My View: Are the Proposed Sterling Apartments a Wasted Opportunity?

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In September of 2013, after months of turmoil, EMQ FamiliesFirst, located on Fifth Street in Davis, closed its doors. Just three months earlier, Davis Police cars had descended on the facility after about a year’s investigation, which had to deal with repeated runaways, suicidal teens, fights, drug use, children having sex with adults, and finally, the straw that broke the camel’s back, an 11-year-old girl at the home claimed that two older boys had raped her.

What happened next was that one of California’s largest residential facilities for emotionally damaged kids imploded. The State Department of Social Services revoked the group home’s license and has ordered it to close. Yolo County cut off funding. And while FamiliesFirst initially sought to fight the ruling and attempted to stay open, the number of residents eventually dwindled and 42 employees were laid off.

Against that backdrop of tragedy, we have the proposed Sterling Apartments project that would redevelop the six-acre FamiliesFirst property with a new 270-unit, five-story apartment project.

According to the staff report from Wednesday’s Planning Commission meeting, “The project would demolish the existing buildings and construct a new 4- to 5- story apartment building consisting of 270 apartment units, a separate 2-story leasing office/clubhouse building, a 5-story (6-level with top deck) parking structure, site amenities and landscaping.”

The project would include a mix of one-bedroom to five-bedroom apartment units ranging in size from approximately 500 square feet to 1,600 square feet. There would be approximately 843 total bedrooms and 614 parking spaces.

Staff notes that the 96 four-bedroom/four-bathroom units comprise the largest share of the 270 units (36 percent) and 843 bedrooms (45 percent). Sixty-eight low- and very-low affordable apartment units would be incorporated onsite in the unit mix to meet the city’s Affordable Housing requirements.

The development is designed with students in mind as the target population, but would not be restricted to students. The project is proposed to be built as a LEED Silver project.

Staff asks two questions: Would the resulting community benefits outweigh impacts from the project and amendments? Are there modifications to the project that should be considered that would enhance the community benefits and reduce the impacts?

And, of course, there are concerns about the project from neighboring people such as the residents of Rancho Yolo. The staff report states, “The site is not immediately adjacent to sensitive uses, such as single-family housing. Alternatively it is not adjacent to incompatible uses that could create nuisances for the residential use.”

Staff seemed to ignore the fact that Rancho Yolo has 262 single family homes nearly directly across the street from the project site.

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While there are already several large apartment buildings in proximity to the site, and a clear need in the city for more apartment buildings, the location does not seem to be ideal for student housing, as it is relatively far from campus, although it is in close proximity to bus lines.

There are complaints about traffic impacts, as the project of 843 bedrooms is expected to add between 1000 and 1300 new residents to the area. The density would require a General Plan Amendment for the land use change from Industrial to High Density Residential.

The high density residential is “encouraged” “near existing activity centers and along corridors well served by non-motorized transportation infrastructure and public transportation (General Plan Action TRANS 1.3). Residential … and redevelopment projects should achieve transit supportive densities within ¼ mile of multi-modal corridors. Such densities would consist of 10 units per acre or greater, if compatible with neighborhood context.”

Such densities help “to facilitate greater affordability without sprawl.”

While those relatively routine land use considerations are offered in opposition, let me offer another thought. FamiliesFirst closed the facility in 2013. But there is nothing wrong with the physical facility.

ProPublica did a lengthy story on the demise of FamiliesFirst and group home models this past month. In the aftermath, they write, “The breakdown at FamiliesFirst has helped spur California to rethink how it cares for its most troubled children, a question that for decades has confounded not just the state but the country. A panel of experts, officials, care providers, and families has generated a raft of reforms it hopes will soon become law.”

They note, “Group homes, too, have increasingly been deemed a failed model, yet year after year vulnerable and volatile California children remain housed in them for lack of a better option.”

Do we as a community simply abandon this clear need?

But there is more. With the advent of AB 109, and the passage of Prop 47, the state is going to have to pump money and resources into local counties and cities to deal with the influx of substance abusers who used to find themselves in custody but now who will need less traditional treatment and facilities to help treat them.

