In December the city council sent a letter to Acting Chancellor Ralph Hexter on the Long Range Development Plan, requesting “that UC Davis incorporate into the LRDP substantial additional on-campus housing units and housing density, and provide clear definition of non-residential space increase needs and how those increases will be accommodated on-campus.”
Specifically, the council requested 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.”
However, UC Davis has stuck with their timeline and proceeded to issue a Notice of Preparation (NOP), moving forward with the environmental review phase. Assistant City Manager Mike Webb on Thursday afternoon confirmed to the Vanguard that the city had received no formal communication from the university in response to their request.
The university is projecting an enrollment increase from approximately 32,663 in 2015-16 to approximately 39,000 students. Those increases would be accompanied by an increase of faculty and staff from approximately 12,181 in 2015-16 to approximately 14,500.
They note, “The 2017 LRDP population projections were developed based on foreseeable potential increases in campus population and do not include a specific timeline/phasing for implementation.”
The LRDP maintains, “The 2017 LRDP proposal would provide capacity to accommodate more than 90 percent of enrollment growth in campus housing with approximately 10 percent of students expected to continue living outside of the Davis area.” UCD projects that “planning capacity for an additional 6,200 students would be provided on-campus in residence halls and apartments.”
The document indicates, “In addition to analyzing the potential programmatic impacts of campus growth under the 2017 LRDP, the 2017 LRDP EIR will address the project-specific environmental effects associated with constructing housing for approximately 1,625 students and 500 net new employee housing units in the West Village neighborhood.”
Written comments on the NOP can be sent anytime during the NOP review period which begins January 4, 2017, and ends February 3, 2017, at 5:00 pm. There will be a scoping session, held Wednesday January 25, 2017, from 4:30 to 6:30 pm in Ballroom A of the UC Davis Conference Center at the intersection of Old Davis Road and Alumni Drive on the core campus at UC Davis. At the scoping session, project information can be discussed with UC Davis staff and written NOP comments will also be accepted.
This LRDP process began over a year ago, with UC Davis acknowledging in the fall of 2015 that they would be unable to accommodate all projected growth in student enrollment with on-campus housing.
By May 2016, they had refined their projection to provide 90 percent of all new students with student housing while committing to proving 40 percent of all students with on-campus housing .
The city council formed a subcommittee of Robb Davis and Rochelle Swanson and this fall drafted a letter that was approved at the last December meeting for the year.
In it, the city requested “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.”
However, perhaps as important was the request “that UC Davis develop an accompanying construction and financing implementation strategy to ensure the delivery of these units and facilities in a timely manner.”
In their letter, the council noted, “We do not make the above LRDP requests without a sound recognition that the City has responsibilities in this partnership as well. 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…”
They added, “While the City understands the campus perspective in putting forward the current ’90/40′ LRDP housing proposal, the City must evaluate it in the context of our commitment to provide for the full range of community housing needs. 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 timing.”
For the city, they believe that UC Davis, which did not speak at this meeting, “has a responsibility to both plan and deliver the infrastructure, units, and facilities necessary to support its anticipated growth and to do so with creativity and adherence to sound land use planning and sustainability principles.”
The council’s efforts drew an overwhelming amount of support from the community, including vast portions of it that are normally quite critical of the council and its land use policies.
However, UC Davis at the earlier presentation on the LRDP seemed ready to move from the public outreach phase to the environmental phase. The NOP document represents their formal shift to the environmental review process with, again, no comment on the city’s requests.
—David M. Greenwald reporting