Commentary: An Eye Opener on Housing

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Affordable Apartments, Davis CA Davis Vanguard

For about the last year, as the university has planned their Long Range Development Plan (LRDP), there has been a renewed focus on housing provided on the UC Davis campus.  The consensus that I have seen from the people in the community, whether they be no growth, slow growth, or more growth, is that the university needs to do more to provide housing.

That was certainly made clear in Jim Gray’s column on Monday.  As he put it, “Clearly, UCD was relatively successful in delivering units since 2005. I think we should acknowledge their efforts and encourage them to do even better.”

The university has agreed to provide 90 percent of all new students with on-campus housing, bringing up their share to 40 percent of all students on campus.  The city council and members of the community want to see them go further and provide 100 percent of the housing for new students and 50 percent of all students.

The Vanguard supports the council position here and thinks that the university can do better.  I want to be clear on that point, because it gets lost sometimes in the next point.

Last week, I met with Jim Gray and his associate and he shared with me the data that he presented in op-ed on just how few apartments Davis has added in the last decade – I knew it was a low number because, since 2006, running the Vanguard, we follow this closely, but this was an eye-opener.

These are stunning figures – since 2005, UC Davis “has provided on their land and in public private partnerships 61% of all apartment units built and 68% of all bedrooms built.”  Only 5 percent of the units that have been built in the last decade have been market rate units within the city.  Jim Gray writes, “That amounted to only 56 units and 175 beds. In other words, less than 5 units per year for the past dozen years have been market rate.  Not one market rate project has been built in Davis since 2006!”

Think about that.

I think Don Shor made some very important points yesterday in the comments.  He said, “UCD needs to build more student housing. This is obviously a high priority.”

But for some that is the end of the story.  As Jim Gray put it, the framework has become, “The University is not doing their fair share and the solution to meeting Davis’ housing needs should focus on campus.  We wouldn’t have a housing problem if the campus weren’t growing and if the students would just live on campus.”

But, as Jim Gray stated, “That is the current refrain that I don’t believe is supported by the facts.”

Don Shor, who has long been an advocate for student housing, states, “More rental housing is also needed in the city. We haven’t added to the rental stock for quite a while.”

He continues, “Even if they go to 100/50, which I consider unlikely, we would still need some more apartments. This is a matter of some urgency for young adults who are trying to rent in the current constricted marketplace.”

Finally he adds, “I support your efforts to get UCD to increase their housing supply. Where you and I disagree is in your opposition to private rental housing projects.”

That is where I come down as well.  The university is not the only partner here, and clearly the city of Davis is not doing its share.

Don Shor also raises another important point here that gets lost.

Jim Gray provides important information on the city’s affordable housing program.  He notes, “The City of Davis has encouraged and stimulated, primarily through their policies which obtained land dedications and various exactions associated with earlier developments, 407 units and 747 bedrooms of affordable housing for 34% of total new apartment construction.”

As Don Shor points out, “The city’s Affordable Housing policies don’t really lead to much affordable housing, and probably impede the development of market-rate rental housing. So they are counterproductive.”

Part of the problem is that not much housing is being built at all in the city, therefore the number of affordable units is quite low as well.  But this is something to think about.

So what does all of this mean?

The view of many is that UC Davis “is driving the need for student housing.” It struck me this week that the comment was a bit tautological – without a university, Davis would have little need for student housing, so of course the university is driving the need for student housing.

In previous columns, I have expressed a little discomfort with the idea that UC Davis should reduce its enrollment growth until it can figure out how to address the needs of its students.  After all, the mission of the university is to provide an education for the future of our community and our nation.

And, as a community that greatly benefits from the university and in general supports the mission, I think we have our own obligations to provide for housing as the university is not meeting it.

I don’t see this as a zero-sum game, as one poster put it.  I think the university needs to provide more housing, but, like Don Shor, I don’t think it is realistic to expect that they’ll get to 100-50.  Getting to 90-40 would be a vast improvement.

Either way, Don Shor is spot on when he notes that, even if UC Davis houses 100 percent of its future growth, we still need more housing in Davis.  The numbers do not lie, Davis hasn’t provided enough in the way of rental housing for students over the last decade.

Davis may not be doing “nothing” with regards to new housing – there are a host of small projects that have been approved and will be built, but the lack of new apartments is a huge problem.  Not only does it reduce the vacancy rate and increase the vulnerability of students to predatory landlords, but it creates a market force that eats up available single-family homes and therefore reduces the ability of families to live in Davis.

I don’t support massive new growth in Davis, but I think the council’s view of their responsibility for new housing is correct.

The city supports: “City to continue to pursue consideration of all infill and apartment housing proposals within the City (with emphasis on student oriented housing proposals within 2 miles of campus in order to facilitate ease of access).”

That seems reasonable and can be achieved without stark changes to the character of this community.

—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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92 thoughts on “Commentary: An Eye Opener on Housing”

  1. Tia Will

    Again, I would ask a simple question. What is the number of rental units that those of you who see a need to increase the rate of building are aiming for. What do you see as the actual numeric need and for what population over how many years ?  What is the basis for your assertion ?

    It is fine to say, we don’t have enough and I agree that the number of available rentals support this statement ?  But before we start chanting “build, build, build” I think we should have a target population in mind over a specified number of years and certainly a more definitive goal than a reassurance that “that can be achieved without stark changes to the nature of the community” without defining either “that” or “stark changes”.

    1. Don Shor

      Tia:

      What is the number of rental units that those of you who see a need to increase the rate of building are aiming for.

      If I were on the council and wished to address the current rental housing situation, seeking a ‘middle ground’, I would first acknowledge that the citizens of Davis are unlikely to accept any development without seeing UCD finally doing its part. Then I would acknowledge that the city has to plan for what the university does, and an adversarial relationship will not be productive to either institution.

      UC needs to build housing. Some seem to think they should build all the housing that is needed, others just that they need to kind of go first. Trying to remain practical and focused on our current situation, rather than trying to solve two decades of a seemingly intractable housing standoff, I would approach the university to try to get a commitment – written and specific – that builds on the commitment they have just made to house 90% of their new enrollments, and 40% of enrollment overall. I would continue to urge, as the council has done, them to increase that commitment to 100% and 50% respectively. But working with the current LRDP proposal, I would focus on making sure they will meet at least that commitment, fleshing out the timeline, and jettisoning the master leases.

      Acknowledging that they have not met past commitments, and do not presently meet the UC goal of housing 40% of the student body, I would ask them to provide a more detailed build-out commitment. They are well on their way to meeting that 5000-student enrollment increase. A commitment to providing a net total of 2000 beds by 2020 would be a good start. Kind of a down payment on future housing plans from them.

