Sunday Commentary: We Live Under a False Sense of Permanency in Davis

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A city that has been unable to develop on the periphery for two decades, starved for tax and new forms of  revenue and short on student housing, is increasingly looking at infill projects that pit new development against existing neighborhoods.  Paso Fino.  Trackside.  Hyatt House.  Lincoln40.  Sterling Apartments.

On Wednesday night I listened as several of the neighbors noted that they moved in without having any reasonable belief that a hotel would be proposed for the vacant lot that lies on Cowell Boulevard.  On the other hand, Commissioner Cheryl Essex had a point that approved uses for that lot include the potential for 50-foot buildings, three stories, and more disruptive uses than a hotel.

While I empathize with neighbors, I worry more these days about the long-term viability of a community that seemingly cannot develop revenue-generating projects, either on the periphery due to Measure R requirements or on infill sites due to the pushback from neighbors.

At the same time, I wonder how many of these concerns are simply worst-case fears that would prove to be unfounded in the long term.  While I understand privacy concerns, I have bedroom windows that close-proximity neighbors could potentially look into – I tend use blinds and curtains to keep my privacy.

I had a discussion the other week that I knew of these arrangements when I moved in.  While there is some truth to that response, it missed a whole other array of points.  The first is, when you move into a new place, you can walk around and see things, but until you actually get in there and live in the location, you never know what you are going to find out.

When I lived in an apartment complex in Davis, it seemed like the neighbors were constantly changing – sometimes they were quiet, sometimes they had parties, sometimes they had loud conversations late at night – it was a constantly changing landscape and you had to adapt.  As more and more students rent formerly single-family houses, that is a constantly changing environment to live in.

Also, until you sleep in a new place, you might not be aware of things like bright lights that shine into your bedroom, which you will have to adjust to.  Or sounds and noise from the streets, neighbors or business.

Finally we live under a false sense of permanency.  You drive on the coast and you will see people who have their homes on the edge of cliffs as though the cliffs will always be there.  The reality is that every time we have a big storm in California, a few of those cliffs give way and we lose some of the houses.

As the climate continues to warm and ocean levels rise, more and more homes in low-lying areas will be threatened.

Nature is constantly changing and we forget sometimes that we live on a dynamic planet and that what we see today is merely a snapshot in a moment in time.

The reality is that cities and communities are constantly changing.  Businesses will move in, businesses will go out of business.  We live and adjust to the changing times.

Our community is going to change one way or another.  We will either see more dense infill projects, more projects that emerge on the edge of town, or we will eventually start seeing decline – the inability to pay for our infrastructure is one thing that will hit us sooner rather than later.

Without new sources for revenue, we risk seeing a decline in city services, we risk seeing our roads deteriorate in quality, our parks close down, our greenbelts deteriorate, the closure of swimming pools, the inability to provide key services to this community.

There will be impacts to neighborhoods.  We only have so many spots to put new things within town.  We may at some point tear down existing buildings and replace them with taller and more dense structures.  The more we refuse to develop on the periphery, the more we will bring neighborhoods into conflict with redevelopment and densification and infill.

Change is difficult.  But we also have tools to evaluate the impact of that change on neighborhoods, neighbors and the community.  We look at things like traffic increases, loss of privacy, noise, air pollution and other impacts.  We work hard to attempt to minimize these impacts.  We work hard to mitigate them.

But we cannot avoid change.  As more people move into Davis, we will have more traffic.  In fact, the only real question is where that traffic will be.  The folks who live near Fifth and Pole Line probably prefer to minimize traffic impacts on their neighborhood.  That is understandable.

The problem is that more students are attending UC Davis.  That means that there will be more traffic somewhere.  It might be on campus.  It might be on Richards.  And yes, we might be able to sequester the students to campus, but at some point they are going to drive into town and cause there to be more traffic in certain areas rather than others.

I think we have all convinced ourselves that we can keep this community as it is and I think that is mistaken thinking.  We cannot keep this community as it is.  Just look back in time – 20, 30, 40, and 50 years ago – to see how much this community has changed and, in 50 years, this community will look very different than it does now.

Change is inevitable.  What we should be working for are ways to keep the things we love about this community even as we accept that things will change.  We should take mitigation seriously and attempt to buffer new impacts, but we cannot allow it to paralyze us or we will be unable to meet the challenges ahead.

—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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87 thoughts on “Sunday Commentary: We Live Under a False Sense of Permanency in Davis”

  1. Tia Will

    A few thoughts :

    We will either see more dense infill projects, more projects that emerge on the edge of town, or we will eventually start seeing decline – the inability to pay for our infrastructure is one thing that will hit us sooner rather than later.” 

