City Ponders Next Steps on LRDP Including Engaging Regents

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The city received a response on January 25 from Interim Chancellor Ralph Hexter on the LRDP (Long Range Development Plan).  Will Arnold noted that Mike Webb had attended the UC Board of Regents meeting on behalf of the city, and that that participation was both unusual and well received by the Board of Regents.

Councilmember Will Arnold, who pulled the item, suggested looking at ways to engage the Board of Regents more directly, bypassing the local university which the council and community increasingly see as non-responsive to their city’s concerns and unwilling to work with the city.

Councilmember Arnold said, “I’m very discouraged at the responses that we keep getting from the university and frankly, if any of them are listening, I’m losing a little bit of faith that they’re acting as good faith partners right now because all we seem to get back from them right now is thanks, but no thanks.”

Councilmember Lucas Frerichs said, while he is not close to thinking about legal action, “but I do think it would be nice to see what other communities have done.  It goes to that issue of being prepared.”

There were several public commenters on the item on Tuesday.  Greg Rowe, a resident, indicated that he had attended the UC Board of Regents meeting as well.  He called the Interim Chancellor letter, “Totally unresponsive to the legitimate concerns the city has expressed.  It merely suggests, let’s have more discussion and dialogue.

“It implies that it’s up to the city to solve the university’s growth problems,” he said.  “They appear to completely reject your suggestion that the campus house up to 50 percent of the future students on campus.”

Mr. Rowe indicated that the chancellor complained, saying “that would mean we would have to house 3900 more students on the campus.”  Mr. Rowe responded, “yeah, well they’re your students, not ours.”

He added that would be equivalent to the city approving five Sterling-sized projects or more than five Lincoln40 projects.  “Both of which,” he said, “ironically are proposed at 5 stories, something that UCD is reluctant to do.”  He asked, “Why should you be asked to approve something at five stories that the campus won’t build?”

Mr. Rowe went a step further, stating, “You might want to ask the regents to intervene in this LRDP and have them instruct UCD to go back to the drawing boards…”  He suggested either go to the 50/100 as the city has requested or keep it at 40/90 but make sure the 50/100 is an equal weight alternative in the EIR.

“I think now is the time to look at alternative legal remedies that the city might have,” he said looking at a settlement agreement between the city of Santa Cruz and UC Santa Cruz.

Mike Webb noted that one problem that the city has with engaging the regents is that they don’t have another meeting scheduled for several months.

Will Arnold asked about “be prepared for legal remedies,” and asked the city attorney to address what that might mean.

Harriet Steiner noted that right now they are looking at the most appropriate ways “to preserve our legal rights.”  She said, “There really isn’t a litigation issue at the moment because we’re just at the very beginning of the process.

“We’re also looking at what the other campuses have done to address the same issues,” she added.

The full letter from Interim Chancellor Ralph Hexter, dated January 25, 2017

Dear Mayor Davis:

I am in receipt of your letter of December 20, 2016 and the accompanying City of Davis Resolution No. 16-175, Series 2016 regarding the UC Davis Long Range Development Plan (LRDP). I was pleased that Ken Burtis, Interim Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor was able to discuss your letter in person on January 3, 2017 and provide a preliminary written response on January 9, 2017. And I understand and appreciate that Bob Segar and Marj Dickinson continue to be in communication with you, other councilmembers and staff about the issues you raised. In the spirit of shared problem solving and partnership, I offer these more detailed responses and observations.

I have many of the same concerns as you about the availability and affordability of housing supply in our shared community. That is why our draft LRDP includes capacity to house 90% of enrollment growth on campus. Our data shows that approximately 90% of students have historically lived on campus or in the city of Davis, with 10% living outside of our community. The draft LRDP would provide capacity for the campus to house 6,200 additional students—1,800 students in new residence halls and 4,400 students in new apartment-style campus housing. These numbers have been widely shared since May of 2016, including open houses cohosted by the city and the campus at locations in the city, and the draft LRDP has been well informed by campus and community input over the past 15 months. I thank the city staff, councilmembers and community members for working with us and informing our process every step of the way. Please be assured that we are committed to continuing to examine opportunities for additional housing capacity within our draft LRDP land-use plan during the first stages of the environmental analysis.