      That actually wouldn’t be too hard of a goal to meet. They can’t count the construction that just tears down and replaces beds, which is much of what they’ve been doing for the last decade, and which is what’s in their current long-range capital plans. There is some net increase there. I think Tercero added about 1000 beds with the greater density and added buildings. Prioritizing the replacement and increased density of Orchard Park and Solano Park, and reviving West Village, might get them to 2000 beds by 2020. The key would be a letter, a firm commitment, and the specifics laid out in that letter.
      With that in hand, a councilmember could then set a city goal of providing the other 3000 beds in the city limits by 2020.

      The city’s challenge would be harder to meet. The Sterling project is about 800 bedrooms; even if it gets scaled back, it would be a huge step forward in increasing supply. The Olive Drive project adds 700 beds. Nishi would have added another 1000 with the current plan. Perhaps the Nishi team can come back with a higher-density housing project. If they can add another thousand beds total, then the city and university together have absorbed the 5000 students added to the city’s population.
      If they can’t, then it’s time to look at some rezoning. That comes with its own set of problems, so if the goal is to actually provide housing soon then the two project sites are a much more practical option. In terms of zoning and annexation, the property around the hospital is the most likely. But it is doubtful that anything could get annexed, approved, and built anytime soon. Infill is likelier than annexation in the short run.

      The thing to remember, though is that even if we could get 2000 beds on campus, and 3000 in town, we would be back where we were in 2010 as to rental vacancy rates and housing stock. This would require that slow-growth activists acknowledge the rental housing crisis and accept that a city that hosts a university needs to accommodate its plans to some extent. Unfortunately, I consider 3000 beds in town unlikely at this point, since Nishi failed. But even half that number could help bump up the dismally low apartment vacancy rate and make life easier for renters. Because the pace of construction on campus and in town is unlikely to keep up with the enrollment increase, the faster UCD can stop using master leases the better it will be for the non-student renters locally. The council should press UC to phase out the master leases as soon as possible.

      This kind of planning process, where both entities are respectful and work together to solve a problem that exists now, could lead to a formal process of collaboration so that the city can adapt to the university’s plans and the university can be mindful of the city’s constraints. Communication between the city and campus has improved in the last year, and we should give credit to the mayor and council for that. Perhaps better long-term planning can finally occur.

      1. Don Shor

        In addition to the above comments about UC and the city, I strongly urge the city council to embark on a full and critical review of the city’s affordable housing policies. In my opinion, the current policies are inefficient and ineffective, and create harm for local renters. A small number of people benefit, almost via a lottery, for high-cost low-price housing, and it takes up space and resources that could go to straight market-rate rental housing.
        I’ve said before that housing vouchers would probably be more effective. But there are lots of people in this town who know a lot more about this issue than I do.

        1. Matthew

          Don,

          Here is the trick with vouchers–yes they are unquestioningly more cost-effective. This isn’t argued in the academic/empirical work out there.  However, excessive demand side treatment can inflate local rents.  That is a potential downside of vouchers. This could be resolved if, in the long run, developers respond to those higher rents by building more.  But I don’t see that happening in Davis.

        2. South of Davis

          Matthew wrote:

          > However, excessive demand side treatment

          > (with vouchers) can inflate local rents.  

          There are very few people with “HUD Section 8” vouchers in Davis (or other high rent areas) since you can rent a similar place for ~50% less in Dixon, West Sac or Woodland.  With a voucher the poor have to pay more out of their own pockets to live in Davis and few will do it.

      2. Ron

        Don:  “The city’s challenge would be harder to meet. The Sterling project is about 800 bedrooms; even if it gets scaled back, it would be a huge step forward in increasing supply. The Olive Drive project adds 700 beds.”

        I guess no one here speaks for other community needs that could be met by encouraging re-use of the existing, relatively new, multi-building former “Families First” facility that would be demolished by approving the Sterling proposal.  (Not to mention other lost opportunities that might benefit the city, by keeping the existing industrial zoning.)  Seems likely that the taxpayer-funded owner of this site is holding out for speculative pricing, based on a hoped-for rezoning and approval of high-density housing.  (Mismanagement by the current, taxpayer-funded owner apparently led to the demise of its operations, at this site.)

        Never mind that this proposed megadorm is unprecedented in size, scope, and structure of pricing, and is located far from the university, thereby requiring students to commute through town (perhaps several times a day, between classes).  Also, never mind that it’s vehemently opposed by some of your neighbors.

        Regarding Lincoln40, it is adjacent to (and is dependent upon access to) the “worst intersection in town.  (You know – the same one that doomed Nishi.)  And, I suspect that approval of Lincoln40 would result in a financial cost to the city to to build a bicycle overpass and/or improvements to that intersection to serve this private development.  (I recall that our mayor already acknowledged that the development would not have to pay for the bicycle overpass, for example.)

        Perhaps these types of problems are what you are referring to, when you state that the “city’s challenge is harder to meet”.  (Your unstated position is that the city “has” a challenge, as a result of the university’s unilateral, draft plans.)

        Now, compare that to the campus, where virtually none of these problems exist (regarding student housing).

        1. hpierce

          Ron… you appear to have a disconnect… “Industrial” and the existing ‘Families First’ buildings are not consistent… what use would you have there that matches both the zoning and the existing buildings?  I can’t see it.

          Please elaborate… otherwise, demolition and re-zone appear to be appropriate.

          Or, demolition and industrial… perhaps a meat-rendering facility?

        2. Ron

          Don:

          You are correct, in that I’ve never understood how the Families First operation met the definition of “industrial”.

          My main point was that the site (and perhaps the existing buildings) could be used to encourage/generate commercial activity that would benefit the city financially (if not some other community purpose). 

          For that matter, the existing buildings could be used to provide housing and/or provide services for those in need, in some manner.  This would likely generate much less controversy.

          Not sure if you’ve ever visited the facility, but I was truly surprised at how attractive and well-situated the existing buildings are.  (Not just saying that to prove a point.) And again, taxpayer funds supported the organization that built it.

          If that type of facility is destroyed, it does not seem likely that it would be replaced anywhere in Davis.

          1. Don Shor

            Just for the record, you’re replying to hpierce, not me.
            As to your main point, if the Sterling project is taken off the table, then other sites need to be considered. It seems that you feel the university needs to build almost all of the new housing needed, and that the small number of rental units being built in town suffice for what the city could be considered responsible for. Or perhaps you don’t think the city has any obligation to meet housing needs, and needn’t grow at all. I would be useful if you would clarify exactly what it is that you believe about meeting housing needs locally.

