Letter: Community Can Donate to Create Dorms

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By Jean Jackman

The following letter has been sent to Chancellor Hexter and Incoming Chancellor May,

Dear Chancellor Hexter and Incoming Chancellor May,

In the last two weeks, I have enjoyed two new developments on campus:

  1. The beautiful International Center built during the last two years.
  2. The Scrubs Café, in the new Vet Med Administration Building built with a lovely courtyard and surrounded by hummingbird gardens and outrageously beautiful gardens ringing new parking areas.

It greatly puzzles me, how the university can invest and thoughtfully and beautifully develop these two new buildings and yet—with UCDavis owning more land than all other UC campuses,  provide the least amount of student housing when it is so badly needed.  Rents are going up, mini dorms with many cars are ruining neighborhoods and causing bad feelings, students have to live in other towns and drive long distances, polluting the air to get to campus. Perhaps it is time for tough love for UC Davis.  Because we do love our university, but we need the demonstration of love for maintaining the quality in our town.

I propose a Donation for Dorms campaign.  Many of us donate to the university.  You are continually requesting donations.

Chancellor Hexter, please start a fund earmarked for dorms post haste—earmarked only for student housing on campus. This would be simply an augmentation to the funds you need to prioritize to live up to past agreements and establish a 100/50 agreement going forward—UCD provides housing for all new students and 50% of all students.

We citizens can start twitter accounts, Facebook pages,  and advertise it to alums. This could be a win, win situation.



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87 thoughts on “Letter: Community Can Donate to Create Dorms”

  1. Matt Williams

    Jean’s idea is outstanding.  It is (in my opinion) transformative.  Instead of presenting one version or another of a polarized confrontational argument, she has sought out the middle ground, giving UC donors and alumni the opportunity to continue to support their beloved alma mater, and at the same time send the Chancellor a message about how important on-campus student (and possibly faculty and staff) housing is to them personally.  It isn’t a “no” message.  It is a “yes” message.

    One suggestion I personally have for Jean’s idea is that any housing built with Dollars for Dorms contributions (or matching funds) should be incremental to (over and above) UCD’s base LRDP commitment, which right now is 90-40, and which the Council is asking UCD to make 100-50. 

    So any housing built with Dollars for Dorms contributions would be 90-40 plus another (incremental) xxx units with yyy beds.  Said another way, if the 40 part of 90-40 is (hypothetically for discussion purposes only) 16,000 beds then the Dollars for Dorms housing would raise that to 16,yyy beds. Similarly, that would make the 50 part of the Council’s desired 100-50 go from 20,000 to 20,yyy.

    I have sent a series of e-mails to Ike Njoku, the City planner handling the Lincoln 40 EIR, arguing that the same principal should apply to the on-campus alternative in that EIR.  In that case the impacts of that alternative would be determined for 90-40 plus another (incremental) 130 units with 708 beds.  Again hypothetically, if the 40 part of 90-40 is 16,000 beds then the on-campus alternative would raise that to 16,708 beds. That would make the 50 part of 100-50 go from 20,000 to 20,708.

    JMHO

  2. Roberta Millstein

    Great idea, Jean.  This is an excellent and positive way for citizens to show and provide their support for housing on campus.

  3. Eileen Samitz

    Jean,

    Great idea, wonderful letter, and yes, I agree that this continues to show the community support for the need for more on-campus student housing. The UCD administration needs to start prioritizing the need for far more on-campus housing, especially apartments, for the students.

    1. Matt Williams

      Eileen, looking down the road, your comment prompts a number of questions:

      (1) If UCD actually achieved 90-40, would that meet your definition of “far more housing for students”?

      (2) Why do you say “especially apartments”?

      (3) If UCD actually achieved 100-50, would that meet your definition of “far more housing for students”?

      (4) If your answers to both (1) and (3) are “no,” then what goal would meet your definition of “far more housing for students”?