As Interim Provost Burtis discussed with you in person, and shared in writing with you, we did not believe it was necessary to delay the formal start of the environmental review process in order to continue to study increased housing capacity on campus. Stopping the process would delay the completion of the draft LRDP and its draft EIR, with a corresponding delay in the delivery of housing projects envisioned in the draft LRDP. Such delays will only serve to exacerbate the existing pressures on our housing and academic-space inventories.

As you know, the UC Davis campus has a number of housing projects underway. I have attached a list that details those projects and their timing. While those projects and housing proposed in the LRDP will address planned campus growth, the campus and the city must work together to evaluate planning for additional housing, and I have attached a proposal for collaborative problem solving to address the availability and affordability of housing in our shared community. These concrete efforts and ideas demonstrate our commitment to creating a healthier housing situation through both our plans and our actions.

Regarding campus plans for ‘non-residential’ space within the city of Davis, an issue you raised in your letter, we added land into the draft LRDP, south of Interstate 80 at Old Davis Road, to potentially accommodate such needs, dependent upon demand and financial feasibility. Campus LRDPs account for land owned by The Regents, not leased properties, but we certainly will engage with city staff and Council members further on this topic.

Thank you again for the clarification of Council goals, and for continuing the open dialogue with campus staff and leadership that has characterized this process from the beginning.

Best,

Ralph J. Hexter

Interim Chancellor

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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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51 thoughts on “City Ponders Next Steps on LRDP Including Engaging Regents”

    1. David Greenwald

      Yeah, those kind of comments I hear and just shake my head.  Regardless of where we come down on land use policies, I would hope that this community would be partnering with the university on the education of young people.  We want the university to be partners with us to solve land use issues, but it seems to be viewed as a one-way street.

      1. Colin Walsh

        A better way to say this is they are not just our students, they are California’s students, and we and they need the University of California to build housing on the UC Davis campus like they are building on the other campuses.

        Residents asking the University to build more student housing is not anti-student, in fact it aligns with the resolution ASUCD passed themselves last week asking the University to build housing for 50% of the student population, and 100% of the increase in enrollment – exactly what the city is asking for.

        1. Mark West

          The purpose of the University is research and education. The purpose of Cities is to provide housing and services for residents. The only reason that any University needs to provide housing of any kind is when the University’s host community refuses to or is otherwise unable to provide it. Yes, many of the UC campuses supply housing for their students because, without it, housing would not be available at all. The campuses are surrounded by dense, urban developments that have already maxed out most of the developable space. Those campuses are developing taller and denser housing projects because that is what is mirrored in the surrounding community.

          Davis has not maxed out our developable space; we have plenty of room to expand. Neither have we created the tall, dense developments surrounding the campus that we are asking the University to build. The examples of what campuses are doing in Riverside, Irvine, San Diego, Berkeley, San Francisco, etc. are not relevant to Davis, as Davis is not a dense urban environment filled with multistoried buildings.

          Davis needs to build more apartment buildings to address the needs of Davis residents, including students. Student residents have all the same needs and expectations of other residents of Davis, and they should not be shunted aside as some form of second-class citizen. Our City Council needs to act to address the needs of all Davis residents and stop this nonsense of blaming the University for a problem that we created through our refusal to build sufficient housing to meet the need of the members of our community.

          It is the utmost expression of arrogance to demand that the University do something, that the City of Davis is unwilling to do itself.

        2. Colin Walsh

          It is the utmost expression of arrogance to demand that the University do something, that the City of Davis is unwilling to do itself

          Davis has extensive apartment buildings throughout the City and Davis currently houses about twice as many students as the campus does.  As I understand it there are 6 separate apartment projects at various stages in the pipeline. To Say Davis is unwilling to house students just is not true, adding a nasty jab to it by calling the City arrogant, is completely unnecessary.