        3. Ron

          Don:

          O.K. – I’ll repeat what I’ve stated several times, previously.

          At this point, the LRDP is in its draft form.  The city hasn’t even provided a response, yet.  Most agree that student-oriented housing is best situated on campus, and this is what we should focus on at this time.

          I do not necessarily agree with your assessment that a “small number” of rental units have been built. I realize that you (for some reason) are stating that “Affordable” housing is not “affordable”.  I also understand that the housing downturn had impacted construction nationwide – not just in Davis.

          Going forward, I would primarily consider what’s best for those already living in Davis (including those living in the more than 10,000 apartments that already exist).  I would also consider current and future SACOG “fair share” affordable housing requirements (including how/where the city will meet a new set of requirements, in about 3-4 years from now).

          What I’m advocating will not halt all construction (apartments, or otherwise).

          What you’re advocating (building based on UCD’s unilateral, draft LRDP, the vacancy rate, or similar factors) will result in an overly-dense, impacted city, creating negative impacts for the city’s 67,000 current residents, and may prematurely “use up” potential sites that may be needed to satisfy the next round of SACOG requirements (in 3-4 years from now). In addition, as you’ve finally acknowledged in a recent posting – past growth can encourage SACOG to assign a higher “fair share” growth requirement, in the future.

          As a side note to hpierce, I recall that the current (industrial) zoning of the Families First site is discussed in the EIR.

           

          1. Don Shor

            as you’ve finally acknowledged in a recent posting – past growth can encourage SACOG to assign a higher “fair share” growth requirement, in the future.

            Not really.

            What factors are considered as SACOG decides on each city or county’s allocation of ‘fair share’ housing?
            It has been stated repeatedly that one of those factors is the rate at which the community grew during the last allocation cycle. There is no evidence of this on any SACOG-related site that I could find. There are many other factors.
            Existing and projected jobs and housing relationship;
            Opportunities and constraints to development of additional housing, including:
            • Lack of capacity for sewer and water …
            • Availability of land …opportunities for infill development and increased residential densities**
            • Lands preserved or protected [for] open space, farmland, environmental habitats, and natural resources on a long‐term basis;
            • County policies to preserve prime agriculture lands within an unincorporated area;
            • Distribution of household growth assumed for a comparable period ….

            • Market demand for housing;
            • Agreements between a county and cities in the county to direct growth toward incorporated areas of the county;
            • Loss of units contained in assisted housing developments;
            • High housing cost burdens;
            • Housing needs of farmworkers;
            • Housing needs generated by the presence of a private university or a campus of the California State University or the University of California; and
            • Any other relevant factors, as determined by SACOG.
            Davis has definitely been allocated proportionally fewer housing units than surrounding communities.

          2. Don Shor

            More to the point, as I’ve said repeatedly, SACOG cannot compel a city to build housing. Davis will almost certainly meet SACOG’s requirements in any event, and if it doesn’t that is not going to cause Davis to have to grow. SACOG doesn’t compel housing construction.

            I do not necessarily agree with your assessment that a “small number” of rental units have been built.

            How many have been built?
            Here’s the chart again:
            http://davismerchants.org/vanguard/housingprojects%20as%20of%20Dec%202016.png
            I’d be curious what your definition of “few” is.

            What you’re advocating (building based on UCD’s unilateral, draft LRDP, the vacancy rate, or similar factors) will result in an overly-dense, impacted city…

            Mini-dorms are already creating overly-dense, impacted neighborhoods.

        4. hpierce

          Yes, Ron… as to the ‘Sterling site’, what would you propose?  Not answered…

          Do we have to play the “I’m thinking of a number between 1 and 10” thing?

        5. Ron

          hpierce:

          I suggest not entertaining proposals that would necessarily result in the destruction of the facility (built by a taxpayer-funded organization) by rezoning to high-density housing, in order to sell to a private, for-profit developer.  By doing so, I suspect that viable, alternate proposals that would serve the community would appear without prodding (based on the actual market value of the property, as is).

        6. hpierce

          ahh, Ron… you only oppose housing, have no alternative suggestions as to use [former Families First site], but reserve the right to oppose any given ‘thing’… got it…

        7. Ron

          hpierce:

          You might want to read my comments above, before you make incorrect assumptions.  Here’s what I stated, above:

          “For that matter, the existing buildings could be used to provide housing and/or provide services for those in need, in some manner.  This would likely generate much less controversy.”

        8. Ron

          From Don:  “More to the point, as I’ve said repeatedly, SACOG cannot compel a city to build housing.”

          Uh, huh.  Never mind that SACOG controls various types of funding to cities.

          Take it from Don – the Vanguard’s resident “expert” regarding SACOG.  Let’s see what Don says later, when there’s a problem.  (The same guy who’s also advocating abandoning Affordable housing policy, despite the fact that SACOG emphasizes building of Affordable housing.) 

          My comment sounds a little more harsh than I actually intend. 🙂

          I think I’ll have to sign off for awhile, shortly.

          1. Don Shor

            Never mind that SACOG controls various types of funding to cities.

            Sort of.
            1. Incentives for Housing Element Compliance include eligibility for certain grant programs. In some cases, compliance is a threshold requirement; in others, it is part of the point system for awarding grants.

            “To incentivize and reward local governments that have adopted compliant and effective housing elements, several housing, community development and infrastructure funding programs include housing element compliance as a rating and ranking or threshold requirement.”
            (http://www.hcd.ca.gov/housing-policy-development/housing-resource-center/plan/he/loan_grant_hecompl011708.pdf)
            It is very unlikely that Davis would be out of compliance, but here’s one example of what a city did when they were:
            In March 2015 the HCD notified Placerville that they were not in compliance. They did not have sufficient density to provide for their potential share of affordable housing.
            http://www.hcd.ca.gov/housing-policy-development/housing-resource-center/plan/he/housing-element-review-letters/edoplacerville031915.pdf
            Here’s what they did about it: they rezoned two parcels to higher density. There are no development plans for those parcels. The state lists their compliance as conditional.
            (http://www.bizjournals.com/sacramento/news/2015/02/19/to-satisfy-state-placerville-rezones-for.html)

          2. Don Shor

            (The same guy who’s also advocating abandoning Affordable housing policy, despite the fact that SACOG emphasizes building of Affordable housing.)

            Actually, I worded this very carefully. I suspect it would be illegal for the city to “abandon” an affordable housing policy.
            I strongly urge the city council to embark on a full and critical review of the city’s affordable housing policies. In my opinion, the current policies are inefficient and ineffective, and create harm for local renters. A small number of people benefit, almost via a lottery, for high-cost low-price housing, and it takes up space and resources that could go to straight market-rate rental housing.
            I’ve said before that housing vouchers would probably be more effective. But there are lots of people in this town who know a lot more about this issue than I do.