  4. Dan Carson

    Jean,  I appreciate your solution-oriented approach and agree the creation of such a fund could be helpful.  A Mondavi-level bequest could be a game-changer, especially since the monies gathered in such a fund could be used to leverage or subsidize on-campus housing to make more projects pencil out.  It need not necessarily be used to pay the full cost of new units. Affordable rents could carry the bulk of the costs in most cases

    However we should make it clear that this additional help does not take the place of the commitment the UC system also must make to its student body. The capital improvement plan that the interim chancellor urged Mayor Davis to read in his last public letter on the LRDP confirms that the campus has $1.9 billion in projects on the drawing board right now, with only a fraction of those resources earmarked for housing UC Davis students. Yes, the money is in various earmarked pots, but other campuses have found ways to do a better job on housing students and compensating their host communities for the significant environmental impacts of their projects

    That said, we should be open to ideas like Jean’s in which the community and the campus could work collaboratively to solve problems.

    1. David Greenwald

      Dan: I appreciate your balanced comments.  I think it’s too easy to on the one-hand point to projects that UCD has done and say, that should have gone for housing.  On the other hand, it’s too easy for UCD to get away with the excuse of not building housing.  In the end, while we know that they can’t use some of that money for housing, your point is well-taken.

    2. Matt Williams

      Dan, looking down the road, your comment prompts the same questions I asked Eileen:

      (1) If UCD actually achieved 90-40, would that meet your definition of “far more housing for students”?

      (2) Why do you say “especially apartments”?

      (3) If UCD actually achieved 100-50, would that meet your definition of “far more housing for students”?

      (4) If your answers to both (1) and (3) are “no,” then what goal would meet your definition of “far more housing for students”?

  5. Howard P

    Gee, wish I had thought of that concept!

    Will do my part… when I next get hit up for a contribution from UCD alumni, I’ll make the designation for housing, specifically to get them from 90/40 to 100/50, a prereq. for the donation…

    As with the others, thank you Jean for the concept and the letter!

  6. Sharla C.

    I disagree with this targeted campaign.  We need classroom buildings too.  The additional housing and growing numbers of people on campus need a place to eat close to where they work and study, that isn’t miles away in the City.  Even the Shrem Museum has general assignment classrooms for undergraduate classes.  During a tour yesterday, there were Psychology classes being held in the classroom spaces in the museum.

    I attended a conference for all UC Davis advisors yesterday.  During one of the sessions on student parents, the presenter told us that the cost of living (not tuition) for the average Berkeley student with children was $81,000 per year.  This is in addition to the $27K each year for tuition.  So Berkeley is forced to try to provide housing slightly under market rate for students and also to provide extra resources for student parents (subsidized child care and tuition assistance).  We aren’t there yet.  Until rents rise to Bay Area pricing ($2500-$4000 per month for a two bedroom apartment), it will be less expensive to live in the town of Davis for UCD students.  Severely restricting growth in Davis, imposing restrictions of one bed per room in new developments, will only cause rents to continue to rise or create a large commuter class of students, faculty and staff and also people who commute out of town for jobs.  I don’t think that creating conditions that are designed to raise rent prices until campus housing becomes the slightly better option will end up being good for the non-UCD community, especially because we also don’t also have the kind of  job market to sustain such an expensive workforce housing.  We will gradually become a community of older, wealthy people, which is where we are already headed.

    1. Howard P

      One can have more than one target. Or, more accurately, each of us can choose their own target, and respect those who have others…

      Someone opined, when teased on his early baldness, “a man only has so many hormones… if you want to use yours to grow hair, fine”.

        1. Howard P

          True story… was there when my friend and former co-worker so opined… loved it…

          Back on topic… am convinced we need short-term answers that may well include FEMA trailers, and long-term answers, including a firm commitment from UCD for effective action (at least , [as another poster said] 100/50) as soon as practicable, AND the City helping to ‘bridge’ (medium term), AND the City providing more affordable housing opportunities for staff, faculty, and our own internal needs.  0.2% vacancy is not ‘sustainable’…

          Medium term solutions might include well designed/engineered ‘quonset huts’ [not the 40’s-50’s versions]…

    2. David Greenwald

      Sharla: The problem is that the city isn’t going to be able to provide 10,000 beds.  If UCD fulfills its commitment – that’s a big if – that number drops down to 4000.  That’s still a large number – that’s like 7 or 8 Sterlings.

