Are We Underestimating Housing Needs?

A few weeks ago, the city council had a joint discussion with the Planning Commission which, among other things, discussed housing needs.

One of the ideas put forward was to pursue a healthy vacancy rate, which they set at five percent rather than the current rate of 0.2 percent (or 24 units).  One goal was “recover” single-family home rentals by five to 10 percent  – 242 to 485 of the 4850 single-family homes that are currently being rented.

The city staff calculated that it would take about 816 to 1059 new apartments to meet existing needs.  The vacancy rate of five percent would represent about 574 more apartments.  For some that was a low number, as they believe existing demand to be a good deal higher than that.

And that existing need “does not account for general community growth or anticipated demands on city units associated with UC Davis enrollment growth.”

A hypothetical 2021-29 RHNA (Regional Housing Needs Assessment) was generated at 1066 total units.

Following yesterday’s discussion of the housing market, Dave Taormino, a real estate broker as well as a developer, forwarded to the Vanguard his letter to council and the Planning Commission regarding the projected housing needs.

He calls it his view “of the realistic housing needs for the City in the next SACOG period.”

Part of the problem, he argues, is that SACOG (Sacramento Area Council of Governments) does not take account of all needs.

For example, “SACOG assigns ALL UC Davis student, faculty and staff population increases entirely to UC Davis or unincorporated Yolo County and nothing to the City of Davis and therefore excludes
those increases from Davis’ housing allocation.”

Second, he points out, “Yolo County currently, believe it or not, has zoned land in Dunnigan, Madison, Esparto, and Knights Landing that could accommodate building homes and apartments for UC Davis students, faculty and staff.  In the next year or two when the SACOG period starts for Yolo County, zoned land in Dunnigan and Knights Landing is intended to be substantially reduced according to the County Planning Department.

“Essentially SACOG doesn’t consider whether the zoned areas in Yolo County are feasible and practical for UC Davis related individuals only, that zoned land exists on paper which perspective also applies to Davis.”

Mr. Taormino writes, “From all appearances much of the student housing need will be accommodated on campus and perhaps via a modified Nishi, but that leaves 2,500 faculty and staff and the existing apartment shortage left to Davis to provide along with its other internally generated population increases.”

He adds, “Are the incoming UC Davis faculty, staff and students to be part of the ‘Davis Community’ or not?  If not, then the City’s leadership should articulate and publicize its reasons and decision.

“If so, then Davis should develop a plan of action that actually provides housing opportunities for students as well as faculty and staff somewhere; in the City, on campus or in concert with some other city nearby.”

Here is his chart:



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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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76 Comments

  1. Mark West

    To get a handle on the pent up demand for apartments, you would really need to survey the residents of the 4850 single family homes that are currently being rented to find out the percentage of homes that are rented by family units compared to multiple individuals (students, young workers, etc.). If 50% of those homes are rented to groups of individuals, with 4-5 per home, you are looking at roughly another 11,000 residents who might prefer an apartment if it were available. Moving those hypothetical 11,000 residents to apartments would then free up 2400 single family homes for rental or sale to family units.

    1. Ron

      It’s unlikely that those currently sharing a rental house would suddenly move into a much higher-cost apartment.  (Especially for houses that are conveniently located, near campus and downtown.)

      On a related note, the living situation at Sterling (and possibly Lincoln 40) is not going to be much different than sharing a house.  (Rent “by-the-bedroom”, sharing the unit with other non-family members.)

      1. David Greenwald

        In general, I think it’s better to have data rather than speculation.  Anecdotally, I’ve talked to a lot of students who do not like cramping into a crowded house and would prefer an apartment.

        1. Ron

          David:  All of this is speculation – not just my comment.  I would imagine that almost anyone would say that they “prefer” an apartment, over a “crowded” house.  (That is, until they see how much more rent they’ll have to pay to move into a brand-new apartment, which may not be as conveniently located as a less-expensive rental house located near campus and downtown.)

          Difficult to see how one would avoid “crowding” into a brand-new apartment, while simultaneously keeping rents low for each occupant.

          If one is interested in seeing if a new apartment complex “causes” renters to move, then one could possibly study the origins of the people who ultimately move into Sterling.

