Commentary: LRDP Resolution More Complex than You Think

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LRDP-Dec-2016-Map

It might be tempting to think that UC Davis simply caved to the loudest voices in the room on Russell Fields.  But once you drill down into the decision, a decisively more complex situation emerges.

The headline is that UC Davis’ Long Range Development Plan (LRDP) removed the Russell Boulevard fields as a location for housing or any other type of development.  Russell Fields was actually added to the proposal when the city and community pushed for UC Davis to take on more housing.

However, it immediately drew the ire of neighbors and soon other community members, including the council.  Russell Fields became the call to arms for community members and the group known as Friends of Russell Blvd. Fields.

The Vanguard did not see Russell Fields as a good choice for any housing location, given community concerns about traffic, buffer, and athletic field uses.

One might be tempted to conclude that the university capitulated to the loudest voices in the room, but, in a way, this was a classic Negotiation 101 tactic – the university put forth an unpopular idea, left it on the table and then finally removed it at the end.  In a way, this was very shrewd. [Editor’s note: This was not intended to imply that the Friends of Russell Blvd. Fields or other opponents to development on the fields were unaware of the possibility that the fields proposal could have been a calculation on the part of the university.]

The university prevailed on what is probably a far bigger issue to them.  When Bob Segar, the Assistant Vice Chancellor, first rolled out the plan a year ago, the university’s position was that they were not going to be able to house on campus all new student growth.

The early pushback from the community was that UC Davis needed to take on more growth.  And in May of last year, at the same time they rolled out the Russell Fields plans, they agreed to take on 6200 new students with housing, or 90 percent of the total new student population.

Those of us who could do math realized that the university was going to not provide housing to about 700 students, and that coupled with current shortfalls in the city of Davis, meant that the city of Davis would have to provide more housing.

The city council asked UC Davis to house 100 percent of the new students and provide up to 50 percent of all student housing on campus.  But, with community attention focused on Russell Fields, this point was muted somewhat.

As Colin Walsh put it in a statement, “We are however disappointed to learn the campus continues to resist building student housing on par with most other UC Campuses. The proposed ‘40% of the Davis-based students’ to be housed on campus pales in comparison to the 50% most other UCs are striving for.”

He continued, “There is a backlog of on-campus housing need that has not been provided yet by UCD, significantly impacting the Davis community. Even Interim Chancellor Hexter recently admitted to the UC Regents that UC Davis has ‘completely saturated’ the Davis housing market, leading to extremely low vacancy rates. Davis is the largest UC at 5,300 acres and unquestionably has room for both the Russell Blvd. fields and more student housing.”

In one of the more absurd moments of Bob Segar’s presentation, he tried to explain this away.

He indicated that the current plan retains capacity to address 90 percent of enrollment growth projected in the draft plan.  “That is a much more ambitious housing target than the campus has ever projected before,” he said, with almost 7000 students being added in the next decade to bring the campus population to 39,000 by 2027.

Sixty-two hundred of those new students would be housed on campus if the university adheres to the plan.  “The result would be 40 percent of the student housing for the total student enrollment at the Davis campus compared to an on-campus housing today of about 29 percent.”

Bob Segar explained where their figures come from.  He said that their data shows that only 90 percent of all students live either on campus or in the Davis community.  “So if that holds and about 10 percent live outside of Davis for whatever reason they choose, we are essentially housing our enrollment growth on campus in this plan.”

To put this bluntly, this is a ludicrous explanation by the Assistant Vice Chancellor.  He is making the unfounded assumption that there will always be a 10 percent residual who will always opt to live outside of the market.

There are a variety of factors that lead to that 10 percent number.  First, the scarcity of housing in Davis.  Second, the cost of housing in Davis.

Regardless, because the community was focused on Russell Fields, UC Davis was able to win on the 90-40 split rather than the 100-50 that the council and activists preferred.

The city also got a couple of key wins.

Mr. Segar stated, “This on-campus housing goal also assumes that the university would no longer be relying on master leases of apartment buildings in the city, which would return those properties to the open market.”

The university previously had leased part or all of some apartments in town as they waited for the construction of new housing. This was a point of concern raised by the city, concerned that the master lease system cost the city property tax revenue.

The intent now is to “vacate those master leases and return those properties to the market,” he said.

This was a big win for the city because, when UC Davis took over apartments with a master lease, the city lost out on property tax revenue.

The city got another big win on Nishi.

Following the election, UC Davis revised the LRDP to read: “The revised plan does not include a possible road connection from campus into the Nishi property. This revision reflects the recent decision by Davis voters to reject the Nishi development proposal.”

At the time it was not clear what that meant, but, for the council and the developers at Nishi, they wanted the voters of Davis to have say over whether there should be a project there, not the university.

Bob Segar would clarify the approach they would take toward the Nishi property.  He indicated their past participation in the Nishi planning process, which also included a location for a roadway and bikeway campus connection.

“The draft LRDP will analyze the Nishi project as a component of the expected cumulative growth, because it would be deemed to be a foreseeable project because of the city approval,” he said.   This would “preserve the opportunity for a roadway, bikeway and open space connection between the Nishi property and the campus.”

The council appears to want – as we reported – a housing-only project at Nishi.  That certainly will generate more attention if an application emerges from that.

This was, again, something that the city asked for.

In a way, everyone seems to get something that they wanted.  The activists and council got the removal of Russell Fields from the housing proposal.  The university retained the 90-40 split.  And the city got Nishi put back into consideration and got the removal of the master leases.

The key question that remains – the LRDP does not, by any means, assure that UC Davis will follow through on the development of the housing that the LRDP would allow.

The city clearly sees the need for more housing.  As they said, “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).”

There is also indication that some of that housing could be at Nishi.  “City to revisit Nishi proposal with consideration of increasing housing option onsite.”

That should make for an interesting future discussion on housing, even as we largely close the door on the LRDP chapter.

—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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96 thoughts on “Commentary: LRDP Resolution More Complex than You Think”

  1. Misanthrop

    “To put this bluntly, this is a ludicrous explanation by the Assistant Vice Chancellor.  He is making the unfounded assumption that there will always be a 10 percent residual who will always opt to live outside of the market.”

    If your kids go to UCD would they live at home to save expenses? Its not ludicrous to say that there will be people who for whatever reason opt out of living on campus. UCD responded to community concerns with a 90% goal for freshmen. Complaining about getting 90% of what you ask for is a little over the top. The bigger question is where are these people going to live after the first year? Where are the several thousand new faculty and staff going to live that will be needed to educate these students?

    Many will move to communities that are willing to provide housing such as Woodland, Dixon, West Sac or Winters driving greater distances than an expanded Davis would require of them. Many will be in a more dense and crowded Davis at places like Trackside, Sterling or 40. Others will struggle with overcrowded poor housing options and high rents unless Davis changes course by getting rid of Measure R. Only then can Davis have an opportunity to address and appropriately plan for the population growth that is coming whether this community is willing to accept it or not.

