A Look at the Current Proposal for Plaza 2555

The Vanguard met recently with the developers of Plaza 2555, a proposed roughly 200-unit apartment building in South Davis along Cowell Boulevard and Research Park Drive, in a triangular lot across from the Playfields Park.  While some have called this a “mega-dorm” or viewed it as strictly student housing, there are a lot of different types of housing that will be addressed in the project site.

The developers warned that, while there is a project description and diagram, it is very preliminary.  Their goal is to get the land use change approved first, and then come back with specific proposals that they believe will change over time according to feedback and city needs.

Currently the project would construct no more than 200 apartments (and row houses) of varying sizes and configurations on two vacant parcels totaling about 6.5 acres.

According to their project narrative: “Approximately 5.5 acres of the site would be developed into a combination of row-house style buildings, each containing several apartments and separated by landscaping, and flat units along corridors. This design allows for an active street front with a variety of elevations facing Research Park Drive and multiple unit types.”

One of the key components to the project is the parking garage.  The parking garage is in the interior of the site and would be wrapped by the apartments.  The parking garage was not in the initial
configuration, however, as they spoke to people at Rose Creek and Green Terrace, adjacent neighborhoods, as well as those involved with the Playfields, the biggest concern was that the project not shortchange residents on parking and therefore lead people to have to park in adjacent areas and walk to and from the project site.

Overall, the project would include a mix of micro flats, 1-bedroom, 2-bedroom, 3-bedroom, 4-bedroom, and 5-bedroom apartments in a total of about 200 apartments.

The current breakdown is as follows: 30 micro units, 17 one-bedrooms, 14 two-bedrooms, 9 three-bedrooms, 96 four-bedrooms and 34 five-bedrooms.  That means that 130 of the 200 units are four- and five-bedroom.

It is anticipated that there would be roughly 554 student-oriented beds.  However, unlike at Sterling and Linconl40, these units would be rented by the unit rather than the bed.  The developers believe that their project may be more conducive to student groups than individual students.

Ashley Feeney told the Vanguard, “Plaza 2555 is going to be rented by the unit instead of by the bed. They could rent to anyone. The four- and five-bedroom units are anticipated to be more student oriented by their nature though families could rent them.”

The size will range from 360-square-foot micro apartments to 600-square-foot one bedrooms, then upwards to 1400- to 1700-square-foot four bedrooms and 2000-square-foot five bedrooms.

In the project narrative they write: “The smaller apartments would typically be flats, whereas the larger apartments would be constructed in both flat and townhouse configurations.”

The developers further describe: “There would be an approximately 3,300 square foot leasing office, an approximately 1,000 square foot café, multiple indoor activity areas, pedestrian pathways, landscaped courtyards and common open space areas, about 520 parking spaces, and bicycle parking areas (accommodating about 656 bicycle parking spaces). Site amenities would include a pool area and a sports area, a transit plaza (described below), large interconnected landscaping between the rowhouses, mail and package pickup/dropoff, and a car share/hail area.”

The developers note: “The project is aimed to provide a solution for unmet local housing needs, including smaller-sized rental housing. Studio apartments represent only 3 percent of the apartment units in Davis, and no smaller apartments, other than a few senior/handicapped units, have been built in years.”

They add: “The Plaza would offer a new housing option for Davis: affordable-by-design micro flats of about 360 square feet each.”

They further note: “These micro flats will have full kitchens and be fully handicap accessible. We believe there is a need for such dwellings and that they are a unique opportunity for a resident with a first ‘real’ job to live without roommates.”

The project is proposed to be built as a LEED GOLD for homes certified project.  The plan is for the buildings to be at least 15 percent more energy efficient than required by Chapter 6 of Title 24. Furthermore, the buildings and landscaping would be designed to use 25 percent less water than the average household uses in the region.

—David M. Greenwald reporting



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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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105 Comments

  1. Ron

    Wondering if anyone in the city is considering the cumulative and combined fiscal impact of:

    a) losing another commercial site,

    b) the money-losing nature of these megadorms (which, for the most part, this proposal is).

    Suggest that this be remembered, if/when MRIC raises its ugly head. (Combined with the loss of potential commercial at Nishi.)

      1. Ron

        From article:  “That means that 130 of the 200 units are four- and five-bedroom.”

        Yes, I realize that this one is slightly different, since it would be rented by the unit (and apparently more conducive to “groups of students”, as stated in the article).

        1. David Greenwald

          Also it has 70 smaller units including townhouses and micro-units. It’s not strictly student housing and it’s even less of a dorm than the other ones which you are questionable calling mega-dorms.

        2. David Greenwald

          At least with Lincoln and Sterling you could say that they would be primarily if not exclusively student rentals, but in this case: (A) not rent by bed, (B) 70 non-student units, (C) townhouses and micro units.  THESE ARE NOT DORMS.  You have rendered your talking point useless as Don correctly said.  Good job.

          So the reality is that you are not against mega-dorms, you are against student housing off-campus, period.  We’ll see where Eileen comes down on this later, I’m sure.

        3. Ron

          David:

          Simply not true.

          Just don’t think it’s a good idea to convert our limited number of remaining commercial sites for money-losing megadorms. Unlike you, I don’t consistently advocate that the city willingly take on costs and impacts forced upon it, by UCD.

          You cannot argue on one hand that the city is facing financial difficulties, while simultaneously arguing for developments that would make the situation worse. (Oh wait, I guess you “can” argue that, even if it doesn’t make sense.)

          Also, traditional apartments appeal to students, as well. (Perhaps more so.)

        4. Eric Gelber

          Those who use the term mega-dorm on the Vanguard appear to adhere to the Humpty Dumpty Theory of Language:

          “When use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean–neither more nor less.”

