Analysis: Where Are the Additional UCD Students Going to Live?

UCD Long Range Development Plan

LDRP

In his Mayor’s Corner column this weekend, Mayor Dan Wolk writes, “UCD officials introduced their Long-Range Development Plan to the community at our last council meeting. Akin to our city’s General Plan, the LRDP provides a framework for the university’s growth through 2027.”

He notes, “I am heartened that the City Council Chambers was chosen as the spot to announce the effort, clearly acknowledging the partnership that exists between UCD and city leadership as we look to the future. I encourage you to be engaged in the process.”

But Mayor Wolk again misses a critical opportunity to weigh in on a troubling revelation in that presentation. UC Davis Assistant Vice Chancellor for Campus Planning and Community Resources Bob Segar, in his report to council, admitted that “even in our highest on-campus housing scenario, we do not anticipate being able to house every new student.”

Bob Segar did commit to the notion that they would house all first-year students that want to be housed in the heart of campus. He said, “Common to all scenarios, housing all first-year students inside the heart of campus.”

Mr. Segar noted that the West Village project “has been kind of stalled with the economic downturn.” He said that the project is going to re-start with the plan “to house a very similar number of people to the original plan on a smaller footprint.”

Mr. Segar also noted that the new plan is to shift the athletic field uses that are currently along Russell to the western portion of campus where the football stadium is. That would free up the area along Russell for potential redevelopment as student housing. “That’s probably the newest idea that we’re putting on the table,” he said. He noted that the university, like the city, is looking to limit expansion onto agricultural lands and “do more aggressive infill development.”

“We think we can keep a very generous open space in that area and do some new student housing to meet some of the new demand,” he said. One thing he said they are looking at is “can we do it and limit the use of private cars?”

“We don’t want to just ‘wish trips away’ because they’ll end up in neighborhoods,” he continued. Instead, they’ll do surveying to assess the travel patterns of upper division students and “see if in fact there’s a way to meet their travel demands with more shared strategies.”

Bob Segar reiterated, “Even in our highest on-campus housing scenario, we’re going to study some very high on-campus housing scenarios, we don’t anticipate being able to house every single new student. That’s something we’ll have to work through in terms of the implications of that.”

Over the years, various articles and comments have noted that the city faces a rental housing crisis, with a minuscule rental vacancy rate. It is a reason why recent apartment proposals have gained traction and why some are looking to Nishi to provide much needed student housing.

Last fall, the annual rental housing survey of 134 apartment complexes and property management complexes showed a vacancy rate of .3 percent, down from 1.9 percent in 2013. Putting that into real terms, that is 24 apartments that were vacant out of a total of 8274 apartments in the city.

As we know, that vacancy rate forces students into rental housing that might otherwise go for families. It also forces other students into surrounding communities in search of available and perhaps cheaper rental units.

The problem, of course, is that the crisis exists now, before the university is poised to add thousands of additional students that they now acknowledge they cannot house in their most optimistic scenario.

Eileen Samitz in an October 14 letter to council writes of “the crucial need for UC Davis to build significantly more student housing for their current and any additional student population increases.”

She notes, “Historically, UC Davis has made commitments to provide more of their own student housing on-campus, which has not materialized. The 1989 Memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the City of Davis, UCD promised 25% of their student population plus 35% of any additional student population increase on campus but it never happened.”

She writes, “It seems hard to believe that UCD now wants to add 5,000 additional students, many of which are from out-of-state or from outside the U.S., to obtain higher tuition fees, yet our state residents have been paying the taxes to build and support the University system. Yet, the University is silent on where these students are supposed to be housed.”

Clearly, as the university wishes to engage the broader community in the LRDP, a critical issue is student housing. The university is planning to add students without increasing student housing. That puts an additional burden on the city to provide that housing or force students into adjacent communities, and also into neighborhoods in the form of rental housing that could be better utilized in other ways.

One point I have made repeatedly is that Nishi is only proposing about 600 housing units. Other universities have been able to provide high density student housing near campus on areas smaller than Nishi.

So again, can we increase the density on Nishi, which is the place in town where student housing makes the most sense? If we can have student housing with limited car access we might be able to fix several different problems facing the city.

Again – it is something that we should at least be discussing.

The other point that should be discussed is the fairness of the university bringing in more students when they know they won’t be building housing to accommodate them all – that forces communities like Davis to pick up the slack.

As this process goes forward, these are the discussions that we clearly need to have.

—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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78 Comments

  1. zaqzaq

    What is the impact on low income housing in Davis and the greater Yolo county community?  How does it impact the homeless population in Davis and the county if students move into W. Sac and Woodland?  These are issues that the city needs to look at and get UCD to address. High density housing on Nishi with a vehicle link to the university is one answer. There would be limited impact on Davis residential areas there unlike on the Russell corridor.

  2. Misanthrop

    “As we know, that vacancy rate forces students into rental housing that might otherwise go for families.”

    Do families have some first dibs or something?

  3. Misanthrop

    Honestly, I think the message from the University is clear and consistent. The University is going to grow and there isn’t anything the City of Davis can do about it. We can either get on board and seize the opportunities this creates or we can do what we usually do and hold our breath while the infrastructure turns blue. Interesting Samitz talks about adjacent communities but what is left off is that UCD will be building a new campus in Sacramento. Davisites feel like UCD should be here for our vision of what our community should be but the UCD growth train has now left the station. The real question is whether this community gets on board.

    1. Davis Progressive

      i think you’re missing the point.  the university can grow.  the complaint is that they are dumping their growth on the city to accommodate the new students rather than providing the housing themselves.

