Social Services Commission to Look at Affordable Component for Sterling Apartments

Sterling-Apts-1

Following the demise of the EMQ FamiliesFirst facility, the new property owner has submitted a formal planning application to build an apartment complex that would provide high-density apartment units on the property along 5th Street, bordered by the U.S. Post Office to the west and commercial buildings to the east.

The project is expected, if approved, to provide abundant student housing. The “student site” would “consist of a four and 5-story, 203-unit university student apartment project, which would include 727 beds.” According to the Social Services Commission staff report, “The project would include a mix of 1-bedroom to 5-bedroom apartment units ranging in size from approximately 500 square feet to 1,700 square feet. The 104 4-bedroom/4-bathroom units would comprise the largest share of the 203 units (51%) and 727 bedrooms (57%).”

According to staff, “The development is designed with University of California (UCD) students in mind as the target population, but would not be restricted to students.” The project is proposed as a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certified, Silver level, project, and would include a six-story parking garage.

It is the density of the project, along with the large number of likely vehicles, that has neighbors, particularly those in the Rancho Yolo mobile home park, concerned about traffic and other impacts on 5th St.

However, the purpose of the Social Services Commission meeting is to evaluate the affordable housing plan. Staff notes, “The project is proposing payment of $2,025,000 in affordable housing in-lieu fees, the equivalent of the required $75,000 per unit fee for 27 affordable units. These funds would go into the City’s Housing Trust Fund and be used for affordable housing development of this site.”

The proposed “affordable housing site” would “consist of a four-story, 41-unit apartment building, with a maximum building height of 54 feet.” According to staff, the 41 low, very-low and extremely low income “affordable apartment units would be developed adjacent to the Student Site in order to meet the City’s affordable housing requirements.”

Staff writes, “The main project is focused on student housing needs. Early on there was discussion about including the 68 affordable units within the overall project, but as discussions progressed on the project and as part of the pre-application discussions at the City Council, staff was encouraged to explore more creative options.”

With ongoing discussions regarding issues of homelessness and the need for extremely low income housing units, “the project developer landed on a concept that would provide an affordable housing site that could be more focused on the greatest affordability needs within the community.”

The project developer selected and has been working with Mutual Housing California in planning this affordable housing proposal for the site. Staff notes, “Consistent with the Cannery affordable housing site and similar past projects, final selection of the affordable housing developer is at the applicant’s discretion, with final approval required by the City.”

While this project could be required to provide a land dedication site or to develop units on-site within the market rate project, staff “believes that the developer’s alternative proposal (Project Individualized Plan – PIP) will go further in addressing local affordable housing needs by doing the following:”

  • Providing deeper levels of project affordability, including extremely low income units, not otherwise provided by the City’s standard low (80% AMI) and very low (50% AMI) requirements for the on-site development of units.
  • Providing the combination of land and in-lieu fees that will increase the likely success of the affordable housing project being developed in a timely manner and through resources the City will have available from the market rate portion of this project.

Staff therefore recommends the following:

  1. Sterling Fifth Street Apartments shall create a secondary parcel of no less than 0.84-acre in size, the affordable housing site, and obtain the required planning entitlements and complete the surrounding site infrastructure improvements, including clearing and preparing the site, to develop a minimum of 41 affordable units. Building permits for market rate units shall not be issued until this parcel is created and conveyed to the developer of the affordable housing site or the City of Davis.
  2. The rental units developed on the affordable housing site shall remain affordable in perpetuity and be comprised of at least 20 units, or fifty percent of the affordable units, at rents affordable to 50% of Area Median Income (AMI), including at least 10 units at rents affordable to 35-40% AMI. The remaining affordable units shall be developed at rents affordable to households at 60% AMI or below. Developer of affordable housing site will seek to increase affordability to the extent feasible given available funding sources. This requirement shall be established in a deed restriction or covenant recorded on the property, subject to review and approval by the City Manager’s Office prior to issuance of building permit on the affordable housing site.
  3. Sterling Fifth Street Apartments will pay $2,025,000 in affordable housing in-lieu fees, equivalent to an additional 27 affordable units, to the City’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund, which the City will use for the development of this site, subject to actual project need at time of financing. Building permits for market rate units will not be issued until this payment of in-lieu fees has been made.
  4. The developer of the affordable housing site shall diligently pursue financing for the affordable apartments. If the affordable apartments have not commenced construction within five years of the first building permit issued for a market rate unit in the student site of the project, the developer of the affordable housing site shall transfer the parcel to the City of Davis, for use as permanently affordable housing. The land shall be free of any encumbrances or unusual easements, subject to the review and approval of the City Manager’s Office and the City Attorney.
  5. The developer of the affordable housing site will pursue programs with Davis Community Meals and other local service providers and volunteers that can provide housing and services to special needs populations (e.g. housing and services to address the needs of families and individuals who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness) to the extent additional resources are available and these programs are allowed by the affordable housing’s lenders and investors.
  6. The developer of the affordable housing site and Sterling Fifth Street Apartments shall work together to create an agreement around shared services between to the two sites, including discussion of the: parking garage, planned community events, and a potential student mentoring program. The agreement shall be submitted to the City for review and approval.
  7. The affordable housing site and the market rate housing site shall both be developed with all units being accessible or adaptable to fully accessible for persons with disabilities.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