      1. Sharla C.

        This is true.  I’m sure Woodland and other areas can contribute more places to live.  UCD needs to follow through with its plan.  However, we can’t increase pressure for more housing on campus by refusing to add housing in town without suffering the rise in rental prices.  I fully expect rent control ordinances being part of our future to keep long-term non-ucd tenants from being displaced and driven out of town.

        1. David Greenwald

          The problem with Woodland and other places is that means drivers, it means traffic, it means parking, it means congestion.  Whereas students living in Davis and UC Davis means bikes and buses.

        2. Sharla C.

          Students in our department studying sustainable environmental design are currently helping UCD planning with surveying students, staff and faculty on how they are getting to work and school.  They are also looking at how many people would have to live somewhere, i.e. Woodland, to justify having Unitrans service that area and then setting parking prices just right to encourage people to use it instead of driving.  There are many other factors.   Over 600 children attending Davis schools from out of town also has an impact how people get to work.  A parent who has to drop off and pick up a child from school is unlikely to use a bus or carpool to get to work.  They will drive their car, every day.  Anything else is not an option.  Rising prices in Davis without comparable rising prices in the region will mean that people will buy or rent out of town and then commute to Davis.

           

        3. Matt Williams

          Sharla said . . . “I fully expect rent control ordinances being part of our future to keep long-term non-ucd tenants from being displaced and driven out of town.”

          Sharla, how would a rent control ordinance keep long-term non-ucd tenants from being displaced and driven out of town?

        4. Eileen Samitz

          Sharla  C.,

          I understand that you work for UC administration, but  I find it astonishing that you continue to defend UCD’s position to not build far more on-campus high density housing on their more than 5,300 acres to help house their students.

          I understand that you cannot be objective on this but please, your position clearly is detrimental to the students and the environment.

    3. Eileen Samitz

      Sharla C.,

      I find it interesting that you speak for UCD administration as “we”. I find it even more interesting , again, that you do not advocate for more on campus housing which is the only way to control the cost of rents for students. This is  why the other UC’s are building as much high density on-campus housing as possible since that is the long-term solution. But UCD’s current administration continues to try to avoid its obvious responsibility to provide the needed on-campus housing for its students. So irresponsible and shameful.

        1. Eileen Samitz

          Sharla,

          When you explained that you went on a UCD tour for staff  and it seemed like you were talking about “we” as UCD, not the Davis community, particularly when you said “we” need classrooms.

        2. Sharla C.

          So what?  Eileen, why is this an issue for you?  I live in Davis, own a home here and have rented in the past.  My family has lived here since 1962, but I have been living away from the family home since I turned 18.  I am currently an academic advisor for the Landscape Architecture and Sustainable Environmental Design majors, working with undergraduate students pursuing these degrees.  I am a Davis citizen and a UCD employee.  So where do you say my bias lies.  Am I biased toward the students, because I often deal with students who struggle financially, are homeless or food-insecure?  Am I biased toward the Davis community, because I live here and pay taxes here and remember when Davis was much smaller and not so crowded?  Am I automatically a mouthpiece for the University because I am an employee of that institution?  Why is it so important for you that I fall squarely in one or another category?

        3. Eileen Samitz

          Sharla,

          You say that you are about the need for housing for students, but I guess I am not understanding why you would not be supportive of a private fund for more on-campus student housing. It can only help the situation instead of UCD using donation funds for things like art museums and more music recital centers when student housing on-campus is needed.

          You also seem to be quite receptive to the City and surround cities to absorb the excess of housing need for UCD’s own growth, which can easily be located on-campus with higher density housing for the students like the other UC’s are doing. UCD pushing its housing needs off campus is not a solution and exasperates the problem due to the impacts and commuting needs it presents. On-campus the housing can be dedicated and costs can be controlled long-term, which cannot be done off-campus.

          We are all concerned about the impacts on the students, which is why we keep asking UCD to step-up to help by producing far more on-campus housing. Even the students are asking them to do this as well. So I guess I am not quite sure why you are not as concerned about UCD’s lack of adequate action to help the students.

        4. Sharla C.

          Well, you didn’t really answer my question.