      1. Misanthrop

        I think they are doing as much as they can. Remember when they proposed West Village they got sued setting them back for years so perhaps its not as simple as you suggest. Anyway the question is whether Davis deals with growth at the University as a crisis or an opportunity. I know the answer will be to fight over every project even though that sets us back farther and farther in dealing with our housing needs not to mention the rest of the community infrastructure needs and wants. The University is more than willing to let the rest of the region prosper from the growth and the rest of the region is more than happy to accommodate them. So you can complain about it but it no longer matters. The message from the university is clear. The gravy train is leaving the station. All aboard?

        1. Davis Progressive

          i’m sorry they aren’t doing as much as they can.  if want to add students, they have to provide them housing.  they have a number of options – they’ve intentionally chosen not to take them. why? because they can.

        2. Misanthrop

          Yes, as I said earlier we can hold our breath until our infrastructure turns blue, something I fully expect to happen. One point though, as commute distances and carbon footprints increase for those connected to UC the people standing in the way of the city helping by taking a share of the expansion of infrastructure to address the housing needs of UC shouldn’t pretend they are doing it to protect the environment.

  4. Frankly

    Mr. Segar also noted that the new plan is to shift the athletic field uses that are currently along Russell to the western portion of campus where the football stadium is. That would free up the area along Russell for potential redevelopment as student housing. “That’s probably the newest idea that we’re putting on the table,” he said. He noted that the university, like the city, is looking to limit expansion onto agricultural lands and “do more aggressive infill development.”

    LOL.   Here we go again.  Those that oppose peripheral development claiming that they want Davis to be geographically small, dense and car-less will no doubt come out in force to complain that UCD is building multi-story student housing blocking their sun and viewscapes.

    I’m sorry, but this idea that we need to preserve all the land around Davis to the exclusive benefit a handful of farmers and ranchers while the rest of us get crammed closer and closer together living on-top of one another without additional open space that we can use is frankly just stupid and absurd.

    We need to revisit Measure O and refocus it on acquiring usable open space.  If the university is going to cram more students into the core onto the existing athletic fields, then the city should be looking at turning some city-owned property into parks.

    And then we should allow more S M A R T peripheral development.

    1. Don Shor

      I’m sorry, but this idea that we need to preserve all the land around Davis to the exclusive benefit a handful of farmers and ranchers while the rest of us get crammed closer and closer together living on-top of one another without additional open space that we can use is frankly just stupid and absurd.

      The notion that the City of Davis should annex prime farmland to build housing for students is stupid and absurd. The university should build multi-story dormitories along Russell Boulevard.

        1. Don Shor

          It is not my interest to “preserve all the farmland.” It is to preserve the highest-quality farmland to the greatest extent possible. It is also the stated policy of the General Plans of both the City of Davis and Yolo County.

        2. Misanthrop

          You keep talking about UC Davis’ responsibilities but it seems that is a ship that has sailed if it was ever more than a dream to begin with. My understanding is that UC’s responsibilities are in the areas of education and research. Perhaps you feel betrayed or something but the university seems to be done trying to appease the anti-growth populace of Davis and is taking more of a what are you going to do about it stance. Davis can deal with it or not. Of course we can debate the course the city chooses but the course of opposition to growth is headed for the rocks for many reasons first and foremost are low vacancy rates causing high housing prices, poor housing selection, followed by commute distances increasing carbon footprints, decaying  and inadequate infrastructure, and finally public budget poverty. Good luck.

          1. Don Shor

            If they are not going to live up to the housing commitments they made (ask Eileen Samitz, she has the documents), they should acknowledge that. And at that point, when they announce expansions, growth, and enrollment increases, city officials can stop cheerleading and start asking harder questions. The city has very little leverage over UCD, but it is becoming very clear that their planning processes do not take the local impacts into account.

      1. CalAg

        The notion that the City of Davis should annex prime farmland to build housing for students is stupid and absurd. The university should build multi-story dormitories along Russell Boulevard. @ Don Shor

        I agree with this 100% – and would extend the statement to include Solano Park and Orchard Park (just in case Katehi has other ideas for these sites). In addition, there are numerous other opportunity sites on the main campus (east of 113 / south of Russell) for mid-rise student housing.

        Where we disagree is that I think we also need to modestly expand onto peripheral farmland for both non-student residential and tech park … assuming that the entitlements for the two different land uses are considered separately.

        I’ll oppose MRIC if the housing component is not dropped, and think it is insane to entertain student housing on Nishi.

        1. Frankly

          I’m pretty much with you, but I would plan for 1000 peripheral acres to be developed over the next 50 years with 80% of it commercial… unless we extend the downtown core commercial into existing residential and build up.

          I think one thing people are not considering with respect to Davis city planning/design is the ratio of useable open space per capita-proximity.  Pack more people together and you better include some more outside space.

  5. Mark West

    “The university should build multi-story dormitories along Russell Boulevard.”

    New dormitories will create much needed bed space, but will do nothing to benefit the City’s tax base.  A far better solution is for the City to allow developers to build multi-story apartment complexes along Russell Blvd, and between the Downtown and campus along A and B streets. That would create the same increase in bed space while also increasing tax revenues to the City.

    1. Don Shor

      At this point we need 8 – 10,000 beds, and it sounds like we’ll need more, so these possibilities are not mutually exclusive.
      The comment I have now run into five times, from people across the growth spectrum from highly pro-development to very anti-development, is that the university needs to build housing first.