So we are basically allowing a perfectly good facility, set up as a campus and group home, to be torn down to create apartments? I completely agree with those who believe that we need additional apartments. Frankly, I don’t understand the complaint about the density – if there is any place that can handle density it is along the Fifth Street corridor.

But, rather, the complaint is someone is going to have to spend millions in taxpayer money to create new facilities to handle the influx of people needing residential treatment in the wake of criminal justice reforms, and we have such a facility in our midst and we are about to allow it to be demolished without even a community discussion.

As I told one of the councilmembers this week, maybe at the end of the day the best use for this land is high-density apartments, but shouldn’t we bring the city, county and other stakeholders into the discussion first before we allow such a potentially valuable commodity to slip through our hands?

Staff reports, “There has been a significant and multi-year cooperative effort between the property owner and city staff to market and find another use for the existing Families First site based on existing zoning and land use designation and existing facilities. It included investigating a variety of ideas for the existing facilities for various businesses, R&D uses, incubator space, University-related or institutional use, as well as subdivision of the site into smaller parcels. There has been outreach locally and regionally.”

Staff continues, “A long-term effort has been made to find a suitable and interested user for the site before the current multi-family proposal came forward. The City recognizes that the property presents unique challenges given the existing facilities and property size which have made it difficult to attract a viable non-residential use.”

They add, “Even before the Families First facility was closed down in 2013, the facility was underutilized and efforts were being made to market the property. The Families First site filled a community need for a residential treatment facility, but the proposed land use change to high density residential would not result in the loss of an actual industrial or commercial use. Staff believes that it is a worthwhile trade-off for consideration.”

But did the city and county consider the property for its current use? And this staff report adds to intrigue – here we are looking for lab and research and development space, and we could not make this facility work for that? It seems very odd that six acres of space could not be utilized for some R&D, startup use, or other high-tech development.

However, I believe we need to re-examine the group home concept in the wake of changes to the criminal justice system before we consider demolishing the facility and turning it into more apartments.  I fully understand that this is privately owned, but they want a general plan zoning amendment, so that at least gives us a little leverage.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

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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53 Comments

  1. Don Shor

    Oh, for god’s sake. The answer to the headline question is NO. There should be no haggling or quibbling or endless debate about this. We have a 0.3% apartment vacancy rate. That is ZERO POINT THREE percent. It’s a great location.

    I urge the council members who read the Vanguard to completely ignore this discussion.

    1. Biddlin

      But you realise that this means more Vertical sprawl, obscuring the Winter sun from the adjacent mobile home community, causing an even greater epidemic of vitamin D deficiency among the community’s most vulnerable members. Whoever they might be , this week. (Tongue, firmly, in cheek.) Certainly seems like a well designed project, in a good spot to house some folks. No doubt the drearleaders will show up to micturate on this maypole, too.

      ;>)/

    2. David Greenwald

      Why Don, we have an emergency in terms of space for residential treatment and that was closer to the current use. As Tia said, it’s not like apartment needs (which I acknowledged in the article) are the only community needs.

      1. Don Shor

        Zero. Point. Three. Percent.
        Effective this fall I will have two employees commuting in from Sacramento. Not because they want to. There were literally no apartments available when they were seeking housing.
        Is there an emergency need for hundreds of residential treatment units in Davis? There is a very urgent need for thousands of residential rental units in Davis. A very provable need. The currently-failed housing policies of the city council are leading to higher housing costs for young adults and lower-income residents and workers in this city.
        This proposal is an excellent fit for the site, on one of the few sites presently available for apartments.

        1. David Greenwald

          Prop 47 means that we are going to have thousands of people in our community that will not be in custody and will need residential treatment facilities. We have a facility in this community that would work for that. Why not at least consider it? That’s all I’m asking. You haven’t even addressed this point.

          1. Don Shor

            You haven’t even addressed this point.

            Perhaps that is because we have an existing, provable, ongoing, long-term, much-discussed, increasing, crisis-level shortage of housing for young adults, students, workers, and low-income folks, whereas you are suggesting that the city hold up development of an apartment complex that would address those needs because of a vague, nebulous, unproven, possible future shortage of housing for ex-convicts. Hold it up so we can “discuss” something that you haven’t even demonstrated the need for. Something that hasn’t been quantified. For which there is no specific proposal, no agency or individual or corporation stepping forward with any plans or even any tentative discussion.

