Sunday Commentary: The Davis Dilemma

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Sunrise-MRICThe Hyatt House hotel is only the most recent example of the difficulty of doing infill in Davis. Prior to that we have seen pushback from the neighbors of Trackside, Sterling Apartments and Paso Fino.  For the purposes of this discussion, let us assume that there are and were legitimate reasons for the neighbors to object to the size and scope of those prospective developments.

One thing we must all recognize is that the reason that the size and density of these infill projects are so high has to do with cost of building developments in Davis, relative lack of available infill land, and the unavailability of peripheral land that would be less impactful on most existing neighborhoods.

Nishi is the most recent example – and again, we do not want to preclude the fact that there were flaws with that proposal, only that Nishi became the third proposed Measure R vote and the third defeat for a peripheral project since 2000.

Where does that leave us?  Following the defeat of Wildhorse Ranch in 2009 by overwhelming margins, the city decided that Measure R projects were largely going to be off the table.  The focus was going to be on infill and densification.  While the city was finally able to get the Cannery approved in 2013, the going on infill projects has been slow and pinned the needs of the city against the needs of neighbors.

The hotel project at the Hyatt House is a good example.  The city is looking at expanding its hotel base as one way to increase revenue.  Fiscal analysis by Dan Carson suggests the project could net the city $700,000 on an annual basis.

As we know, the neighbors see it differently.  They see a high-density project that would be a poor fit next to their neighborhood, with potential for traffic, aesthetics, noise and other nuisances.

The city faces challenges on at least two fronts.  A very low vacancy rate for rental housing has made rentals expensive and has disadvantaged renters.  Some see the university and growth of enrollment as the key driver of this shortfall, and have pushed for the university to take on a much greater percentage of growth.

At the same time, the city is suffering from a revenue shortfall.  While the city budget appears balanced on paper, it is a precarious balance, dependent on the continuation of a second half-cent sales tax.  But that excludes an additional $14.28 million in underfunding for things like roads, parks, buildings, OPEB (Other Post-Employment Benefits), and PERS (Public Employees’ Retirement System).

The twenty-year shortfall for those items projects out to over $600 million.

The city is struggling to generate additional revenue.  As our previous analysis shows, the city’s under-development in retail has left it far below its neighbors in per capita retail sales, meaning its sales tax take overall is far less than either neighbors like Woodland, Dixon and West Sacramento or comparable university towns like Palo Alto and San Luis Obispo.

While the community loves the small town nature of Davis, it is quite clear that something has to give.  Right now, the city lacks the revenue necessary to continue to have its high level of services, and to maintain basic critical infrastructure for roads, bike paths, parks, buildings and the like.

The problem that we face is the lack of consensus for the direction that we take.  The narrow outcome on Nishi shows just one such divide, with a small 600-vote margin between those who believed that the city should approve Nishi – with its 1500 or so beds of rental housing and its 300,000 square feet of R&D space – and those who did not.

There is the infill route, which basically allows the council to make a decision on housing and mixed-use projects within the current confines of town.  However, as we saw with Embassy Suites, that does not preclude a lawsuit.  As we have seen with Paso Fino, Trackside, Sterling, and now the Hyatt House, it also does not preclude community pushback.

We do not know how the current council will rule on these projects. Past councils pushed Mission Residence through over neighbor objections, but forced the developers to greatly reduce the scope of Paso Fino.

With limited numbers of open space and a lack of money for redevelopment, the prospects for infill seem to be limited, but everyone will be watching the former Brinley Properties in downtown to see what the new owners have in mind for them.

The limitations for infill would naturally push us to look at the periphery again, particularly for research parks that could generate revenue.  But here too, we have barriers.  The city has still not passed a Measure R vote.

The developers who proposed projects north of Sutter-Davis and east of Mace Boulevard have since abandoned their plans – although, in a recent article in the Sacramento Business Journal, Dan Ramos of the MRIC (Mace Ranch Innovation Center) project said “he’s hopeful to re-introduce Mace ranch and get it to a Measure R vote.”

There seem to be at least two considerations here.  The first is the prospect of spending millions on a project without getting it approved.  Finding a way to reduce uncertainty for developers might make them more willing to figure out a solution to the second problem – financing for a commercial-only project.

The Vanguard has had extensive discussions with developers and others with knowledge of both the Davis Innovation Center and MRIC and, despite community skepticism about intentions, the reality seems to be that financing for a commercial-only project is problematic at best. The inclusion of housing offers more certainty for a return on investment than non-retail commercial.

People inevitably ask whether they realized this limitation going in – and the answer to that appears to be no, that this represented a problem that was unanticipated going in, and more serious than they probably recognized.

That means that, unless the community is willing to accept mixed-use, these research parks are going to be difficult to build.  One potential way around that problem would be if the city, private developers and UC Davis went in on these projects together and UC Davis invested hundreds of millions of upfront financing to make it pencil out for the private entities – that’s what happened at both USC and Purdue, although both of those projects had housing as well.

As we have noted in the past, peripheral retail has generally been a non-starter.  The city was able to get Target approved and through the voters – narrowly – but the general consensus has been to shy away from peripheral retail as a revenue solution.

Again, looking at the revenue projections and the unfunded city needs – something has to give.  Right now it is unclear what.  Are the residents of Davis ready for massive new taxes?  Are they ready for a huge decline in quality of the community?  Those are the only alternatives to changing land use.  At some point the community has to decide, and in ten years, one way or another, Davis will look very different from how it looks today – we just have to decide how and whether it is for better or for worse.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

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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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152 thoughts on “Sunday Commentary: The Davis Dilemma”

  1. Barack Palin

    Maybe the neighbors can get some small compromises on the project but it needs to get built.  It’s time for our city council to get tough and step up and approve this project.

  2. Tia Will

    “It’s time for our city council to get tough and step up and approve this project.”

    I especially like the part about “get tough”.  Perfectly designed to get less opposition the next time a project requesting variances is proposed.

    1. Barack Palin

      More directed at the council itself than against the neighbors.  It will be hard for them to not cave to opposition as they usually do but at some point the council is going to have to start okaying these types of projects because the city needs the funds.  So the council members themselves need to dig deep, toughen up and do what is needed.

      1. Matt Williams

        BP, I concur with Tia, especially since dealing with some of the neighbors’ concerns can be productively dealt with.  For example, one of their most heartfelt concerns is about the 4th floor sight lines into their back yards.  That concern can be eliminated with some straightforward design changes of the hotel’s rooms on the 4th floor.

        Drawing a line in the sand will only make the “next” project’s all the more intransigent.

        1. hpierce

          Yes, but I distinguish between factually based “concerns”, and “feeling/emotive/speculative” concerns as to land use decisions, that, as you have pointed out, are basically ‘legislation’.

          I understand why others are more of the “my mind is made up, don’t try to confuse me with facts” stripe…

  3. Tia Will

    BP

    do what is needed.”

    First I appreciate your statement that your comment is not intended as adversarial to the neighbors. I suspect that they see the project, not your comments, as quite adversarial from their point of view.

    The bigger problem is that there is not universal agreement on “what is needed”. As you know, I believe that a higher level of taxation “is needed”. I doubt that you agree with that proposition. You might also disagree with an assertion that our city council should “just toughen up” and propose and strongly support additional and/or higher taxes despite my feelings on the matter.

    1. Barack Palin

      As shown on here several times we would need to double parcel taxes in order to fill our needs.  Now on a doctor’s salary I’m sure that won’t be a problem for you but for the majority of other homeowners that would be a huge burden if not impossible.  So we need to find other revenue and this hotel would be a great start. So maybe it’s you that needs to compromise on your no to little growth stance because I’ve already compromised and stated I and many others are willing to pay a roads parcel tax.

      1. Tia Will

        BP

        I see that you are not counting my advocacy for Nishi, nor my to date neutrality on the issue of this hotel, as compromise from my unapologetic “slow growth” preference.

        I believe that the issue is much more complicated than “yes” or “no” both with regard to taxes and to projects.  I agree that we need to find other sources of revenue. Whether or not this hotel is “a great start” is open to debate at this point. It is the specific merits and deficits of the specific tax or project that drives me, not my just my overall philosophy of slow growth.  I have favored economic and housing developments that I saw as a positive for the community ( Nishi) just as I have opposed those that I saw as an overall negative ( The Cannery). I have favored a number of taxes that you have spoken out against that would not have had nearly the impact of the parcel tax but whose impact would not have been zero ( the soda tax).

        Your prefer a strategy of passing the costs of our economic choices onto others ( a TOT) being the perfect example of this, while I prefer paying for our choices ourselves. Both strategies have advantages and disadvantages. Neither of us pretend that we do not need more resources for the city. We just see fiscal responsibility differently.

         

        1. Barack Palin

          Your prefer a strategy of passing the costs of our economic choices onto others ( a TOT) being the perfect example of this, while I prefer paying for our choices ourselves.

          I guess you missed the part where I said I’m willing to pay a roads parcel tax in addition to the $2200 I already pay in local city, school and mello-roos parcel taxes.

        2. Barack Palin

          Another thing, I’m not for all development.  I spoke up about Trackside when it was proposed as a 6 story structure.  I felt that was irresponsible to slap that tall of a structure in your area.  It was a huge overreach by the investors.  But the Hyatt Hotel is proposed to be under the height limit with setback and greenbelt mitigations so I really don’t see the problem.  I don’t see Hyatt as being irresponsible at all as I viewed Trackside.

  4. Delia .

    I guess I understand why some folks think I shouldn’t sign your petition.  I left Davis years ago. But part of the reason I left was due to its changes. I didn’t like my neighbors’ kids or their buddies getting pepper sprayed. I didnt like a big overweight cop handcuffing me, a woman smaller than him, for no good reason. I didn’t like wealthy privileged women looking down their nose at me because I was not a stay at home Mom. I don’t like Republicans verbally bullying me.

    I do like walking around downtown, years after I’ve moved away, and always running into someone I know. Every time. I do like going to central park on  warm Wednesday evening. I do like seeing so many people smile when they are out walking their dogs.

    I don’t think the Hyatt will make me smile next time I visit.  The tiny house idea? That would.

    1. Delia .

      P.S. I was not referring to wealthy privileged women who spend lots of time with their kids. I was referring to the judgy types who spend hours at pilates, Nordys, book/wine clubs and Napa vacations while their Latina housekeepers raise their kids.