          1. David Greenwald

            The students are not naive about cost. But the reality is that the apartment shortage has pushed more rentals into the neighborhoods and at great cost to the availability of single family homes not to mention noise and nuisance problems for neighbors. But hey, let’s keep avoiding trying to address these problems.

        2. Ron

          For that matter, the “much-vaunted” vacancy rate doesn’t even include the rate for rental houses (which is likely different than the apartment vacancy rate).

          I suspect that the conversion of older houses (near campus and downtown) to rentals is essentially an unstoppable force. That is, until someone comes along and demolishes those houses, to replace with larger rental units, and higher rents. (For example, the “B-street” proposal.)

          1. David Greenwald

            As reported, the city has identified 4850 units of single family home rentals and they are hoping to have a vacancy of 242 to 485 units.

        3. Ron

          David:  As noted, the city doesn’t even know the current “vacancy rate” for single-family houses (or rooms within those houses).

          Nor do they know if anyone would “vacate” those houses (or rooms within those houses) if new apartments (e.g., in addition to Sterling, and possibly Lincoln 40) are built. That’s a THEORY, and may have no basis in reality, for the most part.

          It doesn’t seem likely that the city can (or even “should”) try to achieve a specific vacancy rate for single-family houses or apartments.  (By the way, is the city planning to direct that excess houses be “torn down”, if more than 485 of them are vacant?) How is the city planning to maintain 242-485 privately-owned, vacant houses, when some might also be sold and converted back to owner-occupied? (Or, for that matter, demolished and converted as with the “B-street” proposal?)

          What a stupid idea.

          Nor has UCD completed its LRDP process, which is truly the “elephant in the room”. That’s where energy should be focused at this point.

          1. David Greenwald

            “As noted, the city doesn’t even know the current “vacancy rate” for single-family houses (or rooms within those houses).”

            How do you know that? I don’t get that impression

          2. David Greenwald

            “How is the city planning to maintain 242-485 privately-owned, vacant houses, when some might also be sold and converted back to owner-occupied?”

            Obviously they’re not planning to maintain anything. Their goal is to have supply that exceeds demand to free up that supply and create a more healthy market.

          3. David Greenwald

            “Nor has UCD completed its LRDP process, which is truly the “elephant in the room”. That’s where energy should be focused at this point.”

            They have put a lot of effort into that, but they can focus in more areas than one. This was simply a discussion of goals at a meeting.

      2. Richard McCann

        Ron, more housing units would lead to reduced rents, which would make those additional units more affordable to those students.  It’s the lack of housing supply that is leading to increase in “mini-dorms.” And note that much of the increased demand calculated here is from non-students who will not be doubling and tripling up.

        And are you proposing that homeowners near the campus should be expected to vacate so UCD student tenants can take their place? The point is that we now have an artificial cap on extensive new housing in the city that is creating a housing crisis. Don’t pretend that somehow this is an outside force that we have no control over, or that market forces are being allowed to run freely. And no one is proposing that there will be some sort of set aside of additional rental units. This is all an assessment of how the housing market in Davis should change to accommodate the different trends at work.

        1. Ron

          Richard:  It would take a LOT of increased housing to make ANY difference regarding rents.  I sincerely doubt that Davis will allow that to occur, regardless of what I think as an individual commenter on the Vanguard.

          There’s a lot of other costs related to construction, which have nothing to do with “slow-growth” policies.  (If you don’t believe that, check out housing and rental prices in surrounding areas, where there are much fewer growth controls.)  (Of course, there is some difference in costs in surrounding communities, which helps alleviate and control costs in Davis.)

          Bottom-line is that California’s metropolitan areas are becoming more expensive than some are willing to (or can) pay. (That’s why there’s Affordable housing programs.)

          Please don’t try to extrapolate what you believe my “suggestions” are, regarding homeowners near the campus.  However, I do believe that the forces which encourage rental houses (and complete tear-downs) near campus and downtown are somewhat unstoppable, for reasons I’ve already provided.

           

  2. Mark West

    Ron: July 27, 2017 at 9:49 am http://www.davisvanguard.org/2017/07/commentary-pressure-going-mount-davis-housing-market/

    “The “city” is not in need of more apartment and rental housing.”

     

    I don’t think anyone who would say the above has any legitimacy in discussing housing needs in Davis. That won’t stop him from continuing to bloviate on the subject, however (have at it, Ron).

