While, last week, UC Davis laid out what appeared to be its final LRDP (Long Range Development Plan) proposal before going to the EIR process, the city has put an item on the agenda urging changes to UC Davis’ 10 year LRDP.
Currently, the Draft LRDP identifies growth projections of adding 6,870 students and 2,405 new employees, along with a map identifying areas of where this growth could potentially be accommodated. In a critical win for activists and residents, Bob Segar, the Assistant Vice Chancellor, announced that the university was withdrawing its plans to build student housing (or any building) on the athletic fields along Russell Boulevard.
However, the current scenario projects accommodating on-campus housing for 90 percent of new student enrollment and 40 percent of the total student population.
Staff writes, “Given the proximity of campus to the City of Davis and the seamless boundaries that exist in many areas, the City desires to inform discussion with campus on how best to accommodate growth in a manner that sustains the quality of life for residents and businesses. Recognizing that land use and policy decisions for campus are made by the UC Board of Regents, it is of critical importance that the ultimate growth plan adopted for UC Davis is respectful of and compatible with the vision of the City.”
The city council appointed an LRDP council subcommittee “to engage with campus to articulate City interests with the goal of informing future campus decisions. The Council subcommittee (Robb Davis and Rochelle Swanson) and staff have been actively discussing key issues of interest with campus, inclusive of issues identified internally and those raised by constituents.”
Following the meeting last week, the subcommittee “re-convened and determined that it would be prudent to prepare a draft City Council Resolution and transmittal letter to be considered by the full City Council on a more accelerated schedule so as to afford the opportunity to gain Council consensus on fundamental issues of interest and to clearly communicate those issues to UC Davis in advance of their release of an EIR Notice of Preparation.”
A draft resolution includes some key provisos:
“The City has been and remains committed to doing its part to provide for the full and diverse breadth of housing needs in our community, including, but not limited to seniors, affordable housing, accessible housing, workforce housing, families, as well as student oriented housing.
“The City is also committed to reviewing new high density apartment proposals, as they come forward.
“Although the initial attempt at the ballot did not prove successful, the City Council remains committed to working with the property owner and UC Davis to determine the future possibilities for the Nishi site.
“With the City’s continuous consideration of proposals to meet the wide range of community housing needs, it is crucial to recognize that the role of the City in the provision of housing fundamentally differs from that of the University. Where the City reviews proposals for development of private property and does not ultimately control where and when those proposals will be made to the City, the University of California controls its own fate of on-campus growth, construction, funding, and the timing thereof.”
The council also notes that “in 1989 the City and UC Davis developed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) wherein UC Davis and the City agreed that ‘it is in their mutual interests to plan and phase campus and City growth’ and that ‘sharp student enrollment increases should be avoided in favor of more gradual and planned growth.’”
While enrollment has risen steadily, it now is planned to “to rise sharply, while new on-campus student housing construction, and planned on-campus housing development has not kept pace.”
The city is critical here, noting, “past MOUs between the City and UC Davis have not resulted in the desired delivery of needed housing, campus housing development has not kept pace with prior agreements and the City wishes to explore partnership framework opportunities with UC Davis to develop a mechanism by which LRDP and City residential and non-residential space needs and commitments can be achieved and monitored over time.”
The city council authorized the mayor to transmit the following requests in a letter to UC Davis:
- That UC Davis provide for a minimum of 100 percent of the projected enrollment of all new incoming students starting with the 2017 academic year and at least 50 percent of total UC Davis campus student population in the LRDP.
- That UC Davis provide clear definition of non-residential space expansion needs and how those needs will be accommodated on-campus in the LRDP.
- That UC Davis develop a construction and financing implementation strategy to accompany the LRDP to ensure the delivery of these units and facilities in a timely manner.
- That absent the on-campus housing increase and delivery strategy noted above that UC Davis work with the UC Regents to reduce the UC Davis enrollment growth allocation or timing thereof.
- That UC Davis withhold the impending release of the LRDP and EIR Notice of Preparation to provide the opportunity for UC Davis to appropriately consider and integrate the City’s requests.
- That UC Davis work with the City in parallel with the LRDP to develop a framework for a partnership that recognizes our mutual needs, as well as limitations in the face of the anticipated growth at UC Davis over the coming decade, and how both entities can best support one another and ensure desired outcomes with ongoing monitoring.
—David M. Greenwald reporting