Neighborhood Views of Sterling

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Sterling Apartments – original proposal

On Wednesday, the Planning Commission narrowly approved the planning applications for the Sterling Apartments.  A large number of community members came to voice their opinion on the project.  Yesterday, we illustrated the views of the ASUCD President and the Graduate Student Association Rep.

Today we will show some of the neighborhood views.

Marjorie Beech, a resident of Rancho Yolo said:

It does not provide housing needs at Davis, it provides student housing needs which UCD should be providing.  Second, it does not make Rancho Yolo Residents happy because basically what happened is we had a negotiating team that met with Dinnerstein and got what they could.

I will tell you of the 260 single-family residences, 150 feet from this mega-dorm – I doubt that very many people are happy with what has become the “vision.”  The only thing is that the original project was such a mega-building that 200 units less is a slight, as they even said in their presentation, it’s a slight change.

It’s a mega-dorm that belongs on UCD campus- not 150 feet away from my single-family home and the homes of the other 259 single-homes 150 feet away from this mega dorm.  This belongs on the UCD campus, not right across the street from our single homes – it’s not acceptable.

Of course the elephant in the room is the fact that UCD is providing all of 28 percent housing according to Bob Segar – who came and spoke at Rancho Yolo not too long ago.  While UCD expects Davis and the surrounding cities to provide for the bulk – 77 percent of their student housing.  There are UC’s that are at least proposing to do 50 percent of student housing on campus in the next ten years. 

UCD is only committed to 40 percent which equals another 3000 to 4000 students.  That is what 4 to 6 more Sterling Apartments that expect to be housed in residential areas in Davis because they are not willing to do what they need to do.

Nobody’s perfect.  UCD is fabulous institution.  Davis is the best place ever to live.  As is California.  There’s a lot of growth now – they need to respond to that growth by committing to 50 to 60 percent of providing for their student housing on campus.  We are paying the price in our community for them not doing what we need to do.  I know that’s an axillary issue, but it has everything to do with what we’re talking about tonight.

But in no way should there be a mega-dorm across at that density- that is very high density in a very small space.

Claudia Krich:

I know that you’ve had a lot of presentations including from a lot of Rancho Yolo people who are not here tonight.  I think that from the beginning, the developers have had their hand held by our planning department.  They have been urged to do the Gold LEED – and now they’re saying they wanted it from the start – well they didn’t.  You all remember that.

They proposed a huge project, knowing in my opinion full well that it was going to be brought down to size.  Now it looks like they have given us something, but that’s not a gift.  They and the planning department and Eric (Lee) have called it a family housing apartment complex – full well knowing it’s a dormitory.  Sure. 

It’s also not affordable, that’s the part I keep hearing in these comments just now – what makes it affordable?  Is $1200 a month, affordable?  Is a high school in Davis who moves out of home going to move over to Sterling and pay over $1000 a month for a room with a private bathroom when they have a home?  No.

Are buses included in the word, traffic?  Yes.  One of these meetings was held at 5:30 on a weeknight, it took me 25 minutes to get from my home in East Davis, not Rancho Yolo, to this building.  And the cars coming in the other direction were even more dense – they were pouring out of the structure at UCD.

Every other Sterling Project that I’m aware of, including the one in Reno – where my cousin’s daughter pays an exorbitant amount of rent, it’s right next to campus.  It’s walking distance.  It’s across the street.  They’re either right next to campus or across from campus.  This is like a fantasy – let’s all call it affordable and it will be affordable.

Why will it be affordable?  They’ve been paying staff for a year and a fraction to push this on the city of Davis.  They’re going to have to tear it all down (the existing building) – that’s going to be expensive.  They’re going to have to put it all in – that’s going to be expensive.  Of course it’s not going to be affordable –especially with the actual affordable component as part of it.  It’s going to be expensive.

With the young people who are going to pile into the houses, we lived almost at the corner of 8th and Anderson for twenty years – that’s not going to change.  Because they’re paying $500-$600 a month.  They’re not paying $1200 or more.  They’re not even paying for their own water – which of course I think they should be paying for their own water here – that’s a good thing.

Sterling, Creekside, Paso Fino, Chiles, and Cannery all affect the only three outlets from East Davis which are of course Russell, Eighth, and Covell.  The General Plan says re-zoning is for when it is for the good of the neighborhood – not for the good of the students, not for the good of the university, for the good of the neighborhood – otherwise it should not be re-zoned.

But let’s stretch that and say it’s all for the good of East Davis, Central Davis, and South Davis – but it’s not.  There’s nothing in it that would justify changing the zoning.  It just makes me resentful, because those of us who are not salaried – like the Sterling people or you, are spending so much time fighting it.  It’s like fighting if you will, our current national government. 

You feel pretty helpless like its fait accompli – like we’ve gotten it this far, ah, let’s be done with it.  Let’s vote for it – we’re finished.  It’s smaller – good job.  I still say, if it’s going to be built at all, it should be built by a company that is not a big box – not a national for profit company but a company that makes apartments – apartments where my friend who is looking for housing could live.  She can’t live there.

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77 thoughts on “Neighborhood Views of Sterling”

  1. Colin Walsh

    2 things I want to point out about UCD’s housing

    1) The notice of preparation for the Environmental Impact Report of the Long Range Development Plan (LRDP) states the following:

    The 2017 LRDP will propose to accommodate up to 40 percent of the Davis-based students

    What Marjorie Beech states above is actually an over statement of UCD’s planed housing. 40% is actually a ceiling. UCD could build far less if they are not held accountable.

    2) The 2003 LRDP included housing for 36% of students by 2015 but UCD only delivered 27.2% That is a very significant shortfall. Had UCD built the housing it proposed in 2003 that certainly would have moved the needle on the Davis Vacancy rate.

    One thing I think the students who’s letters ran yesterday and the residents who’s letters are above can probably agree on is UCD can and should do more to provide housing. UCD needs to play catch up ASAP after falling well short of the 2003 goal.