    2. Tia Will

      Delia

      I related to your post about “wealthy privileged women looking down their nose at me….” from a different angle. I consider myself to be a “wealthy privileged woman” even though I got there through a combination of support from the taxpayers, serendipity, and my own hard work. I got to see a weird dichotomy in my upscale Davis neighborhood twenty five years ago. One episode in which I was verbally criticized for being a “professional woman” spoken with biting disdain when ironically enough I had taken my children to the park without changing out of my business casual attire specifically so I could spend time with them. A second episode when I was assumed to hold the same classist views of another professional woman in the neighborhood who thought that I would also see the perfectly normal behavior of enjoying the park by some families from a nearby apartment complex as “riff-raff”! And no, I didn’t make that up. It is a direct quote !

      I am much, much happier in my current, very diverse neighborhood where no assumption is made about my views based on my profession. I hope that you also have managed to find a place more in alignment with your values even if not in Davis.!

    3. South of Davis

      Delia wrote:

      > I don’t like Republicans verbally bullying me.

      Did you really have a problems with Republicans “verbally bullying” you when you lived in Davis?  I have never met Frankly and in all my years in Davis I have (really) never met Republican that lives in town (and never spotted one “verbally bullying” anyone).  I know we have a small number of Republicans based on voter registration information but I suspect most of them are over 70 and hang out together playing bridge while the real small number under 70 tend to stay “in the closet” (like gay guys living in the bible belt in the 1950’s) …

      1. Tia Will

        I don’t like Republicans verbally bullying me.”

        One thing that I have learned about having views that are considered extreme by the majority where one lives is that one certainly does get “bullied”. But it is certainly not exclusive to Republicans. Because I believe in a universal base income, in health care as a right of citizenship, in free education through college or trade acquisition, and a whole host of things that others see as unrealistic or “utopian” ( completely ignoring the fact that as humans we have the ability to shape and change our society to a more humane one if we chose to) I get “bullying” behaviors frequently. The major difference between the type of bullying behavior is that my Republican or more conservative friends tend to belittle me verbally, while my Democrat or more left leaning friends more commonly simply end or shift the conversation thereby using withdrawal of social interaction as their means of attempting to nudge me back in line.

        One major difference is that I enjoy the dialogue and the exchange of ideas even when I feel I am being “bullied”. It tends to bring out the advocate in me rather than the “victim” as my friend Frankly ( with whom I have interacted on a number of occasions) would say.

         

        1. Matt Williams

          To answer your question BP, I think fiscal responsibility is very much part of the Davis Dilemma.  And candid discussions about fiscal responsibility has definitely injected itself into the community dialogue about the Davis Dilemma.

          Some people see a frank/candid discussion of fiscal responsibility as Republican bullying.

        2. Barack Palin

          Not to mention wealthy women looking down their noses, the pepper spray incident, cops handcuffing, verbal criticism for being a professional woman, etc.

          Matt, maybe you can tie all that into the topic of the article too?

          If you can then I take it that no comments are ever off topic.

        3. Tia Will

          Nothing and I invite Don to pull my off topic posts. I was just having a good time.

          [moderator] Maybe you all can just leave it at this now, and stay on topic. Thanks.

  5. Misanthrop

    “Are they ready for a huge decline in quality of the community?  Those are the only alternatives to changing land use.  At some point the community has to decide – and in ten years, one way or another Davis will look very different from how it looks today – we just have to decide how and whether it is for better or for worse.”

    Depends on what you think is a decline in quality of community.

    I think increasing density, declining infrastructure or high housing costs all represent a decline in the quality of the community.

    I would rather we get rid of Measure R and address our pent up demand for growth by expanding the borders of Davis in every feasible direction taking into the city all the frontier properties around our borders. Of course that would also have its impacts but they are more manageable than the course we have taken.

    1. Tia Will

      Misanthrop

      Depends on what you think is a decline in quality of community.”

      This, I believe is a very tidy summary of the problem that we face. The community appears to be divided on what “decline in quality of community” means. This is part of the reason that I would support a robust revision of our General Plan to reflect our current situation rather than the perception of our situation prior to the recession and prior to the increased rate of addition of students to the University.

  6. Ron

    From article:  “Finding a way to reduce uncertainty for developers might make them more willing to figure out a solution to the second problem – financing for a commercial only project.”

    One way to reduce “uncertainty” (regarding a Measure R vote) is to abandon the idea of peripheral development that includes housing.  Peripheral housing far from campus and downtown is a “lightning rod”, virtually guaranteeing its defeat.  (I know that I’ll work hard toward its defeat, if such a proposal arises.)

    From article:  ” . . . despite community skepticism about intentions, the reality seems to be that financing for a commercial-only project is problematic at best.”

    Uhm – yes.  Seems strange that commercial developments are built “all the time”, without including housing.

    David:  Are you supporting (in theory) an MRIC development with housing?  You’ve made many comments in the past, stating that we should be “open to such an idea”.  (I’ll take that as a “maybe”, and one that you’ll continue pushing in the months ahead.  In any case, you seem to be taking the “developer’s side”, regarding the “impossibility” of commercial-only financing, at this point.)

    After the Nishi battle, I was hoping that you might take the lead on solutions that doesn’t meet with as much controversy (e.g, a hotel or two “somewhere”, campus housing, a tax for road maintenance, etc.).

    I don’t want to say “bring it on”, since I’m not looking to tear apart the community again, and expend a lot of effort.  But, if that’s what it takes, well . . .  (And much of the “fight” will not be occurring on the Vanguard – it will take place in affected neighborhoods, which I suspect will overwhelmingly oppose it.)

    Bring on the comments, whatever.  It certainly will increase the amount of comments on the Vanguard, in the months ahead.  But, I’m much more interested in “defeating” it, rather than “debating” it.

    I’m actually losing interest in a commercial-only development, as well.  I’ve had it with the games being played.

    Also – let’s hear more about the B.S. “Armageddon” that will arise, if we don’t accept a development with housing.

     

    1. David Greenwald Post author

      I’m not supporting or opposing anything at this point. All I’m trying to do is lay out the problems and arguing that the status quo doesn’t work. The community is going to give somewhere and figure out where that place is.

      If you don’t want to see a commerce development – and I can understand that – where do you see the city recouping the money it needs for infrastructure? That’s the dilemma we face right now. It’s easy to say what you don’t want – I get that – but the trick is to find what you want.

      “Are you supporting (in theory) an MRIC development with housing?” – In my analysis I suggest a way to avoid housing with the innovation centers.

  7. Tia Will

    BP

    I guess you missed the part where I said I’m willing to pay a roads parcel tax in addition to the $2200 I already pay in local city, school and mello-roos parcel taxes.”

    No, I certainly did not miss it. It was not me accusing you of unwillingness to compromise.

     

  8. hpierce

    Uhm – yes.  Seems strange that commercial developments are built “all the time”, without including housing.

    Well, Ron, guess the Roe Building, the Lofts, the Chen building, Del Rio Live/Work, the building project that includes Crepeville, the proposed Trackside, etc., are all ‘aberrations’.

    It is actually a “norm” in many older cities (and many older towns) in the US, Europe, and throughout the world.  But we’re smarter and more enlightened than those communities. If you consider hotels to be a form of housing (I do, it is a short-term lease of a premises for temporary housing), add Palm Court, if you accept my definition of ‘housing’.

    The model tends to minimize vehicular trips, particularly by automobile.

    I do not consider the current proposal (Hyatt) to be ‘peripheral development’.

    In the downtown, particularly, mixed use is a great model… having downtown “populated”… usually results in less crime, more use of the commercial/retail opportunities, etc.

    But, not for Davis… we’re too ‘special’ for that…

    1. David Greenwald Post author

      “Seems strange that commercial developments are built “all the time”, without including housing.”

      I meant to separate R&D projects from retail projects, but it seems that never made it into the piece. The closest I got to making that point was here: “The inclusion of housing offers more certainty for a return on investment than non-retail commercial.” But I needed a paragraph to flesh that point out better. My bad.

      1. hpierce

        Actually, David, you may want to do more research before writing that ‘missing paragraph’.  Turn-over (due to economic return) appears to me (apocryphal, no expertise here) has always seemed higher in retail uses, rather than non-retail commercial, except perhaps downtown, but even then…

        Part may be due to the fact that most (but certainly not all) retail uses are leases, not ownership.  Less true for non-retail.  ex.  pretty sure Mori Seki owns its site.

        On the other side, pretty sure Davis Ace, Target, Hibbert, own their sites.

        1. South of Davis

          hpierce wrote:

          > pretty sure Mori Seki owns its site.

          They don’t own it is owned by James Didion former CEO of CB Richard Ellis (writer Joan Dision’s brother)

          http://www.costar.com/News/Article/Mori-Seiki-Bldg-in-Davis-Trades-for-$137-Million/136584

          > On the other side, pretty sure Davis Ace, Target, Hibbert, own their sites.

          Davis ACE are not “typical” retailers since ACE has been in town (using different names) for over 100 years and Hibbert had been around for over 50 years.  I have heard that Target does own the Davis store but also leases stores at many other locations (most “big box” retailers lease rather than own their stores).

           

      2. Ron

        David:  “I meant to separate R&D projects from retail projects, but it seems that never made it into the piece.”

        O.K. – I’m sure that R&D projects MUST have residential development to be financed, despite the “incorrectness” of that statement, as well.

        I guess the developer really didn’t “do his homework” during the earlier, commercial-only proposal (despite years in the making). (Yeah, right.)

        1. David Greenwald Post author

          “despite the incorrectness of that statement”

          Not sure what you mean by this. Again, I suggested one possible way to get around that problem – university investment. Other than that, I am going by what people have been telling me in and around the industry as to the problem with the R&D (mostly MRIC and Davis Innovation Centers).

        2. Ron

          David:  “Not sure what you mean by this.”

          You’re stating (or repeating the developer’s statement) that an R&D project cannot be financed without housing.  Is that correct?

          I guess that the developer only “found out” about this at the “last minute”.

          “Might” there be many examples throughout the country which prove this statement completely wrong?

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            I’m stating what I have been hearing about the difficulty in financing R&D only projects without housing. Most of the projects around the country I have seen have a mixed use component.

            In terms of your last statement, I think the developers went in with an eye towards figuring out a way to make a no housing project work and learned that it was more difficult than they originally believed. This came to me from someone who no longer has a skin in the game but who told me their project pulled out because the financing was difficult.

        3. Mark West

          David: “Again, I suggested one possible way to get around that problem – university investment.”