    The most ludicrous moment of the night was when a long time resident, UC retiree and plaintiff in the Nishi lawsuit got up and complained about how young faculty can’t afford to live in Davis. Perhaps a little self reflection is in order.

    1. Grok

      Misanthrop, You are misunderstanding UCDs goal. They plan to have housing available for 100% of first year students (freshman and transfer), but not mandatory. They plan on creating housing equal to 90% of enrollment increases. This will bring them to providing housing to 40% of the total student population (based on a 3 quarter average). That all sounds great until you realize Other UC’s are guaranteeing housing for 100% of first AND second year students and housing a total of 50% of student populations.

      There is a backlog of demand  at UCD, yet UCD continues to project a shortfall.

    2. Misanthrop

      Groc my friend, I think I do understand. People in Davis want UCD to solve its own housing shortage. They want all the benefits of living here but they don’t want to help take on any of the impacts. Problem is its just not realistic and the city is going to have a housing shortage, an underfunded budget, and a deteriorating infrastructure until it stops trying to make other jurisdictions responsible for its problems and starts addressing them.

      Another ludicrous  statement was made at public comment by my friend who said they thought UC Davis should become a campus that houses all its own students like some Ivy League liberal arts school. I think that is what people ultimately want here, UCD to house all of the projected almost 40,000.  This person is completely serious. Meanwhile the house I drive by regularly that had a for sale sign with a sold  sign attached recently now has a for rent sign in front. While Davis dithers the unintended consequences of refusing to address the supply imbalance grows worse by the day.

      1. Grok

        Misanthrop, you have made repeated contradictory statements about Freshman being required to live on campus. I am really mostly trying to point out what the UCD policy actually is. As to where students will be housed, currently 60% of students live in Davis. With the rapid growth of the campus it is very reasonable to expect the campus to house more students.

        1. Misanthrop

          The campus is going to house more students but what should the community do? Davis seems to act like the city has no responsibility to house more people at all but that is totally unrealistic.

  2. Roberta Millstein

    I’m not following the reasoning in this article.  You seem to be suggesting that by proposing housing on Russell Fields, the university was able to draw all of the attention to that issue, and thus “win” by not providing the additional housing that activists for looking for.  But, first of all, the issue of providing additional housing was never dropped by community members, even as they advocated for no housing on Russell Fields.  Second, the university didn’t “win” – this wasn’t a negotiation where different parties came to a compromise, and one party fell for a fake compromise.  The university made the decision that it wanted to.  It could have done that regardless of whether the Russell Field issue was on the table.

  3. Edison

    Roberta, I think I see where David’s coming from. It could be the old “give to get” equation. Under his theory, UCD probably never really intended to build on Russell Fields, but put that concept into the plan with the entire intent of later retracting it, “giving” the community a “win.”  That move “gave” Interim Chancellor Hexter the ability to tell the Regents last month, in effect, that because Davis citizens don’t want student housing on Russell Fields, then Davisites will need to identify where in their city the growing number of students will live.  If David’s theory is correct, it was a sly move by UCD administrators; they got to remove something from the draft LRDP that had no intention of doing anyway, and then turn around and blame our “lack of appetite” for urban expansion as the causal factor for high off-campus student rents.

    What UCD may not have accounted for, however, was for Hexter’s charade to be followed by the excellent presentation that followed his at the Regents meeting. UCI literally made Hexter and Vice Chancellor look like fools.  The UCI administrators provided convincing evidence of how that campus is using a public private partnership to build entire new full service student villages on campus, offering apartments at rents per student that are well below Orange County market rates.  UCI is now housing 44% of enrollment on campus and is well on its way to 50%.  UCI is achieving this, again, by utilizing third party expertise and making efficient use of its land by erecting much taller buildings than UCD has ever considered.

    1. Edison

      Mathew: There is of course no proof of the theory David and I think could be at work here, but it is interesting that: first, Hexter tells the Regents on Nov 16 that Davis citizens are opposed to housing on Russell Field, and if that’s the case, then Davis–and not UCD–needs to find space somewhere for the coming onslaught of students.  Second, by sheer coincidence UCD put out a press release on Tuesday announcing that Russell Fields is being taken off the table–the very same day Bob Segar was scheduled to give an LRDP update to the Council.  Third, the LRDP was to be discussed by Council after citizen and Council ire had been stirred by the disclosure that UCD had bid $66 million to buy University Research Park, which would deprived the City of much needed property tax revenue.  That, of course, also raises the question of how UCD could so easily throw $66 million on the table to buy an office complex, while pleading it lacks the funds to build on-campus housing.  Fourth, at the same Council meeting, Segar tried to assuage Council’s concern over the property tax diversion issue by announcing that UCD will start backing away from apartment master leases, which likewise deprive the City of property taxes.  All of these items just seem to have neatly occurred over such a short time period to be a sheer coincidence.  Perhaps the Russell Fields “capitulation” was also intended to deflect attention away from the awful presentation Hexter and Vice Chancellor Ratliff gave at the recent Regents meeting, in stark contrast to the excellent information provided by UC Irvine on its successful student housing program.

      In response to another commenter:  Yes, CEQA is a basically a public disclosure document for decision making by the lead agency. The only potentially “enforceable” teeth an EIR has is the Mitigation Monitoring and Reporting Program (MMRP).  In a prior life I had to write a number of MMRP compliance documents, documenting how and when all of a project’s mitigation measures had been achieved. This information was then reported to the Lead Agency so that an MMRP completion letter could be issued.  A lead agency potentially risks the success of future projects if it can’t document completion of an MMRP for a prior project. (That risk is primarily from litigation by third parties.)

       

      1. hpierce

        True… and the lead agency is the UC Regents… not the City of Davis… some folk just don’t get that…

        And according to previous LRDP, its EIR and MMP, UC would be paying a significant share of the Richards tight diamond interchange… like that’s been a happening thing…

      2. Matt Williams

        Edison said . . . “Fourth, at the same Council meeting, Segar tried to assuage Council’s concern over the property tax diversion issue by announcing that UCD will start backing away from apartment master leases, which likewise deprive the City of property taxes.

        Edison, do we KNOW for a fact that what you are saying in your bolded statement is true? It is a reasonable suspicion, but to date no one has provided any clear factual evidence to confirm the veracity of that suspicion.

        On Monday I initiated a formal inquiry with the County to determine the current property tax status of the six apartment complexes listed on http://housing.ucdavis.edu/housing/sha/ as having master Leases in place.  Of the six, Adobe, Arlington Farm, and The Lexington are definitely off the UCD campus, while The Colleges, Primero Grove, and West Village are on campus.  My personal suspicion is that the three on campus were already property tax exempt, but I don’t know that for a fact. None of those three are in the City, so there wouldn’t have been Property Tax revenues from those three regardless.  The other three, Adobe, Arlington Farm, and The Lexington are the ones that have the possibility of impacting the City revenues.