      1. Mark West

        “Your point #1 has always been my concern”

        It also has been obvious, just look at the history.

        Housing is not a core function of the University and is not a priority unless the host city fails to carry out its own core function of supplying appropriate housing for residents.

        1. David Greenwald

          That’s a similar argument made to not having joint management services for fire. I don’t buy into that. UC Davis has its own planning staff – their governance structure is quite different, but they have a lot of very similar functions to municipalities.

        2. Howard P

          David… UC’s “raison d’etre” is not housing, transportation, nor parking…

          The Morrill Acts funded educational institutions by granting federally controlled land to the states for them to sell, to raise funds, to establish and endow “land-grant” colleges. The mission of these institutions as set forth in the 1862 Act is to focus on the teaching of practical agriculturesciencemilitary science and engineering (though “without excluding … classical studies”), as a response to the industrial revolution and changing social class.[1][2] This mission was in contrast to the historic practice of higher education to focus on an abstract liberal arts curriculum. [source, wikipedia]  (see: 

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Land-grant_university

          UC is a land-grant institution.

          That said, UC has, campus by campus, figured that a portion of ‘carrying out their core mission’, could include developing their own utility systems, transportation systems, public safety (oriented to function of the campus), etc. systems, largely to the extent that those needs were not met externally (the gist of Mark’s comment, I believe).

          Whatever any of us opine, the ‘ethos’/culture of UC does not see housing, transportation, etc., part of their core mission… therefore, not a priority… if the State offered UCD full compensation for additional housing (infrastructure, construction, operation, AND maintenance/replacement), in ADDITION, to all existing proposed funding for UC/UCD, UCD might jump on it… until that political/revenue carrot is offered… well, we’ve seen what we should expect.

          1. David Greenwald

            “Now, UC has to essentially be “bribed” into educating students from our own state”

            That’s a gross-misrepresentation

        3. Ron

          David:

          A quote from the article, above:

          “A state audit last week blasted UC for, among other things, admitting nonresident students to the detriment of resident students.”

          The audit report also addressed UC’s failure to control costs (while providing generous benefits for top-level administrators), and for changing policies to encourage non-resident enrollment. (Suggest actually reading the article, if you’d like to know more.)

          On a separate note, I’m still not able to see your comments unless I log out, first.  I understand that this is not something I can “fix”, on my end.  (Regardless, I’ve got other stuff to do today.  No time to be dragged into a bunch of endless nonsense on the Vanguard again, at least for the moment.)

          Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article68782827.html#storylink=cpy
           

        4. Howard P

          Ron… your 9:11 post I fully disregard… except to note that, in your oft-repeated fashion, you attempt to refute my fact-based opinion regarding housing (the topic at hand), with an opinion piece on tuition.

          Ineffective.  Off-point.  More than a bit immature.

        5. Ron

          Howard:

          I guess you didn’t even look at the 3 main points of the article, one of which stated the following:

          “Nonresident enrollment increased 82 percent, resident enrollment down 1 percent.”

          The increase in enrollment (and resulting pressure on the local housing market) is largely due to UC’s pursuit of non-resident students, at the expense of California residents.  In response, some are proposing that the city absorb the financial (and non-financial) costs of UC’s plans.  (As evidenced by proposals such as Sterling.)

          Did I really have to spell that out for you?

        6. Howard P

          Ron (as your troll)… can you not see that Sterling is only peripherally involved in the LRDP?  That if UCD grew by 0% in the next 10 years, we still have a problem?  Even if Davis grew by 0%, as well, we still have a problem?

          Sorry to all, for my demonstrated “trollishness”… perhaps there is a ‘Billy goat gruff’ out there to kill me off… is calling someone a “troll” a “hate post”?

          Now I have two ‘regulars’ calling me a ‘troll’ and one calling me guilty of ‘polite hate speech’. Whatever. The chances of any retractions from any of the three is as likely that next week the moon will relocate to Venus.

           

        7. Eileen Samitz

          Howard P,

          “…if the State offered UCD full compensation for additional housing (infrastructure, construction, operation, AND maintenance/replacement)…”

          This is really not true at all because there are the public-private-partnership (P3) mechanisms that most all of the other UC’s and universities nationwide are using to build on-campus housing where the university does not need to us their own money to build the projects. UC Irvine has and incredibility successful on campus housing program which continues to grow and thrive. Meanwhile, UCD continues to drag is heals and cry “poverty” when it has access to over $1 billion in funding, second only to UC San Diego in the UC system and far more than most all the public universities in the country.

          There is no excuse why UCD has not already built enough on-campus housing and there is no excuse why they are not planning at least 50% on-campus housing for their total student population like the other UC’s are doing particularly when they are the largest UC with over 5,300 acres.

        8. Eileen Samitz

          “Housing is not a core function of the University and is not a priority unless the host city fails to carry out its own core function of supplying appropriate housing for residents.”

          Sorry Mark, but this is simply not true. Here is language directly from the 2003 UCD LRDP still in effect.

           
          LRDP Goals and Planning principles:

          Provide an environment to enrich campus life and to serve the community

          “A rich and varied campus life for students, faculty and staff relies upon a wide range
          of land uses and activities. Instruction and research, student housing, recreation and
          open space, cultural events and programs, administrative and support activity all
          combine to further the mission of the University and to give the campus its character.”
           

           

        9. Mark West

          Eileen: “Here is language directly from the 2003 UCD LRDP”

          Which only proves that UC chooses to supply some on-campus housing, not that housing is a core function of the University. Housing is the responsibility of cities, and the only reason a University ‘has’ to provide it is when their host city fails to do so. The apartment shortage is the result of the failure of Davis to provide appropriate housing for all of its residents (at the demand of a population of folks in town who already have a house – or four).

