Monday Morning Thoughts: Revived Growth Wars? Is There a Middle Ground?

UCD Long Range Development Plan

UCD Long Range Development Plan

With the improvement of the economy and housing market, there seems to be renewed pressure to grow in Davis, but unlike a few decades ago – with the presence of Measure R – any project must either face the rigors and uncertainty of the Measure R process or face the equally grueling rigors and uncertainty of neighborhood resistance to infill.

Kevin Wolf a few weeks ago pushed for four projects: Nishi, Mace, Trackside and Sterling Apartments, arguing that any new housing “should primarily be dense infill located near jobs, schools and shopping.”

Yesterday Eileen Samitz pushed back, writing, “The article made arguments for what would amount to a huge amount of new growth, particularly if all four projects were approved (at least 1,818 units). A significant number of these units would have 3-5 bedrooms targeting students, which means thousands of new residents.”

While Mr. Wolf pushes the four projects as ways to deal with housing needs, Ms. Samitz pushes back with “the need to pressure the University to provide the student housing that it promised in its 1989 MOU with the City.”

She writes, “UCD’s negligence in not providing this on-campus student housing is a main driver of any housing demand that exists in Davis. It is gross negligence, and simply unfair to the UCD students, that the University is not providing them with long-term, affordable on-campus student housing. The University can legally designate housing on their land to be dedicated for students only. In contrast, the City cannot legally dedicate housing for students only.”

Implicit in both the opinions of Kevin Wolf and Eileen Samitz is the need to accommodate student housing – the question is the best way to approach it.

Ms. Samitz posted links showing that Davis is not alone in this dilemma. Berkeley is the least affordable college town in the country (followed by Santa Cruz and San Luis Obispo in California, with Boulder, Colorado, third on the list, and Cambridge, Massachusetts, fifth). A decade ago Berkeley actually sued UC Berkeley, “citing that university administrators did not adequately evaluate the consequences to the city with its 15-year growth plan and hopes to block construction of any new projects.”

In the meantime, UC Davis has begun its own Long Range Development Plan (LRDP) but it has done so with the acknowledgement that the housing plans will be inadequate to address all new students’ needs.

As it is, as Kevin Wolf points out, “An increasing number of Davis’ students and workers commute from nearby towns where housing is more available and affordable.”

While it seems inadvisable that the city sue UC Davis, the problems here are very clear. UC Davis needs to figure out a way to house more students.

The problem becomes obvious when we analyze Kevin Wolf’s op-ed. Of the four projects he pushes for, only two have the potential to put a dent in the student housing project. We have gone back and forth over whether MRIC (Mace Ranch Innovation Center) needs housing, but we have to understand that, even if they do add housing, it will primarily be workforce housing not student housing. Likewise, Trackside is not gearing its project toward students – in fact, it’s intentionally marketing the project toward professionals and not students.

That leaves the 270 units at Sterling and the 650 units at Nishi as the only potential student housing units. Even if those projects house 2000 beds – it is only going to have a small impact on the overall problem.

That doesn’t necessarily mean we should not do those projects, though there are significant details still to be worked out before Sterling meets with the approval of the planning commission and council, over the objections of neighbors with concerns about traffic impacts, among other difficulties. Nishi faces more formidable challenges, with access and traffic issues on Richards and the need to pass a Measure R vote.

But the bottom line here is we are not going to be able to solve the rental housing crisis through infill in the long-term. We need large numbers of units which will require land.

The only two options are, first, peripheral development in Davis, which is problematic in a lot of ways. First, getting the voters to pass a Measure R vote for student housing seems highly unlikely. Second, from a land use perspective, putting student housing out on the periphery doesn’t make a lot of sense from a transportation standpoint.

The better option, once again, is that the university has space – they have the Solano Park site, they have the redevelopment possibilities along Russell Blvd, they have the additional land to the west of West Village, and they have an abundance of land on the south parts of campus.

The only other option would be a far more dense project at Nishi – which does not seem to be in the cards.

At the end of the day, the best option from a planning and land use perspective is to put student housing on campus where students can bike and walk to class. The city of Davis does not appear to have the capacity to solve the student housing crisis without considerable buy-in from the university.

