Developer Responds to Reader Comments on West Davis Active Community

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By Dave Taormino

I am responding to questions raised by your readers regarding the recent article about the West Davis Active Adult Community.

The percentage of homes dedicated to those over 55 years versus younger buyers:

Federal and state law sets a minimum of 80% for residents over 55 years of age.  Most active adult communities are 100%.  Our 20% unrestricted is based on the philosophy that Davis residents enjoy neighborhoods that have active adults, seniors and families with children.  This is the current environment for most and the typical neighborhood where they want to live.  It’s the size and design of their home they primarily want to change.

We’ve expanded our approach beyond housing to increase the daily mixture of ages in the neighborhood.  Our Activity and Wellness Center has a privately-operated health club with a pool available to all West Davis residents.  There is no health club currently in West Davis with the closest one on Pole Line Road creating traffic on East Covell.  The restaurant has a separate coffee and juice bar area open to all Davis residents.  We intend to create a mini Starbuck’s / Mishka’s experience, so there are reasons to leave your home and come to a close by place where there’s activity.  As an active adult, your neighbors may be predominantly older, but you will be in daily contact with people of all ages.  This concept provides significant intellectual and social benefits as we age.

Our focus is exclusively on providing current Davis residents and their families a home in our neighborhood.

We have two groups in Davis that our neighborhood is designed to serve:

Group 1 (largest group): Current Davis active adults and seniors who want to right size or downsize.   While most will be downsizing, some will make a lateral move in square footage into a home that’s highly energy efficient, net-zero electric and designed for their needs as they age with minimal ongoing home and yard maintenance.

Group 2: Parents of current Davis residents who want to be close to their children and grandchildren.  Often these are single person households, so we are providing 2 bed cottages and condominiums around 900 to 1,000 sq. ft.  While small in size, the design provides for a sense of privacy and a neighborhood environment.  Some of these residences will likely be market rate rentals restricted to those over 55.

Will active adults retain their larger current residences as a rental?

Possibly, but not likely.  The number of Davis single family, detached rental homes (e.g. East Davis homes) has remained relatively constant over the last decade or two at around 3,100 homes.  The growth or turnover to rentals has been primarily in condominiums, ½ plexes and townhomes.  The occupancy of these homes has gradually moved from primary families to more student renters with the attendance issues that raises for neighbors.  A larger 2,000 – 3,000 sq. ft. home simply does not make a good rental investment.  My 26 years of experience as co-owner of Coldwell Banker Doug Arnold Real Estate as well as my involvement in Springlake in Woodland (North, North Davis) indicates that 55 – 65 year-old Davis home sellers want to downsize and purchase a less expensive home for cash and pocket the net difference for retirement.  Their overarching goal is to make their lives less complicated and the finances more predictable.  So far, they are forced to leave Davis to do so, and that is why Springlake with single-story homes is so popular even though Springlake homes are much larger than we propose.

Proposition 13 tax basis: You can’t transfer your “old” Prop. 13 tax basis to the new home if you rent the old one.  You will be paying current taxes on the new home in that case.  While some larger single-family rental homes are rented to students, most are not.

How is the project’s focus on active adults and seniors beneficial to the Davis school system?

Davis imports 650 students each day to our schools which is equivalent, more or less, to two grammar schools.  Davis has a growing shortage of families with school-aged children.  My own experience, and the consensus of Davis realtors, is that about 2/3 of the buyers of Davis resale homes are families with children.  Interestingly, while absolute numbers for children at the Cannery are not yet available, the consensus is at most 20% of the homes at the Cannery have school-aged children.  Providing more resale homes is the key to increasing school-aged children.  What makes resale homes more attractive to families?  Larger back yards not available at the Cannery, convenience and safe bike access to elementary schools and parks for a starter.  Each new home at West Davis Active Adult Community will pay school construction   fees even though they will generate hardly any children.

City Finance Benefits?