    1. Complete agreement on the issue that change is inevitable and that embrace and adaptation of change is necessary. However, I am not in agreement that this is an either or as you proposed. You have focused on only one leg of the triad of supports the city must have namely increased revenue completely ignoring responsible use of available revenues, and increased revenues through taxation ( with accommodations for those truly unable to pay).

    2. “is increasingly looking at infill projects that pit new development against existing neighborhoods.  Paso Fino.  Trackside.  Hyatt House.  Lincoln40.  Sterling Apartments.”

    I would suggest that not all infill projects are created equal. In this sentence you have included as “infill projects’ those that would add only a handful of new homes thus in terms of infill basically benefiting only the developers and investors, significantly impacting neighbors while establishing  suboptimal policy changes while not making even a dent in overall city need ( Paso Fino and Trackside) with entirely different types of development holding the possibility for significant revenue generation ( Hyatt House) or significant student housing ( Sterling and Lincoln40). I do not think that it is helpful to lump projects with very different goals and impacts in this manner as it tends to reinforce a false perception that one is either “pro change” or “anti change” without any consideration that one has the ability to judge each project on its respective merits. For me, this kind of thinking erodes the possibility of collaborative action since it reinforces the “you are either with us or against us” mentality.

    3. I do not believe that there is  anyone who would deny that change is an inevitable fact of life. I believe that change is highly desirable, not only in what projects we choose to add to our community, but also in the processes for how we decide what to add. What I would like to see is a radical change in how projects are developed.

    I would like to see a change from our current process of deciding what a project will be on a given spot, acquiring the land, putting in countless hours and dollars into designing what developers and investors think is a “good project” to a process in which those most impacted by any project have a voice from the beginning. I would like to see a process change in which immediate neighbors have a chance to benefit from the project directly as opposed to being expected to accept some ephemeral promised benefit to the community while seeing the downsides to themselves directly every day.  I would like to see a change from our current adversarial followed by compromise and mitigation model to one of collaboration from the beginning, If we are expecting community members to accept change, why would we not also expect developers, investors, project managers, and contractors to accept change, in this case, in how they conduct business ? 

    1. Frankly

      I would like to see a change from our current process of deciding what a project will be on a given spot, acquiring the land, putting in countless hours and dollars into designing what developers and investors think is a “good project” to a process in which those most impacted by any project have a voice from the beginning.

      Fanciful and completely unrealistic ideas that demonstrate a complete lack of understand the reasons that mediation and arbitration exit.

      Just because you want people to be reasonable does not mean they will be reasonable.   In fact, I think your position on these things is completely unreasonable.  What a waste of time debating things with people that cannot and will not be reasonable.

      Unless and until you can manage to bring back public financing mechanisms like RDA, it takes private capital to develop anything.   And because it takes private capital, the owners of that capital have a right to propose the types of projects that they believe will work and provide a return on their capital.

      You are just demonstrating that frustrated socialist conundrum where you cannot figure out how to control other people’s money to do you bidding.

      1. Jim Frame

        And because it takes private capital, the owners of that capital have a right to propose the types of projects that they believe will work and provide a return on their capital.

        No argument there.  But when the general plan and associated specific plans are either out of date or  habitually overridden by the City Council (there’s a cause-and-effect relationship there), developers are encouraged to propose projects that generate more controversy and conflict than would otherwise pertain.

        If everyone were to play by the same rules it’d be a lot easier to get projects done.

         

        1. South of Davis

          Jim wrote:

          > If everyone were to play by the same rules it’d be

          > a lot easier to get projects done.

          But it would be a lot harder to get campaign contributions (from BOTH developers and the people that want to stop development)…

        2. Mark West

          “If everyone were to play by the same rules it’d be a lot easier to get projects done.”

          Zoning regulations, design guidelines, and other planning documents are meant to evolve with the changing environment. What brings about the evolution are the requests of the developers and the response from the City. Everyone is playing by the same rules, except those who think that planning documents are etched in stone. It is the change-averse component of the Davis community that is primarily at fault here, not the unreasonable actions on the part of developers or the City.

        3. Jim Frame

          Everyone is playing by the same rules, except those who think that planning documents are etched in stone.

          There’s a big difference between “etched in stone” and “inexcusably outdated.”  Under current circumstances, I disagree that the rules are usable and therefore no one knows what they really are.

        4. Frankly

          Jim – I have a lot of experience in corporate strategic planning.  Successful organizations inject significant adaptability and flexibility into their guiding plans.

          This just does not work… even in city planning.  Those plans are obsolete in 3-5 years.

        5. Jim Frame

          Jim – I have a lot of experience in corporate strategic planning.  Successful organizations inject significant adaptability and flexibility into their guiding plans.