And yet, for reasons I do not fully understand, UC Davis is not willing to fully embrace this issue. If they do not house the students – where do they expect students to live?

—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.

Related posts


  1. Topcat

    …the best option from a planning and land use perspective is to put student housing on campus where students can bike and walk to class.

    Yes, this is what we should be advocating for.

        1. hpierce

          Actually, no… was thinking more the infill/redevelopment sites… ex.  the former Families First site.  There is a primarily student complex just north of DMV.  The Wake Forest property where UCD tore down apartments that were student oriented.  But we have to be careful.  UCD bought a number of traditional student housing sites, where the property came off the tax rolls, but the demand for services remained unchanged.

          Which raises another idea.  Have UCD divest themselves of the apartment/dorm projects within the City that they have acquired, for their initial cost, and a nominal ROR since purchase.  Put the properties back on the tax rolls.

          All of the above are on/very near existing Unitrans routes.

          Nice try, DP, to put words in my mouth.  Failure.

        2. Don Shor

          Again: students are not the only renters in Davis. Students are not the only people who need low-cost rental housing. They drive the market, but it is not unreasonable to build rental housing anywhere in town. We can and should put renters out on the periphery if that is where someone wants to build apartments. We can and should put renters on Fifth Street if that is where someone wants to build apartments. We have good bike access to any point in the city, we have good bus service to any point in the city, and a lot of the people being crowded out of the current rental market aren’t going to be going to the campus on a regular basis. They work in our local stores, or are the children of current residents, or live here for other reasons. And, in fact, some students may actually choose to live further from campus as well, for a variety of reasons.

        3. Davis Progressive

          hpierce – next time why don’t you explain it more fully and i wouldn’t have to put words in your mouth 😉

          don: what percentage are students?  it seems to me, regardless of that answer if we house students, it should alleviate some of the rental housing projects for all.

        1. Matt Williams

          No DP, the neighbors/residents should not shelve their concerns.  They should do exactly what they are doing, organizing those concerns in a coherent, transparent document, sharing that document with all the stakeholders, and listening to the feedback that they get from those stakeholders.

  2. Mark West

    Every bed of student housing that is added, whether on-campus or off, will increase the demand for City services.  The demand obviously is lower with on-campus housing, but it is not zero.  Unfortunately, we receive no new tax money to pay for the increased demand when that housing is owned by the University.

    We have this ongoing belief in town that residential development results in a net negative drag on the City’s finances.  The reality however is that we have complete control over the net fiscal impact of all types of development by simply controlling the growth in total compensation. If we control total compensation growth, then privately owned residential development will have a net positive impact.

    Regardless of what we do about the City’s costs of operation however, University owned residential development, on-campus or off, will always have a net-negative impact on the City. From a fiscal point of view, the last thing we should want is for the University to build more housing.

    The housing shortage in Davis is real, and arguing about whether the vacancy rate is 1/2% or 1 1/2 percent is really quite silly as both are way too low for a healthy housing market. This is a City problem regardless of the source of the mounting pressure.  We need to positively address the problem by building more apartments in the City, and stop wasting time pointing fingers and waiting for others to solve it for us.


  3. Frankly

    Interesting that Santa Cruz seemed to have the opposite problem.  The universtiy wanted to build housing and the local activist residents (incuding the existing student body) opposed it.  There was a ballot measure that passed but was invalidated by a judge.  In the end the university and the city worked it out.  As part of that work-out, the university has decided to grow other campus locations instead of fighting the Santa Cruz liberal no-growth armies.

    I think that part of the reason that UCD is staying out of the student housing development business is their previous experience with the rabid Davis no-growth activists… basically not going down the path that Santa Cruz had to endure.  Think about it.  Does it really make any difference to the Davis NIMBY, change-averse, no-grower if new housing is developed on current UCD-owned open space, or other peripheral open space?  Probably not.

    And what if UCD decides to develop current play fields on Russell Blvd. to dense student housing?  Talk about densification and traffic!  And of course the Davis NIMBYs will come out in full force to block it.

