City Council Candidate Question 1: Do You Support or Oppose Nishi?

Candidates Forum on March 12/ Photo by Eunah Cho of Davis Media Access
Candidates Forum on March 12/ Photo by Eunah Cho of Davis Media Access

For the next eight weeks, the Vanguard will be sending the Davis City Council Candidates weekly questions.  They have 250 to 350 words.

Question #1: Do you support Measure A (Nishi) – why or why not?


IMG-23Matt Williams

This question does not get to the heart of the Nishi issue.  In a democratic process where each individual man/woman has only one vote, in the voting booth I am only representing myself.

However, as an elected representative of the people, a vote that really matters is whether on February 16th I would have supported the rushed decision to put Nishi on the June ballot.  In that high impact vote I am representing the people.  To be crystal clear, my February 16th vote was/is, “I oppose putting Nishi on the June ballot!”

The principal reason I believe a June Nishi vote was/is a bad decision is because the financial analysis of the project is not “materially complete and accurate.”

In addition, until all three parties to the agreement have come to the table, I believe the Nishi Development Agreement is also not complete or accurate.  The developer and City have done their part, but UCD, is still on the sidelines.  No UCD signatures appear on the signed Development Agreement.

UCD’s financial contribution to the infrastructure construction costs is still unknown.   If in the future UCD agrees to contribute to the underpass construction costs, there is nothing written out in the current Development Agreement about whether that contribution will go to the City’s Affordable Housing Fund or the developer.  Had the ballot been delayed until UCD stepped up, the Development Agreement would have reflected the same three-party status that has defined the project since its inception.

As a result, each individual Measure A ballot cast in June will be a “guess” based on the personal feelings and beliefs of the individual voter.  Some voters passionately argue that Nishi’s non-financial benefits trump Nishi’s financial and procedural issues. Other voters make an equally passionate argument that Nishi’s financial and procedural issues trump Nishi’s non-financial benefits.  It is truly unfortunate that the voters will have to “vote blind,” casting their ballot on the basis of politics and promises rather than on the basis of substance.

I support the democratic process that has created Measure A, and overall I support the project.  I absolutely do not support the February 16th decision establishing the premature June Measure A vote.


WillArnold2016Will Arnold

Our community’s economic development strategy results from a years-long citizen engagement process. Our consensus goal is to increase and diversify our revenue portfolio with sustainable new sources. The best, and plainly obvious, opportunity to do so is to leverage the incredible knowledge and talent stemming from UC Davis to the maximum benefit of our community.

Our citizens crafted a dispersed economic development strategy, including peripheral business parks and development of infill sites near our city core. Nishi is not just identified as a potential site, it is said to offer “the best opportunity for a close innovation hub” by the City’s Innovation Center Study.

Nishi also represents an important partnership between the City and University, at a time when we are trying to influence University policy in a major way. We want to put pressure on UC Davis to increase its share of student housing, and to work with us to mitigate the impacts of increased enrollment. Working together as partners is our only opportunity to gain influence with such an autonomous and unwieldy entity as the University has proven to be.

But waiting for UCD to “do the right thing” ignores the needs of our community. Our unhealthy rental housing market negatively impacts us in a number of ways. It is the main driver of unaffordability, mini-dorms pop up in our neighborhoods, and renters who work or study in Davis are forced to live elsewhere, exacerbating impacts on our community and our environment.

We saw this coming: A need to diversify our City revenue portfolio, to address an unhealthy rental market, and to collaborate with our critical partner and neighbor, UC Davis.

We saw this coming, we worked together for years, and we acted.

The Nishi Gateway is a modestly-sized project in an weirdly-shaped piece of land that is only valuable because it happens to be next to one of the world’s great communities and universities. It follows a citizen-driven economic development strategy, addresses numerous identified community needs, and honors our critical partnerships.

I believe this project is an opportunity we cannot miss, and I strongly support it.


Frerichs-Announce-2016-5Lucas Frerichs

Yes, I support Measure A. I voted (along with the entire Council) to place it on the ballot, so that Davis voters could have their say on its fate. I also signed the ballot argument (along with the entire Council) in support of Nishi.

The development process used for Nishi was pretty much exactly as most people suggest it should be; it wasn’t developer-driven, it was a citizen-driven planning process. The Nishi proposal went through most of the city commissions (some multiple times), and there were numerous public meetings/workshops/outreach over the course of the multi-year process, continually refining the proposal along the way. Additionally, a group of stalwart citizens (informally the “Nishi Working Group”) spent countless hours providing input, which improved the final proposal; I’m greatly appreciative of their efforts.  A subcommittee of the Council, (Robb/Rochelle) were tasked with assisting in development of baseline features/Development Agreement.