        I will let everyone know when I receive a formal response from the County.

        1. hpierce

          Pretty much ‘spot on’ Matt.. please share when you learn of the assessments on the  MF “leased” properties… the off-campus dorms, which UC bought in town are exempt… I also know (90% level) that properties (non-res) that UC fully leases (there are several) are exempt… we get the impact, we do not get the revenue…

          Have no knowledge of properties that UC only partially leases… and won’t hazard a guess on that…

        2. Matt Williams

          hpierce said . . . “I also know (90% level) that properties (non-res) that UC fully leases (there are several) are exempt… we get the impact, we do not get the revenue…”

          My suspicion is that properties that UC fully leases are different from apartment complexes on which UC executes a master lease.  I believe the key difference is that the University does not execute any actual leases for square footage of living space with the apartment complex.  Those actual leases are executed by individual students.

          In many ways a master lease executed by the University with the owners of an apartment complex is a lot like the City of Davis and Yolo County Pass Through Agreement.  In both cases money changes hands for the right to limit how a landowner can use their property.

          — In the case of the master lease, the restriction is that the landowner can not rent to anyone other than students.  Renting to anyone that the University has not given its blessing to (with a formal student designation) is a violation of the master lease agreement.

          —  In the case of the Pass Through Agreement the restriction is that the County can not approve a land use project without getting permission from the City first.  Approving a development project that the City has not given its blessing to is a violation of the Pass Through Agreement.

  4. Matthew

    Wow Edison and David Greenwald, what a fantastic theory you have that Russell Field was a 3D chess move! Got anything more than your own confirmation bias to back up such a claim?

  5. Ron

    David is correct, in that the university is (still) planning to begin the EIR process in January.  Once that occurs, further changes will be much more difficult to implement.

    Why is the subcommittee/council waiting until January to submit a letter in response to the university’s plans?  Do they expect the university to change its plans, while simultaneously beginning the EIR process?  (This does not seem possible.)

    Is the subcommittee (Robb, and Rochelle) doing anything about this?  For example, are they asking the university to delay the EIR process until sometime after the city formally submits its concerns ?  Presumably, with enough time for the university to respond, as well? (Again, this was the first time that the entire council weighed in on the LRDP.)

    The primary concern remains a goal of housing 50% of total student population, and 100% of new students – as stated in the staff report, and supported by other council members.

     

     

    1. hpierce

      Once that occurs, further changes will be much more difficult to implement.

      That is patently untrue… a myth… on two levels…

      The City (as an entity) has almost no authority to implement any changes … period.

      The EIR process is a disclosure document… it doesn’t commit UC to do anything, and if a subsequent proposal meets the test of being “in substantial conformance” to the impacts identified, that may not need more than a cursory subsequent review… so, if Howard Field is developed, there is likely a possibility that UC could later go for Russell Field… objectively, a pretty small increment, given the baseline of existing conditions, and other reasonably assumed growth elsewhere… and if UC did housing with no direct vehicular access to Russell, it’d pretty much be a slam-dunk.

      Some folk keep insisting that the CEQA process is a ‘legislative’ one… it is not… get a clue…

      Rather than focus on the EIR, it would be more effective to lobby UC and the Regents re:  ‘further changes’…

      1. Ron

        hpierce:

        You’re completely missing the point, in your examples.

        In general, it would be difficult for the university to INCREASE the size/amount of their projects (to house more students), without starting the EIR process over, again.

        1. Don Shor

          it would be difficult for the university to INCREASE the size/amount of their projects (to house more students), without starting the EIR process over, again.

          And, pretty clearly, they don’t plan to increase the size/amount of their projects. No more housing, no less housing, as Grok reported the other day.

        2. Ron

          Yes, Don.  That is still the problem.

          Bob Segar got an “earful” of community and council reaction, at the council meeting a couple of nights ago.  However, he acknowledged that he hadn’t even fully looked into the companies that specialize in providing high-rise housing, at no cost to universities (despite the fact that other UCs are already using such options).

          But the question remains, is the subcommittee/council planning to ask the university to delay the implementation of the EIR process, to receive and consider the council’s response?  (Again, it’s the first time that the full council weighed in, regarding the proposed LRDP.)

        3. Ron

          Also, why wasn’t the full council’s participation/response scheduled earlier in the process, rather than waiting until one month before the university’s plan to begin the EIR process?  (And, during the holiday season, no less.)

           

        4. hpierce

          I’ve got an educated guess here, Ron… perhaps citizens didn’t press CC members who didn’t press the Mayor to press the CM to press staff to have it considered earlier… simple…

          And to what end?  The EIR still needs to be scoped, per David’s account and others’… an opportunity for comment by anyone/any entity… once the draft is prepared there is a period for the same to make observations/comments, including as to its adequacy… it is a public process…

          Will give you a clue, since you appear to be in need of one… one of the best practices for a fully ‘bullet-proof’ EIR, is to consider other projects/conditions that are “reasonably foreseeable”, in the analysis… including Hyatt, Marriot, Sterling, and perhaps even the development of Russell Field… will guess UC wants their EIR to be bullet-proof…

          Don’s idea might well be correct… yet, if UC posits the development of Russell Field as part of a ‘worst case analysis’, the EIR would be “golden”… that might be in their ‘calculus’, as well…  time will tell.

          I did not miss any point… yet, when given facts, you appear to listen not. Perhaps as you see me as a “troll”… maybe I am, but will leave that to others to judge… I do know I’ve been attempting to give factual information… perhaps that’s what “trolls” do…

        5. hpierce

          Or, an alternative… I might just be Billy goat gruff… who challenges the troll who won’t let anyone ‘cross the bridge’… didn’t work out well for the troll… but that’s just a fairy tale… a lot of those floating around these days…

        6. Grok

          perhaps citizens didn’t press CC members who didn’t press the Mayor to press the CM to press staff to have it considered earlier… simple…  — hpierce –

          Citizens started asking the Council during the public comment section of meetings  to agendize the LRDP at least as far back as August. I believe some were bringing this issue to  individual council members as long as almost a year ago.

        7. hpierce

          @ Grok… ok, will take you at your word, but apparently other dominoes did not fall… I’d ask CC members/Mayor/CM/staff the question then… might be interesting why the dominoes did not fall… perhaps the first domino, the public didn’t know how to push, or where… I really don’t know, or care, as the EIR process, once initiated, provides additional opportunities for public scrutiny and input.