    Probably the best solution for everyone will be for UCD to grow its Sacramento campus presence instead of trying to grow in Davis.

    But if UCD does continue to grow the population of students here in Davis, expect rents to increase and vacancy rates to decline.  Because the NIMBYs have power in this city.


    1. hpierce

      Is the Santa Cruz campus within City limits?  UCD (except for a minor, funky, exception) is not.

      May be an apples and oranges thing…

      Except for political pressure with the regents, or playing CEQA games, there’s not a damn thing Davis activists can do about what and how UCD can do with its property, outside the City..

      1. Matt Williams

        pierce, as best as I can tell from a quick Google survey, the UCSC is part of the City of Santa Cruz, with City of Santa Cruz zoning designations of either UC (UC Santa Cruz Development) or NA (Natural Area) or AG (Agricultural Grazing).

  4. Alan Miller

    [Trackside]’s intentionally marketing the project toward professionals and not students.

    To attempt to convince the neighbors it won’t be 2-to-a-room, 1-to-a-den students, like the last time we were promised that by a developer.  Fool us once . . . fool us never again.

    1. Matt Williams

      Voluntary restrictions are indeed problematic; however, an “owner occupancy” deed restriction would solve that . . . and in the process remove Alan’s Fool us once concern

        1. Matt Williams

          I’m not sure what they are proposing; however, an owner occupancy deed restriction would be more effective than a credit check.  Parents who want their child to be able to live in a unit that the parents purchase would have no problem passing a credit check and/or ensuring that their child passes the credit check.

  5. Adam Smith

    Trackside is planned to be a market rate rental project, not ” for sale” housing.  I think the independent credit check is the right way to go to limit the student availability.       As Don Shor has commented we need rental housing of almost every type in the city.  I understand the neighbors concern about a student project, but my guess is that several houses in that  neighborhood serve as rentals for young families or couples.  I don’t think limiting Trackside to owner occupancy would be the right path.

  6. Misanthrop

    Gross negligence is a conscious and voluntary disregard of the need to use reasonable care, which is likely to 
    cause foreseeable grave injury or harm to persons, property, or both.

    I love it when people start throwing around legal terms without regard to their definitions.

  7. CalAg

    Here’s the middle ground. Samitz and Frankly – from opposite ends of the political spectrum – are on the same page. It doesn’t get any better than that in Davis.

    From Frankly’s 12/27 post …

    This article by Ms. Samitz is well done. Thankfully it allows me to move on from a similar article I was working on.

    Ms Samitz clearly opposes residential densification while appearing to support peripheral innovation park development.  The NIMBY label is only earned by those opposing both.

    The optimal path for Davis is pretty easy to understand, if made difficult to traverse by the overgrowth of political bramble.  UCD needs to build a bunch of student housing in sync with the development of the business parks.  The number of housing units that UCD should build needs to exceed their student growth projections and target eventual 40% of the total student housing need being served on-campus.

    The innovation parks need to be 100% commercial: populated primarily with business involved in technical transfer projects with the university, and retail including hotel rooms.

    The city should implement a healthy hospitality occupancy tax to harvest tax revenue from the increase in hotel room and conference facilities that the innovation parks would bring.

    With UCD holding up its end of the student housing challenge, Davis would have adequate housing for the new workers of the innovation parks.  And these workers would tend to help patch the growing young-professional and young family hole in Davis’s demographic structure.  Those middle-aged professionals that like to spend money would then help boost our local economy and grow our tax revenue.

    Again, the path is easy to see.  It just requires cooperation with the city and UCD and the elimination of the NIMBY power blocking everything.

    1. Matt Williams

      In a perfect world, and we all know there is no such thing as a perfect world, but if there were, this Plan A of Frankly’s and Eileen’s and CalAg’s would work beautifully.  However, when reality intervenes, the imperfection of this “optimal path” Plan A is that it relies 100% on the two statements “UCD holding up its end of the student housing challenge” and  “UCD needs to build a bunch of student housing” History tells us that UCD has no interest in building a bunch of student housing.

