space to stretch out and enjoy life. Just food for thought…

  26. Rich Rifkin

    …Rich Rifkin praises a 1,000 sq ft house. Do any of you have a clue?…It was not my intention to …praise… a 1,000 s.f. house for all families. Rather, I wrote: …the passive house concept … (is) ideal for the 1,000-1,500 s.f. home….I drew that conclusion from the ending of the Times’ story: And those who want passive-house mansions may be disappointed. Compact shapes are simpler to seal, while sprawling homes are difficult to insulate and heat. Most passive houses allow about 500 square feet per person, a comfortable though not expansive living space. Mr. Hasper said people who wanted thousands of square feet per person should look for another design.

  27. Rich Rifkin

    Another View: …I had a wonderful 4 bedroom house in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., that was about 2400 square feet in size or thereabouts, along with attic, garage, and full basement besides. It was sitting on a half acre wooded lot. I loved, loved, loved it. I’ll take urban sprawl anyday, if it means I can live on some property, with a comfortable distance from my neighbor. It was a perfect house for a family of five….One thing to keep in mind is that California now has something like 38 million people. If we are to have farming, rangeland, parks and open space, not very many people can live as comodiously as you lived in the D.C. exurbs.Nonetheless, if you can afford to buy a half acre and build a large house on it, I’m fine with that. I believe it should be your choice. That’s simply not a practical choice for most people in California.

  28. Anonymous

    …But it could be possible in Davis if we would stop worshiping the gods of Ceres and densification and opened up large spaces to development….Densification is required to keep housing affordable. The land in California is simply too expensive and valuable to waste on half-acre lots that essentially dictate a monomodal transportation system.The Central Valley is an incredible food production region. Any conversion of it to housing must be done in the most responsible manner possible, which precludes half-acre lots.Those days are over.

  29. Anonymous

    …Densification is required to keep housing affordable….Davis is more densely populated than London, England, than Sacramento and Woodland. London has 4,183 people per square mile. Sacramento has 4,189.2 people per square mile. Woodland has 4,767 people per square mile. Davis has 5,771.1 people per square mile. On the other hand, Hong Kong has 16,915 people per square mile. Singapore has 18,652 people per square mile. Monaco has 44,000 people per square mile. Macau has 64,745 people per square mile. And Old Dhaka (Bangladesh) has 210,000 people per square mile.

  30. Anonymous

    …Davis is more densely populated than London, England, than Sacramento and Woodland.London has 4,183 people per square mile. Sacramento has 4,189.2 people per square mile. Woodland has 4,767 people per square mile. Davis has 5,771.1 people per square mile….These are meaningless statistics as Sacramento and Woodland have more undeveloped land within their city limits than does Davis. I can’t comment on London. It also tells us nothing about how future development and housing needs should be accommodated. Woodland and Sacramento’s obligations to intelligent land use are no different than Davis’.

  31. Anonymous

    Internal demand is a pointless theoretical concept as there is no way to restrict ownership to local residents. I also find it elitist. For example, only aging Davis residents should be able to move into a senior or retirement development or complex? If a longtime current Davis resident has an ailing parent that they want to help care for, that parent shouldn’t be allowed to live in Davis because they’re not an …internally generated… need? That is only the beginning of a list of exceptions illustrating why …internal need… is a poor excuse for slow growth.If slow growth is the objective, an ambiguous, meaningless term like …internal demand… isn’t needed to justify it. Just use the RHNA numbers and you don’t subject yourself to value-laden criticism. When you don’t like the RHNA numbers, use the 1% cap. When you don’t like that, then use …slow growth…. When you don’t like that, then use no growth until you get the results you want.