        9. Grok

          Perhaps these types of problems are what you are referring to, when you state that the “city’s challenge is harder to meet”.  (Your unstated position is that the city “has” a challenge, as a result of the university’s unilateral, draft plans.)
          Now, compare that to the campus, where virtually none of these problems exist (regarding student housing).

          Ron has this exactly right.

    2. Matt Williams

      There isn’t a simple or definitive answer to Tia’s “what is the number of rental units” question. For me the dialogue about and around Tia’s question begins with a different question, “What is Davis and why does it exist?”  and my answer to that question is that Davis is a university town and it exists because the university is located here.

      With that as a foundation my approach to the dialogue of Tia’s question begins by looking at the historical population and enrollment numbers for the City and UCD.   After the University’s establishment period (from its founding through 1970), UCD’s annual average enrollment growth from 1970 through 2015 was 2.205% (24.4% each decade).  The LRDP’s projected growth of aggregate enrollment is 6,870 for the 12-year period from 2015 through 2027 is 1.525% per year (19.9% for the 12 years).

       

      ________ UC Davis _______ 10-year
      Year ____Enrollment _____ % Increase

      1920 ________ 14
      1930 _______ 436 ________ 3,014%
      1940 _____ 1,121 __________ 157%
      1950 _____ 1,525 ___________ 36%
      1960 _____ 2,876 ___________ 89%
      1970 ____ 12,941 __________ 350%
      1980 ____ 18,370 ___________ 42%
      1990 ____ 23,318 ___________ 27%
      2000 ____ 25,075 ____________ 8%
      2010 ____ 30,449 ___________ 21%
      2015 ____ 34,535 ___________ 13%
      2027 ____ 41,405 (projected) __ 20%

      During the 1970 through 2015 period UCD and the City grew at virtually identical rates. The average annual population growth of the City of Davis at 2.380% (26.5% each decade) was slightly higher than UCD’s 2.205% , but with a significant decline toward the end of the period.

      At the risk of jumping to a premature conclusion, it appears from those numbers that the residents of Davis are having second thoughts about the “Davis is a university town and it exists because the university is located here” answer I proposed to the “What is Davis and why does it exist?” question.

      Another way of looking at those numbers is that over the last 45 years and the next 12 years, UCD hasn’t changed.  They are pursuing their research university mission with much the same approach as they always have.  The City of Davis, on the other hand, definitely has changed ever since the  reaction to the rapid buildout of Mace Ranch resulted in the passage of Measure R in 2000.

      ___________ Davis ________ 10-year
      Census __ Population _____ % Increase
      1880 _______ 441
      1890 _______ 547 __________ 24%
      1920 _______ 939 __________ 21%
      1930 _____ 1,243 __________ 32%
      1940 _____ 1,672 __________ 35%
      1950 _____ 3,554 _________ 113%
      1960 _____ 8,910 _________ 151%
      1970 ____ 23,488 _________ 164%
      1980 ____ 36,640 __________ 56%
      1990 ____ 46,209 __________ 26%
      2000 ____ 60,308 __________ 31%
      2010 ____ 65,622 ___________ 8%
      2015 ____ 67,666 (est) _______ 6%
      2027 ____ ?????? _________ ??%

      So, before we can frame an answer to Tia’s “what is the number of rental units” question, I believe we have to decide whether we still want to be a university town.

       

  2. Grok

    I disagree with Mr. Gray’s straw man argument that has been repeated here generally, but I take very specific exception to  the bolded part of this sentence.

     We wouldn’t have a housing problem if the campus weren’t growing and if the students would just live on campus.”

    Students want to live on campus. The University reports West Village is 100% full despite the high rents. The Colleges at La Rue have been voted the best place to live in Davis for 3 years in a row. This year demand was so high for on campus housing, the University was no longer able to offer its guaranteed housing promise for the first 2 years. The only people I have heard claim students don’t want to live on campus is the University planners them selves.

    It is a lack of available on campus housing that is stopping students from living on campus.

    1. David Greenwald Post author

      I’m not sure I would characterize it as a strawman – I do think there is a mixture of students and some want to live on campus – if it is available, affordable and convenient – but others don’t.

      I do disagree that the problem is all on the university, but they certainly have their blame.

      1. South of Davis

        Ron wrote:

        > Regarding others’ statements that “Affordable” housing

        > isn’t “affordable”, this makes absolutely no sense.

        The New Harmony Apartment project cost over $500K/unit to build (more than the price of an average SFH in Davis at the time) and costs an incredible amount to run each year making up the difference between the cost of operating the property and the reduced rent the residents pay, as well as giving lots of high paying work to politically connected vendors and giving out high paying patronage jobs to the politically connected.  A better name for “affordable” housing is “subsidized” housing since taxpayers “subsidize” the politically connected land owners by overpaying for the land (unless the government makes a deal to increase the value of other land or do other favors and get the land for “free”), subsidize the politically connected architects and engineers to design the place, then subsidize the expensive union and politically connected private labor that builds the place (using materials from politically connected suppliers) then subsidize the often politically connected residents (In SF half of the people public housing either self-identify as an “activist” or they work for a big political donor who gets to pay them less and kick back some of the difference in campaign donations) and subsidize the politically connected management and maintenance companies that charge high prices…

        1. Ron

          SouthofDavis:

          For someone who stated that they “weren’t going to respond” to my comments anymore, you certainly respond a lot. I’ll take that as a compliment.

          I do not know if your comments are correct, or your source. However, none of your statements addresses the point – that Affordable housing is “affordable” to those living in it.  (Other commenters made the statement that it is not “affordable”, to which I was responding.)

        2. South of Davis

          Ron wrote:

          > Affordable housing is “affordable” to those living in it.

          If the city were to buy $10,000 Rolex watches from a politically connected jeweler store and subsidized each sale with $9,900 in taxpayer money so the poor could buy them for $100 each it would not make the watches “affordable” (they would still be ridiculously expensive)…

        3. Ron

          South of Davis:

          If you want to argue that Affordable housing may not be administered efficiently, I have no counter-argument to that.  I have essentially no knowledge, regarding this.  (Actually, you seem to have more knowledge/insight, regarding its administration.)