            We have an urgent housing shortage in this community. This project meets those needs.

          2. David Greenwald

            And we have an existing, provable, ongoing, long-term, not discussed enough, need for residential treatment facilities and the current configuration would work for such a facility. The current facility meets those needs. I think you’re looking at this through tunnel vision to be honest. To not even consider it – to ask the council to ignore my viewpoint is quite disappointing. Fortunately at least one councilmember has had similar concerns.

          3. Don Shor

            Really? How many beds do we need right now for ex-convicts? How many for drug users? When they were discussing the methadone clinic in Woodland recently I believe they identified a need for 76 clients county-wide.

            We are short thousands of beds for students, workers, young adults, and low-income residents in Davis. Thousands.
            I can’t believe we’re even having this conversation.

          4. David Greenwald

            That’s one type of clinic which is used to treat heroin addiction which while a rising problem in the county is dwarfed by other chemical dependency like methamphetamine. We’ve basically changed the way we handle all drug possession cases which is going to drive up the demand.

          5. Don Shor

            Ok, how many beds do we need right now for this in Davis? You call it an emergency, and you say it’s existing and provable. Please provide us with the numbers. I know what our apartment vacancy rate is. I know about how many beds we need for the existing backlog of students and the projected enrollment increases. I can quantify it. How about you? How does the residential outpatient/convict problem compare to the lack of rental housing problem, numerically speaking?

          6. Matt Williams

            Taking your point David,

            Which do you see as a more important issue for Davis, your described increase in drug demand or the conversion of Single Family Residences (SFRs) into de-facto student dormitories in SFR neighborhoods?

            Which do you see as a more important issue for Davis, your described increase in drug demand or the inability of the employees of Davis businesses to find rental housing due to the ever-increasing competition from student renters?

          7. Don Shor

            Fortunately at least one councilmember has had similar concerns.

            That is very unfortunate, and I certainly hope that council member will be quickly identified.

            This council, like every previous council for the last decade-plus, has completely failed to address the housing shortage. City of Davis housing policy is a disastrous failure with respect to rental housing and affordable housing. I have only heard Robb Davis address this issue at all in public, and while I’m sure some of the other council members share the concern I have heard literally no policy proposals, no discussion about city/UC initiative, seen no agonized items about the city’s rental housing shortage.

            And now a significant housing proposal comes along, and you want to derail it because of a supposed shortage of housing for ex-convicts and drug users. This should be fast-tracked, not delayed.

        2. zaqzaq

          David is completely unrealistic in thinking that more addicts will want treatment for their addiction issue after the passage of AB 109 and Prop 47.  Now that possession is a mere misdemeanor these addicts will take a few days in jail instead of seeking treatment.  Back when it was a felony and they could go to real prison instead of a split sentence in the county jail after AB 109 or  a few days on a misdemeanor sentence they used to go into treatment to avoid prison.  Now the incentive of avoiding incarceration no longer exists so why would they now seek treatment more than before.  Since most of these addicts are not employable they will steal to get money for their drugs.  So this will result in an increase in property crimes in order to fuel addiction.  David is misguided in his assessment that we will now need more residential treatment beds.

          Don,

          The housing crunch in Davis is a direct result of UCD not providing sufficient low cost housing for the students.  The new housing that they have built is more expensive than what students can find off campus.  We will not solve the housing problem in Davis until UCD becomes more responsible.  The new housing on campus is designed to attract rich foreign students.

           

          1. Don Shor

            UCD and the city both need to build more rental housing. It’s not exclusively a campus problem, although they have not come anywhere near to providing the 40% housing goal they ‘promised’ several years ago. But we need thousands of beds for renters. If we wait for UCD to provide anything, nothing will happen. It’s hard to imagine an apartment vacancy rate much lower than what we hit this year, but in all my years here it’s never been sufficient.