          I will try to answer yours.  You need to read my comments again.  I think I did explain.  Since housing prices are lower in the City of Davis and surrounding communities, students will always opt for that, regardless of how much housing UCD is pressured to build.  Just because UCD builds it, doesn’t mean that they will be able to attract renters, if the rents are higher on campus than the surrounding area.  Berkeley’s parent student housing is full and has a waiting list because the rent is slightly under market rate, but it is still expensive.  It is reported that the cost of living for a student parent is $81,000 per year.   With less expensive housing available in surrounding communities, I worry that rents in Davis and the region will have to rise to a level before UCD housing then becomes the less expensive option for students.  This will have a negative impact on non-UCD renters in our community – young families and workers – as the rising rents will price them out of our community.  So there is a negative to restricting the development of new multi-family and student housing in the City as a tool to pressure UCD to build.

          Instead of just looking at numbers of beds that UCD should build, the cost of rents should be a consideration.  If UCD builds housing, but rents in the City or in Woodland or Sacramento are cheaper, then students won’t sign leases.  If the rents rise in Davis, then maybe UCD housing becomes the better option, but then staff and faculty will find cheaper housing in other communities and commute in.

          This is the discussion we need to have instead of just having “UCD build” as the one and only answer.

           

        5. Eileen Samitz

          Sharla,

          The main reason students move off-campus is because UCD has not built enough on-campus apartments for them to transition into from the freshman dorms. UCD is the main problem driving the cost of rental housing up in the City because of its years of negligence in providing the needed on-campus housing for its own growth.

          There is no reason why UCD cannot provide much more on-campus housing for their own needs which would reduce the pressure for housing in Davis and surrounding cities for students and non-students. UCD is the largest UC with over 5,300 acres and yet has provided the least amount of on-campus housing which is inexcusable.

          The other UC campuses are providing the needed housing for their students, and some like UC Irvine’s on-campus housing are below market rate because they have good planning, unlike UCD.

        6. Ron

          Sharla:  “Since housing prices are lower in the City of Davis and surrounding communities, students will always opt for that, regardless of how much housing UCD is pressured to build.”

          I don’t understand this argument (at least, regarding new student rental housing in Davis).  Did you not see the other article today (regarding some who advocate for rent control, in Davis)?

          New rental housing is going to be expensive anywhere in Davis (or on campus).  (Unless it’s subsidized, in some manner.)

           

           

        7. Sharla C.

          That’s not what students are telling me. I’m told by students that living spaces are nice on campus but too expensive compared to housing elsewhere. The campus is responding by plans to double or triple rooms for a reduced cost.

        8. Ron

          Sharla:  Compared to “what” new, market-rate student rental housing in Davis? Do you think that Sterling will be cheap? What about Lincoln 40, if that’s approved?

        9. Matt Williams

          Sharla C. said . . . “Why is it so important for you that I fall squarely in one or another category?”

          Sharla’s question clearly identifies one of the key challenges that collaborative dialogue in Davis faces.  All too often the participants in dialogue about a challenge Davis faces insist that everyone categorize themselves in binary terms.  They insist that either you are for a position or against that position.  There isn’t room for middle ground.  The choices are either/or.  There is very little room for both/and approaches.

          Of course, polarization isn’t unique to Davis.  The Federal political dialogue follows the same model.  The specific issues are different, but the choices are still binary.

          It makes me yearn for a multi-party systems like Great Britain and Germany.  That would allow a Moderate Party to thrive. Our current two-party system rewards the extremes and fosters polarization.

  7. Don Shor

    The university should buy a thousand used FEMA trailers, cram them in on campus wherever they can provide the infrastructure, and rent them to students based on income and need.

      1. Howard P

        You have no sense of ‘history’ Keith [edited]… after WWII, many GI’s enrolled at UCD.  They lived in quonset huts… to provide emergency housing… they (quonsets) were still there, but unused for housing, when I came to Davis in ’72 (but think you’re a ‘newbie’ [edited])… on First Street… later became the recycling center for a couple of kids who would later form Davis Waste Removal… the Greyhound Station shared the site with them (in a trailer, from which I departed back home to the Bay Area while at UCD… now the site is known as Davis Commons/Aggie Village.

        Quonset huts were also ‘re-purposed’ for classrooms/offices @ UCD.  Also still existed thru the ’70’s… were designated as TB-XX.

        Rich Rifkin… if you are reading this, consider validating my ‘history’!