        4. South of Davis

          Don:

          Thanks for the link, when I read “No equity accumulation restrictions were required in the loan documents or deeds for affordable ownership units under the 1990 ordinance. The City believed any increase in home value should be passed on to the low income homeowners”  It reminded me that a fraternity brother of my brother in law (who went to law school at UOP) was doing legal work for a developer (Northern CA, but not Davis) and was able to get his firm to stop paying him so he “legally” qualified to buy a “low income home”.  The developer was happy since they got an attorney they knew with a pretty wife and a Lexus living in one of their “low income” homes and he was happy since as soon as he closed on the home he got all his back pay and was real happy to sell the place for a $250K profit two years later…  It is hard to believe that anyone who was not personally lined up to buy one of the “affordable” homes and make a killing when they sold it thought this program was a good idea.

          P.S. I have been told that all the “smaller than average” homes in Wildhorse were part of this program.  Does anyone know if any are currently occupied by “low income” residents or if all have been flipped at a big profit by now…

        5. ruralknight

          You want to talk subsidies…why just attack social programs? Why not talk about all the tax breaks as subsidies? Last year, ALL Federal housing programs cost around $50 billion…two tax progams, Mortgage Interest Deduction and the Property Tax Deduction, cost around $90 billion.

          So who receives more subsidies? Those  who are struggling to make ends meet or those wealthy enough to own their own home or land?

          Please quit hating on Affordable housing…it’s actually more of a community asset that’s really not as expensive as you would like to believe once you factor in all the community benefits we receive in return.

        6. South of Davis

          ruralknight wrote:

          > Please quit hating on Affordable housing…it’s actually more of a

          > community asset that’s really not as expensive as you would like

          > to believe once you factor in all the community benefits we receive

          > in return.

          I know there are a lot of benefits to helping people afford a place to live.

          The changes I would like to make are:

          1. Get rid of all government programs that help people “buy” homes (in SF you can make over $125K/year and qualify to buy a BMR unit).  Does anyone think that giving one lucky (aka politically connected) family a $240K one time gift is better than giving a hundred (100) families a couple hundred dollar rent discount?

          2. Get rid of the expensive and expensive to manage government owned housing “projects” and give families that need help rent vouchers to help them rent a place.  It costs twice as much per year to run a government housing property (more than 3x in SF) so we can help a LOT more people.  Does anyone other than a union apartment maintenance guy in SF making $180K (with overtime) a year think that helping TWICE as many poor people is a bad idea.

          P.S. Government almost never does a good job managing housing with famous mistakes such as Cabrini–Green and locally we have the city owned Pacifico apartment that has been sitting MORE than half empty for OVER ten (10) years.

          P.P.S. I couldn’t believe it when I read in the Enterprise a couple months ago that one of the politically connected guys looking to build senior housing in West Davis was the same guy that made a big mess out of the city owned DACHA (where a bunch of poor people got ripped off before the city gave the guy over $300K after his project fell apart then bought all the DACHA homes that like Pacifico spent a lot of time sitting empty)…

      2. Grok

        David, the campus reports that its most expensive apartments are 100% occupied so clearly there is also a demand for on campus housing that is less affordable.

        The Colleges at La Rue has been voted the best place to live in Davis three years in a row. So clearly students more market rate apartments on campus too.

        Certainly there are some students who would rather live off campus but there is clearly a unmet demand for on campus housing.

        1. Grok

          David, I agree that it is a constrained market, but UCD on campus that has been voted the best place to live in Davis for 3 years row should do well in a less constrained market too.

        2. Matthew

          Grok–

          That makes sense.  West Village is privately managed.  The school managed units, however, contain vacancies.  In terms of planning the difference doesn’t matter, but in terms of students’ experience it matters a lot: students don’t want to have an RA who they feel is snooping on them.   But a new project with fancy amenities yeah the ones with money will go for.

        3. Grok

          Matt,

          I agree with you that many students want to move out of the dorms to get away from RAs and I would add the expense of the meal plans. Privately managed or even university managed on campus apartments allow for many more freedoms. Even so, Bob Segar told the City Council 2 weeks ago that although the University has long guaranteed housing on campus for 2 years, this year they where not able to honor that guarantee. That  certainly suggest to me that there is an increasing unmet demand for on campus housing, including for dorm space.

  3. South of Davis

    David wrote:

    >  less than 5 units per year for the past dozen years have been market rate.

    It looks like the no growth apartment owners need to work harder.  Even 50 more units between now and 2026 will make it harder to get the average rent per bedroom over $1,000 (like in the Bay Area) by then (and will lower the rent that aging boomers get for renting spare bedrooms to students)…

  4. Grok

    It is important to note that MR. Gray’s numbers completely omit all other non rental units built in Davis. That must be included to understand the bigger picture. There are after all 100s of non apartment rentals in Davis.

    1. Don Shor

      The entire housing market of rentals would then also include apartments in Dixon, Woodland, Winters, and Sacramento, and presumably even some single-family homes in those communities.

    2. Misanthrop

      Certainly you can look at a segment of the housing market or all of it.  So lets play it your way Groc. My guess is that the overall owner occupied housing supply has actually fallen over the last decade as more and more homes were converted to rentals while little new housing has been occupied,  only recently have the homes at Cannery become occupied. If you go back even further to the first decade of the new millennium only around 100 single family homes were built in Davis. I saw the numbers once and it was stunning.

      What I don’t really understand Groc, is why you only see one solution, more on campus housing. You try to negate every argument presented in favor of more housing in the city and I don’t really understand this opposition. If we agree that more housing is needed why isolate it  on campus where students aren’t allowed to vote in city elections. Certainly you must know Millennials who have graduated and are still here or others who grew up here and can’t live in homes owned by their parents but would like to raise a family here. Nothing you are suggesting offers these groups any help at all. With UC pushing through ever more students there is no way UC will build enough housing to alleviate the supply shortage in the city. Even if they were to go to high rises and your 100%/50% vision your numbers still don’t add up.

      1. Ron

        Misanthrop:

        Again, if you’re arguing for even more single-family housing than what’s already in the pipeline (e.g., the Cannery, Chiles Ranch, Grande, West Village, etc.), than I’m pretty sure that you’re on the losing end of a position.

        Regarding others’ statements that “Affordable” housing isn’t “affordable”, this makes absolutely no sense.  Also, SACOG requires affordable housing to be built, in particular.

        1. Ron

          Misanthrop:

          Your position regarding this is exactly where I disagree the most.  There’s a lot of new housing.

          I sincerely hope that anyone who might want to purchase housing take advantage of the opportunities that are there (right now).  (It would have been better to do so during the housing crash, but I guess that’s behind us for now.)

          I believe that the Cannery includes 3-story townhouses that are reasonably priced, along with some nicer single-family houses that have entirely separate, fully-independent granny units.  (I’ve heard that some of these units are rented out – perhaps to help pay for a mortgage?)