            When the Chancellor announced the 2020 Initiative, that was the time for city leaders and university officials to sit down and strategize about housing options. We were already thousands of beds short then, and the West Village development was not going to be sufficient to cover the existing or new shortages. I have been told that the city and UC are having useful discussions, but how we will get 8 – 10,000 beds out of it all escapes me. Nishi will provide some much-needed housing, but at the higher price range. The on-campus renovations will add some housing. But even adding in this new apartment building we will still be thousands short. Basically we need ten more Sterling Apartments in the short run, plus more on-campus housing.

          2. Matt Williams

            zaqzaq, the point you make in your closing paragraph was also made by Eileen Samitz at Wednesday’s Planning Commission meeting (see minute 56:30 of the video at http://davis.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=2&clip_id=384 ) Eileen has been making that same argument since the Housing Element Steering Committee meetings in 2007-2008, and I fully agree with both you and Eileen … in principle. Unfortunately, the actions of UCD have given no indication that UCD is going to begin providing sufficient low cost housing for its students. As a result, the City is faced with a problem that it has no practical way to avoid.

        3. hpierce

          Re: zaq’s 3:59 post.. .  the proposed apartments, with one bath per bedroom, is also aimed toward well-financed students, be they foreign or domestic.  Maybe it will free up less attractive units for the less endowed students/renters.  Key word is maybe, as UC is marketing to out of state/country students. Ones who can pay for the E-ticket rides.

        4. Mark West

          If the University builds housing, the City receives $0 increase in tax revenues. We get more ‘mouths’ needing City services, but no new tax dollars to pay for it. The conventional wisdom in town is that residential development is a long-term net negative proposition with regards to the City’s fiscal situation. When the University builds housing it is a completely negative (short – term and long – term) proposition for the City, starting from day one. From a City finance perspective, the last thing we want is for the University to build more housing.

          My only complaint about this project is that they didn’t propose building more units.

        5. Mark West

          David’s notion that we need to keep this parcel as a residential treatment facility makes just as much sense as the notion that we needed to have a grocery store anchoring every neighborhood shopping center.  i.e. None.

          The residential treatment center at this location was a failed business model. How many times will it have to fail again before we accept a new solution?  If we follow Davis ‘norms,’ we will require the place to be left vacant for 5-10 years before we consider any other option, but I think a better solution is to address a known critical need and turn it into high density housing.

          1. David Greenwald

            Actually I didn’t say that we need to keep this parcel as a residential treatment facility. What I said is: “maybe at the end of the day the best use for this land is high-density apartments, but shouldn’t we bring the city, county and other stakeholders into the discussion first before we allow such a potentially valuable commodity to slip through our hands?” All I advocated was making sure that we had explored the concept.

  2. Tia Will

    Don

    You and I are squarely on the same side on the issue of the need for additional housing. However, this is not the only need of our community and I take exception to the idea that honest discussion of options should ever be “completely ignored” by members of the city council.

  3. hpierce

    David, your apparent concept that the ‘community’ should be able to dictate, as you seem to to propose, specific uses for a piece of property is arrogant, to say the least (illegal is another term that comes to mind).

    As an idea, it has merit, but as an implied imperative, NOT.

    If you want to propose exercising ’eminent domain’, whereby the City or other government entity acquires the property for its full market value, to accomplish your vision, fine.  Go for it.  One question… where would the money come from?

    1. David Greenwald

      As I understand it, they can utilize the building or property however they want within current zoning. However, if they wish to have a zoning change, they need permission from the city. Am I wrong here?

      1. hpierce

        Permission is, in my mind, not equal to “control”, as in dictation of what a property owner can do.

        If you want to dictate how a property is used (and I do NOT discount your concept for a good use), then state that and go for it. BUT, have the strength of you idea, and accept that the property owner should be fully compensated (given existing zoning and improvements). And explain where the money to do so comes from. Put up, or…

        1. David Greenwald

          Right now I just don’t want to preclude that possibility. To me this is similar to the Cannery folks asking for a CFD – they agreed to the DA without a CFD, and so if they wanted permission, they should have been prepared to give something up. In this case, the property is zoned for one use and that gives the city at least a say in its use. I just would like to make sure that option is explored before we change the zoning.

          1. Matt Williams

            David, the existing General Plan Land Use category for the site is Industrial. Your proposed use of the site as a residential treatment facility would be just as inconsistent with the existing zoning as the proposed apartments. The human beings who go into the residences may be different, but in both cases residences are not industrial.