          This just does not work… even in city planning.  Those plans are obsolete in 3-5 years.

          Private-sector corporations operate under a very different set of circumstances than do municipal corporations.  Saying “this just does not work” sounds like an endorsement of spot zoning, which is very tricky legal territory and, in my opinion, does not constitute a desirable community plan.

        6. Frankly

          Private-sector corporations operate under a very different set of circumstances than do municipal corporations.  Saying “this just does not work” sounds like an endorsement of spot zoning, which is very tricky legal territory and, in my opinion, does not constitute a desirable community plan.

          There are some places in the US that work without zoning.

          There are a lot of places in the US that work without a Measure R equivalent.   In fact, I don’t know of another with a Measure R equivalent.

          When you are lucky enough to have a successful world-class university next door, there are tremendous opportunities to develop fantastic things that benefit the human condition… things that you would never have foreseen in a 20-year old plan.

          I am not advocating no plans, I am expecting them to be higher level… explaining the general “who we want to be when we grow up” vision.  Not have every zoning decision nailed down and constrained to the point that we destroy our ability to leverage opportunities that present themselves.

          I think Davis has a percentage of people that demand an extensive general plan precisely because it works as their change blocking tool.

        7. South of Davis

          Frankly wrote:

          > There are some places in the US that work without zoning.

          Can you name a few of them?  I tend to be closer to the “Libertarian” world view than most people but I think we are more likely to have a functioning society with a guaranteed basic income than we are to have a functioning society with no zoning (and I am 100 x more likely to see a pig flying over I80 tomorrow morning).

          > Measure R equivalent.   In fact, I don’t know of another

          > with a Measure R equivalent.

          When was the last time any of the 20+ cities and communities south of San Francisco with open space outside the city limits expanded?  I can’t think of any in 100 years (I know people that would be rich beyond their wildest dreams if they could build homes on land they own off Hwy 35 and Hwy 1).

           

           

          P.S. I don’t think we have seen a lot of new homes in Stinson, Bolinas or Malibu in the last 40 years…

      2. Tia Will

        Frankly

        Fanciful and completely unrealistic ideas”

        Or would could see it as a failure of businessmen and those who hold financial power to be willing to think outside the box, or in other words accept change.

        And on another note, I would like to remind you of some other “fanciful and completely unrealistic ideas”
        The internal combustion engine
        Flight ( both passenger and space)
        Antibiotics
        Immunization
        The telephone
        A pre paid health plan

        To name just a few that come readily to mind. All of which were derided and belittled in their day and are now accepted as a part of our norm, just part of how things are done.

        1. Mark West

          “The internal combustion
          engineFlight ( both passenger and space)
          Antibiotics
          Immunization
          The telephone
          A pre paid health plan”

          All of these things came about because of individual initiative on the part of those pushing/developing the ideas (and in many cases looking to ‘profit’ from their efforts) and not on a result or expectation of societal change or the prior ‘approval’ of their ‘neighbors.’

        2. Frankly

          Really Tia?   Are you serious here or joking?

          Everything you mentioned in your list were and are highly capitalized private endeavors that would not have even materialized without some expectation of returns on capital.

          Of course these things were challenged.  But their inventors had a vision and they got capital backing for their vision.

          Did you support the City holding onto Mace 391?  No you did not.  And there would have been the way to have tested your fanciful idea because the city would have owned the property.

          But you did not.

          So not only do you lack clear ideas for how to implement your fanciful ideas, but fail to even support opportunities to try them.

          Do you understand private property and private capital don’t you?

    1. Misanthrop

      Its not the sky falling, its the bike paths crumbling for lack of money. Have you been on the bike path on Russell  or any of the streets leading to the high school from the west lately?

      Its not the road congestion so much as the city not having the money to build the safe infrastructure and install stop signals instead of flashing red lights on Russell at Lake or Second at Cantrill, intersections where there have been fatalities. Or the money for a grade separated crossing on east Olive into downtown.

      Its the poor living conditions renters are suffering at the hands of a sellers rental market. Its the additional debt that students encumber while being gouged by landlords who profit from the housing shortage. Its the inability of young families to be able to afford a home to raise a family here where the median age of owner occupied houses continues to rise. Its the extra commuter miles for workers generating more pollution who live in other communities where prices are more reasonable because they have added the supply Davis won’t build. Its the longtime residents and shop owners who aren’t rich who get evicted or are forced out when properties change hands as new landlords jack up rents.

      It may look like Chicken Little to you if you are not effected by these things or profit from the status quo but to many others it isn’t the sky falling its reality.

    2. Chamber Fan

      “Chicken little re-appears?”