The vast majority of items asked of the applicant, Tim Ruff, were agreed to, and included into the final proposal.

Not everyone is satisfied with the project as proposed, and that’s not surprising, given that its nearly impossible to satisfy everyone all the time. Sadly, some have felt it necessary to litigate the project- following a fairly consistent emerging pattern.

The Nishi project is proposed to be staged so access via pedestrian/vehicle tunnel under railroad tracks and a reconfigured Richards tight diamond interchange are complete before the actual building of housing and R&D space happens- (likely a minimum of five years before that occurs).

The project before the voters isn’t perfect (no project big or small ever will be), but the Nishi infill project is quite good:

It will provide much-needed R&D space-to capture technology and startups emerging from the UCD campus- so the city can create jobs and capture increased revenue.

Nishi will provide needed mixed-use apartment housing for students, and small for sale units for empty-nesters close to the heart of downtown and the campus. The bike & pedestrian access will be unparalleled (allowing for significantly reduced vehicle usage).

I believe its worthy of passage and support by Davis voters.


Lee-Brett-HSBrett Lee

I was skeptical that I would end up supporting the Nishi Project.

I met with the developer and expressed my concerns, which were basically “Traffic is bad enough already, why would we want to make it worse? We need the new access point to the university and also the redesigned freeway interchange in order to improve the traffic flow before we talk about a new project. I think those things are years off.”

A few days later the developer asked “what if we agreed to not move onto the site until both pieces of infrastructure are complete? Both the grade separated access point to the University and the I-80 interchange?”

And that agreement changed my mind.  The development cannot be occupied until the freeway interchange is complete and the access point to the University is added.  The City of Davis is not responsible for paying for either item and the City is not required to lobby either UCD or Caltrans to make the projects happen.

The plusses to Nishi are as follows:

It adds vitally needed apartments to our community in a location that is ideal for access to the University and downtown.

It adds smaller size “for sale” units that will average 1,200 sq ft.  So while they are likely to be pricey, the smaller size will make them more affordable than the larger units we currently see being built at the Cannery.

The new Richard’s freeway interchange and two lane Olive Drive access to Nishi will serve as a new “Southern Entrance” to the University which will reduce the traffic congestion of people heading into town through the Richards Tunnel. Many people headed to UCD will use the new Olive/Nishi access point.

The downside of Nishi is its close proximity to the Freeway, which results in air pollution concerns.  The developer has committed to creating a “green buffer” of trees to help reduce particulate air pollution and is currently working with Caltrans to expand that buffer.

So I do support the Nishi Project. I believe it is a good project that will be of overall benefit to Davis.

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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43 Comments

  1. Matt Williams

    At dinner on Tuesday, I was asked by one of the assembled eight people a somewhat different question than the one the Vanguard asked the candidates.  That question was, “How will you vote on Measure A?”  My answer to that question was that a vote on Measure A is a choice between two seriously flawed alternatives. 
     
    The first flawed alternative, a “No” vote, sends the project back to the drawing board for renegotiation and possibly reconfiguration.  But realistically, the project will almost surely die, and it is also highly likely, in my opinion, that the MRIC project will die as well. 
     
    That means any contribution to the City Budget by Nishi from the margin left over after netting the project’s revenues and costs will disappear, and the dollars from that margin will have to be offset by higher taxes and/or reduced services.
     
    The second flawed alternative, a “Yes” vote, comes with the opportunity for reopening the Development Agreement negotiations to address the current contractual flaws (UCD contribution to infrastructure costs and affordability of housing being the biggest two).
     
    As problematic such an after-the-fact negotiation may be, it is still possible.  If the Measure A vote ends up being “No,” then the 650 units of housing will almost surely be lost, meaning the city-wide pressure for more mini-dorm conversions in family neighborhoods will increase.
     
    Given a choice between significant damage to the quality of life of our residential neighborhoods vs. a very difficult uphill battle to renegotiate the Development Agreement, with all three parties (UCD, the City and the developer) signing it, I choose to go with hard work rather than significant damage.  My personal vote on Measure A will be “Yes.”
     
    With all the above said, the enthusiasm I once had for the project is significantly diminished.  To rebuild my enthusiasm:

    — I believe UCD needs to step up and commit a significant financial contribution to the infrastructure construction costs. 
    — I believe the current Development Agreement needs to be amended to be explicit that the UCD contribution will go to the City, not the developer. 
    — I believe UCD needs to sign the Development Agreement so that it reflects the same three-party status that has defined the project since its inception. 
    — I believe that motor vehicle access from Nishi to Olive Drive needs to be restricted to Emergency Vehicles and Public Transit vehicles only, with access for delivery vehicles during restricted off peak hours. 