        10. Colin Walsh

          Housing is not a core function of the University and is not a priority unless the host city fails to carry out its own core function of supplying appropriate housing for residents. – Mark West

          Well its a good thing UCD or any of the other UCs don’t support Mark Wests extremely anti-student policy. In reality UCD and most other Universities believe in housing students, just like they believe in providing classrooms. It is really just a question of how much housing. Most other UCs are aiming for more than 50% , UCD is lagging behind.

        11. Colin Walsh

           The apartment shortage is the result of the failure of Davis to provide appropriate housing for all of its residents – Mark West

          Actually, as I detailed above in point 2

          The 2003 LRDP included housing for 36% of students by 2015 but UCD only delivered 27.2% That is a very significant shortfall. Had UCD built the housing it proposed in 2003 that certainly would have moved the needle on the Davis Vacancy rate.

          UCD failed to build housing to meet its 2003 plan, and they further increased enrollment with the 2020 plan. That is squarely the failure of the University. Sterling could essentially be viewed as back fill for the University’s failure.

          But arguing about how bad the University failed is really not that productive. Now we need to turn attention to making sure the University catches up, and that is why the 50/100 plan as advocated by the unanimous City Council is so important.

           

          1. Don Shor

            UCD failed to build housing to meet its 2003 plan

            I believe that’s also just about how long it’s been since any apartments were built in Davis.

          2. Don Shor

            I was once on a civil trial in which we were being asked to judge partial negligence. If we found for the plaintiff, we would decide what percentage of the fault was the defendant’s, would set the total damages, and would award monetary damages based on that percentage.
            The university is not 100% at fault for the growth of rental demand in Davis.
            The city has not added rental housing stock for years.
            The university has agreed to provide 90% of the new enrollment, with a goal of 40% of the total student body housed on campus.
            Some are arguing for 100%/50%.
            Whichever of those it comes to, you can think of that as the university’s ‘damages’ based on their percentage of the responsibility.
            That leaves the city’s portion.
            The argument is being made that if the city does it’s part, the university will abrogate their promise and fail to do theirs.
            That fails to acknowledge the growth that the city has failed to provide over the same time period that the university was falling short.
            I don’t care if you wish to assign the responsibility of university to city proportional fault as 90/10, 80/20, or what. But I don’t think you can reasonably say that the ratio of responsibility is 100% university to 0% city. That’s what I seem to be hearing.

            Sterling is a step toward providing more rental housing on the city’s side of the ledger. Making it contingent on the university’s action is simply making the problem worse for those who cannot afford it.

            Those of you who have not had to look for housing in a long time need to understand how stressful this is to young adults here. There is a very limited number of sites available for new rental housing, and there are very few developers willing to step forward to provide it. We have a plan and a willing developer on a site that needs to be repurposed.

            I hope the city council will move this project forward expeditiously, and also keep pressing the university to do their share. We need to stop trying to link private housing development to the university’s dilatory pace and to some unsupported expectations about further commitment in the LRDP.

        12. Howard P

          Colin… neither Mark W (I believe) nor I (which I know) are in favor of “anti-student” policies, nor opposed to more on-campus housing.

          Speaking for myself, I’d love to see UCD build enough on-campus housing, at a reasonable charge to students, to accommodate every student who wishes to live on campus… would not surprise me if Mark agreed… but am not authorized to speak for him… had I had my way, would have lived on campus all 4.67 years that I attended UCD… when I was a junior, UCD notified me that I would not be welcome to return to dorm life on-campus (mid 70’s).

          But Mark, I and others are realists as to UCD’s past behavior, the ethos/policies/culture of UCD admin, and the desire of many students to “be on their own”, so they can drink freely (not water nor “sugary drinks”), cook for themselves, “co-habitate” with ‘lovers’ (sharing beds, if you will), feel independent, feel they can live cheaper than than UCD’s charges for dorm/dining hall costs, etc. (and often, some combination of those), UCD will not be significantly changing their policies/practices any time soon.  And there is not ‘thing one’ that the City can force them to do, except play the ‘mutual assured destruction’ [MAD] card that some seem to advocate.  Even then, UCD could say MAD it is…

          That is reality, however much some might wish/envision a different reality.

          I know you mis-characterize me, and strongly suspect you mis-characterize Mark W, as well.  And Mark W and I disagree on about ~ 80-90% of discussion topics (sometimes strongly).  Despite allegations to the contrary…

           

        13. Colin Walsh

          Hi Don, I appreciate your measured view on this subject. but I want to point out something about this statement.

          That fails to acknowledge the growth that the city has failed to provide over the same time period that the university was falling short. – DS

          While there are aspects of this that are true i want to mention 3 points:

          1) It is important to note that this time period includes a massive collapse of the housing market and general recession

          2) In the Davis Enterprises eyes we are in a building boom.

          3) The whole region is having a housing shortage.

          1. Don Shor

            In the Davis Enterprises eyes we are in a building boom.

            Yeah, that’s pretty funny. Everything is relative. I guess by Davis standards the number of housing starts is a ‘boom’. And very little of that boom is apartments.
            I understand why no apartments were built 2008 – 2012. So now we’ve had another five years to start getting caught up. Sterling is a good start. I haven’t looked closely at the South Davis proposal. I think the Olive Drive project is likely to have some real issues. We lost Nishi. So we’ve got a ways to go.

        14. Colin Walsh

          Mark has repeatedly stated that “Housing is not a core function of the University.” Who knows exactly what he means, but there is no doubt that providing student housing is an important function of the University and to argue against it is decidedly anti-student because the University has the best ability to provide safe and affordable student housing in close proximity to the core of campus.

        15. Mark West

          “no doubt that providing student housing is an important function of the University and to argue against it is decidedly anti-student “

           

          The ‘job’ or ‘core function’ of the University of California is research and education, not housing. While the different campuses do supply housing for some of their students, they do so only because their host cities refuse, or are otherwise unable to supply that housing. Housing residents is a core function of cities, not Universities.  In Davis, it is a simple failure of our community to approve the building of more apartments that has created the housing shortage, forcing the University to pick up the slack. The true ‘anti-student’ behavior is borne by those who oppose the building of more apartments in town. Students have just as much right to an appropriate place to live in Davis as do those residents like Eileen and Colin who actively oppose having more students live here.