          I doubt whether further or earlier CC input would have changed the schedule one iota. Perhaps, lack of earlier CC review/discussion actually delayed the current timetable…

           

        8. Ron

          hpierce:  “@ Grok… ok, will take you at your word, but apparently other dominoes did not fall… I’d ask CC members/Mayor/CM/staff the question then… might be interesting why the dominoes did not fall… perhaps the first domino, the public didn’t know how to push, or where . . .”

          One might think that the subcommittee would consider this (without prodding from others), on their own.

        9. Ron

          hpierce:  “Will give you a clue, since you appear to be in need of one… one of the best practices for a fully ‘bullet-proof’ EIR, is to consider other projects/conditions that are “reasonably foreseeable”, in the analysis . . .”

          Honest question.  Would a “reasonably foreseeable” alternative (within the EIR) necessarily include an increase in density, on the campus sites/areas already planned for development/redevelopment in the proposed LRDP?  (In other words, high-rise housing on those sites.)   How are decisions made, regarding what to include as an “alternative” within the EIR? For example, does UC Davis (or the regents) make such decisions? (I think this is an important question.)

           

        10. Matt Williams

          hpierce, shouldn’t the questions be directed to the jurisdiction that is preparing (responsible for preparing) the EIR?

          If that is the case, why would you direct the question(s) to the subcommittee members? To the best of my knowledge the members of the subcommittee are not part of the jurisdiction preparing the EIR.

        11. hpierce

          Matt (your 5:12 post).. the question I responded to was along the lines of “why didn’t the CC discuss this earlier”… UC can’t answer that… they have no direct control on the City, exactly like the City has no direct control over UC.

          @ Ron (1:12 post)

           How are decisions made, regarding what to include as an “alternative” within the EIR? For example, does UC Davis (or the regents) make such decisions? (I think this is an important question.)

          Ultimately, the Regents make that decision… based, probably, on risk analysis… I’d think they’d be made aware of a City choice to do a MND instead of a focussed EIR on the hotel project @ Richards/Olive… where a lawsuit was filed, and had to go to a “settlement” instead of being rejected by the courts… ‘important’ question, perhaps, but ‘intuitively obvious’ given what I and others have written… if you believe anyone who isn’t making the points you seem to want made.

          Honest question.  Would a “reasonably foreseeable” alternative (within the EIR) necessarily include an increase in density, on the campus sites/areas already planned for development/redevelopment in the proposed LRDP?  (In other words, high-rise housing on those sites.)  

          Depends how bullet-proof UC wants to be… now, I think you’re trying to “bait” me, under the guise of “an honest question”… looks like lawyer-speak, and as I am not an attorney, will leave it at that.  Done.  Finis.

          I am not being paid to further your limited knowledge.  I’ve been honest, but it’s not worth my time or effort to continue to engage you on this matter…

           

           

        12. Ron

          Matt:

          At this point, the subcommittee is still (presumably) representing the city’s interests, regarding concerns and questions related to the LRDP. (Hopefully, council members will remain responsive to questions and concerns from citizens, even after the EIR process begins.)

          It’s unfortunate that the full council did not have an opportunity to provide input until two nights ago, and is not planning to provide a formal response until January (the same month that the university is planning to begin the EIR process).  Not sure what the subcommittee’s explanation is, regarding that.

          At this point, I’d like to know if the subcommittee is considering asking the university to delay the EIR process, until sometime after they receive the city’s response.  (Presumably, with time for the university to respond, as well.)

          If that doesn’t occur, perhaps there’s still some opportunity for the subcommittee/council to ensure that the EIR includes alternatives that would have the fewest impacts on the city (e.g., high-rise housing on locations on campus that have already been identified for development/redevelopment).

          hpierce: Thank you for your response.

           

        13. hpierce

          As a courtesy, Ron…

          Will reiterate that you or other citizens are not dependent on the CC to comment on scoping or the draft EIR… you and everyone can do that… and, if you don’t, please don’t whine later… Colin K thinks things are unfair but doesn’t vote… he doesn’t have much standing to whine, either…

        14. Matt Williams

          Ron, you are again showing your fundamental ignorance of the CEQA process.  In that process any individual entity (like a City government) has no greater standing than any individual citizen has.  Entities, organizations and individuals all get the exact same opportunity to submit formal commentary during the various stages of the CEQA (EIR) process.

          What you appear to be asking the City government, the City Council, and/or the subcommittee of the City Council to do is provide input outside the boundaries of the well defined (legally defined) CEQA process. The University under the provisions of CEQA has no legal obligation to include any outside the boundary input into the CEQA process.

          For instance, you ask, “At this point, I’d like to know if the subcommittee is considering asking the university to delay the EIR process, until sometime after they receive the city’s response.” Let’s say that the answer to your desire to know is “Yes.”  What useful purpose will that knowledge on your part serve?  Will it change in any way the autonomy that CEQA legally grants to the University?  No it will not.

          Instead of attacking the subcommittee, impugning their integrity, would it not be a much more efficient and effective use of your time and everyone else’s time to do the same thing that Eileen Samitz is doing … communicating directly with the University?  Why do you insist on pursuing an inefficient indirect path, when an efficient direct path is available to you?

          Of course, there is one other possible explanation to what you are asking for … specifically to have the University terminate the CEQA process entirely. Is that what you want them to do?

        15. Ron

          Matt:  “Ron, you are again showing your fundamental ignorance of the CEQA process.  In that process any individual entity (like a City government) has no greater standing than any individual citizen has.  Entities, organizations and individuals all get the exact same opportunity to submit formal commentary during the various stages of the CEQA (EIR) process.”

          Where did I state that any particular party has a “greater standing” than another party?  (However, I assume that the council has an interest in the scope of the LRDP EIR.)

          Matt:  “What you appear to be asking the City government, the City Council, and/or the subcommittee of the City Council to do is provide input outside the boundaries of the well defined (legally defined) CEQA process.”

          Hmm.  Where did I state this?

          Matt:  “For instance, you ask, “At this point, I’d like to know if the subcommittee is considering asking the university to delay the EIR process, until sometime after they receive the city’s response.” Let’s say that the answer to your desire to know is “Yes.”  What useful purpose will that knowledge on your part serve?  Will it change in any way the autonomy that CEQA legally grants to the University?  No it will not.”

          A delay would have nothing to do with the EIR/CEQA process, since it would not have begun.  However, it might provide time for the university to actually consider the response it received two nights ago (from the council, and commenters), and from the city’s more formal response next month.  (Again, the council’s response was not even settled or coordinated, regarding some concerns.)

          hpierce: I have provided my concerns to university officials. The meeting two nights ago provided a forum, as well.

           

        16. Matt Williams

          Ron said . . . “A delay would have nothing to do with the EIR/CEQA process, since it would not have begun.” 

          Ron, match your bolded words above with your bolded words below.  You are burning the candle at both ends.