    If those four modifications to the Development Agreement are accomplished then my diminished enthusiasm for the project will increase.

  2. Alan Pryor

    Brett Lee stated in his response,

    The development cannot be occupied until the freeway interchange is complete and the access point to the University is added.  The City of Davis is not responsible for paying for either item and the City is not required to lobby either UCD or Caltrans to make the projects happen (emphasis added).

    This is inaccurate and very misleading. City Staff have admitted before Council that the exemption of the project from the City’s Affordable Housing Ordinance was due, in part, to the consideration of the site’s accessibility problems which make it particularly expensive to provide infrastructure. The developer has stated the cost of the tunnel is expected to be $11 – $12 million dollars.

    So, the City waives $11,550,000 of affordable housing fees from the developer and the developer pays to put in a $11 – $12 million tunnel to UCD with the money they save – is this just acoincidence? But I guess the statement is partly correct, though. The City itself does not have to pay for the tunnel to UCD. Instead, the City is simply giving away the money that would have otherwise gone to our Affordable Housing Trust Fund for the less fortunate among us.

    But this is not the only instance where the City is “giving it away”. Of the approximate $4,775,464 of roadway impact fees to be paid to the City by the developer, only about about $3,000,000 will actually be paid because the developer will receive a credit of up to “$1,775,462 for construction of the Olive Drive and Richards Boulevard Intersection improvements and the bridge over the Putah Creek Parkway (from the draft Development Agreement).

    In other words, the developer is being paid $1,775,462 through a rebate from the City for widening Olive Dr. and putting in the bridge to the Nishi property from Olive Dr which improvements are only needed as a direct result of the project itself. This rebate to allow the developer to put in road improvements and a bridge at City cost for which the developer should be paying anyway is just another huge give-away to the developer by the City.

    The remaining $3,000,000 left to the City will be used to pay for the new “tight diamond” freeway off-ramp from westbound I-80, but this amount is expected to only cover about 30 – 40% of that project’s estimated $7,000,000 to $10,000,000 cost. Taxpayers will pay the remainder of the costs without further financial assistance from the developer. And all other improvements along Richards Blvd necessitated by this project will also be paid for by the City instead of the developer.

    Further, Exhibit F – Transportation and Circulation Commitments of the the draft Development Agreement states,

    “Circulation improvements to serve the Property, including the grade-separated crossing to the UC Davis campus and the bridge over the Putah Creek Parkway, are solely the responsibility of Developer, at the Developer’s sole cost, subject to the possibility of fee credits as set forth on Exhibit I . Notwithstanding the above, City and Developer shall collaborate to seek grant or other financing for grade-separated connection to UC Davis.

    City shall diligently pursue Richards/I80 interchange improvements, provided, however, that the City Council shall determine whether t it has the available funds to construct the improvements prior to construction. City and Developer shall attempt to leverage local funds with SACOG or grant funding (emphasis added).

    Boy…that sure sounds like the City is at least partially paying for these other traffic improvements and it sure sounds a lot like “lobbying” to me – both of which Mr. Lee says we are NOT doing.

    But that’s not all! The draft development Agreement also states,

    “Prior to construction of Olive Drive frontage improvements, City and Developer shall enter into an agreement for reimbursement from Olive Drive property owners for frontage improvements constructed by Developer should Olive Drive properties be redeveloped within 25 years of the effective date of this Agreement.”

    Strange that this language doesn’t say anywhere whether the developer or the City gets “reimbursed”. What do you want to bet that these expected payments are “reimbursed” to the developer instead of the City.?

    Jeez – Is it any wonder the City is broke when we continue to hand out entitlements like candy on Halloween? But don’t worry – we’ll make it up on volume because Mace Ranch is coming up next.

     

    1. The Pugilist

      The irony is that your solution to the city not getting enough is to ensure that the city is getting nothing in the way of the $1.4 million in ongoing revenue for Nishi.  That certainly isn’t going to help our finances.

      1. Ron

        The Pugilist:  “The irony is that your solution to the city not getting enough is to ensure that the city is getting nothing in the way of the $1.4 million in ongoing revenue for Nishi.  That certainly isn’t going to help our finances.”

        This is exactly what I predicted.  The developer and supporters of this proposed development are now inappropriately touting the $1.4 million figure as “fact”, and are disregarding the wide range of possible outcomes (including ongoing deficits – per the city’s own consultant), if this development is approved. 

