It was a month ago that the County Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a resolution calling for UC Davis to adopt a 100-50 plan.
Pointedly, the resolution noted, “UCD’s student housing goals have not been met, with UCD accommodating only about 29 percent of Davis-based students during 2015-16.”
The resolution called on UC Davis to revise their LRDP (Long Range Development Plan) to increase capacity “to accommodate a minimum of 50 percent of the UCD total student population in campus housing commensurate with UCD’s growth, no later than the 2027-2028 academic year and preferably well in advance of that date.” It also called on it to “accommodate 100 percent of campus enrollment growth including all new incoming students.”
While UC Davis did not oppose the resolution, UC Davis representative Marj Dickinson did state at the June 6 board meeting, “There is a housing crisis in Davis.” She added, “It did not happen overnight and it didn’t happen because of one single dorm. There is a challenge – the university is going to grow, we are under very strong encouragement from the legislature – a kind word – to increase our total enrollment of students.”
A letter dated July 7 from Interim Chancellor Ralph Hexter notes, “As a separate jurisdiction with a focus on countywide planning issues, I appreciate the interest from the Board of Supervisors in the important planning efforts for the future of UC Davis.”
For their part, the Interim Chancellor writes, “UC Davis continues to move aggressively to supply new housing for our students.”
Restating the letter to the county from early June, the Interim Chancellor states, “Currently, we are actively pursuing the construction, design and planning for housing over 3,000 additional students on the Davis campus. We are in the midst of one of the most, if not the most ambitious student housing construction program in the history of the campus.”
He added, “And we continue to examine options for increasing housing capacity beyond the current projection in our draft plan, consistent with the spirit of County Resolution 17-78. Within the upcoming 2017 LRDP EIR and consistent with the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act, UC Davis will consider all of the items specified in County Resolution 17-78.
“As we bring on new housing supply, we are also trying to meet goals for affordability and environmental quality,” he writes. “As you note in your June 19,2017 transmittal, our UC Davis staff were able to attend the Board of Supervisors meeting on June 6, 2017 and at that time, provided our latest LRDP update for the Board.”
The Interim Chancellor continues, “Previously, our planners provided an extended update and presentation to the Board on March 7,2017 and earlier provided an initial overview of our LRDP process to the Board on October 27,2015.
“The California Department of Finance recently issued a statewide population projection identifying Yolo County as the county with the highest rate of growth through the year 2060. As your June 19, 2017 letter indicates, Yolo County representatives are considering a new effort whereby Yolo County might convene a housing and transportation planning group with representation from local municipalities.”
Ralph Hexter concludes, “Such an effort, separate from the UC Davis 2017 LRDP EIR effort, could help this sub-region prepare for the high rates of expected population growth and potentially develop a better understanding of the evolving planning issues within our area. I have asked Bob Segar and Marj Dickinson from UC Davis to represent the campus on this subject.”
The letter does not address the concerns raised by the board, nor does it address any new ground.
During the June meeting, Supervisor Provenza said that the reason he brought this was “concern for the impacts of communities in Yolo County.” He said that in Davis, the lack of housing “really creates a situation where people can’t afford to live there. Where if they do live there, they are quadrupled up in very small apartments.
“It’s a very desperate housing situation,” he said. “Where students are being pushed further and further from campus.
“Fifty percent is a reasonable goal, most of the other universities have set that goal,” he said. “We actually do have to do what the other universities have done which is set that 50 percent as a number as an alternative in the EIR. Set that limit at 5 or 6 stories – which I think is the only way they are going to get to that number.”
As recently as last week, UC Davis would not commit to 50 percent of overall students and 100 percent of new students.
“We are trying to refine that to get beyond 90 to 100 percent,” Matt Dulcich told the board back in early June.
He noted, “Getting to 50 percent would be another 3900 (over and above the 6200 beds).” He simply stated at that time, we are “open to considering it.”
Over the weekend, Bob Segar, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Campus Planning and Community Resources, said that the RFPs (Request for Proposals) are “written with minimum targets” and that they are looking for “innovative ways that we can house more students.”
Mr. Segar didn’t dismiss the possibility of going to 50 percent of overall students housed on campus and 100 percent of new students housed, but said, “The way we got that number (90 percent) — and I don’t know if it even matters — was historically, 90 percent of students have lived either on campus or in town. So when we said we’ll take 90 percent, the intention of that statement was we’ll take all the growth.”
—David M. Greenwald reporting