Over-Densification is Not the Answer

Infill Housing

Infill HousingBy Eileen M. Samitz

Recently, an Op-ed was posted in the Sunday Dec. 13 Davis Enterprise by Kevin Wolf advocating for residential in four projects being proposed in Davis. 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 Wolf advocates for an enormous amount of new housing, there are many issues he did not address.

UCD student housing

I too served on the Housing Element Steering Committee for the General Plan Update, and being a diverse group, there were few “consensus” votes. However, one subject supported by all, and later adopted as policy by the City Council, was the need to pressure the University to provide the student housing that it promised in its 1989 MOU with the City. 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.

UCD plans to add 5,000 more students by 2020, the vast majority of which will be non-California residents so UCD can get the higher tuition fees. Yet, it is California residents who have paid the taxes to build and financially support the UC system. UCD plans to add an additional 7,000 students between 2025 and 2030, totaling 12,000 more students. At a recent City Council meeting UCD admitted that they won’t be providing all the housing needed for their own student population growth. So is the City being expected to provide all of this UCD student housing? Why is it not being built on-campus by UCD?

UCD owns over 5,000 acres of land, so there is no excuse why they have not provided the student-only housing needed that they have promised for 26 years. Even with all its resources, including reaching their $1 billion dollar endowment goal, UCD has failed to live up to its responsibilities to their students and the City. As a consequence, a large, disproportionate amount of housing in the City is being occupied by these students for whom UCD has refused to build housing, and our City housing supply is increasingly not available for non-students. More disturbing, we are now seeing the emergence of mini-dorms in residential neighborhoods, with their impacts on traffic, parking, noise, and subsequently the property values. But most importantly are the consequences of these negative impacts on the quality of life in these neighborhoods. Young college-age people generally have a busy, active lifestyle which would be better accommodated living in student housing on the UCD campus. In regards to sustainability, having enough UCD on-campus student housing would do more to the reduce Davis’ carbon footprint than anything in these four housing proposals.

SACOG RHNA “Fair Share”

Also not covered in the article is that the City has already planned for fulfilling our Sacramento Area Council of Governments, Regional Housing Need Allocation (SACOG RHNA) “fair share” of housing growth until 2021. Any excess housing built now will not count towards our next “fair share” requirement assigned by SACOG. Additionally, excess housing, such as the 1,818 total units (and thousands in new population growth) currently being proposed by the four projects, invites SACOG to assign Davis a larger fair share allocation in the coming SACOG cycle. Overbuilding housing units now means that Davis will have more housing demands imposed upon it into the future. Furthermore, it would use up precious water and wastewater treatment capacity (that we have just increased at enormous expense) that we will need in 6 years for our next RHNA allocation. This, added to the need to fund other City services for residential (which is revenue negative – it doesn’t pay for itself), would require significantly more taxes for police and fire services and other infrastructure costs like parks, greenbelt and road maintenance at a time when the City is already having major budgetary problems.

In terms of the issue of “affordable housing” raised in the article, what has been made clear historically is that even when a total of 1,000 housing units (i.e. which included a full range of housing unit costs) were built in just one year in the 1990’s, housing costs in Davis still continued to rise. This is because Davis is a desirable place to live. So no matter how many units are built, the cost of housing is not going to diminish in Davis.

Wolf campaigned in support of the enormous Covell Village project in 2005, and he later advocated for weakening Measure J when its renewal came up as Measure R in 2010. Since he appears to be quite a pro-growth advocate, it is not hard to understand why he is supporting projects such as Nishi and Trackside, which involve proponents of the Covell Village project. Fortunately, the public voted strongly to support Measure R without weakening it, and opposed Covell Village, in contrast to Wolf’s advocacy positions and efforts during those issues.

Nishi Gateway, and the Mace Ranch Innovation Park proposals

When considering the Nishi and Mace Ranch Innovation Park proposals it is important to recall that the only reason these two projects were even considered originally was to provide more revenue for the City. But after the financial analysis done by the City, it has become clear that the Nishi mixed-use project proposal has a net negative fiscal impact. Also, in addition to the traffic issues, the enormous infrastructure costs of more than $24 million dollars (note: a much higher estimate is expected), that Nishi would need to address access issues, would make the cost of the rental and the for-sale housing unaffordable to average income earners, and particularly the students which Nishi is targeting.

Proposing 650 housing units on such a small land parcel (i.e. the Nishi parcel is only 47 acres), with 345,000 square feet of commercial as well, would be a very crowded situation. The Nishi Gateway project developers claim to be targeting students for their residential housing, yet as mentioned earlier, housing in the City cannot legally be dedicated or reserved for students. Even if they were able to succeed in recruiting students for their housing, this perpetuates the problem of the City, rather than the University providing the student housing for UCD’s student population growth. Other issues are that it would pass the long-term costs of the residential housing onto Davis residents, plus the City would need to share the property tax with Yolo County, since the Nishi parcel is located in the county.

Regarding the Mace Ranch Innovation Center (MRIC) proposal, it is disappointing to see that a “bait and switch” is being attempted now by the Ramos developer group. After more than a year of promises that the Mace Ranch Innovation Park was “just and only” going to be a high tech research park to produce revenue for the City, the developers are now trying to morph the proposal into a mixed-use project. 850 housing units are somehow supposed to be jammed into the Mace Ranch Innovation Park. This is an enormous amount of housing for a project this size, which will be in a huge high-density apartment–like cluster. Their claim that 85% of the housing will be occupied by innovation park workers is unrealistic. Additionally, the developers cannot legally reserve the housing there for workers in the innovation park and not everyone wants to live in ultra-high density housing, such as young families with children.

It is also notable that recently the MRIC developers tried to manipulate the City Council to get them to add housing to the project by using their own “poll” which the developers composed and had run with crafted language to yield their desired results. Despite the clearly non-objective questions, the results were so close they were not persuasive anyway.

Another objective of the innovation parks was to provide more jobs for existing housing in Davis to address the jobs-housing imbalance issue. Instead, what is being proposed now is more housing for the jobs that are being created. This is nothing more than an endless Ponzi scheme.