          If the University is a major investor or owner, what happens with the property tax?  If the project is on land owned by the University the City will receive zero added revenues. If the buildings are significantly owned or leased by the University, the City will receive little or no added revenues.  How does either of these approaches help with our fiscal problems?

        4. Matt Williams

          Good question Mark.  The way that the FBC dealt with that in the multi-step Nishi hearings was to (1) explore the possibility of, (2) confirm the legality of, (3) determine the fiscal magnitude of, and (4) get the developers’ agreement to a “make whole” provision in the Development Agreement.  There is no reason why the University’s investment in a project can not have a similar “make whole” provision that makes them an equal partner paying their “equal” share including tax burden.

    2. Ron

      hpierce:  “I do not consider the current proposal (Hyatt) to be ‘peripheral development’.

      No one does.

      hpierce:  “It is actually a “norm” in many older cities (and many older towns) in the US, Europe, and throughout the world.”

      In general, Europe does not follow the U.S. model of forever-expanding sprawl.  Some populations in Europe are relatively stable.  (Immigration may be changing this, in some areas.)

      Much of the Bay Area has essentially stopped expanding its footprint, as well.  (Running out of room to do so, unless every inch is paved over.)  Of course, that didn’t stop developers from trying to do so, including in areas such as Pt. Reyes, the Marin headlands, etc.

       

       

      1. hpierce

        Read my post again, Ron… I said nothing about peripheral development, other than to opine that the Hyatt project is not ‘peripheral’.

        Your point about ‘peripheral’ may or may not be valid, but “work-live”, wherever it may be, is a viable model, in my opinion.

        1. Ron

          hpierce:

          MRIC (the subject brought up) is not “infill” in any form.

          Not arguing about “live-work” infill, or any of the other developments you mentioned.

        2. Tia Will

          hpierce

          “work-live”, wherever it may be, is a viable model, in my opinion.”

          With this, I am in complete agreement. I would like a clarification of your opinion about this with regard to the Hyatt Hotel. It seemed to me that you were considering the hotel “housing”. It is unclear to me whether or not you see the hotel as a form of “work-live” ?

        3. hpierce

          I never said anything approaching the notion that MRIC was infill.

          Yet, to say Target was ‘peripheral’ development is a damn lie, unless you consider the development of any vacant parcel within Mace Ranch peripheral.

          It was indeed, peripheral when it was first annexed (the same can be said of Wildhorse, Evergreen, Willowbank (actually, ALL of South Davis — El Macero was actually “leap-frog” development!), and in fact about 95% of Davis has been peripheral if you use 1917 as the base year… when the City was incorporated.

          Bet where you live, Ron, was peripheral development!

          But once Mace Ranch was annexed, it was/is all “infill”.

          Think.

        4. hpierce

          Tia, re:  your 9:06 post…

          No, I do not see Hyatt as live-work… should be obvious that I was responding to a comment about a mixture of housing and commercial.  Perhaps not.  I thought the context of my comment was clear.

          Hyatt is not inherently a mixture of ‘housing/commercial’… previous proposals for the site (which dried up and blew away) did include such a mix.

        5. Ron

          hpierce:  “Think.”

          There’s nothing to “think” about.  Everything you said in that post is accurate.  Not sure exactly how the conversation drifted into the definition of “infill”, vs. “peripheral” (except, for some reason, that you made the statement regarding Hyatt in response – which is also accurate).

          Not sure why you’re bringing up Target in that post, but you’re also correct regarding that. Did someone say something different?

    3. Tia Will

      hpierce

      I have some  points of agreement, and some points of disagreement with your post of 8:20.

      1. I strongly agree with the benefits and desirability of mixed use buildings such as those you cited. I would have supported Trackside were it not for the originally proposed size and scale of the project. I would point out however that some of the examples of how other cities and towns prosper with this kind of development is at least in part dependent upon their superior public transport systems.

      2. I do not accept hotels as “housing” for a number of reasons the most important of which is probably the lack of stability and cohesion.  I see hotels more as providing temporary shelter than as providing a “home”.  That does not mean that I do not see a need for hotels. I am just cautious about optimal placement.

      3. I have mixed feelings about how to categorize the location of the proposed Hyatt. While it is hard to characterize it as “peripheral” I also can not see it as “central” or particularly well located with respect to the campus or downtown. A truly robust shuttle service, promotion of biking and use of public transportation ( perhaps by some incentive program ?) might allay some of the concerns about increased traffic and my broader concerns about the adverse impacts to the entire community of more individual car trips.

      1. hpierce

        Tia..

        Your first point is understood, but from my knowledge/experience, it is not a necessary ingredient, but there is a ‘chicken and egg’ thing as well.  Will other forms of, increase of, public transportation occur with the change in land use, or should we wait until the public transport system improves before approving the land use change.  In nearly all communities, the land use came first, the transport element followed.

        As to point 2, the difference between housing and lodging is open for judgement… let’s just agree to disagree.

        As to point 3, see response to point 1.

        Sorry to ‘attack’ you so strongly in this post.

        1. Tia Will

          hpierce

          First as you are fond of saying. with regard to the tenor of your response…no harm, no foul.

           Will other forms of, increase of, public transportation occur with the change in land use, or should we wait until the public transport system improves before approving the land use change.  In nearly all communities, the land use came first, the transport element followed.”

          I am sure you are correct that this has been the way things have usually been done. But at a time when we have plenty of opportunity to foresee the potential transportation issues before they actually occur, it would seem wise to me to develop the two in tandem. Again primary prevention will always beat attempts to treat or mitigate after the problem exists.

  9. Jim Frame

    the reality seems to be that financing for a commercial-only project is problematic at best

    If this is true the takeaway is very straightforward:  the demand for commercial space in Davis isn’t strong enough to support a new commercial project.  If the demand is there the rents will be there, and if the rents are there the financing will be there.  But if the vaunted demand among tech companies to locate near UCD isn’t strong enough to support a significant rent premium over West Sac, then there’s no point in trying to do an innovation center that’s merely an afterthought to a new housing development.

     

    1. David Greenwald Post author

      I think it is a lot more complicated than this. I’m not enough of an expert on this to really do the topic justice, but I think it has to do with investors and the time horizon for build out of a research park creating uncertainty for the investor. Where as housing and retail have a much more finite period of time for the return on investment.

      1. Mark West

        I think you need to factor in the added financial risk of trying to do anything in Davis. The demand may be there for commercial space near the University, but the extra costs of ‘doing business’ in Davis may reduce the return on investment to an unsatisfactory level. It doesn’t take many ‘Nishi’ type events to inform the smart money that there are better places to invest. Our no-on-everything mindset may have created a financial environment where the only investment that makes sense is one that includes residential.

        1. Mark West

          No it is not the full story, but it is a much larger part of the story than most here are willing to accept. We created the problem and are now living with the consequences.

        2. Tia Will

          Our no-on-everything mindset may have created a financial environment where the only investment that makes sense is one that includes residential.”

          I agree, but do not see it as quite the negative that some seem to. I believe that a mix of residential and business whether it is occurring in downtown, in the transitional areas or on the periphery ( defined narrowly or inclusively per the exchange with hpierce) is a better approach to development as it has the potential for minimizing private automobile trips thus improving our health and our environment. I see this as a win-win, but I realize that in this, I am currently in the minority.

      2. Matt Williams

        David, the $20 per square foot observation by Zehnder to the FBC would very directly address your “investors and the time horizon for build out of a research park creating uncertainty” concern.  In effect what Zehnder was saying to the FBC and Staff (and the developer if they had been in the room) was if you do your homework more effectively about the success factors of the innovation parks in other academic/university/research cities, then the uncertainty about time horizon will largely go away.  

    2. Ron

      Jim:  “But if the vaunted demand among tech companies to locate near UCD isn’t strong enough to support a significant rent premium over West Sac, then there’s no point in trying to do an innovation center that’s merely an afterthought to a new housing development.”

      That seems to be it, in a nutshell.

      In general, people are willing to pay a “premium” to live in Davis, but this doesn’t necessarily apply for commercial development.

      West Sacramento, Woodland, Dixon, Vacaville, are all easier (less-hassle) places for large-scale commercial developers to build, and the “valued Davis location” doesn’t make much difference to them.  (And yet, we don’t see a great deal of new commercial/R&D development in those areas, either.)

      Perhaps David’s idea (regarding University investment) is viable, especially if there’s a strong interest and connection between the R&D and the University.  (But frankly, that’s up to them.)

       

      1. hpierce

        The main reason folk are willing to shell out more for residential, has to do more with the perceived quality of the schools, parks/greenbelt, etc.

        Those factors weigh much less for non-res users.

      2. Matt Williams

        Ron and David, in my opinion the University’s “investment” does not need to be in dollars.  In fact, I would go even further and say that if the University is only investing dollars in the project then the project is suboptimal.  What the University needs to do is commit to being a fully “invested” partner in the project by making the demand for $20 per square foot space much more clear.  They do that by making the process of technology transfermuch more transparent and collaborative.  Technology transfer happens when intellectual capital from the pure research world of academic research moves into the applied research world of the private sector innovation economy.  Right now the focus of activity of the University’s technology transfer is within the university, dealing in many cases with internal University politics.  If the University, as a fully invested partner in the innovation center, changed the focus of activity of the University’s technology transfer to the innovation center, outside the milieu of internal politics, then identifying and nurturing real demand for innovation services and space would happen much more productively.  That is the kind of commitment and partnership that is needed from the University, in my opinion.

        1. Ron

          Matt:

          It’s an interesting thought, but one that confuses me a little.

          How does the University “make the process of technology transfer more transparent and collaborative”, and what is the benefit to the University from doing so?  In your opinion, what exactly is the interest of our “always-silent, non-partner”?  (I realize that University officials cannot comment on the Vanguard.)

           

        2. Matt Williams

          Ron, when I first came to Davis in 1998 there was a monthly networking meeting held at Z-World, and one of the participants pointed me to the then-current tech transfer portion of UCD called UC Davis Connect (see LINK) within the Office of Research.  What I found was what I would describe as a sibling rivalry management team, oriented not on how to get the products of UCD research out into the use benefiting the public, but rather oriented on how to keep the fires of academic rivalry from bubbling up within the UCD family.  It was a focus on obstacles rather than opportunities.  In addition UCD did not want its internal political battles between faculty/researchers aired in public, so a robust curtain was erected to prevent “visibility.”