        1. Don Shor

          I wrote this as a reply on a Vanguard thread in 2013. I haven’t bothered to update it since then, since the problem has only gotten worse.
          ——-
          Based on data from UCD housing and their own surveys: Enrollment 1997: 24,299
          Enrollment 2012: 32,354
          Increase in enrollment: 8,055
          Total Apartments 1997: 7,591 Vacancy rate: 1.4% Total Apartments 2012: 8,032 Vacancy rate: 1.7% Increase number of apartments: 441
          So with all the new buildings added, and all the units torn down, UCD and the city of Davis have added less than 500 units in 15 years. The vacancy rate has varied, but only once has it exceeded 4%. During 11 of the 15 years it has been less than 2%.
          8,000 new students, 441 net increase in apartments. Do you see why I say West Village barely covers the past insufficiency in housing for previous enrollment increases? In fact, it doesn’t even do that. And it certainly won’t cover the need for 5,000 more beds.
          What does West Village provide?
          “A home for 3,000 students, faculty and staff. At build-out, the project will include 662 apartments, 343 single-family homes, 42,500 square feet of commercial space, a recreation center and study facilities. The development also includes a site for a preschool/day care center.”
          So UCD is adding 5000 students by 2020, 300+ faculty, probably at least 300+ staff, large numbers of graduate students.
          We have a deficit of 7500 beds already.
          They are adding a need for 5000 beds just for the student enrollment increase.
          Total need: 12,500 beds. They’re adding 3000 beds.
          More historical data: http://housing.ucdavis.edu/about/history.asp
          In the absence of apartments, where do the students go when they leave the on-campus housing in their second year and up? Out into the lower-cost housing in town, where the homes that young families would purchase are occupied by groups of students. Building high-end housing to allow affordability to trickle down to young families has not worked in the past, because UC Davis has not provided their share of housing. West Village won’t cover the deficit from the past fifteen years. It won’t even begin to cover the increased enrollment by 2020. So all the housing proposed for the cannery site will barely put a dent in the demand created by the absence of housing needed for young adults. Squeezed in all of this are the young adults who live here and work for our businesses and on campus. They pay a premium due to the low vacancy rate. Or they move out of Davis and commute in. With the very poor transit options coming into Davis from surrounding communities, they almost invariably drive.

      1. Mark West

        “The comment I have now run into five times, from people across the growth spectrum from highly pro-development to very anti-development, is that the university needs to build housing first.”

        We have a number of ‘ingrained’ beliefs in this town, which goes a long way towards explaining why we are in such a fiscal mess.  We need to change this antiquated belief system if we want to improve our local economy and not just repeat what has failed in the past.

        The University does need to build, but their focus should be on lab and office space.  That will allow all of the University entities currently situated in the City to return to campus thereby vacating City based commercial space and allowing for tax paying businesses to take their place.  Since people create the biggest demand for City services, whether they are living in the City or not, we should want them to be living in the City and paying taxes, not on campus and freeloading.

        1. Don Shor

          The university has a system-wide goal of providing housing for 40% of their students. UCD isn’t even close to that. Housing for students is a shared responsibility of the college and the host community. What I hear, whenever I talk about the serious rental housing shortage in Davis, is that UCD needs to do their share before the city allows any more housing. I believe the city needs to prioritize high-density rental housing such as the Fifth Street project, and the university needs to provide more housing. Neither entity has done their part now for quite awhile.

          1. Matt Williams

            Don Shor said … “What I hear, whenever I talk about the serious rental housing shortage in Davis, is that UCD needs to do their share before the city allows any more housing.”

            If we choose to wait for the university to “do their share” then it isn’t unreasonable to be thinking “22nd Century.” Judging by UCD’s actions since the November 2002 publishing of the UOP report “UC Housing in the 21st Century” they don’t see the Housing business as being part of the University’s mission. Their actions regarding student housing since 2002 have been predominantly focused on complying with Earthquake structural requirements.

            Misanthrop’s earlier comment about rental housing is at the heart of the matter. UC students have every right to be equal partners/participants in the demand for rental housing in Davis. The problem comes when that demand causes alterations in the supply of ownership housing … such as the conversion of Single family Residences into mini-dormitories. We need enough rental housing supply to accommodate the student demand plus the working professional demand for rentals. Waiting for UCD to act on that issue is waiting for godot.

            EDIT: there are other demographic groups of renters in addition to the two listed above. The demand from those additional demographic groups only adds to the problem.

        2. Mark West

          “What I hear, whenever I talk about the serious rental housing shortage in Davis, is that UCD needs to do their share before the city allows any more housing.”

          Yes, you said before that is what you have heard, and I will repeat that we need to change that attitude if we want to change course from our failing fiscal direction. Why continue repeating bad decisions of the past? If we want to improve our economic position, we should be building more student housing and telling the University to get out of our commercial space.

          1. Don Shor

            telling the University to get out of our commercial space.

            Seems to me those are decisions between the university and private land owners.

          1. Don Shor

            I’m more concerned about the gap between what UCD has promised and what it has delivered, and the apparent indifference of the administration to the housing problems of their students.

    2. Davis Progressive

      i haven’t seen any evidence that this accurate.  in fact, if you look at the economic analysis of nishi, it’s the housing that kills the revenue.

      1. Mark West

        Did you not pay attention to the presentation and discussion a couple of weeks back about how the City can increase the tax value through appropriate development?  High density housing is one of the best ways to increase the tax value of land. The basic problem with the proposed Nishi development (and most of what we do in Davis) is that it really isn’t high density residential. Doubling the height of the buildings would be a good place to start.