Trackside Center

The Trackside Center project is a good example of both bad planning and over-densification as well, where a transitional zone neighborhood would be impacted with an enormous six-story building which would sit right next to the railroad tracks. This project violates principles in our General Plan, the Core Area Specific Plan, the Davis Downtown and Transitional Area Guidelines. Simply stated, as a former Planning Commissioner, it goes against the basic concepts of good city planning. The “process” to include neighborhood input has been inadequate and disingenuous (which has been covered in many letters to the editor). This proposal seeks to cram a behemoth of a project amongst one- and two-story historic homes which people have worked hard to preserve, and will ruin the quality of life in an entire neighborhood. Wolf’s article makes a “Nimby-ism” accusation, yet the neighbors are open to consider a significantly downsized project that is compatible with the neighborhood and respectful of the City’s standards and previous planning documents. The developer’s complaint is that a project that is compatible with its surroundings will not be profitable enough or won’t “pencil out.” Well then, the project should not be approved. No entire neighborhood should be destroyed in the name of densification, and Trackside, as currently proposed, is an example of “over-densification” and is simply destructive. Trying to railroad projects like this just creates distrust of City “process,” particularly when so much public input went into creating our citizen-based General Plan and the other planning documents.

Sterling Davis Apartments

Another example of over-densification is the Sterling Davis Apartments project at Fifth Street and Pole Line. This project also targets student housing, and would add over 1,000 students traveling from this location to campus daily on streets like Fifth Street, which are already impacted and not bicycle friendly. Not only is this site a bad location for student housing, but the traffic and other negative impacts on the nearby senior Rancho Yolo community and the other residential units in that neighborhood would be significant.

Finally, it has become clear that there is major concern amongst many citizens, like myself, about the way that our City planning is going. It is important to organize now to assure that all the work done by hundreds of Davis citizens to adopt good planning principles, and specifically to implement the General Plan principles, as well as the other guiding planning documents like the Specific Plans, is respected by the City planners. Mini-dorms and over-densification is not the answer to the issues before us. The basic problem is the University’s resistance to build the on-campus housing for their own students, who are, as a consequence, forced to occupy such a disproportionately large amount of our City housing. I wish to invite people who are also concerned about these issues to join our Citizens for Responsible Planning group by emailing me at citizens@dcn.org or to call me at 756-5165.

Eileen Samitz is a former member of the City of Davis Planning Commission, the 2001 General Plan Update Committee, and the 2008 General Plan Update Housing Element Steering Committee.

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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72 Comments

  1. SODA

    There has been criticism of UCD for not providing enough housing for years. And I agree.  What I have not heard is UCD’s response when asked why…..there must be multiple people at UCD, all the way up to the Chancellor who could be asked this question?

  2. Frankly

    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. Don Shor

      UCD needs to build a bunch of student housing…It just requires cooperation with the city and UCD

      UCD has no incentive to do so, and there is nothing which will incentivize them to do so.

      1. Frankly

        Don’t they benefit financially from tech transfer and for that reason want the local innovation parks to be built?  Seems there should be some leverage there.

      2. Frankly

        Maybe the city should start playing hardball with UCD on this and change zoning to eliminate the converted use of so much single-family residential for multi-unit rentals.  Drive the cost of student housing higher to the point that it forces them to deal with student housing.

        1. Don Shor

          Why would they care about that? They have far more applicants than they need to fill their enrollment spots. There is nothing whatsoever that will incentivize UCD to build more housing. They will do it, if at all, at their own pace. The city has zero leverage with UCD. Zero.
          If the development policies being advocated here are adopted, no rental housing will get built in Davis. That is the outcome. I go through this discussion with folks all the time. “UCD should do it” is just another way of getting to the end point that nothing whatsoever will get built in the way of housing for renters. And it’s unlikely that any single family homes will get built, either. Cannery was it for the foreseeable future.
          It’s a discouraging prospect for young adults who need to rent in this town. But I see no way forward on this.

        2. CalAg

          UCD is non-compliant with (1) the City of Davis MOU and (2) UC system-wide housing goals. Accordingly, the City of Davis has the basis for engagement with both UCOP and the Regents on the housing of UCD students.

          In addition, the housing shortage is a big issue for the student body, so there is also an opportunity for direct engagement with ASUCD. I guarantee you that Katehi cares deeply about what the students think. She very engaged in driving UCD’s rankings, and this includes various undergraduate metrics that are adversely affected by dissatisfaction with housing.

          Also, many (most?) members of the Academic Senate (Katehi reports to the Academic Senate) live in Davis and understand the impacts that the student housing crisis is having on both the residential neighborhoods and the student body. Some of them undoubtedly experience this first hand. Many of these individuals are known to various members of the CC, and represent yet another option to proactive engage with UCD.

          What is lacking is leadership on the City side. If CC/CM choose to aggressively address this problem, the Chancellor will come to the table. Katehi is a politician as much as an administrator, and she is highly incentivized to avoid high-profile controversy that reflects poorly on her leadership. She is now in the early part of her second five year term and is looking to move up to a more high profile job.

          Not only can UCD be incentivized to deal with student housing, there is a good window of opportunity to take action now.

          When was the last time the CM met face-to-face with the Chancellor to discuss the housing crisis? How about the Mayor or any of the other City Council members? I’m not talking about cornering her at some event and bringing up the topic – I’m talking about true working meetings to discuss a major problem of mutual concern.

      3. Matt Williams

        As much as I strongly support the principle that UCD should provide considerably more housing on campus for its students . . . to the level of its past commitments both in the 1989 memorandum of understanding with the city (referenced by Eileen in her OpEd) and in the 2002 UC Housing for the 21st Century report prepared by all the UC campuses in a systemwide task force (see http://davismerchants.org/vanguard/UC%20Housing%20in%20the%2021st%20Century.pdf ) . . . Don has hit the nail on the head.  UCD has no incentive to get any further into the housing business than they already are.  Housing expertise is not one of their core competencies.  The business model that they are following at West Village is a clear example of how they are outsourcing the housing issue. In West Village, UCD’s involvement is limited to providing a long-term ground lease to the housing builder/provider.

        1. Miwok

          Great article, and Matt, you have it right. UCD does not even try to make excuses for their deficiencies in these areas. The West village, while making all kinds of Press releases patting themselves on the back, have not even finished it, nor is it being planned to be finished. The partnerships they have right now is moving students OUT of dorms, then rebuilding them into the super dense buildings they have over most of campus.

          Ten years ago they built two sets of the “new ones” at the corner of Anderson and Russell. One was metal studs, pretty good construction materials, and the other was outwardly the same but wooden studs, and less quality. But the rooms? There are photos on the web site, but if you ever get to visit them, will give you claustrophobia. They put three people to a room and one person per would be tight.