      However, that lack of UCD interest isn’t the only failing of Plan A. Even if UCD did choose to build more housing on the campus, there is very little indication that the UCD students will choose/want to actually live on campus after their Freshman Year, and there are no market barriers that either can or would prevent those UCD students from seeking their rental housing off campus, in the city.

      The only way that that Free Market reality could be overcome would be for UCD to change its admission policies to mandate that enrolled students were legally required to live in on-campus housing for multiple years of their academic careers.  Absent that kind of legal mandate, the combined Davis/UC Davis housing market will almost surely continue to behave in much the same manner as it has been historically behaving.

      I personally think the chances of UCD building a bunch of student housing are between slim and none, and the chances of UCD changing its Admissions Policies to mandate on campus housing for Sophomores, Juniors and Seniors fall into the “slim has left the building” category.

      With all the above said, my question to Frankly and Eileen and CalAg is, “Now that you have agreed on your optimal Plan A, what is your Plan B when reality trumps optimal?

      1. CalAg

        “History tells us that UCD has no interest in building a bunch of student housing.”

        Wrong. All history tells us is that they have put a lower priority on housing. That’s a leadership issue that can change. The administration would be building a massive amount of new housing as we speak if the State was footing the bill.

        On the topic of student behavior, your lack of insight into the UCD administration is surpassed only by your lack of insight into the student body. The “free market reality” is that students will gravitate to housing products that meet their needs. Your insinuation that the campus can’t or won’t build competitive housing for upperclasspersons is wrong. The trivial case is that they can fill up their inventory by doing nothing more than offering below market pricing.

        1. hpierce

          “… if the State was footing the bill.”  

          This gets to a comment I made earlier… UCD does not see housing as part of their “core mission”.  If the City of Davis, County of Yolo, and/or the State offered to pay for/subsidize housing on-campus, am pretty sure they (UCD) would be there in a heartbeat.  Interesting alternative.  Particularly for those concerned about traffic, GHG, etc.

          BTW, NOT advocating City resources for it, probably would oppose, but throwing that into alternative, ‘ for discussion purposes’…

        2. Matt Williams

          CalAg, my insight into the student body is pretty straightforward.  They are going to act in their own self-interests.  If they have a choice very few students are going to want to be captives of the heavy (parental) hand of UCD in both their academics and their living arrangements.  That is called a double-bind . . .  one that 19-24 year olds, who are exercising their first steps of freedom away from their family homes, will try hard to avoid.  Freedom from authority is one of their needs.

          Additionally, your final sentence is very telling.  You assume that any housing that UCD might build will “offer below market pricing.”  I believe that is an assumption with very little merit.  Look at the history of the housing UCD actually has built over the past 10 years.  What proportion of that built housing is offered to students at below market pricing?  Then get even more granular and look at UCD’s most recent addition to its housing stock . . . West Village, which is priced even more above market than the UCD buildings built in the earlier portions of the 10-year period.  You have been very consistent in your advocacy for affordable student housing, and I admire and support your idealism on that subject.  Unfortunately, the economic purchasing power of parents who can afford to pay $37,000 in Tuition, Fees and Books does not send a “can’t afford the cost of housing” message to either UCD as a landlord, or any non-UCD entity as a landlord.

          You are absolutely right that UCD’s history on housing is a leadership issue . . . and there are no signals coming from any part of UCOP or UCD that leadership changes are being contemplated.



        3. Misanthrop

          It is also a market issue with building codes and prevailing wage requirements UC cannot produce the housing that people here are for some reason demanding at prices many students can afford without taking on additional debt. The reality is that a bunch of college students renting an old house together is cheaper than what new housing on campus will go for and nothing UC can do will change that market reality.

          Samitz also forgets to mention the impact suing UCD over West Village had on the University. On the one hand you have people demanding more housing on campus while other people sue them for trying to build that housing. Then you have people demanding that the new housing rent for less than it costs to build. Meanwhile the demand from the Regents and the state is to take on more students. Guess what UC does? It takes on more students and builds what housing it can get done and lets the impact of the rest of the students fall where it may. What would anyone do differently in the midst of so many conflicting demands?