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

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30 Comments

  1. Davis Progressive

    i’m surprised this hasn’t drawn more interest.  there is a push back against sterling based on traffic and density concerns by rancho yolo.  i think that’s fairly week.  5th is crowded anyway, but that’s life.  we need student housing.  i like the affordable component, wish that there was an internal component on nishi as well.

  2. Eric Gelber

    Kudos to the project developer and City housing staff not only for the recommended requirements for affordable units but also for requiring that both the affordable and market rate units be accessible. The one qualm I have with the proposal as described is that the affordable units would (or could) apparently all be located in a separate building rather than dispersed throughout the project. To the extent, moreover, that income is correlated with particular demographic characteristics–e.g., race, disability, families with children (including student families)–the project plan could result in a less integrated and diverse community than could otherwise be achieved.

  3. ryankelly

    Where are the over 700 cars going to park?  Is a high-rise apartment building the direction we want to go for low-income, at risk populations?  Shouldn’t we be moving away from the model of separating housing for low income renters so that it doesn’t result in the concentration of negative influences on the residents.  It is widely accepted that high-rise housing for low income families with children is unsuitable, so would these units be designed for single individuals and couples only?

  4. Frankly

    Interesting that the near core residents are up in arms about a 5 story Trackside residential development even though they are already adjacent to commercial property in the core area, but we expect the neighbors in a completely residential neighborhood to accept a 5 story residential development.

    1. Mark West

      Frankly: “we expect the neighbors in a completely residential neighborhood to accept a 5 story residential development.”

      The south side of 5th street through this section is entirely commercial. The proposed project will be surrounded by commercial buildings on three sides (east, south, west) and directly across the street to the north are apartments and the backside of two units from Rancho Yolo.  I don’t believe it is accurate to describe the site as ‘completely residential.’

      1. hpierce

        Actually, directly (sort of) across the street are condos (closest), apartments, and Rancho Yolo which is separated by a 7-8 foot sound wall from those and Fifth Street.  Even at five stories, the proposed project would be hardly visible (if at all) from Rancho Yolo.  Rancho Yolo has no motor vehicle access to Fifth.  The Rancho Yolo complaints, IMO, are bogus at best.

  5. Tia Will

    Frankly

    Interesting that the near core residents are up in arms about a 5 story Trackside residential development even though they are already adjacent to commercial property in the core area, but we expect the neighbors in a completely residential neighborhood to accept a 5 story residential development.”

    Mark and Don have both made valid points. I would like to point out one more aspect of your post. That is a rather incongruous, but telling switch of subject. You start out describing the “near core residents” and then, neatly, if incoherently switch to an undefined “we” in the clause “we expect the neighbors….”.

    Since I have not figured out just what you were trying to say with this grammatical sleight of hand, I will leave it at that and request that you clarify if you feel so inclined.

     

  6. tj

    5 to 6 years is a long time to wait for these affordable units to be built.

    Is it really a good idea to demolish the existing buildings?  Millions of dollars in quality buildings crushed?

    Segregating poor people in a separate complex, rather than mingling affordability within the whole complex, might be considered discriminatory.

    An 8 foot wall does not shield sound or sight from Rancho Yolo or the Sequoia Villas.  Sound carried amazingly well from Families First, and those were children.

    727 bedrooms, each with its own bathroom, can accommodate an awful lot of people, yet parking and bike racks will be only for 727 or fewer.