          Once Solano and the old Domes are rebuilt the remodeling starts again on the old buildings. West? Who knows, although the plans call for more after that going up to Russell. But it takes away from their farming research land.

          The chancellor was brought here from Chicago, a very different environment, and with the Meyer Family and other people who have worked there for decades, family dynasties, just serve their time and retire. Where do they live? Vacaville. Rocklin. El Dorado Hills. Nice places, not Davis.

          Instead of dealing with what is and what will be, Davis has tried to resurrect what was, with double the population. Need some different mindsets, and this article has reiterated many of the things I know from living there and working there.

    2. Ron

      Frankly:

      I’ve never thought of myself as a “NIMBY”, even though I might come close to meeting your definition, above.  I’m concerned about unlimited growth/development in “Everyone’s” backyard.  (Maybe I’m a NIEBY?)  Unquestioned growth/development is having an impact on this entire planet, including all life forms.  Davis is one of the very few places on the planet that at least questions this endless, unsustainable drive to develop land.

       

    3. Miwok

      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.

      As long as they ride bikes, jog, and have the values of their neighbors. They will not be allowed to eat meat, have a mandatory membership to the Food Co OP, and attend Occupy rallies in town. Where they will smuggle the plastic bags from to pick up the dog poop is still at issue.

      /sarcasm

    4. Alan Miller

      It just requires . . . the elimination of the NIMBY power blocking everything.

      And what form of execution are you suggesting, and at the hands of what authority?

  3. Tia Will

    Frankly

    The optimal path for Davis is pretty easy to understand”

    Your optimal path for Davis is “pretty easy to understand”. There are a few problems that go beyond “the political”.

    1. Not everyone shares your particular vision of “optimal”.

    2. Even those who would share this vision may have other priorities that are more important to them. Economic, personal legacy building, placing UCD priorities above those of Davis priorities, would all be far higher on the list than “slow growth” politics in my mind.

    3. Just because a path is clear to some, does not mean that it is able to be implemented. Optimal is not synonymous with achievable or practical ( as you pointed out to me recently in another context).

      1. Tia Will

        Frankly

        I covered this with my point that we need to eliminate the power of the NIMBYs to block everything.”

        Given the amount of change and growth that has occurred since my arrival in Davis in 1979, I think that you ascribe far, far more power to your dreaded and much reviled NIMBY group than they actually wield. Thus my positioning very near the bottom ( if even on the list) of interests.

        1. Miwok

          As a person who came to Davis in the 80’s, hopeful of building and a chance to have a career and live where I worked, it became a bunch more high priced houses, and the old ones were converted to de facto dorms, priced well above normal prices, as students and their parents would buy them when the student came to the school, oh, sorry, Tia, you already know this one. You own a couple houses and rent to students. Good for you..Bad for me.

        2. Frankly

          Can turn back the clock can we?  Change has to be considered from current time forward.  You don’t get a NIMBY label pass pointing out how things were different in the past.  There are also a lot of things we did not build in the past because of NIMBY power.

  4. Topcat

    ….the enormous infrastructure costs of more than $24 million dollars (note: a much higher estimate is expected), that Nishi would need to address access issues, would make the cost of the rental and the for-sale housing unaffordable to average income earners, and particularly the students which Nishi is targeting.

    Yes, the infrastructure costs and access issues make the Nishi proposal look like a non-starter. I agree that student housing should be built by the University on UC property, but I understand the problem that the University has no incentive to build said housing.

  5. Eileen Samitz

    In terms of the need for UCD to build the on-campus student housing that they are creating the need for by their plans to admit so many more students remember that UCD has invite the public to comment on there Long Range Development Plan (UCD LRDP) update. So the public needs to give their input to their website demanding that UCD build the substantial amount of on-campus, long-term affordable housing.
    Since UCD relies on support from the taxpayers via our state government, that is another opportunity to complain about UCD negligence and attempt to defer their enormous amount of student housing need on our small City. Public outcry is critical her and I urge everyone who has red my article to email the their concerns and tell UCD that we will lobby the state to demand that UCD needs to be responsible for their own growth on their land, which amounts to be free land to start with, so that greatly diminishes the cost of providing the on-campus student housing.
     UCD claims to want to create a “sustainable future” in their own comment cards on their LRDP. Well they need to start by building long-term sustainable student housing on any of a number of sites on the 5,000 acre campus such as all the land available south of the now vacant Orchard Park. Or continuing south from their West Village project where UCD has yet to build 1,000 more student beds that they have promised.
    So there is much that can be done to motivate UCD to provide their own student housing.  The key is to not assume that public input is not going to help it starts. I think UCD is assuming that they are not going to get public pressure and we need to prove them wrong. Most importantly, it is critical that our City leaders and planners must not be passive and facilitate UCD’s negligence by trying to fix UCD’s student housing problem which would be so destructive particularly because it really screws up our City planning that the citizens have put so much time and effort into giving input.
    Also, City’s have sued the UC system before as has happened in the City of Berkeley suing UC Berkeley for not coordinating their on campus growth plans, which is having impacts on Berkeley’s city planning. So perhaps this is an avenue that our City needs to explore too if UCD will not cooperate.
    Start taking action by joining our citizens group to be kept informed and so we can organize at citizens@dcn.org. Call me with any questions at 756-5165.
    Most importantly contact UC President Janet Napolitano and here is why. There are a few excerpts from her Nov. 24, 2015 letter to the public :
    “The holidays are on the horizon and I want to share a few recent developments with you on UC’s legislative efforts and recent Board of Regents’ action on the University’s 2016 budget proposal.”
    “Over the past few months, I have been meeting with legislators in their districts to build our relationships and share information about the wide-ranging contributions of UC to the state.  The legislative session resumes in Sacramento on January 4, 2016, and I plan to continue sending the message that increased State support for UC is a sound investment in the future of California and one that yields tremendous economic benefit to California.  I hope you will help us carry that message to every corner of the state.”
    “Your voice is an essential component of the work that we do to advance the interests of UC with the State leaders.  To the thousands of you who weighed in with your elected officials on UC’s behalf, please accept my sincere thanks.  Your opinions do matter, and they do have a significant impact in Sacramento.”
    “The coming legislative session will provide UC with new opportunities to advance our mission on behalf of students, faculty, staff and the residents of California.  I hope I can count on you again in 2016 to let your voice be heard by getting in touch with your legislators when the new session begins on January 4.  As we enter the holiday season, I want to offer my sincerest gratitude for your continued support for the University of California, and extend my best wishes for a wonderful Thanksgiving season.”    -President Janet Napolitano, UC System President
     The web address to make you comments to UCD on their LRDP, UC President Napolitano, and City Council your comments and other language to make clear to the other political entities as well as City Staff that we are demanding that UCD build significantly more on-campus student housing to accommodate their own student population growth and to stop deferring their housing needs onto our City.
    The web address for the UCD LRDP update is:  campustomorrow.ucdavis.edu
    UC President Janet Napolitano   President@ucop.edu
    Gov. Jerry Brown   http://gov.cagov/gov39mail/mail.php
    Rep. John Garamondi   http://garamondihouse.gov/contact-me   (note: his office is here in Davis on G St.)
    Sen. Lois Wolk  senator.wolk@senate.ca.gov
    Assemblyman Bill Dodd   assemblymember.dodd@assembly.ca.gov
    Mayor Dan Wolk  dwolk@cityofdavis.org
    Mayor Pro Temp  rdavis@cityofdavis.org
    Council member Lucas  Frerichs  lucasf@cityofdavis.org
    Council member Rochelle Swanson  rswanson@cityofdavis.org
    Council member Brett Lee  blee@cityofdavis.org
    Assistant City Manager Mike Webb  mwebb@cityofdavis.org
    City Manager Dirk Brazil  cmoweb@cityofdavis.org