      The problem is that you’re causing the sky to fall.  You’re lawsuits are probably costly to the city but even more costly to the cost of doing business.  You defeated a reasonable Nishi project and have hamstrung the city from raising enough revenue to pay its infrastructure costs.  And then when they attempt to adjust, you do it again.

    3. Frankly

      Come on Mike.  With all due respect, without Measure R, your change blocking power in this city would be almost non-existent.

      It is amazing to me how you seem to find so much pleasure contributing to the city’s decline.

        1. Frankly

          Law suits to block development are pretty common.   Mike is not extraordinary there except maybe for the fact that he seems to have his legal nose in EVERY development.

  2. ryankelly

    David, You are talking about conservatism taking over as a strong political movement in Davis.  Progressive implies movement and change that is innovative. The desire to maintain the status quo along with repeated denegration of government and members of the public who try to participate is not progressive.  We allow leadership in the community by people who steal, lie, are abusive toward women, and lead fairly unsavory lives, because they promote a certain no-growth, conservative platform.  That they have followers means nothing.  Look at Trump with his many followers (with at least one “progressive” Davis resident publically proclaimimg support).

    We can throw up our liberal and inclusive ideals by supporting various social causes, but we fail when we try to plan our City.  Then we roll the gates shut and sit in our little pretend utopia with our heads in the sand up to our shoulders.  Change is happening, but not good change.  Our roads are getting worse and worse.  Our downtown is changing once again due to the sale of the Brinley buildings.  Students are moving into neighborhoods with single family homes or living out of town and driving to Davis.   We are not also changing or making much of an attempt to adapt to these changes and allow people to denegrate those few who try.  It is not the sky that is falling.

  3. Tia Will

    Misanthrop

    I agree completely with all of your substantive points. So we can continue in our current oppositional approach, or we can consider making a radical change in how we approach the problems inherent in development. The choice is ours.

    1. hpierce

      Your concept that neighbors should dictate how vacant lands are developed, with a litmus test of how it might benefit those neighbors, is, itself “oppositional”… it pits those who “already have ‘theirs'” against adjacent/nearby  property owners.  And I find that litmus test repugnant on its face…

      One quote in the article showed that neighbors felt “they had no reasonable expectation” that a hotel might go on the site. So it should be denied…  I opine that they did not have a reasonable expectation that it wouldn’t be an approved use, many years later.

  4. Tia Will

    hpierce

    Your concept that neighbors should dictate how vacant lands are developed, with a litmus test of how it might benefit those neighbors, is, itself “oppositional”… it pits those who “already have ‘theirs’” against adjacent/nearby  property owners.  And I find that litmus test repugnant on its face…”

    I would also find it repugnant if I had said that. However, it is not what I said. I said nothing at all about “dictating” and nothing at all about a “litmus test”. What I advocate is a collaborative process in which a win-win solution is sought from the beginning as opposed to a “win – accept our mitigation” solution. Can you really not see a difference ?

    1. hpierce

      I would like to see a change from our current process of deciding what a project will be on a given spot, …  

       to a process in which those most impacted by any project have a voice from the beginning. I would like to see a process change in which immediate neighbors have a chance to benefit from the project directly …

      Perhaps I read more into your actual words than you intended… but those are the words you used.

      A “voice”… what does that mean?  Equal to developers, professional staff, the community at large? Greater than?  Just ‘considered’?  Am trying to understand what you meant…

      At the “beginning”?  Prior to any staff input, working directly with the developer?  Prior to any developer input, working directly with staff?  Other?

      “Benefit”… Financial? Aesthetic? Other?

      1. Chamber Fan

        “I would like to see a change from our current process of deciding what a project will be on a given spot, …”

        Are we recommending the city use eminent domain and do these developments themselves?

        1. Tia Will

          hpierce

          Fair enough.

          I will not pretend to know exactly how this might work. But when I say have a voice, I do not mean have a dictatorial voice. I mean have a real place at the table so that developers are aware not only of how they see a potential project, but how those most directly involved will see the project. And yes, I would say in the very beginning a “concept meeting” directly with the developer would be a good idea. Prior to spending a lot of time and money on a project that is likely to be fought tooth and nail by people who might have not been at all unreasonable had they not felt blindsided by a completely fleshed out project and feeling that they have to essentially come before the commissions and city council as supplicants hoping to preserve what is important to them. In my experience people always become more defensive and less reasonable when they feel that they are being threatened and have no voice.

           

        2. Tia Will

          hpierce

          Fair enough.