            If we use Don’s reported number of “76 clients county-wide” and compare that to the minimum of 843 “clients” who will occupy the proposed 843 bedrooms, comparing the level of need and/or value to the community is starkly mathematical.

            One option could be to dedicate a portion of the facility to residential treatment beds. There are 131 “affordable” bedrooms in the proposal. Do residential treatment facility “clients” typically qualify under the affordable housing standards?

        2. hpierce

          David… reading your comment… I too, would not want to preclude the possibility… your idea has true merit… I detest a coercive approach, however,  and I still want to see how it would be financed.

  4. Tia Will

    hpierce

    your apparent concept that the ‘community’ should be able to dictate, as you seem to to propose, specific uses for a piece of property is arrogant, to say the least (illegal is another term that comes to mind).”

    they want a general plan zoning amendment,”

    I have no strong feelings about the use of this property one way or the other. However, the piece that it seems that you are not considering when you talk about the community “dictating” is that the proposed use appears to require a zoning change. This is within the purview of the city and does not seem to me to be at all dictatorial. Zoning changes can be made or they can be denied. Property owners know this. I am facing this issue with regard to an inherited property in another state. I would like to build a home with a “granny unit”. The city may or may not accommodate me in my desire. I certainly do not see it as dictatorial if they tell me that I cannot build as desired because the area is not zoned in my favor and they do not desire to make the change. This is what I see as being at the core of the issue here.

    1. David Greenwald

      I just want to make sure that current use is considered because the discussion before the planning commission seemed to be more of a land use decision.

    2. hpierce

      The zoning change is indeed not a guarantee…  Tia, you seem to be saying that if someone wants to do something, with their property, they HAVE to negotiate with you.  Pretty controlling. Until the City owns the property, they have no right to dictate specific uses.  The City has the right to deny the zoning change.  David’s suggested “mandate” of what would be acceptable is illegal and morally wrong.

      1. Tia Will

        hpierce

        Tia, you seem to be saying that if someone wants to do something, with their property, they HAVE to negotiate with you.”

        No, that is not what I said at all. What I said was that if a property owner wants to do something with a piece of property that is not allowed for under existing zoning, then they will have to apply for a zoning change which is within the purview of the city to allow or disallow. This is true whether the property owner is an individual making the petition as in my case, or whether it is a business or developer. The owner can ask for anything at all. That does not mean that their ask good for the community or not good for the community. It is simply a request.

        And as far as lost opportunities, the biggest lost opportunity that I believe we have made as a city is the loss of the Cannery as a site for more student and affordable housing. We, as the city, were far too willing in my opinion, to “help” people who can afford homes in the $400 -$600,000 dollar range while ignoring Don’s point that the real need was for student and low income housing.

        1. hpierce

          Think I said PC & CC can react to a change, yes/no.  They do not have the ability to decide anything other than yes/no, unless they own the property.

          If a developer chooses to propose a use, and re-purposing of the existing facilities, as David has suggested, fine.

          I adamantly believe that it is not the public’s place, directly or indirectly, to dictate a specific use. Unless the public interest is so strong as to justify the City/agency acquiring the property.

    3. hpierce

      Yes, and David’s proposal would also probably need discretionary approvals.  So, I’m left with your apparent concept that somebody can only ask for what you want them to.  Nice.

  5. Don Shor

    The density would require a General Plan Amendment for the land use change from Industrial to High Density Residential.

    Seems rather odd that a residential group home was on an Industrial zoned site. But I do know that the zoning along the Fifth Street corridor has always been a hodgepodge that showed little sign of clear planning.

    1. hpierce

      As I suspect you know, Don, “planners” in this town are not.  They are ‘processors’.  Land use here is political.  David is taking a nice concept, which the owner might consider, if it “pencils out’, but appears to want to dictate how the property is “re-purposed”, in ‘his own image’, and there is an implication that the land-use request will have efforts to “stymie” it if he doesn’t get his way.  That’s just wrong, in my opinion.