           

           

        16. Colin Walsh

          Mark, you probably need to read the mission statement of the University, because you are vastly short changing what UCD’s mission is.

          Characterizing the current situation as Davis’s failure to build housing ignores the fact that Davis houses 70% of students, and that the University failed to meet the goal it set in 2003 of housing 36% of students, as I posted earlier in this thread. Had UCD met its goal it would have positively improved the Davis housing market.

          Mark consistently argued against maintaining the fields on Russell blvd that I worked with students to save.

          Mark consistently argued against pressuring the University to build more housing on campus that I have worked with students to do.

          Now Mark turns around and argues it isn’t even the University’s function to house students – an argument that goes against the long standing history of UCD, the UC system and Universities around the world.  Yet he has the gall to claim that those of us arguing in favor of dedicated affordable safe student housing at the best locations closest to classes are anti-student.

        17. Ron

          Colin:  “Mark consistently argued against maintaining the fields on Russell blvd that I worked with students to save.”

          I, for one, would like to sincerely thank you for your efforts.  Over time, people tend to take such amenities for granted, and don’t realize that others (often just “regular citizens”) worked hard to save them for everyone – including students. (I understand that the same type of “citizen effort” ultimately led to the creation of Davis’ central park, which was under threat of development at the time.)

        18. Mark West

          When Colin lacks a cogent argument he attacks others and misrepresents their positions. That’s what you do when you don’t have anything of value to say.

          “Characterizing the current situation as Davis’s failure to build housing ignores the fact that Davis houses 70% of students”

          If our community was living up to our obligations, 100% of the students would be able to find appropriate housing in town. The only reason for the campus to supply any housing at all is when the City fails to do so.

          Yet he has the gall to claim that those of us arguing in favor of dedicated affordable safe student housing at the best locations closest to classes are anti-student.

          I want students to find appropriate housing in town and to live as members of our community. Colin wants students excluded from town and pushed into separate (and unequal) living situations where they won’t interfere with his (and his friends) quality of life and political ambitions. He is right, though, when he says that one of us is anti-student.

           

    1. Howard P

      Ron… I read your cite… do you have any clue how off-point it is?

      The project at hand will pay transportation impact fees to the City… in addition they well be financing mitigation measures (haven’t seen the ‘final documents’ on Sterling)… the facts (from what I could gather from the agreement you cite) are different… the agreement covers overall traffic impacts from a “program”, not a project that is neither proposed nor directly supported by UC/UCD…

      Please make cogent arguments.   Spaghetti is cheap, and not all that nutritional.

       

      1. Howard P

        Follow up to above… there is no record of any wrong-doing/misfeasence/malfeasence by the County, nor the City, in the document cited.

        It is fully off-point to the facts of the Sterling record, to date.

        Now, had you posted it in the context of the proposed LRDP, there may well be at least a scintilla of relevance.  Key word being scintilla.  Due in large part from the fact that the City of Davis is granting no discretionary approvals as to the LRDP, and strongly suspect, neither is the County of Yolo.  You really appear to have no clue, and seem to be grasping at ‘straws’ of uncooked spaghetti…

        You are demonstrating no credibility, in my opinion.

        1. Ron

          Howard:  The settlement agreement at Santa Cruz ensures that on-campus housing is tied to enrollment increases.  Pretty much the same underlying issues in Davis, as demonstrated by the concerns regarding “megadorms”, “minidorms”, traffic, safety, etc.

          Yeah – there’s no “credibility” in re-posting a link to the settlement agreement in another city that had similar concerns with their UC. A statement like that is simply absurd.

          Got to run now, my troll-like friend.  🙂

        2. Howard P

          Ron… the concerns appear to have been transportation, not housing, per se… the link between housing and traffic/congestion, is somewhat pertinent, but can easily be mitigated… particularly for a site that has two major bus routes in immediate proximity, and pretty darn good bike/ped facilities…

          UCD provides free access to Unitrans, as part of their student fees, and a very significant subsidy via the city, from Fed/State appropriations for transit. [for which, the offer free service for City employees, folk 60 and older, and perhaps DJUSD and/or UCD staff]

          I stand by my previous statements (that goes for you, too, Eileen).

  2. Eileen Samitz

    Howard P,

    I am sorry, but UCD’s lack of planning and their negligence to provide the on-campus student housing needed for its own growth is exactly what was happening at UC Santa Cruz, and thanks to that City having a backbone, the situation got resolved with an excellent result.

    1. Don Shor

      http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/article/ZZ/20080809/NEWS/808099896
      UCSC pays water and sewer fees. UCD has its own water supply and is a customer for city water. UC Davis manages its own waste water and storm water systems.

      …the situation got resolved with an excellent result.

      Per the agreement:

      UCSC will house 67 percent of the additional students on campus. Fifty percent of all undergraduates and 25 percent of graduate students also will live on campus. Originally, the school had a goal of housing 50 percent of its students.

      I’m not sure this is all that much better than what UCD has promised. The city council has asked for written assurances and a timeline for construction.

      1. Howard P

        Don… the present topic is Sterling…

        Most of the ‘stuff’ on this thread is LRDP stuff…

        We should not lose sight of the housing issue before us… even if one assumes 0% UCD enrollment increases, 0% additional employment opportunities in the City… Sterling, directly or indirectly (latter being most likely), will help rectifying our housing issue(s), in probably one of the most logical places possible, given location, interested property owner, etc.

        This concept of 1 bed/room, one BR per room, one kitchen for 2-4 people, seems uber-yuppie to me.