  8. Don Shor

    If I were on the council and wished to address the current rental housing situation, seeking a ‘middle ground’, I would first acknowledge that the citizens of Davis are unlikely to accept any development without seeing UCD finally doing its part. Then I would acknowledge that the city has to plan for what the university does, and an adversarial relationship will not be productive to either institution.

     I have had more than one person comment that UC needs to build housing. Some seem to think they should build all the housing that is needed, others just that they need to kind of go first. Trying to remain practical and focus on our current situation, rather than trying to solve two decades of a seemingly intractable housing standoff, I would approach the university to try to get a commitment – written and specific – as to how they would help solve the rental housing shortage that their enrollment increase has largely caused.

     Again, acknowledging that they have not met past commitments, and do not meet the UC goal of housing 40% of the student body, I would ask them to commit, at least, to providing housing for 40% of the enrollment increase of the 2020 Initiative. They are well on their way to meeting that 5000-student increase. A commitment to providing a net total of 2000 beds by 2020 would be a good start. Kind of a down payment on future housing plans from them.

     That actually wouldn’t be too hard of a goal to meet. They can’t count the construction that just tears down and replaces beds, which is much of what’s in their current long-range capital plans. But there is some net increase there. And Tercero is a net increase of about 1000 beds with the greater density and added buildings. Prioritizing the replacement and increased density of Orchard Park and Solano Park, and reviving West Village, might get them to 2000 beds by 2020. The key would be a letter, a firm commitment, and the specifics laid out in that letter, as to how they would modify their long-range development plans and capital outlay budgets for specific projects.

    With that in hand, a councilmember could then work with fellow council members and city commissions set a city goal of providing the other 3000 beds in the city limits by 2020.

     The Sterling project is 1000 or so beds. Nishi could add another 1000 with the current plan. Perhaps Tim Ruff’s team could increase the density, reduce the parking if necessary as has been suggested, and get that up by another few hundred beds. If they can add another thousand beds total, then the city and university have absorbed the 5000 students added to the city’s population. If they can’t, then it’s time to look at some rezoning. That comes with its own set of problems, so if the goal is to actually provide housing soon then the two project sites are a much more practical option.

     We would be back where we were in 2010 as to rental vacancy rates and housing stock. This would require that slow-growth activists acknowledge the rental housing crisis and accept that a city that hosts a university needs to accommodate its plans to some extent. It would require that the economic development activists accept that Nishi is being developed for dual and equally valid purposes, and that it may just break even in terms of city revenues. Housing is not a revenue generator, but we need it and that is a good site for near-campus housing.

     This kind of planning process, where both entities are respectful and work together to solve a problem that exists now, could lead to a formal process of collaboration so that the city can adapt to the university’s plans and the university can be mindful of the city’s constraints. Clearly the current communication structure is not leading to action items. To me, that means it is not working. So a new process of direct, top-level communication between elected council members and the chancellor will be necessary. With that in place, perhaps better long-term planning can occur.


  9. Eileen Samitz

    Sorry Matt and Don, but I can’t agree with approaching this very bad situation for the City, by enabling such opportunistic behavior by UCD that would have so many negative impacts on our community now, and into the future.

    This is not something that we, as Davis citizens, have just suddenly decided to ask of UCD. This is student housing that UCD promised to build on-campus in their MOU with the City, and was to be built as stated (at least 38% by 2012, with a goal of 40% at UCD) in the University’s own “UC Housing for the 21st Century” document. So this becomes a University integrity issue as well at this point.

    1. Matt Williams

      Eileen, you miss the point.  I won’t speak for Don, but personally don’t see how either I or he are enabling UCD’s behavior.  All I am doing is sharing the available data.  It speaks for itself.

      I agree with you that this is not something that we, as Davis citizens, have suddenly decided to ask UCD.  We have asked repeatedly, and they have answered us repeatedly.  That is the data.

      Once again, I ask you what do you propose as a plan for getting UCD to change that pattern?  How long will it take to execute that plan?  Will there be negative impacts to our community during the time that it takes to execute the plan?

