Commentary: Housing Crunch Primarily Generated by UC Growth and Lack of On-Campus Housing

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Russell Fields
Russell Field and Howard Field

The community remains divided on the issue of housing and, as we saw in the discussion on Sunday centering on the Russell Boulevard fields, there are some sharp differences of opinion there.  Many have pushed back against the idea of housing at Russell and Howard Fields, but not all agree.

As one commenter noted on Sunday, “Our focus should be on fixing the City’s problems, not trying to dictate to others how to fix theirs.”

On the surface the individual would seem to have a point, but there are some flaws in the reasoning.  First, the university has invited the community to be part of the LRDP (Long Range Development Plan) process – that suggests that the public does have a legitimate role to play in this process.  The university has also sought to work with the city of Davis.

Second, of course, the community cannot dictate anything to the university.  The university at the end of the day solicits feedback and then makes its own decision.  That means they can weigh the merits of housing at a given location and assess the downside.

In the case of the Russell fields, they now have a lot of data about community response and concerns.  All of that will go into weighing their decision.  As we noted on Sunday, it seems that the university is likely to seek locations for housing other than the intramural fields.

But the final point is what I want to focus on, and that is that, while our focus should be on fixing the city’s problems, UC Davis has played a large role in creating one of the two biggest problems faced by the city of Davis – the low vacancy rate.

For as much as critics of the city’s land use policies want to put this problem on restrictions for building new housing, they run into a problem, statistically speaking.

The Vanguard’s public records request from UC provided us with the latest figures, based on enrollment as of November 2015 and a housing survey conducted in December 2015 and revised in April 2016.

UC Davis houses just 9834 students on campus, out of about 36,000 total students.  That accounts for just 27.2 percent of all students.  That is not only below the system-wide 33.9 percent average but, of the regular campuses (excluding the Medical School at UC San Francisco), only Berkeley has a lower percentage of students living on campus.

The typical UC school houses about 38 percent of its undergraduate population on campus, and for Davis that is just 31 percent.  And again, that means more than 20,000 students attending UC Davis are crammed into apartments and mini-dorms around town.

As Vanguard Editorial Board member Tia Will put it in response, “This conveniently ignores the fact that much of the city’s housing problems are the direct effect of the failure of the university to house even the number of students that they had promised to house.”

This is, in fact, exactly the problem.  Twice in the last 30 years the university, near the bottom of UC in on-campus housing, has made pledges, indeed signed MOUs, to increase housing on campus – and twice they have failed.

The LRDP with a proposed 90 percent of new students housed on campus represents only the latest commitment in this respect.

While there are legitimate points to be made that Davis has not built enough rental housing in recent years either, the fact remains that a large contingent of students are housed in the city limits, and, while estimates may vary, it seems quite possible that Davis is either number one or number two among host cities in providing off-campus housing for students.

The bottom line is that Davis cannot simply focus on its own problems, because problem number one, or 1-A, is the direct result of UC Davis’ failures over the past 30 years to house more students on campus.

From this standpoint, Davis probably has every right to at least suggest alternative locations to Russell and Howard Fields for student housing.  That is, again, not to say that UC Davis is forced to listen to the recommendations.

At the same time, I do think that Davis residents are going to start boxing themselves in on these issues.  If the answer is always “no” or “somewhere else,” then at some point the answer is going to have to be yes and here.

Further, I am not one who believes that all new student housing has to be on campus.

Nevertheless, I do not believe that along Russell Blvd. is the best location for new housing and would prefer, again, more density at West Village, existing housing sites like Orchard and Solano Parks, and high-density at Nishi.

For those arguing we need high-density housing above five stories, I would suggest we look at other models which have packed 2700 beds into 30 acres of land or less without going above five stories.

—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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120 thoughts on “Commentary: Housing Crunch Primarily Generated by UC Growth and Lack of On-Campus Housing”

  1. South of Davis

    David wrote:

    > Commentary: Housing Crunch Primarily Generated by UC Growth and Lack of On Campus Housing

    I would have wrote:

    Housing Crunch Primarily Generated by UC Growth and Davis Residents Working to Keep Rents and Values High by trying to Stop any new Construction both On and Off Campus…

      1. South of Davis

        House Flipper wrote:

        > SOD mischaeracterizes the article before 6am.

        Sorry to hear that House Flipper is not aware that Davis Homeowners have been trying to stop the construction of recent developments both on and off campus (e.g. Russell Fields and Trackside).  If House Flipper were to do a little research he will learn that my characterization of the issue is dead on correct (in most cases since I’m sure that there are a couple people who’s main motivation is to save the place where they play ultimate Frisbee or don’t want to look at a big building when they drive to donate at the SPCA store) …

        1. HouseFlipper

          Again mischaeracterizing. 2 by 7am. Your off to a great start today. I have seen David and lots of others on here advocating for building more student housing on campus, just not on Russell fields. I don’t believe any of the posters live on College Park. David was also a major advocate for Nishi.

        2. South of Davis

          House Flipper wrote:

          >  I don’t believe any of the posters live on College Park.

          Did I say “any of the posters live on College Park”?

          P.S. Are you posting here since the slowdown in local price appreciation has made flipping to turn a profit a lot harder?

  2. South of Davis

    David wrote:

    > Only Berkeley has a lower percentage of students living on campus.

    If you want to make it look like UCD has almost no one on campus you can focus on the “percentage” of students on campus.

    It looks to me that UCD actually has the MOST students actually living “on campus” (aka on land actually owned by UC).  If UCLA is not a close second and actually has a few more writing “Only UCLA had more students living on campus” sounds a lot different (none of the other eight UC campuses even come close to the number of kids UCD has “on campus”)…

    1. Misanthrop

      Could you please explain this argument in more detail? I think you are saying that these other campuses have student housing built off campus but I am not sure.

    2. Grok

      SOD – There is a nuance in the article is not quite right as worded in the article. The phrase “housed on campus” would be better phrased as “housed in university owned housing” to be more accurate. The FOI data that David received from UC uses the terminology “number of students housed”.

