Last June, the city received an application to redevelop approximately 5.92 acres of properties along East Olive Drive, proposing a new 130-unit, three, four, and five story student-oriented housing project, Lincoln40.
The applicant has opted go forward with EIR preparations which are ongoing, and city staff is asking for the council to confirm EIR Project Alternatives at this time.
Staff notes, “As currently submitted, Lincoln40 will include a mix of 2-bedroom to 5-bedroom fully furnished living units that will be accessed via interior hallways and elevators. 64% of the 130 units will be 4-bedroom/4-bathroom units, which range in sizes from approximately 1,024 square feet to 1,797 square feet. All units will have a kitchen, dining area and secure bedrooms each complete with a private bathroom.”
There will be a total of 473 bedrooms with 235 of these bedrooms designed for double occupancy.
The report notes, “The double occupancy rooms will be slightly larger and will include double vanities in the private bathroom. The amenities that will be provided will include, but not be limited to a swimming pool, fitness center, indoor and outdoor lounge areas, outdoor barbecues, cabanas and each floor will offer private study areas complete with wireless internet, charging stations and desks.”
The apartment complex will contain 708 beds, a total of 240 surface parking spaces of which 23 will be covered and under the building envelope, and 60 tandem spaces, while approximately 100 spaces may be designed with carports.
Staff writes, “Based on public comments received on the Initial Environmental Study (August 2016) prepared for the project and in order to fully evaluate potential environmental impacts, the City determined that an EIR would be prepared.”
Pursuant to the CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) Guidelines Section 15126.6, an EIR “shall describe a range of reasonable alternatives to the project, or to the location of the project, which would feasibly attain most of the basic objectives of the project but would avoid or substantially lessen any of the significant effects of the project, and evaluate the comparative merits of the alternatives.”
Public scoping comments related to the project and alternatives have suggested “reductions in the size and intensity of the development, changes to accommodate traditional households instead of the student-focused project, consideration of other locations for the development such as the UC Davis campus, non-residential development, or retention and re-use of the existing facilities.”
Staff notes CEQA does not require that the level of detail or analysis of the alternatives be equal to the proposed project. “CEQA only requires that a reasonable range of alternatives be considered and that the information be sufficient to provide a meaningful analysis and comparison to the proposed project.”
In addition to the purpose of the project, the project is being pursued with the following objectives:
- Reduce overcrowded living conditions that currently exist for students residing in the City by developing a new off-campus apartment housing project with easy access to UC Davis.
- Revitalize an underutilized tract of land along East Olive Drive by developing a three to five story for-lease student housing apartment community that provides a mix of two-bedroom to five-bedroom furnished living units.
- Provide residents with a range of indoor amenities including a student community center with fitness facilities, study lounges, game rooms, café areas, bike storage areas and bike maintenance and repair facilities, and with a range of outdoor amenities including a pool, outdoor barbecue area, cabanas, game areas and lounge areas to create a safe and active onsite community environment.
- Utilize a project location and design principles that encourage and support the use of alternate forms of transportation (public transit/pedestrian/cycling) to both downtown Davis and the UC Davis campus.
- Incorporate sustainable design strategies consistent with LEED Silver certification standards.
The city proposed seven alternatives:
No Project Alternative – CEQA requires the evaluation of the comparative impacts of the “No Project” alternative which “would assume that the project site remains in its existing state and no additional development would occur.” Unfortunately, as the Vanguard has noted, a no project alternative does not consider the opportunity costs involved with having no project.
Existing Gateway / Olive Drive Specific Plan Alternative – Under the Existing Gateway / Olive Drive Specific Plan Alternative, it would be assumed that the project site would be redeveloped pursuant to the current Specific Plan land use assumptions for the project site.
Conventional Apartments Alternative – Under the Conventional Apartments Alternative, the project site would be redeveloped similar to the proposed project with 130 units, but with conventional apartments leased by unit, rather than student-oriented apartments with the option to lease by bedroom.
Reduced Density Student Apartments Alternative – The Reduced Density Student Apartments Alternative would maintain the project as student-oriented apartments, but with a reduced number of units. The Reduced Density Student Apartments Alternative would involve development of the site with 100 student apartment units (an approximately 23 percent reduction in the number of proposed units).
Aggressive Transportation and Parking Demand Management Alternative – The Aggressive Transportation and Parking Demand Management Alternative would involve development of the site similar to the proposed project, but with fewer parking spaces. The same number of units, mix of unit type, layout, and building design would occur under the Aggressive Transportation and Parking Demand Management Alternative as the proposed project. The only difference from the proposed project would be to impose restrictions on parking in order to aggressively discourage the use of single-occupancy vehicles and reduce vehicle miles traveled associated with future residents at the site.
Off-Site City (3820 Chiles Road) Alternative – The Off-Site (3820 Chiles Road) Alternative would involve development similar to the proposed project at an off-site location. Parcels of similar size that are designated and/or zoned for multifamily residential uses are not currently available for development within the City. For the purposes of evaluating an off-site alternative location within the City, City staff has identified a 7.4-acre property located at 3820 Chiles Road. The property currently contains an existing UC Davis office building and associated parking lot. Existing uses surrounding the property include commercial, as well as multi-family and single-family residential. The property faces Interstate 80 (I-80) directly to the north.
Off-Site Woodland Alternative – The Off-Site Woodland Alternative would involve development similar to the proposed project at an off-site location within the City of Woodland. The same number of units, mix of unit type, layout, and building design would occur under the Off-Site Woodland Alternative as the proposed project. Similar to the proposed project, the Off-Site Woodland Alternative would include a mix of two-bedroom to five-bedroom furnished student apartments with buildings from three- to five-stories tall, for a maximum height of 60 feet. Parking would be provided consistent with City of Woodland standards. The Off-Site Woodland Alternative would include the same amenities as the proposed project.
Staff reports that completion of the Draft EIR is progress, and upon completion the Draft EIR will be released for public review in the coming weeks. The Draft EIR will be presented to various commissions for review and comments. Upon completion of the Final EIR, public hearings on the planning application entitlements and the Final EIR adoption are anticipated to occur later this year.
—David M. Greenwald reporting