        3. Howard P

          “in the pipeline”… ‘units on the ground’ are another… at least one large one is not a ‘done deal’… another is speculative, but faces steep resistance… ca’t think of one MF project that has final approvals, much less ‘shovel-ready’…

        4. Colin Walsh

          Don, Thank you for posting the table. I believe there are more projects that are just in the very first stages or even pre-stages that we will have to update the table with as the information becomes available.

          Howard, much of what you have said about the city projects can also be said of the Universities projects as detailed in Attachment A to the Chancellors letter. Although I suppose forcing students to triple up in rooms that where intended to be doubles doesn’t need a shovel.

          Also, don’t forget there are already “units on the ground” in the City of Davis to house  more than twice as many students as the “units on the ground: at the University houses.

          1. Don Shor

            If you (anyone) are aware of projects, feel free to update me at donshor@gmail.com. Matt Williams and I are both trying to maintain current info on projects in the planning and development stages.

        5. Mark West

          Grok seems to be having difficulty tracking what others are saying today. I wonder if his minders used the correct concussion protocol following the billy goat’s most recent visit to his little bridge?

        6. Matt Williams

          As Don said, he and I are attempting to keep an up to date listing of the active projects at the Community Development Department of the City.  The following table represents the current projects as of about a month ago.

          https://www.davisvanguard.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Davis-Projects-with-bedrooms.jpg

  1. Colin Walsh

    As far as the relationship being a one way street, I think if you read the letter and the resolution sent from the City to the university, it is clear that the Council is looking to work collaboratively. Their efforts thus far have not been well received by the University thus far and as a result what Will voiced last night was what I think many are feeling, “I’m very discouraged at the responses that we keep getting from the university and frankly, if any of them are listening, I’m losing a little bit of faith that they’re acting as good faith partners right now because all we seem to get back from them right now is thanks, but no thanks.”

      1. Mark West

        The reason that the City is not finding a willing partner is because the sentiments expressed by Greg are exactly what our Civic leaders have been saying for the past four decades. We poisoned the well and are now whining because we have no water to drink.

        We created the housing problem by our policy choices, and it is our responsibility to fix the problem now, not point fingers and whine about how someone else needs to save us. In short, it is time for Davis to stop acting like a spoiled brat and grow up.

         

        1. Colin Walsh

          I am sorry you feel that way. Personally I think our City Council is very adult and while I may agree or disagree with them at different levels on different issues, I hold every one of them in high regard.

           

        2. Tia Will

          The only reason that any University needs to provide housing of any kind is when the University’s host community refuses to or is otherwise unable to provide it”

          I do not believe that this assertion is correct. I believe that there are many universities, both in this country and abroad that prefer to provide a living and learning environment for their students to the degree that this is possible. I know that it is not Mark’s preference since he seems to believe that cities are the only places that people can live, but there are many acceptable habitats for humans and university campuses happen to be one that many favor.

  2. Eileen Samitz

    UCD is not interested in “partnering” in a equitable and honest way. That is what is more evident now than ever given the Interim Chancellor’s letter. Even the students are fed up with the Chancellor and with UCD, as UCD tries to overload the already overcrowded campus with more than 6,300 additional students, 4,500 of which would be non-residents which are being recruited by UCD for the primary reason of revenue since UCD will extract triple tuition out of them. Yet, UCD does not want to build enough on-campus housing for all this growth as well as the backlog of housing they should have been building for years.

    To make things worse, while UCD has been delinquent on building the needed on-campus housing for years as their student population has grown, now UCD wants to add a deluge more students for income.  Meanwhile, they don’t have the classrooms, nor the staff, nor the faculty for such unrealistic growth. The UCD students are objecting to UCD’s bad planning, and so is our community and neighboring communities.

    So this is all about UCD’s bad planning and that UCD needs to use some common sense planning like the other UC’s are and step-up to produce the needed on-campus housing for their own growth, like the other campuses are.

    1. Howard P

      And that rhetoric will be real helpful to getting cooperation… NOT!

      C’mon Eileen, you are better than that… I’ve seen you as not only an advocate, but as being a part of ‘problem solving’… the best way to get someone to ‘dig in their heels’, is to say,

      UCD is not interested in “partnering” in a equitable and honest way.