      Nobody has any confusion about the problem.  It is crystal clear.  What isn’t clear is how to achieve an outcome with the fewest negative impacts..

  10. Eileen Samitz

    Misanthrop: One of the biggest concerns that the West Davis neighbors had was about access issues when UCD wanted to locate access and egress from Russell Boulevard. This would have had major impacts on West Davis since Russell is the major road to get to West Davis. Ultimately, UCD agreed to not place an access point from Russell to West Village, but if the neighbors had not raised these concerns, they would have wound up with the impacts.

    The other issue is that UCD has 5,000 acres, one of the largest campus’ in the country, yet they decided to place the housing in a location which raised concerns for the West Davis neighborhoods. Could they have chosen other sites on UCD land? Well, with 5,000 acres, obviously they could have. Clearly, UCD has plenty of land to build student housing on where it will not impact City neighborhoods.

  11. Eileen Samitz

    Alan Miller raised a good point regarding the number of students per housing unit. It is probably a little know fact that UCD can, and does enforce a rule of one resident per bedroom so they can collect their rent (per bed essentially) in any on-campus housing unit.

    The City can not enforce such a rule, and this is where the mini-dorm situation and other housing situations have emerged of students doubling up in bedrooms or living in dens, or garages converted either legally or illegally into a bedroom.

    In terms of student housing at the Sterling Davis proposal, setting up a situation where at least 1,000 students are trying to get down 5th St. on bikes or cars to the campus, is not what I think of as good planning. To begin with Fifth St. is currently not a great street for bicycling, and adding another 1,000 bikes through Fifth St., or any of those streets heading towards campus, would just make the situation even more hazardous for the bicyclists. Fifth St. is already heavily impacted, particularity at rush hour. Creating such a swarm of additional traffic trying to get to and from campus on a daily basis does not sound like green, sustainable planning to me. However, housing students on-campus, close to where the students need to attend classes daily, is green, sustainable planning.

    On the Trackside Center proposal, why would we want to put housing immediately next to railroad tracks at an at-grade crossing with a gate? What about the noise including the cross-gate alert bell and train vibrations? Really, is this a logical place to put residential? Plus, it goes against so many City planning policies to put an enormous six story building towering over small one and two story historical units. Why have planning policies and principles if we are not going to implement them?

    1. Don Shor

      Eileen, Fifth Street is now designed perfectly for bike traffic. And I have been informed and have confirmed with city staff that our end, between L and Pole Line, will be converted to one lane each side so they can stripe in a bike lane on each side.
      The Sterling location is ideal for apartments. And, again, we need rental units for more than just UCD students. All of my employees, with very few exceptions, have lived in rental housing in town, and very few have been UCD students.
      Your opposition to the Sterling project is very disappointing to me.

      1. Ron


        I’m sure that you (and others) won’t like this comment.  But, I feel compelled to state it.

        I believe that you own Redwood Barn Nursery.  Is this correct? I’ve shopped there in the past, and I appreciate having it in town.  But, I’m not convinced that this type of small business can realistically provide a “living wage”.  Due to the high costs of construction, I’m also not convinced that we can sprawl “outward or upward” sufficiently enough to provide employees (such as those working at your store) with affordable housing.

        The wages that small, retail businesses can provide are not sufficient to live on.  These types of jobs are more suited to those who have other sources of support.  (I understood this, even when I had these types of jobs, myself.)

        I believe that the same type of argument that you make will ultimately be used (on a much larger scale) if the Mace commercial development is approved.  (Pressure to build more housing to meet newly-created “internal needs”.)  (Probably traditional single-family housing, since at least some of those employees might earn more.)