          I will not pretend to know exactly how this might work. But when I say have a voice, I do not mean have a dictatorial voice. I mean have a real place at the table so that developers are aware not only of how they see a potential project, but how those most directly involved will see the project. And yes, I would say in the very beginning a “concept meeting” directly with the developer would be a good idea. Before staff consideration would be my initial preference, but there may be disadvantages of which I am not aware. Prior to spending a lot of time and money on a project that is likely to be fought tooth and nail by people who might have not been at all unreasonable had they not felt blindsided by a completely fleshed out project and feeling that they have to essentially come before the commissions and city council as supplicants hoping to preserve what is important to them. In my experience people always become more defensive and less reasonable when they feel that they are being threatened and have no voice.

          “Benefit”… Financial? Aesthetic? Other?”

          Well here is where I see lots of room for innovative ideas. Financial would be great. I would think that offering those most impacted a financial stake in a project so that they also had “skin in the game’ as far as its success would be a good collaborative move. So might offering appropriate services or benefits to those most impacted such as free use of facilities for meetings, events, transportation, parking, other advantages. Designing for aesthetics would be a huge advantage from my point of view. After all the neighbors are the ones who are going to see any buildings daily while the rest of the community can approve, benefit, and never have to deal with the appearance.

        3. Tia Will

          Chamber Fan

          Are we recommending the city use eminent domain and do these developments themselves?”

          Since I do not know who you are including in the word “we”, I cannot answer your question as written. What I can do is ask if you even read my post ?  At first I thought you might have since you quoted it. But then, I realized that maybe you had not since I neither said, nor implied anything at all about “eminent domain” which I would see as the antithesis of a collaborative approach.  If you read  my post ( assumed since you quoted it), you would know that I am promoting a collaborative approach much earlier in the process than any developer of which I am aware has done to date, although some such as the Hyatt developers and Bill Ritter and partners are doing which I see as a step in the right direction. .

        4. Ron

          Tia:  “I would think that offering those most impacted a financial stake in a project so that they also had “skin in the game’ as far as its success would be a good collaborative move.”

          Interesting idea, but what do you think would happen regarding the concerns of those who can’t afford to have “skin in the game”?

        5. hpierce

          Actually, Tia, and I’ve been involved in these, ’eminent domain’ can be extremely collaborative… tax law is such that if someone is credibly under the threat of eminent domain proceedings, their “gain” is not taxable… so, the agency and the owner can ‘split’ the tax avoidance, and both win.  Is that not collaborative?

        6. South of Davis

          hpierce wrote:

          > I’ve been involved in these, ’eminent domain’

          > can be extremely collaborative…

          I have never actually “been involved” with an “eminent domain” project, but in the past 40 years I have been close enough to three people (in three different counties in CA in two different decades) to see what they got from the government and all three just took the (tax free) money since it was more than they ever dreamed of getting (and more than the appraisers they hired to “push” values could dream of getting close to).  I’m wondering if hpierce has seen similar high values or if here in Yolo county they start low and “collaborate” to get to “market value”?

      2. hpierce

        Your 1:48 post(s) … your responses were, indeed, fair enough… but still disagree…

        CV enlisted the neighbors before even consulting staff… the developer and the neighbors (including one of our frequent posters on development issues) told staff, essentially, to ‘deal with it’… traffic circulation, drainage, water supply was something for staff to solve… the “agreement” was a ‘done deal’ before being reviewed by staff… but “some” staff wanted higher densities, more units, etc.  PW kept raising physical concerns about drainage, bike/ped/vehicle circulation, but those were tertiary.  Particularly if they conflicted with the land use plan the developers and the ‘neighbors’ (read “activist neighbors”) had agreed to.

        We all know how CV worked out… tomato/ag fields and the measures J/R.

        Staff (the good ones) “get” the potential concerns of neighbors and other stake-holders, advise the applicant, but I’ve never seen you give credit to staff for that.

        The correct process, as I see it, is for a developer to look at the zoning of the property, and find something that fits or nearly fits; they discuss with staff (pre-app) to see if they are in the ballpark with reality, zoning and physical (utilities, etc).  And staff also helps identify other “stake-holders”, including ‘neighbors’…

        Then, the stakeholders, along with staff, and development team, discuss; and HERE Tia, is where problem-solving/collaboration works… potentially, depending on demands and expectations and realities…

        So… as you stated it, and confirmed that ‘neighbors’ are ‘entitled’ financial ‘benefits’ (no, not the words you used, but I believe from the fair meaning of your subsequent words, “implied”), guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree.

         

  5. Michael Harrington

    The CC has done almost nothing to cut city overhead and boost revenue.  The three external projects would not generate income for many years, if at all.   Meanwhile little has been done at least publicly about reforming city governance cutting overhead and boosting revenue, including taxes as needed

    The public is waiting for some leadership and action

    1. Chamber Fan

      “The CC has done almost nothing to cut city overhead and boost revenue. ”

      That’s a lie.  There are 100 fewer employees than there were a decade ago.