          “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”

          “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master–that’s all.”

          ~ Lewis Carroll

           

        5. Ron

          Eric:  Regarding “megadorms”, David is apparently arguing that it has an “official”, dictionary-approved meaning.

          Since it bothers him, “megadorm, megadorm, megadorm!”

          Pretty sure that most understand how it’s defined, on the Vanguard at least.

        6. David Greenwald

          Actually what I’m arguing is that you have invented a term and then used it capriciously as it serves you purposes because you view it as a helpful/ scary term.

          The problem you have here using it is that the student housing section is fairly small (less than 600 beds), it is not a dorm in that the apartments are not exclusively for students, nor is it even all apartments, and there are not bed rentals which seemed to be a key component before.

          So you are using the term to be synonymous with any apartment complex that happens to have students in it, which defeats the purpose of the term in the first place.

        7. Ron

          There are some differences, but again 130 of the 200 units are four- and five-bedroom.  With 554 student-oriented beds, per your own article.  

          “Primarily” a megadorm. No, I’m not referring to most other apartment complexes in the city, which include student residents.

        8. David Greenwald

          Ron: If you say so.  Doing a search, I found I used the term mini-dorm last on November 4.  Eileen has used the term mega-dorm over 100 times during that time period including 13 times in the one I screen-shotted alone. The most recent article that reference mini-dorms was in August. What you refer to as my “constant use of the word” is at best periodic. Especially compared to Eileen’s use of mega-dorm.  I don’t think you have a credible argument here. (And since you brought it up, you’ve used the term mega-dorm nine times since yesterday).

        9. Ron

          O.K., David.  I guess that Eileen “wins” the contest, for most-frequent use of a term that you deem to be derogatory. (I’ll accept that you’ve probably used the word “mini-dorm” less frequently, even if it might have been the subject of entire articles.)

          This is rather silly.

          In any case, it’s not just Plaza 2555.  It’s also Sterling, Lincoln 40, Nishi . . .

          Megadorm(s).

          1. David Greenwald

            Don’t you acknowledge that she is intentionally using the term for an express purpose? No one repeats a term 13 times in a single post unless there is a point to doing so.

            Like I said, I have a problem in general with the term, but I don’t see any credible way to call Plaza 2555 a mega-dorm. It doesn’t fit the criteria that Eileen laid out last week. She apparently didn’t realize it wasn’t a rent by bed or a private bathroom in each room. That was according to her a key criteria: “these are all mega-dorms because they are all predominately 4- and 5- bedroom suites each bedroom with an individual bathroom and rented-by-the-bed.” Even if we accept that 130 out of 200 is “predominate” there’s no getting around the second half of the definition. BTW, we don’t know the structure of Nishi.

        10. Ron

          David:  Eileen posted information on the Vanguard regarding Plaza 2555 before you did.  At that point, I had suggested that you ask her to become a reporter, for the Vanguard. She seems to know a lot more about what’s going on than you do. (Including pointing out the cumulative impacts of these types of proposals – Sterling, Lincoln 40, Nishi, Plaza 2555 . . .) Taken together, I wonder if there’s a better term than megadorm? (Massive-dorm?)

          Per my own quote, below:  “There are some differences, but again 130 of the 200 units are four- and five-bedroom.  With 554 student-oriented beds, per your own article.”

           

          1. David Greenwald

            But her definition said: “these are all mega-dorms becausethey are all predominately 4- and 5- bedroom suites each bedroom with an individual bathroom and rented-by-the-bed.” Those appear to be necessary conditions.

        11. Ron

          David:  I’d suggest that if you’re entire argument and support for megadorms is based upon attacking the use of terminology, you’ve already lost the argument.  But, I realize that it’s probably easier to do that, rather than honestly uncovering what these types of developments are cumulatively costing the city (financially, and otherwise).

          Your concern regarding the “formal definition” of a megadorm is a side-show. (Similar to what some politicians do, to deflect attention away from actual concerns.)

          1. David Greenwald

            I’m just demonstrating that the goal posts are being constantly moved on this by the opposition.

        12. Ron

          David: I recall you making a similar statement, regarding Dr. Cahill’s statement concerning air quality at Nishi.  And, that you had no response (that I observed), when challenged by another commenter.

          In any case, I’m comfortable with describing Plaza 2555 as primarily a megadorm, with some differences as noted.

          Perhaps a topic for tomorrow’s article: “Opposition Waffles on Use of Informal Terminology”. (Again, a lot easier than examining actual, and cumulative concerns resulting from these types of developments.)

      2. Eileen Samitz

        David,

        I had no time today to look at the Vanguard until now. And yes, Plaza 2555 is a mega-dorm too for heavens sake. 130 of the units are 4- and 5- bedroom. It is absurd for anyone to say that these mega-apartments in the mega-dorms would be rented by families even if they are not rented by-the-bed. I mean come on… 554 students beds? Seriously, you need to question if Plaza 2555 is a mega-dorm just because it has some smaller units and some affordable units?  Yet, even the affordable unit count is short-changed due to the predominant 4- and 5- bedroom apartments being counted as “one unit” like a studio apartment.  So, to answer your question, yes Plaza 2555 is a mega-dorm too.

        In addition, why on earth would we want to located 554 students south of I-80 needing to cross the highway back and forth every day to get to the UCD campus? That is ridiculous and a total lack of planning and certainly not sustainable planning at all. Let’s face it, in wet and cold weather students will be taking their cars to get to the UCD campus via Richards backing the Richards corridor up even more.

        Finally, using re-zoning commercials sites for residential is also ridiculous. What happened to the economic development concerns that the Vanguard has been whining about for months? This really takes-the-cake for the Vanguard to try to defend Plaza 2555 to be yet another mega-dorm, and of all locations, in south Davis and re-zoning a commercial site needed for economic development on one of the few commercial sites left in Davis. Just hard to believe how the Vanguard is talking out of both ends.

