West Davis Active Adult Community FAQ


Here is the latest FAQ sheet on the proposed West Davis Active Adult Community.  The proposed West Davis Active Adult Community project includes 332 for-sale units along with 150 affordable senior apartments on a 75-acre parcel north of Covell Boulevard and west of Sutter Davis Hospital.

Approval of the project would require a General Plan Amendment, and voter approval under Measure R.  Eighty percent of the units, including the affordable apartments, are proposed to be entitled as a senior citizen housing development. The remaining 20 percent of the units (approximately 76 units) would not have age restrictions.

The developers are identifying a 4.25-acre portion of the site that would be designated as senior affordable housing.  According to staff, “The 150 units that could be accommodated on the site would likely be built in two phases, depending on financing.”

  1. What is the essence of the West Davis Active Adult Neighborhood?

Taking care of older adults. We think it is important. No more important than other worthy endeavors but part of how a community should plan for its future.

  1. Why have you chosen to concentrate on older adults rather than university students or young families?

We have had a long-standing desire to focus a new neighborhood toward older adults. It is a personal focus that is not better or worse than concentrating on other segments of the population.

  1. Why are you only allowing 20 percent of the homes for families?

We want to prioritize seniors. Young families can access many other homes in Davis because they don’t shy away from two-story homes or older homes with steps. Our plan incorporates 20 percent non-
restricted single-family homes to add a younger segment, which we believe adds vibrancy. Community feedback is that a 100 percent senior neighborhood would not match what Davis seniors want.

  1. Are you following a different process than what other neighborhoods have gone through?

We believe the spirit of “The Citizens Right to Vote,” also known as Measure J and R, is that the voters should be at the center of the approval process. Therefore, we are asking the citizens to provide their input to define the Baseline Features, Requirements and major Development Agreement deal points. This is a shift from previous Measure J/R proposals that concentrated solely on the city process.

  1. Why are you proposing 150 affordable senior apartments when you are only required to build 68 by the City Code?

The waiting lists at the Eleanor Roosevelt affordable senior apartments is several years long. The need is great and our goal is to serve seniors in many different manners, as soon as possible. Providing far more than required is the right thing to do and remains in balance with size and scale of the neighborhood. This greater number of affordable units also allows for the scale needed to provide social services and programming.

  1. Is this a low-density neighborhood?

This is a combination of high-density and medium-density housing. The affordable apartments are high density, the University Retirement Community area will be medium density, the single-family detached homes will be medium density and the attached/condos/stacked flat areas will be medium density.

  1. Will you build a walking/biking overpass over Covell Boulevard?

We are focusing on providing robust at-grade crossing at Risling and Covell, and John Jones and Covell, to accommodate walkers and bikers.  We propose updating the intersection using high-visibility ladder crosswalk markings and green-striped bike lanes and an enhanced median strip. We also will be eliminating one of the “free right turns” so walkers, especially from the corner where URC is, have one fewer vehicle path to cross. We do not believe an overcrossing will be well utilized because those who are unable to cross a street safely, mostly because of mobility challenges, will be even more unlikely to walk a distance to the overcrossing, climb a hill, walk down a hill, and then walk to the neighborhood. We believe that investing in the activity and wellness center and providing walking paths, rather than just streets, are better investments for the community. We will provide a landing area for a future overcrossing of Highway 113 northeast of our neighborhood. (See answer 28 for greater detail on 113 over-crossing.)

  1. Will you restrict the homes to only those who currently live in Davis?

Our goal is to provide housing for the larger Davis community. We know from many conversations that a lot of us have aging parents who we’d like to bring to Davis but there are limited options to do so, which is part of the current community need. However, we all recognize that the legality of discriminating based upon ZIP code is questionable. Nevertheless, we think there is a large number of current Davis residents who will be interested in right-sizing to a single-level home with solar, universal design and energy efficiency, without doing an intensive out-of-community marketing effort. The need for this neighborhood is homegrown.

  1. Why would you propose single story homes?

There is a large number of people in Davis who own older and large homes who would like a new, smaller and energy-efficient home. Our personal experience with potential buyers of our past developments and the dozens of meetings we have held corroborates this belief.  Single-story homes are ideal for aging in place.

  1. Why are there no backyard fences?

Isolation is a problem as one gets older — especially when one is in their 80s and without a spouse. The lack of backyard fences, and the walking paths instead of fences, add the opportunity for unplanned and impromptu meetings for those people, seeing activity, talking with neighbors, getting a simple wave and a smile makes a difference.

  1. Why are you not proposing to build stacked flats and market rate apartments to increase the density of the neighborhood?

We have updated our plan based on feedback and are planning to provide a mix of 174 attached homes that will include apartments, condos and flats in various forms. There will be for-sale and rental options in these 174 homes.

  1. Are you avoiding entering into a development agreement?

No. We have heard from the community that they wanted to participate in the development agreement deal points. Development agreements are mostly boilerplate language mitigating risks, defining payment options and a few specific deal points. We expect all the significant deal points that are normally in a development agreement to be in the baseline features and requirements so they are evident to the voters. The citizens then have a direct contract with the developer that is only changeable with a new vote.

  1. Will there be an environment impact report?

Yes. The report is controlled by the city and performed by an outside consultant. We pay for it. It will include investigations of animals and insects plus traffic and economics and all of the other normal items included in such a report. We expect the draft to be completed and ready for public comment this fall.

  1. Will all of the single-family detached homes be single story?

With the exception of the “small builder lots” on the exterior of the neighborhood, the other homes will be restricted to single-level living.  However, the garages will all have an option to have a second story that could be for a caregiver, play room, office or guest quarters. One of the principles of universal design is that one provides as much flexibility for as many property owners as is possible over time.