    It is incorrectly stated above, by a poster, that only 2 units at Rancho Yolo would be affected, but if one studies the photo, in fact many dozens would be seriously adversely affected by the destruction of the buildings at Families First and the construction of this not environmentally friendly plan.

  7. hpierce

    Let’s see… Trackside is bounded in three quadrants by non-res (arguably, 2.7, depending on radius you want to use)… Sterling in two… Don is right… no comparison.  Trackside has much fewer SF/MF properties in near proximity (500 feet).

    But, I fully understand that there is a difference in solar ‘shadows’, and immediate proximity for some…

    1. Mark West

      We’ve already been through this…no more than 6 homes will be impacted by a solar ‘shadow’ from Trackside if built as designed, with the greatest impact on the rock yard directly to the north of the project.

      1. Alan Miller

        We’ve already been through this [edited. Please don’t call people names — moderator] We are not the ones breaking the Design Guidelines those most affected will be totally affected by. We all agreed to this, and we are the ones fighting those who broke the agreements.

  8. Frankly

    Reading a book tonight with background noise of the local news waiting to see some highlights from the Kings game and caught a story on UCD.  The news anchor said that UCD is preparing for 10,000 more students in 2016.  I fell out of my chair laughing.

    Obviously the bubble heads on the local news just read the teleprompter without really knowing what they are talking about.

    But did a bit of Googling and found this…

    http://www.theaggie.org/2016/01/24/uc-davis-preps-for-massive-enrollment-influx/

    In the 2016-2017 academic year, UC Davis is expected to enroll 9,500 new undergraduate students – about 1,100 more new students than were enrolled this past fall.

    So not 10,000 new students of course… we are talking about 10,000 total Freshmen in 2016.  However, we are talking about 1,100 new students.

    I am still laughing thinking about all the growth-fussy old-farts in this town, (me included except I am of the “accept some growth… especially business” variety), that will grow fussier with the new reality of increasing congestion from all these new people.

    Let’s just assume 1,000 per year for the next 10 years.

    That is a big deal for a no-growth population.

    Now, obviously it is not just adding another 1,000 per year because the little darlings stay for about 4.5 years on average and then most will leave because there are few good jobs in Davis.   So, assuming 1,000 per year well will add about 4,500 people in five years, and there after it would stabilize… unless UCD wants to increase to 1,300, 1,500 or 2,000 per year.

    But let’s assume 4,500 new people in 5 years and then stabilization.

    We need more housing.

    But let’s not build any multi-story housing downtown so we can preserve the bungalows filled with one or two older retired grumps.

    And nets not build any innovation parks and more hotels and peripheral retail.  Let expect that the growing mass of humanity will find enough services in our tiny 1960s’ downtown.

    That will all work.  Right.

    1. Don Shor

      They have been increasing 600+ per year since the chancellor announced the 2020 Initiative. They are planning to increase the rate of growth of enrollment. Based on the next iteration of their long-range plan, they don’t have any intention of stopping enrollment growth. We’re already thousands of beds behind, and their current LRDP has no plans to even begin to cover that shortfall.
      UCD plans to grow without the slightest regard for the impact on the local housing market. Just go here:
      http://campustomorrow.ucdavis.edu/app_pages/view/74
      and see how many of the plans shown involve providing housing.
      I can certainly understand the frustration of people who feel that UC is forcing growth on Davis. As a practical matter, yes, Davis has to provide housing. But Davis residents may not feel willing to add the numbers that are needed, with the adverse impacts that type of development would bring.
      UC needs to plan with the city, not force development on the city.

      That is a big deal for a no-growth population.

      It’s a big deal for a city of 70,000 to add 10,000 more to the population, regardless of whether it’s no/slow/go growth.

      1. Matt Williams

        The principle of Don’s comment above is spot on.  The one flaw with it is that his statement “They have been increasing 600+ per year since the chancellor announced the 2020 Initiative” doesn’t do the reality of the situation justice.

        2012-2013 was an enrollment increase of 654

        2013-2014 was an enrollment increase of 748

        2014-2015 was an enrollment increase of 1,284

        2015-2016 was an enrollment increase of 2,676

        Said another way, from an enrollment in 2011-2012 of 30,742, the UCD enrollment has gone to 31,396, then 32,144, then 33,428, then 36,104.