    1. Don Shor

      Here is the university’s Ten-Year Capital Plan. You/we can write, complain, threaten lawsuits — I can almost guarantee that nothing will change this plan. Note that they have increased the density of Tercero. Some of those are replacements; I don’t know what the net increase in beds is. Nearly everything else is replacement, although with slightly higher densities.
      Total net increase in beds is probably less than 2000, if that. Not even the amount of enrollment increase of the Chancellor’s 2020 Initiative (and they are well on track to meet the 5000 student increase 2010 – 20 that she called for).
      — More students, fewer beds, lower apartment vacancy rate in town (what is lower than 0.3%?).
      — More homes converted to mini-dorms. I’d be willing to wager that in five years housing in the Cannery will be turning into rental units.
      Bottom line: the problem will get worse. If no new apartments are built in town, the rental situation for young adults — including many who are not UCD students — will get worse.

      (http://housing.ucdavis.edu/about/strategic-plan/2014/05.asp)

      The campus initiative for enrollment growth, along with our expanded responsibility for all retail dining facilities and our continuing commitment to guarantee housing for first-year freshmen and transfer students and second-year returning students, will result in many facility investments over the next 10 years. Below is a summary of our current 10-year capital plan.
      Fall 2014
      Tercero Phase 3 comes online with 1,200 beds
      Fall 2014
      Castilian third-party redevelopment project comes online with ~230 beds*
      Fall 2014
      Orchard Park apartments go off-line for redevelopment*
      Fall 2014
      Leach Hall goes off-line for demolition and construction of Tercero Phase 4
      2014-2016
      Two-phase renovation of the South Silo, Silo and Silo Courtyard
      Winter 2016
      New Scrubs dining facility comes online
      2015-2016
      Tercero Dining Commons interior seating expansion and mechanical renewal
      Fall 2017
      Tercero Phase 4 comes online with ~500 beds
      Fall 2017
      Webster Hall goes off-line for demolition and construction of replacement beds
      Fall 2020
      Webster Hall comes back online with ~300 beds
      Fall 2020
      Emerson Hall goes off-line for demolition and construction of replacement beds
      Fall 2023
      Emerson Hall comes back online with ~600 beds

      1. Topcat

        Interesting to see that there is no plan listed for redeveloped Orchard Park to come back online. That site could accommodate a lot of new high density student housing.

        1. KSmith

          https://gradstudies.ucdavis.edu/sites/default/files/upload/files/current-students/2015-student-family-housing-redevelopment-report.pdf

          Apparently the plans have changed from what was previously announced (rebuilding, putting in place a private organization to oversee the rentals, etc.). It looks like a committee was convened to study the issues surrounding Orchard Park and Solano Park, and there are various recommendations that have arisen out of that, but no announcement yet (from what I understand) about how the university is going to proceed.

          I agree that this site could accommodate a lot of high-density student housing–both grad/family and undergrad.

        2. Matt Williams

          Topcat, the old Orchard Park had 200 units.  The recently abandoned plan had 453 units.  I suspect that when the replacement plan appears it will be in that same 453 unit range.  The site has a total of 18 acres, so that is a density of approximately 25 units per acre.

        1. CalAg

          Thanks for the link. I now remember reading the study.

          The 0.3% “vacancy rate” reported needs to be qualified. Here are the issues:

          (1) It is calculated based on survey respondents. BAE states that they had an 85% response rate. That leaves 15% of the housing stock unsurveyed by BAE’s calculation (more accurately 17% since BAE under-reports the size of the Davis multifamily housing stock).

          (2) The BAE report does not survey the 3,887 homes/condos/multiplexes that were for rent in Davis in 2014. This represents 25% of the total dwelling units for rent in Davis (and possibly a higher percentage of the total number of beds).

          (3) The BAE report also does not survey individual rooms for rent throughout the City.

          (4) The numbers don’t add up – BAE reports 8274 unit lease units and 898 bed lease units – for a total of 9172 units – and then elsewhere in the report states that the total number of market rate units report is 9274. This along with missing data (see below) and mislabeled footnotes casts doubt on the quality of the report. UCD was asleep at the switch when they paid for this incomplete work product.

          And the most concerning issue:

          (5) As indicated in the footnotes and the text, if a respondent did not report the number of vacant units, these units were assumed to be rented. This is a fatal flaw in the report. BAE fails to disclose the data regarding the number of respondents that did not report vacancy data or the fraction of the total units that represents. Instead they misleadingly used the total number of units reported as the numerator. This methodology yields the lowest vacancy rate, and puts a political “spin” on the results that destroys the credibility of the 0.3% number.

          1. Don Shor

            Are you seriously trying to assert that Davis does not have a rental housing shortage? This is an apartment vacancy rate. That is what ASUCD has been tracking for years and years. I’ve been tracking this issue for years.http://davismerchants.org/vanguard/UCDvacancyrateolder.jpg
            http://davismerchants.org/vanguard/UCDvacancyrate.jpg
            5% is a healthy vacancy rate. Your slicing and dicing of the current results is a pointless diversion.