          Chiles Ranch is planned as workforce housing.  I believe that Grande is upper-end, but I’m not sure. And, of course West Village is reserved for those with a connection to the university.

          Honestly – if anyone is waiting for something “better” or “cheaper” to come along, I suspect that they’re going to be disappointed. (Of course, there’s always resale housing, as well.)

          1. Don Shor

            I think this is where we’re at right now with respect to projects before the city in some stage of planning or development. current housing projects.
            I’m missing the number of single-family homes planned at The Cannery. Any corrections or updates can be emailed to me at donshor@gmail.com. I know Matt Williams is trying to pin down some of the numbers.

  5. Ron

    From article:  “After all, the mission of the university is to provide an education for the future of our community and our nation.”

    And, non-resident students who have the $$$, apparently.

  6. hpierce

    Ron… your 11:58 post…

    Yeah, did read your earlier post where you said,

    encouraging re-use of the existing, relatively new, multi-building former “Families First” facility that would be demolished by approving the Sterling proposal.  (Not to mention other lost opportunities that might benefit the city, by keeping the existing industrial zoning.)

    You still have a disconnect when you also say,

    the site (and perhaps the existing buildings) could be used to encourage/generate commercial activity that would benefit the city financially (if not some other community purpose).
    For that matter, the existing buildings could be used to provide housing and/or provide services for those in need,

    Both inconsistent with “industrial zoning”…
    ‘Providing services for those in need’?  Where would the $ come from to acquire the property, repair, maintain, operate it without cutting those same services?
    Who would live there?  If you mean it would make a great homeless shelter site, I’ll go for that!  Suspect Rauncho Yolo would too!

    1. Ron

      hpierce:

      As I stated above, it seems that the former use (as a Families First facility) is inconsistent with its current zoning as industrial.  I don’t know how that happened.

      Regarding $, again – I suspect that the property is being priced on a speculative basis (thereby shutting out community-based organizations that could otherwise afford it).  Such organizations do exist, and somehow manage to survive.  (For that matter, there could be some type of government support for such operations – as there was for Families First.)  Others have mentioned a variety of uses and organizations (possibly even including government agencies, in some manner).

      If that facility is destroyed, I’m pretty certain that it won’t be replaced by a similar facility anywhere in Davis.  (If there’s difficulties in doing so now – when the opportunity is there, I can’t imagine that it would be easier in the future to replace it.)  (Just wondering – have you actually walked around the facility, yourself?)

      Personally, I also wouldn’t mind seeing the existing facility used “as is”, for relatively affordable (or perhaps “Affordable”) housing in some manner (hopefully, owned by another non-profit or government agency).  I think that even Misanthrop once mentioned re-using the site as is, for housing in some manner.

      Regarding Rancho Yolo, I understand and agree with most of their concerns. However, I’m not necessarily in “lock step” with all of their concerns.

      1. Mark West

        Ron: “I suspect that the property is being priced on a speculative basis”

        Yes, you suspect that without a shred of evidence, but I am sure you will continue to repeat the comment as often as possible. The property sat empty and on the market because there was no demand for the existing layout. Leaving a property unused in the hope that some day a new buyer will appear for the existing buildings is simply foolish.

        The City does not have to approve the Sterling proposal, but that project should be evaluated on the basis of the proposal in front of the City, not some hypothetical project that only exists in the minds of those looking to prevent change. The question is Sterling, yes or no, not Sterling versus something else.

         

      2. Ron

        Mark:

        Do you know what the proposed sale price is?  I’d suggest that it is the “taxpayer’s business”, since they provided funding to the owner.

        Knowing this information, along with open and transparent communication from other interested agencies would provide some clarity. (Really, other legitimate “demands” don’t exist – simply because they can’t meet a speculative price from a taxpayer-funded organization that mismanaged its mission and facility, leading to its demise at that location?)

        1. hpierce

          Please provide documentation as to how the FACILITY was tax-payer funded (acquisition, design, construction).  I believe that to be an untruth.

          Its operations may well have been funded, in part, by things like Medi-Cal, SSI, etc.

          You keep saying it was tax-payer funded.   Show us the $.

        2. Ron

          hpierce:

          I’ve provided links previously in response to one of your previous challenges. I would appreciate it if you didn’t ask me to repeat research, unnecessarily.

          I believe that Families First received funding from its “customers” (residents who receive government funding).  Not sure if there were other methods used to deliver taxpayer funds, subsidies, or tax breaks. (I wouldn’t be surprised if government funds ultimately funded all of its operations.)

          In any case, perhaps this will answer your question.

          http://upliftfs.org/about/agency/faq/

          Also, I recall that when I attended a meeting at the site, someone told me that each government-subsidized resident paid about $9,000/month.  (I haven’t researched that statement.)

          Here’s another link, regarding the problems at Families First (which led to its demise).

          https://www.davisvanguard.org/2013/06/emq-familiesfirst-denies-all-allegations/

          If you want to challenge me further regarding this, I’d suggest that you’re perfectly capable of performing your own research.  (Based on the nature of your comments, it seems that your motivation is to argue, rather than to actually learn about Families First and how it used the taxpayer funds that it received).

        3. South of Davis

          Using Ron’s logic if a cop paid by taxpayers or a guy that just cashed his tax refund check went to the bar at Trump Tower to buy a beer Trump’s next hotel would be “taxpayer financed”…

        4. Ron

          South of Davis:

          Due to the manner in which Families First received taxpayer funds, I’m not sure if the organization could be audited regarding the use of those funds, as a result.  (Perhaps they could only be shut down, as they actually were.)

          On a more general level, I can assure you that organizations which receive taxpayer funds directly are in fact audited, and sometimes have to return taxpayer funds.  (At times, fraud is discovered, which leads to criminal investigations.)  Not sure how this works for organizations that receive taxpayer funds, subsidies, or tax breaks indirectly.

          My main point is that taxpayer funds ended up at that organization, which was shut down as a result of mismanagement.  I did not advocate “taking” the facility.  However, it does not appear that those funds were put to good use, to say the least.

          The link I provided has some comments which state that Families First received up to $15,000/month per resident.) $15,000 x 63 residents = $945,000 monthly.

          Now, maybe you and others think that it’s fine that this same organization would also likely gain significant profit, as a result of the proposed zoning change.  The fact that this profit might go to attorneys and settlements (as a result of their mismanagement) doesn’t make it any more appealing.

        5. Ron

          Actually, in looking at the link I provided above, it appears that Families First might have received funding directly from Medi-Cal.  If that’s the case, then the funding that they received might be subject to an audit, directly.  States and federal agencies fund Medi-Cal, and both conduct audits regarding how funds are used. And, such funds are sometimes demanded to be returned.