        1. David Greenwald

          As much as I believed the term mega-dorm was a misnomer on the previous projects, it’s even more absurd here given not only the mix in sizes and thus targeted tenants but also the fact that some are townhouses and row houses rather than apartment-styles. They just aren’t dorms. You’re now conceding that mega-dorm is any sort of student housing in town no matter the structure when previously you argued that the particular structure justified your word usage.

          Previously you wrote:

          “The concern from the beginning has been about market-rate units and the fact that the mega-dorm market-rate design of 4- and 5- bedroom apartments do not help to provided the the rental housing needed for non-students like our families and workers, due to their exclusionary design.”

          “The format of 1-, 2- and 3- bedroom traditional apartments is needed for families and workers”

          “The traditional 1-, 2-, and 3- bedrooms apartment formats can be rented by students or non-students, so these apartments serve all, not just some.”

          “Yes David, these are all mega-dorms because they are all predominately 4- and 5- bedroom suites each bedroom with an individual bathroom and rented-by-the-bed.”

          To recap then: there are 130 housing units that are 4 and 5 bedroom suites, but they are not rented by the bed and do not have individual bathrooms. There are also 70 units that meet your definition of what we need. And yet, you continue to label this project a mega-dorm even though it doesn’t fit your original definition.

        2. Keith O

          You guys are arguing over semantics.  I tried to look up the definition of a mega dorm and nothing comes up.  One’s guy’s mega dorm might be another’s mini dorm or just called apartments.

          1. David Greenwald

            You’re missing the point Keith. They are using a term that they think has a negative connotation to bring down projects and they are shifting the definition to serve their whims.

        3. Ron

          David:  I’m not sure that the term even has a universal, negative connotation.  It’s just a way to describe these unprecedented designs, within the city.  Perhaps it’s you who has a negative reaction to these designs.

          By the way, I did not receive prior approval from any “committee” (e.g., “they”) before describing Plaza 2555 as primarily a megadorm.

          In any case, there are cumulative financial and non-financial impacts from these types of developments on the city (e.g., Sterling, Lincoln 40, Plaza 2555, Nishi . . .).

          1. David Greenwald

            I just don’t buy, when doing a search for Eileen’s comments and mega-dorm, she had over 100 mentions of “mega-dorms” in her last twenty comments, that comes to five mentions per comment. She obviously sees it as a rhetorical device.

            Here’s one example:

        4. Ron

          David:  Your constant use of the word “mini-dorm” has MORE intended negative connotations than the word “megadorm”. (Strangely, mini-dorm is actually defined – at least in Wiki. I just looked it up.)

          As a side note, I believe that mini-dorm conversions (for properties near UCD) is an unstoppable trend (regardless of what’s built on, or off-campus). And, I don’t believe these properties would appeal to many new families, regardless. (Larger families would tend to do what you have – move away from UCD.)

        5. Eileen Samitz

          David,

          Don’t try to assume you know how I am defining mega-dorm. It is the 4- and 5- bedroom mega- apartment format that makes these mega-dorms, and the overwhelming predominance of that exclusionary design of units in these mega-dorms.These mega-apartments (1,500 sq. ft. and bigger which is bigger than most smaller-medium sizes houses in Davis) they are specifically designed for students whether or not they have individual bathrooms. The ones that do have individual bathrooms, such as Sterling, makes that mega-dorm format even worse due to the impacts. By the way, per City Staff, the Plaza 2555 developers have not yet defined if the 4- and 5- bedrooms will have individual bathrooms, so not sure why you are making that assumption. These 4- and 5- bedroom mega-apartments in mega-dorms do not help the need for rental housing for families and local workers.

          And what happened to your concern about economic development? That was all the Vanguard was talking about until Nishi got resurrected and the Vanguard started cheer-leading and essential doing free advertising for Nishi again. This would be a major up-zoning of one of the few commercial parcels left in Davis. The same goes for the University Research Park commercial site ALSO asking for an up-zoning of a commercial site to multi-family residential. AND then the 3820 Chiles Road site is YET ANOTHER up-zoning request from commercial to residential including multi-family.  ALL of these project are in South Davis and will also put even more demand on the already impacted Richards Blvd. corridor.

          But what happened to the Vanguard’s concern about economic development with all of these commercial sites asking for up-zoning to multi-family residential with so few commercial parcels left in the City?

        6. Roberta Millstein

          But what happened to the Vanguard’s concern about economic development with all of these commercial sites asking for up-zoning to multi-family residential with so few commercial parcels left in the City?

          Exactly.  Wait for that drumbeat to resume when MRIC comes around again and we’re supposed to forget the economic opportunities lost here and recognize that we have “no choice” but to approve MRIC.

        7. Ron

          Roberta:  Exactly.  (And, it will include housing, because there’s “no other way” to make that work from the developers’ point of view, which will likely be “repeated” by David.)

          Sprawl, drawing in workers from outside Davis – even with the housing.

          1. Don Shor

            (And, it will include housing, because there’s “no other way” to make that work from the developers’ point of view, which will likely be “repeated” by David.)

            There aren’t 3 votes on the council for housing at MRIC.
            The Mace Ranch site was selected as a possible site for economic development by a long and public process of developing an economic development strategy. If you had strong objections to developing that site for businesses, you and Roberta have had lots of opportunities to make your positions known. The plan will be subject to council oversight and there is clearly not a council majority in favor of housing there. And the public ultimately will vote on the project.
            So I don’t really get why you’re even commenting on it here in this manner.