    This is really a simple problem of economics. If you create an artificial housing shortage, as we have in Davis, you create a number of adverse impacts for the City’s residents. Increasing the supply of apartments will lead to adjustments in how the available rental units in town are utilized (along with an adjustment in their rents). It won’t happen overnight, but as the number of available apartments increase, the pressure for students to rent single family homes will abate, freeing those spaces up for family groups.

    My point above is that for us to fully understand the extent of the shortage, we need to collect the data, and then I presented a hypothetical example to demonstrate the potential significance. Ron doesn’t like data because it tends to negate his firmly held opinions.

     

    1. Ron

      Mark:  Here is the full quote:

      The “city” is not in need of more apartment and rental housing.

      Seems like students are still not planning to confront UCD, regarding their plans.  (And, are instead expecting the city to react.)  Wonder how long that strategy will work.

      I put quotes around the word “city” for a reason. My primary point is that students are going to have to step up more, to encourage UCD to provide sufficient housing. (Many have found the time to engage in lots of other protests.)

      Of course, you have continually belittled and downplayed efforts by others who have been involved with encouraging housing on-campus.  So, I’m not sure that you’re one to be lecturing others regarding “legitimacy”.

      Perhaps you should continue focusing your efforts on blocking parking lots for key hardware stores, while simultaneously touting “private-property” rights and deriding “noisy neighbors” that “interfere with those supposed rights.

    2. David Greenwald

      What is interesting is that on one hand, he argues we don’t know the data (“As noted, the city doesn’t even know the current “vacancy rate” for single-family houses (or rooms within those houses) and on the other hand he argues that we already know the answer and that we don’t need more apartment and rental housing (““The “city” is not in need of more apartment and rental housing.””). Which is it?

      1. Ron

        David:  The “reason” has to do with the definition of a “city”.

        If you’re arguing in general that specific groups of people (e.g., students) have a need for housing, then that would be accurate. (That’s why some of us are continuing to focus efforts on the LRDP.)

        Of course, anyone currently living in the city (by definition) already has housing of some type.

        Seems like you’re arguing to “build our way” to affordability. (The classic pro-development argument, leading to endless development and sprawl.)

      2. Mark West

        “Which is it?”

        Ron will argue both sides of an argument and does so regularly. There is no consistency in his arguments, only a consistency in his posting pattern and the frequency of his mischaracterizing of other people’s positions (plus bringing up subjects of no relevance in order to fit his needs). When he has nothing cogent to add to the conversation, he attacks others with false statements and innuendo. The funniest part is when no one will engage with him, he simply argues with himself.

        The real question here, David, is why is he allowed to continue posting anonymously when he consistently violates your stated guidelines? I don’t care to silence his voice, but if he is going to act as he does, his comments should be posted under his real name (first and last).

         

         

         

         

        1. Ron

          Mark:  Simply a trolling statement.  Not worth responding to, further.

          This is why some lose interest in commenting, on the Vanguard. Why waste time arguing with people who don’t matter, and are really only interested in attacking others who “get in the way” of their agenda?

        2. Ron

          Mark:  It depends upon the comment, and has nothing to do with one who abides by the Vanguard’s policies. If you think that it’s not worth responding to someone who does so, then you’re free to make that choice. (But, if one chooses to engage, it’s probably easier and more tempting to attack the “messenger”, regardless. Especially if one runs out of logical arguments.)

        3. Richard McCann

          David, I agree with Mark’s sentiment on this issue. I have suggested an alternative approach, such as limiting the number of anonymous posts per month. An anonymous poster can decide on what issues anonymity is important, and which are not. No one should be given carte blanche on all issues.

        4. Keith O

          David, I agree with Mark’s sentiment on this issue. I have suggested an alternative approach, such as limiting the number of anonymous posts per month. An anonymous poster can decide on what issues anonymity is important, and which are not. No one should be given carte blanche on all issues.

          LOL, everyone on here is allowed carte blanche on all issues.  You too can post until the cows come home and nobody will stop you.

      3. David Greenwald

        “Seems like you’re arguing to “build our way” to affordability. (The classic pro-development argument, leading to endless development and sprawl.)”

        Seems like there is a reasonable middle ground between 0.2 percent vacancy and endless development and sprawl.