       

      This includes students who live in the Cuarto dorms that are within the city of Davis and it includes students that live in the 3 apartment complexes that are rented by UCD through master lease agreements.

       

      The US News and world reports data I posted a few weeks ago reports to show % of students who live off campus. By the US News data Davis houses the lowest percentage of students on campus of any UC. Unfortunately, I think there is a problem with the US News Data because I think it is counting the Cuarto dorms which are owned by UCD but are in the City of Davis as “on campus.” Similarly the majority of students that live in UCLA housing technically live off campus in the very large UCLA owned dorms and apartment complexes.

       

      The most meaningful way to talk about UCD student housing is by referring to it as University owned housing, and Davis housing. University owned housing includes everything on campus and the University owned housing in the Davis City limits. Davis housing includes everything that could be rented by anyone if it was not rented by students or the UC. This is the right measure because it demonstrates the impact on the Davis community of student housing.

      1. quielo

        A lot of the UCLA housing, such as the places on Sawtelle, were acquired over decades. UCD has a lot of ground to make up. The best way is high density at both Nishi and Russell fields.

        1. Grok

          The best way is high density at both Nishi and Russell fields

          You completely overlook all of the other sites that are actually proposed in the LRD. Solano Park, Orchard Park, Regan Dorms, Trecero, West Village and Quarto are all being redeveloped or further developed in the current draft LRDP and they are all good places to build. There are many other places that have note been targeted yet that would also serve well.

          Nishi on the other hand has been specifically ruled out by the University because it is such a problematic location, and the Russell fields are already well used under their existing use.

        2. quielo

          Grok,

           

          You may note that much of the off-campus UCLA housing is located adjacent to the 405 freeway. The 405 is the second busiest in in CA while the 80 is only the 10th busiest and much less so in the Davis area. Comparing the 405 in the Sawtelle area to the 80 at Nishi is like comparing Nishi to the Co 102. Regardless of the opinion/pontification of Cahill I would much rather live at Nishi than the existing UCLA housing in LA.

        3. Grok

          Yes Quelo I am very familiar with the 405, Most of UCLA’s student housing is not so close to the 405, although the University Village Apartments on Sawtell certainly are.

          My reference to Nishi was specifically that Bob Segar ruled it out at the August 3rd community meeting. he specifically cited the cost of building a tunnel under the railroad, building a bridge over Putah and fixing the Olive/Richards/80 interchange. He also cited the air quality concerns.

      2. Adam Smith

        Grok – How would you classify the master leased housing that UCD controls in Davis?  That would seem to be the same as off campus,  university owned housing.

        1. Grok

          It is a complicated issue and I can understand how it can be argued a different way, but I would classify the master leased apartments as part Davis housing. My logic here is the University is not investing in creating new infrastructure to house students, instead they are taking over existing infrastructure and removing it from the open market thus diminishing housing available to non students.

          I can see how an argument could be made that UCD did the same thing when they took over the apartments that have become the Quarto dorms, but in the case of Quarto the University made significant capital investment and increased how many students can be housed at those locations. They are further planning on investing in those locations in the near term and that will also result in increasing how many students can be housed there thus increasing available housing in Davis overall.

          In my opinion the master leasing of apartment complexes by the university coupled with massive enrollment increases is a one two punch to the city that is guaranteed to decrease housing available to non students. That is the last thing Davis needs.

        2. Adam Smith

          Grok –

          I agree it’s complicated, but so is  off-campus housing owned by a university.  The off-campus housing owned by a university is using physical that could otherwise be housing available to non-students.    It seems that the primary difference is that one is more permanent than the other, but otherwise, the two are largely the same.

          In the end,  we can compare things either way.     But we should compare apples to apples.  If it is “university provided” housing that we are comparing, then it should be on-campus plus off-campus, owned or master leased.   (It may well be that other UCs are also providing off campus housing through master leases — it doesn’t look like the data provides enough clarity for us to discern).    If it is “on-campus” housing that we are comparing, then other university provided housing should not be included.

        3. Grok

          That’s Fine Adam, I agree with what your saying, things could certainly be compared either way. I also agree that there is a distinct lack of data from the University on this.

          What is very clear is UCD is providing less student housing than is at any other UC, with the possible exception of UC Berkeley depending on what numbers you go by.

  3. Mark West

    David – If the University built all of the housing that they previously promised to build, would that solve the rental housing shortage in Davis?  If your answer to that question is no, then the problem is not a failure on the University’s part, but one of our own making.

    Davis needs to address the problems in Davis, and stop trying to pass those problems off on others. We have a $30+ million annual hole in our budget and a severe rental housing shortage, both of which need to be addressed. Unfortunately, it seems, many in our community are not interested in actually solving problems, but would rather use our resources to complain about the University.

     

  4. Biddlin

    “Davis needs to address the problems in Davis, and stop trying to pass those problems off on others…many in our community are not interested in actually solving problems, but would rather use our resources to complain about the University.”

    Yup!

    1. Misanthrop

      Some don’t want all those students voting in the city for fear that the majority might vote against their interests. Demanding that student housing be built on campus is Davis’ form of voter suppression in city elections.

        1. Misanthrop

          Don’t be so quick to dismiss it. A number of people on here have argued against students on campus voting in city elections. Yesterday I spoke to someone who has been out front in protecting Russell Fields, who admitted to me that there are people who advocate for more student housing on campus partly because they are worried adding student housing to the city will effect our elections, confirming my view. I won’t say who the source was or who they were talking about as they asked me not to name the person.

        2. Grok

          Yesterday I spoke to someone who has been out front in protecting Russell Fields, who admitted to me that there are people who advocate for more student housing on campus partly because they are worried adding student housing to the city will effect our elections, confirming my view. 

          Sounds like they baited you into accusing them of “voter suppression.”