          “If that doesn’t occur, perhaps there’s still some opportunity for the subcommittee/council to ensure that the EIR includes alternatives that would have the fewest impacts on the city (e.g., high-rise housing on locations on campus that have already been identified for development/redevelopment).

        17. Matt Williams

          I’m glad you recognize that you are burning the candle at both ends.  Also glad that you recognize the fundamental dissonance between your two statements.

      1. South of Davis

        Frankly wrote:

        > You mean deporting all the NIMBYs and NOE people to North Dakota?

        I heard that many of the Davis residents who went to North Dakota to protest were told to go back home.

        “Activists associated with the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) protests claim white people are turning demonstrations against the project into a hippie festival. Demonstrators at the Standing Rock protests are accusing their white fellow protesters of “colonizing” makeshift campsites built to oppose the $3.8 billion DAPL. The American Indian group at the heart of the pipeline is apparently growing tired of the mostly white, guitar-playing, hippies flocking to the North Dakota campsites.”

        http://dailycaller.com/2016/11/28/white-hippies-descend-on-standing-rock-protest-treat-it-like-burning-man/

        1. hpierce

          Thanks for sharing!

          Sounds correct… sometimes “friends” [probably pseudo-friends who never made a significant contribution to the daily, real needs of ‘native Americans’, particularly those still living in poverty, educational needs not being met, employment drug/alcohol treatment not being met] get seriously in the way of what is important to those they ‘pretend’ to support… I say that as someone who financially supports efforts to actually help them.  And others…

          Suspect most ‘white’ activists could not care less about the native American folk, but are more interested in “socking it to” the oil companies… the environmental concerns are largely a matter of proper design/construction…

          I get why the ND folk are tired of having others “posturing” as caring… and ‘parting’ instead…

  6. Edison

    Well, I don’t know who hpierce is nor his or her position on the issue of UCD building much more needed student housing on campus, but he/she is pretty much on target regarding CEQA. Lots of alternatives will need to be studied in the DEIR, which might very well include development of some sort at the Nishi site, housing on Russell Fields, etc. By including examination of those alternatives, objective information will be made available for evaluation by all concerned.

    On a slightly different note, I think the reason why some posters today (such as Ron) have expressed concern about the CC potentially “being late to the party” is that the NOP will be issued early next month, and the scoping meeting will be on January 25.  Even though Segar told the Council its comment letter would be accepted if not received until February, I’m of the opinion that UCD would be under no legal obligation to do so.

    This is all the more reason for anyone concerned about the LRDP (regardless of one’s position) to submit scoping comments.  It’s sort of like “speak now or forever hold your peace.”  If someone wants a topic to be evaluated in the DEIR, the time to make that known is during the scoping process. This is especially important if a person or organization wants to dispute the EIR later. It’s been my experience that the courts tend to look somewhat disfavorably upon legal challenges made by persons and organizations that did not submit scoping comments, and that did not comment on the DEIR.  And, written comments are always better than oral.

  7. Tia Will

    Matt

    Please accept this as the completely open and honest question that it is since you are all too aware of the depth of my ignorance on this topic

    Entities, organizations and individuals all get the exact same opportunity to submit formal commentary during the various stages of the CEQA (EIR) process.”

    While I will accept on face value your and pierce’s comments about CEQA process and the rights of individuals as well as public organizations and representatives to make comment, do you feel that these comments are likely to have the same impact ?

     

    1. Ron

      Tia:  “While I will accept on face value your and pierce’s comments about CEQA process and the rights of individuals as well as public organizations and representatives to make comment, do you feel that these comments are likely to have the same impact?”

      Good point, and I would add the following:

      Compared to comments by city officials, do you feel that comments by average citizens are likely to have the same level of expertise and knowledge regarding EIRs and the process in general, as well as the city’s specific concerns? (In this case, the question relates specifically to the EIR for the LRDP.)

      1. Matt Williams

        Regarding your addition Ron,

        — The comments by individuals in the Russell Fields process clearly had the same (or greater) level of expertise and knowledge as any organization or entity had.  As I said to Tia, there were virtually no organizations or entities that played heavily in that process.  It was a chorus of individual voices.

        — The comments by individuals in the Hotel/Conference Center process had the same (or greater) level of expertise and knowledge as any organization or entity had.  Here too the commentary was exclusively driven by the voices of individuals … to all intents and purposes organizations and entities were wholly absent from that process.

        — The comments by individuals in the CEQA process for Nishi had the same (or greater) level of expertise and knowledge as any organization or entity had.

        — The CEQA process for Hyatt House is being dominated by individual voices that have the same (or greater) level of expertise and knowledge as any organization or entity has.

        1. Tia Will

          Hi Matt

          Thanks for answering. I should have been more specific, because obviously in the absence of any other voices, the individuals or organizations that do speak out will obviously have the most. Impact. However, as someone who has had no experience with commissions, I am wondering when there is input from non expert individuals, and impact from community representatives, which is likely to have the greater impact ?

          Again, not for argument but for education as I frequently do not know the best way to proceed if my time is limited. Best to go through the electeds ? Or best to present my comments written or in person ?

      2. Ron

        Matt:

        Not sure that I agree that the opposition to development on Russell Fields had much to do with “expertise”.  It seemed that most simply focused on a desire to retain them, for reasons not normally requiring technical expertise.  (And, it had nothing to do with an EIR.)

        You’re correct, in that there are some knowledgeable individuals in the Davis community.  Hopefully, they (along with city officials) will help ensure the adequacy of the EIR for the LRDP.

        1. Matt Williams

          Ron, reread the premise and question that Tia put forward … “the rights of individuals as well as public organizations and representatives to make comment, do you feel that these comments are likely to have the same impact ?”

          Did individuals make comments regarding Russell Fields?  Did those individual comments have greater impact or lesser impact than the comments of public organizations and representatives?

          When Tia asked her question she expected supporting examples.  I provided four examples that pertained directly to both her premise and her question.  I also made sure those examples were both local and recent.

        2. Ron

          Matt:  Why are you asking me a question regarding what Tia posted?  (Actually, I believe that Tia’s question was specifically related to EIRs, regardless.)

          The Russell Field decision has nothing to do with EIRs.

        3. Matt Williams

          Ron, Tia’s question was whether the comments by individuals have the same impact as the comments by public organizations and representatives.

          I provided four examples that answered her question.  Nothing more, nothing less.

          You are dancing on the head of a pin.

    2. Matt Williams

      In a word Tia, “Yes.”

      We have seen the power of comments by individuals play out very clearly in the Russell Fields process.  There were virtually no organizations or entities that played heavily in that process.  It was a chorus of individual voices.  Similarly, the CEQA process for the Hotel/Conference Center has been almost exclusively been driven by the voices of individuals … to all intents and purposes organizations and entities were wholly absent from that process.  The CEQA process for Nishi was much the same.  The CEQA process for Hyatt House is being dominated by individual voices.