        1. Ron

          It’s illogical to advocate for a “partial” accommodation of the potential housing market.  As long as there are any restrictions on growth/development, there will always be those who believe that they were “prevented” from living in a given area (or, that it could have at least been “cheaper”).

          And again, that 0.2 vacancy rate does not account for rental houses. (I assume it also doesn’t account for on-campus housing.) (Not to mention surrounding areas/communities.)

          Suggest that you re-focus your articles on the LRDP, as you had begun to do so a few weeks ago. That’s the “elephant in the room”, which requires attention.

        2. David Greenwald

          “It’s illogical to advocate for a “partial” accommodation of the potential housing market.  As long as there are any restrictions on growth/development, there will always be those who believe that they were “prevented” from living in a given area (or, that it could have at least been “cheaper”).”

          That’s a bit of sleight of hand there.

  3. Ron

    At some point, the city is going to have to decide if they want to continue to “jump” (and ask “how high”?) whenever UCD changes its plans.

    There’s plenty of development-minded individuals who are willing to accommodate “how high” (and “how wide”), without caring about the impacts on current residents, the city as a whole, and the city’s finances.

    Ever wonder why UCD is reluctant to take on the costs and responsibilities of housing on-campus?  (And, despite having 5,300 acres on campus, would prefer to dump those costs and responsibilities on the city?)

    1. Richard McCann

      Ron, which “city” will be deciding to act?

      You seem to be arguing that current “city” residents should be allowed to close the gates behind them and say “no more.” That’s the ultimate in exclusionary polices, and in fact, is prohibited under state law. This isn’t just a “student-only” housing crisis–it extends across the UCD workforce and others who live in this community or would like to live here. The city legally has to decide how to accommodate growth in population. Your position is elitist and tribal.

      As for impacts on city finances, competent citizen commission members have found that the city needs a combination of business and residential growth to become fiscally solvent.

      And I pointed this out to Stan Forbes a decade ago–the only real solution to affordable housing is to increase the supply of housing. (One could argue that raising the lower strata of incomes could also alleviate this, but the city has no control over that.) That probably means more development, but if we’re smart about it, we can do it right this time, avoiding past mistakes.

      (And note that UCD is an educational institution, not a social services, housing and public safety agency. We call the latter agency a “city”.)

       

    2. Ron

      Richard:

      The city of Davis.

      You’re using the same old arguments that have been trotted out for some time, now.  Davis isn’t “excluding” anybody, and is in fact growing quite rapidly, still.  Davis is meeting (and exceeding) its fair share growth requirements, administered by SACOG.  In addition, Davis has an Affordable housing program, with some rather generous upper-income limits.

      I strongly disagree that ANY city must forever respond to all potential market demand.  There’s plenty of cities and areas around that do just that (e.g., Natomas, Elk Grove, etc.).   Is that your “solution”?

       

  4. David Greenwald

    UC Davis isn’t the only driver here and the city has hardly “jumped” – prior to Sterling, what was the last market rate student housing that was approved?  It was at least a decade ago.

    1. Ron

      David:  By that line of reasoning, there’s always going to be some “category” which you believe that the city is not fulfilling.  (By the way, Sterling is not a “normal” market rate apartment complex.  The “rent-by-the-room” design ensures that it will cater almost entirely to students.  Something that is better-suited for campus.)

  5. Rebecca Young

    “He adds, “Are the incoming UC Davis faculty, staff and students to be part of the ‘Davis Community’ or not?  If not, then the City’s leadership should articulate and publicize its reasons and decision.”

    This quote sums it up perfectly. Who gets to live here? The current decisions quite clearly say that new families are not welcome to join the Davis community. The problem is, we exist. We are here. The University continuous to hire new faculty and staff.

    If the old-guard would like to effectively prohibit the young and new and non-wealthy from living here, I would very much like to hear an articulation of this.

    That way, when highways 113 and 80 are consistently gridlocked and the university can no longer recruit top job candidates, we will at least know why.

    I have never understood how there can be such disdain for the university that defines the town. With out UC Davis, the town of Davis would be no different from Dixon or Winters. It is not the Universities job to build housing for its faculty and staff. The employer provided housing model ended many decades ago. When will Davis realize that the university is part of what makes it great and that denying new-comers a place to live is going to hurt the city?