        2. CalAg

          Nope. Just pointing out that the 0.3% is a sensationalized number as far as I’m concerned (based on my analysis of the BAE study). I would like to know what reality is – not cherry pick bad data that supports my position.

          1. Don Shor

            Here is how those are real numbers. At the time that two of my employees were looking for apartments, to share with friends, there were — as you can see from the real numbers — 24 apartments total available in the city. They began to look outside of Davis, assuming they’d have to commute in. Eventually they found housing locally, but it was a challenge. Another real number: one of my employees who shared a house with roommates had a 5 – 10% rent increase each year, ultimately driving her to move to Sacramento and commute in.
            Almost all of my employees have lived in Davis through the years I’ve been in business. In the last 4 – 5 years their housing choices have dwindled to almost nothing. The “reality” is that there are very few apartments: 0.3% vacancy rate in that housing category. There are other options, but they are also at a vacancy rate that is very unhealthy from the tenants’ perspective.
            Continued opposition to development of rental housing in town is hitting those lower on the economic ladder hard. It’s costs them more to live here, or to commute here to work. Waiting for UCD to develop housing will, as you can clearly see from their ten-year capital plan, lead to an outcome of an even tighter rental housing market. The notion that we have any leverage over UCD’s growth plans is a fantasy. It is just another way of ensuring that nothing will get done for those who work and rent here.

        3. CalAg

          You are giving anecdotal evidence, not data.

          I recently had a conversation with a new UCD employee that graduated in 2015, works at the Medical Center, and rents in north Davis because this individual could not find an acceptable apartment in mid-town Sacramento. I don’t understand the decision, but that’s also reality – and it has nothing to do with understanding the true vacancy rate in Davis.

          1. Don Shor

            I gave you data. I showed you the data ASUCD has been gathering over the last decades. That is the apartment vacancy rate. That is apples to apples. Even within the range of some lack of survey participation, which has been an issue at times in the past as well, the trend and the current crisis is obvious.
            How much more do you need? What is an acceptable apartment vacancy rate to you? What would it take to get you to acknowledge that private development of rental housing is necessary in Davis at this time?

  6. Ron

    Just a thought:

    Although the University itself is apparently planning for a larger student population, such growth may ultimately be limited.  For example, there’s not an unlimited supply of foreign students who are willing to pay such high tuition fees.  The UC system itself may face competition if foreign (or other) universities improve, over time.  Online education will also have a larger role, in the future.  In general, as the cost of education escalates, students will (appropriately) question the value of education, in relation to the hoped-for job opportunities that such education might provide.

    Although this is drifting into another subject, we (as a society) seem to have an unquestioning belief in the value of a college degree.  At the same time, we’ve also downplayed the skills and knowledge that are required for traditional blue-collar work (not to mention the higher compensation that such fields can offer, compared to many white-collar jobs).  In addition, blue-collar fields often facilitate entrepreneurship opportunities (more easily than many white-collar fields).  At some point, potential students may realize that college is not an “automatic choice”, especially as tuition costs continue to rise.

    1. Matt Williams

      Good thoughts Ron.  To put those thoughts into perspective here are the in-State and out-of-State costs for a selection of California colleges and universities. For California residents the UCs are a bargain. For out-of-State residents they are only 75% of the comparable costs of the other top colleges and universities.

      In-State Tuition
      In-State Fees
      In-State Books
      Out-of-State Tuition
      Out-of-State Fees
      Out-of-State Books

      Stanford University
      $ 41,250
      $ 975
      $ 1,500
      $ 41,250
      $ 975
      $ 1,500

      Pomona College
      $ 41,120
      $ 318
      $ 900
      $ 41,120
      $ 318
      $ 900

      California Institute of Technology
      $ 38,085
      $ 1,503
      $ 1,323
      $ 38,085
      $ 1,503
      $ 1,323

      University of California-Berkeley
      $ 11,220
      $ 1,654
      $ 1,213
      $ 34,098
      $ 1,654
      $ 1,213

      University of California-Los Angeles
      $ 11,220
      $ 1,472
      $ 1,521
      $ 34,098
      $ 1,472
      $ 1,521

      Harvey Mudd College
      $ 44,159
      $ 283
      $ 800
      $ 44,159
      $ 283
      $ 800

      University of Southern California
      $ 43,722
      $ 741
      $ 1,500
      $ 43,722
      $ 741
      $ 1,500

      Santa Clara University
      $ 40,572
      $ 0
      $ 1,665
      $ 40,572
      $ 0
      $ 1,665

      Scripps College
      $ 43,406
      $ 214
      $ 800
      $ 43,406
      $ 214
      $ 800

      University of California-Santa Barbara
      $ 11,220
      $ 2,451
      $ 1,428
      $ 34,098
      $ 2,451
      $ 1,428

      University of California-Davis
      $ 11,220
      $ 2,657
      $ 1,602
      $ 34,098
      $ 2,657
      $ 1,602

      Pepperdine University
      $ 42,520
      $ 252
      $ 1,500
      $ 42,520
      $ 252
      $ 1,500

      1. Ron

        Thanks, Matt.  Looks like Davis is priced competitively, compared to those colleges.

        I wonder how these universities (including Davis) compare to foreign universities.  (I think that UC Davis is hoping to attract foreign students.)  I’ve heard that U.S. universities still have an excellent reputation, world-wide.  Perhaps other countries will “catch up”, over time (to match or exceed the value of a degree from UC Davis and other U.S. universities).

        In general, I think that the value of a college degree has diminished in my lifetime.  It used to be “something special” (and was inexpensive to obtain).  Seems like everyone has a degree these days.

        1. hpierce

          You are correct… the value of a college degree has diminished, particularly in the “Arts” [BA]…  it [college degree, BA or BS] is now a “floor” for almost all ‘career track’ professions…

  7. Tia Will

    Miwok

    Just a clarification. I own two houses in Davis. My partner and I live in one. My son and his partner live in the other and rent rooms. Only one is currently occupied by a graduate student. The others are occupied by young professionals. The last time the house was rented out prior to my son living their it was rented at far under market value to a  father and son.

    So much for your assumptions about my personal finances.

  8. Nancy Price

    Read here how a concerned citizen’s group in Richmond, CA is actively meeting, commenting on and working hard to shape UC Berkeley’s plan to build a Global Campus in Richmond. This citizens group wants to make sure that this  UCB “private” plan benefits the Richmond public and community overall and does not  have negative impacts. This “push back” has been going on since UCB first announced plans a while back.

    http://healthyrichmond.net/event/community-briefing-open-house-berkeley-global-campus/

    I say “private” advisedly here…..because even though a public university, UC acts just like a corporate- driven private entity, rarely taking into consideration concerns of the surrounding community in which each campus is located. Just ask  residents of any of the cities.