        Not to mention the other roadway improvement costs that will be paid by the city (which apparently weren’t even considered in the consultant’s analysis), as Mr. Pryor mentions in the article above.

        And, that’s not even considering the other major concern (for many), regarding the complete elimination of affordable housing (to the tune of millions of dollars), under questionable circumstances.

         

         

        1. The Pugilist

          I have read the physical projections just as you have. I don’t think it’s a very difficult concept to understand that there is uncertainty and a range of possible outcomes, but I think the 1.4 million is actually a very reasonable projection.

        2. Barack Palin

          Ron, David made the same high ball assumption of the $1.4 million figure in an article a few days ago instead of citing the $500,000 to $1.4 million projection.

  3. Frankly

    The “amount of net revenue” that any commercial development will bring into any city is a product of the per-unit cost of city services.  Davis has a very low amount of existing commercial development per capita, and so any commercial development is going to generate a lower amount of net revenue than in other communities with an existing greater inventory of commercial development… because Davis has high per-unit costs.  With more units, the cost per unit falls and the revenue per unit increases.

    This is the economies of scale factor.

    For example, a larger city will have fewer city employees per property unit.

    Davis needs another 1000 acres of commercial development over the the next 30-40 years.   With each successive developnent the amount of net revenue per acre will increase.

    But we will never get there if we vote down all commerical development because it does not return a level of net revenue that we would like to see.

      1. Alan Pryor

        If we never build anything, there will never be any net revenue

        But at least we won’t lose our shirts like it seems with every project this City negotiates

    1. Alan Pryor

      This is the economies of scale factor.

      For example, a larger city will have fewer city employees per property unit.

      C’mon, Frankly. A true good strong conservative would never say we have to increase our development tax revenue to justify our high employee costs per unit of development just like a true conservative would never say we have to increase property or sales taxes to justify having such a large or expansive local government. A true conservative would simply say we have to get our employee costs in line first before we start looking for new money to grab. Essentially this is what the Finance and Budget Commission said when they advised the Council to undertake no new tax revenue measures without first doing a complete and exhaustive analysis of the City’s cost and expense structure.

      Does any else detect this somewhat change in heart in this staunchest of conservatives on the Vanguard blog?

      1. Frankly

        C’mon, Alan Pryor – read what I wrote again and try one more time.  I know you have all the smarts required to understand.

        Economies of scale.

        The fact that Davis is paying $150k per employee per year is asinine, absurd, unsustainable and unfair.  But at least Davis is in good company there.   Article just came out that the Federal government is $20 trillion in the hole for fed employee retirement benefit commitments.

        Where Davis shines like a big steaming pile of cow dung is the ratio of general fund revenue derived from our local economy per city employee.  Grow the local economy and that ratio goes up.   Therefore each successive innovation park would tend to demonstrate a greater return to the city.

        So my point stands.  Kill the project over objections that it will not bring in enough revenue, and this argument will just continue to perpetuate itself… which is a convenient mechanism for blocking development… as is the demand for perfection.

  4. Alan Pryor

     

    Lucas Frerichs stated in his response:

    The development process used for Nishi was pretty much exactly as most people suggest it should be; it wasn’t developer-driven, it was a citizen-driven planning process. The Nishi proposal went through most of the city commissions (some multiple times), and there were numerous public meetings/workshops/outreach over the course of the multi-year process, continually refining the proposal along the way. Additionally, a group of stalwart citizens (informally the “Nishi Working Group”) spent countless hours providing input, which improved the final proposal; I’m greatly appreciative of their efforts.  A subcommittee of the Council, (Robb/Rochelle) were tasked with assisting in development of baseline features/Development Agreement….The vast majority of items asked of the applicant, Tim Ruff, were agreed to, and included into the final proposal.

     
    Again, this is inaccurate and very misleading or I must be living in an alternative universe from Mr. Frerichs. Neither the Council nor the developer ever agreed to the “vast majority of items” recommended by the various commissions (I am a commissioner on the NRC and attended most other Commission meetings on Nishi) and the Nishi Working Group (of which I was a stalwart member and participated in almost every meeting with Staff, Council members, and the developer).

    So let’s stroll down memory lane and see just how many of these recommendations made by the Commissions or the Nishi Working Group were actually accepted by Council or the developer.

    The Natural Resources Commission (NRC) formally recommended the highest level of LEED certification (Platinum) to truly make the project energy efficient => The Council and developer only agreed to the lowest level of LEED certification (Silver). Staff told Council they were recommending this low level because it was consistent with UC Davis standards while neglecting to mention these standards are almost 15 years old and that of the 9 most recently completed building projects at UCD, 7 were LEED Platinum and 2 were LEED Gold. So much for keeping up with the Jones.