      Even the students are fed up with the Chancellor and with UCD

      So this is all about UCD’s bad planning

      Role play… how would you react to those kind of statements about you/your ‘organization’, if you wore their shoes?  Not seeing a ‘kumbaya’ moment coming with that sort of rhetoric… your substantive points are valid… don’t lose the important, substantive parts that well get ‘clouded’ if it is perceived as an ‘attack’/rant… UCD has to ‘institution’ up, but the tone to get them there needs to be morally persuasive, fact-based, and civil, in my opinion…

       

       

    2. Eileen Samitz

      Howard P,

      Sorry, but let’s face it, this Interim Chancellor and UCD apparently chooses to ignore the concerns raised by our community and side-step the issue. Problem solving recommendations have been submitted by myself and others for over a year (after all, UCD did ask for input for their LRDP update) but UCD so far has not used it.  Further, It is important for the community to understand that the students are also frustrated with UCD’s current overcrowding, yet UCD wanting to bring in a massive amount of more students when the infrastructure is not in place to even handle the student population that they have now.

      So I really commend the City Council and City Staff for the letter and resolution to UCD making clear the need for the 50/100 equal weigh alternative, and continuing to make clear that UCD’s LRDP as proposed is not acceptable and is detrimental to our City, neighboring cities and to UCD students.

      1. Howard P

        “Tone” and “words” are everything… your 2:30 post is great… except, the City does not get to ‘accept’ or reject the LRDP… period… the Regents do… I recommend the focus be on the issues, and pursuing solutions… a ‘confrontational’ attitude does not help in that endeavor, IMO.

        Maybe it’s just me… ask me to do something, and explain why, my ears are open… tell me what I have to do, ears closed.  Heels dug in.

  3. Todd Edelman

    At the present time I don’t see an alternative to legal action supported by protests.

    However, for the near future… it’s extremely positive that the ASUCD is of the same or complementary opinion as the City of Davis. That’s a good starting point: Once this situation is resolved –  in the formal sense, e.g. in State Court in Sacramento – I urge the UCD, ASUCD, the City and Yolo County to set up a framework for annexing the land containing the campus to the City, and all that that entails. There’s no way to build democracy and responsible behavior within the present structure… because it’s structurally impossible.

    1. Howard P

      Legal action?  On what basis?  Unless you can point out a constitutional or statutory requirement that UC has to take an action, a lawsuit would be a waste of time, money, and judiciary ‘capacity’… it would likely delay ANY housing the UC was planning to provide.  No matter how inadequate you, I, others might opine it to be…

      If you are thinking CEQA lawsuit, all CEQA requires is that you DISCLOSE impacts… CEQA cannot, in and of itself, affect (or effect) policy.

      Protests?  Like UC feels threatened by that… not…  Regents are not elected… neither are chancellors…

      I agree that UCD should be providing more housing, as quickly as possible… the tactics you propose are impotent, at best… a ‘limp noodle’, if you will… there is no Viagra there…

    2. Howard P

      Missed your point about annexation… am I seeing your true colors?  To add UCD students to the city voting rolls [affecting city bonds, policies, etc.], while still keeping the city from doing ANYTHING about how UCD uses its land?  Am strongly against that… just think… UCD opining that the City should provide all new housing, and campus students voting to approve that, or rescinding measure R/J?

      Or, is that your ‘agenda’?

      Example… DJUSD, within city limits, is not subject to City zoning, uses, other requirements, except limited to minor conditions that can be proven to be related to public health/safety.  The city cannot, by law, assess schools for water/sewer connection fees…  same for UCD, I suspect… they could walk away from their commitments to the Davis/Woodland/UCD water supply project… in effect, a “connection charge’.

      Is that what you propose by annexing UCD?  All of the “input”, none of the control/taxation?  Rest assured that upon annexation, UC would demand all the services, and exempt themselves from the taxes and other assessments… as they have for years, when they acquired properties within the city for their own use.