Resale homes are a significant financial tax benefit to the city.  Why?  On resale, higher assessment values occur with no new infrastructure or services required.  In most cases a much higher % of property tax going to the City results than currently happens with new home subdivisions.  It’s called “tax sharing” agreements.  For example, in new subdivisions often the City receives 15 – 16% of property taxes while in older East and West Davis it’s 21%.  Resale older houses generate a higher percentage of property taxes that stay in Davis rather than being shared with other taxing entities.



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Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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21 thoughts on “Developer Responds to Reader Comments on West Davis Active Community”

  1. Jim Hoch

    “How is the project’s focus on active adults and seniors beneficial to the Davis school system?
    Davis imports 650 students each day to our schools which is equivalent, more or less, to two grammar schools.  Davis has a growing shortage of families with school-aged children.  My own experience, and the consensus of Davis realtors, is that about 2/3 of the buyers of Davis resale homes are families with children.  Interestingly, while absolute numbers for children at the Cannery are not yet available, the consensus is at most 20% of the homes at the Cannery have school-aged children.  Providing more resale homes is the key to increasing school-aged children.”
    Not sure of the point here. The school revenue will not change and the school costing will not change. Are the kids from the proposed development more attractive schoolmates than kids whose parent work at UCD but live elsewhere? I don’t see the benefit.

    1. David Greenwald

      “Not sure of the point here”

      The point is rather obvious to be frank.

      First, he’s arguing that people moving from current homes to the new homes will likely be families with kids. The point is clear, the premise is debatable.
      Second increasing the number of kids in the schools will increase RDA
      Third, increasing the number of homes in Davis will increase the parcel tax take

      Your claim that school revenue will not change is false based on these these arguments granting the debatability of the first point.

      1. Keith O

        If we are importing 650 kids is adding more housing going to change this, those 650 kids will still be coming to our schools.  New housing will be adding more kids, need for more infrastructure and more teachers therefore adding more costs.  So is any added revenue going to improve our schools when we’ll be adding more students and costs?  As you see this argument can be framed according to one’s agenda.

        1. Howard P

          Or, with 650 less students, we could save the costs of 20-30 teachers [salary, health benefits, STRS, etc.], and a proportionate reduction in admin staff… hmmmm…

        2. Jim Hoch

          “Or, with 650 less students, we could save the costs of 20-30 teachers [salary, health benefits, STRS, etc.], and a proportionate reduction in admin staff… hmmmm…”

           

          Or close at least one elementary school. Please nominate your candidate for closure and list your cell phone number.

      2. Jim Hoch

        “The point is rather obvious to be frank.” Perhaps my wife is right and I am just stupid.

        “increasing the number of homes in Davis will increase the parcel tax take” This is true but I don’t see that point being made. Also most of the properties will be eligible for parcel tax exemption so the net is likely to be small. If, and it’s a big “if”, many of the buyers are in fact from Davis then perhaps we will get a few more parcels in town converting to taxable. However I am deeply skeptical of the assertions that the buyers will be current Davis residents. I’ll put my projection here. Less than 20% of the initial buyers for the age exclusionary properties will be moving from a Davis residence. 

        “Second increasing the number of kids in the schools will increase RDA”

        Presume you are referring to ADA (Average Daily Attendance) which is how the state funds schools. The article states that will replace kids who transfer in with kids who live in DJU catchment. This will not increase ADA and if we have additional space in the schools we can  already take more transfers if we want more kids. We don’t have space for more kids without building more schools.

        Note the recent lawsuits between DJU and parents seeking to transfer their kids in. If we have more local kids we will take fewer transfers and the ADA will stay the same.

        1. David Greenwald

          That’s probably true – I was just running through the scenarios. It’s not a big enough project that’s going to reduce transfer students, but it will generate revenue for schools in the ways I outlined.

        2. Jim Hoch

          David, get your crystal ball. How much more money?