    The NRC also recommended that the Council impose Greenhouse Gas mitigation fees to put teeth into the otherwise completely voluntary efforts by the developer to try down emissions => The developer refused this request and the Council acquiesced which blows our Climate Action Plan out of the water.

    The Bicycle, Transportation and Traffic Safety Commission recommended an independent review of the Traffic Study performed for the City because many of the assumptions used in the study were questioned => The City Council ignored this request and approved the project without a 2nd opinion and they were subsequently sued for breach of CEQA standards on traffic analysis.

    The Nishi Working Group continually pleaded for LEED Platinum certification and greenhouse gas mitigation (similar to the NRC) => The developer and City ignored this request and instead have a semi-self certification process that does not require the developer to achieve any efficiency standards beyond LEED Silver.

    The Nishi Working Group also requested full compliance with affordable housing requirements of the City not knowing the developer had been secretly exempted by the City in closed door, backroom earlier meetings => The developer refused any consideration of affordable housing and stated the project was “dead” if these affordable housing requirements were imposed and the Council acquiesced. Again, the City and developer were sued for these gross violations of the City’s Affordable Housing Ordinance.

    Finally, the Finance and Budget Commission, requested that the City look at its cash flow arising from the project because there will be millions of dollars of roadway improvement expenditures expended before many of the impact fees are received by the City from the developer. The City has touted in election materials that it will receive “up to $9,000,000 in one time fees paid to the City” but fail to note these are intended to off-set costs costs actually created by the project, or that their payment would be delayed five to ten years, if ever. Meanwhile, the taxpayers will pay for most of the local road upgrades required by the project, at a cost of millions.

    Amazingly, however, the City has not even done a year-by-year cash flow analysis of their potential income and expenditures to see how deep of a financial hole it is digging for itself in the early years of roadway construction expenses but before offsetting fees are paid by the developer. Although the City Council indicated it would be desirable to have this information before approval of the project, in their haste to put the project of the ballot at the last possible moment this exercise in fiscal sanity was never performed. If a business owner proposed such an arrangement to its banker while negotiating a loan, the businessperson would be immediately shown to the door.

    In summary, the Citizen review process touted by Mr. Frerichs was a sham because every substantive request for improvements were either completely rejected, or ignored, or watered down to make compliance voluntary When was the last time we saw a developer actually make good on “voluntary” commitments. We need to look no further than the Cannery where that developer left the City looking like a person walking out of the casino with nothing to show except a wooden barrel around them.
     

  5. Brett

    The municipal code for required affordable housing is quite clear, I have posted it here. It was updated in 2013. Please note section (c):

    (c)    Residential components of a vertical mixed use development are exempt from the requirements of this article.

    It is available at

    http://qcode.us/codes/davis/

    Vertical mixed use, and high density rental apartments have not been subject to the city’s affordable housing requirement program.  So I am not sure where Alan gets the idea of an $11 million subsidy.

    It’s ok if people don’t like the project and don’t want to vote for the project.  I think reasonable people can come up with good arguments for and against the project.

    I am not sure it is necessary to create a fictional account of what happened concerning the affordable housing requirement though.

    ===
    18.05.080 Exemptions from affordable housing requirements.

    (a)    Residential developments consisting of fewer than five units are exempt from the requirements of this article.
    (b)    Residential developments constructed as exempt condominiums are exempt from the requirements of this article.
    (c)    Residential components of a vertical mixed use development are exempt from the requirements of this article.
    (d)    The requirements of this article may be adjusted or waived if the developer demonstrates to the satisfaction of the city council that there is not a reasonable relationship between the impact of a proposed residential project and the requirements of this article, or that applying the requirement of this article would take property in violation of the United States or California Constitutions.
    To receive an adjustment or waiver, the developer must request it when applying for first approval of the residential development, or through submittal of a draft affordable housing plan to the city. The matter shall be considered before the city council within thirty days. In making the finding or determination, the city council may assume the following: (1) the developer is subject to the inclusionary housing requirements in this article; (2) availability of any incentives, affordable financing, or subsidies; and (3) the most economical affordable housing product in terms of construction, design, location, and tenure. For purposes of a taking determination, the developer has the burden of providing economic and financial documentation and other evidence necessary to establish that application of this article would constitute a taking of the property without just compensation.
    If it is determined that the application of the provisions in this article would constitute a taking, the inclusionary requirements for the residential development shall be modified to reduce the inclusionary housing obligations to the extent and only to the extent necessary to avoid a taking. If it is determined that no taking would occur by application of this article, the requirements of the article remain applicable and no approvals for the residential project shall be issued unless the developer has executed an affordable housing plan pursuant to the requirements of this article. (Ord. 2418 § 1, 2013)

    1. Ron

      Brett:  “Residential components of a vertical mixed use development are exempt from the requirements of this article.”