          Under Chancellor Katehi that inward political focus was substantially replaced with a much more outward looking approach.  However the Office of Research is still predominantly inwardly focused. Its webpage says that The Office of Research is composed of a variety of offices, divided amongst (1) Interdisciplinary Research and Strategic Initiatives, (2) Research Administration and Compliance, (3) Technology Management and Corporate Relations.

          Technology Transfer happens under the umbrella of the third of those groupings. A simple change in wording would be a step in the right direction (in my opinion) by calling that third arm, (3) Technology Transfer and Corporate Relations.  Further, if there are internally focused technology management issues/functions in (3) then move them to (2).  That way (1) and (2) would be focused internally and (3) would be focused externally.  If there are inter-faculty political squabbles, they would be the province of (2).  Once a pure research technological advance gets to the point of moving to (3) with the prospects of contributing to the Greater Good of society at large, the internal political wars would be left behind, literally and figuratively.  Absent the battles of egos, the need for a veil of non-transparency would be reduced.

    3. Matt Williams

      Jim Frame said . . .  “If this is true the takeaway is very straightforward:  the demand for commercial space in Davis isn’t strong enough to support a new commercial project.  If the demand is there the rents will be there, and if the rents are there the financing will be there.”

      Jim’s comment is essentially identical to the MRIC Land Economics discussion the Finance and Budget Commission (FBC) had with David Zehnder (the EPS consultant) and Staff on April 11th.  Zehnder’s bottom-line was that in their analysis they used the $9-13 per square foot price typical of business parks in this region, and the project simply did not pencil out at that price.  Zehnder went on to say that at $20 per square foot (the hypothetical price associated with innovation centers in other academic/university/research cities the project penciled out well.  The problem for Zehnder was that the triad of UCD and the City and the developer had not provided evidence from the innovation parks in any of those other academic/university/research cities that “connected” to $20 per square foot demand in Davis.  He didn’t say that the demand wasn’t here.  He said that we hadn’t done enough homework to clearly identify the demand.

       

  10. South of Davis

    David wrote:

    > The Hyatt House hotel is only the most recent

    > example of the difficulty of doing infill in Davis. 

    I would say:

    “The Hyatt House hotel is only the most recent example of the difficulty of doing ANYTHING in Davis.”…

  11. Delia .

    “If not now, then when?

    If not today, then

    Why make your promises?”

    lyrics by Tracy Chapman

    Dear Brett and Robb, why make your promises?

    -peace, Delia

  12. Jim Frame

    I think it has to do with investors and the time horizon for build out of a research park creating uncertainty for the investor.

    My point still pertains:  if demand is strong enough, investors will see that and be willing to put their capital at risk because the risk/return ratio will be appealing.  If demand is weak, they’re not really looking to build an innovation center, they’re looking to build housing or retail with a “hey, let’s throw some R&D space in there and see how that works out” add-on.

    1. Mark West

      And again, you fail to take into account the added financial risk of proposing projects in Davis. We have made the projects less attractive by our response to past development proposals. Going forward we will need to act to alleviate some of that added risk if we want projects to proceed. That will be our added cost of doing business as we have over the past few decades.

      1. Jim Frame

        And again, you fail to take into account the added financial risk of proposing projects in Davis

        On the contrary, it’s baked into my statement that investors will take the risk if they perceive the demand for new space to meet their risk/reward criteria.

        There’s never been any question that developing in Davis is more expensive than in West Sac or Woodland.  If cost is the sole metric, we can all save a lot of time by taking innovation park development off the table. I have no interest in competing with West Sac on price.

        I’ll use my own professional practice as an analogue:  if you’re looking for the lowest-cost land surveying services you can find, don’t waste your time (or mine) calling me.  The rule of thumb that you get what you pay for is still largely in effect.  I offer a high-quality professional service, and I charge accordingly.  Savvy clients value that level of quality and are willing to pay for it.  (Mose have learned from experience that low cost up front ended up costing them more in the long run.)

        Davis’ proximity to UCD has value, but it takes the right kind of developer to recognize it.

      2. hpierce

        You might point out the financial risks… even before the project is approved, the building permit/impact fees can be calculated/estimated pretty easily… little “risk” except as to how much the revenue the use will generate… much more risk in that latter calculation…

        But, getting to the point that a significant project is even submitted, a proponent would have to invest in their planners, architects, site engineers, economic advisors, etc.

        Then, when you apply to the City, you have to pay processing fees, including an open-ended commitment to reimburse the City for all staff costs incurred:  staff review (several departments); environmental review (perhaps EIR consultants, traffic consultants, biological consultants, etc.); and if the project generates adverse comments from the “community”, you can add more hours/costs for some/all of those.

        There are fees to get estimates for “dry utility” design/construction.

        All of this, before you know if your project will be approved.

        Seems like that could indeed be a significant financial risk, not knowing if the project will be approved.

         

    2. Frankly

      You act as if Davis is the only option for these companies.

      Demand is the first step for developers to recognize the opportunity.  Next is the financial feasibility of all the alternatives.  Davis NIMBYs make Davis the more expensive and risky alternative, so they are more often rejected as the alternative.

      Do you actually get out and talk to people that are investors and decision-makers in this area?  Maybe they are outside the limits of bike-only transportation?

      1. Don Shor

        Maybe they are outside the limits of bike-only transportation?

        This may come as a shock to you, but I think Jim Frame conducts his business using a truck.

      2. Jim Frame

        Next is the financial feasibility of all the alternatives.  Davis NIMBYs make Davis the more expensive and risky alternative, so they are more often rejected as the alternative.

        Which means the developers don’t really want to locate in Davis in the first place — they’re just looking for the lowest-cost space that gets them close enough to their target region.  I have no quibble with that, it’s their money to invest as they see fit.  But I also have no interest in adding more traffic, air quality impacts, service demand etc. just to be able to offer the lowest commercial development space in the region.  Especially since the cost side is still basically out of control due to PERS and OPEB upward volatility.

         

        1. Frankly

          LOL.  This is a crack-up.

          just to be able to offer the lowest commercial development space in the region.

          There is no way in hell even if you and all the other NIMBYs disappeared today that Davis is ever going to be the lowest cost alternative.

          Your points here are specious at best, but probably disingenuous given your obvious intellect.

          You can jack up the cost of anything and then make a case that it is unwanted.

          That is the method of the liberal environmental extremist scarcity-minded person.  Jack up the cost of a thing and then we can enjoy its scarcity.

          Global warming alarmists want a giant tax on anything and everything that creates a carbon molecule so we can help prevent their anxiety attacks over weather.

          You are just moving this same approach to block development.

          That would be brilliant if not so transparently full of BS.

          Making the claim that the developer should accept the abuse of the community and costs much higher than anywhere else to prove that he really wants to locate in Davis and there really is a demand for what he would develop…. well, it does not mask the true NIMBY in you.

          I hope for your sake you didn’t take this approach when courting a mate.

          By the way, double the cost of chicken and it will not change the need for protein, it will just cause people to pursue more cost-effective alternatives… at other consequences… even to chickens.

        2. Jim Frame

          You are just moving this same approach to block development.

          I’m not “moving” any approaches, I’m describing the situation that exists.  The cost of development in Davis is higher than in surrounding communities, partly due to market forces (land costs more in Davis because the city is a desirable location) and partly due to choices made by its citizens (Measure R, high city development standards).  Measure R was not enacted to block all development any more than the city’s development standards were; both were put in place to control development in an orderly manner acceptable to the electorate.

          It only takes 50% of cast ballots plus 1 to approve a Measure R project.  If half of those who take the trouble to vote can’t be convinced to approve a project, that’s pretty good evidence that the community doesn’t value the project as proposed.  Nishi came close, and I believe it could have passed while retaining its essential character had a few things been done differently.

          When/if investors perceive enough value in developing an innovation park in Davis, they’ll come to the table with a project that’ll pass a measure R vote.  (The fact that land values adjacent to the city remain high suggests to me that there’s no collective decision on the part of developers that Davis is forever closed to development.)  In the mean time, we’ll have to look for other means of dealing with our budget challenges.

        3. Jim Frame

          I hope for your sake you didn’t take this approach when courting a mate.

          I held out for the best, and it worked!  We celebrate our 20th anniversary next month.

           

  13. Tia Will

    Jim

     if demand is strong enough, investors will see that and be willing to put their capital at risk because the risk/return ratio will be appealing.  If demand is weak, they’re not really looking to build an innovation center, they’re looking to build housing or retail with a “hey, let’s throw some R&D space in there and see how that works out” add-on.”

    I think that you probably have this right. And I also think that it points out a major flaw with relying on our supposedly “free market”. Too often what we get from this approach is not necessarily what the community needs, but rather what developers and investors believe will “pencil out ” ( aka make the amount of money they see as acceptable ) for them and hopefully also fulfill some community need, but only as a secondary consideration.

    I do not begrudge the developers or investors making their money in this way. I make mine by providing medical care and certainly could have chosen a more altruistic path than having a career with Kaiser. What I do object to is framing development proposals as though their only impact is that of community improvement. I would much prefer an open discussion of the pros, cons, costs, and anticipated monetary benefits to both the city, the immediately affected neighborhoods, and to the developers ( yes, including what it means to “pencil out” if they are asking for special considerations from the city). I realize that this is a dramatic departure from how business in done now. But I am not as change averse was some would like to portray me. This is a change I would welcome with open arms.

     

    1. hpierce

      This looks like an assumption that once you join “the community”, you not only get vested in your property, but also in everyone else’s property (particularly undeveloped/under-developed property)… you get to decide how others’ property is used, and you (individually, or as a share-holder in the community) deserve a share of the “profits”…

      I do not share that “value” (and, actually reject it), and neither does the the Declaration of Independence nor the US Constitution.

      1. Tia Will

        you get to decide how others’ property is used, and you (individually, or as a share-holder in the community) deserve a share of the “profits”…

        I do not share that “value” (and, actually reject it), and neither does the the Declaration of Independence nor the US Constitution.”

        And neither do I. This is a mischaracterization of what I am saying. I believe that there should be a balance between what an individual can do on their own property and the value of the property of others who already live in the area. I do not believe that it is appropriate, or protected by our Constitution, for developers to completely ignore the value of the property owned by others when they newly purchase property in the hopes of being able to change zoning in order to “do what they want on their property”. If this were the case, then why have zoning at all ?

  14. Don Shor

    While the city was finally able to get the Cannery approved in 2013, the going on infill projects has been slow and pinned the needs of the city against the needs of neighbors.