        1. John Hobbs

          I remember them, too. That was back when we had an affordable and engaged public university there to serve the people of California. I feel strongly that the “Over-charge the foreigners” mission is costing the people of California more that it’s worth.

    1. Sharla C.

      The University did have a plan, starting with the Russell Field development, to start building multi-use buildings, with housing on upper floors and classrooms and lecture halls on lower floors.  Then housing could be spread all over campus and not pushed off of the core campus.  Students could be housed right in their departments – a little here, a little there.

        1. Don Shor

          The university would be responsible for the condition of the grounds around them. I don’t really get why people have such prejudice against modular housing.

        2. Howard P

          Actually, Don… consider the irony… Rancho Yolo is a ‘precious treasure’, yet using modular/manufactured housing elsewhere in the City and/or on-campus is ‘anathema’.  In the short term, think it is exactly what should be considered…

          It fills an immediate need, and can be re-purposed/re-located as necessary/advised…

          When I was in college, we lived two to a room that is smaller than the room I write this from, no kitchen facilities (had to go to the ‘dining commons’, serving hundreds), and shared a 3 shower, one bathtub, four urinal, two toilet ‘bathroom’ with 30 other guys… no problemo… was all good… they had to kick me out of the dorms…

          The last two years shared a 2-bedroom/2-bath apartment with 3 other guys… again, no problemo.  Felt I was living ‘high on the hog’… very comfortable living place…

        3. Matt Williams

          Don, modular housing is by definition one-story.  What is needed is housing that is 4-10 stories, so that the footprint per resident is as small as possible.

          1. Don Shor

            The purpose of modular housing would be to deal with the present emergency and provide housing while the planning and construction process for permanent housing continues.
            For the record, there is two-story modular housing.

        4. Matt Williams

          A quick scan of the internet hits for two-story modular housing, none appear to be multi-family and none appear to be drive it in this year and pull it out two to three years from now.  All the models I pulled up appear to be SFRs that are intended to be permanent structures.  Are you aware of any two-story modular homes that are either multi-family oriented or in-now-and-out-later oriented?

      1. Eileen Samitz

        Sharla C.,

        The community submitted a map with well over 100 acres of UCD land on or near the core campus where high density on-campus student housing can be built for literally thousands of students. These many sites did not require using the Russell fields, which the students need for passive and active recreation.

        The students made it very clear that they did not want the Russell Fields developed. I find it sad that you continue to oppose the students on this issue and their desire for far more on-campus student housing. Why are you so against the students? So disappointing.

        1. Don Shor

          I think this sort of comment is really unhelpful, Eileen. People come to this issue from different perspectives. “Why are you so against the students?” is a distortion of the comments Sharla made.

        2. Eileen Samitz

          OK. So Sharla’s comments in support of development of Russell Fields is oppositional to the students position, which was to not develop Russell Fields. In addition, she does not support even having a public fundraising for student housing.  Still disappointing.

          1. Don Shor

            Russell Fields was an interesting issue to me. From the standpoint of the students who would have lived there, it would have been a fantastic place to live. I lived in Primero as a freshman, and I could walk to town, walk across to the University Mall and State Market. It was central and easy to get around from. Great location. From the perspective of the planners, it made perfect sense. They had no way to know that the residents across the street were so attached to the turf vista, or that some students were opposed to it. So in the face of that opposition, they agreed to move the housing.
            That means there will be more housing somewhere else, and that means they have moved the traffic issue from that site to some other point of egress into town. So there were tradeoffs, but the outspoken citizens prevailed.
            What it showed clearly is the very different perspectives UC planners bring to housing issues. I doubt they expected any opposition to that proposal. In fact, I’d guess UCD planners are feeling a little besieged these days. Nothing they do seems to meet with public approval.

        3. Sharla C.

          Eileen, speed reading again.  I was proposing mixed use buildings with housing and classroom space similar to what was planned at Russell Field, not that development of Russell Field should happen.  Your accusations in response to almost everything I’ve said here is a distortion of my words and intent.  I don’t think that I’m the only person that you treat this way.  It is a form of harrassment and makes me want to avoid people who do this.   I wish that you would read more carefully and consider how your responses might be received before responding.