          Student votes have long been among the most progressive votes in town. Measure A is a perfect example. Just look at the precinct map, most of the precincts with large student housing voted against Measure A.

        3. Misanthrop

          I don’t think he was baiting me I’ve known him for 25 years. We were having an honest conversation. We agreed on many points. More than we disagreed on.

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            In one sense. On the other hand, students will always be in Davis and therefore their voice is important even if individuals students move through quickly.

        1. Grok

          David Greenwald
          September 6, 2016 at 10:36 am

          In one sense. On the other hand, students will always be in Davis and therefore their voice is important even if individuals students move through quickly.

          I very much agree with this sentiment. The students that are in town on election day vote for the students that will take their place in the future. While the students actually casting the vote will change, the interests will be similar if not the same.

      1. Mark West

        Eileen: “UCD needs to stop passing their problems off to our community.”

        How exactly has the University prevented the City from addressing either our fiscal shortfalls or our rental housing shortage? These are our own problems that have been created by our own decisions.

  5. Adam Smith

    The Vanguard’s public records request from UC provided us with the latest figures, based on enrollment as of November 2015 and a housing survey conducted in December 2015 and revised in April 2016.

    Was this data published on the vanguard (or somewhere)? If so,  can you please provide a link or directions to the data.  If it isn’t published, can you please do so.

  6. Alan Miller

    Davis Homeowners have been trying to stop the construction of recent developments both on and off campus (e.g. Russell Fields and Trackside).

    Not only (majority, not all) Davis homeowners, but some (percentage unknown) large property owners of student housing (such as those who opposed Nishi).  It’s not like a conspiracy of homeowners, it’s that most people’s one and only major investment is their home, and most are smart enough to realize that if more housing is built, their property values won’t increase as much, and that motivates voting for Meaure R and against Measure A.

    As for Trackside, I can’t think of a single person I know who is fighting that to increase their property values.  Those of us are all fighting it to protect the character of our neighborhood, as outlined in the Design Guidelines that we all fought for, (Guidelines that did not conveniently expire when developers found it convenient to declare so, even though that is a lie), and to prevent allow such a building to keep from setting a precedent (such as Mission did) to slowly, one cut at a time, slash the historic neighborhoods.  Not gonna happen, nothing to do with property values.

    1. Grok

      I agree with how Alan characterizes the opposition to Trackside as proposed, but I would expand it to say I have never met a Davis voter who voted against a specific project, or in favor of Measure R or J to increase property values. It is a very self serving and malicious argument made my the “build baby build” lobby.

      1. Misanthrop

        I guess you didn’t see all the no on A signs in front of every property one big landlord owns. The same landlord who long ago told me he was against Target because he was worried it would cause his properties in Downtown to face competition.

        1. South of Davis

          Ron wrote:

          > Wasn’t a “big landlord” (who already owns a lot of rental

          > properties in Davis) also involved/invested with the Nishi

          > proposal?

          Almost every landlord in town was opposed to Measure A “except” the landlords that had an ownership interest in the Nishi site (since the huge profits from developing the Nishi site would be greater than the slight reduction of rents and slight increase in vacancy caused by the new units at Nishi)…

    2. Misanthrop

      Alan your neighborhood is probably the only one in Davis fighting to keep your property values down. If that area was converted to multistory high density housing all your parcels would go up in value as the land values would soar.

      1. Alan Miller

        I heard that exact argument used by one of the Trackside developers trying to tell one of the immediately adjacent property owners, planning to retire there and not giving an S about increased property value, as the adjacent resident planned to live there for life (since the only way you could realize the increased property value is to move, sell, and do as Trackside did — that is, bet that the City would both change the zoning and pooch the Design Guidelines).  The confrontation damn near resulted in a fist fight, if not for other neighbors intervening to separate.

        So I will take you comment as a compliment to Old East Davis, that we value our unity and neighborhood character above possible (see above the need to pooch zoning and guidelines to achieve) higher property values.

        We are indeed an awesome neighborhood.

    3. South of Davis

      Alan wrote:

      > It’s not like a conspiracy of homeowners, it’s that most people’s one

      > and only major investment is their home, and most are smart enough

      > to realize that if more housing is built, their property values won’t

      > increase as much, and that motivates voting for Meaure R and

      > against Measure A.

      I agree with Alan 100%.

      > As for Trackside, I can’t think of a single person I know who is

      > fighting that to increase their property values.

      Also agree that the almost all the people actually “fighting” to stop Trackside are not primarily motivates to increase property values, but I bet if the people that live across the creek from me in South Davis or the people on the other side of 113 in West Davis got a chance to vote for or against Trackside most would vote against it (like they voted against Wildhorse Ranch) even though most will only see the place once every 5 years when they drive to donate stuff to the SPCA store.

      1. Alan Miller

        I don’t know how Davis as a whole “would” vote, and it doesn’t matter.

        All that matters is the five citizens who will actually cast a vote and this.

  7. Edison

     
    Thanks to David for another illuminating commentary.  It is noteworthy that the UC system and UCD have known about the coming campus housing crunch for many years and did little about it. More than a decade ago the UC Regents appointed a committee to evaluate housing at all UC campuses, culminating in a report in November2002, titled “UC Housing for the 21st Century.”  It:

    Summarized expected significant increases in students on all UC campuses and corresponding housing needs.

    Set housing construction goals for each campus. UCD was to house 38% of students on-campus by 2012 with a goal of 40%. The system-wide goal for all campuses was to be 42%.   

    Acknowledged the need to provide on-campus housing for growing enrollment to avoid negative effects on nearby communities.  

    Here’s some important excerpts from the UC report pertinent to the situation in Davis today:

    “Housing that is built to meet student, faculty, or staff housing needs also alleviates the need to provide housing in the community for these same groups. In other words, adding housing in support of the educational mission of UC also adds to the state’s housing stock.”

     

    “Added demand for housing in communities surrounding UC campuses results in rising rental and home prices.  Where University-affiliated housing is in short supply, the only choice for students, faculty and staff is to compete in these nearby markets or make decisions to live considerable distances from the campus.”
     