         

        1. Davis Progressive

          that presentation didn’t factor in net-costs, rather it used a strange metric of tax revenue per acre, without consideration about the costs of services, and he really only ran rudimentary data for davis.

          doubling the height of buildings doesn’t necessarily mitigate the cost of providing city services – it does reduce some of the fixed costs, but not all.

    3. CalAg

      New dormitories will create much needed bed space, but will do nothing to benefit the City’s tax base. @ Mark West

      Mark: If you look at the fiscal analysis in the Nishi EIR you will see clear data that demonstrates that student housing does nothing to benefit the tax base. It’s revenue negative.

      The best outcome for the Davis taxpayers is if all new student housing is built on campus. Anything off campus is effectively a taxpayer subsidy to UCD.

      1. Matt Williams

        CalAg, I believe there are a number of contributing factors to the bottom-line of the Nishi EIR.  The first is that they are using the average per unit city-wide costs in the modeling.  That assumption is seriously flawed.  Those costs include a significant parks and recreation component.  In real life, will the demographics of the Nishi residents actually use the City’s parks and recreation amenities more or less than average.  Another assumption is that the residents of Nishi will own and use automobiles at the same level as the rest of Davis’ residents.  Will a resident who has no car (relying on bicycle and pedestrian modalities) contribute to streets and transportation costs at the same level as a resident who has a car?

        Second, as we have discussed at great length in the Finance and Budget Commission the cost escalation assumptions for the City are based on the historical cost inflation numbers, in which Davis has been conspicuously unable to bring its runaway costs under control.  As a result the inflation rate of costs exceeds the inflation rate of revenues in EVERY model the City has … and as a result even in those situations where revenues exceed costs at the beginning, the trend lines eventually do cross over to the project being in the red.  That is unrealistic modeling.

        Further, the following graphic from the recent Joe Minicozzi presentation shows how property values escalate when you move from three stories to six stories.  However, the Nishi proposal stops at 5 stories and below.  There are reasons for that decision that I will not go into; however, given the fact that property values and tax revenues have a direct linear relationship, it is worth asking the question, “Why is Nishi being proposed with such a low property value model?”

        1. Mark West

          “based on the historical cost inflation numbers, in which Davis has been conspicuously unable to bring its runaway costs under control.”  

          “That is unrealistic modeling.”

          I cut out a bunch of other important words from the quote in order to focus on these two lines, but in fact I am responding to the entire comment.

          I agree with you Matt that it is unrealistic modeling, and as a consequence the public has an inaccurate view of the net value of development – especially residential development – but I will also point out that the City has in fact been unable or unwilling to control runaway costs. As a consequence, that unfortunately means that the models are likely correct.

          The best response should be to cut costs, but there is little reason to believe that the CC will have the fortitude to do so, especially as that goal seems to be viewed as being something akin to a quest for world peace.

           

          1. David Greenwald

            Mark this is part of the point I made with respect to MRIC a month or two ago, that we have to deal with some of the net revenue impacts on teh cost side. And we have a city manager who is unwilling to consider another round of employee concessions despite an economic forecast for the next ten years that really screams for it.

        2. CalAg

          My question has been, if we need housing in the thousands, why are we building in the hundreds on a spot right next to campus? @ David Greenwald

          Perfect framing!

          Nishi represents the best economic development opportunity in the City. MRIC doesn’t even come close. It should be 100% R&D with a large very underpass and bike/ped promenade to UC Davis. The property owners, City, and University should work hard to bring in public sector resources to help make this happen.

          To destroy this opportunity site with relatively low density student-focused housing is idiotic.

           

          1. Matt Williams

            Where within the current Davis City Limits do you propose the students procure their rental accommodations?

        3. CalAg

          As UCD grew it focused mainly on housing freshmen and let the locals grow rich providing housing and infrastructure in the city. Think of names like Roe, Friedman, Streng, Whitcomb and Tandem.

          One of the owners of Nishi is Whitcombe. The current Nishi proposal is a backward-looking repeat of past land use mistakes. Only in this case they are not planning to provide the required infrastructure improvements on Richards Blvd.

          The “innovation park” component is a scam. That’s why the owners are willing to “give” the land to the city so that City Hall and the Council can pretend to play master developer.

        4. hpierce

          My “spidey-sense” tells me that CalAg’s 10:52 post is substantially correct, but smell more Ruff than Whitcombe. John has always been “straight-forward”.

          1. Matt Williams

            You probably know more than I do pierce, and I haven’t actually spoken to Whicombe about Nishi. My many conversations have always been with Ruff.

        5. CalAg

          Where within the current Davis City Limits do you propose the students procure their rental accommodations? @ Matt Williams

          You’re framing the question based on a false premise.

          It’s not the City’s problem – it’s UCD’s problem. The University needs to accelerate their on-campus housing plans and Davis residents need to get out of the way. As both Greenwald and Shor have pointed out – the City can’t build it’s way out of Katehi’s problem.

          1. Matt Williams

            It is only a false premise CalAg if the University steps up to the table and (willingly or under duress) provides the needed units of housing. That hasn’t happened for over 15 years, and there is nothing in the University’s LRDP (Long Range Development Plan) that indicates that the next 5-10 years are going to be any different (with respect to student housing on the campus) than the most recent 15 years.

            Let’s drill down into the “under duress” part of that comment. Is there any governmental entity/agency/body that can force the University to build housing? The simple answer is “only the Governor.” Has the Governor shown any inclination to do so? Absolutely not.