    1. Ron

      Rebecca:  “The problem is, we exist. We are here. The University continuous to hire new faculty and staff.”

      With all due respect, then you must have a place to live.  (Perhaps at the Cannery, which is still under construction?  Or, maybe you’re considering Chiles Ranch, or West Village?)

      Regarding what UCD does, why not take up the concern with them (e.g., if you feel that West Village won’t be sufficient for employees)?

      Regarding “young vs. old”, or “wealthy vs. non-wealthy”,  I NEVER made such arguments, regardless of my age or lack-of wealth. What a divisive allegation to bring up.

      1. Rebecca Young

        I am not taking the issue up with UC Davis because I do not believe that it is their responsibility to house their faculty and staff.

        The faculty and staff housing in West Village will help, but it is going to be a small number of units compared to the 2500 that are estimated to be needed.

        I understand that you don’t directly don’t make arguments about young vs old and wealthy vs. non-wealthy. I am stating that the real estate and rental markets do exclude those who are not-wealthy and don’t own a house from living in Davis.

        1. Ron

          Rebecca:  I’d strongly disagree with your opinion that UCD is not responsible for the needs that it is creating.  Do you feel the same way regarding their (lack-of) adequate plans to house students (e.g., resulting from their increased pursuit of International students, who can pay more than $40K per year to attend)?

          Regarding new housing in the city (as an alternative to West Village), is the Cannery not suitable for you?  Chiles Ranch?  Various other developments (“new” and “pre-owned”)?  I doubt that the situation will get much better than it is right now (in terms of new developments).  However, prices may start leveling off and/or dropping.  Real estate is always cyclical in nature – and we’ve been in an upward trend for several years, already.

          Again, there are Affordable housing programs in place, to assist those in need. Some have relatively generous upper-income limits.

           

          1. David Greenwald

            One thing I think we do have to figure out – is it to Davis’ advantage to have in effect a city of 10,000 right outside the city limits but whose residents are not immediately connected to the city? I’ve seen this elsewhere and I think it’s too our detriment, but in effect, that’s what you are proposing.

        2. Ron

          David:  Some might argue that it’s also not good to have a situation in which apartment-dwellers aren’t subject to a proportional amount of taxes and fees, compared to single-family dwellers/owners.

        3. Mark West

          “is it to Davis’ advantage to have in effect a city of 10,000 right outside the city limits but whose residents are not immediately connected to the city?”

          All of those people will use City services, but will not be paying property taxes (and parcel taxes) to fund them. They will also be using the School District’s services, but will not be paying property taxes to help fund them either. This is what I have been arguing for some time now, that having housing on campus makes the City more expensive for City residents since we are the ones paying for the services that these extra folks are utilizing. This is especially true for faculty, staff, and graduate students, all of whom often come with families.

           

        4. Ron

          Mark:  Yeah, you’ve been arguing that for some time, but it doesn’t mean that it’s any more accurate than the other times you’ve posted it.

          Most college students living on campus don’t have children attending Davis schools.  The campus pays for most costs associated with campus housing, including police, fire, water/sewer, etc.)  We’ve been over this too many times to count, and it’s frankly become boring.

          You already know that housing is (generally) a money-loser, for cities.  (Probably even more so for apartment complexes, which don’t pay a proportional share of parcel taxes or development fees.)

          UCD has 5,300 acres, and is still reluctant to build sufficient housing. That ought to tell you something about costs and responsibilities associated with housing.

        5. Ron

          I have no idea which 10,000 folks you are referring to.  But frankly, I’m losing interest in arguing with you, Mark, and others. Maybe you could all get together, and have a massive “agreement” party? (No one there to disrupt illogical arguments.)

          Here’s what I posted above, in case you (somehow) missed it the first time (even though you already/previously responded to it):

          “Some might argue that it’s also not good to have a situation in which apartment-dwellers aren’t subject to a proportional amount of taxes and fees, compared to single-family dwellers/owners.”

        6. David Greenwald

          Let’s do some math:

          6000 or so is what UCD is committing to build

          4000 or so is what a 100/50 plan would look like above the original 6000

          2500 is the faculty/ staff that we are talking about that you now say is also UCD responsibility

          Add that up and you get more than 10,000 housed on campus, probably a lot near and around West Village which is the start of a city outside of the city that is unconnected to the city.