    “…the construction and financing costs of hew housing will need to be integrated into total campus growth plans in such a way as to ensure that each campus has assessed all needs and developed a coherent strategy to satisfy the multiple demands being faced by the University.”  

    UCD has therefore known about its on-campus housing needs for over a decade and the need to better integrate its enrollment growth with a commensurate campus housing construction program. The results of its inaction are clearly evident today in low rental housing vacancy and the explosion of neighborhood mini-dorms. The Regents gave UCD goals and a plan, but it was not implemented.  Instead of building on-campus apartments to accommodate students throughout their college years, UCD concentrated solely on building dormitories for its growing freshmen enrollment, forcing students from sophomore year and onward to fend for themselves.   

    It’s interesting that by David’s calculations only 27.2 percent of UCD’s students are housed on campus. This compares to a 29% figure recently cited by UCD administrators. This difference illustrates the difficulty in determining the precise number of UCD students living on campus versus off campus. Some of the variance in data results from looking at enrollment figures generated at different points in time. Confusion also comes into play when looking at reports generated by the UC Office of the President versus UCD. There could be another factor involved, however.  In recent years UCD has mentioned its intent to pursue “master leases” on apartment complexes in Davis.  It might be interesting for the Vanguard to find out whether UCD counts students residing in such “master lease” apartments among its “on-campus” population. If that is the case, then UCD is clearly inflating its numbers.  That would be analogous to a parent saying they have four children living at home when in fact one of the four lives in a home the parent rents across the street.    

     

    Several numbers do seem consistent, however. The draft LRDP states that UCD is planning on 39,000 students studying at the Davis campus by 2027-28. A goal of housing 90% of the new students on campus has been set, but when one runs the numbers, it is clear that only 40% of the total enrollment would be housed on campus (or just 15,600). That means that 60% (over 23,000) will need to find housing somewhere else.  That “somewhere else” won’t just be in Davis; the impacts will be felt in other towns as well, including Woodland and Winters. This is not a future problem, but one that has already been cited as impacting rental housing in those locales.  

     

    UCD can and must do a better job of providing on-campus apartments for its swelling enrollment. A variety of new housing can be built throughout the campus, both low-rise and high-rise facilities depending on each site’s attributes. As mentioned previously, UCD can partner with highly experienced and qualified firms such as American Campus Communities (ACC) to build and operate such housing. Until now UCD has seemed to rely almost solely on local firms (such as Tandem), but those entities don’t possess the nationwide experience, expertise and financial strength needed to creatively plan, build and operate the variety of housing styles that would efficiently make optimum use of UCD’s available land.

  8. Frankly

    The NIMBY claim that they support the alternative of UCD building housing on its own land and not on other land that the NIMBYs claim is so precious it should be left as a farmland and natural habitat moat around the city has been proven a LIE by this coordinated opposition to UCDs proposal for housing along Russell.

    I don’t trust these NIMBY people when they claim that they support certain development and not others.   They oppose ALL development.  And if you believe their lies you are a fool.

    It is easy to connect the dots given their arguments against every development proposal; all of those arguments apply for any development.

    1. Eileen Samitz

      Frankly,

      Come on… We have been through this a number of times on this blog. Plenty of on-campus site alternatives to the Russell fields have been recommended to UCD. If anyone is being a NIMBY, it is UCD.

      1. Jim Frame

        There are certainly a few activists who oppose all development, just as there are a few who support all development.  But the situation is much more fluid for most folks, who will favor some proposals and object to others.  Frankly’s NIMBY brush is far too broad.

  9. Eileen Samitz

    There is quite a discrepancy between these UC FOI numbers and what we were told by UCD head planner Bob Segar in a recent public meeting. When asked, Segar stated that UCD is housing 9,400 students as compared to the FOI number of 9,834 so the percentage of students housed by UCD is even lower than 27%. It is likely that UC is counting in the master leases which are not university owned housing, so it would falsely inflate how many students are housed in university-owned housing which is an important distinction

    This is why the issue of UCD using master leases is an important issue because since they are making City rental housing unavailable to non-students. This is also why UCD needs to get moving forward now with building significantly more on-campus housing which would be dedicated to UCD students. The students have access to university-owned housing both on-campus or off-campus as well as non-university owned off-campus housing, whereas non-students only have access to non-university housing off-campus.

    1. Don Shor

      When asked, Segar stated that UCD is housing 9,400 students as compared to the FOI number of 9,834 so the percentage of students housed by UCD is even lower than 27%. It is likely that UC is counting in the master leases which are not university owned housing

      I think it’s important that we get a handle on this number. The master leases are a serious problem as they directly affect the apartment vacancy rate. I hope our council members can push back against UC using master leases as any kind of solution to the housing problem created by the current increase in enrollment. So there are currently 434 students covered by master leases? More? Perhaps Bob Segar can help us find the actual number.

      1. Grok

        Agreed Don. The UCD master leases combined with increasing enrollment is a devastating one two punch to Davis’s housing supply. The information coming from the UC and UCD is not sufficient to fully understand the problem.

      2. Eileen Samitz

        Don,

        I completely agree that master leases are a huge problem and the City needs to address this problem otherwise UCD will continue to “reserve” more and more of our City’s rental housing rather than solving the problem by building significantly more on-campus housing to address their own accelerated student population growth.

        As Edison has pointed out, other California universities have stepped up and are building significant amounts of housing like UC Irvine, UC Berkeley, UC Santa Cruz and CSU Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and they have been for years. UCD knew that they were significantly increasing their student population for over a decade, yet dragged their heels on addressing it. There is no excuse for this lack of planning and provision of the needed on-campus housing by UCD and unlike the City, they have plenty of land to build it on. UCD needs to get-the-lead out and start building high-density housing on-campus now to make up for all of this lost time of inaction to accommodate the large number of students they are adding.