     

     

     

     

     

     

  9. Eileen Samitz

    Here is a short reference on how the City of Berkeley is suing UC Berkeley for not coordinating with the city with the impacts on the city by the UC Berkeley campus growth.

    The link from August 27, 2015 is:http://www.realtytoday.com/articles/30193/20150827/berkeley-expensive-college-town-america-realtor.htm

    BERKELEY, CA – FEBRUARY 24: A new building under construction is seen on the University of California at Berkeley campus February 24, 2005 in Berkeley, California. The City of Berkeley is suing U.C. 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. (Photo : Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

  10. Eileen Samitz

    Just to reiterate the importance of the November letter from President Napolitano asking the public to ask the State legislature to support future funding for UC, this is an important time to write to Presiden Napolitano and especially the Regents as well as Chancellor Katehi. I have added the Regents email address as well as Chancellor Katehi’s contact link which was not in my previous posting. I encourage you all to write you letter to the UCD LRDP update website and ‘CC it to all the other addresses below.Here again is some key language from Napolitano’s November 24, 2015 letter to the public asking for our support for more funding:

    “Over the past few months, I have been meeting with legislators in their districts to build our relationships and share information about the wide-ranging contributions of UC to the state.  The legislative session resumes in Sacramento on January 4, 2016, and I plan to continue sending the message that increased State support for UC is a sound investment in the future of California and one that yields tremendous economic benefit to California.  I hope you will help us carry that message to every corner of the state.”

    “Your voice is an essential component of the work that we do to advance the interests of UC with the State leaders.  To the thousands of you who weighed in with your elected officials on UC’s behalf, please accept my sincere thanks.  Your opinions do matter, and they do have a significant impact in Sacramento.”

    “The coming legislative session will provide UC with new opportunities to advance our mission on behalf of students, faculty, staff and the residents of California.  I hope I can count on you again in 2016 to let your voice be heard by getting in touch with your legislators when the new session begins on January 4.  – UC President Janet Napolitano 
    ALSO, note that this Tuesday Dec. 29, 2015 Davis Enterprise article is printing President Napolitano’s newest letter declaring “UC’s accomplishments”,  yet what should be questioned  is, “Why is UC on campus student housing not on the” UC accomplishments list”, and when is UC going to address this urgent need and make it an “accomplishment”?


    Here is the link to the new article coming this Tuesday in the Davis Enterprise:

    http://www.davisenterprise.com/forum/opinion-columns/much-accomplished-at-uc-in-2015-and-a-bright-future-lies-ahead/

     The web address to make you comments to UCD on their LRDP, UC President Napolitano, and City Council your comments and other language to make clear to the other political entities as well as City Staff that we are demanding that UCD build significantly more on-campus student housing to accommodate their own student population growth and to stop deferring their housing needs onto our City.

    The web address for the UCD LRDP update is:  campustomorrow.ucdavis.edu
    UC President Janet Napolitano   President@ucop.edu
    Chancellor Katehi   http://chancellor.ucdavis.edu/contact.php
    UC regents  regentsoffice@ucop.edu (Note: It is very important to email the Regents on the UCD lack of on campus stundet housing issue)
    Gov. Jerry Brown   http://gov.cagov/gov39mail/mail.php
    Rep. John Garamondi   http://garamondihouse.gov/contact-me   (note: his office is here in Davis on G St.)
    Sen. Lois Wolk  senator.wolk@senate.ca.gov
    Assemblyman Bill Dodd   assemblymember.dodd@assembly.ca.gov
    Mayor Dan Wolk  dwolk@cityofdavis.org
    Mayor Pro Temp  rdavis@cityofdavis.org
    Council member Lucas  Frerichs  lucasf@cityofdavis.org
    Council member Rochelle Swanson  rswanson@cityofdavis.org
    Council member Brett Lee  blee@cityofdavis.org
    Assistant City Manager Mike Webb  mwebb@cityofdavis.org
    City Manager Dirk Brazil  cmoweb@cityofdavis.org

  11. Eileen Samitz

    Don, Sorry but I would have to disagree with you. The City of Berkeley got more than double payments for city services and agreement to plan and develop their downtown jointly.  It sounds like this is what the City of Berkeley wanted and the Berkeley City Manager apparently was very happy with the outcome. Had the City of Berkeley and just sat back and done nothing, UC Berkeley would have taken complete advantage of the City. So I would say we need to look into this approach if the University does not live up to its promises and agreements with our City to provide the on-campus student housing that they have been so grossly negligent on providing at UCD, and if they continue to try deflecting UCD ‘s student housing needs on our City.
     

  12. Barbara King

    There is a proposed, but evidently stalled, proposed state constitutional amendment in the legislature that may or may not help provide some leverage with UC Davis if it, or something similar, ever makes it to the state ballot.

    It is SCA-1 University of California: legislative control.(2015-2016), which was first introduced on December 4, 2014.

    It can be viewed at http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=201520160SCA1.

    Here is its summary:

    “LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL’S DIGEST

    SCA 1, as introduced, Lara. University of California: legislative control.

    Existing provisions of the California Constitution provide that the University of California constitutes a public trust, and require the university to be administered by the Regents of the University of California, a corporation in the form of a board, with full powers of organization and government, subject to legislative control only for specified purposes. These provisions require that corporation to have all powers necessary or convenient for the effective administration of its trust.

    This measure would repeal on January 1, 2017, the constitutional provisions relating to the university and the regents, and would require the university and the regents to be continued in existence subject to legislative control as may be provided by statute. The measure would require the Legislature to enact legislation to implement these provisions, but would prohibit the Legislature from enacting any law that restrains academic freedom, as defined, or imposes educational or curricular requirements on students enrolled at the University of California. The measure would also require the University of California to focus its recruitment efforts on the enrollment of California residents as students of the university.”

    I have mixed feelings about this proposal, but I thought it might add something to a conversation about frustration with an unresponsive UC Davis and the apparent lack of leverage with them.

  13. Eileen Samitz

    Cal Ag: I have the same concerns as you on the vacancy data that UCD is using to complain about any lack of apartments available in the City since they are not willing to build the housing for their own population growth. For instance in the UCD apartment vacancy rate tables posted, how is it that the City of Davis somehow “lost” 410 apartments between 2003 and 2004, and then even more interesting somehow the City “lost”1,097 apartments between 2011 and 2012?