        8. Ron

          Don:  All the developers have to do is wait, until they get a friendly council (or convince those on the current council, due to the “dire need” for commercial development, which can no longer be accommodated elsewhere).

          Even in Woodland, the innovation center apparently depends upon housing (probably to be financed).

          Regarding “letting our positions be known”, I understand that some have supported commercial-only development at the site. However, I STRONGLY suspect that the final proposal will include housing, based upon actions of the owner/developer to date.

          It will be a war. With plenty of “misinformation” coming from the Vanguard, I’m sure.

        9. Ron

          In the meantime, keep on converting commercial and other sites to accommodate UCD’s insatiable appetite for growth.  (Increasing costs and impacts to the city, and simultaneously driving out non-students.)

          Honestly, it’s like you have no clue whatsoever, regarding what’s occurring here.  Hopefully, those on the various commissions and council have a little more insight than you do.  (However, some seem about as clueless as you.)

          1. Don Shor

            Honestly, it’s like you have no clue whatsoever, regarding what’s occurring here. Hopefully, those on the various commissions and council have a little more insight than you do. (However, some seem about as clueless as you.)

            To whom was this comment directed, Ron?

        10. Ron

          As a side note, I see no reason that Nishi has to discard all possibility of commercial development, even without motor vehicle access to Olive.  I would think that a lot of businesses would like to be adjacent to UCD.

          I understand that Nishi (also) started out as an “innovation center”. (And, look what’s happened there.)

          In the meantime, David’s “primary concern” is apparently the definition of “megadorm”. What a joke.

        11. Ron

          Don:  Honestly, I only had one other person in mind (whose decisions aren’t helping the situation).  But, I think there’s some general lack of awareness, regarding the overall impacts on the city. And, that some think the best course is to continue to blindly accommodate UCD’s plans, ensuring that the city’s needs and plans remain subordinate to those of UCD.

    1. Howard P

      Have you looked at the geometry of the site?  Its location as to close access to freeways/arterials?

      If it remains ‘commercial’, I predict it will remain “undeveloped” for another 30 years (it was first zoned 30 years ago [originally, Comm-Rec?]…)

      It is however well-positioned for MF residential, with transit routes, bikepaths/greenbelts, parks, in close proximity.  I am of the opinion that its “highest and best use” is now MF.

      MF would have fewer impacts to traffic than Commercial…

      1. David Greenwald

        I was just about to make this point (good thinking Howard), creative use of a site that has an odd shape.  And again, it’s not like we don’t need housing and this actually provides the mix of housing that Ron and Eileen seemed to be calling for last week.

        1. Howard P

          I didn’t go into some of the utility constraints on the site.  Had I done so, it would have bolstered the points I made.

          Saying that, I see significant concern as to the site plan, but as pointed out, the applicant is not seeking that level of review until they get the zoning squared away… smart move on their part not to sink gobs of money into precise design, if the basic question is still on the table…

      2. Ron

        During adverse weather, it’s less likely that anyone would be riding a bike from this relatively distant location (on the other side of the freeway, from campus).

        There’s other commercial businesses in this area, and it is not that far from freeway access.  There are fewer options left for commercial, as the city has been building out.

        Sites right next to a freeway (I-80) are probably not the best place location for housing, either.

         

        1. David Greenwald

          It’s less than a mile and a half to campus.  At that distance, according to campus surveys, the vast majority will bike or bus.  It’s right on the bus routes.

          You’re inventing reasons to oppose it.  Someone will be happy to live there.

        2. Don Shor

          this relatively distant location (on the other side of the freeway, from campus).

          There are literally hundreds of apartments already in that vicinity, including many that are further east.

        3. Ron

          Regarding bus routes, I understand that it’s already impacted (over-crowded). Pretty hard to argue that this is a better location than on-campus housing.

          In contrast, it’s funny how you’ve essentially argued that no one takes buses, from outside the city.

          And Don, how about posting a map which shows all of the businesses in this area?

           

      3. Eileen Samitz

        David: “… this actually provides the mix of housing…”

        Plaza 2555 has even less of a “mix” than Sterling with more mega-apartments with even more 4- and 5- bedroom apartments than Sterling. These mega-apartments are of no help for workers and families for their rental housing needs. These enormous apartments are going to be unaffordable for families.

        1. David Greenwald

          “These mega-apartments are of no help for workers and families for their rental housing needs.”

          Which brings up an interesting question: I have a family five, what size apartment would I be expected to move into?

        2. Ron

          Probably not one of the four or five-bedroom apartment units, as they would be prohibitively expensive for one family.

          Once a family reaches a certain size, it probably makes more sense to move into a house.  Based upon your postings the other day, I understand that you have done so, in Affordable housing in an area away from UCD (where mini-dorms are not a factor).  Sounds like a wise move, and one that many larger families would pursue.

        3. David Greenwald

          That’s a problem anywhere.  The average rent for a three bedroom in Davis is about $2300 a month.  So if you have a family, you’re paying a lot for rent regardless.

        4. Eileen Samitz

          David: “Which brings up an interesting question: I have a family five, what size apartment would I be expected to move into?”

          David,
          Could you afford the probably $3,200+ to $4,000+ monthly rent for a mega-dorm 4- or 5-bedroom apartment? That’s what the developers will be expecting to make per mega-dorm mega-apartment cumulatively from 4 or 5 or more students. So your question helps make my point.

    1. Howard P

      Nuance, Don… the zoning proposal is reasonable and appropriate… as they say, “the devil is in the details” when it comes to the site plan/details shown.  But that is a different topic about the proposal, to be discussed a different day (or, week, month, or year)…

      But, weigh that comment, coming from a known troll. Funny how “troll” is not considered a ‘personal attack’, but what the hey, I’ll accept the ‘label’… folk can judge for themselves, as to the value of any comment I make…

      1. Howard P

        Checked the commodities market… no spaghetti shortages in sight… however, there is an uptick in the market… the high starch products are on the rise, as speculators think they’ll stick better…

        1. Ron

          The “burden” (to show that it’s better for the city) for the proposed zoning change is on the developers.  Not the other-way around.