      BTW, am not fond of the plan, as presented.  With each bedroom having a bathroom, and given that students (and their parents) can easily claim that the students have little/no income, the claim that there will be “affordable units”, is, on the face of it, bogus.  It will be a ‘subsidy’ for upper-middle-class students who know how to game the system.

      1. TrueBlueDevil

        Is it just me, or do 4- and 5-bedroom units sound high? With a 5-bedroom unit, technically, 11 people could live there legally. (The 2+1 rule, 2 residents allowed per bedroom.) I lived in a 3-bedroom suite in college one year, there were 5 of us (2 doubles, 1 single), and that was busy.

        I thought the market typically demanded 2-bedroom units. Is there more profit in larger units?

        1. tj

          LARGER UNITS MORE PROFITABLE:   The cost of bedroom construction would be the same, but building fewer kitchens (and laundry areas?) would save construction money.  Fewer kitchens, fewer living rooms, fewer dining rooms leaves more space for bedrooms to rent out.

          Pack ’em in like sardines.

          1. Matt Williams

            That is what a dormitory does.

            This proposal is an off-campus dormitory. Nothing more, nothing less. I suspect the square feet per resident of it may even be more than Tercero is. I could be wrong about that, and will be happy to be corrected if someone has the detail data available.

        2. dlemongello

          Matt said ” I suspect the square feet per resident of it may even be more than Tercero is.”

          Matt, what is the nuance or implication of this statement? You are speculating that each resident will have more space than at Tercero so it is a more spacious dormitory than Tercero? I do not understand the significance.

        3. dlemongello

          Matt, Bulk parking is generally cheaper per day than the daily rate so that would be the comparison for market rate for a unit per month, not the daily rate.

          As for it essentially being dorms, it’s interesting, because I do not think dorms have a 1:1 ratio of bedrooms to bathrooms and I wonder what the going ratio of kitchen facilities is per dorm room or per occupant. I would guess there are more occupants per kitchen in a dorm than would be in those 4-5 bedrooms. Bathrooms are expensive to build so what they would be saving in other common area construction they would make up for in building all those bathrooms I’d guess.

          1. Matt Williams

            All good questions in your second paragraph Donna. Questions that will inform improvements in the design configuration by the applicant … I hope.

            Regarding your first paragraph, my intention is not to justify a specific parking space rental price, but rather to define the “ballpark” of what parking spaces cost. If we really are trying to achieve meaningful progress toward the goals of Davis’ Climate Action Plan, then matching the cost of parking spaces in San Francisco or New York City will provide a sufficiently high market-based disincentive for students having a car during the time when they are getting their UCD education.

            One of the things that is worth noting from the Dinerstein presentation Wednesday night is that their Davis proposal has a FAR of 45 units per acre, and the Sterling Alvarado example they showed from San Diego is “significantly higher density, almost 80 units per acre,” which would seem to imply that the Sterling Alvarado units are a bit less upscale than the proposed Davis units. Their presentation also noted that “their Alvarado project is the largest consumer of transit passes in the City of San Diego. They provide transit passes for every resident on an annual basis [as part of their rent].”

      2. Matt Williams

        BTW, am not fond of the plan, as presented. With each bedroom having a bathroom, and given that students (and their parents) can easily claim that the students have little/no income, the claim that there will be “affordable units”, is, on the face of it, bogus. It will be a ‘subsidy’ for upper-middle-class students who know how to game the system.

        I agree with you hpierce. Page 2 of the Staff Report says, “The development is designed with students in mind as the target population” but then incorporates features (like one bathroom per bedroom) that make very little sense for students.

        If the project is truly targeted for students then target it for students. With that targeting it is a de-facto dormitory, and should be designed as such. Does every bedroom in the Tercero Dorm complex on the UCD campus have a bathroom?

        If your point about affordable units providing “a subsidy for upper-middle-class students who know how to game the system” is correct, then wouldn’t consideration of an in-lieu payment by the developer to the City’s affordable housing fund be a good alternative?