        I only regret that Sterling ‘down-sized’ their proposal.  Other ‘tweaks’, as to parking allocation etc. are trivial, compared to getting MF and some ‘affordable’ on-line.  Could they reduce parking?  Yes!  That might also provide for more units.  Solving the existing problem.

        Perhaps the project should be a ‘mega dorm’… as I experienced dorms… 2 persons per room (maybe ~ 200 sf), a common bathroom with 3 shower stalls, a tub, 4 toilets, 3 urinals to serve 30 people (students)… a common dining room serving ~ 400-500…  worked great for me for three years.  Much more efficient.

        1. Don Shor

          Don… the present topic is Sterling…

          Most of the ‘stuff’ on this thread is LRDP stuff…

          I know this, but various people keep linking them together. The logic seems to be that the city shouldn’t approve anything until the LRDP is completely finalized. So we have to keep making the point: even if the university suddenly agrees to 100/50, we still need more rental housing in town.

  3. Eileen Samitz

    UCD has its own water supply and is a customer for city water. UC Davis manages its own waste water and storm water systems.

    Don,

    This is why UCD is capable of providing far more on-campus housing.

    The City Council and Staff did an excellent job explaining to UCD what needs to be done (i.e. the 50/100 plan like other UC’s) and we will see what the outcome is when the LRDP is done with the Resolution to UCD which even the UCD students mirrored in their own Resolution to UCD.

    So far, here have been no assurances promised of anything yet from UCD so we need to see the outcome first  from their LRDP Draft EIR. Meanwhile it is not helpful and actually counterproductive for the City to take actions which enable UCD to continue forcing over 70% of its housing needs off campus of which at least 63% is in Davis such as allowing mega-dorms with all their impacts on neighborhoods in the City. Also, whatever rental housing is built should be designed to available to all, not just designed for students with single room occupancy format.

    1. Don Shor

      Meanwhile it is not helpful and actually counterproductive for the City to take actions

      I agree with many of your other points, as we’ve discussed before. But I strongly disagree with this statement. It is directly harmful to young adults who rent or wish to rent in Davis to continue to obstruct apartment construction. It is costly to those who are least able to afford it. Even if UCD agrees to 100/50, we need more rental housing in town.

  4. Eileen Samitz

    Don,

    I am sorry, but then we simply need to agree to disagree. I have made my position as clear as I can, and I feel it is harmful to the City to build rental housing that is exclusively designed for students since they are single-room-occupancy. Especially since this mega-dorm is near neighborhoods which would be seriously impacted, as well as traffic and located almost 2 miles from the UCD campus. The rental housing build should be traditional 1,2 and 3 bedroom apartments which would be available to students and non-students.

    The single-room-occupancy design of the Sterling Apartment student apartments with 540 bathrooms is not even sustainable planning. They are making the same mistake as West Village by including the water and electric costs in the rent per bedroom. This gives NO incentive for water and energy conservation. If this is the case, it will drive up already what is going to be expensive housing.

    This project is almost 2 miles from UCD yet they reduced the parking using the rational of using the same parking ration as West Village which is illogical, since those students are living on campus, not 2 miles from it. The decreased parking would be a disincentive for any young professionals from living there since they will have cars. Parking is for storing cars, not necessarily translating into vehicular trips.

    Finally, it is ridiculous then for the EIR to claim that adding 540 students almost 2 miles from the campus will not impact Unitrans bus usage, yet the City gets to pay into that.

    1. David Greenwald

      “I am sorry, but then we simply need to agree to disagree. I have made my position as clear as I can, and I feel it is harmful to the City to build rental housing that is exclusively designed for students since they are single-room-occupancy.”

      As I told Ron yesterday – I find this an odd contradiction in that the driving force of apartment need is student growth, so why is designing a structure for students a problem? That just doesn’t make a lot of sense.

      1. Don Shor

        There is nothing unusual about apartments in Davis being designed, built, and managed primarily for students.
        Adobe at Evergreen is a Tandem property that is in the UC Student Housing Apartments program. They are at 1500 Shasta Drive. They are clearly designed for students. The distance from the MU bus terminal is almost exactly the same as from the Sterling site.
        Adobe vs. Sterling apartments

        1. Eileen Samitz

          There is nothing unusual about apartments in Davis being designed, built, and managed primarily for students.
          Adobe at Evergreen is a Tandem property that is in the UC Student Housing Apartments program. They are at 1500 Shasta Drive. They are clearly designed for students. The distance from the MU bus terminal is almost exactly the same as from the Sterling site.

          Well Don, Tamdem Properties “Adobe at Evergreen” is the same apartment complex “master leasing” out to UCD which if I recall, you were not supportive of master leasing by UCD, which also denies the City of property tax.

          Also, I thought that you felt that it was unfair to sell the Grande site to only teachers from the Davis school system. This issue of designing rental housing exclusively for students which non-students won’t use, seems much along the same lines. It’s not fair to non-students to have rental housing built that basically excludes them by the design.

          Also, don’t expect Sterling’s rental by the bed to be “affordable” by any stretch as is spoken to in the testimony covered in the article above.

          Futhermore, Adobe undoubtedly has far more parking than Sterling which will just push Sterling’s parking needs off to the surrounding areas. A business owner near Sterling came to planning commission testifying that specific concern. Plus there is a claim that no more Unitrans bus support will be needed, which is nonsense, but will cost the City who pays into the Unitrans system with our taxes.

          1. Don Shor

            Non-students can live in Sterling. That is very different than a lottery reserving sale of a house exclusively to employees of the school district. There is nothing in the Sterling development that reserves these apartments exclusively for UC students. There are lots of young adults here who go to community college and wish to live in rental housing. Many of my employees have been part-time students at ARC or Sac City.
            UC should cease the master leasing ASAP. But any developer who builds apartments in town knows full well that the majority of their tenants will likely be students. That’s just reality.