        1. South of Davis

          Eileen wrote:

          > I completely agree that master leases are a huge problem and the City needs

          > to address this problem otherwise UCD will continue to “reserve” more and

          > more of our City’s rental housing rather than solving the problem by building

          > significantly more on-campus housing to address their own accelerated student

          > population growth.

          If the people of Davis will not allow UCD to build on land they own south of Russell they will just lease or buy MORE apartments on city owned land north of Russell (or in other parts of the city).

          P.S. Let’s not forget that every time a UC school (or city) buys or leases a building property taxes are no longer collected and the city and state no longer get a big check twice a year.

          P.P.S. The apartment next to the Royal Oak Mobile Home Park sold for $16 million last year and will be paying property tax and parcel taxes and assessments totaling close to $200K a year (going up by 2% every year).  If UCD were to buy or lease the building next year the taxes, parcel taxes and assessments would drop to $0 (same as the city owned Pacifico/Symphony apartments down the bike trail that has been sitting more than half empty since GW Bush’s first term)…

        2. Grok

          If the people of Davis will not allow UCD to build on land they own south of Russell they will just lease or buy MORE apartments on city owned land north of Russell (or in other parts of the city). – SOD

          This completely ignores what is actually in the LRDP. INn UCDs LRDP all development takes place either on campus or at the already UCD owned Quarto dorms. there is also no mention of master leases.

          SOD – your basically just making stuff up.

        3. Eileen Samitz

          SOD (regarding your 10:40 am comment below),

          Looks like we agree that master leases are not a good thing. What we don’t agree on is one location, and that being the Russell fields which I have posted the many reasons why that is not a good site to build on-campus housing so I won’t repeat them yet again.

          So again, UCD needs to build significantly more on-campus housing to provide the needed housing for its own growth, and stop deferring it onto our community like it has been doing for so many years. Unlike the City, UCD has plenty of land to do so.

        4. South of Davis

          Grok wrote:

          > SOD – your basically just making stuff up

          Do you think I made up the fact that some in town don’t want UCD to build on the fields south of Russell or that UCD is leasing apartments north of Russell (and currently contacting apartment owners looking to master lease more)?

        5. Grok

          as I already explain SOD

          This completely ignores what is actually in the LRDP. In UCDs LRDP all development takes place either on campus or at the already UCD owned Quarto dorms. there is also no mention of master leases.

          If you have any support for your suggestion that UCD is looking to lease more apartments north of Russell please cite it.

  10. JosephBiello

    David G –  question, so what is the reason that the university has not followed through on its MOIs?   I haven’t followed this issue for many years, but looking at it now, it seems that there are a lot of pressures on the university (from the state) to grow and (1) take in more California students (2) be more self funded – which means taking on more international students.  Ultimately, it means a bigger university.

    I don’t believe that there is simply lack of will on the part of the administration to build more housing – it must be lack of (or otherwise directed) capital.

    One way to go forward on housing is to develop in stages, in parcels – like the LRDP proposes – including on Russell/Howard fields.    Waiting for the “10 story” development further west smacks of sacrificing the good for the “perfect”, and so people who are proposing this seem disingenuous.   I also fear that it is a tactic to obstruct a simple, rapid project for a more complicated, long term project – which will be obstructed later.

    Ultimately, we residents have to take some responsibility for this mess.  We want houses with big yards.  We want so much controlled growth that young families can’t afford to live here.    It is in the individual economic interest of landlords to rent out their houses, especially when they become empty nesters.   House prices not so expansive to prevent  absentee landlords from the Bay Area and L.A. from buying the houses for their kids and using them as income properties for years to come.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    1. Grok

      JB – Actually the housing in West Village is what will be built first because it was already approved in the previous LRDP. Any housing on Russell field is over a year away from even being approved.

      As to why the West Village housing has not been built, the private for profit development company ran into hard times during the housing downturn and were unable to complete the project. Now the university has raised its own capital and is moving forward on the project without the other company.

      As to waiting for 10 story dorms, any housing that is built at the core of campus needs to look to the future, and with the massive increases in enrollment coming, that housing needs to be much taller. There is absolutely nothing in the LRDP to suggest that Russell fields will be developed before Orchard Park or Regan hall. In fact, if anything there is the opposite. UCD plans on building new IM fields at the very farthest part of West Village and there is a reasonable assumption that the new fields will be completed before the building begins on the fields. Orchard park is already closed and  and ready for redevelopment – including regent approval.

      Insisting on 3 story apartments built at the core of campus is short sighted.

      Insisting on destroying centralized fields that are widely used for student activities is callus.

    2. David Greenwald Post author

      In the early 90s and then again a decade or so ago, the university agreed to house a certain percentage of students on campus, they agreed to an MOU and then never got close to their commitment.

      1. ryankelly

        Because the funding they had and the agreements they made didn’t account for all construction, even built through private partnerships, needed to be built under prevailing wage rules.  So, the plan fell apart for a few years.

        1. Jim Frame

          all construction, even built through private partnerships, needed to be built under prevailing wage rules.

          As I’ve pointed out many times before, this isn’t true.  DIR originally ruled that West Village was subject to PW, but later reversed its ruling.

    3. Don Shor

      question, so what is the reason that the university has not followed through on its MOIs?

      They had other priorities for their construction funds. They had no incentive to follow through. They were spending a whole lot of money tearing down old buildings and replacing them. New housing does nothing for the university’s image and prestige. Funds for housing can’t come from fees or state funds; it has to basically be self-supporting. There was no concern at the higher levels of UCD administration about the local housing issues.
      Take your pick.

      1. Eileen Samitz

        Don,

        Construction funding is not an excuse that UCD can use for not building more on-campus housing. As Edison posted earlier today, there are companies like ACC which specialize in building student housing, including building high density on-campus housing using land leases on campuses and these companies put up the capital, not the university. Other California universities and so UCD needs to pursue this mechanism too. UCD has done it before on a small scale with local developers who only do lower density housing, like Tandem building The Colleges on LaRue, which sadly could have been much higher density than it is. But UCD needs to broaden their scope and work with companies like ACC that can, and often build higher density on-campus housing.