          One might want to review the long-term, permanent costs to the city of a similar development (such as Sterling). (And, that analysis may not have included unfunded liabilities, associated with services needed for the development.)

        2. Ron

          Well, if you think that’s untrue, then review the Sterling analysis and subsequent comments.  It was posted on the Vanguard.  (Since you seem to read and comment on the Vanguard just about every day, all-day, it seems quite likely that you saw it.)

          Even though that analysis showed Sterling losing money for the city (permanently, long-term), I questioned whether or not it even included all costs. No one disputed or addressed that concern.

          And then, there’s the matter of inadequate impact fees, which is a separate issue.

        3. Ron

          And, there’s also the matter of “shortchanging” the Affordable housing program, by seeking approval of units with multiple bedrooms.  (The Affordable housing program is apparently based upon number of units, not the size of the units.)

          Larger, but fewer number of units = less contribution to the Affordable housing program.

    2. Eileen Samitz

      Don,

      This project has plenty of problems starting with being designed as yet, another mega-dorm which is overwhelmingly mega-apartments with 4- and 5- bedrooms which are designed exclusively for students. This does not help families and local workers who need 1-, 2- and 3- bedroom apartments.

      1. Don Shor

        Now we’ve added “mega” to “apartments.”
        They’re not designed exclusively for students. Anybody can rent there. Many of the units are less than 4 – 5 bedrooms.
        You have indeed moved the goal posts. Apparently you will oppose any housing that is even partially going to be marketed to students.
        In a city of 65,000 people with 55% renters and a campus population of 35,000, it isn’t real surprising that new rental housing would be primarily marketed toward student renters. That is true in every college town. Students make up the lion’s share of the renters in town. That will be true regardless of how many units UCD builds on campus.
        This project helps families and local workers by increasing the supply of rental housing in a market that has a 0.2% apartment vacancy rate. This is just simple Econ 1A: we need more supply. We need that regardless of the cause of the demand.
        You have moved the goal posts and made up your own derogatory jargon on this topic. You’ve created and are pushing a new standard that all rental housing developments have to be completely inclusive of all types of renters, even though we have senior housing, Affordable Housing developments, and loads of single-family neighborhoods that provide very little rental housing.
        There is literally no reason to oppose this project in concept. I am waiting for you and Ron and others who oppose all of the current projects to get realistic about the housing situation in Davis.

        1. Ron

          Don:  “You’ve created and are pushing a new standard . . .”

          The developers are the ones doing that.

          Don:  “I am waiting for you and Ron and others who oppose all of the current projects to get realistic about the housing situation in Davis.”

          I am waiting for you and David to address the cumulative costs and impacts of these megadorm proposals, on land zoned for other uses.  I’m also waiting for you to acknowledge that (continuing to) automatically accommodate UCD’s plans will negate the city’s own needs and planning processes, and will continue to overwhelm the city’s rental market.

          I figure we have a long wait, before you or David address or acknowledge that.

           

           

          1. Don Shor

            I am waiting for you and David to address the cumulative costs and impacts of these megadorm proposals, on land zoned for other uses.

            Each apartment building that has been proposed is close to existing apartment buildings. The costs are not significantly greater than any other apartment building would be. Any increase in housing anywhere entails some costs to the city, including the home you live in. The costs per capita are lower when the density is higher.
            The impact of building apartments that house a large number of young adults would be to reduce the adverse consequences we are already experiencing from a very low apartment vacancy rate, including the financial stress it creates for students and young adults and the conversion of single-family homes to rental housing.
            Every development, regardless of type, increases traffic locally. There is no avoiding that impact.

            I’m also waiting for you to acknowledge that (continuing to) automatically accommodate UCD’s plans will negate the city’s own needs and planning processes, and will continue to overwhelm the city’s rental market.

            UC Davis is the dominant influence in every aspect of the City of Davis. It is the reason the city exists as it is. If the largest employer and entity in town grows, so does the city that is joined to it at the hip.
            The time to raise the alarm about the present growth of UCD was in 2011. That was the time to begin planning together to accommodate the student and staff increases proposed in the Chancellor’s Initiative. We cannot correct that retrospectively. It will be really important for the council to work with UCD to make sure their next LRDP doesn’t cause impacts that are not addressed. But that doesn’t deal with the thousands of students and many hundreds of staff that have been added to the local regional housing market due to their enrollment increases.
            We know how much of that increase they are going to provide for. Even if they increase their commitment by a few hundred or even a thousand or so beds, that won’t be sufficient to address the overall problem that exists NOW.
            I’ve been saying that for months and pushing hard for more rental housing for years. So any suggestion that I haven’t addressed or acknowledged this issue is simply spurious. I wish to see a pragmatic approach that deals with our current housing problem, which I personally consider to be a crisis for many people who are caught up in it through no fault of their own.

  2. Ron

    I can see that the “usual three” Vanguard suspects are out in force, staking out their normal, reactive positions.  (Of course, David gets ready for these battles in advance, when he creates these articles.)  Really unfortunate that he (and the other two) consistently advocate developments that would harm the city, financially and otherwise.

    Even if one does not agree with everything I post, I hope it’s pretty clear to others that the Vanguard is essentially a shill (not sure if that’s the right word) for more development, regardless of sound planning or the impacts on the city.

    1. Howard P

      As a sage poster wrote, “whatever”.  You are wrong, on many levels.  The rest is not for you…

      For others, I support the proposed zoning… I have concerns about the specific project, so do not support that.  But that is not currently on the table.