        2. Howard P

          Eileen, your 2:33 post…

          but will cost the City who pays into the Unitrans system with our taxes (if you mean taxes generated by the City of Davis).

          Untrue…either ignorance or falsehood… please focus on factual information, or your personal opinion…

        3. Eileen Samitz

          Don,

          The issue is the design and the cost. I doubt if a community college student can afford $1,200 per month as quoted in the article. As I have said many times, the single-room-occupancy format is exclusionary by design.  I did not say a non-student was prohibited from renting there. Working people generally have a car and are not likely to  to live in an expensive mega-dorm which does not have enough parking. Then of course, families would not be able to live there either due to the single-room-occupancy design.

          1. Don Shor

            One presumes that a one-bedroom apt at $1200/month (not sure where that number is from) would be shared.
            More to the point, this would reduce some of the pressure on the rental market for young adults looking for a single room or single apartment, which is precisely the demographic I’m talking about. I know plenty of those folks. Most that I know are not UCD students, though they may hope to be someday by transfer. That is the market that is most direly affected right now. That is the part of the Davis housing market most in need of supply. There are advocates for Affordable Housing, for young families (the main argument used for The Cannery). There are few advocates for the young adults scrambling to find housing in the 0.2%-vacancy apartment rental market.
            Obstructing apartment construction harms them.
            Yes, of course, UCD needs to build housing. Yes, it would be great if they would commit to 100/50. But they haven’t, and even if they do it will just keep the present situation static. Things won’t get worse as fast. That’s it. So we need more apartments in Davis.
            The university has added enrollment. The town has grown as well. There has been very little additional housing stock, and almost no additional rental housing stock.

        4. Eileen Samitz

          More to the point, this would reduce some of the pressure on the rental market for young adults looking for a single room or single apartment, which is precisely the demographic I’m talking about.

          The problem is that anyone who believes that Sterling adding single-room-occupancy  rent-by-the bed model, which are designed only for students would help the rental shortage for our workforce and families, really is not understanding the problem.

          UCD’s desire for the City to provide housing for its enormous and insatiable growth is endless. Whatever rental housing is built in Davis would be used by UCD needs, unless the City makes it very clear that UCD needs to “step-up”, as the other UC’s are, to provide the needed on-campus housing for its students, which would be permanently available and affordable long-term for the UCD students.

          Other UC’s are doing this very successfully like UC Irvine which has a huge very successful and thriving on-campus housing program. There is no excuse that UCD is not doing the same as the other UC’s. UCD’s negligence to provide the on-campus housing for its students is unfair to its students, and unfair the Davis and surrounding communities which UCD is imposing so many impacts on.

          UCD needs to stop dragging its heels and stop setting its students up to be gouged for high rent into the future from landlords in the City. UCD needs to get the on-campus housing built needed by its students which would control the long-term affordability of student housing. Affordability for student housing cannot be controlled off-campus, only on-campus. All the other UC campuses understand this and as a result they are providing at least 50% on-campus housing for their total student population.  There is no excuse why UCD, the largest UC with over 5,300 acres, is not doing the same as the other UC’s,  particularly for UCD’s current LRDP plan update for the 10 years.

          So  advocating for off-campus student housing which is exclusively designed for student housing, not only advocates against rental housing that is needed for non-students, but also advocates against long-term affordable housing needed for students. This is because rent costs  on-campus can be controlled long-term, but not in the City.

        5. Colin Walsh

          Hey Don, are these maps created around 1pm? Traffic is time sensitive, and 1pm is not a peek traffic time. At peek hours Russell is much more congested than Arthur.

           

          1. Don Shor

            I agree. I travel on Russell at peak hour very often. I’ll try to remember to do a Google map comparison at 5 pm on a weekday sometime. Add a couple more minutes to the times shown. I was actually only demonstrating the distance, which was what was under discussion.
            There are already hundreds of apartments in the vicinity of Sterling, including some that are further down on Fifth. This is not a massive increase in the number of units.
            Current apartments:
            http://davismerchants.org/vanguard/Apartments%20Fifth%20Street%20March%202016.png

            Adding this project will not make it any more congested than what we have in some other parts of town.
            City wide:
            http://davismerchants.org/vanguard/City%20apartments%20March%202016.png

    2. Eileen Samitz

      David,

      Because as I explained, single-room-occupancy cannot be used by families and the vast majority of non-students. It is exclusionary by design. This type of housing belongs on-campus, not in the City for many reasons which I have explained. There is rental demand by families and workers also so this is not helping with that at all.

      For instance, what about the sustainability issues that come with this design of giving renters no incentive to conserve water and electricity? This is the same huge screw up that West Village did on campus which the Sterling project is repeating by including the water and electricity costs in the rent. This is a huge problem with this format of housing.

      1. David Greenwald

        “Because as I explained, single-room-occupancy cannot be used by families and the vast majority of non-students. ”

        Again given that students are driving the need, your position makes no sense to me.

      2. Eileen Samitz

        Howard P,

        I know the City pays a significant amount into Unitrans and that it is absurd to believe that more service will not be needed for at least 540 more students on Fifth St. going back and forth to UCD, particularly in winter weather. I am not certain what you are saying but this is cost to the City which typically translates back to Davis taxpayers.

        1. Howard P

          The City receives grant funding for transit… the money gets “passed thru” to Unitrans, Davis Community Transit, YoloBus.  Called (primarily) FTA funds.

          Unitrans would probably generate funds for additional services via Student Fees (collected from additional students).

          I for one don’t call revenues received for specific purposes, passed on to others, “City taxes”… if you want to call them that, go ahead.  Doesn’t make it true, tho’…

        2. Eileen Samitz

          Unitrans would probably generate funds for additional services via Student Fees (collected from additional students).

          Howard P,

          Good to know, but I for one would not assume that these costs were covered in any way by UCD. The Sterling EIR says that there would be NO impacts from the 540+ students needing Unitrans.  That conclusion makes no sense. Increased Unitrans service will be needed (particularly in the fall/winter and other adverse weather) which will mean that the City will need to contribute more for those Unitrans services. The bottom line is that Unitrans costs will increase due to the Sterling project.