            With that said, even if the University were to build the housing on the campus, the non-Freshman students have no requirement/obligation to choose to live in the on-campus housing. They have the right to live anywhere they want. History tells us that living off campus is preferred by students because it places a firewall between their relationship with the institution providing them with their education and the institution providing them with the roof over their head. Student protesters inclined to place their bodies in the line of fire of pepper spray do so with more second thoughts if the institution that they are protesting is also their landlord.

            I am not unsympathetic to the argument in principle that you are making. Eileen Samitz and I and many others have argued long and hard that the University needs to make good on the promises it made in the 2002 “UC Housing for the 21st Century” report published by the UC Office of the President. Unfortunately, in this case the principle and the reality are worlds apart. We have a problem and we have to solve it. UC is going to contribute further incremental intensity to the problem in the next 10 years, but is not going to contribute to its solution.

        6. CalAg

          Matt: We have more pressing problems than getting involved in trying to micromanage UCD’s housing strategy.

          The Davis taxpayers have subsidized UCD student housing for years. Given the university’s track record, they will probably continue to kick the can down the road for as long as they can get away with it.

          However, I’m fairly confident that UCD will expeditiously step up and solve the on-campus housing crisis on it’s own once (1) the City leadership says no mas, and (2) the ranking of the campus starts to suffer because of a disgruntled student body.

          Perhaps the City should engage with both the campus administration AND student organizations like ASUCD. That would get Katehi’s attention like a big can of pepper spray.

          There is no need for a developer-driven student housing project on our best economic development opportunity site. Particularly at the expense of destroying the small remaining functionality of the Richards corridor. Rezoning this land for a “solution” that will only have a marginal effect on the problem is – what was the word I used – idiotic.

          UCD already has three on-campus sites in their pipeline for high-density student housing – Orchard Park, Solano Park, and the Russell fields. In addition, they have other good opportunity sites elsewhere on campus. Davis should encourage the campus to move forward with these projects as quickly as possible.

          1. Don Shor

            However, I’m fairly confident that UCD will expeditiously step up

            Dream on.
            0.3% apartment vacancy rate. Your proposals would result in virtually zero housing built anywhere by anyone.
            Do you have some evidence that the Orchard Park and Solano Park sites are going to be significantly denser than what they are removing? What net number of beds is UCD going to provide in the next five years? We’re 8 – 10,000 beds behind at this point.
            Nishi is a true innovation park, unlike the other proposals. It has business sites, housing, and is close to downtown. It is an excellent balance, and I think it is unlikely they could reasonably crowd much more housing in there.

          2. Matt Williams

            CalAg, the City leadership has no ability to say “no mas” regarding the level of demand of UCD students for housing within the City Limits. If an individual property owner wants to rent their property to students rather than non-students, what right does the City have to tell that property owner they can not consummate that rental agreement? Further, if an individual student is willing to pay a higher rental rate than an individual non-student is willing to pay, what right does the City have to prevent the student from making that higher rental offer?

            The reality of the rental housing market in Davis is that students are displacing more and more non-students. For the most part it isn’t the student renters in Davis who are disgruntled, it is the non-student renters, who are seeing extremely low vacancy rates and consistently increasing monthly rental rates. One need go no further than the comparison of the 2000 Census to the 2010 Census for Davis. The number of residents in the 20-24 year-old cohort rose from 13,698 to 17,200 and from 22.7% of the City’s population to 26.2% of the City’s population. At the same time, the number of residents in the 25-54 year-old cohort decreased from 23,170 to 21,630 and from 38.4% of the City’s population to 32.9% of the City’s population.

            For the students the Davis housing rental market is working. For the non-students, not so much.

          3. David Greenwald

            Matt makes some good points here. If I want to move my family in a rental house, I have to pay whatever the market rate is. If a group of students want to jam into a four bedroom house, they can split up that rent four ways or even more if they share rooms. So if they rent the house for $2000 a month, that’s a lot of money for me but for students, paying $400 (if five move in) is fairly affordable.

        7. CalAg

          DS/MW/DG: Let’s stipulate that the following:

          (1) The vacancy rate is insanely low.
          (2) This has led to a host of secondary problems, including:
          — Tenant abuse by landlords that don’t need to compete for market share
          — Widespread nuisance minidorms cropping up in single family residential
          — QOL issues for students force to cram into increasingly smaller spaces
          — Rental costs that are spiraling out of control
          — Increasing displacement of non-student renters
          — Degradation of parts of town into student ghettos
          — Increase in out-of-town student commuters
          — Functional collapse of parts of the local bus system during transit peaks
          (3) The unmet need for student housing is approximately 8,000-10,000 beds
          (4) UCD has a terrible track record of addressing the student housing problem
          — They’ve failed to honor the commitments it has made to the City
          — They’ve failed to meet UC system-wide goals
          — They’ve failed to daylight a comprehensive solution going forward
          (5) UCD is aggressively increasing its enrollment (AKA income from tuition and fees – to the tune of $180,000,000 annually) without providing the basic infrastructure (beds, professors, class, etc.) needed to support its existing student body, let alone the incremental increase from their 2020 plan

          We don’t need to keep going over this ground. We’re mostly in agreement. The situation sucks.

          My position is:
          (1) The City of Davis is not capable of entitling sufficient multifamily to to have a meaningful impact on the student-housing problem.
          (2) When we entertain projects like Nishi, we take the pressure off UCD and delay the implementation of a comprehensive on-campus solution.
          (3) The City of Davis has other major challenges, and we have no business making a bad zoning decision on Nishi that creates more problems than it solves.