      Really unfortunate that he (and the other two) consistently advocate developments that would harm the city, financially and otherwise.

      I have to assume, that Ron points to me.  His statement, as written, is a blatant untruth, as to me.

    2. David Greenwald

      “Really unfortunate that he (and the other two) consistently advocate developments that would harm the city, financially and otherwise.”

      Providing housing for a mix of groups harms this city?

      1. Ron

        See the statement (and the fiscal analysis you previously presented) regarding Sterling, for example.

        The city (without considering the financial and other impacts, and without any defined goals) has apparently decided to process applications that (for the most part) belong on campus.  (Not just this one.)

        Given the city’s apparent willingness to accommodate UCD’s plans, it’s possible that UCD won’t even follow through on the “40/90” plan, let alone the “50/100” plan.

        1. David Greenwald

          The city could actually at that point sue the university and have a case if they failed to built their 6200 units, so I think you’re incorrect there. Second, this project isn’t even a project yet, it’s a request for a land use change.

        2. Don Shor

          The city (without considering the financial and other impacts, and without any defined goals)

          The city is obviously considering the financial ramifications and other impacts of these developments, just as they did for the neighborhood you live in when it was proposed. They have defined goals. These assertions of yours are without merit. You’re basically just saying stuff.

          it’s possible that UCD won’t even follow through on the “40/90” plan

          Do you have the slightest evidence for this assertion? Their housing plans are detailed in their LRDP. Are you actually insinuating that UCD will intentionally cut back plans that they have already run through this long planning process?
          It is obvious that you will oppose any housing proposals that might primarily be occupied by students. In a town of 65,000 with a student population of 30,000+, that simply means you will oppose any rental housing proposals. You’ve made that quite obvious.

        3. Ron

          Don:  “The city is obviously considering the financial ramifications and other impacts of these developments.”

          They may be “considering” it.  However, “they” have demonstrated that the financial and other impacts are secondary (e.g., in the case of Sterling).  In other words, they are not consistently acting in the best interest of the city, overall.

          Don:  “that simply means you will oppose any rental housing proposals.”

          Given my past postings (and the fact that you seem to read them), this appears to be a blatant lie. Can’t think of any other explanation, regarding your statement.

        4. Ron

          Don:  “Are you actually insinuating that UCD will intentionally cut back plans that they have already run through this long planning process?”

          Gee, I don’t know.  Might that have already occurred, e.g., in previous years?

        5. David Greenwald

          Ron: You keep ignoring the fact that housing is a need regardless of the financials.  As I have demonstrated through analysis, the reality of the projects is that they are probably at worst revenue neutral if not a slight positive once you accurately model the costs.

        6. David Greenwald

          “Given my past postings (and the fact that you seem to read them), this appears to be a blatant lie. ”

          Have to say, it appears from your past postings that you have opposed all rental housing in the city going forward.  Until I see you favor a project, no amount of rhetoric is going to change that fact.

        7. Ron

          Ron:  “You keep ignoring the fact that housing is a need regardless of the financials.”

          It is a need, generated by UCD.  The city is proceeding to accommodate that need, without regard for the consequences.  And, without even waiting for the LRDP process to be completed, or exploring options that the city may have to create a formal agreement with UCD.

          David:  “As I have demonstrated through analysis, the reality of the projects is that they are probably at worst revenue neutral if not a slight positive once you accurately model the costs.”

          I can only assume that you’re taking lessons from Don, regarding truthfulness.  I can specifically point this out (again), if you’d like to present your “analysis”. (You know – the one where you don’t even acknowledge proper allocation of costs – even though the operations of the Vanguard itself should operate under the same basic accounting principles.)

        8. David Greenwald

          It doesn’t matter if it is generated by UC Davis, or a private industry, it is a need.

          Ron as I’ve explained regarding the analysis, the cost assumptions ASSUME that the incremental increase in population mean we add staff and services, and the fact is that we have not and will not and therefore, the analysis is flawed.  Moreover as I’ve pointed out, the cost of service increases are greatly overstated.  So please stop calling people liars.

        9. Ron

          David:  “Have to say, it appears from your past postings that you have opposed all rental housing in the city going forward”.  

          I’ll clarify it again.  First off, let’s clarify that you’re referring to NEW rental housing, in a city that already has existing plans and zoning in place.  In general, IF sites are determined to be appropriate for rezoning (e.g., from commercial), then I’m not necessarily opposed to accommodating new residential development – as long as both short and long-term costs are paid for, by the new development.

        10. Ron

          Ron “as I’ve explained regarding the analysis, the cost assumptions ASSUME that the incremental increase in population mean we add staff and services, and the fact is that we have not and will not and therefore, the analysis is flawed.  Moreover as I’ve pointed out, the cost of service increases are greatly overstated.  So please stop calling people liars.”

          Again, you’re ignoring basic accounting principles, regarding how to allocate costs.  Proper allocation is NOT DEPENDENT upon whether or not new staff is needed, for a particular development.  You should know this already, and I suspect that you do. (I’m not the only one who has pointed this out to you.)

          And again, it appears that the analysis you presented may not include unfunded liabilities, for staff that provide services for new developments.  In other words, your analysis may VASTLY UNDERESTIMATE properly allocated costs for new developments, over time.

          Regarding calling people “liars” – there’s a simple solution for that.  (Stop lying, or at least stop incorrectly stating what “I” have said. I don’t like it, and it’s an incredible waste of time and energy for all of us to argue about it, and correct it repeatedly.)

          Look – you and Don have at least some “legitimate” arguments to make, without resorting to distortions and personal attacks. Look in the mirror, once in awhile. (I try to do so, as well.)