    The Cannery met the needs of the landowners and developer very well. It did not meet the needs of the city. But the owners knew that all they had to do was wait for a favorable council majority and they’d basically get what they wanted.

    That is how most cities develop. That is precisely, IMO, what Davis supporters of Measure R want to prevent.

    The council should press forward with development possibilities for the north Davis site. The city may need to be a partner in making it happen, either via annexation prior to development or by setting clear guidelines and putting out another request for proposals.

     

    1. South of Davis

      Don wrote:

      >  The Cannery met the needs of the landowners and developer very well.

      > It did not meet the needs of the city

      What would you change in the Cannery to “meet the needs of the city”?  Based on Delia’s view of Davis it sounds like the Cannery needs a Pilates studio, a Nordstrom, a book store, wine bar and apartments for the Latina housekeepers that raise the children in town…

      1. Tia Will

        What would you change in the Cannery to “meet the needs of the city”? 

        Based on what I perceive as the major needs of the city, I would have preferred as Don said higher density rental housing with at least some geared to attract students. With regard to the need for more revenue generation, I would have supported a business park geared to small start ups with housing geared to upper level and graduate students and or junior faculty who could have benefitted from the proximity of the university and provided a smooth transfer from academic to more practical applications of their research.

        I did not, and still do not understand why such a project was felt “unfeasible” for this location other than the “needs” of the developer/investor for greater profits which I do believe should be a major consideration since they do own the land, but should also be balanced with community needs since they were asking for a number of concessions from the city and knew this at the time of their purchase.

        1. South of Davis

          Tia wrote:

          > Based on what I perceive as the major needs of the city, I would have

          > preferred as Don said higher density rental housing with at least some

          > geared to attract students. 

          Does the reason that you support higher density rental housing at the Cannery vs. Trackside have any thing to do with the location of your “back yard”?

          Do you support high density housing at the Sterling site?  Would you support high density housing on the Rancho Yolo site?

  15. skeptical

    Don,

    “The Cannery met the needs of the landowners and developer very well. It did not meet the needs of the city. But the owners knew that all they had to do was wait for a favorable council majority and they’d basically get what they wanted.

    That is how most cities develop. That is precisely, IMO, what Davis supporters of Measure R want to prevent.”

    This is exactly right.  The City refuses to follow the general plan or the wishes of the community, and it doesn’t know the first thing about property planning, fiscal responsibility, or sound management.  That is why the City is in such severe financial trouble.  Posters advocating that we continue with past practice while expecting a different result… are nuts.

     

  16. Miwok

    The very first sentence had me laughing (again)

    The Hyatt House hotel is only the most recent example of the difficulty of doing infill in Davis.

    Infill is building on a vacant lot with similar construction. The Vanguard thinks infill is putting a factory beside  a playground. Guess the vocabulary is different.

    Welcome to Davis. The City is going out of business because they don’t want any. Why not the area over by Target, oh that is Light industrial (yet not big enough any more), not suitable for a Hotel?

     

  17. Tia Will

    Miwok

    oh that is Light industrial (yet not big enough any more), not suitable for a Hotel?”

    I am not stating any opposition to a hotel at that site, however, I would point out one disadvantage is that it is even further from the two main draws that Davis has for a hotel, namely the university and the downtown.  I see this as roughly the same as one of the arguments against the Hyatt location except that there is now existing a more direct bike route from the latter.

    1. Delia .

      Re: bike accessibilty, I really thought Robb and Brett would push for a very safe bike path all the way from the hotel to the downtown and the campus. Disappointing.  Re: hiding the 4th floor to prevent it from ruining neighbor’s pivacy: a good idea but I am skeptical. Perhaps the Hyatt could give written examples of how they have specifically modified one of their hotels to accommodate neighbors. Also, pictures of new foliage/ landscaping that was planted after they chopped down any “volunteers” on any of their other sites. Perhaps a real before and after photo of another one of their many hotels.

      Thank you, Matt, for the tree info.

      I still like the tiny home idea better.

  18. Tia Will

    hpierce

    previous proposals for the site (which dried up and blew away) did include such a mix.”

    Were any of these recent ?  I seemed to have missed them although that is hardly surprising if they “dried up” quickly or if I simply wasn’t paying attention.

  19. Tia Will

    Does the reason that you support higher density rental housing at the Cannery vs. Trackside have any thing to do with the location of your “back yard”?”

    No. My other property is quite close to the Cannery. Trackside would not affect my home directly anymore than the Cannery would affect my North Star home.

    What Trackside has to do with for me is not its affect on me at all which will likely be negligible as has been pointed out by both Frankly and Matt. My first concern is for the impact on the immediate neighbors who I have come to know through the Old East David neighborhood association. Some of these folks are elderly or have other valid reasons for not being able to mount a strong response without the support of their neighborhood. My second concern is for the process which was undertaken with the Trackside. This property was acquired by the group of investors with the knowledge that their preferred project was outside both zoning and design guidelines and they chose to make the purchase anyway presumably confident that they could get the desired changes regardless of the concerns and/or property values of the neighbors. I do not think that the city should be in the business of “helping” already well heeled investors at the cost of those either less wealthy or less well connected. I see this as harming not only the immediate neighbors, but as setting bad precedent for our community overall.

    Of note, I probably would not have stood in opposition to Trackside ( although many of our neighborhood probably would have) had the proposal been for student and or affordable ( little a) housing instead of “luxury apartments”. The reason is simple. I see student and affordable housing as genuine community needs. I see further luxury apartments and developments as “nice to haves” not community needs unless you count further enrichment of the already wealthy as a community need.

     

    1. South of Davis

      Tia wrote:

      > I do not think that the city should be in the business of “helping” already well

      > heeled investors at the cost of those either less wealthy or less well connected

      Should the city only  “help” poor investors without connections build in town?

      It is obvious that other than students who want lower rents and business owners that who want lower rent for their workers almost no one in town wants more apartments.  If the city council wanted more apartments they could call any apartment owner in town and tell them that the site they own is now zoned for twice as many units and most would demo the current buildings and rebuild on the site doubling the number of units and MORE than doubling the property tax revenue…

  20. Tia Will

    Should the city only  “help” poor investors without connections build in town?”

    No. That is not what I said, and not what I meant. If it had been, I would have said so.

     

  21. Tia Will

    South of Davis

    It is obvious that other than students who want lower rents and business owners that who want lower rent for their workers almost no one in town wants more apartments”

    I do not believe this to be accurate. Don Shor has been a consistent proponent for more student suitable apartments. I have been a less ardent “mini-me” in supporting Don’s advocacy. The Trackside project has a fair amount of support outside of the immediate neighborhood and would probably have the support of the neighbors if it were to be within the zoning and design guidelines. I did not hear anyone with strong objections to a two to three story mixed use building on this site including apartments on the upper floors. I believe that there are many people in town who perceive a need for more apartments and would support a well planned project. For evidence, look how close the vote was on the Nishi proposal.

    1. Ron

      Tia:  I do not believe this to be accurate.  Don Shor has been a consistent proponent for more student suitable apartments.”

      Don fits pretty clearly into one of the categories that SouthofDavis described (and has not attempted to hide his stated motivation, on behalf of his lower-wage workers).

      In a sense, SouthofDavis is right. Many are somewhat “o.k.” with large-scale infill requiring zoning changes, as long as its not “in their backyard”.

      1. Don Shor

        (and has not attempted to hide his stated motivation, on behalf of his lower-wage workers).,

        On behalf of the young men and women who work at businesses all over town. It has little to do with whether they work for me. It’s a class of your fellow citizens that never seems to figure in to the Davis planning and development process. The people who work at the retail stores you go to, the restaurants you eat at, etc.
        This is not a financial motive for me. I have simply watched over many years as available housing for that demographic — the young adults, mostly not UCD students — has dwindled to almost nothing. Again, the cost is not a huge issue. Young adults of that age will double up, do whatever they have to do in order to live in more expensive sites if necessary. But looking again at the data from the 2015 apartment vacancy survey, there is simply no supply. The problem has gotten worse and worse. These folks start looking outside of Davis to try to find any suitable housing and possibly save some money, but any savings are quickly lost in the cost of commute.
        It’s always been a challenge for folks in that age range to find housing here. But that challenge has become a near impossibility in the last few years.
        We need to build some apartments in town. These are not UCD students we’re talking about. Advocating for on-campus housing is fine, but if that’s the only thing you think should be built then you are basically advocating trickle-down housing. And again, the non-student renters get short shrift.

        1. Ron

          Don:

          I believe that it’s not primarily a financial motivation for you (even though you’ve mentioned affordability a number of times, as well).  I realize that not all businesses can afford to pay their workers a “living wage”, for example.

          But, I suspect that even if (relatively) large amounts of rental housing are built, many with low wages (in particular) will simply choose to get much more “bang for their buck” (and more desirable choices), by living a few short miles away. The difference is too great to ignore.

          Commuting costs are really not much of a factor, given the short distances between communities.

          This is already occurring (with homeowners, as well).  As I believe you pointed out, many are purchasing homes in adjacent/nearby new communities, and commuting to the University.

          I’m sure that we can fit “thousands more” homeowners and renters in Davis, but what will be the effect of that?  I don’t believe that it will affect prices or availability of housing stock for potential renters or homeowners, in the long term.  However, choosing this path will definitely affect livability, finances, and the impact on infrastructure for the 67,000 residents who already call Davis “home”.  Since there’s a limited amount of available land in Davis, other opportunities (to generate revenue, for example) may have to be sacrificed to accomplish your goal.

          I just don’t think it’s wise to drastically change city planning/zoning, based on the vacancy rate.  (Essentially, what you’re advocating is to add more residents who don’t live in Davis at this time.)  I believe that current plans already allow more rental units to be built (but I’m not familiar enough to comment on locations).

          It may take some time, but I believe the University will meet its own needs.  Increases in enrollment have already begun, and yet somehow I haven’t seen large numbers of homeless students and low-wage workers, living in cardboard boxes on streetcorners.

          1. Don Shor

            But, I suspect that even if (relatively) large amounts of rental housing are built, many with low wages (in particular) will simply choose to get much more “bang for their buck” (and more desirable choices), by living a few short miles away.

            I have had many dozens to hundreds of employees over the last three decades+. The overwhelming majority have lived in town. Off the top of my head, I can only count 5 who have lived in nearby communities. Given the absence of reasonable transit, they all ended up driving in every day.
            For homeownership you may be right. For renters, I doubt it. Those who have less income are less able to afford the costs of commuting.