           

        7. Ron

          David:  I think you’ve got this wrong.  Another commenter said that UCD had “no” responsibilities, regarding faculty and staff (despite UCD’s plans for faculty/staff housing at West Village).

          But, the larger issue is student housing (and the cascading impacts that it has on the entire housing market), resulting largely from UCD’s decision to pursue International students who can pay more than $40K/year, for tuition. (I still wonder how long that market can be “milked”, before it runs dry.)

        8. Ron

          David:  You’re the one who apparently has a theory.

          I’ve already provided information regarding the “alternative” (in which apartment dwellers are not subject to the same costs and fees as single-family dwellers).

        9. Ron

          David:  I’m not avoiding it.  I’m not sure I have a specific response to such a broad question.

          Why are you bringing it up?  Do you have some theory you’d like to share?

        10. Ron

          Also, why are you bringing up some type of concern now, after all of your (earlier) advocacy regarding increasing the amount of housing on campus?

          Is 6,000 additional people housed on campus “o.k.”, but you’ve suddenly discovered some reason that you no longer think that 10,000 is (also) “o.k.”? (You know, “somewhere” on that 5,300-acre site.)

          Or, are you just trying to stretch out this conversation into nonsense land?  (I think that ship has already sailed, some time ago.) 🙂

  6. Rebecca Young

    Ron: I do feel like UC Davis has a responsibility to house more of its students. I do not think that it is has a responsibility to house its faculty and staff, who are likely to live in Davis long term.

    The affordable housing programs are great. But the demand far exceeds the available units.

    I would love to live at any of the housing developments that you have listed, but it just isn’t affordable, even for families with an income higher than the city’s median. The minimum price for Chiles Ranch is the ‘high 500s’ and the Cannery is much higher than that.

    A quick google search told me that the median home price is $619,000 and the median household income is $57,454. Do the math. That is why the Davis excludes new-comers who are not wealthy.

    1. Ron

      Rebecca:  I realize that there are limitations regarding the Affordable housing program, but I am not intimately familiar with them.  The other day, another commenter confirmed that an individual making $60K/year would qualify for one such program.

      I didn’t realize that housing prices for Chiles Ranch had already been established.  (I understood that Chiles Ranch is intended to be workforce housing.)

      How about West Village?

      Of course, federally-backed loan programs can help first-time homebuyers, in particular.

      In any case, I sincerely doubt that Davis will “build its way” toward significantly cheaper housing (regardless of what I think).  However, it does seem like we are headed toward some kind of market correction.

      I do understand that (in general), salaries haven’t kept pace with the increased cost of housing throughout California.  (That’s been going on for some time.) I’m originally from a more-expensive Bay Area town, and was effectively “priced out” years ago. (I harbor no resentment, and never expected that town to engage in poor planning to accommodate people like me. Poor planning includes endless sprawl, and density that can’t be reasonably supported.)

       

      1. Rebecca Young

        My information about Chiles ranch is just what I saw on a sign advertising the new housing. I am not sure how accurate it is. West Village family housing doesn’t exist yet, and when it is built the owners will be selected in a lottery system and would be required to leave their house if they lost their University employment. Like I said, the affordable housing program is great, but there is much much more demand than units. A family with a median income could qualify, but there would be a very long or impossible wait. Federally-backed loan programs can help first time home-buyers by reducing the required down-payment, but that is no help for the monthly mortgage payment.

        I completely understand that Davis is not an exception to the overall housing crisis that is happening all around the state. But, the difference between Davis and many of the Bay Area cities is that Davis has the physical room to grow. I do not support sprawl, but as Dave said, there is a lot of room in  between a 0.2% vacancy rate and sprawl. I think that the logical solution is dense, affordable, well-planned, housing on annexed farm land next to the city. There has got to be a happy in-between place between refusing to annex any land and creating an artificial housing crisis of this magnitude. Davis is at no risk of becoming Elk Grove.

        Shouldn’t the goal be to reach the equilibrium between availability and sprawl?

        1. Ron

          Rebecca:  The vacancy rate is driven almost entirely by UCD.  No – I don’t think the city should continually “jump” whenever UCD decides to pursue more profitable students.  (I have previously posted several articles regarding state audits, which criticize this approach as unnecessary and wasteful.)