      1. Todd Edelman

        Thanks. “True colors” implies a hidden agenda. Lawsuit, annexation… just ideas. The bottom line is that I don’t think the current structure is based on Equity, and I can’t see how it can be reformed, rather than re-built.
        But also the annexation idea is based on who lives in “Metro Davis”, and that a huge number of them – residents of unincorporated Yolo County living in UC-owned housing – are engaged, exemplified by the high turnout at polling places on campus and actions of the ASUCD – but not represented in the city that they actually live in. And it seems that DJUSD is in a sense more of a utility, as it is required to attend it, so it can have different tax and related status that an elective educational entity.
        And also about legal action, can’t it be demonstrated that UCDavis has shown bad faith (chronically) by dis-honoring its earlier commitments? I also saw that “taking this to court” was mentioned as a possible course of action by both citizens and city actors who are more informed than I on this subject.

        1. Howard P

          ‘Bad’ faith is not a cause of action, absent constitutional, contract, or statutory law to the contrary…  students who reside within the city can register to vote in the City…  they may also choose to vote in the county, but not on City measures/office…

          Your point about “Equity” eludes me…

        2. Mark West

           “but not represented in the city that they actually live in.”

          The appropriate solution to that problem is not annexation of the University into the City, but the building of more student housing within the City so that students can become tax paying residents who help fund the services they consume. I agree they are part of the community and increase the demand and cost of services regardless of where they live. That is why I want them living in the City and paying taxes to help fund both the City and the Schools.

        3. Howard P

          Given a choice between annexing UCD, with no revenue, or building more student housing within the city, I agree with Mark… I do believe it is preferable that more student housing be built on the campus… but not annexed..

  4. Ron

    David:  “We want the university to be partners with us to solve land use issues, but it seems to be viewed as a one-way street.”

    Seems ironic to say this, when the University is unilaterally pursuing its own plans (and has apparently failed to live up to its past commitments, as well).  This harms students and the city, and creates significant planning challenges and conflicts.  It is difficult to work “cooperatively”, in such a situation.  The city/residents have a right to make their own planning decisions, without “jumping” when the university says so.

    Per the article, it seems like Will Arnold is emerging as a positive (and appreciated) leader, regarding this issue. Also, thanks to the entire council for sending Mike Webb to the Regents meeting.

    1. David Greenwald

      The university’s job is to provide an education to students.  There are a variety of factors that have led to the growth of student enrollment.  Figuring out a way to house those students – in my view – is the responsibility not just of the university but the host community.

      1. Ron

        David:

        Not to pick on Robb Davis, but just found it amusing that these statements were made regarding the Dakota Access Oil Pipeline:

        “I also understand how powerless a local community can feel in the face of forces that disregard their concerns.”

        “Above all this is a “localist” cause: maintaining the rights of communities to control their planning processes.”

        http://www.davisenterprise.com/local-news/city-of-davis-votes-to-divest-from-wells-fargo-bank/

        I don’t know – it just has a “familiar ring” to it, regarding the university’s plans.  (Especially since much of UCD’s planned growth is a result of their pursuit of more “profitable” non-resident students).

         

        1. David Greenwald Post author

          I think that is a telling analogy for you to use. You see UC Davis as some sort of malevolent force akin to Wells Fargo. Whereas what I see between the university and the city is something much more benign. There is disagreement over the best policies and way to provide housing, but university’s enrollment growth provides additional students with a first rate education.

        2. Ron

          I realize that an oil pipeline provides a different “product” than a university education. However, I see some overall parallels, regarding a lack of concern regarding impacts on local communities. (And, in the case of UCD, a lack of concern regarding the impact on their own students, as well.)

    2. Eileen Samitz

      David,

      It is the University’s job to do good planning, which they have not done, which includes providing sufficient housing needs for their own, now over-ambitious growth, which incidentally is being primarily driven by UCD wanting to gain revenue from 4,500 additional non-resident students. Meanwhile, UCD does not even have the infrastructure now to handle their current large student population. The students are voicing their concerns about this all the time.

      The City of Davis is already providing 63% of the housing the students, and UCD is trying to push that percentage higher which is simply unreasonable, particularly when UCD has 5,300 acres, and is the largest UC in the system.