            I just don’t think it’s wise to drastically change city planning/zoning, based on the vacancy rate.

            I know. You keep saying that. So what metric would you use to determine the need for rental housing in Davis, and the best method for providing it?

            I believe the University will meet its own needs.

            They never have before, and they haven’t promised to do that yet.

            Increases in enrollment have already begun, and yet somehow I haven’t seen large numbers of homeless students and low-wage workers, living in cardboard boxes on street corners.

            Are you trying to be funny?

        2. Ron

          Don:   “I have had many dozens to hundreds of employees over the last three decades+. The overwhelming majority have lived in town.  Off the top of my head, I can only count 5 (employees) who have lived in nearby communities.”

          So, I guess the rest found housing in Davis.

          Don:  “So what metric would you use to determine the need for rental housing in Davis, and the best method for providing it?”

          I wouldn’t use a “demand metric” to make plans for rental or for-sale housing.  I would look at the needs of the city (including livability – e.g., capacity of existing infrastructure, mix of commercial vs. residential zoning, etc., and the financial needs to operate the city for the current 67,000 residents.  In other words, I wouldn’t sacrifice the existing plan, to cram in thousands more non-residents in the “hope” that it would permanently increase the vacancy rate (which tends to fluctuate, as well).

          In any case, I suspect that the vacancy rate will eventually increase, as the University “catches up” on housing for its own needs.

          One of the things that have contributed to Davis’ financial challenges is the “imbalance” between residential vs. commercial development.  You’re essentially advocating to make this problem worse.

          Don:  Are you trying to be funny?

          No.

          1. Don Shor

            So, I guess the rest found housing in Davis.

            Yes. And I can tell you about the challenges they encountered in doing so. Are you actually acquainted with anyone trying to find rental housing in Davis? I suspect not.

            I wouldn’t use a “demand metric” to make plans for rental or for-sale housing. I would look at the needs of the city (including livability – e.g., capacity of existing infrastructure, mix of commercial vs. residential zoning, etc., and the financial needs to operate the city for the current 67,000 residents.

            And then, when the main driver of population growth in the city tells you that they are going to add thousands more to the population of the city, what will you do? Nothing?

            In other words, I wouldn’t sacrifice the existing plan, to cram in thousands more non-residents in the “hope” that it would permanently increase the vacancy rate (which tends to fluctuate, as well).

            There is no existing plan with respect to housing.
            Ron, you simply talk yourself into circles to avoid ever committing in any way to an actual plan that would result in more rental housing in Davis. That’s the bottom line. Nothing else matters, so long as no more apartments are built in town. The impact on young adults trying to rent here? Not your problem. The thousands who are commuting in every day? Not our issue. That’s not planning, it’s just shrugging.

        3. Tia Will

          Don

          if that’s the only thing you think should be built then you are basically advocating trickle-down housing. And again, the non-student renters get short shrift.”

          This is equally true if you believe that upscale projects like Trackside are an answer. It may be the answer for where a few very affluent people will be able to live, but it is basically advocacy for trickle-down housing if you believe that it will help any of the lower income renters whether students or non students.

        4. Matt Williams

          Well said Don.  Everything you have said about supply is correct.  I would add the fact that substantially increased demand from students is outcompeting the the young working adults for the dwindling supply.  Bottom-line, the price elasticity of demand in the student sector is substantially more elastic than in the non-student sector.

        5. Ron

          Don:   “Yes. And I can tell you about the challenges they encountered in doing so.”

          And – that’s a reason to abandon current plans (and the impacts of doing so for the city’s 67,000 current residents, that I outlined above)?

          “And then, when the main driver of population growth in the city tells you that they are going to add thousands more to the population of the city, what will you do?  Nothing?”

          If there truly is “no place for them to live” in Davis (as you state), then they won’t live here (for now).  As I mentioned, the University will eventually catch up on its own housing needs, which will also affect the vacancy rate in the city.  I suggest that it’s better to let them do so (and continue to work with them), rather than engage in ill-advised (permanent) planning decisions in an attempt to accommodate the unfinalized plans of our “non-partner”.  (Seems like you’d rather “enable” them to continue avoiding housing students on campus, and impact the livability, infrastructure, mix of current zoning uses, and costs for the city’s current 67,000 residents.)

          Don:  “There is no existing plan with respect to housing.”

          Right – there is no “plan” for housing in Davis.  No zoning, no general plan, nothing.

          Don:  “Nothing else matters, so long as no more apartments are built in town.”

          Your words, not mine.  I don’t know enough of the details of the current plan, to comment on where additional apartments might already be allowed.

          Don:  “The impact on young adults trying to rent here?  Not your problem.”

          Drastically changing zoning to accommodate a demand metric will create problems for the 67,000 residents who already live in Davis.

           

           

          1. Don Shor

            If there truly is “no place for them to live” in Davis (as you state), then they won’t live here (for now).

            I believe that is what is called a tautology.

            As I mentioned, the University will eventually catch up on its own housing needs

            No they won’t. They never will. They haven’t promised to do that. They have said they will provide housing for most of the increased enrollment going forward. That is not the same thing at all.

            It’s hopeless. You’ll just shrug again.

        6. Matt Williams

          Ron, once again you are applying principles that have application in the homeownership marketplace to the apartment rental housing marketplace.

          With that said, where in the communities that surround Davis (Dixon, West Sac, Woodland and Winters) are you finding apartments that Davis workers are choosing because their monthly rental fees are lower than Davis?

        7. Ron

          Matt:  “Where are you finding apartments that Davis workers are choosing because their monthly rental fees are lower than Davis?

          I’m not going to research this for you, Matt.  You’re telling me that there are no apartments in Woodland, West Sacramento, Dixon, etc.?

          I really dislike it when you challenge others, without ever stating exactly what your position is (and often denying that you have an opinion).

        8. Ron

          Don:  “No they won’t. They never will. They haven’t promised to do that. They have said they will provide housing for most of the increased enrollment going forward. That is not the same thing at all.

          “It’s hopeless. You’ll just shrug again.”

          As others have pointed out, the plan is not finalized, but I see that you’ve already given up on them.  That’s always a “winning approach”.

          In any case, I’d rather “shrug again” than engage in permanent, ill-advised changes affecting the city’s 67,000 current residents and health/viability of the city.

          It’s generally unwise to try to accommodate unknown, unfinalized plans with a not fully-cooperative partner that has tried to shift the responsibility of its own needs to the city.  (Even if one were to choose to ignore the negative impacts of drastically changing the city’s current plans, which is probably the main point.)

          I guess since you’re the volunteer moderator for the Vanguard, one can always expect long, drawn-out, repetitive arguments with those who disagree with your position.

        9. Matt Williams

          Ron, I agree with you 100% about using Demand as the planning metric for For-Sale housing.  I have said many, many times over the years (too many to count) that the Demand for ownership housing in Davis is not Local, but rater Regional, even Super-Regional.  The principal reason for that is that UCD graduates who have made their fortunes elsewhere and are looking for a place to settle, are drawn back to the playground of their youth and/or their college days.  There is no way that local Supply can keep up with that Super-Regional Demand.

          However, there simply isn’t Super-Regional Demand for Apartments in Davis.  If a UCD alum’s financial wherewithal puts them in the rental market rather than the ownership market, then they aren’t ready to give up their job working for someone else, or don’t own their own company.  For many of the same reasons there really isn’t Regional Demand for Apartments either.  Single men and women who have a good job in Sacramento or the Bay Area are not going to be drawn to the bucolic charm of Davis, especially since they have no children who can benefit from the high quality of the Davis schools.  They will find apartment rental housing near their jobs in Sacramento or the Bay Area.  Young Families could contribute some to Regional Demand for Apartments in Davis because of schools for their kids, but as I have pointed out in prior posts, their challenge is finding an apartment vacancy that hasn’t already been gobbled up by groups of UCD students.

          Given all the above, I do think Local Demand for Apartment Housing in davis is an appropriate planning metric.

        10. Matt Williams

          Ron said . . . “I’m not going to research this for you, Matt.  You’re telling me that there are no apartments in Woodland, West Sacramento, Dixon, etc.?

          I really dislike it when you challenge others, without ever stating exactly what your position is (and often denying that you have an opinion).”

          Ron, I just very explicitly stated my position.  Clearly you did not read it.  So, here it is again . . .

          Ron, I agree with you 100% about using Demand as the planning metric for For-Sale housing.  I have said many, many times over the years (too many to count) that the Demand for ownership housing in Davis is not Local, but rater Regional, even Super-Regional.  The principal reason for that is that UCD graduates who have made their fortunes elsewhere and are looking for a place to settle, are drawn back to the playground of their youth and/or their college days.  There is no way that local Supply can keep up with that Super-Regional Demand.

          However, there simply isn’t Super-Regional Demand for Apartments in Davis.  If a UCD alum’s financial wherewithal puts them in the rental market rather than the ownership market, then they aren’t ready to give up their job working for someone else, or don’t own their own company.  For many of the same reasons there really isn’t Regional Demand for Apartments either.  Single men and women who have a good job in Sacramento or the Bay Area are not going to be drawn to the bucolic charm of Davis, especially since they have no children who can benefit from the high quality of the Davis schools.  They will find apartment rental housing near their jobs in Sacramento or the Bay Area.  Young Families could contribute some to Regional Demand for Apartments in Davis because of schools for their kids, but as I have pointed out in prior posts, their challenge is finding an apartment vacancy that hasn’t already been gobbled up by groups of UCD students.

        11. Ron

          Matt:  “Ron, I just very explicitly stated my position.  Clearly you did not read it.  So, here it is again . . .”

          That isn’t a “position” (even with the bold text and italics).  It’s a bunch of statements/analysis.  A “position” is what hard choices you’d make, when addressing an issue.  Something I’ve rarely seen you do.  Even your “position” with Nishi was difficult to determine, at first.  (Here’s a clue – in the case of Nishi, it’s either “yes”, or “no”, along with your reasons.)

          Look at what I’ve wrote, if you want to see a “position”.  (And, look at the strong reaction I got from Don, as a result.)

          A “position” is also not an “endless list” of challenging questions, while denying that you have an opinion (or that you would rely solely upon “objective evidence, surveys”, or whatever).

          1. Don Shor

            My position is that the council should make a specific effort to increase the supply of rental housing in town, just as it makes provisions for affordable housing by means of various policies.