         

         

         

         

         

         

        is

        1. Barack Palin

          Once again, you guys are overlooking this:

          The University of California plans to expand the pool of student housing over the next four years, and to accelerate the timetable for completing student housing developments that are already in the planning phase, UC President Janet Napolitano announced at Wednesday’s Board of Regents meeting.
          Current estimates project that UC could add nearly 14,000 new beds over the next several years, and one of the initiative’s central tasks will be accelerating this timeline, the president said. This includes the creation of new beds for undergraduates in residence halls and the addition of more graduate student housing and other apartments that are generally open to all students.
          The goals are to ensure that each UC campus has sufficient housing for its growing student population and to keep housing as affordable as possible for UC students.

          http://www.davisenterprise.com/local-news/napolitano-plans-for-more-uc-housing/

          1. Don Shor

            Until I see any of those ‘new’ beds in the Long Range Development Plan, I won’t consider them relevant to UC Davis. The number she is talking about would be a tiny drop in the bucket of what UC Davis needs to add. It’s good news to know there would be specific funding working its way through the budget process, but the reality is that UCD is going to add students in much greater numbers than they’re going to add beds for at least the next 5 to 10 years.

        2. Matt Williams

          Not overlooking that at all BP.  It is part of the puzzle.  “Current estimates project that UC could add nearly 14,000 new beds over the next several years, and one of the initiative’s central tasks will be accelerating this timeline, the president said.”

          Given the fact that there are 9 UC campuses, that means just over 1,500 new beds per UC campus on average.  Let’s put that 1,500 new beds into context.  In the last several years the UCD enrollment has grown by 5,362 students (from 30,742 to 36,104).  Further, according to the news reports it may well grow an additional 1,500 this Fall.

          I applaud President Napolitano’s bed increase announcement, but it falls far short of the enrollment increases that have already occurred.

        3. hpierce

          Well, Matt, perhaps the answer is to encourage more “cuddling” where we can achieve two students to share a bed (and anything else they wish to)… problem solved! [yes, wink and smile emoticon inserted]

          At least 94% of the problem…

        4. Matt Williams

          pierce, are you sure you don’t mean 99.44% of the problem.  That would seem to be the appropriate reference for “cuddling” solutions like the one you propose.

    2. Alan Miller

      But let’s not build any multi-story housing downtown so we can preserve the bungalows filled with one or two older retired grumps.

      [edited]  The Old East Davis Neighborhood Association favors multi-story housing downtown, as agreed to in the Design Guidelines.  We are also fine with the Trackside Center building mass being increased to about six times its current mass.  As in we are fine with redevelopment there, housing on top, as per the agreement, as per the Design Guidelines.  Your characterization of our position is a knowing, conniving, purposefully destructive lie.  Stop repeating it, [moderator] edited. Please don’t call people names
      You do get points for mentioning Thin Lizzy yesterday, however.

      1. Mark West

        The City needs to look beyond the narrow interests of the neighborhoods and neighbors and make decisions that address the needs of the City. Whether you like it or not, expansion of the downtown commercial district along 3rd street to the East is the most appropriate way to grow, allowing connection to the PGE site when it eventually becomes available (50 years or so from now). We need to start expanding the downtown and building more high-density housing now, not in 5-10 years when Nishi finally breaks ground.

        The Trackside project is a good first step and shows the neighboring land owners what is possible. Design guidelines are just that, guidelines, not commandments etched in stone by the Creator. I expect that we will see some changes in the original design once it gets through the planning process, but in the end, it is a project that should be approved.

        1. Matt Williams

          Mark, in 2005 the City conducted a public process that did exactly what you are calling for.  That process looked beyond what you have characterized as the narrow interests of the neighborhood, and resulted in the rezoning of the parcels in the Core Transition East mixed use area.  According to the June 23, 2005 Staff Report provided to Council for their July 12, 2005 meeting:

          Presentations on the application were made to the Business and Economic Development Commission (BEDC, May 23, 2005), Downtown Davis Business Association Board of Directors (DDBA, May 18, 2005) and the Government Relations Committee (GRC) of the Davis Chamber of Commerce (June 7, 2005). The BEDC and the DDBA both voted in unanimous support of the proposed application. The GRC had no objections and determined they would take a more formal position at the time of a specific development application review. A neighborhood meeting was held on April 7, 2005. The five residents who attended were in support of the project.

      2. Matt Williams

        Alan, you regularly throw out the 2001 Design Guidelines as if that document is the only thing that matters.  You never reference how the provisions of the Zoning Ordinance apply to Trackside, or how the Design Guidelines and the Zoning Ordinance work together.