      1. hpierce

        And, the city adopted a less generous pension plan a few years ago (affecting new employees, but not current as of 2013… and the way retirement rates are growing, that means a greater and greater %-age will be under the new, reduced plan), and have significantly cut retiree medical for new employees. Current City employees contribute to increases in medical plans beyond 3% increase.

        There  also been other changes, but as most apply to new employees only (post-2013), it will be a few years before all those changes pre-dominate.  Maybe not as dramatic as some would wish, but definitely, to say “the City has done nothing“, is a damnable lie much more than untruthful… but no surprise there…

    2. Frankly

      Mike – Instead of throwing out this very general claim, how about telling exactly what you think should be done.  You are a past city council member so you should have some ideas.

      We all know that you are the most brilliant city governance strategy mind in the city.  So if you lack any detailed plan to get this done, why do you think others would?

        1. hpierce

          Sidebar, Frankly… I was going to make a reference as to ****roaches (vs crickets) and the filter busted me as if I had written ****tails.  Maybe if we wrote ‘rooster’roaches or ‘rooster’tails…

  6. Misanthrop

    I’m not going to support additional taxes to maintain your lifestyle. The city’s last sales tax increase was passed as a bridge to economic development but the economic development has been blocked by Measure R. The city has both cut staff and raised taxes, neither has been sufficient. You are advocating nonsense. The city has provided leadership but you have sued them because you didn’t like the leadership they provided. If you want to blame a lack of action on someone look in the mirror.
    And you are a single person. The word public implies you represent a group.

    1. Ron

      Misanthrop:  “I’m not going to support additional taxes to maintain your lifestyle.”

      By “lifestyle”, do you mean the ability to move through the primary intersection into town? With questionable viability of a commercial component?

      And again, thanks Mike! (Although he wasn’t “alone”.)

        1. Ron

          Misanthrop:

          I don’t think it’s accurate to infer that those who rent are (necessarily) in a different “class” than other residents.

          Example – it seemed that Nishi was intended to appeal to well-heeled students (who presumably aren’t planning to purchase here, regardless).  (Actually, this would apply to other proposed complexes, as well.)

          “Affordable” housing is a different subject, and can define some rentals or purchased homes.

        2. Chamber Fan

          Not sure why you continue to perpetuate the myth that Nishi was somehow going to be more expensive than other options.  For instance, at $1800, split four ways (shared rooms), it would have been about $450 per month.  UC Davis, which you continue push for shared rooms would be $650.  So why are you being dishonest here?

        3. Ron

          Chamber Fan:

          I did not state that campus housing is necessarily/always inexpensive, even though the University is presumably not trying to make a profit from use of their (free) land.  I’m pretty sure that any development in Davis (including the campus) is not going to be “cheap” to rent or own, unless it’s subsidized in some manner.

          I was responding to Misanthrop’s statement, in which he/she defined renters as a different “class”. It’s not accurate to make such a blanket statement.

          But, looking at your argument, are you comparing the cost of splitting a unit between four tenants, vs. two tenants?  (I’ve forgotten the details of your comparison.)

        4. Chamber Fan

          I’m compared the cost of a bed in a shared room between one place you consider for “well-heeled” students and another place which is your preferred outcome.  It’s irrelevant whether the university is attempting to make a profit – it is relevant that the university is bound by things like prevailing wedge which greatly increases the construction costs.

        5. Ron

          Chamber Fan:

          Cost of a bed, or bedroom?

          Based on comments of others, I understand that the University (and/or its contractors) may not be bound by prevailing wage requirements.

          Of course, your concern would be predicated on an objection to paying a prevailing wage, and whether or not it creates some type of significant difference, overall.

          Not sure that you (or I) have enough information, to make an accurate comparison.  But presumably, having tax-free (and totally free) land from an organization that is not trying to make a profit should make a difference. (Especially to developers in the city, who are attempting to compete with those conditions.)

          And again, I don’t think you can make an accurate comparison between the already-built campus housing unit you’re citing, vs. a projected rent at the previously-proposed Nishi development.

          Again, this started out as Misanthrop stating that renters are of a different “class”.  It has now morphed into a different conversation.

        6. Ron

          Chamber Fan:

          Again, you’re drifting off into a complex subject that you brought up.

          And again, there are companies (cited by others) that specialize in providing campus housing (at no cost to the University or taxpayers).  Perhaps they would be a valuable source of information for your concerns.

           

           

        7. Misanthrop

          Ron:”I don’t think it’s accurate to infer that those who rent are (necessarily) in a different “class” than other residents.”