          And again, the comments in the link estimated the monthly income at $15,000 per resident, with 63 residents at the facility shortly before problems were uncovered regarding the facility.

          $15,000 X 63 residents = $945,000 monthly.

        1. Ron

          hpierce:  Yes, once.  (Once again, you’ve beaten me in the “competition”.)  🙂

          I was only asking because I was honestly surprised, regarding how attractive it is (and the apparent level of investment that was required to build it).  If you hadn’t seen it in person (by walking around the entire multi-building facility), you’d never know.

          Prior to my visit, I had only briefly seen part of one building, from the street.

        2. hpierce

          It’s not a competition Ron, at least for me… it’s about facts, and based on those, informed opinions.   Nothing more, nothing less.  At least on development issues.

          I’ve only been involved in the facts (legally, practically, and design review) and hearing opinions on development issues, for only 39 years.  Not going to bow to unsubstantiated musings…

    2. Ron

      Forgot to add:

      The site/facility could also be used under its current (or similar) zoning, for commercial activity (thereby benefiting the city, financially).  (With, or without the existing buildings.)  (But, it’s certainly a waste to destroy what’s there, built by an organization that was supported by taxpayers.)

      There are many, many buildings in Davis that would be much more “ripe for replacement”, compared to the multi-building Families First facility.  (I can think of some rather unattractive, sprawling, poorly-maintaned one-floor buildings downtown, for example. A lot closer to the university, as well.) Perhaps residential on top, commercial on bottom?

      1. hpierce

        Commercial purposes would require rezoning… there, I’ve said it three times.

        The traffic from commercial purposes would probably raise the traffic impact about two-fold above the proposed use.   And, to be used commercially, the existing interior would basically need to be “gutted”… but then, you haven’t seen the interior, have you?

        Rancho Yolo will love that…

         

        1. Ron

          hpierce:  Yes – it might require a change from “industrial”.  I’d suggest that it’s more keeping in line with its current zoning.

          I challenge your statement that commercial uses would necessarily raise the traffic impact “two-fold”.  I also challenge your statement that you know what Rancho Yolo would “love”.  (No shortage of assumptions, there.)

          Yes – I’ve seen the interior of the main building.

          I’d suggest that there’s been very little exploration of uses for the existing facility (for commercial, industrial, residential, or some combination thereof). It may have been bypassed by speculative pricing, by those who are pushing for a mega-dorm at the site (including the taxpayer-funded owner, the developer, and others). Although it’s been unused for awhile, this may simply be the result of the taxpayer-funded owner “proving” that there’s no other viable use (ultimately holding out for a higher price). However, we may never really know exactly what’s going on, since it’s hidden from us.

        2. South of Davis

          Since Davis is a “sanctuary city” we could take a couple hundred of the unaccompanied undocumented children from TX and house them at the Families First property (I’m guessing that as soon as this proposal started to move forward most residents of Rancho Yolo would start begging to tear the place down and build a student apartment building).

          http://kxan.com/2016/12/07/new-border-facility-opened-to-meet-surge-of-unaccompanied-children/

        3. Matt Williams

          Ron said . . . “I’d suggest that there’s been very little exploration of uses for the existing facility (for commercial, industrial, residential, or some combination thereof).”

          Ron raises an interesting suggestion.  Regardless of whether Ron’s speculation is accurate or not, it does present an interesting question . . . specifically, who should be responsible for making that exploration of uses of the existing facility happen.   I am personally aware of substantial exploration of uses that have been initiated and pursued by individual residents of Rancho Yolo, but I suspect that that is not what Ron had in mind.

          Ron said . . . “It may have been bypassed by speculative pricing, by those who are pushing for a mega-dorm at the site (including the taxpayer-funded owner, the developer, and others)”

          Ron may be right.

          Ron said . . . “Although it’s been unused for awhile, this may simply be the result of the taxpayer-funded owner “proving” that there’s no other viable use (ultimately holding out for a higher price). However, we may never really know exactly what’s going on, since it’s hidden from us.

          There has been nothing “hidden” about the efforts of the Rancho Yolo residents, working with several Yolo County Supervisors, numerous Yolo County staff and advisory commission members, numerous local non-profit staff and management, several City Council members, and numerous City staff members

  7. Misanthrop

    “I certainly wonder to what extent the proposed scale of the Sterling project is driven by the high cost of demolition on the existing facilities.”

    Demolition is cheap relative to the value of the land. Of course the land wouldn’t be as valuable without Measure R.

  8. Sam

    Ron- I believe that Families First received funding from its “customers” (residents who receive government funding)

    Using that same logic the City should also take Don’s nursery down the block since I am sure he gets some money from the University. Why stop there, ill bet at least 30% of the single family homes are owned by people who receive government funding, paychecks for services they provide to the City and University. Lets have the City take them all!

     

    1. Ron

      Sam:

      That’s a ludicrous argument.  By accepting residents who are solely supported by taxpayers for specific services, I’m reasonably certain that this is an entirely different situation than whatever you’re referring to, with Don or anyone else.

      1. Sam

        Don provides a service to UCD and gets paid for it and spends the money on his business.

        A professor provides a service to UCD and gets paid for it and spends the money on their house.

        Families First provides a service to the State and gets paid for it and spends the money on that facility.

        All three of the above are the same so if the “taxpayer” should reclaim property why not take everything purchased by people and businesses that are paid by government entities?

        1. Ron

          They are not the same, and I am not suggesting that the property should be reclaimed.

          Regarding the university, it is subject to audits regarding how funds are used to provide services.  Schools are also regulated, via accreditation standards, etc.  (I strongly suspect that Families First was also subject to audits/inspections, along with the underlying programs that supported it.)

          That is entirely different than using an example of a single employee or professor, who works for the organization. (It is also different than singling out a particular employee of Families First.) (However, in general, individuals can also be held responsible for violations, at times.)

          I understand that government regulatory agencies ultimately ensured that Families First was no longer allowed to operate at this location, as a result of mismanagement.  I posted a link above regarding this, and I’m sure that there are others.

           

        2. Sam

          “Do you know what the proposed sale price is?  I’d suggest that it is the “taxpayer’s business”, since they provided funding to the owner.”

          Families First was audited and regulated by different County and State agencies. They were paid to provide a service and they did until they lost their license, in Davis only. You can’t claim someone’s property or financial records or decided what they do with their property just because the State paid them to provide a service.

          All three of my examples are the same. If a professor gets fired from UCD do the taxpayers get to look at an offer on their Davis house because it was funded with taxpayer money?