        A week ago I posted a comment (see this  LINK) that provided you with the Zoning Ordinance language that governs height and density (FAR) for the Trackside parcel, as well as links to City webpages for both the Mixed Use (M-U) regulations and the pertinent sections of the Design Guidelines.  You responded to my comment, “Matt,  Don’t have time to read all that in detail now, but appreciate the research and I will read it.”

        It is clear from your interchange here with Mark West that you still have not read the information.  I again urge you to do so.  The decision process for a development proposal starts with the Zoning Regulations, which are the regulatory manifestation of the General Plan principles. The first step in that proposal evaluation process is to determine if the proposal complies with those Zoning Regulations.

        Neighborhood Guidelines are a step down the decision tree from zoning regulations.  Neighborhood Guidelines fall into the “nice to have” category, while zoning regulations fall into the “must have” category. Once a proposal has been determined to comply with the zoning regulations it is then “refined” by evaluating it against the neighborhood guidelines.

         

         

         

         

         

         

      3. Frankly

        You do get points for mentioning Thin Lizzy yesterday, however.

        Well at least there is that!

        But are you sure that you don’t sound like one of those grump old farts? Note too that I put myself in that same category. I am.

    3. Tia Will

      But let’s not build any multi-story housing downtown so we can preserve the bungalows filled with one or two older retired grumps.”

      I do not know a single person, “grump” or otherwise, who has spoken out against multi-story housing downtown. The Trackside project is located in Old East Davis, not “downtown” and the objection is not to “multistory housing” but rather to a blatant disregard for the zoning and design guidelines for this neighborhood which the developer as freely admitted in public on several occasions.

      1. Matt Williams

        Actually Tia, the City conducted a 2004-2005 public process that the Old East Davis neighbors participated in according to the Staff Report to Council.

        Presentations on the application were made to the Business and Economic Development Commission (BEDC, May 23, 2005), Downtown Davis Business Association Board of Directors (DDBA, May 18, 2005) and the Government Relations Committee (GRC) of the Davis Chamber of Commerce (June 7, 2005). The BEDC and the DDBA both voted in unanimous support of the proposed application. The GRC had no objections and determined they would take a more formal position at the time of a specific development application review. A neighborhood meeting was held on April 7, 2005. The five residents who attended were in support of the project.

        That public process concluded on July 12, 2005 with the Council’s passage of  Resolution No. 05-220 – Amending the General Plan (#6-04) and Core Area Specific Plan (#6-04) of the City of Davis Relating to the Core Area Specific Plan of the City of Davis, which explicitly moved the parcels from Old East Davis (governed by the General Plan) and placed in the Core Area (governed by the Core Area Specific Plan.

        20/20 hindsight tells me that amendments to the 2001 Davis Downtown and Traditional Residential Neighborhoods Design Guidelines should also have been included in the July 12, 2005 Council Agenda, but they weren’t.

         

         

  9. hpierce

    You are mincing words, Tia… the Trackside property is indeed within the boundaries of the Core Area Specific Plan… can it be within the Core Area Specific Plan, but not be “downtown” and be in ‘Old East Davis’?  Will leave that to linguists, ‘lexicon artists’, etc.

  10. Misanthrop

    UC is the dog and the City is the tail trying to wag the dog demanding no growth when the UC molloch keeps feasting on new students searching for knowledge to participate in the knowledge economy. Davis’ tail wagging won’t change much although UC saying its going to provide more housing is likely to be a good thing. Makes me wonder  how they intend to do it. Will it be by increasing density to 3 or 4 to a room? Will they sleep in shifts like on a Navy sub or will they eventually have the Federal courts demand that they are holding the students under circumstances that are cruel and unusual? Will Jerry Brown propose a student realignment program to reduce school crowding?

    Its too bad about the Families First facility. Its a perfectly good facility for some sort of a supported living situation. Tearing it down for housing is a stupid unintended consequence of Measure J/R. It seems J/R is now the tail waging the dog driving redevelopment of a property whose current condition and configuration doesn’t warrant redevelopment. The difficulties imposed on annexation by J/R  in a community whose main employer is growing quickly are dictating the destruction of this perfectly good resource.

    The neighbors are focusing on the wrong issue. They should focus on keeping the Families First facility instead of focusing on what is being proposed to replace it.

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