          Why don’t the three of you tell us where, within the City limits, you envision the City of Davis providing 10,000 student beds? If not inside the City limits, then where on the periphery? And please consider the traffic, GHG, and affordability impacts of building this student-focused multifamily in the City rather than on campus. Also please consider the opportunity costs of rezoning land that is suitable for commercial to multifamily. You should also comment on how the City might control adsorption of new multifamily by non-students. Finally, some comments would be useful on whether you think it is harder for a project to get through a public vote in the City of Davis or through the UCD internal planning process.

          These are obviously rhetorical questions. My point is that this is not our problem to solve. UCD has plenty of resources to solve their student housing problem without us.

          We can’t even keep our potholes filled.

          1. Don Shor

            Why don’t the three of you tell us where, within the City limits, you envision the City of Davis providing 10,000 student beds? If not inside the City limits, then where on the periphery? And please consider the traffic, GHG, and affordability impacts of building this student-focused multifamily in the City rather than on campus. Also please consider the opportunity costs of rezoning land that is suitable for commercial to multifamily. You should also comment on how the City might control adsorption of new multifamily by non-students. Finally, some comments would be useful on whether you think it is harder for a project to get through a public vote in the City of Davis or through the UCD internal planning process.

            UC should provide 40%, the city needs to allow development of 60%.
            Fifth Street, South Davis, near the hospital, along Second Street, maybe even more sites still available in West Davis — I don’t know. The Cannery was a seriously missed opportunity in this regard.
            I don’t have any hope that we’ll see all 10,000 of the beds built anywhere. I just want to see a commitment from the city council majority that this type of housing is NOW our first and only priority until something happens. The apartment vacancy rate is the metric. Get it to 3% before another frigging single-family home is built anywhere.
            Traffic, GHG, and affordability are irrelevant to this issue.
            The city can’t “control adsorption” of multifamily homes, SO THEY SHOULD ONLY BE PERMITTING THE BUILDING OF APARTMENTS.
            No public vote would be needed. UCD’s internal planning process is apparently constipated. There’s no comparison because there’s nothing to compare.

            we take the pressure off UCD

            UCD is immune to pressure. Building at Nishi will neither encourage nor discourage UCD from building housing. It will have no impact on their decision-making processes or outcomes.

          2. Matt Williams

            Don Shor said … “UCD is immune to pressure. Building at Nishi will neither encourage nor discourage UCD from building housing. It will have no impact on their decision-making processes or outcomes.”

            Don and I have had more than a few disagreements over the past two years, but at the risk of being a divisive influence, I believe that on this issue he is 100% correct. “Immune” is a very good choice of words.

          3. Matt Williams

            CalAg, thoughtful post. Unfortunately your point at the end has a fatal flaw.

            You are assuming that if the City chooses to not solve the problem then UCD will be forced to do so. That won’t happen. UCD will continue to let the problem exist because there are no negative consequences for UCD if they do so.

            The additional 5,000 students they add will simply seek out rental housing within the City Limits and in the free market economy for local Davis housing, the student renters will outbid non-student renters for the available housing.

            As a result the current Davis population in the 25 to 54 year-old age bracket will continue to decline, but the velocity of that decline will accelerate.

            As the 25 to 54 year-old age bracket declines the 0 to 19 year-old age bracket will also decline in parallel. That will mean declining enrollments for DJUSD, likely school closures and more than likely a resultant measurable decline in the quality of the DJUSD schools.

            Further, since the retail economy for goods is substantially driven by the 25 to 54 year-old age bracket,the dcline in size of that “retail engine” for the local economy will mean that more and more retail businesses will go out of business due reduced sales. The service industry, especially restaurants, will continue to thrive, because all demographic age cohorts provide demand for services.

            Is that the Davis you want to live in?

        8. CalAg

          Don: You must realize you are advocating for continuing to morph large parts of Davis into something that resembles Isla Vista and the other student ghettos that grow up around big universities.

          Isn’t demanding a 3% vacancy rate before any more single family residential just a surrogate for no growth anywhere at anytime?

          UCD has all the resources necessary to reach 10,000 new beds.

          And UCD is very sensitive to pressure, just not the kind Davis applies.

          1. Matt Williams

            CalAg said … “UCD has all the resources necessary to reach 10,000 new beds.”

            It has the resources CalAg. What it does not have is the will.

            CalAg said … “UCD is very sensitive to pressure, just not the kind Davis applies.”

            What pressure is UCD sensitive to? My 17 years here in Davis has shown me that UCD is almost impervious to pressure.

          2. Don Shor

            You must realize you are advocating for continuing to morph large parts of Davis into something that resembles Isla Vista

            Actually, that’s exactly the opposite of what I am advocating. I mentioned four locations at different ends of the city. It would be best if the housing is dispersed — although given the quantity needed, there will be some more areas with densities similar to what we now have in South Davis near Research Drive, and in North Davis along Sycamore and Antelope.

            Isla Vista has a population of 23,000+, a pretty far-fetched comparison. UCSD doesn’t have a “student ghetto,” it has University City which is a pretty normal subdivision of mixed demographics albeit skewed toward university age segments.

            I am proposing that the council acknowledge this issue, set specific goals, and work proactively to address it. That requires some planning processes be updated (where have we heard that before?), requires public participation as community and neighborhood guidelines are revisited, and requires that the university be an active participant. Presently the city leadership just seem to sit and wait until the university says what their growth in enrollment is going to be, and then …. does nothing at all about it. And the university does nothing at all about it. Has the Chancellor ever addressed the housing situation in Davis?