          I’m not against the project, I am against the age exclusionary aspect of it. I am also opposed to the ridiculous arguments about how this is going to help the schools while adding more parcel tax exempt properties. If the developer thinks there will be more money for schools let’s see a projection.

          1. David Greenwald

            My only point is commenting is to explain what he meant, you can decide whether or not you agree with his reasoning.

  2. Jim Hoch

    “Probably – I never understood the objection to bringing in additional students.”

    If you move into North Davis this summer with two kids for NDE you are likely to be told that one kid will have to go to Patwin while the other will have to go to Koramatsu as NDE and Willett, are overflowing all grades while Birch and Montgomery are overflowing most grades.

  3. Cindy Pickett

    I wish the developer would just stop saying this is going to benefit the schools. I’m not opposed to the project. I’m opposed to illogical arguments.  Any new children brought in from the project (through the purchase of vacated resale homes) will displace the interdistrict transfers and the net change will be zero.

    By including specious arguments with solid arguments for the project, the developer is shooting himself in the foot and reducing his credibility.

     

      1. Mark West

        This proposed project represents one of the least efficient uses of land for housing; a neighborhood of detached, single-storey, single family homes. Placed on the periphery, it fits the definition of sprawl development. I hope the developer continues shooting himself in the foot with his arguments because that will make it easier to defeat the project.

  4. Eric Gelber

    Federal and state law sets a minimum of 80% for residents over 55 years of age.  Most active adult communities are 100%.  Our 20% unrestricted is based on the philosophy that Davis residents enjoy neighborhoods that have active adults, seniors and families with children. 

    But the only reason there would be a quota at all is the designation of the development as senior housing. It’s not only seniors who would prefer smaller, more affordable homes. If Davis is committed to the philosophy of integrated, inclusive communities, then why have limits on who can live there at all? Why should a family be told you can’t buy a home here because we’ve reached our 20% quota?

  5. Jim Hoch

    “based on the philosophy that Davis residents enjoy neighborhoods that have active adults, seniors and families with children”

    I agree with this, how about that trailer park?

  6. Todd Edelman

     
    He’s identified the need for a health club in the area and proposes one that would only be open to West Davis residents – how is this determined… by street address? – which I assume is meant to address travelling long distance by car except that there’s a huge part of non-West Davis which is closer to the planned – notice how he changes tenses in the reply, but I digress – facility than it is to Pole Line – he is referring to Get Fit in Green Meadows? – and so people who live just across the 113 can visit the hybrid Misha’s-Starbucks experience while they observe people going to the health club and so on which they cannot access.

    Is there a formal barrier to locating a health club in West Davis, such as at Westlake Plaza? Obviously that brings up Stonegate across the street, which is private and therefore what I would define as anti-Davis Values. But clearly it would decrease the demand for a health club in the area, so its private status means that people travel to a club when there is one across the street! Bad planning! Private-designation fitness increasing VMT!

    Then we have ARC on campus, open to the community and a very quick bike ride – Davis Values encourages a bike ride to the gym so as to not be ironic, yes? – from West Davis Manor and so on.

    So while it’s doubtful that Stonegate would be open to allow neighborhood membership – IF it happened it is fair it seems to limit it by geography so that the elite atmosphere is not significantly altered – the clearest need is for a facility that would serve the north part of West Davis and the west part of more northerly Davis and well, if Sutter Health is interested in preventative health perhaps they should partner with one of the existing clubs or even ARC to build a facility atop the current huge parking lot, with parking underneath if necessary. I am not sure if any large hospital do this but it’s intriguing is it not to have a health center which is directly interfaced in terms of programs with a club that’s open to the public? This would be very Davis Values!

    The caveat here is that the current non-driving modal share to Sutter – and unfortunately also the adjacent anti-Davis Values clinic for poorer people – is very, very low, so there would need to be huge improvements for public transportation and cycling access from North Davis and from the south in West Davis.

    There are of course smaller fitness rooms etc in apartment complexes as well as in private homes in West Davis, and I am not sure how much of the demand these absorb.

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