        One of the significant potential benefits of the targeting of the student market is that there is a much greater chance that students will choose to not have an automobile, instead riding their bicycle to campus or riding public transportation down Fifth Street to and from the campus. I have suggested for Nishi that each residential unit come with no free parking as pert of the monthly rental fee (or purchase price of the for sale units). Parking spaces should have their own monthly rental fee that is no less than the aggregate of a month’s daily parking fees on campus for a VP Permit (currently $9 a day, which computes to $275 per month). In a town that talks about its bicycle culture and is committed to its Climate Action Plan, creating a market-based solution for providing a fiscal incentive to reduce the number of automobiles in town makes sense … and the target student population will be more responsive to that incentive than the non-student rental segment, because of the simplicity of their daily destination (the UCD campus).

        The applicant talked about a 0.77 ratio of parking spaces to bedrooms (614 spaces for the 843 bedrooms). With the right kind of market incentives that ration should drop drastically, and if it achieves 0.17 then the amount of area devoted to parking will be reduced from 614 spaces to 140 spaces, which would free up all that floor area to provide much more valuable “community” amenities for the residents and/or additional bedrooms.

        Further, if the automobile traffic coming out of the apartments is driven by 140 automobiles rather than 614 automobiles, then the impacts to the neighbors (Rancho Yolo and the US Postal Service and anyone passing through the Pole Line / Fifth Street intersection) will be severely reduced.

        1. hpierce

          Matt, like you, I’m ‘long in the tooth’.  Spent 5 years at UCD using legs and/or bicycle.   My parents and I could barely afford college, much less a car.  Rest assured, pretty much 90+% of UCD students have cars. The fervent hope is that a project at the site will encourage them not to use them during the week.  Evenings/weekends are another thing entirely.  It is what it is.

          1. Don Shor

            Spent 5 years at UCD using legs and/or bicycle.

            Yeah, but there were only three restaurants and you could walk downtown to State Market.

          2. Matt Williams

            I think you underestimate the power of a market solution hpierce. If the cost of having a car parking space is between $275 an month (the UCD cost) and $500-$600 per month (the cost of many of San Francisco’s parking spaces), the students will think twice about spending between $3,300 a year and $6,000 a year for the privilege of parking a car in Davis. If they have a need for a car on Weekends, that is what ZipCars are for.

          3. Don Shor

            It’s important to remember that a significant number of the renters being squeezed out of the Davis market are non-student young adults, most of whom are using cars to get to their jobs in town and on campus here.

        2. hpierce

          Not THAT old, Don… definitely more than three restaurants, and Safeway was across the alley when I lived on the lower side of Anderson, Lucky’s across the street when I lived on Anderson, near Covell, and one of the restaurants was Sambo’s.  Others were MacArthur Park, Silver Dragon, Mr B’s, Larry Blake’s, Antique Bazarre,

          Also, there was a second State Market (corner of Anderson/Russell).  Did go to the downtown State Market from time to time.  Reminded me of the store near where I grew up. There was Stan’s Meat Market, another Chinese restaurant (Honorable G’s… known for the frequency of minor food poisoning) on G, The Club (probably the only downtown venue where a sword was used in defense of a young lady — knew the wielder, who was just returning from a fencing match).  So yeah… ’72-77.  Know that brands me as a “newbie” but so be it.

          Forgot to mention DQ and Quessenberry’s… loved the Quessenbery malts…

          And, Star Pharmacy, where I had to find supplies to help a roommate who over-imbibed.

        3. dlemongello

          Matt, no matter what my opinion is on your fee for parking scheme, there is one clear flaw in your calculation as you explained it.  First of all no one would drive to campus 30 days a month if it were $9/day even on the weekends, but also it is free to park on campus on the weekend except for special events.  Best to base your fee on some other parameter I believe. Also, it is very hard and maybe not even allowed for students to get a campus parking permit without special need.  I do however agree  that charging and building less parking is a good idea.

           

          1. Matt Williams

            Donna, I used the example of the daily parking fee as a local example of the “market price” for parking. You are correct that parking on campus isn’t a 365-day-a-year or even 7-day-a-week affair; however, a tenant of one of the bedrooms of one of the apartments parking their car would indeed be a 7-day-a-week proposition, so taking the daily market price and multiplying that by the number of days in a month does a good job of approximating the market price for one of the apartment parking spaces. Setting the price at an “above market” level will provide additional incentives to the tenants not to have a car.

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