            Since I’m in business, I believe planning processes should have measurable outcomes, action plans, and progress markers. Otherwise it’s just rhetoric and a waste of time. So when I say 3% before anything else gets approved, it is to make that point. Of course, if there aren’t landowners that want to build, then nothing will get done.

            And the university won’t do anything. And 5,000 more students will be here with no place to go except out into single-family homes in groups of 5 – 6, while families in the 25 – 45 age bracket buy houses in Woodland and Dixon.

        9. CalAg

          DS/MW: There’s no point in continuing this dialog. You’ve both repeatedly stated – with great authority and self-assurance – that UCD won’t do anything. You obviously don’t know this, but appear to be blinded by your own rhetoric.

          Well I have a prediction as well. The City of Davis is not going to entitle 10,000 new student housing beds in your lifetimes.

          And good luck Matt with running on a platform of massive student housing development.

          1. Matt Williams

            CalAg, I agree that there is no point in continuing this dialog. You have repeatedly stated – with great authority and self-assurance – that UCD will do something about student housing. You obviously don’t know this, but appear to be blinded by your own rhetoric.

            I concur with your prediction.

            Including a massive student housing development as part of my platform would simply be a political calculation, and I strongly believe that we need less political calculation in our decision making, and more evaluation of evidence. At this point in time there is not enough evidence on the table to warrant support of a specific student housing development. To borrow Brett Lee’s words in his recent Council candidacy announcement, “The details really matter.” Right now the details/evidence associated with what you have labeled a student housing development, need much more evaluation.

          2. Don Shor

            I know what they’ll do because I read their capital project reports and their long-range development plans. Do you? I’ve been doing that for years, and tracking the housing data for as long as the Vanguard has been in existence. I know what they’ve said they’ll do, what they have done, and what they are currently saying. Do you?

            You sound authoritative, but you post anonymously and give no support for your positions. The reason there is no point in continuing this dialogue is that you are clueless and are proposing a housing policy that is unicorn-level fantasy.

            For the record I have some slight hope that within the next one to two years UCD might announce the beginning stages of the process to begin the planning stages to build some high-density housing on the site of Toomey Field. At the pace they do things, it should be ready for occupancy by about 2025. Meanwhile, they are adding 600+ students each year and have been doing so since they announced they would do so in the 2020 Initiative, back in 2010. UCD has already added more students than they built beds for at West Village. And they will be adding, clearly, about 3000 more students in the next five years. And very few beds.

    1. Frankly

      Good comparison metrics from this:

      1988 LRDP Housing Mitigation Not Carried Out. The 1988 LRDP contained goals to the effect that the university would house seventy percent of the undergraduate student body, fifty percent of the graduate students, twenty-five percent of the faculty, and twenty-five percent of the staff newly attracted to Santa Cruz. However, the university in 2003-2004 provided housing for less than fifty percent of the undergraduates, about fifteen percent of the graduate students, and approximately twenty-four percent of the faculty and eighteen percent of staff recruited from outside the county of Santa Cruz.

      Interesting that City-Data.com shows Santa Cruz population density as 5016 per sq mile and Davis as 6333.   Santa Cruz is 12.5 sq miles.  Davis is 10.5 square miles.   Neither include their campus in the city limits.

      But UCD has 35,415 enrolled students and Santa Cruz 17,866.

      UCD has a bigger student housing challenge and the city is more space-constrained.

      1000 acres is about 1.5 square miles.   Davis could develop 1000 acres on the periphery and still have higher population density than Santa Cruz… a city with residents complaining about congestion.

  6. CalAg

    It is proposed under this plan that the three-quarter average enrollment of undergraduates at UC Davis be increased to approximately 28,850 students, which represents a growth of 5000 students above the number enrolled in 2011-2012. Between 2011 and 2020, the total percentage of national and international undergraduate students on campus is envisioned to rise from just over 4% (it is estimated at 7% for Fall 2013) to approximately 19%, with the absolute numbers of students rising by about 500 California students and 4500 national and international students. @Implementation Plan for the 2020 Initiative

    UCD Tuition and fees:
    $38,659 – Out-of-state and international students
    $13,951 – California residents

    This translates into additional annual revenue to UCD of more than

    $180,000,000

    That’s over a billion dollars of new income every 5.6 years.

    The notion that UCD can’t find the capital to build more student housing is ridiculous. They’ve got the land and the money – now all they need is the leadership.

    1. Matt Williams

      CalAg, if you were in charge of a research university, would you invest your capital in research or in housing?

      My suspicion is that the international students are not attracted to UCD’s housing, but rather to UCD’s research opportunities.

      1. Anon

        It is not a matter of investing student tuition $$$ only in what one WANTS TO, it is a matter of TAKING RESPONSIBILITY for investing those $$$ to accommodate ALL THE NEEDS for those students paying the $$$…

      2. CalAg

        Matt, students are attracted to the whole package. Katehi is making a strategic error by not providing on-campus housing to every undergraduate that wants it. It’s not a dichotomous problem, research vs housing. That’s not how the university actually works.

        1. Matt Williams

          Your statement is both correct and insufficient CalAg. A substantial portion of domestic undergraduate students are “attracted to the whole package.” However, international students, especially international students in the graduate-level research disciplines that UCD is growing, are not particularly interested in the whole package. They are much more practical. They are interested in the depth and breadth of the research capabilities of their chosen discipline.