        1. Don Shor

          There’s nothing wrong with this comment. Yes, I’ve owned Redwood Barn Nursery since 1981.
          Most retailers pay between $10 – 15 an hour, which is, in fact, a living wage for the demographic that most of us hire. Single young adults can share an apartment or get together and share a house (ok, in East Davis…) at that wage scale. It’s obviously not a living wage for, say, a single mother. Once you have a child, you need two incomes or >$20/hour.
          In all my years in business, nearly all of my employees have lived in town, but in the last couple of years the availability of housing has dwindled and they’ve started to look outside of town with the intention of commuting in. Note also that nearly all of my employees have, in fact, lived on the wages I pay, except that I usually have one high school-age employee on staff. With the increase in minimum wage, that will likely stop.
          The others are usually young adults in their 20’s sharing an apartment with friends. Very few have been UCD students, though many have been taking classes at community college. My average employee stays with me for over five years; many for ten or more.
          There’s no question that Mace Ranch will create demand for single-family housing. The developer acknowledges that. With Measure R in place, none will get built. So Woodland will be providing the housing. Spring Lake is closer to Mace Ranch than Stonegate.

  12. Jim Frame

    Clearly, UCD has plenty of land to build student housing on where it will not impact City neighborhoods.


    Most of the unbuilt UCD land lies west of 113, and the few open tracts east of 113 seem best reserved for future academic use.  Since Hutchison provides the only 113 crossing within the campus boundary, locating new housing along Hutchison makes sense to me. And putting that housing west of city neighborhoods would increase the travel effort required to reach the core campus, discouraging bike and pedestrian travel. Thus the West Village location is the logical one for new on-campus housing, in my view.

  13. Eileen Samitz

    Well Matt, we start by objecting to a bad situation. Then, it is important that we not be complicit in allowing an opportunistic situation to continue, which has gone on long enough. Otherwise, it perpetuates the problem.


    1. Matt Williams

      That is indeed a start Eileen. What you have laid out prompts some questions:

      — Are you prepared to be the leader of this effort?  If not, who do you believe should be the leader?

      — Who is the audience for the objections?

      — How do you believe the key players in that audience should be approached?

      — How long a process do you envision from the start (now) to the end result (when UCD changes its approach to housing)?

  14. Eileen Samitz

    Don, I am sorry, but we just need to agree to disagree. I honestly do not believe that the Sterling site makes any sense for that huge number of students, so far from campus.

    Jim, on West Village, if they go south from West Village, I think that that could work, and there is a large parcel of land south of Orchard Park as well. The fact that Orchard park is vacant now gives UCD the opportunity to make better use of that site to provide more student housing there and then extend the student housing to the land south of it.

      1. Barack Palin

        Before I moved to Davis my daughter was a student at UCD.  Her first year she lived on Sycamore close to the campus and was able to get by with just her bike.  The second year she and some friends moved into Greystone and shortly thereafter she called me and said “Dad, I need a car, I’m too far from campus”.

        Just something to consider.

        1. Matt Williams

          “No” is a perfectly understandable answer to your daughter’s question.  However, many parents will find saying “No” to their children difficult to do.  That is one of the reasons why I believe parking spaces at a Davis apartment complex like Sterling (or even Greystone) should have their own monthly rental fee separate from the monthly rental of the apartment itself.  If your daughter had to figure out how to come up with a $300 per month parking fee out of her existing monthly budget in order to house that car in Davis, I suspect she would be less excited about asking you and your wife for a car.

          With that said, both Greystone and Sterling (if it ever happens) are well served by the robust UNITRANS bus route that goes down 5th Street and terminates at the UCD MU.  When your daughter called you with her “ask” did she factor public transportation into her equation?  Even more importantly, did she factor in the additional parking costs that the campus end of her commutes from Greystone would incur?

        2. Barack Palin

          I was just relaying my daughter’s experience and I’m sure she’s not alone.

          And yes, if she was charged an extra $300 (actually I would have been charged) she would’ve probably not received a car.  Like almost anything, you charge more there will be less of it.

          Liberals love to social engineer.

        3. Matt Williams

          Capitalists love to social engineer too.  That is why the Supply/Demand curve exists and schools like Wharton and Harvard and Stanford and Chicago and Northwestern devote lots of time studying the Supply/Demand relationships, and lots and lots of other business concepts.

          Price elasticity is all about social engineering.

        4. Barack Palin

          No, capitalists would let the market determine what the apartment complexes might want to charge for parking spaces, if they even wanted to charge.  Liberal social engineers would be telling the apartment complex how much they must charge.