          1. Don Shor

            I definitely agree that this is an area that the council should pursue. There are traffic issues with development anywhere, and mitigating those impacts should be part of the approval process. I think most of us don’t fully understand how the funding goes, and it would be useful to have more information on that.

        3. Howard P

          Eileen… the City has no OBLIGATION to pay for Unitrans… it (the City) is a conduit for funds made available by the Feds for transit (by choice, not by obligation)… ASUCD, not UCD, runs Unitrans… you are making arguments based on false assumptions… several…

        4. Colin Walsh

          I definitely agree that this is an area that the council should pursue. There are traffic issues with development anywhere, and mitigating those impacts should be part of the approval process. I think most of us don’t fully understand how the funding goes, and it would be useful to have more information on that.

          I agree Don. To what extent could the money that “gets “’passed thru’ to Unitrans” as Howard suggested be used to have better buss service to the downtown, train station, or the south Davis and 2nd street business parks?

        5. Howard P

          Eileen… there is most likely some reserve capacity on Unitrans routes on Fifth, and on Pole Line… as  many times I’ve used the A-line, usually there is a 20-70% vacancy factor, even at peak hours (then it’s usually a 10% vacancy) and only twice have I had to stand to be accommodated… more students equating to more routes, more buses is not reality… it is closer to hyperbole.

          Topic is Sterling, and my comments are based on that… the A-line already uses ‘sweeper buses’ at peak demand… the second bus is seldom, if ever ‘full’… nor near ‘full’…

  5. Eileen Samitz

    David,

    I do not know how to explain it any better. You keep saying that the City needs to promote building rental housing that is exclusively designed for students which excludes non-students like families and workers. This single-room-occupancy. This is not hard to understand. UCD will have endless demand and you are advocating for the City to build housing specifically designed to continue the campus housing needs to be pushed onto the City. I understand your position. It just makes no sense to me, unless you are supporting the opportunistic relationship that UCD wishes to continue to impose on the City. Even the students are demanding more on campus housing which I see you publishing less and less about, and more and more about promoting actions which create ore and more problems for the City.

    What about the sustainability issue problem that Sterling is creating the the City by duplicating the water and electricity waste by including them in the rent? West Village has acknowledged that they screwed up on this. So I guess you support this same lack of sustainable planning in the City?

        1. Eileen Samitz

          Seriously? So David, you agree that allowing the significant amount of waste of water is “ok” in the City until 2018 which will multiply out into the future enormously by each new apartment complex built now allowing this water wastage?  Good to know. Sadly your advocacy for this “anti-sustainable planning” position is not in best interest of conserving water long-term which is critical for Davis and California.

        2. Howard P

          Lack of metering is not equal to significant water waste. Biggest portion of MF water use is irrigation (for the complex), which is already separately metered.

          MF DU’s don’t irrigate. Building Codes already require low-flow water use devices. Can’t imagine a renter flushing toilets or taking showers just for the fun of it. Metered or not…

        3. Eileen Samitz

          Howard P,

          Really? You are trying to compare (potential) landscaping watering at Sterling Apts. to not motivating 540 Sterling renters to conserve water on a daily basis using at least 540 additional bathrooms each of which has a sink, shower/tub, and a toilet (i.e. 540 bedrooms with individual bathrooms). Why keep repeating the West Village screw up to waste water and energy? Low flow water devices are not going to counter this problem.

        4. Howard P

          Yes Eileen, I assert exactly that… water use for bathing, flushing wastes is dependent on number of people, not the number of plumbing fixtures.  Number of fixtures has nothing to do with how often one bathes, pees or craps… if many people share fewer fixtures, they may need to wait to bathe, pee, or crap, but the water use (except for garden and other landscaping) would be the same… unless your household does something different.  I know our household, with three full bathrooms, is completely dependent on people living here at a given time, even tho’ the fixtures stay the same 24/7/365.  Again, your assertion makes no sense whatever.  If we had only one full bathroom, somebody might have to “hold it” at a given time, but the water use would not change, unless we all showered/bathed together, or waited to flush until the toilet had a full contribution of pee and/or crap from each of us.  If your household does that, thank you for your strange water conservation efforts.

        5. Eileen Samitz

          Howard P,

          I guess we will need to agree to disagree. If people in a house would need to share using a shower or even a sink for activities like brushing their teeth, well then the reality is that less water will used then if they had their own bathroom. Each person waiting for the next to be done shortens the amount of time water is being run. It is just that simple. Heck that was my experience growing up in my family home and at college where I shared bathroom utilities. This is not a difficult concept to understand. You are the one sounding a bit strange if you do not understand this.

  6. Matt Palm

    Eileen said:

    “This is really not true at all because there are the public-private-partnership (P3) mechanisms that most all of the other UC’s and universities nationwide are using to build on-campus housing where the university does not need to us their own money to build the projects. UC Irvine has and incredibility successful on campus housing program which continues to grow and thrive. Meanwhile, UCD continues to drag is heals and cry “poverty” when it has access to over $1 billion in funding, second only to UC San Diego in the UC system and far more than most all the public universities in the country.”

    I think the P3 model is interesting and worth exploring.  But on campus you have a loud and organized faction of folks who oppose it “on principle” even if it would save on rents.  Because they think it is ‘privatization’ of the university.  Even when I explain to these folks, “well most subsidized public housing today is subsidized through the sales of tax credits to private banks…” they refuse to budge.

    Additionally, that $1 billion sounds big except if you start to allocation for low income students here, for grad student stipends there, for faculty research here… The U.C. Davis should explore fund raising for a housing fund on its own, without question. But I don’t think what they’ve already raised will go to housing before it goes to all those other needs its constituents care more about.