            My position is that higher-density infill is the preferable route for increasing housing supply, and that means that projects that increase the density on existing sites should move forward. Near-neighbor issues should be mitigated to the greatest extent possible. Project proponents should be encouraged to work with neighbors to achieve compromise solutions to those concerns.

            Annexation for housing at Nishi was a reasonable compromise, in my opinion, even though it would have annexed prime farmland, for a number of reasons; proximity to UCD, problems using the site for farming, and the lack of development pressure inherent in that site. Other annexation sites have drawbacks with regard to loss of prime farmland and the potential for development pressure.

            My concern for rental housing is due to the demographic most affected by the short supply. Those who can afford to buy houses are shopping regionally. Renters don’t have that luxury.

            The issue is forced on Davis by the growth of the university. City leaders should certainly keep the pressure on UCD to add housing, as they have promised. But we need to recognize the limits of that, and recognize that a city that hosts a major university is going to grow when the university grows.

            So the city needs to allow some more apartments. Sterling is a good example, and there simply aren’t reasonable arguments against it. Nishi was a good opportunity that had issues. But if the city and developers could find ways to provide 1 – 2,000 beds, and the university moves faster than usual on providing more housing, the current very tight market could be relieved somewhat.

            It isn’t reasonable to expect the university to provide all of the needed housing. It isn’t reasonable to think that Davis residents would support massive housing increases. We need a middle ground, and the relentless opposition to any housing in town is not reasonable.

            Any time you want the conversation to stop, Ron, all you have to do is stop replying. My position as moderator has nothing to do with it.

        12. Matt Williams

          Ron said . . . “I’m not going to research this for you, Matt.  You’re telling me that there are no apartments in Woodland, West Sacramento, Dixon, etc.?”

          You are not researching this for me Ron.  You are researching it for yourself.  You are the one who made the statement, “If there truly is “no place for them to live” in Davis (as you state), then they won’t live here (for now).”

          However, to humor your attempt to duck the reality, I used Google to go out to ForRent.com where they state “Of the 493 apartments in the Sacramento Metro, we found exactly 4 Dixon apartments for rent.” The Apartments.com website tells us that there are 47 apartment complexes in Dixon, and 46 of the 47 say “No Availability” The other 2 say “Call for Rent, Available Soon”  The “No Availability” story is the similar in Woodland with 3 complexes saying “Call for Rent, Available Soon”, and all the rest of the approximately 100 complexes saying “No Availability.”

          Bottom-line, you threw out a statement for which you had no factual underpinnings.  It was a statement from your heart, not from your head. Don’t get mad at me for asking you to fact check your statement.

        13. Matt Williams

          Ron said . . . “That isn’t a “position” (even with the bold text and italics).  It’s a bunch of statements/analysis.  A “position” is what hard choices you’d make, when addressing an issue.”

          Ron, what you have just described is a statement of the heart, not a statement of the head.  For you “positions” are like religious beliefs.  For me, “positions” are secular, not religious.  You have to do the homework in order to have a “position” otherwise all you are sharing is prejudice on the particular issue at hand.

          Please note, the above common nouns “religious” and “prejudice” are not the Proper nouns “Religious” and “Prejudice.”  The common noun “prejudice” means the act of prejudging a situation prematurely.  The common noun “religious” means spirituality.  The proper noun “Religious”is a bunch of human rules getting in the way of perfectly good spirituality.

          JMHO

           

        14. Ron

          Don:  “My position is that . . .”

          Matt can review your response as well, to see a “position”. (Matt – your “questions” often seem to imply a position, or at least something that you’re concerned about.)

          Don:  “Any time you want the conversation to stop, Ron, all you have to do is stop replying.”

          O.K. – I’ll do that for now. 

          I must say that you’re a stubborn old coot. 🙂

  22. Tia Will

    Don

    And I can tell you about the challenges they encountered in doing so. Are you actually acquainted with anyone trying to find rental housing in Davis? I suspect not”

    I do not know anyone who is trying to find rental housing in Davis at the moment. But I do know that my son has two rooms for rent currently in our house in North Star and he has not managed to find renters for them yet. I realize that one cannot generalize from one case, but I am a little confused about how in such a very tight market, when he rents for under market, how he is having difficulty finding two roommates.

      1. South of Davis

        Tia should post her own Craig’s List ad and forward what she gets to her son and then follow up on each one.  It might be a good idea to swing by the house unannounced to make sure the rooms are empty (not rented for cash)…

  23. Ron

    I’ll say it again – South of Davis is largely correct.  There isn’t a large groundswell of support among the city’s 67,000 current residents to drastically change plans to accommodate a lot of large-scale residential infill (especially if its in one’s own “backyard”).  This is something primarily driven by some advocates, developers, and politicians.  (Pretty much as always.)

    However, there certainly will be fights about this, if our leaders and others keep pushing for it.

    1. South of Davis

      No one needs to take my word for it just ask 10 people that voted no on Nishi if the would change their vote if it was ALL apartments then ask 10 people that voted yes if they would change their vote and I’m betting that you will just have renters business owners and a few others that feel sorry for renters and business owners supporting a big apt project in Davis (you can also Google Wildhorse Ranch election results)…

      P.S. To Ron with the AAA average cost to keep a car on the road to commute at almost $9k a year not many people making $10/hr in Davis are going to drive in from out of town…

      1. Ron

        South of Davis:

        Agree again, regarding Nishi.

        Regarding a car, it depends on whether or not someone has a car in the first place, and, if it’s an older car, whether or not collision and comprehensive insurance covers the vehicle, itself.

        In any case, the “incremental” cost of commuting relatively short distances (if one has a car) is negligible.

        If one doesn’t have a car, then one really does have to live close to everything (e.g., school, work, shopping, etc.).   Seems challenging – even in Davis.  (But, I’ve heard that some do it.)

        Definitely “challenging” to live anywhere (with, or without a car) on $10/hour. I wonder how many actually do this (with no other support, etc.).

        1. Marina Kalugin

          many are now doing long term airbnb  vrbo and so on.

          many of the rentals in Davis are now illegal dorms…I have room for several more  bedrooms in my SODA house…and that is even before I cut into the garage…but do I want to do that…nahh…I am going to sell as soon as I can handle the wifi situation in the country….sell and/or buy now…as after the election fraud there will be a crash unlike what most living here have ever experienced…..get your bug out kits ready and make sure you have a plan b outside of the US>>

          when the dollar is no longer the world currency standard.  which is happening as I type evenUBS high paid analysts are not being told the truth…all hell will be breaking loose…that is timed also around tis election…..

          vote, participate, be an activist…but be smart…and be ready to bail…buy property in Baja and Mexico proper…enough for family and friends….  make sure your passports are not lapsed..

          If you haven’t lived what I am sharing you will not be prepared for what will happen…

           

           

          [moderator] Approximately half of this is completely off topic.

        2. Marina Kalugin

          and,  guess what it is way faster to my office on the west side of main campus from Woodland and Dixon than from my soda house….and way cheaper to live in Dixon…they just put in a new well for the new development way cheaper than the stupid water project….

          and, thank  you Ron, now you may understand why I was losing patience with the same old “tear up the example” crowd…

          of course, there is a very old Russian saying my dad used to say..  “trust, but verify”…that included with children as well as developers, constructions managers, et al…and many have already heard those stories on other threads…some still don’t understand what that means, and others do.

          and don’t forget, YOLO bus is now only $2 each way… or free for various groups such as disabled and seniors… what a bargain, huh?????

        3. South of Davis

          Don wrote:

          > $3 – 5 a day.

          At  Don’s “high side” of $5/day that is only $100 month and I don’t think that anyone other than a person with an expensive hybrid car is going to commute in from out of town for “just” $100/month (less than $24/week) in gas.  Remember even a short 25 mile round trip commute from Dixon, Woodland or West Sac will put over 6K miles more a year on your car getting you closer to spending ~$500 for new tires, another ~$500 for a new clutch, ~$500 for new CV joints or ~$500 for a new timing belt.  The maintenence and repair cost for an older inexpensive car is rarely under $0.10/mi or $2.50/day and while almost every car is dropping in value one that has 6K more miles on it every year is dropping even faster.   Most people will spend more commuting than they will save renting outside Davis.

        4. Tia Will

          Ron

          I managed in Davis for two years without a car and hope to get to that point again once I retire. My son did not learn to drive until last year. He is now 25 and only learned to drive because he is attending Sac State.

  24. Ron

    Matt:

    Again, I said that I wasn’t going to “research” rental availability in surrounding areas, to prove a point.  But, since you seem convinced that they don’t exist, I did one quick search, focused on Woodland.  Feel free to dissect it, if you’d like.

    http://sacramento.craigslist.org/search/hhh?query=woodland%2C+ca&excats=2-17-21-1-17-41-22-22-1&sort=rel

    Sounds like Tia’s son has a couple of unfilled rooms.

    If I was actually looking for a rental in Davis or the surrounding area (and had sufficient income), I’m almost certain that I could find one. However, It might take me longer than the 1 minute I’ve spent on this.

    Again, if you’d like to share what your opinion is (regarding building more apartment complexes in Davis), feel free to do so. (I’d suggest that you also include specifics.)

    But, I’m sure you’d prefer to either tear apart the one example I provided, or state that you need more information, etc.

    1. Matt Williams

      Ron, Ron, Ron, did you even read the Craigslist listings for Woodland?  There were a grand total of eleven (11) rental listings for Woodland, of which eight (8) were for houses, not apartments, and the remaining three (3) were for one complex at 1975 Maxwell Avenue.

      So you have three (3) vacancies in Woodland to address the Davis demand that would be generated by your proposed solution, “If there truly is “no place for them to live” in Davis (as you state), then they won’t live here (for now).”  Literally thousands of units of Demand to be handled by three units of Supply.  That is a truly robust solution.

      1. South of Davis

        Matt wrote:

        > remaining three (3) were for one complex at 1975 Maxwell Avenue

        It would be interesting to call and see if they will rent three units tomorrow.  Many apartments run ads 35 days a year since they are always “leasing”.  I talked to someone who called a “Now Leasing” number in Davis last week and he was told they are leasing for “September 2017” (more than a year from today)…

      2. Ron

        Matt:

        No – I didn’t look at it, since I’m not looking for a rental unit.

        We can keep doing this, if you’d like.  (I’ll post links, and you can read through it looking for rental units to try to convince me that there are no rentals available in Davis or surrounding communities.)

        I would think that houses for rent “count” as residential units, as do rooms, the apartments you referenced in my link, and the ones you listed earlier.