    2. Matt Williams

      Don, single story housing structures are the most inefficient use of land possible . . . especially when that land is known to have some of the World’s finest prime agricultural soils.

      I can’t believe you put forward such a cynical suggestion. As Grok would say, “Have you lost your moral compass?”

      1. Eileen Samitz

        Sharla,

        I just re-read your comment from 12:06 pm yesterday and it did not seem clear that you weren’t advocating for the Russell Fields. If you are generalizing, that’s different. This is clarification that was needed, so please don’t make false accusations.

        But just out of curiosity what was your position on Russell Fields? Did you support developing it (even like your example) or did you not support development of the Russell Fields?

        1. Sharla C.

          Again, I suggest that you read your comments and try to imagine how your message might be received.  I have not gone out of my way to start or engage in an argument with you.  I think I have communicated the issues that I think are relevant to the discussion here.  If you want to try to discuss these ideas with me and can refrain from including comments that ridicule or are designed to demean my character, I would be more than willing to engage with you.

        2. Eileen Samitz

          Sharla,

          What? Nothing about my last comment at 11:45 AM was ridicule nor was it intended to be. Your comment and tone, however, was rather condescending, particularly when you start off by saying I am “speed reading”.  Quite the contrary, I went back and read your comment again, and read it the same way the second time. So my follow-up comment was explaining what I thought your comment was saying originally.

          So please calm down. This is a dialog and I am trying to understand your positions on the various issues related to this subject.

    3. Eileen Samitz

      Don,

      Sounds like a great idea and actually Santa Cruz has had a trailer park project and it has been very successful. There is a site south of I-80 just off of Old Davis Road which would be perfect rather than UCD’s suggestion for “administrative” uses.

  8. Sharla C.

    Maybe we should plan to manage the increased traffic to UCD – create more ways to traverse Davis from all directions smoothly and quickly, so we don’t feel the impact of commuters so much.

    1. Keith O

      Good idea, Merced’s congressman managed to get the funding for a Highwayy 99 connection to UC Merced simply by supplying a yes vote to Brown’s gas tax.  Maybe our congress reps should’ve played the same game.

    2. Eileen Samitz

      Sharla  C.,

      What would be more “smooth and quick” than on-campus housing for UCD’s own housing needs? I mean really?

      Also,it would be far better for sustainable planning as well. Sadly, it does not seen that you have that as a consideration.

  9. Greg Rowe

    I won’t presume to speak for Eileen or Dan Carson, but will add my own answers to the questions by Matt Williams.

    Dan, looking down the road, your comment prompts the same questions I asked Eileen:

    (1) If UCD actually achieved 90-40, would that meet your definition of “far more housing for students”? Answer: No, because the current draft LRDP has the goal of providing on-campus housing to just 90% of the projected increase of 6,337 students between 2017 and 2027.  This by pure coincidence works out to 40% of the projected total enrollment of 39,000 in 2027.  (This was admitted by campus planners in their March 7, 2017 presentation to the Yolo County Board of Supervisors; the video is available for viewing on the Board’s website.)  As I’ve shown before, housing 90% of the projected increase will do nothing to reduce the number of students now living off-campus in Davis, nor the 8 – 10% living on other cities such as Winters, Woodland, West Sac, Dixon, etc.

    (2) Why do you say “especially apartments”? Answer: On-campus apartments are preferable to dormitories because the latter connotes residential units designed and operated exclusively for freshmen (1st year) students, whereas apartments can be designed to allow the flexibility needed to accommodate any type of student, ranging from 1st year freshmen to upper class (junior and senior students) to grad students. As it is now, 1st year students occupy dorms, after which they are essentially evicted from campus to find off-campus housing on their own. On-campus apartments would do a better job of accommodating UCD’s long range operations as the number of enrolled students in each year of study changes through time in response to changing demographics.

    (3) If UCD actually achieved 100-50, would that meet your definition of “far more housing for students”?  Answer:  This would achieve the goals in the resolution adopted in December by the City Council.  For me, housing 100% of new enrollees and 50% of total enrollment in 2027 should be a minimum goal.  Given the tremendous growth projected by UCD, going far beyond 50% would be preferable.  And, UCD administrators have publicly hinted at the November Board of Regents meeting that 39,000 could in fact be exceeded, when it was said that 2027 enrollment will be something “just under 40,000.”