      Part of the problem, as I understand it, is that the developer has not released plans that would sufficiently define the development as “vertical mixed use”.  In fact, the developer doesn’t even seem to understand the requirements.  For example, I recall that the developer recently stated that he would “obviously” put laundry rooms, etc., for tenants on the ground floor (despite the fact that this is prohibited by the city’s ordinance, to meet the definition of “vertical mixed use”).  There was an entire discussion regarding this on the Vanguard, a couple of days ago. (I recall that David Greenwald encouraged others to search for “exceptions” to this rule.)

      If the developer allows residential usage to “spread” to the ground floor (where commercial enterprises are supposed to be located), it defeats the purpose of having “vertical mixed use”, and invalidates the city’s decision to allow this development to bypass affordable housing requirements.

      I understand that are also serious concerns regarding the process (or lack thereof) that the city used when determining that the development did not have to adhere to affordability requirements.  (This also seems to be confirmed by the inadequate examination of the first point, above.)

      I’m not an expert in this area, but this is what I’ve gathered from reading the Vanguard, so far.

       

    2. Alan Pryor

      It’s ok if people don’t like the project and don’t want to vote for the project.  I think reasonable people can come up with good arguments for and against the project.

      I am not sure it is necessary to create a fictional account of what happened concerning the affordable housing requirement though.

      Really, Brett? So you think it is the people who oppose the project because there is no affordable housing who are creating a “fictional account” and not the developer/Staff/Council who are trying to cover up either their accidental or intentional circumvention of the intent and the spirit and the letter of the law?….Wow!

       

  6. Alan Pryor

    Per the City Code as posted by Brett: “To receive an adjustment or waiver, the developer must request it when applying for first approval of the residential development, or through submittal of a draft affordable housing plan to the city. The matter shall be considered before the city council within thirty days.

    According to Katherine Hess, the developer never submitted an Affordable Housing Plan or formally requested an adjustment or waiver. Everyone on the inside just assumed the requirements would be waived. The matter also was NOT publicly considered by the City Council within 30 days. Indeed, I am still waiting to see what formal discussions, if any, had been had between the developer and the City. It looks like there were none which is itself is a violation of the Affordable Housing Ordinance. Granted, there is a public process by which waivers or specialized plans can be granted but this public process was never followed by the developer and the Council.

    1. Ron

      Michael Harrington:  “Maybe I’ll borrow a drone and show some video of the gridlock out there ….”

      Indeed, this is a primary concern of many.  (Without even discussing the finances, affordability requirements, etc.).

      Regardless, I don’t think you need a drone.  Anyone who passes through that intersection/interchange already knows about it.

      1. hpierce

        And, anyone passing through the corridor @ peak hour is part of the congestion… duh… think Pogo  (Walt Kelly)… “we have met the enemy…”

        http://quotesgram.com/walt-kelly-quotes/#PoK7owP76X

        I use that corridor, but am smart enough not to do so near/at peak hours… for others, am thinking Darwinism…

        That said, the problem exists, and it is not due to Nishi… however that is also why I say I’ll not vote for Nishi unless the only ‘non-emergency’ motor vehicle access is onto UCD.

  7. skeptical

     
    The section Brett references would exclude residential space from the affordable housing requirement, IF the project were found to meet the requirements of a mixed use project.  There is no rational reading of the ordinance that the Nishi units are mixed use. 
     
    That aside, the City has a policy to provide affordable housing.  Nishi provides NO AFFORDABLE HOUSING.  This is an inescapable fact that contradicts City policy.  If the City thought there was a legitimate trade off being provided by the Nishi project, that trade off should have been publicly discussed and decided on its own merit.  The public would have had an opportunity to comment or to file a referendum.  Instead, we have a complete mess tossed before the voters and the courts. 
     

    1. Ron

      ryankelly:  “This complicates Council voting for many, I think.”

      True, if one uses support for Nishi as a litmus test.  However, there seems to be some acknowledgement from Matt Williams, at least, that the development is not ready to be presented to voters, as noted in his statements above (and repeated here):  

      Per Matt:  “I absolutely do not support the February 16th decision establishing the premature June Measure A vote.”

      (I’ve previously pressed Matt pretty hard, to define his positions. And, I still suspect that he may not be the slowest-growth candidate, overall. However, that may also not be the primary concern of some.)