        1. Don Shor

          I know this, and you know this, and it’s likely even that UCD administrators know this. The question is how it is budgeted and how that expense is viewed by the UCOP, where the ultimate decision is made about these things.

    4. Eileen Samitz

      JosehphBiello,

      Actually, quite the contrary, it is UCD which is responsible for this entire mess. They committed to providing the housing needed for their own growth 27 years ago in an MOU with the City but then was negligent in producing it. Also, UCD knew all about this increase in student population was coming and UC had its on task force defining their projected growth and hosuing needs. The result was UC’s task force report “UC Housing for the 21st Century” in 2002. The document make clear what amount of housing that was needed to be produced by each UC campus. UCD was to build at least 38% on campus housing by 2012, with a goal of 40% but they neglected to do so, and instead kept on deferring their housing needs onto the City. In fact the goal UC systemwide goal was 42% by 2012.

      The result from so many years of neglect by UCD, is we now have a huge and disproportionate number of students in our City rental housing because of UCD’s irresponsibility and the impacts are at a point where UCD needs to get the housing built on the campus that they need for their growth. All of this inaction by UCD is unfair to their students and unfair to our community.

      Meanwhile, other UC campuses like UC Irvine, UC Berkeley, and UC Santa Cruz are building the needed housing needed by their own grow, while UCD can not seem to get nearly enough accomplished. There is no excuse why other California universities are solving the problem while UCD is not.

       

      1. South of Davis

        Eileen wrote:

        > The result from so many years of neglect by UCD,

        > is we now have a huge and disproportionate number

        > of students in our City rental housing

        You sound like an old time WASPy  New Englander complaining about Catholics renting in town or an old time Southerner upset when a “disproportionate” number  “colored folk” started renting apartments near them…

        P.S. Where did you find the percentage of students renting in town?  How much would this percentage need to drop before we had a “proportionate” number acceptable to you?

        1. Grok

          Wow SOD you really are on a role today. Now your comparing Eileen to sectarians and racists.

          I have seen a lot of people bash Eileen but I think this is the lowest I have ever seen by far.

          Count down to SOD’s Hitler reference, 5, 4, 3, ….

    5. Misanthrop

      They have been adding students faster than they can build infrastructure. They have had lawsuits and adverse court rulings that also slowed them down.

      From the beginning UCD let the locals build and prosper from the infrastructure needed to support the University. Since the 70″s or 80’s the city started opposing growth as needed. Now we have people claiming its only the responsibility of UC to provide for its students. Whether or not you buy that argument it is a deviation from the historic relationship between the city and the university.

      1. Grok

        I don’t think anyone is claiming that Davis shouldn’t play a role of housing UCD students. Rather they are saying UCD has fallen behind all of the other UCs in doing its part.

        1. Don Shor

          Some, however, do seem to say that Davis should not build any significant amount of rental housing, and those same people seem to oppose any proposals for rental housing such as Sterling and Nishi. So, in effect, they seem to be saying that Davis should not play any further role in housing UCD students, at least in the present planning horizon.

        2. Mark West

          Groc: “I don’t think anyone is claiming that Davis shouldn’t play a role of housing UCD students.”

          When one states that housing students is the University’s problem, they are, by default, inferring that the City has no role. If you believe that the City does indeed have a role in housing students, then please identify the proposed apartment developments in the City that you support(ed), or alternatively, the sites where you believe more apartments should be built. I don’t recall a single proposal for new apartments in the City that you have supported, but I will be happy to have that memory corrected.

        3. South of Davis

           

          Grok wrote:

          > can you please direct me to where someone stated

          > ,  “housing students is the University’s problem,” ?

          At 10:10am Eileen wrote:

          “UCD needs to stop passing their problems off to our community.”

          That would lead most people to believe she thinks housing students is the University’s problem (since she has also said there is a “disproportionate number of students in our City rental housing”)…

          This might surprise some people but when I moved to a “college town” I was not shocked to find that the city has a “disproportionate number of students in our City rental housing”…

        4. Mark West

          Groc: “Mark can you please direct me to where someone stated,  “housing students is the University’s problem,” ?”

          I didn’t cite a direct quote, so I have no reason to find you one. There have, however, been multiple examples in the past year where the same concept has been expressed by several posters here. One example:

          “Eileen Samitz: “”UCD falling short on their promises is what does need to change and enabling them, as you are suggesting by taking on UCD’s housing problems would just perpetuate the problem…They have plenty of land and it is their responsibility.” July 25. 9:45am” [emphasis mine]

          Looking at it another way we have those who blame the University for the City’s housing shortage. For example”

          “Tia Will:  “This conveniently ignores the fact that much of the city’s housing problems are the direct effect of the failure of the university…” Sep 4 5:18pm

          Eileen Samitz: “Tia has this completely right.” Sep 4 9:17pm

          Grok: “Agreed Tia.” Sep 5 12:06am”

  11. Alan Miller

    It is unfathomable to me that anyone would argue that no one in town votes based on their perception of what a vote will do to their property values.  This is a basic human tendency, happens all the time in a million arenas.  I’m not saying that many Davisites don’t over-rule their wish for higher-property values with their particular values — that happens all the time, too.  Do understand, our little community of blah, blah, blah is a tiny percentage of Davis.  Most people are dimly aware of local politics, busy with their lives and families, and vote based on a few newspaper articles or something they heard on the internet.  Again I’m only saying that as a whole, I believe it takes a pretty damn strong counter-argument on a project to get a majority to drop their tendency towards higher-property value.  My beef is with those that try to claim that isn’t a strong motivating factor.  Do not see the values of the majority through the lens of your particular values.  Error.

    1. Grok

      Sure, the value of what is usually an individual or couple’s largest single investment is important to them.  People are more likely to vote against projects that will cause the value of their investment to decrease (like a hotel just over their back fence) than they are to vote to stop new housing because it might increase the value of their home indirectly.