    (4) If your answers to both (1) and (3) are “no,” then what goal would meet your definition of “far more housing for students”?  Answer: see above.  Based on statements by UCD planners and administrators made to me and Colin Walsh, it appears that about 2,000 students today are living off-campus in master leased apartments.  Bob Segar told the City Council on 12-6-2016 that “UCD will return all master leased apartments to the market.”  UCD has not made committed to a date by which that will happen. I would suggest that in addition to the 50/100 plan advocated by the City, UCD should go beyond that and commit to constructing, at a minimum, the number of on-campus apartments needed to accommodate the 2,000 students now living in master-leased apartments. Of course, there is no guarantee that those 2,000 off-campus beds would necessarily be rented by non-students (i.e., working families, UCD faculty and staff, etc.), but at least the units would be available on the open market instead of being reserved exclusively for UCD students through arrangements with the UCD housing office.  Note: source of my 2,000 number.  The draft LRDP states that 9,500 students lived on campus during the 2015-16 baseline, or 29% enrollment. Hexter showed a slide to the Regents in November purporting to show that 11,500 students (33% of enrollment) are “serviced” by UCD.  When I asked Bob Segar during the public NOP scoping meeting in December for the reason behind the difference, he replied that Hexter used numbers provided by the UCD housing department, which includes master leased apartments.  Segar’s planning department does NOT count master leased apartments.

    1. Don Shor

      UCD should go beyond that and commit to constructing, at a minimum, the number of on-campus apartments needed to accommodate the 2,000 students now living in master-leased apartments

      1000 FEMA trailers would take care of that almost exactly.

      1. Keith O

        Trailer Park U, the laughingstock of the UC system.  Hey it just might fit, I’ve often heard UCD referred to as a cowtown with hicks.

        1. Don Shor

          I attended classes in the Hort department in modular buildings. They’re still using them. See if you can pick them out as you drive down Old Davis Rd.

    2. Matt Williams

      Thank you for the thoughtful response Greg. Your (1) is self explanatory.  Your (2) is interesting.  it seems to presume that no sophomores, juniors or seniors will want to live in a dorm.  My experience at Cornell was that quite a few students lived in dormitory accommodations all four years of their Undergraduate career.  I strongly agree with the logic in your (3).  I expect UCD to exceed 39,000 well before 2027.

      (4) is an interesting conundrum.  Arlington Farms and The Lexington and Adobe all were predominantly rented by students even before the recent move to Master Leases.  I can’t imagine they won’t be predominantly students once the Master Leases go away.

       

  10. Greg Rowe

    Don:  As Matt mentioned, one-story facilities (including trailers) do not make very good use of scarce and valuable land, but given the incredibly poor living conditions a number of UCD students described at the City Council meeting 2 weeks ago, such trailers would be a preferable option for many. And, I’ve been informed that UC Santa Cruz has temporarily closed a parking lot and installed trailers for students to live in while new campus apartment buildings are being constructed. In any case, it would be better than costly and time-consuming commuting to campus from other cities.

    1. Don Shor

      What those students described is an emergency situation. For an emergency, you take measures that get the job done quickly.
      There is no question that the rate of construction of new on-campus housing is going to be slower (by far, probably) than the rate of enrollment increase. The process is very time-consuming with the planning, EIR, approvals, bids, and actual implementation all meaning that actual new housing (as opposed to renovation/replacement work) is likely to be years away. As has been noted on the Vanguard many times, including in your own direct analysis, the 90/40 commitment only makes the present dismal rental situation get slightly worse instead of much worse. The 100/50 option, if they ever agree to it (they show no signs of doing so) preserves the current dismal status quo.
      So in a crisis, you do what you need to do.

      Chancellor May should be urged to take immediate action to house homeless students, and to direct his new administration to take immediate action to provide inexpensive housing for students who have serious financial hardship. That means you bring in trailers, or you build modular units, or you repurpose existing buildings — whatever you can to do provide housing NOW as the planning process grinds on.