    However this counting is being done, it should be consistent.  I understand some degree of variability due to the methodology but over 1,000 apartments magically disappeared in one year? If the data is unreliable it is not very useful. I would think that even the University would agree with that.

    Matt: Thank you for the fascinating data that you have posted on the tuition differences between in- state and out-of-state students at UCD. Do the tuition for out of sate students almost TRIPLES for UCD for every in-state student that they deny, and instead admit an out-of-state student is admitted. Specifically UCD makes $22,878 for every of these new out-of-state student s that UCD admits occupying a student classroom seat, that otherwise be occupied by an in-state student whose parents have been, and are continuing to pay California taxes to support and build the UC education system.

    I have heard that 4,500 of the 5,000 additional students being admitted to UCD, will be from out-of-state, leaving only 500 additional in-state UCD students. Wow. ..I wonder how many California residents whose kids with good grades have been denied entry to UCD feel about that. I believe there was a letter to the editor last week in the Enterprise furious with UC about this very subject.

    hpierce: UCD has been claiming on all of its public relations and media stuff including on the LRDP comment cards that they issued at their LRDP workshop that they want to “CREATE A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE” and that they also preach “ENRICH COMMUNITY LIFE”.

    Well they can start by taking responsibility for providing the sustainable on-campus, long-term affordable  student housing that they keep trying to bail on. Particularly since they promised this housing since the 1989 MOU and have not kept their word on the agreement with the City, nor with the promises in their own “UC Housing for the 21st Century” report from 2002 stating that they would provide 38% of the student housing on the UCD campus by 2012, but with a goal of 40%.
     

    What about the “integrity” that the University speaks to in its mission statements?

    1. Don Shor

      that UCD is using to complain about any lack of apartments available in the City

      UCD is not complaining about the lack of apartments. They could not care less about that. It is simply that ASUCD has been tracking this data for many years, giving us a baseline and comparative information about the trends in vacancy. They didn’t lose apartments. It isn’t someone rigging the data. Survey participation by property owners has varied somewhat over the years, which they generally have explained as each report is released.
      A healthy apartment vacancy rate is considered to be 5%. In all my years here, Davis has never, to my recollection, had a 5% vacancy rate. I would appreciate it if those who oppose any residential rental development would stop quibbling about the data. It’s real.

      1. CalAg

        I don’t oppose residential rental development. I oppose (to use Samitz’s word) over-densification, and I really, really oppose cooking the data to support any position (pro or con).

        1. CalAg

          Correct – the UCD student housing crisis is not our (the Davis taxpayers) problem to solve.

          To address your misstatements of the record …

          I support multifamily development on the periphery and on in-fill sites where the location and scale of the proposed project is appropriate. Who lives in these units is irrelevant to me. What I object to is bogus pitches invoking student and/or workforce housing to try and politically sell bad projects.

          I don’t support any multifamily development on Nishi because it is the City’s most valuable economic development opportunity site (by a wide margin). The qualifier on this statement is that I would support 100% mutifamily development on Nishi if the no-growthers make a serious push (that gets traction) for 100% tech/office on Nishi as a tactic to kill a 100% tech/office MRIC. I have previously posted this qualifier.

          I also didn’t make any insinuation that you (DS) cooked the data. If I need to spell it out, I think BAE misrepresented the vacancy rate by not disclosing the total number of units in the complexes that failed to report vacancy data.

      2. CalAg

        “They could not care less about that.” DS

        Wrong.

        “A healthy apartment vacancy rate is considered to be 5%.” DS

        Certainly not by Tandem (Whitcombe and partners), Streng, and all the other major owners of rental property in town. This crew has more control over the CC and Davis politics/policy than 10 Fire Departments.

        Wake up and get a clue if you want to keep harping on the lack of multifamily development in Davis.

        1. Don Shor

          “They could not care less about that.” DS
          Wrong.

          They give zero (0) evidence of any concern about housing issues in Davis. Your statement “Wrong” has no evidence whatsoever. And given that you are an anonymous poster on the Vanguard, it carries no weight whatsoever.

          A healthy apartment vacancy rate is considered to be 5%.” DS

          Certainly not by Tandem (Whitcombe and partners), Streng, and all the other major owners of rental property in town.

          Yes. You are right. The landlords are happy with a lower vacancy rate. I really don’t know what you think your comment proves but I’ll go ahead and make my statement more complete so that you will understand what I am saying.
          A healthy apartment vacancy rate is considered to be 5% by real estate industry professionals. It is the best balance for renters and landlords. Better?

          Wake up and get a clue if you want to keep harping on the lack of multifamily development in Davis.

          Yeah. We need thousands of beds. The university won’t be building them. The way to get them is to build apartments. Really, really simple. So stop quibbling about the numbers and trying to change the subject, and advocating for things that will never happen.

        2. CalAg

          You know what? You’re right.

          The City of Davis is going to finally listen to you and try to build its way out of the student housing crisis. How could I have been so blind?

          1. Don Shor

            Moving forward on Sterling, and retaining or increasing the plans for housing at Nishi, would be a very good step forward for the City addressing the rental housing needs in Davis. That’s a couple of thousand beds right there.

    2. Matt Williams

      Eileen said . . .  “Thank you for the fascinating data that you have posted on the tuition differences between in-state and out-of-state students at UCD.  The tuition for out of state students almost TRIPLES for UCD for every in-state student that they deny, and instead admit an out-of-state student.”

      I believe Eileen has illuminated one of the underlying reasons that UCD’s 20/20 Initiative is focused on adding enrollment rather than changing the demographic mix of the current enrollment .  If they did the latter, then there would indeed be in-state students displaced by out-of-state students.  However, by adding 600 additional enrollment slots each year, all the in-state students who would have gotten in are still getting in.  In the process the total UCD enrollment is becoming more diverse, and as a result the educational experience for all UCD students as they rub intellectual and social shoulders with one another is richer.

       

        1. Matt Williams

          The reason enrollment is being increased is a simple response to the current realities of the Supply/Demand curve as it relates to the desirability of a UCD education.  With Demand for its product at historic highs, and trending upward, UCD is doing exactly what any smart business would do in similar circumstances . . . it is ramping up its Supply in order to capture a greater share of the increased Demand.