      1. Mark West

        “People are more likely to vote against projects that will cause the value of their investment to decrease (like a hotel just over their back fence)…”

        Replacing a vacant lot with known vandalism problems with an upscale hotel with 24-hour security is likely to have an impact on the property values of the half dozen or so immediate neighbors, but it is questionable logic to assume that the impact will be negative.

    2. JosephBiello

      @alanmiler I don’t think I was making the argument you suggest I was making.

      In a sense, I’m  arguing that it is every party’s (residents, landlords, university)  near term economic interest that seems to have gotten us into this situation – i.e. of very low vacancy rates.      Those of us who own already and are here for the long term don’t really care about the ups and downs of the real estate market – it will be net upward in a town where the university must expand.     On the other hand it does disappoint so many people have to commute to town, both those who work here and those who study here (at the elementary and university levels).

      1. Alan Miller

        Fair enough.

        The only real area of squishy left, then, is what the degree of influence property value has on votes.  I would argue it is paramount, others not-so-much.  On that, we will never know, but we can all agree that it is a factor.

    3. Odin

      Folks still bringing up the “property value” issue due to the result of Measure A forget that when you looked at the voting map it showed it lost overwhelmingly in the core area of town indicating traffic was probably the number one issue influencing voters, not property values.

      1. Frankly

        I think FOT (fear of traffic) is the number one issue influencing the irrational voter.  Because the rational voter would note:

        1. Traffic is already bad and getting worse, and failing to house students next to the campus and downtown will just cause more cars traveling in and out of Davis.

        2. The developments would include traffic calming infrastructure changes that otherwise will not happen.

        The leading rational NIMBYs exploit this and other irrational fears to get enough votes.  And they are supported by the rational money-interests… those owning property and liking the scarcity of property to keep their values high.

      2. South of Davis

        Odin wrote:

        > Folks still bringing up the “property value” issue due

        > to the result of Measure A forget that when you looked

        > at the voting map it showed it lost overwhelmingly in

        > the core area of town indicating traffic was probably

        > the number one issue influencing voters, not

        > property values.

        I’ll agree that property values may not have been the #1 issue with most voters in the core area, but it is silly to argue that it is not an issue at all.  Just like most Republican voters want “lower taxes” for some bible thumpers on the far right the #1 issue may be “gay marriage” but odds are they still want lower taxes (and no taxes for churches)…

  12. Grok

    Those of us who own already and are here for the long term don’t really care about the ups and downs of the real estate market – it will be net upward in a town where the university must expand.  – JB

    I think this is exactly right

    1. Eileen Samitz

      Grok,

      Those of us who own already and are here for the long term don’t really care about the ups and downs of the real estate market – it will be net upward in a town where the university must expand.  – JB

      I can agree with the first part of this comment,  however I would add that regarding the second part of the comment by JosephBiello that while I understand that the University needs to expand, they need to do it on their land, and with over 5,300 acres, they have plenty of land to do so, in fact more than any other UC.

       

      1. Mark West

        Eileen: “I understand that the University needs to expand, they need to do it on their land”

        University expansion involves adding students, faculty and support staff. Are you now advocating that the University take responsibility for housing all of those new people, with none of them living in the City?

        1. Eileen Samitz

          Mark West,

          Oh come on…you really are stretching, if not “spinning” now. I have already explained that unlike our City, UCD has more than 5,300 acres of land and that they can and need to provide the on-campus housing needed for UCD’s needs for their own growth. So please…

  13. ryankelly

    http://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/Big-test-for-Cal-students-affording-housing-in-9204254.php

    Berkeley is now housing first year and transfer students at other Bay Area universities that have room and shuttling them back and forth to campus.  The article says that UCOP is putting more attention on student housing for all of its campuses, so UC Davis may not be its highest priority (Berkeley sounds near impossible), no matter how much Eileen pushes on this.  Maybe Eileen should take her activism to the Regents?

    1. South of Davis

      Ryan wrote:

      > Berkeley is now housing first year and transfer students at

      > other Bay Area universities that have room

      Cal has been housing students in dorms at Mills College and Presentation College since at lease the mid-80’s (In the 90’s I dated a girl from the East Coast who spent her first year at Cal living in a Presentation College Dorm)…

        1. ryankelly

          At least Berkeley sees the value of students remaining in their City.

          Maybe UCOP could build housing for UC Berkeley on the 5,300 acres that  UCD has and provide busing or train subsidies from Davis to that campus?

  14. Frankly

    I have a big question about how UCD housing units are counted or not.

    Apparently the following are privatized campus apartments:

    8th and Wake
    The Atriums at LaRue Park
    The Baggins End Domes
    The Colleges at LaRue
    Russell Park
    Tri-Cooperatives
    West Village Apartments

    They do not qualify as “on-campus housing” and because of this they do not qualify for the purposes of student financial aid.

    However, the Student Housing Apartments (those apartments in Davis that are leased by UCD for students) do qualify for student financial aid.

    These include:

    Adobe Apartments
    Arlington Farm
    The Colleges
    The Lexington
    Primero Grove

    And “West Village”

    That is right… UCD lists West Village Apartments as both PCA and SHA.

    Which is it?

    And if it is privatized and not qualified for student financial aid, then how are these units counted in the total picture of UCD-run housing.   And how does that impact the interest for UCD to develop additional housing?

    http://housing.ucdavis.edu/housing/sha/

    http://housing.ucdavis.edu/prospective/housing-types.asp

     

    1. Grok

      Frankly – These are very good questions.

      to make it more complicated still,  The Colleges and Primero Grove are privately owned on leased UCD land while Adobe Apartments, Arlington Farm and The Lexington are privately owned in Davis and then leased to the University.

      Where are you getting the information about which ones qualify for student financial aid?

      1. Frankly

        SHA: http://housing.ucdavis.edu/housing/sha/

        PHA: http://housing.ucdavis.edu/housing/apartments.asp

        See the overlap with some locations being on both lists.