      Do I need to provide more examples?

      1. Ron

        Matt:

        With the exception of Russell Fields (which had nothing to do with the EIR process), the examples you’ve provided are an entirely “city process” (including the certification/approval of the EIR), the examples you provided are not a good comparison to the EIR certification process for the LRDP (which is not under the jurisdiction of the city). (Not sure if my exact terminology is correct.)

        The city itself has expressed some concerns that haven’t been addressed by the university’s plans.

        I noticed you haven’t responded to my question above, regarding citizen “expertise”, compared to city official “expertise”, etc. (The full question can be found above.)

        1. Matt Williams

          Again you are showing your fundamental ignorance of the CEQA process.  Every CEQA process for any project under a specific local agency’s jurisdiction follows the same process.  Changing the specific local agency from the City of Davis to UC Davis does not change the process.

        2. Ron

          Matt:

          Please specifically point out any incorrect statements I’ve made.  I realize that I’m not an expert, but I don’t know what you’re referring to.

        3. Matt Williams

          Here you go Ron.  The following is an incorrect statement

          the examples you’ve provided are an entirely “city process,” […] the examples you provided are not a good comparison to the EIR certification process for the LRDP

          It is incorrect because the CEQA/EIR process is exactly the same regardless of the local agency that has legal jurisdiction.

          Further, I suspect that if you contact Don Mooney you will find that the CEQA process is legally subject to the principle of precedence.  If you make the effort to contact Don you will get a clear, informed opinion on that from him.

        4. Ron

          Matt:  You’re pasting a partial section of my statement, and adding your own (incorrect) conclusion.  My statement had to do with the certification/approval process.

          Are you making purposefully misleading statements?

          Do you think there’s “no difference” in the process, if the organizations that certify/approve it are entirely different?  (Especially if the non-approving organization has outstanding concerns?)

           

        5. Matt Williams

          Ron said . . . “Do you think there’s “no difference” in the process, if the organizations that certify/approve it are entirely different?  (Especially if the non-approving organization has outstanding concerns?)”

          Yes Ron, I not only think, I know that the process is exactly the same. However, do’t take my opinion as gospel.  Contact a real expert who knows the CEQA process inside and out … Don Mooney.  I’m sure Don will be glad to educate you.

          For the record the reason my answer is “Yes” is covered in hpierce’s response to you, which you appear to be conveniently ignoring.  Here it is again for your reading pleasure.

          hpierce December 8, 2016 at 7:24 pm

          Not answering for Matt, but on factual concerns as to the adequacy of the EIR scoping and draft, yes… your comments have to be weighed equally as one made by the City of Davis…

          Again, I say unto you, the CEQA process is a disclosure process… not a consensus policy process… often you’ll see commenters try to make political/policy/preference comments, and the typical “Response to Comments” piece (part of the Final EIR), in that case is generally “comment noted” and/or ‘not pertaining to the analysis’…

          So… depends whether the comment is factual, or not… in either case, as far as the EIR process is concerned, factual comments are generally weighed the same… non-factual comments are generally equally ignored.

          The EIR is only the factual basis for a decision… it is not “the decision”… so, even if the EIR says “good to go” with a proposal, political pressures might determine how things “go”… in the latter, yeah the City of Davis, as an entity, would probably have much more weight than an individual.

          But that is outside the scope of CEQA, and rightfully so.  IMHO…

           

           

        6. Ron

          Matt:  “Yes Ron, I not only think, I know that the process is exactly the same.”

          My comments specifically mentioned the different approval agencies (in your examples, they are one and the same – the city itself).  With the LRDP, the university certifies/approves the LRDP.

          The difference in certification/approval is significant.  It is outside of the city’s control, despite the city’s lingering concerns. (I believe that this may also be true regarding the alternatives that are ultimately included in the EIR. However, the city and individual citizens may be able to provide input, regarding that. That goes back to my original point, before you started this charade.)

          In response to your question, I do not have a response for hpierce. He was simply making a statement.

        7. Matt Williams

          Ron, under the provisions of CEQA regulations ALL agencies are bound by the same process.

          Do you dispute that basic fact?

          If you do then I strongly suggest you schedule an appointment with Don Mooney to see whether he agrees with you.

          Again, you are dancing on the head of a pin.

    3. hpierce

      Not answering for Matt, but on factual concerns as to the adequacy of the EIR scoping and draft, yes… your comments have to be weighed equally as one made by the City of Davis…

      Again, I say unto you, the CEQA process is a disclosure process… not a consensus policy process… often you’ll see commenters try to make political/policy/preference comments, and the typical “Response to Comments” piece (part of the Final EIR), in that case is generally “comment noted” and/or ‘not pertaining to the analysis’…

      So… depends whether the comment is factual, or not… in either case, as far as the EIR process is concerned, factual comments are generally weighed the same… non-factual comments are generally equally ignored.

      The EIR is only the factual basis for a decision… it is not “the decision”… so, even if the EIR says “good to go” with a proposal, political pressures might determine how things “go”… in the latter, yeah the City of Davis, as an entity, would probably have much more weight than an individual.

      But that is outside the scope of CEQA, and rightfully so.  IMHO…

  8. Jim Frame

    this was a classic Negotiation 101 tactic – the university put forth an unpopular idea, left it on the table and then finally removed it at the end.  In a way, this was very shrewd.

    Perhaps I’m not appropriately cynical, but my read is that the university saw its unbuilt spaces along Russell Boulevard and A Street as desirable housing locations due to proximity to both central campus and downtown, as I do.  It seems more likely to me that they were surprised at the breadth and depth (mostly the latter) of community pushback, and decided to take those areas off the table in order to minimize the sort of interference that an organized body of angry citizens — particularly those politically well-connected — can throw at a process.

    1. Ron

      Jim:

      I understand that point of view.  However, I understand that many students (and probably faculty members) were concerned about the potential loss of those fields, as well.  In other words, those who are essentially part of the university were perhaps the biggest “beneficiaries” of the decision, and were well-represented on a petition.)

      Of course, there were many other residents who appreciated that decision, as well. (And, not all of them were “angry” at the university for initially considering it.) 🙂

      The bigger issue for the city remains – a lack of density for on-campus housing. This is what will create problems for years to come, if it’s not adequately addressed in the LRDP.

      1. Don Shor

        The bigger issue for the city remains – a lack of density for on-campus housing. This is what will create problems for years to come, if it’s not adequately addressed in the LRDP.

        They’ve stated what they’re going to do. No more, no less. My question now is, at what point will you and others acknowledge that?

        1. Ron

          Don:

          You’ve been pushing this even before the university came out with a plan to house 90% of new students, and 40% of all students. I believe that the city is still planning to request that the university house 100% of new students, and 50% of all students.