          1. David Greenwald

            “Proper allocation is NOT DEPENDENT upon whether or not new staff is needed, for a particular development.”

            Actually it is where they come up with the figures and it creates a false measure – because it is not real time costs. The second issue as I’ve brought up is that the assumptions on the staffing costs increases are off as well. Third, as I’ve pointed out, there are one time fees that further mitigate the costs and not calculated into the fiscal analysis. So for example with regards to Trackside, whose fiscal analysis I used to illustrate all of that, it is true that on their measure by year 15, the project was slightly negative, that ignores (1) the faulty cost assumptions, (2) the fact that even with the slight negative in year 15, the project produced a net revenue over the first 15 years, (3) that net positive did not include one-time fees and so realistically even assuming accuracy in the assumptions, the city had a net benefit even through year 15. Your argument doesn’t hold water.

            “And again, it appears that the analysis you presented may not include unfunded liabilities, for staff that provide services for new developments. In other words, your analysis may VASTLY UNDERESTIMATE properly allocated costs for new developments, over time.”

            Your statement here doesn’t make any sense. The staff costs are a constant unless you add staff, we haven’t in ten years and won’t as a result of any of these projects.

        11. Ron

          By your “logic”, no one’s (individual) house has any costs to the city, since it’s not likely (by itself) to create the need for an additional staff person.  Therefore, we should all stop paying property taxes.

          Suggest you go back and review Matt’s statements, regarding this (in your earlier article).  (Even though he’s on “your side”, more than “my side”.)

          You have no credibility whatsoever, regarding this issue. Strange, coming from someone who runs a business (the Vanguard itself).

      2. Eileen Samitz

        David: “Providing housing for a mix of groups harms this city?”

        David,

        This “mix” is not at all a proportional “mix”. It is worse than Sterling having even more mega-apartments in this Plaza 2555 mega-dorm proposal.

        1. Don Shor

          This “mix” is not at all a proportional “mix”.

          Nor is the mix at URC, or Eleanor Roosevelt Circle. Nor is the mix in most neighborhoods in Davis.
          You are fabricating a new standard that has never been applied in town, nor anywhere else that I’m aware of.

        2. David Greenwald

          “This “mix” is not at all a proportional “mix”. “

          Shifting the bar.

          Interestingly enough something like 83% of multifamily rental housing in Davis is occupied by students.  So in actuality it is more proportional thank the rental market, not less.

  3. Ron

    David: Perhaps it would be better if I asked you and Don to refrain from coming to incorrect “conclusions”, regarding what I have said.  In any case, my apologies for some of my remarks.

    It does become overwhelming, to present points of view which are different from yours and Don’s. Seems like you guys are constantly ready for battle (with Howard as a part-time supporter). The Vanguard is more of a battleground, as opposed to a place that encourages open and honest discussion. (Perhaps the nature of blogs, in general.)

  4. Ron

    David:  “Actually it is where they come up with the figures and it creates a false measure – because it is not real time costs.”

    Suggest you expand upon that thought (because you’re likely ignoring accounting principles, if nothing else).

    David:  “The second issue as I’ve brought up is that the assumptions on the staffing costs increases are off as well.”

    Suggest you expand upon that, as well. (And again, are you accounting for unfunded liabilities, which are part of staffing costs?)

    David:  “Third, as I’ve pointed out, there are one time fees that further mitigate the costs and not calculated into the fiscal analysis.”

    Those fees are to cover particular one-time costs, and do not represent a “profit” for the city.  I believe that Matt also addressed this, in your earlier article.  (Perhaps you can provide the link to that article.)

    David:  “So for example with regards to Trackside, whose fiscal analysis I used to illustrate all of that, it is true that on their measure by year 15, the project was slightly negative, that ignores (1) the faulty cost assumptions, . .”

    Which haven’t been shown.

    David:  “(2) the fact that even with the slight negative in year 15, the project produced a net revenue over the first 15 years, . . .”

    Which may not include unfunded liabilities, for staff providing services for the development. (And, in any case, show a continuing and expanding DEFICIT, for every year thereafter.)

    David:  “(3) that net positive did not include one-time fees and so realistically even assuming accuracy in the assumptions, the city had a net benefit even through year 15.”

    Again, one time-fees are used to cover one-time costs.  They do not represent a “profit”.

    Again, the analysis may not have included unfunded liabilities, for staff providing services for the development.

    David:  “Your argument doesn’t hold water.

    I’d suggest that your arguments have serious “leaks”.

    David:  “The staff costs are a constant unless you add staff, we haven’t in ten years and won’t as a result of any of these projects.”

    Again, that means that all costs are (improperly) allocated to existing developments, and/or that a new/future development will “suddenly” have to pay the full cost of new staff.  This violates basic accounting principles, which I hope that the Vanguard follows, as well.

    1. Ron

      Actually, the cost of providing services would include much more than direct salary and unfunded liabilities.  There’s also “funded” medical and pension benefits, as well as ongoing indirect maintenance costs for buildings and equipment, insurance, roads, parks, water/sewer, municipal buildings, bikepaths, etc.  Some of these services are not “direct”, in the form of say, police/fire showing up at a given apartment complex.  However, they all most be properly allocated, when comparing and analyzing the “revenues” that a given development would provide.  (And, in probably ALL cases, apartment complexes are a long-term money-loser, for cities. Most residential development is, as well.)

      It would be interesting to see a full/complete fiscal analysis, for a given proposed residential development. (I am not intending to present all of the known costs, here.) In any case, the analysis that David presented the other day appears to be woefully incomplete.

      1. Howard P

        Too bad the City didn’t do that for the development you live in … perhaps we can have a “re-do” to bring you and your property into fiscal conformance…I’m good with that! I’d live with that myself…

        What say you, Ron?  You willing to deal with a re-do, to be fair and just?  If not, why not?