      1. Matt Williams

        That is an excellent assessment Ron.  Thank you for your objectivity.

        The one thing I would add is that I will fight tenaciously to achieve the following:

        — I believe UCD needs to step up and commit a significant financial contribution to the infrastructure construction costs. 
        — I believe the current Development Agreement needs to be amended to be explicit that the UCD contribution will go to the City, not the developer. 
        — I believe UCD needs to sign the Development Agreement so that it reflects the same three-party status that has defined the project since its inception. 
        — I believe that motor vehicle access from Nishi to Olive Drive needs to be restricted to Emergency Vehicles and Public Transit vehicles only, with access for delivery vehicles during restricted off peak hours. 

         

      1. Matt Williams

        I would not characterize myself as a slow-growth candidate.

        I would characterize my self as a candidate committed toconsistently making Better Decisions for a Better Davis using  reliable, repeatable, transparent processes, that lead to value-driven decisions in a culture of accountability.

        The Sacramento Bee, in its editorial today described me as having “deployed valuable fiscal and technical expertise for many years on local commissions, and would be a thoughtful and diligent council presence.”

        That is a reasonable description.

      2. Matt Williams

        As is often the case in Davis, different people view events/issues from different perspectives.  Recent evaluations of my candidacy are no different.  The Bee Editorial Board says

        “his detailed policy approach – he was deeply involved the city’s long, complex debate over water rates, for instance – seems better suited to advisory positions”

        while Bob Dunning in the Davis Enterprise says

        “if anyone deserves to be on the council, it’s Matt, who worked tirelessly crunching numbers during the highly contentious water rate debate several years ago. A good heart and a good mind can carry you far in this town if Matt can reach enough voters.”

        Put those two assessments together and you have someone working tirelessly with a detailed policy approach with a good heart and a good mind.   That’s a pretty fair description of me, and it is definitely a good description of what Davis needs as it wrestles with its challenges.

        JMHO

        Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/opinion/editorials/article70635242.html#storylink=cpy

        1. hpierce

          Not as a response to Matt, but as clarification, the Sac Bee has a terrible sense of direction, and that mis-information should be weighed with the rest of their opinion…

          Nishi is EAST of UCD, not SOUTH… 90 degree error tells me something… not opposite, but sideways…

        2. Matt Williams

          hpierce, I hope the Bee doesn’t have misinformation because I just sent them the following thank you note.

          From: Matt Williams <matt4davis@pacbell.net>
          To: “Hubler, Shawn” <shubler@sacbee.com>
          Cc: Bob Dunning <bdunning@davisenterprise.net>
          Sent: Friday, April 8, 2016 8:27 PM
          Subject: Re: Sacramento Bee editorial endorsement

          Shawn, as I said yesterday it would be an honor to be endorsed by the Bee, but this morning’s article showed that as is often the case in Davis, different people view events/issues from different perspectives.  Recent evaluations of my candidacy are no different.  Three quotes from your Editorial Board’s description of me in the article are particularly noteworthy.

          … having deployed valuable fiscal and technical expertise for many years on local commissions,

          … would be a thoughtful and diligent council presence.

          … his detailed policy approach – he was deeply involved the city’s long, complex debate over water rates, for instance – seems better suited to advisory positions

          Especially when those quotes are brought together with Bob Dunning’s recent words in the Davis Enterprise,

          … if anyone deserves to be on the council, it’s Matt, who worked tirelessly crunching numbers during the highly contentious water rate debate several years ago. A good heart and a good mind can carry you far in this town if Matt can reach enough voters.

          Put those two assessments together and you have a thoughtful and diligent council presence working tirelessly with a detailed policy approach, valuable fiscal and technical expertise, and a good heart and a good mind.   That’s a pretty fair description of me, and it is definitely a good description of what Davis needs on the Council as it wrestles with its challenges.  Thank you for your contribution to that collaborative description.

          All my best.

          Matt

        3. Misanthrop

          In fact the SacBee does not endorse Matt Williams suggesting he is a carpetbagger( my word for it) who has ” Lived in the Davis proper for little more than a year” and that “He seems better suited to advisory positions.”

          If you only read Matt’s post above you would think he was endorsed by the Bee when in reality he was the only candidate not endorsed. I hope if Matt is elected we won’t see this sort of out of context reasoning from Matt on a regular basis.

          Matt also seems to want to have it both ways on Nishi, not wanting it to be on the ballot in June but then supporting it since it is on the ballot in June. At first I thought Matt was going for the against everything vote but then he reverses and goes for the build it they have come vote and in the process probably loses votes on both sides.