        3. Ron

          Sam:

          I am not advocating that the government “take” the Families First site.  However, taxpayers did ultimately support operations, there.  The owner mismanaged the site, leading to its demise.  And now, those same owners are poised to reap the “profit” of their mismanagement. (Some individuals associated with Families First were named/discussed in the Vanguard link I provided above, as well.)

          Overall, this might be an example where a private organization should not be providing services that are more appropriately (and better-managed) by a government agency.  (Better than turning over a pile of taxpayer cash each month, given the result.)

          Again, someone mentioned to me that Families First received about $9,000/month, for each resident.  (I did not verify this.)

          Does any of this sound good, to you?  Should that organization now be financial rewarded via speculative pricing, based on a hoped-for zoning change?  (Or, should the city maintain current zoning, to perhaps allow a better-managed organization to assume control, and/or to serve some other need?)  (Again, at a price that would probably be within reach, if speculative pricing was not a factor.)

        4. Ron

          Sam:

          One more point:

          During audits, taxpayer funds are routinely demanded to be returned (from the audited organization).  (A primary purpose of many audits.) It occurs when the audited organization fails to follow regulations, to receive such funding. Happens quite often. (Sometimes, it leads to other complications for the audited organization as well.)

          Not necessarily saying or suggesting that this was the purpose or result of any audits at Families First. It’s just a general comment.

        5. Sam

          I do not agree that if all foster care facilities were managed by the County or State it would be “better”. I also do not agree that the current owner will profit from selling the facility. I also do not believe that the government should require a private business to do anything with their assets.

          Yes, they received $9,000 per month per child or maybe more depending on what services they provided.

          Any “reward” you think they are going to receive will end up going to legal fees and settlements.

        6. Misanthrop

          Its not speculative if there is an option contingent on approval of the project by the city. What makes the land so much more valuable is that it is already within the city limit and is therefore not subject to a measure R vote. Measure R drives up prices of land in the city.

  9. Sam

    If you want to keep the current buildings of five bedroom duplexes build to sustain heavy damage (kitchen table made of plastic with chairs cemented to the floors) and a school we should think about having the City purchase the property and house the homeless there. The City can then provide mental health and education services at the school. Or, the County can buy it and turn it into a low security jail with mental health and education services for the inmates.

    1. Ron

      Sam:

      I’d suggest using the facility to “round up” and lock away all the development types in town, who are intent upon forcing their vision upon the city.  (Not sure if this includes you, since I’ve never noticed your comments, previously.) 🙂

      Sorry – I’m getting short on patience, based on all the argumentative, unproductive, and purposefully provocative comments today.

      1. Sam

        If you have really toured the facility you will realize that the way that it was built the only way you would be able to use it now would be as a criminal or mental health facility with a short term housing element.

        Just be careful what you ask for because a large apartment building might be better than using the facility as is.

        1. Ron

          Sam:

          Your point is noted.  However, by focusing on things that can be changed easily (kitchen table made of plastic and chairs glued to the floor), you’re not making a logical argument that the only use is as a criminal or mental health facility.  However, I don’t necessarily see anything wrong with having it as a facility that treats mental health or other issues, either.  Is that not a community need, as well? Isn’t that what Families First engaged in to some degree? (Of course, they didn’t manage it very well.)

          I also don’t agree that it’s use is necessarily limited to short-term residential uses, under its current configuration (or close to it).

        2. Sam

          If you get a chance look inside the duplexes. You will see that things will not be easy to change. Jack hammering out the kitchen table and chairs is not easy. There are other things that are harder to explain that make the places less than optimal to live in.

  10. Edison

    From a little more positive perspective, I’d like to go back to Tia’s original comment this morning, in which she said:

    …before we start chanting “build, build, build” I think we should have a target population in mind over a specified number of years and certainly a more definitive goal than a reassurance that “that can be achieved without stark changes to the nature of the community” without defining either “that” or “stark changes”.

    I think that idea has a lot of merit. It may in fact be highly beneficial for the City to convene some community meetings to hear what Davis residents think the ideal city population should be at given points of time in the future, perhaps 5 or 10 year intervals, and even final “build out.” It would be interesting to find out.  According to the State Dept of Finance, the January 2016 population was a little over 68,000.  Some may think that’s high enough and should go no further. Others may not mind final build out of 100,000, and I venture to guess the vast majority would be somewhere in between.

    The City staff and Council could then take that information and develop a “population goals” document and put it on the ballot for an advisory vote, or even as something to put in the next general plan update. It might be particularly beneficial to engage in this effort before the next ballot vote on reauthorizing Measures R and J.

    From my own perspective, I grew up in a city (Anaheim) that was once compact, charming in some respects, had a great downtown, and had a “sense of place.”  But, starting in the 1950s it started growing, and growing, and just growing to the point that now it’s impossible to discern where the city boundary ends and adjoining cities start. Today the city has no character, no charm, no real downtown, and no sense of place.  It could be “Anywhere, USA.” I think many people living in Davis  miss the attributes of the smaller cities they knew years ago, and support Measures J and R as the only reliable means of preventing the same thing from happening here.

    1. Misanthrop

      I thought the causeway and the open space land was supposed to keep Davis from becoming a city like you describe Anaheim.

      I grew up in Westwood by UCLA, a place that went from two stories to the sky. I’ll take growing out over growing up almost anytime. The scale drawings of Trackside next to the little cottages next door made me flash back to when I saw the same thing in Westwood. It was pretty alienating as a kid.

  11. hpierce

    Grok  4:54 post…

    Ah, memories… lived in the UCD dorms for 3 years… the cafeteria food was fine, and shopping/cooking was time I did not want to spend… Steve (ala Steve’s Pizza) was the manager in charge of my complex commissary.

    Was “kicked out” @ the end of Junior year… the next two years was  sharing a two bedroom apt w/ 3 others… worked fine …

    If  I had the choice, would have stayed in the dorms throughout… yet, being kicked out let me pursue “other” interests… it’s been ~ 41 years now, and still “active” in those interests… same person…

    1. Grok

      Nice story HP. I have been to schools where students for the most part  live in dorms for all 4 years by choice.

      Now the UCD students are kicked out after 1 year.

      I believe, especially with more students coming in from out of state and out of the country  there would be an even greater demand for longer stays in the dorms. This may be a minority of students overall, but it is a completely unmet housing need.

      That is why I think the Regan dorms and Cowel building site should be 10 story tall dorms. It would offer significantly more housing to students very close to the core of campus. The 3 and 4 story buildings being proposed there are a missed opportunity to build taller buildings that could stand for the next 50-100 years.

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