          In response, I wouldn’t describe a choice by the city to save adjacent farmland as an “artificial” housing crisis.

           

          1. Don Shor

            The vacancy rate is driven almost entirely by UCD.

            Every aspect of the Davis housing market is driven almost entirely by UCD. Every aspect of the city’s economy is driven almost entirely by UCD.

        2. Ron

          Nor do I think that sacrificing additional farmland will make ANY significant difference regarding the cost of housing.

          The only entity that can legally reserve housing for populations associated with UCD is UCD itself.

           

          1. Don Shor

            sacrificing additional farmland

            Farmland varies in quality and conservation of prime agricultural land is a specific goal of both the county and the city. If we get to the point of annexation for development, you’d be looking at the heavier-soil areas such as north of the Covell Village site, parts of Covell Village site itself, the land around the hospital, and land along Hwy 113. Seems to me we’re a long way from that consideration, but conserving prime ag land is a value expressed in the county general plan, and I believe also in the city’s general plan.

  7. Eileen Samitz

    Rebecca,

    What is important to understand is that UCD’s massive negligence in providing the massive need for on-campus housing, like the other UC’s are, is the biggest problem responsible driving up the cost of housing in Davis, rental or ownership. UCD’s negligence is the main issue causing the cascade of housing problems, not only for Davis, but now for surrounding cities like Woodland, Winters, Dixon and West Sacramento. UCD’s inaction and irresponsibility to provide on-campus housing needed is where your concerns should be directed.

  8. Rebecca Young

    I agree with you that UC Davis should build more student housing for undergraduates. Most (or all?) people here agree with that. I use every opportunity to vocalize this to the University. But all of my comments have been directed towards the housing needs of UC Davis’ work-force, which this article highlights.

    1. Eileen Samitz

      Rebecca,

      I appreciate that you understand that a major part of the housing concerns is UCD’s lack of action to produce the on-campus housing needs they were supposed to, but have failed to provide so far for their own growth for almost three decades. To make matters worse, they have also significantly increased their student population, growth, including adding 4,500 non-residents to extract triple tuition from them, without building at least 50% on campus housing to accommodate so much student population growth, like the other UC campus’ have committed to.

      The other UC campuses are stepping up, so why not UCD which is the largest campus with over 5,300 acres, but historically has has provide the least amount of student housing? It is inexcusable and UCD has to be held accountable for their negligence and the impacts they are causing their students, faculty, staff as well as the Davis community and surrounding cities like Woodland, Winters, Dixon and West Sacramento.

      So the bottom line is that UCD has continued to fail to provide the housing needs for their own students which is causing enormous impacts and fallout. UCD’s stalling and inaction to provide the needed on-campus housing for their own needs is an enormous disservice to their students as well to the Davis community and neighboring cities. In turn, UCD’s lack of on-campus housing is directly causing enormous pressure and impacts on the City of Davis’ housing which is driving up housing costs, as well as pushing local workers and families out of Davis housing.

      It is unfair and disgraceful that UCD continues to under-serve its students, faculty, and staff, by under-planning, and clearly trying to avoid building the far more on-campus student housing needed to help resolve the housing needs in Davis.

  9. Rebecca Young

    Eileen, I completely agree with you! I see what an enormous disservice UC Davis is doing to its students, employees and community by not providing housing. This is 100% apparent and completely inexcusable. But there are two entities that have the power to fix this, one is the University, and one is the city of Davis. I believe that the University should house the students and the city should (at least try) to ensure that there is available housing for the workforce of Davis. We agree that this is a massive problem. But I’m sick of the commentary being on blaming the University when the city is not doing nearly enough to help the housing shortage.

    I just want to see the end of blame game. We have a major housing shortage. The solution is to build more housing. The university should do it and the city should do it. The assigning of blame is not productive.

    If anyone knows of an effective way to communicate these concerns to the University, I would love to know the details. Other than the occasional survey or working group I do not. I have made inquiries at the staff senate, the student senate and the LRDP and have been unsuccessful.

    1. Ron

      Rebecca:  “I believe that the University should house the students and the city should (at least try) to ensure that there is available housing for the workforce of Davis. We agree that this is a massive problem. But I’m sick of the commentary being on blaming the University when the city is not doing nearly enough to help the housing shortage.”