          If anything Matt makes the case for doing away with Measure R because he shows that the development calendar and the election calendar don’t work well together. For that I thank you Matt.

        4. Matt Williams

          Misanthrop said . . . “Matt also seems to want to have it both ways on Nishi, not wanting it to be on the ballot in June but then supporting it since it is on the ballot in June. At first I thought Matt was going for the against everything vote but then he reverses and goes for the build it they have come vote and in the process probably loses votes on both sides.”

          Misanthrop misses the point I have very clearly made.  The June 7th vote on Nishi is a choice between two highly flawed alternatives.  There is a third alternative, not to vote, but that would be nothing more than equivocation.  The Council has placed the Nishi choice on the ballot.  It is what it is . . . and what I have said is that one choice is less fatally flawed than the other . . . and then explained why I see it that way.

          The February 16th choice is very different.  It is not a choice between two highly flawed choices.  One choice has significant flaws and the other choice has virtually no flaws.  Again there is a third choice, not to vote, but again, that would be equivocation.

          Two different situations, and two different choices.

          Misanthrop said . . . “If you only read Matt’s post above you would think he was endorsed by the Bee when in reality he was the only candidate not endorsed.”

          Here too Misanthrop misses the point of my e-mail to Shawn Hubler, the Bee’s Deputy Editorial Page Editor.  It was/is a straight up acknowledgement on my part that as much as I would have loved to earn the Bee’s endorsement, I failed to do so.  That acknowledgement is then followed by my thanking Shawn for the kind words about me that the Bee included in their article.

           

           

  8. sisterhood

    Re: Affordable housing. In 2003 I put down a $14000. deposit and eventually lost it all in 2010 when the city took over DACHA’s co-operative and my home became a rental.

    What safeguards are in place so no other Davis resident loses their life savings?

      1. Justice4All

        For once, I agree with BP. The fact that the council saw fit to approve the project without an affordable housing component is frankly ridiculous. Just because the council believes it complies with existing ordinance, by no means excuses the moral failings if not the legal ones. Simply because government can declare something it does legal, does not mean it is by any measure a moral action. I believe this to be the case with the Nishi project.

      2. hpierce

        Define “affordable housing”… if they price the housing more than the market will bear, they won’t be able to rent/sell it (and will probably need to reduce their price) … do you mean “subsidized” housing (who pays for the subsidy)?  Housing for the “shelterless”?  Meant as an honest question… I hear the term “affordable housing”, but seem to hear multiple versions of what that means… what is your definition?

        Who “qualifies” for affordable housing?

  9. Misanthrop

    I  ask  those who are concerned about affordable housing  give an example of where they have shown a concern about affordable housing in the past? While I can show many examples of where those opposed to this project have opposed other projects I can’t remember them being champions for affordable housing until now.

  10. sisterhood

    This is a passage from the City of Davis Affordable Housing website:

    “One of the biggest accomplishments of the city’s affordable housing program is its variety of development types to meet the needs of the community. There are affordable homes and apartments, for rent and for purchase, spread throughout the city, in mixed income developments, and solely affordable developments. There are cooperative housing projects, senior-specific housing, and supportive housing for individuals with special needs.” 

    I would hardly call the DACHA debacle, where residents lost all of their deposits, their life savings, “one of the biggest accomplishments of the city’s affordable housing program…”

    “There are affordable homes…”  “There are cooperative housing projects…”

    Not really.
    ————————–
    Here is some info re: income:
    5% at rents affordable to households earning 80% of the area median income and 5% of the rents at affordable to households earning 50% of area median income. If units are not developed on-site then a project can offer an in-lieu fee of $75,000 per required number of affordable housing units, or land dedication (minimum of two acres). Based on information provided by the City of Davis the maximum monthly rents (including utility allowance) are assumed to be as follows:
    Very Low Income Low Income Bedrooms (50% of AMI) (80% of AMI)
    1-bedroom $ 669.00
    $1,129.00 2-bedroom $ 743.25
    $1,260.75 3-bedroom $ 806.25
    $1,382.50

  11. sisterhood

    General Information:
    The City of Davis Affordable Ownership Housing Program offers an opportunity for income-qualified households to purchase a home locally at a below market cost. To qualify for this equal opportunity program, a household’s gross annual income cannot exceed moderate-income levels for Yolo County, calculated at 120% of area median income. Based on the state income data, current maximum area median income (AMI) per household size is shown in the table below.

    120% of Area Median Income (2015 state income data):

    Household Size
    Income Limit

     1 person
     $64,600

     2 people
     $73,850

     3 people
     $83,050

     4 people
     $92,300

     5 people
     $99,700

     6 people
     $107,050

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