      It is true that modular buildings have a tendency to become permanent, as in the Env Hort Dept where I attended classes. That’s fine up to a point. UCD has land planners who can ensure that the sites are appropriate and not displacing land that is of value for agricultural research. Much of the opposition to modular buildings is based on misperceptions that they are tacky, poorly constructed, etc. That is all false. It’s a robust industry that can provide high-quality housing at a very low cost per square foot.

      The main point is: there is a crisis. You respond to a crisis with action that mitigates the harm that is being done. You don’t spin your wheels in planning fights, lawsuits, and endless debates. Those can certainly continue. But we need to get people housed. Now.

    1. Howard P

      Sharla… please don’t “concede”… we need your ‘voice’, even if others disagree… but as several have pointed out, this comes from a ‘troll’, so  weigh that…

      Eileen has not “won”… in any shape or form… think the expression is ‘you go, girl’…

  11. Howard P

    Matt… manufactured/modular housing can be two stories, in CA, anyway… but definitely only a ‘stop-gap’ measure, to be sure…

    1. Howard P

      … for the current situation… nothing wrong with modular/manufactured housing… on re-reading, thought I should be clear on that… worked in a ‘modular’ space for 26 years of my career… we teasingly called each other ‘trailer trash’, but it actually, was all good…

  12. Todd Edelman

    How come Unitrans doesn’t provide transportation to and from surrounding cities, when e.g. all that’s currently available from Downtown Woodland to Memorial Union is a two-bus journey that takes 40 to 50 minutes and runs once an hour?

    1. Don Shor

      Because Unitrans is run by the university for the benefit of the university primarily. There’s been a long partnership with the city but it’s never involved surrounding cities. I suspect the other main reason is there is insufficient demand from Woodland or Dixon to Davis. Most people simply prefer to drive because it’s a short distance and it’s more convenient.

      1. Todd Edelman

        How is that all the people moving to Woodland create “insufficient demand”? There seems to be no relevant difference here if the goal is to get people to campus.  I would solve this with point-to-point buses with the stops on either end for people to get to by bike or another bus. County Fairgrounds to 113 at Russell can take less than ten minutes. This should be complemented by making parking in or near campus less interesting. Sure this is optimized for bike-bus-bike but fulfills ADA. (By the way, a patronizing virus in Vanguard IT Complex added  the sentence “Most people…”– seriously Don, you say a lot of well-informed and nice things but then ruin it too often… )

        1. Don Shor

          I would be very surprised if a transit system such as you describe would have sufficient ridership to pay for itself.
          “Most people prefer to drive” is accurate. Transit ridership almost everywhere is less than most. There’s only one city I’m aware of in the United States where it’s more than 50%, and that’s New York City. The only cities in California with high public transit ridership are dense urban areas like San Francisco (34%), Daly City (32%), Berkeley and Oakland (17%). If “most” is more than 50%, then most people do, in fact, prefer to drive. It’s not patronizing. It’s a fact.

        2. Todd Edelman

          Unitrans has nothing to do with pay for itself in the direct sense including farebox recovery. Am I missing something? Not sure how much it costs Unitrans but due to lower pay scale I am sure it’s less than a normal city bus with union-member career driver – in the latter farebox recovery is around 35 to 50% of costs in a few of the larger systems in the US.

      2. Howard P

        Don… Unitrans is owned/operated by ASUCD, not UCD.  Funded by student fees channelled directly to ASUCD, and grant funding passed to ASUCD via the City.

  13. Greg Rowe

    Don:  I don’t think that I could argue with your logic for addressing the short term crisis by temporarily bringing mobile homes (i.e., trailers) onto campus.  You make a compelling case that while the LRDP process and the attendant EIR is being carried out, more and more students will live in desperate situations.  Listening to those who spoke during the City Council discussion about the Sterling project two weeks ago, I was could not help wondering how the students can even find time, energy or motivation to study under such circumstances.  (Of course, I’m also struck in a completely opposite manner when I witness students gathered around a slab of plywood astride sawhorses in  the front yards of their “mini-dorms” on a Friday afternoon, drinking beer directly from pitchers. They evidently don’t have any worries about where they’ll spend the night, how they’ll pay for rent, or how they’ll afford their next meal.)   I certainly hope  incoming Chancellor May will take a serious look at the student housing situation and take some vigorous short-term actions, and then send the planners back to the drawing board for a better LRDP.

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