      1. David Greenwald Post author

        I think it’s the university’s primary job to provide a good education for as many students as reasonably possible. You keep presenting this as though UCD were being greedy in wishing to gain revenue rather than trying to survive during a time when state money was less available. I don’t think the university is blameless in this, and think they should go further in providing housing options, but I don’t see this a malicious act.

        1. Ron

          David:  ” . . . as many students as reasonably possible”.

          Not sure what that means, but since UCD has unilaterally decided to pursue more “profitable” non-resident students (without providing sufficient housing, or considering the impact on the community or its own students), it sounds like a recipe for bad planning. (An environment ripe for poor, “reactive” decisions, with impacts that overwhelm the community.)

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            UC Davis hasn’t unilaterally made any decisions, they’ve made it within the framework of a plan laid out by the regents.

        2. Ron

          David:

          I think you know what I meant, when I stated that UCD made plans to significantly increase enrollment “unilaterally”, without much regard/consideration for the impact on the city/community – or its own students.  (Regardless of what one might think of Trump’s actions, I guess we’ll see if this has an impact on UCD’s plans to increase enrollment via more “profitable” international students.)

          Also, I understand that some of UCD’s plans are, in fact, their own.  (Not directed by UC as a whole.)  I’ve forgotten which portion of the planned enrollment increase is “UCD’s idea”, alone.

          1. Don Shor

            I understand that some of UCD’s plans are, in fact, their own.

            The 2020 Initiative was Chancellor Katehi’s. I haven’t looked at the numbers lately, but they were well on their way to fulfilling that goal, and have certainly not provided sufficient housing for that increase. Then UC added on another 1000 enrollment in response to public pressure to provide spaces for more resident students. Total I think is 6000 added enrollees by 2020, possibly more.

        3. Howard P

          To put a fine edge on it, Ron, believe you are correct that UCD made a proposal, and either by actual consent, or by not saying ‘no’, the Regents ‘concurred’…

  5. Eileen Samitz

    David,

    My point is that UCD’s housing need is primarily being driven by recruiting at least 4,500 non-resident students, yet UCD does not have enough housing and is not planning enough housing to support it’s current student population. Instead, UCD is trying to continue to push its responsibility to provide this housing onto Davis and neighboring communities which are complaining about UCD as well.

      1. Howard P

        So, UC doesn’t need to seriously pursue ‘cost-containment’?  As an alternative?

        There are probably a lot more things UC/UCD could do in that area than are available to the City…

        1. Howard P

          Yes, point taken… will DV folk demand the same from UCD/UC, DJUSD, as they seem to from the City?  If not, why not?

          All need to responsibly address ‘cost-containment’… sooner, than later…

      2. Ron

        I’m kind of wondering if UCD’s enrollment growth plans (to pursue non-resident students) will actually come to fruition, given Trump’s actions (as a direct result of his actions, or indirect results).  Even if Trump is blocked, will non-resident students be as willing to commit to a foreign education, given the uncertainty of future actions?  (Not intended as a comment regarding those actions.)

        UCD may ultimately have to find another way to pursue funds and/or cut costs.

    1. Eileen Samitz

      David,

      UCD has  $1.7 Billion in funding assets (second only to UCSD) and the way they are spending is outrageous, particularity on exorbitant administration salaries and pet projects like additional art museums and recital centers which were prioritized over the critical need for on-campus student housing. So please…UCD cannot cry poverty.

      UCD needs to better prioritize and budget for what is needed the most, such as student on-campus housing. The students are protesting this all the time as well as about the current UCD overcrowding while UCD is trying to “cash in” on non-resident students for triple tuition when the campus does not nearly have the infrastructure nor the staff, nor faculty, nor the classrooms to handle this deluge of growth.  UCD’s poor planning and poor budgeting practices are just astonishing. Then they try to deflect the their own self-imposed housing needs onto Davis and neighboring communities.  UCD’s irresponsibility is not only unfair to their students its unfair to Davis and the other neighboring communities being impacted by UCD’s negligence.

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