        2. CalAg

          “international students, especially international students in the graduate-level research disciplines that UCD is growing” @ Matt Wiliams

          Respectfully, you’re not well informed on this topic. The international students that are the focus of the 2020 plan are all undergraduates.

          The graduate student population will indeed increase, but as a secondary consequence of the increase in faculty under the 2020 initiative. The magnitude of the increase will be a function of the availability of extramural funding (which is declining) and the needs of the faculty. There is no explicit target.

          Whatever, the actual numbers, international graduate students are a trivial piece of the puzzle. There were roughly 1,100 international graduate students in 2013 (approx 23% of the total graduate student population). The total number of enrolled students that year was about 34,000.

  7. CalAg

    Another point.

    On campus housing typically comes with an impressive portfolio of support services that are co-located with the students – including academic, emotional, recreational, and career planning support.

    This is a big advantage of keeping kids on campus. If Katahi was half as smart as she thinks she is, she would be focused on building up the on-campus population as fast as humanly possible, because this is a key piece of the puzzle for UCD to get to the next level (UCD is currently no better than tier 1B).

  8. Misanthrop

    “so how come ucd provides less on-campus housing than any other uc?”

    As UCD grew it focused mainly on housing freshmen and let the locals grow rich providing housing and infrastructure in the city. Think of names like Roe, Friedman, Streng, Whitcomb and Tandem. This changed with the rise of anti-growth sentiments beginning with Jerry Adler, who admits his errors, along with Bob Black and peaks with Wagstaff, Harrington, Sue Greenwald, measures J and X. West Village and the stepped up pace of on campus housing construction since hiring Davis’ City Manager John Meyer away over a decade ago was a direct response to the desire expressed by local officials to provide more of its own housing. Luckily UCD had the vision to buy up thousands of acres in the 90’s so it has the space. The problem was the ramp up has been stymied by continued opposition from the locals who sued and delayed West Village and forced West Village to give up access to Russell Blvd to settle so they could move forward. UCD already behind the curve because they never had a strong housing development program has not been able to catch up.

    Katehi made it clear a few years ago that they were no longer going to be stymied by the sentiments of the city on growth and the obstacles thrown up at every turn to interfere with their mission of education, research and now being an engine of economic growth. She invited Davis to participate but made it clear that UCD wasn’t waiting around by announcing her 2020 proposal of adding thousands of students and the third campus in Sacramento.

    Davis sits at a crossroads, one road represents more of the past and the other is the future. UCD is paving the one to the future while the city is trying to figure out how to keep the road of the past from crumbling. The good news is that if we seize the opportunities presented we can bring prosperity to this community while lifting many in the area out of poverty. We can even be a little choosy like the pretty person who gets many dating invitations. But like that person who says no to everyone we may find our selves at home alone on Saturday night.

    1. Davis Progressive

      kind of telling statement.  i’ve tended to look at a middle ground.  i think the crossroads scenario is the wrong approach, it puts you on a path where the threat of development becomes too real for people like me to follow.

      1. Tia Will

        DP

        the threat of development”

        As a slow growth proponent, I also find this phrase very telling. I agree with you. The “crossroads” scenario for me is a scare tactic. What is being sold is the idea that if we do not fully embrace the grow now in accordance with the Kathehi vision, all will be lost. I disagree. I believe that there is a “middle ground” and that in a community with differing values, that is what we should be seeking.

        Something will be lost, but something may well be gained by a slower, more deliberate approach to growth and development. Not everyone in our community buys into the “grow as fast as we can ” vision put forth by some. And I would stand by this whether we are discussing population, business in general, or high tech specifically.

  9. CalAg

    Katehi made it clear a few years ago that they were no longer going to be stymied by the sentiments of the city on growth and the obstacles thrown up at every turn to interfere with their mission of education, research and now being an engine of economic growth. She invited Davis to participate but made it clear that UCD wasn’t waiting around by announcing her 2020 proposal of adding thousands of students and the third campus in Sacramento. @ Misanthrop

     

    It is not a matter of investing student tuition $$$ only in what one WANTS TO, it is a matter of TAKING RESPONSIBILITY for investing those $$$ to accommodate ALL THE NEEDS for those students paying the $$$… @ Anon

    Katehi is hoping to use a large portion of the $180,000,000 in new annual revenue from out-of-state and international students to help fund her ambitions to expand UCD.

    This is in the context of an institution that can’t provide adequate instruction or housing for it’s current student body, Undergraduates have been complaining for many years about not being able to get classes because there are not enough to go around. There’s also a problem with UCD’s increasing over-reliance on TA’s and Lecturers to teach classes.

    Davis is turning into a weird mashup of a student ghetto and a bucolic rural commuter town … and it’s not working.

    1. hpierce

      If I recall correctly, UC, particularly UC Davis, is a ‘land-grant college’.  It’s primary mission, in the past, was primarily to provide a college education to California students (‘best and brightest’), which meant that it also fostered research.  With the number of out-of-state foreign student “recruitment”, with the “monuments” (Mondavi Center) the campus has erected, I see “mission creep” big-time.  It seems to have become a state-supported corporate entity that might need to get fully dismantled, to save it.  I am a UCD Alum. And proud of what it was 30-40 years ago.

       

  10. Tia Will

    hpierce

    Speaking as a UCD alum, I could not agree more with your post of 10/24 12:01 pm. Well, maybe not so much the “dismantlement” part. I would certainly recommend a return to original mission over the current “state-supported corporate entity” which I find to be a particularly pernicious twist on the “public-private” partnership concept.

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