          The LRDP process (and the city’s involvement/input) is nowhere near complete. If you have questions regarding that process, I’d suggest you direct them to the LRDP subcommittee, and/or to the full council.

          1. Don Shor

            After months of public comment and input from hearings and in writing, they have not changed their % or numbers one iota. The city may request whatever it wishes. We know what we have to work with.
            Certainly it is worth citizens expressing opinions. I’ve done so, and I assume you have and will. But in terms of what the city now needs to plan for, we know where we stand. If anything, at this point the process from the city’s standpoint needs to focus on monitoring, and the master lease issue.
            I’ve had many conversations with those who oppose apartment developments in Davis at this time. The argument is “the university needs to build more housing.” Well, now we know what the university is willing to commit to build at some point within their planning horizon.

        2. hpierce

          Sorry Don… they have said what they believe they intend to do… (or not do…)… what they are going to do remains to be seen… nuance can be everything… the “project” defined in the LRDP is not a decision, nor a commitment based on CEQA…

          1. Don Shor

            Yes, and it’s all conditional on actual enrollment increases and availability of funds within the arcane UC budget process. All of that is likelier to delay than expedite actual housing construction, IMO.

        3. Ron

          Don:  “We know what we have to work with.”

          At this point, there’s no way to know this (even if the university plans further changes to its LRDP).  The EIR will likely include some alternative scenarios, as well.

           

          1. Don Shor

            there’s no way to know this

            You mean, other than that they’ve said so?
            90%, 40%. No more, no less. Do you have ANY reason to believe otherwise? I have evidence for my position. You have no evidence for yours.

            May 2016: With predicted enrollment capacity of 39,000 in 2027-28, the campus could see 6,870 new students and would provide on-campus housing for 6,200 of them, or 90 percent. Altogether, the campus would have space for 40 percent of the projected 2027-28 enrollment capacity.

            December 2016: The updated proposal removes housing from Russell Field while preserving capacity to accommodate 90% of enrollment growth in campus housing and 40% of the Davis-based students in campus housing.

            Grok 12/6/16: I followed up with the Planners. No buildings on Russell Field. The housing goals for housing have not changed. No more housing, no less housing.

            
So about 700 more students will be seeking housing in the Davis rental market, plus an unknown number of faculty and staff in the regional housing market. All on top of our current rental housing shortage.

        4. Ron

          Don:  “I have evidence for my position.”

          What you “have” is the university’s plans as of two nights ago.  They (Bob Segar) got an earful at the council hearing (from citizens, and some on the council), at that time.  The city is planning a more formal response.  (However, I will acknowledge that I’m disappointed in the scheduling of the city’s response, as mentioned earlier.)

          Some of us will continue our efforts regarding the LRDP, both prior to, and during the EIR/LRDP process.  (Given your concerns, I would think that you’d appreciate this.)

          I know that you’ll continue to state that the city should “make plans” for more development in the city, based on the current version of the LRDP.  (I recall that you were stating this even prior to the latest version of the LRDP.)  However, I’d suggest that there’s nothing (in particular) for the city to “plan”, at this point.  (Other than the already-planned additional input to the university, which should be expedited.)

          1. Don Shor

            However, I’d suggest that there’s nothing (in particular) for the city to “plan”, at this point.

            Yes there is. Rental housing in town.

            What you “have” is the university’s plans as of two nights ago.

            Which are identical to what they were seven months ago.

            At what stage will you acknowledge that the university has clearly stated how much housing they plan to build?

        5. Ron

          O.K., Don.  We all know your position.  We also know that you advocate a lack of planning for SACOG “fair share” growth requirements (which will likely require available/undeveloped land), in about 4 years from now. (We’ve discussed this at length, already. And, Matt has already chimed in with his unsupported opinion, as well.)

          Glad that neither one of you is in charge of planning on behalf of the city, at this point.

          1. Don Shor

            Ok Ron. We all know your position. You oppose development of rental housing in town because you think the university should provide it all. You think that a 0.2% apartment vacancy rate is fine. You advocate that we not build housing now because we can, you believe, keep our SACOG allotment down that way. You don’t actually know anything about SACOG, but you keep saying that anyway. Bottom line: you’ll find any reason — UCD, SACOG, anything — to keep rental housing from being built.
            Glad that you aren’t trying to rent housing in this market. Too bad you aren’t acquainted with the young adults who are trying to do so.

        6. Ron

          Don:

          You’re misstating most, if not all of my position.  (Actually, you’re just making stuff up regarding my position, which somehow doesn’t bother me that much.)

          My basic position is to not sacrifice sound planning (which would impact the city’s current 67,000 residents), to permanently squeeze in thousands more students in locations that aren’t zoned for it (and aren’t well-suited for it).

          And, to consider future SACOG “fair share” growth requirements, which are certainly coming our way in about 4 years.

          Also, I do think that there’s a real possibility that the university will continue to change its draft LRDP. Again, the EIR will also likely examine alternatives, and will identify those with the fewest impacts.

           

          1. Don Shor

            You do not support any rental housing projects that have been proposed, do you? Sterling, Olive Drive, Nishi?
            You have never evinced the slightest concern about the 0.2% apartment vacancy rate and the impact it has on real people.

            Also, I do think that there’s a real possibility that the university will continue to change its draft LRDP. Again, the EIR will also likely examine alternatives, and will identify those with the fewest impacts.

            Yes, that is how EIR’s work. They list alternatives. And they make a recommendation, and the planners have stated what that recommendation is going to be. I think your “real possibility” is based on nothing at all.

            Please tell me: At what stage will you acknowledge that the university has clearly stated how much housing they plan to build? When the EIR is approved by the Regents? When the plans are funded? When they actually break ground? How long will you keep using the university as an excuse to obstruct rental housing in town?

        7. Matt Williams

          Ron, again your ignorance of SACOG’s processes has you making a statement that is not supported by the historical record.

          Specifically, where is the land you have identified as “available/undeveloped”?  SACOG separates the land that is in the Unincorporated Yolo County jurisdiction from the land that is in the Incorporated City of Davis jurisdiction.  Therefore, the City of Davis’ inventory of “available/undeveloped” land is limited to an area inside the existing City Limits … no more, no less.

          That reality played out very clearly and explicitly in the 2008 and 2013 RHNA processes.  Both the allocation and the attainment associated with West Village went to the Unincorporated Yolo County jurisdiction.  SACOG was explicit that if the City went through a formal annexation of West Village, both the allocation and the attainment associated with West Village would move from the County to the City.  That same principle applies to any and all of the peripheral undeveloped land that surrounds the City.  If we annex it, then it becomes part of our inventory of available/undeveloped land. If we do not annex it, then it does not become part of our inventory of available/undeveloped land.

          You can confirm those historical facts with Eileen Samitz or Mike Harrington or any of the other members of the HESC.