        See here for the comment on student financial aid: http://housing.ucdavis.edu/prospective/fees.asp

        Financial Aid
        Financial Aid is available to many students in the form of grants, scholarships, and loans. To learn about financial aid, including opportunities and how to apply, check out the Scholarships and Financial Aid Resources webpage. Note: Privatized campus apartments are not owned and operated by UC Davis, and therefore do not qualify as “on-campus housing” for the purposes of financial aid. Visit the Financial Aid Cost of Attendance webpage for more information.

        1. Grok

          Frankly, thanks for posting this. Looking at all of these links I honestly have no idea what is a privatized UCD apartment and what is not as it relates to financial aid.

          for example Primero grove which would seem to be included as a on campus apartment has its own website that states that it is “managed by EAH University Communities”

    2. South of Davis

      Frankly wrote:

      > Apparently the following are privatized campus apartments:

      > The Baggins End Domes

      It is a stretch to  call the “hippie-stoner domes” a “privatized campus apartment”.

      http://ucdavismagazine.ucdavis.edu/issues/sp12/domes.html

      P.S. In the early 80’s everyone I knew at Davis went to “the domes” to buy pot and I was not surprised to find out that 30 years later UCD kids were still going to “the domes” to buy pot…

      1. Grok

        Now SOD turns to accusing students of being drug dealers.

        The Domes and the Tri Co-ops are run by the Solar Community Housing Association not by UCD, I would assume that’s why they fall into the “privatized” bucket.

        1. South of Davis

          Questions to Grok (all Yes or No):

          If someone asked you to describe the Domes would you call them “privatized campus apartments”?

          In the last 30 years to you think anyone living in the Domes sold pot?

          Do you think anyone living in the Domes has gone to Burning Man?

          Bonus question Do you think anyone at Burning Man this past weekend was smoking pot?

          [moderator] Most of this is off topic.

        1. HouseFlipper

          I am still not sure what selling pot or burning man have to do with Russell fields, but OK, your only historically accusing students of dealing illeagle drugs. Contemporaneously your accusing Domes residents of  abiding to the letter of state law to provide medicinal marijuana against university policies. Got it.

          how many prescription marajuana users do you estimate are being served at the Domes’ medical marijuana dispensery? My estimate is 0.

           

        2. Grok

          Wow SOD. just wow.

          What Frankly posted is from the University website and it does seem to consider them privatized. What I posted about the Domes being managed by the SCHA is probably why they consider them as such. I don’t think the University is interested in your tree house so as far as they are concerned you can probably call it whatever you want.

  15. ryankelly

    Has anyone considered the impact of building higher to the ability to respond to fires.  Many years ago, UCD bought a ladder truck to be able to respond to buildings that were taller.  Would increasing the height to 10 stories mean that we would have to purchase expensive equipment and new vehicles?

    1. Grok

      UCD already has Sproul hall which is 9 stories tall.

      From a fire fighting perspective do you think 3 story wood frame buildings or 10 story cement and steel buildings require more equipment?

        1. Adam Smith

          To your point, BP,  as of 7:38pm tonight, by my count Grok has posted 28  of the 114 posts on this blog.  There were 22 individual posters (assuming that none of them are posting under multiple IDs)  The frequency and length of posts from Grok reminds me of the postings by the Yes on A campaign which hired  a public relations firm and individuals to post on its behalf..     I  also remember Grok posting very frequently on the Hyatt House hotel .     I don’t know what it all means, but the enormity of it should be duly noted by everyone.

  16. Edison

    A number of today’s commenters are of the opinion that those who believe UCD should be responsible for housing its burgeoning enrollment are NIMBYs and/or selfishly trying to preserve their property values.  I can understand those sentiments, but wish to offer several other potential reasons why someone would insist that the majority of UCD students should be housed on campus.  First, Davis has a rare and precious attribute.  Unlike most towns in the United States, it has control of its periphery and has long encouraged rational, compact development.  Most towns simply sprawl in a leapfrog fashion into the hinterlands, making it difficult to get around by any mode other than the motor vehicle.  Here, it is possible to walk to the grocery store, pharmacy, doctor, dentist, or even downtown to see a movie or buy a cup of coffee.  I’ve lived and traveled throughout much of this country, and have been to few places that can boast of these attributes.

    Second, UCD’s failure to match enrollment expansion with on-campus housing construction has spurred the growth of neighborhood mini-dorms.  Some may view this is neither a good or bad thing, but I would wager that anyone who has had student-thrown beer bottles crashing into their house from a neighboring backyard at 2:00 AM would likewise not want students living in their midst.  It’s simply not much fun having to sweep broken glass from the driveway in order to leave the garage and drive to work in the morning. If students want to park on sidewalks, engage in public urination and drunken vomiting, then let them engage in such behavior on campus.

  17. South of Davis

    Edison wrote:

    > Most towns simply sprawl in a leapfrog fashion into the hinterlands

    Sure “some” towns sprawl, but I don’t think it is “most”.  There are about 20 cities on the peninsula between San Francisco and Palo Alto and most are about the same physical size they were 100 (one hundred) years ago.  The most recent Sacramento News and Review had a cover story on Isleton in the Delta.  The town had about 900 people in 1970 and has about 800 people today.  For every Elk Grove there are probably a dozen Isletons…

    > Here, it is possible to walk to the grocery store, pharmacy, doctor, dentist, or

    > even downtown to see a movie or buy a cup of coffee.  

    Just like just almost every other city in America with over 50K people (if you don’t care about walking to the movies you can walk to the “grocery store, pharmacy, doctor, dentist, or buy a cup of coffee” in just about every town in America with over 10K people.

    > I’ve lived and traveled throughout much of this country, and have

    > been to few places that can boast of these attributes.

    Can you really name a lot of towns in “much of” America that don’t have grocery stores, doctors, dentists, or coffee shops?

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