    1. Colin Walsh

      I think the P3 model is interesting and worth exploring.  But on campus you have a loud and organized faction of folks who oppose it “on principle” even if it would save on rents.  Because they think it is ‘privatization’ of the university.  Even when I explain to these folks, “well most subsidized public housing today is subsidized through the sales of tax credits to private banks…” they refuse to budge.

      Matt, what is your position on this? Could UCD better use the P3 model to build significantly more housing like at UC Irvine?

  7. Eileen Samitz

    I think the P3 model is interesting and worth exploring.  But on campus you have a loud and organized faction of folks who oppose it “on principle” even if it would save on rents.  Because they think it is ‘privatization’ of the university.  Even when I explain to these folks, “well most subsidized public housing today is subsidized through the sales of tax credits to private banks…” they refuse to budge.

    So Matt, who are these folks you speak of?

  8. Greg Rowe

     
    Here’s a slightly different take on the proposed Sterling 5th Street Apartments, an expanded version of my Wednesday night comments to the Planning Commission.
     
    I’ve evaluated the Sterling project from two perspectives: my 25 years writing, reviewing and commenting on CEQA documents; and six years working on urban redevelopment projects in Oakland and Sacramento.
     
    In an October 2016 letter to the Planning Commission I supported the Reduced Student Density Alternative identified in the DEIR (one of seven alternatives evaluated).  Because the No Project Alternative was identified as the Environmentally Superior Alternative (SEA), CEQA requires that the remaining alternative that achieves the most mitigation becomes the SEA.  I determined that on balance, the SEA was a reasonable accommodation that addressed many of the community’s concerns.  On that basis, I sent a letter to the Planning Commission in October 2016 supporting the SEA.  The modified project presented to the Planning Commission on March 22 is identical to the SEA in many respects, so I supported it partially on that basis.
     
    The time I spent working on redevelopment projects made me understand that it is extremely difficult to convert vacant or underutilized properties to productive reduce.  Many varied factors must align perfectly, ranging from financing to market conditions and community acceptance. The fact that the Families First property has been vacant for more than 3 years without any other development proposals gives further impetus to approving a scaled down version of the Sterling project.
     
    In addition, it is my hope that approval of Sterling will relieve the pressure for conversion of single family homes to absentee owner student “mini-dorms,” which operate virtually without supervision. The occupancy management measures and security plan included in the Sterling proposal and development agreement will essentially create a semi-controlled environment that will lessen the prospects of late-night parties and rowdy behavior. 
     
    And while I strongly advocate for UCD to modify the LRDP to shoot for housing no less than 50% of the 2027 student population on campus, I realize it will take some time to reach that goal. Approval of Sterling will therefore be an interim “stop gap” measure while UCD hopefully begins to catch up on its obligations. 
     
    My only reservation is that City Council approval of Sterling could send an unintended wrong message to UCD that it can continue its past poor performance in providing on-campus housing and that if it just continues to sit back and do nothing, the City of Davis will pick up the slack.  Optimistically, perhaps UCD will instead interpret City Council approval of Sterling as sending a message that Davis is indeed willing to partially help, so now the ball is in UCD’s court.
     
    Another potential problem is that Sterling could “open the floodgates for more proposals of a similar nature, as seen by Lincoln40 (130 beds) and the recently announced project at the intersection of Research Drive and Cowell (179 beds). In my view, Sterling is a unique situation in that it makes productive reuse of a long-vacant parcel that has not been producing an optimum level of property tax revenue.  
     
    In supporting Sterling, I suggested that the development agreement preclude the developer from executing a master lease with UCD, or from selling the project to UCD. Both actions would eliminate property tax payments.  To the developer’s credit, this suggestion was accepted and appropriate verbiage is now being prepared by City staff for insertion into the final development agreement.  
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

  9. Ron

    Howard:  “But Mark, I and others are realists as to UCD’s past behavior, the ethos/policies/culture of UCD admin, and the desire of many students to “be on their own”, so they can drink freely (not water nor “sugary drinks”), cook for themselves, “co-habitate” with ‘lovers’ (sharing beds, if you will), feel independent, feel they can live cheaper than UCD’s charges for dorm/dining hall costs, etc. (and often, some combination of those), UCD will not be significantly changing their policies/practices any time soon.”

    Wow – I didn’t realize that UCD could “prevent” and/or “force” all of those things in an on-campus apartment complex. (Is UCD affiliated with a fundamentalist religion, of some type?)

     

    1. Howard P

      In dorms, they have… except for “married student housing” (their definition, not mine), yes, they controlled occupation of dorm units as to gender… alcohol is/was banned in the dorms, but there had been a don’t ask/don’t tell (as long as you generally behave).

      Now that you raised the issue, I have to say I honestly have never seen a UCD lease for their apartments… except for ‘married student housing’ (?… not sure they were considered ‘apartments’) that did not exist when I attended… but bottom line… permission for ANYONE to be on campus grounds is revocable… by UCD.  Don’t think that law/policy has changed, yet I may be incorrect.  Might be interesting to see a UCD apartment lease.  If someone could provide link, etc., that should be able to get to “facts”…

      Based on further information/reflection, I am adult enough to freely either admit error or possibility of such.

  10. Richard McCann

    Davis can’t simply hold its breath until UCD agrees to put more housing on campus (and given the failure of West Campus, I’m not sure that’s a good solution in any case). If we try to close down projects, more students will simply rent in the neighborhoods. Families will be outbid by landlords who can fill “minidorms.” And don’t forget that UCD staff also should be housed in-town (or we can be complete hypocrites on protecting the environment.) We can’t play brinksmanship with UCD, so we need to get over it and move on to approving acceptable housing projects.

    1. Howard P

      Must have missed ‘the memo’… what is basis for considering West Village a failure?  Am not asserting it is/was a success, but thought part of it (lack of progress) was the developer (which was not UCD) seeing financial return issues…

      Honest question…

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