        8. Ron

          Matt:

          Obviously, when a parcel of land is developed in the city in advance of SACOG requirements, it’s not available to meet future requirements.  If no land were available within the city, there wouldn’t be any current or future proposals within the city.  Pretty simple concept, really.

          Rather than repeat our extended conversation (in another article this evening), I thought I’d go ahead and provide this link:

          https://www.davisvanguard.org/2016/12/commentary-community-divided-on-growth-but-largely-opposes-russell-fields-development/#comment-346670

        9. Ron

          Don:

          I’ve already responded to your question. The LRDP is not finalized, and I don’t know exactly when that will occur. I’m sorry if you want me to state otherwise.

          If you want to state that the LRDP process is finalized (as you’ve been essentially doing for months), feel free to do so.  You’re also free to continue mischaracterizing my position, but I’ll probably periodically note it.  (Not every time, since it becomes tiring to do so.)

          Overall, it seems best (to me) to focus on (and make plans for) what’s best for the city.

        10. Ron

          And Matt, you’re apparently purposefully disregarding your own statement (in the link I provided), regarding the possibility that SACOG will not limit their consideration of available land to that which falls within the current boundaries.

          I’d suggest that we keep this in mind (to put it mildly), when “using up” available land within our boundaries in advance of the next round of requirements (which will have to be dealt with, in about 4 years).

        11. Ron

          Don:

          The city is allowing housing to be built, now (or in the near future):  the Cannery, Chiles Ranch, Grande, etc.  I believe that another large, affordable housing complex was recently approved (and densified) near 5th and Pena. (Another live-work project was recently completed there, as well. I did not notice if it was occupied, yet.)

          The university is restarting construction at West Village, based on the existing LRDP.

          We’ve been through all this previously, as well. I’m sorry that you continue to fight me. (Normally, you initiate these conversations.)

        12. Ron

          Don:

          Sorry that I don’t have that information “quickly”.  I understand that the Cannery includes a recently approved (affordable?) apartment complex, as well as some “granny units” that are attached to single-family dwellings.  (No doubt, some of those will be rented out.)

          I believe that the affordable housing complex (near 5th and Pena) is designed as a rental complex. I don’t recall exactly how large it is.

          Rentals aren’t necessarily limited to apartment complexes, although they are generally more well-suited for it. For example, perhaps some of the townhomes (in particular) in the Cannery might be rented at some point, as well.

          Given your concerns, perhaps you should have participated in the planning process when large-scale projects (such as the Cannery, and Chiles Ranch) were proposed.  (Much better to do so at that time.)

          1. Don Shor

            perhaps you should have participated in the planning process when large-scale projects (such as the Cannery, and Chiles Ranch) were proposed.

            We very actively debated the cannery development on the Vanguard over a long period of time. I opposed The Cannery because I felt it was not sufficiently high density. Perhaps you and others who oppose any further development in town should have pushed for higher density there.

            We need a couple of thousand beds in town, and will need a few hundred more as enrollment increases. Those projects you list add some. Nishi would have helped. Sterling and the Olive Drive project, even if somewhat smaller than proposed, would make a big difference.
            Overall we can get the number of beds we need with a couple of big projects, or a much larger number of smaller projects. We have proposals for the bigger projects, and in both cases they are in neighborhoods that are already oriented to that kind of development.

            I believe that the affordable housing complex (near 5th and Pena) is designed as a rental complex. I don’t recall exactly how large it is.

            Unfortunately, I don’t really think that these ‘affordable housing’ projects help much at all, or at least not very efficiently. The city’s affordable housing policy is an ineffective, inefficient mess with a very sordid history. I’d rather they just build more, higher-density apartments on those sites. But at least somebody who is having trouble affording housing in town gets a place to live.

        13. Ron

          Don:

          I forgot to mention:

          Under the current LRDP (meaning the one that’s in effect right now), I’m not sure of the university’s timeframe to build more student (rental) housing.  Do you have any information regarding this?

          I do recall that the single-family dwellings at West Village will be built soon. (I previously posted a link, regarding this.)

          1. Don Shor

            I’d guess they don’t have a timeframe because they don’t have the budget. Housing has to pay for itself. It isn’t funded through tuition or fees or state funds, as I recall. The enrollment increases of the 2020 Initiative are already happening faster than additional housing, and I expect that is likely to be the pattern. The rental housing problem is going to get worse before it gets less worse. The single-family houses at WV will mostly help new faculty and staff and won’t have significant impact on the rental market.

        14. Ron

          Don:

          I stand at least partially corrected, regarding your involvement with the Cannery.  (Not sure if you pushed for more apartment complexes, at that time.)

          Regarding what the city “needs”, that’s up for debate.  (Certainly, the city needs to consider current and future SACOG requirements.)

          I don’t necessarily disagree with every one of your statements.  However, the student-oriented, “rent-by-the-room megadorms” are unprecedented, and have negative consequences (even beyond the specific nature of such housing).

          For example, Sterling requires the destruction of a perfectly-fine, relatively new multi-building facility that was built by an organization using taxpayer funds (which could serve other existing community needs), and a zoning change from industrial to high density housing.  (Maintaining the industrial zoning could conceivably provide a use that would bring much-need funds, to the city.)  I suspect that the current owner (who mismanaged the facility, leading to the organization’s demise at that location) is not willing to settle for a price that would enable another community-based organization to assume ownership, under its current configuration/purpose.

          And, that’s without mentioning concerns from neighbors, as well as the impact on traffic (auto/bicycle) resulting from locating a mega dorm far from campus. I also understand that the Sterling proposal is taller than any housing proposed on the campus.

          Regarding Lincoln40, it is adjacent to (and depends upon access to) the “worst intersection in town” (which also doomed Nishi, in my opinion). I also suspect that the city will use some of its own funds to make “improvements” that wouldn’t be required if the project is not built (e.g., bicycle overpass, changes to the intersection).  I recall that our mayor stated that the Lincoln40 developer would not be required to pay for the entire bicycle overpass, for example.

          Due to the late hour, I’ll refrain from discussing this further at this time.  However, as you can see, there are impacts and consequences resulting from what you’re proposing.  These are just examples.

    2. Highbeam

      I agree that the proposal to develop the Russell Blvd. fields may not have been a calculated move by the university – or maybe it was…either way, the necessity to oppose it was paramount for people who wished to preserve the athletic fields. I believe that the Friends of Russell Blvd. Fields, and other opponents to the proposal, were aware of the possibility that it was just a bluff or a diversion, but could not take the chance that that was the case. As Colin Walsh said, the group was still markedly disappointed in the failure of the university to accept responsibility for a greater percentage of on-campus housing, and I believe no one was fooled by the university’s tactic – if that’s what it was. The fields issue simply had to be dealt with first.

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