          UCD’s budgetary considerations are very mainstream and very straightforward . . . does the revenue stream being captured from the greater market demand exceed the costs of providing the services desired by the added students?

  14. CalAg

    Universities across the country are financing operations by increasing student enrollments. Here’s what this looks like at UC Davis …

    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

    The 5,000 new students translate into additional revenue to UCD of more than $180,000,000 per year – or over a billion dollars of new revenue every 5.6 years.

    Because the cost of educating an out-of-state student is approximately the same as educating a California resident, the $24,708 delta in tuition and fees is mostly profit that can go to fund operations that are not directly related to the education of the 4,500 new out-of-state and international students.

    The 4,500 new out-of-state and international student translate into approximately $110,000,000 per year to fund Katehi’s priorities.

    It’s. All. About. The. Money.

  15. Eileen Samitz

    I agree completely with so many points that have been made by CalAg, particularly on the issue of how UCD is cashing in on almost triple the amount of tuition for every out-of-state students that they admit. So Matt, this has nothing to do with adding diversity to the UCD student population, so you can try to put that spin on it if you want to, but is not at all what I was saying.

    One obvious issue is, who is paying the taxes to support UC? That would be us California taxpayers.  Yet UCD is admitting of at least 4,500 additional out-of-state students to cash in on the high tuition,they will be collecting. Furthermore, to make things worse, then UCD  is not providing the needed on-campus housing for these additional students, as well as not providing enough on-campus student housing for their existing student population as promised by UCD’s MOU with and City, and the UC Housing for the 21st Century document.

  16. Matt Williams

    Eileen, I’m not sure why you are taking the diversity observation, which has been rather prominently discussed recently by the Supreme Court of the United States as it wrestles with Affirmative Action, and labeled it as spin.  It is what it is, an observation.  Nothing more nothing less.  CalAg clearly understood that when he/she said, “Diversity (if it increases) is just a side product.”

    You and CalAg are absolutely correct.  UCD is capitalizing on the Supply/Demand realities of the market they operate their business in.

    Regarding your second paragraph, all those observations by you are correct.  I personally do not disagree with any of them.  However, the real question is what do you propose Davis citizens do in response to those realities?  The problem is that UCD has shown very little inclination to act on the concerns that you are raising.  What indications do you have that UCD’s approach is going to change?

    I understand that you are using me as a scapegoat in this situation . . . taking out your frustration with UCD on me.  I just want you to know that I don’t mind being your scapegoat.

  17. Eileen Samitz

    Matt, not sure how you don’t understand what I am saying, because I think I have made my point as clear as I can, this is not a diversity issue.

    Second, by raising the issues, and educating the public on theses issues so that they contact the University contacts I have listed to give their input, but most importantly, our City Council and other political leaders to make clear this issue needs to be resolved.  that Davis can not be expected to continue providing the housing for the University’s students, particularly since UCD is significantly increasing their student population (12,000 more students by 2030). You keep asking me this question and the simple answer is, we don’t allow the University to bully us into building their housing in the City.

    Third, I am not trying to make you a scapegoat. I am trying to have a meaningful discussion about these issues, however, you keep asking the same questions, that I answer, over and over again. That is what is frustrating.

    Finally, since you are running for City Council, it is helpful for me to know how you handle dealing with important City issues, like this, and what Davis residents can expect if you were elected.

     

     

  18. Matt Williams

    Eileeen, not sure how you don’t understand what I am saying, because I think I have made my point as clear as I can, I too do not think this is not a diversity issue. However, that does not change the statistical reality, which has been discussed in public meetings.  My post displaying the disparity between in-state and out-of-state tuition at UCD is a similar observation about a statistical reality.  You have argued that that tuition disparity is an issue.  For others, it is simply a statistical reality.

    Statistical realities come in all shapes and sizes.  When the subject of the Sterling Apartments first came up I went to Google Earth and measured the distance from the proposed site on 5th Street to the UCD MU.  It was 1.65 miles.  Interestingly enough the distance from the corner of Jade and Sage in West Village to the UCD MU is also 1.65 miles.  Interpretation of those two statistical realities will vary from individual to individual.

    The reason I keep asking you the “What is your plan?” question is twofold.  First, the war you are advocating for is going to be long and protracted, and it will contain several (possibly many) Measure X-sized battles.  Second, the likely trajectory of the war will likely last for a number of years, and while the war is being waged the currently-happening damage to existing Davis family neighborhoods will continue to proliferate.

    So with that said, the questions that I asked in the other thread still apply:

     

    — 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)?

    Regarding the third of those questions, you have advocated above for an individual letter writing campaign.  At the State level do you believe individual letters from Davis residents will be taken seriously?

     

  19. Eileen Samitz

    Matt:  I have made clear my position on these issues. As a former Planning Commissioner and longtime Davis resident for over 35 years, I understand that: 1) it is very clear that what all of this really is about,  is good planning, and 2) I really am not interested in participating in an endless inquisition.

    1. Matt Williams

      Eileen, the task you are advocating for (causing UCD to change both its housing pricing policy and its plan for building housing) is, in my opinion, as large a task as combining half a dozen Measure X campaigns.

      My questions to you are not inquisition, but rather looking to you as the most visible leader of this Measure X-6 campaign to lay out your game plan for  this campaign.  There is an immense amount of work to be done between now and September 2019.

      Why September 2019?
      The answer to that question starts with an acknowledgement that from a factual perspective you and I see the student housing issue the same way.  The difference that exists between our respective interpretation of those facts is pretty straight forward.  Your position is driven by the long term impacts of those facts, while I am looking more at the near term impact of those facts.  If I had confidence that UCD’s housing policy position could be turned in the next 9 months, it would still be over 3 years before any additional on-campus housing came on line to actually house students . . . September 2019. That date is also important, because I can’t see any additional apartments being added to the City any sooner than September 2019 either.  So September 2019 is where the impacts of a Measure X-6 campaign and a build more student housing initiative, have the potential to diverge.

      If the Measure X-6 campaign is still waging war with UCD at that time, then the student demand for housing will still be rising, but the supply of student housing will not be rising, and as a result the upward pressure on rental housing prices (driving single family renters out of Davis and replacing them with groups of students who have a greater ability to pay the higher rents), and the increased pressure for conversion of Single Family Residences into Mini-Dorms.  Those are the near term impacts that concern me greatly.

      So, as the visible leader of Measure X-6, do you see any way that UCD’s housing position can be changed during calendar year 2016?  If so, there are lots of people in Davis who are waiting to hear your plan.

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