      In light of all of the developments under construction or imminently-planned within the city – including Sterling, which could have (and should have) been designed to accommodate workforce housing, I fail to understand comments such as the quote above.

      I have made inquiries at the staff senate, the student senate and the LRDP and have been unsuccessful.”

      I thank you for your efforts so far, and would note that the LRDP is still in draft form. However, I’m guessing that Eileen would welcome your continued involvement. (Hopefully, she’ll see your comment and note your interest.)

    2. Don Shor

      If anyone knows of an effective way to communicate these concerns to the University, I would love to know the details.

      The outreach period is over, but:
      “Your views and comments on how the project may affect the environment, and what potential environmental impacts the EIR should consider, are welcomed. Please send your written or electronic responses, with contact information for your agency or yourself, to the following address:

      Matt Dulcich, AICP
      Assistant Director of Environmental Planning
      Campus Planning and Environmental Stewardship
      University of California, One Shields Avenue
      Davis, CA 95616

      environreview@ucdavis.edu

      However, the EIR will be posted this fall and finalized this winter. So the time for your input may well be past.

    3. Eileen Samitz

      Rebecca,

      Again, my appreciation that you recognize UCD’s responsibility in this situation. But my point is not about blame but is about explaining that the solution to this housing situation starts with UCD stepping up to provide far more on-campus housing for its own housing needs. It is a domino effect that UCD’s enormous lack of on-campus housing transfers those impacts onto the City and surrounding cities.

      UCD is currently pushing 71% of its 35,000+ students off-campus which is the biggest driver of the housing problem. This is inexcusable particularly since UCD has ove 5,300 acres and has historically has provided the least amount of on-campus housing of the UC’s. UCD needs to stop its negligent behavior regarding student housing and they need to step-up now during their UCD LRDP update to provide far more on-campus housing.

    4. Rebecca Young

      Ron, it is a matter of scale. This article estimated 6100 more units will be needed in the future. Sterling is the largest housing project happening now and it is 198 units. The city is not doing enough.

      1. Ron

        Rebecca:  Not sure if your comment was actually directed to me, or Eileen.  But, I think you’re inappropriately “mixing” units and bedrooms.  Each bedroom can house at least one occupant.

        In any case, you have it backwards.  UCD is not doing enough to offset the demand that it’s creating.  You’re barking up the wrong tree.

        I strongly suspect that many faculty and staff members will end up in one of the newer developments on the South side of Woodland (under construction, and/or planned), regardless of what’s built on campus or in Davis. (And, they’ll still be able to send their kids to Davis schools, without being subject to the “extra” school district parcel tax that homeowners in Davis have to pay – regardless of whether or not they have kids.)

        On a somewhat related note, did you read the article I posted below, regarding a “bubble” in college enrollment (across the country), which is now starting to burst?

  10. Ron

    Interesting article regarding factors contributing to an overall decline, in college enrollment.

    I’ve read other articles, which state that universities across the country are (also) pursuing (competing for) International students. (How long can that continue to be the “answer” for universities?)

    “Pop – goes the bubble.”

    http://www.msn.com/en-us/money/careersandeducation/this-is-the-way-the-college-bubble-ends/ar-AAoRFT9?li=AA4Zjn&ocid=spartandhp

      1. Ron

        Don: That was certainly a quick response . Did you even have time to read the article?

        We know what UCD “hopes” enrollment will be, in the next few years. Not sure what they hope for beyond that.

        1. Ron

          And, any housing that is built (on-campus, or off) will likely take a few years.

          In the long term, can you imagine what a disaster it would be for towns like Davis, if there’s a real shift in demand for this type of (ever-more-costly) education?

        2. Ron

          David:  The article also describes some fundamental (perhaps permanent) changes in society (such as lower birth rates, compared to prior years). The article describes this as something akin to a leaking balloon. It’s affecting private universities more, at this point. However, it’s also impacting enrollment at public universities.

          I recall previously posting articles which showed that enrollment was already DROPPING in the UC system (for California residents), prior to the time that many became concerned about UC’s preference for International students.  (That’s when the legislature gave more money to UC, to purposefully/slightly increase the number of students from California.)

          This isn’t the only article dealing with the “college bubble”.  However, I just happened upon it, today.

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