        5. Matt Williams

          BP, I suspect you are looking at capitalism with blinders. Capitalists are rarely passive.  They move markets much more often than they simply sit back and float on top of the markets.

          With that said, the market prices for parking spaces are well established in Northern California.  Reporting some of those market prices and citing them as examples is information sharing, not dictation.

          Further, blinders can cause the parking issue to be looked at from the perspective of only a partial slice of the whole issue.  Stepping back and looking at parking in the context of transportation and carbon footprint supports a more holistic approach.

        6. Barack Palin

          With that said, the market prices for parking spaces are well established in Northern California. 

          All things equal if one apartment complex is giving free parking and another is charging $300/month guess which complex will be full?  That’s called capitalism.

          Stepping back and looking at parking in the context of transportation and carbon footprint supports a more holistic approach.

          Like I said, social engineering.


        7. Barack Palin

          Because to somehow reduce the carbon footprint, for whatever little effect it might actually have, liberal social engineers would force apartment owners to charge $300 for a parking space whether they wanted to or not.

        8. Barack Palin

           give it a derogatory label that he really doesn’t understand

          It is what it is, when using a fee to try and force people into a certain lifestyle it’s called “social engineering”.  It fits perfectly.

        9. Davis Progressive

          for fun i looked up the definition:

          “the practice of making laws or using other methods to influence public opinion and solve social problems or improve social conditions”

          so why is social engineering bad?

        10. Matt Williams

          Barack Palin said . . . “Because to somehow reduce the carbon footprint, for whatever little effect it might actually have, liberal social engineers would force apartment owners to charge $300 for a parking space whether they wanted to or not.”

          That is no more forcing an apartment owner to pay an additional fee than it is for Starbucks to force coffee drinkers to pay an additional fee for a larger size drink.  The additional fee is avoidable.  The market dictates whether the fee will be paid or not.

          Further, the developer of a new apartment can choose to not agree to separate the fee for housing from the fee for parking.  That is their prerogative. The City can choose to make such a separation of housing fee from parking fee a mandatory condition of the development agreement.  All parties to a negotiation are free to place conditions on the table, and all parties are free to walk away from the negotiation.

          With the above said, which do you think will be more expensive on a monthly basis, (A) the rental of an apartment (on a specific site with a specific size) with one parking space included in the monthly fee, or (B) the rental of an apartment (on the same specific site with the same specific size) with no parking space included in the monthly fee PLUS the rental of one parking space?

          The simple answer to that question is that (A) and (B) will be exactly the same, because the value provided to the market by (A) and (B) is identical.

          So when you say “All things equal if one apartment complex is giving free parking and another is charging $300/month guess which complex will be full? That’s called capitalism.” you are comparing apples and oranges, because the value being delivered in your two scenarios is not the same.

          A true apples to apples comparison would be “If one apartment complex is giving free parking and another is charging $300/month for parking and $300 less /month for the apartment itself, guess which complex will be full? That’s called market dynamics.”

  15. Misanthrop

    A bit of revisionist history there Samitz.  Access was the only issue that the plaintiffs could get any traction on with the courts. I think the real story is that UCD didn’t anticipate the craven opposition to housing that people in Davis have interfering with the project at West Village. After Sue Greenwald won a seat on the council the city told the University to build its own housing so UCD hired away John Meyer to do so. Then the next thing you know UCD gets sued on its first attempt at a big housing project not only that but UCD officials are so threatened with physical violence they can’t even meet with the neighbors. Now you are trying to say the neighbors were so worked up over traffic?

    What about that land south of the football stadium next to the Vet School. How about housing a few thousand students there?

  16. Jim Frame

    What about that land south of the football stadium next to the Vet School. How about housing a few thousand students there?


    I haven’t looked at the LRDP, but as noted above I’d hold those open tracts east of 113 for academic expansion. With the planned increase in student body size, they’re going to need room to add academic and research facilities, and centralizing those makes more sense to me.

Leave a Reply

X Close

Newsletter Sign-Up

X Close

Monthly Subscriber Sign-Up

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