          Ron I don’t think you understand the term “rentier class.” Those are the landlords not the tenants.

        8. Ron

          Chamber Fan:

          And again, I’d suggest that it’s more accurate/reasonable to compare the cost of a “bedroom”, vs. a “bed”.  (Assuming that one can even make such a comparison, at this point.)

        9. Chamber Fan

          Ron – You’re making this more complicated than it needs to be.  To live on campus, the cost of a single room is $850 and the cost of a shared room is $650.  You could have rented a space at Nishi for around $450 for a shared room and $900 for your own room in a two bedroom.  That’s not exactly the stuff that well-heeled students are made of.

        10. Ron

          Chamber Fan:

          O.K. – so the cost of a single room was less-expensive on campus, but more expensive for a shared room under the example you provided.  (Again, based on projections for Nishi.)

           

           

  7. Frankly

    Davis is over-represented with people owning a stasis mindset and view.

    In a standard city planning and development process Davis would be a difficult place to get anything done.  Throw in Measure R and it is impossible.

    Those lamenting the lack of progress while supporting the existence of Measure R remind me of someone decrying domestic abuse while being struck repeatedly by their spouse.

    1. Ron

      Frankly:  “Those lamenting the lack of progress . . .”

      That would pretty much be you (and a few others with a development-oriented mindset).  🙂

      And, I refer to the term “progress” quite loosely, here.

        1. hpierce

          Please note:  Ms Samitz focused on “preservation” of neighborhoods (recent defense of the current GP)… a ‘preservationist‘ is not a ‘conservationist‘, nor a ‘progressive‘…
          of who claimed ‘conservationist’ and ‘progressive’ “creds” was our youngest president… Teddy Roosevelt… the only non-surveyor depicted on Mount Rushmore… yet, he was anti-preservationist…

          Suspect that there are many posting on development topics who would rightfully be considered “preservationists”…

        2. Frankly

          “preservation” is too obtuse to be of any use unless she is talking about preservation of existing structures.  Preservation of what?  Of everything staying exactly the way it is in the backyards that she cares about?  That is not “preservation” by any standard definition… that is just change-aversion.

        1. Frankly

          Best one I could come up with.   The analogy is lamenting the abuse while advocating for the primary tools used by the abuser.

          Have at it.  Come up with a better one.

    2. Tia Will

      Frankly

      Davis is over-represented with people owning a stasis mindset and view.”

      I couldn’t agree more. Davis is over represented by people who believe that the status quo of the single occupant vehicle as our major means of transportation should be maintained, that if you own a piece of land, you have the right to do what ever you want with it regardless of negative impacts on other members of your community, who believe that the best way to ameliorate real problems is to “grow our way out of trouble” never mind that this approach may be harmful to future generations, to other species, to our planet, who believe that money should continue to be the primary driver of all interactions except perhaps within the family ( and maybe even there given your previous post which included “my house, my TV, my rules). Talk about stasis mindset and view….to say nothing of being unreasonable.

       

        1. Frankly

          Ha!   Right.

          No, I am just a realist.  Point to me the working model of that supports the idea and explain how we can actually implement it and I will support it.

          Fanciful ideas are wonderful to dream about, but useless is there is no practical way to make them so.

          Tia is great that backing her positions with fanciful ideas while admitting that she does not have a clue how to actually implement them.  She will leave that for others to figure out.  And then she criticizes those that criticize her as being fanciful… as being closed-minded.  It is a hoot.

          Dreamers are a dime a dozen… they are barely worth more than those perpetual critics.

          It is a slick stunt… say your are a progressive and not a NIBMY, not a no-growth stasis type… and just throw about a bunch of fanciful “creative” and “progressive” ideas to prove it.

          I have no problem thinking out of the box, but making policy on dreams is really silly.

      1. Frankly

        I don’t hold any of those stasis views.  I am fine with change… just not with bossy people telling others how to live their lives and what they are willing to accept as “impacts” even as those impacts are mostly just in their heads (they are upset, so that is all we need for acceptance).

        If you don’t like cars then support tall residential structures being built in the core and near core neighborhoods so the cars are not needed.

        Oh wait.  Had that chance to prove your convictions but failed miserably when it was in YOUR back yard.

        1. Tia Will

          Frankly

          If you don’t like cars then support tall residential structures being built in the core and near core neighborhoods so the cars are not needed.

          Oh wait.  Had that chance to prove your convictions but failed miserably when it was in YOUR back yard.”