        Here’s a broader search (which I also didn’t look at, because I’m not shopping for a place to live).  I know of a few other websites, as well (so you can probably explore them if needed, as well.)  I don’t think that all rentals are shown on Craigslist, so it might take awhile to go through everything.  Let me know if you’d like me to find some more links for you (maybe tomorrow, after you’ve looked through this one):

        http://sacramento.craigslist.org/search/apa

        I’m guessing that you know how to search through Craigslist, regardless.

        By the way, I must acknowledge that you did indeed take a position regarding using the vacancy rate as a legitimate reason to change existing zoning (so I stand corrected, regarding your “lack of position”).  (I hadn’t seen your statement, earlier.  I was too busy responding to Don, and looking at your other statements.)

        Best wishes on the rental unit search.

        1. Ron

          Matt:

          One final (important) note, regarding rental units in nearby communities.

          None of these other communities has the same level of “development restrictions” as Davis does.  So, perhaps it’s not the restrictions that have led to any “shortage”, at this point in time.

          Perhaps it was related to the recession, and construction is just now “catching up” with new demand.

          Given these facts (regarding lack of restrictions in nearby communities), it kind of makes the search for rental units in nearby communities a somewhat pointless effort (but have at it, if you’d like).

          Maybe you can also come up with some graphs and other analysis tools?  (I know that you’re fond of that.)

           

  25. Marina Kalugin

    wow…I have been trying to stay off the DV all day…trying to relax on my second real day off in several years…really I didn’ t even check my ucd email yesterday morning nor today…really…I am now in real retirement phaseout mode…though I peeked last night.

    although, some other thing have happened and now I wish my replacement hadn’t been hired…I was headed to work for the Chancellor before my official date and now…that is not happening..

    I cannot let go of my life with UC since 1970…and my work there since 1979…

    much of what you are going round on is only the tip of many icebergs…and the real problems are way more basic…it is in the contaminated water, the food like substances with no nutritional value, it is why poor children have difficulty in the classroom…it is forced vaccinations…thank Dr. Pan for that Sean old pal…it is because when parents were in an uproar the docs took out the mercury from the vaccines and replaced it with toxic fluoride which goes straight to the brains of young children, ..it is because the “annual flu” shots are now poisoning young babies as young as 6 months old…and yearly very year after, and thos shots with a truly low efficacy rate includes guess what, class?   mercury…every year…and if one is part of the poor who go to first five or whatever, they have to get all the shot…now up to 63 by the time the child  starts school, or they cannot even get wic or other support..

    this is why I speak out..and why I sometimes sabotage threads…

    it is not about this that is making things so hard in Davis…it is the basics I just shared..

    read, learn,  participate, be an activist …sometimes go offtopic to make a really more important point…

    my sons had there shots.. they were okay…a friends daughter went autistic after her MMR ..

    and I have met so many other parents who’s normal children are now maimed or dead..

    the US is not what it appears…and much of what people are arguing about is such nonsense…and lies…

    [moderator] Huh?

  26. Ron

    Don and/or Matt:

    I have a question for you.

    We’re currently meeting SACOG growth guidelines, partly as a result of the Cannery, etc.  However, other than some smaller sites, this is essentially the last large piece of available land in Davis for residential development.

    At some point, we’ll run out of infill sites.  At that point, we’ll have to make a choice between ignoring SACOG requirements, or annexing more peripheral land for residential development.

    Why would you want to advocate “rushing” that decision point, before it’s necessary?  And, do you believe that there are no ramifications as a result of ignoring SACOG guidelines?  If so, what do you base that on?

    Please don’t simply suggest that I “research SACOG requirements” on my own. I’m asking for your interpretation (which I suspect may not be correct, based on prior communications with you).

      1. Ron

        Don:  “Explain exactly why SACOG matters.”

        O.K.

        If we build on all available sites before we’re required to, they won’t be available when we actually “need them” to meet SACOG requirements, later.  We don’t get credit (at this point in time) for exceeding SACOG requirements.

        And then, we’ll be forced (that much sooner) to make the decision described above (ignore SACOG requirements, or annex more land for development).

        Pretty sure I have this right.

        1. Ron

          Don:  “No city has ever been forced to annex land to meet SACOG requirements.”

          I’m not sure if SACOG requirements have been around long enough to “test” this, in a community such as Davis.

          But, just to be clear, you’re stating that there are no consequences in ignoring SACOG requirements, and that there’s no need to plan ahead to meet these requirements.

          Is that correct?

          Maybe Matt will weigh in on this, as well.

    1. Matt Williams

      Ron, one of the interesting facts about the SACOG RHNA allocations is that each jurisdiction is required to show that they have at least as many units zoned for housing as their allocation; however, the zoned units do not have to actually be constructed.  That means that a lot like the one at the corner of Mace and Montgomery (owned by the Catholic Church) counted as 77 units toward meeting the RHNA allocation in 2008, and then counted as 77 units in 2013, and will count as 77 units in all the future RHNAs until the Catholic Church decides to abandon their plans to put a church there.  Similarly, Nishi counted as 650 units toward RHNA in 2008, and again in 2013, and will continue to do so until and unless actual construction takes place there.  Wildhorse Ranch counted as 230 units in 2008 and 2013.

      Further, in the November 2008 HESC Update 382 individual lots scattered around the City were counted toward meeting the RHNA allocation.  How many of those 382 lots do you think have been built out in the eight years since 2008?  My guess (and it is only a guess) is that less than 82 have been built out, and the remaining 300 that are unbuilt on continue to count toward meeting our RHNA allocation.

      Bottom-line, once you get to know the SACOG RHNA process a bit better, you will find that Davis doesn’t have to worry about RHNA until well after the year 2050.

      JMHO

      1. Ron

        Matt:

        Thank you.  I hope you’re right, but I understand something totally different.  I may check into this further, at some point.  (Not tonight.)

        Regarding the “rental search”, you might want to look at my last comment (regarding “lack of restrictions” in nearby communities, and the effect of the recession) before you waste time replying to my other purposefully-snarky comments and links.

        1. Matt Williams

          Ron, please let me know if you find out anything different on SACOG RHNA.  I am always willing to learn.

          Regarding the rental search, I will let your heart dictate any next steps.  My head tells me we have delved into rental search issues sufficiently.

        2. Ron

          Matt:  I’ll try to do that, regarding SACOG requirements. It seems like something that should be very-well understood, by anyone involved in development decisions for a community such as Davis. (I’d venture to say that it’s critical to understand these requirements.)

          Regarding “heart and head”, I suspect that neither of us is guided totally be one, or the other.  (Unless you’re possibly a computer.) I also suspect that we’ve only “scratched the surface” of availability (noted in some comments and links above).

          More importantly, please see my other comment (above), regarding the reason that there might be somewhat of a “shortage” of rental units everywhere, these days.  (The recession and a drop-off in construction which is still affecting the situation.) I’ve read that this is affecting many areas throughout the country.

          Other nearby communities don’t have the same level of “restrictions” that Davis has, so restrictions don’t explain a tight rental market in nearby areas.

          Also, at this time of year (right before Fall semester), most new students (including those included in the “increased enrollment” for this year) have probably already lined up housing for the coming year.  (This also impacts the vacancy rate.)

          1. Don Shor

            Vanguard, April 10 2008: “Sue Greenwald on the other hand suggested that the numbers were not interesting to her. She was concerned that if Davis went beyond the SACOG allotment that this would lead to increased SACOG numbers in the future.”
            The supposed SACOG argument has been around for awhile. It wasn’t relevant then, and it isn’t relevant now.

            Also, at this time of year (right before Fall semester), most new students (including those included in the “increased enrollment” for this year) have probably already lined up housing for the coming year. (This also impacts the vacancy rate.)

            The apartment vacancy survey by ASUCD is always done in the fall, which is what makes it a useful number.

      2. Eileen Samitz

        Matt,

        I can’t say that I agree with you. RHNA is an issue we need to be concerned about and especially to provide the low and very low income units. The cycles are timed for around 7-8 years apart and over-building prematurely is counterproductive because we get no credit for units built beyond our assignment for that cycle, plus it does encourage SACOG to assign our City a higher number in the next cycle (sorry Don, but that is the case.) We will be dealing with this in 2021 for our next SACOG RHNA assignment, not 2050.

        Also Matt, your assumptions are incorrect. A site needs to be zoned for housing before it can be used as a potential site counted towards our SACOG RHNA assignment. So, no, Nishi was not used (since it was not even annexed no less re-zoned), nor was Wildhorse Ranch (it was not rezoned), and the church site at Mace and Mongomery is public-semi public, not residential, so none of these sites were or can be used until their land use designation and or zoning is changed to allow residential.

        Matt, it is important to research this info before posting misinformation, otherwise readers would have misconceptions about these important issues.

  27. Tia Will

    Matt

    Single men and women who have a good job in Sacramento or the Bay Area are not going to be drawn to the bucolic charm of Davis, especially since they have no children who can benefit from the high quality of the Davis schools”

    Wrong. I immediately thought of four young people in addition to my son who have done precisely this. Being a single millennial does not mean that one cannot prefer the “bucolic charm” of Davis to the more rapid, harried pace of the Bay area in particular.

    1. Matt Williams

      Tia, did any of the five young people who you describe abandon an existing Bay Area apartment near their job and move to an apartment in Davis, and then commute to that continuing Bay Area job?

      Similarly, did any of the five young people who you describe abandon an existing Sacramento apartment near their job and move to an apartment in Davis, and then commute to that continuing Sacramento job?

      I can easily see a young person with already existing ties to Davis keeping their apartment residence in Davis while choosing to commute to their new job in the Bay Area or Sacramento, but I think the chances are very low that a young person will pull up stakes in one of those other cities, but not change their job, and then execute the daily commute by public transit or car.

      P.S. Your son falls outside the parameters of this discussion of apartment Supply/Demand because he isn’t contributing to apartment Demand in Davis because he is living in an ownership house.

  28. South of Davis

    Tia wrote:

    > Being a single millennial does not mean that one cannot prefer the “bucolic charm” of Davis

    Any city with a parent’s home available for free or cheap rent becomes “more charming” for most millennials (who often have a ton of student loan debt).

    Not many kids today are saying “mid-town Sacramento is too “harried” for me so I’ll rent a home in the Davis Northstar area with under 1% single adults not living in a family home and commute in to Sac every day (spending hundreds a month on commute costs)…

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