  32. Anonymous

    …If slow growth is the objective, an ambiguous, meaningless term like …internal demand… isn’t needed to justify it. Just use the RHNA numbers and you don’t subject yourself to value-laden criticism. When you don’t like the RHNA numbers, use the 1% cap. When you don’t like that, then use …slow growth…. When you don’t like that, then use no growth until you get the results you want….You have this backwards from how it actually worked.First, during Measure X, the council majority argued that we were REQUIRED to grow at 1 percent due to RHNA. If we did not grow at 1 percent we would be penalized (somehow since RHNA doesn’t do that).Then when RHNA lowered its Davis growth allocation, they argued that 1 percent was no longer a requirement but was now a …target….

  33. Anonymous

    …You have this backwards from how it actually worked….I’m not speaking historically. The point is, use whatever numerical argument needed, as …internal need… certainly isn’t. I personally think numbers are merely the start, not the end of the land use discussion. We should be paying far more attention to what we want the city to look like and whether new development can contribute to it. I don’t think Davis is arbitrarily better or worse off with 20k, 40k, 60k, 80k, or 100k people. The numbers to me don’t mean much. However, the form and appearance of the built environment means everything. Davis hasn’t done particularly well in that regard as most development has occurred piecemeal and/or during a time when the importance of urban form wasn’t appreciated.

  34. Mike

    There are many rural landowners in Yolo County who inherited their large holdings and yet consistently oppose public parks since they already have theirs. The idea that the same occurs in Davis isn’t surprising.Davis is not lacking for parks or greenbelts. It’s not Woodland, for God’s sake.

  35. Anonymous

    What a sadly typical article followed by sadly typical comments. The notion that you should only serve …internal… growth is the same song sung by bigots, provincialists, and self-serving people everywhere. Secondly, the university did put forth an environmentally sensitive, indeed, amazing housing development in West Village and what did they get in return for it? A lawsuit. Any university development of any kind is met with hostility, suspicion and lawsuits. Stop blaming the …U… for the city’s problems and place the blame where it lies. Finally, the notion that …I would support a project if it was a good one,… is completely phony. The fact of the matter is that if you haven’t found one you could support yet then you’re not going to. It’s easy to say you’re holding out for pie in the sky but real decision makers understand that they have to live in the real world and not fantasyland. Time to get real. Get honest.

  36. Anonymous

    I’d say he pretty much laid it out in his article and people have as well. The idea of preserving farm land, maintaining a compact city, putting housing close to jobs (hence the drive for filling internal needs first).We are going to have to change the way we develop our cities if we are going to have any hope of slowing down global warming.

  37. Matt Williams

    Anonymous Anonymous said…Internal demand is a pointless theoretical concept as there is no way to restrict ownership to local residents. I also find it elitist. For example, only aging Davis residents should be able to move into a senior or retirement development or complex? If a longtime current Davis resident has an ailing parent that they want to help care for, that parent shouldn’t be allowed to live in Davis because they’re not an …internally generated… need?You will find that many, ifr not most of the people who believe Davis should think/plan in terms of Internal Demand would consider the aging parents of existing Davis residents as Internal Demand. That is only the beginning of a list of exceptions illustrating why …internal need… is a poor excuse for slow growth.I for one would be interested in the other exceptions on your list. The keys to any such list are the tradeoffs they engender. Whatever growth rate Davis chooses there will be tradeoffs. Grow too large or too fast and the character and fabric of Davis will change. Grow too little or too slow and the vitality and sustainability of Davis’ economy will be challenged. Those are not the only tradeoffs, but they are important ones. Which tradeoffs do you see as most important, and what are your beliefs about those tradeoffs?

  38. Anonymous

    I think that the …wow factor… that you were talking about at UC Santa Cruz is right on the money. I think UC Davis is responsible for the outrageous rents in Davis. Slumlords love this place cause the students come and go and will pay whatever they charge. UC Davis should step in and create more housing. UC Santa Cruz has units that are already furnished wich eliminates the yearly over flow of unwanted furniture which the students use for a couple of years and throw out. It’s a waste and I can’t believe that UCDavis hasn’t followed suit. We need more protections for renters and more housing for students so that the rents can come down and regular people can live here without being reemed by greedy negligent slum lords

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