          I really just wish that you would drop this about Trackside. I was not against redevelopment of the Trackside center. I was against completely negating the existing zoning and design guidelines for a project that would not have housed a significant number of additional people ( as you pointed out to me when you said the project was “not significant”…and yes, that is a quote from you). You also have conveniently omitted mentioning that I have repeatedly stated that I would have actively supported a project on this site which I felt provided actually needed housing such as student or” little a” affordable housing both of which I see as major community needs. What I did not and do not support is a project completely outside zoning and design guidelines which caters only to those who are already affluent in the form of “luxury apartments” designed only for the wealthy and for the investment opportunity for those who are either already wealthy or well connected, or both.

        2. Frankly

          Tia – here is the thing.  Your car-less society REQUIRES significant higher housing density.  It requires tall housing  structures with retail on the first floor.   You are trying to have your cake and eat it too.   I’m sorry, but this inconsistency really makes your positions impossible to take seriously.

          I am putting myself in your place thinking about this European style small city where everyone rides and bikes and walks and they all have multi-story apartments and condos in their core.  It was your moment.  You missed it.

        3. South of Davis

          Tia weote:

          > What I did not and do not support is a project…

          > for the investment opportunity for those who are

          > either already wealthy or well connected, or both.

          Since EVERY (yes EVERY hpierce) development project has someone that is “either already wealthy or well connected, or both” Tia now has her reason to oppose ANY development project she does not like (like if someone wants to built something near her back yard)…

    1. hpierce

      Again, a cryptic comment… “stayed tuned”, “coming to a theater (of the absurd) near you”… no clue of what it will be… what it might entail… just “new and improved”… waiting here with bated (if not ‘baited’) breath…

      What does “coming soon” mean Mr H?  Next week? Next month?  This year?  Next year?  This decade? This century?

      Put up, or…

        1. hpierce

          Again, a cryptic comment… “stayed tuned”, “coming to a theater (of the absurd) near you”… no clue of what it will be… what it might entail… just “new and improved”… waiting here with bated (if not ‘baited’) breath…
          What does “coming soon” mean Mr H?  Next week? Next month?  This year?  Next year?  This decade? This century?
          Put up, or…

        2. hpierce

          Oh, just heard, a measure to repeal R and go beyond, to make peripheral development more likely and better for the city and most parties, is being drafted, and should be unveiled soon.

          Most folks will like it… probably 75%…

           

  8. Tia Will

    Frankly

    Did you support the City holding onto Mace 391? “

    I took no position on it at all.

    As for private funding for visionary projects, I have never said anything against that at all. I think that you have possibly decided that because I tend towards liberal views, that you understand how I feel about every issue. Unfortunately, you do not. And so you end up calling me out for positions that I have never taken.

     

  9. Tia Will

    Ron

    Interesting idea, but what do you think would happen regarding the concerns of those who can’t afford to have “skin in the game”?

    I have a couple of ideas about this. First, I would consider making it so that people could contribute with a no minimum buy in. If we did indeed have a UBI, this would be a non issue because everyone would have enough to live on and could consider using even a tiny amount of discretionary money to invest as they chose if more wealth accumulation was a goal for them. Within our current system, I would also consider an in lieu contribution of time instead of money. Time is the only thing that is equal for all of us, and it is my belief that all of us have something of value to offer. There could be a very wide range of services that one could provide in lieu of cash to invest in a project in which they were interested. Finally, I believe that there are some of us in the community who are willing to provide a voice for those who truly are not able to speak for themselves. If we were working within a collaborative rather than adversarial framework, I believe that people would be willing to be open and honest about whether they are representing themselves or someone else.

  10. superflybombtastic

    Davis is filled with conservative liberals.
    Voters, engorged with love, passionately believing that they are doing the right thing for the right cause but undermine themselves by not being open to the foresight that comes with the acceptance of change.

    Buddhism in 2 words: Everything Changes

    Fanciful was an appropriate word. I can work with fanciful.

    Who are the “most affected”.

    My assumptions:

    Macro-Renters are near the top.
    Good luck getting them funded & organized into a single voice. Elected officials are their representation.

    Micro-The immediate neighbors are near the top.
    As the grey hairs accumulate my experience is that the long term effect of a habit of greasing squeaky wheels just gets you greasy. If you need to lube the entire car that’s another story.

    Ron, “I don’t think it’s accurate to infer that those who rent are (necessarily) in a different “class” than other residents.”
    Oh Ronny boy, “We often value too highly information that aligns with our desires”

    Michael, “The three external projects would not generate income for many years, if at all.”
    “for many years” just sticks out to me. Planning. Planning. Planning. There is something about the future in that word there, I think.

    Frankly, “remind me of someone decrying domestic abuse while being struck repeatedly by their spouse.”

    I guess Davis really does have a Turkey problem.

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