        Same level of analysis that you propose for new development… no more, no less…

        or, does the H-word apply? Or the “I’ve got mine, to hell with everyone else” theorem?

        1. Ron

          Howard:  You’re right – they should have done that with all developments, to date.  Then, perhaps the city wouldn’t be facing significant financial challenges, now.

          Of course, revenue increases are limited by law (via property taxes, or via voter approval in the form of parcel taxes).  Costs, on the other hand, are not.

          I tend to view a given community as a whole, rather than the time that you, me, or anyone else moved to it.  I don’t view these issues on such a personal level.  (Never have.)  Perhaps a reason that I’m thrilled whenever I hear of some other locale (that I have no connection to), which has taken steps to restrict uncontrolled development and its resulting costs and impacts.  (Which cumulatively spread far beyond a given community, and are probably also not sufficiently accounted for. If you don’t believe that, take a look at Highway 80, lately.)

           

          1. Don Shor

            I suggest you read this article and consider how the neighborhood you live in compares with the housing proposals we’ve been discussing with respect to the overall cost to the city.
            https://www.huduser.gov/portal/pdredge/pdr_edge_featd_article_060115.html
            Nothing in any of your answers ever explains how you see the region dealing with the increased population regardless of the source of that increase except that you want all new students housed on campus or in other cities, and your only solution to the fact that the university won’t be doing that is to sue them to try and force them to do it.

        2. Ron

          Keith:  If he’s referring to what these types of developments would (cumulatively) do to the city, I believe the correct word is “Hosed”.  🙂

          As even renters might be, if this causes UCD to drag its feet (as it has apparently done in the past).

        3. Howard P

          To simplify/clarify, “Homeowner”… as in ‘current’… look at the context… “someone who has already got their’s”…

          But your guesses could have been plausible, Keith… at least from your vantage point…

        4. Ron

          Don:  I skimmed the article you referenced, and do not necessarily dispute that “smart growth” might not generate the same costs/impacts to a city as “dumb growth”.  (Of course, congestion can generate its own costs and impacts for individuals, businesses, etc.)

          In any case, I certainly see the value of “smart growth” vs. “dumb growth”.  However, even smart growth is subject to limitations. (So far, no one wants to admit this – including many environmental groups, whom I otherwise support.)

          Regarding Davis’ overall responsibility, we’re already meeting, and possibly exceeding SACOG requirements.  I recall reading that some cities in California didn’t even bother to report this type of information.  (I suspect that will change, under the new requirements.)

          Regarding UCD’s plans, I suspect that this issue will never be completely resolved (without significant, ongoing costs, impacts and disruptions to the city into the future), unless there’s some type of formal agreement in place.  Short of that, UCD’s needs will continue to overwhelm those of the city, and negate the city’s planning efforts.  (Especially if there’s a council that fails to recognize this.)

        5. Ron

          Don: There is one other factor, when comparing revenues/costs regarding “smart growth” vs. “dumb growth”:

          Dumb growth is often subjected to Mello-Roos fees, while smart growth is not.  This isn’t discussed or accounted for, in your referenced article.

          Regardless, I’m not a fan of dumb growth.

  5. Ron

    Wondering what kind of nonsense David is thinking up right now, for tomorrow’s article.  I suspect that I might have irritated him and Don enough today, to warrant additional “attention” tomorrow.  And unfortunately (or perhaps “fortunately”), I won’t have as much time tomorrow to play along.

  6. Howard P

    Eric:  Regarding “megadorms”, David is apparently arguing that it has an “official”, dictionary-approved meaning.
    Since it bothers him, “megadorm, megadorm, megadorm!”

    Let us know when you are ready to take your diapers off, put aside your pacifier, and are ready to speak as an adult… until then, signing off as to your comments… consider yourself “ignored”.

    1. Ron

      Who’s Eric? (And, what would it take for you to “ignore” me, instead?)

      In any case, I’ve got one last thing to say:  “Megadorm”.

      P.S. – megadorm. 🙂

  7. Howard P

    Ms Samitz wrote:

    The ones that do have individual bathrooms, such as Sterling, makes that mega-dorm format even worse due to the impacts. By the way

    Either gross ignorance or an untruth… perhaps both…

    If 5 people share a dwelling unit, it matters not if there is one or five bathrooms.  If a couple like sharing a shower or bath together, they’ll do that even if they have separate bathrooms.  Five people with one bathroom, urinate, defecate, shower/bathe, brush teeth, etc., damn near the same as five people with five bathrooms… and it is highly unlikely that is shared, so I see no difference between water consumption or sewage generation between  four or five people sharing one bathroom, or each having a bathroom of their own.  So, WHAT IMPACTS is Ms Samitz referring to that get worse?

    Illogical, and extremely likely untrue… and if that is untrue, and/or illogical, it raises questions about the rest of her narrative.

    1. Matt Williams

      Howard, while I agree 100% with the water consumption points you have made, I do think that there is indeed a cost associated with the “a chicken in every pot” bathroom approach … and that cost is less onerous for student groups than it is for single families.  Specifically the construction costs and land use costs associated with all those (dare I say unnecessary) bathrooms.  The construction costs of a 10 foot by 10 foot bedroom are a whole lot less than a 10 foot by 10 foot bathroom.  If a 4 bedroom unit had 2 bathrooms rather than 4 bathrooms, the construction costs for the unit would be reduced, making it possible to reduce the monthly rent for the unit.  Further, if the square footage of those 3 avoided bathrooms is repurposed into additional units, not only would the construction costs come down, but the landlord’s monthly revenue goes up because of the additional units paying monthly rent.  Some of that additional profit could be returned to the tenants as monthly rent decrease.

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