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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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23 thoughts on “West Davis Active Adult Community FAQ”

  1. Todd Edelman

    First of all, I still unwavering in my opposition to this type of housing for active, pedestrian-focused elder housing at the City’s periphery. But I can think in layers, and hope to entertain allied suspicion about the inadequacy of project planning details in order to demonstrate both the the mistake of the siting and the obfuscation of – intentional or otherwise – and thus need for better solutions.

    Assuming that what’s posted on the City’s project website is the actual “latest FAQ”, the above is an excerpt – perhaps people wonder e.g. where is “question 28″… and notice the sloppy formatting? – consisting of a bit less than 1/3 of the opens-as-Word document actual FAQ. Not only is the last 2/3 missing above, but some answered questions in the sequence of the first 1/3 are excluded.  The numbers in the original are excluded.
    This is part of what’s missing in the first third:

    9. Why would anyone vote against this neighborhood?
    In Davis, we have many groups that are passionate about one specific item.
    For Example:
    Net zero energy for new homes
    Bike only overcrossings & undercrossing for the bike loop
    Anti-car – pro bicycle.
    Affordable housing – generally and for Seniors
    Universal design.
    Burrowing Owls
    Student Housing for UC Davis students
    Farm land [sic] preservation
    High density housing
    No growth

    If there is not a general feeling that we can set aside parts of our passions for a greater good then it becomes difficult to have a meaningful conversation.

    Beyond that – responding to the full FAQ – and in regards to content, the connectivity for walking and cycling to the surrounding area and Davis in general is inadequate.
    Project designers make a good go at separating walkers from bikers inside the project areas, but for some unknown reason this caring construct does not connect the community to rest of the world.

    While there are a couple of planned limitations of motor vehicle turns on Covell which will also be widened, the main project intersection needs a roundabout with priority for pedestrians, and pedestrians and cyclists must be accommodated on separated paths east across 113 to the Marketplace, with the Class I bike paths re-designed as pedestrian (wheelchair, etc.) paths – perhaps with the same granite-based treatment as within the complex – and the dangerous, separated-only-by-paint bike lane on both sides of Covell re-designed as fully-separated, Class IV, physically-separated, we’re-Davis-and-we-are-serious-about-cycling-again-and-will-not-allow-inexperienced-consultants-to-threaten-our-elders-and-children, world class – not world of gas – bike lanes with full, uncompromising consistency through intersections and across the 113 peak-automobility nightmare cutting off West Davis from society.

    1. Howard P

      The FAQ is an ad… it is only an ad… in the event of an actual information piece, it would be balanced, with less in the way of “buzz” words/phrases.  My take, at least.

  2. Eric Gelber

    Our plan incorporates 20 percent non-restricted single-family homes to add a younger segment, which we believe adds vibrancy. 

    In other words, we will turn away non-seniors with disabilities, families with children, etc., once we’ve met our quota. We believe in vibrancy (i.e., diversity) but not too much.

    And let’s not overlook the fact that the 20% allowance for non-seniors protects the seniors-only status of the development by providing a cushion in the event that some households no longer have a member who is over age 55, due to death, divorce, etc.

    1. Howard P

      Think you’ve pretty much nailed it, Eric… “marketing” not only for potential buyers, but for the Commissions, CC, and voters.  That’s what realtors who are also developers do…

      Nothing wrong with that… as long as folk understand it for what it is.

      My concerns relate to utilities and flood plain… not the land use.  Subjects not in evidence at this point.  Important, but not ‘flashy’ or attractive to most.  Many love frosting so much that they ignore what’s in the cake.  Frosting sells…

  3. Alan Pryor

    David – Really? Do you honestly expect us to believe that this article, “West Davis Active Adult Community FAQ” is “Breaking News” published by the Vanguard Administrator? At least earlier you had the honesty to note that the puff pieces you published on this proposed project was “Paid Advertisement”.

    If articles like these are paid advertisements functionally written and provided by the developer (which is clearly the case here), simple journalistic integrity clearly requires you to prominently label it as such. I get it that you seriously need money, but to openly shill for a developer like this under the guise of journalism really does damage your future credibility and substantially diminishes the Vanguard brand as an independent voice in the community. Even the Enterprise does not push this type of deception on its readers.

    1. David Greenwald

      I honestly trust that my readers are smart and critical thinkers and can discern accurately which information they believe which information they question.

    2. Eric Gelber

      I agree that labeling this as “Breaking News” is inaccurate. But this piece is clearly labeled as an FAQ, not as a Q&A or an interview. If anyone is deceived into thinking this is an objective piece of journalism, that’s on them. That said, I would suggest that such self-promoting pieces be separately categorized in the future, rather than placing them under the heading of Breaking News.

    3. Keith O

       to openly shill for a developer like this under the guise of journalism really does damage your future credibility and substantially diminishes the Vanguard brand as an independent voice in the community.

      The Vanguard has really changed over the last few years.

        1. Keith O

          Radical ideas that threaten institutions in turn become institutions that reject radical ideas.

          Well put Alan.  I’ve been saying this for awhile now, the Vanguard has changed.  It’s not what it used to be, in my opinion it’s not the hard hitting go against the grain blog it once was.  To me it seems to be much more run of the mill mainstream now.  Maybe we can all have a discussion on this after the Thanksgiving break?

        2. Alan Miller

          Maybe we can all have a discussion on this after the Thanksgiving break?

          Or we could do it during the break, while no one is minding the store.

          [moderator]: http://davismerchants.org/vanguard/kilroy.jpg

    1. Howard P

      There is no place in the two cardinal directions (south or east) where the other side could be done (all already fully developed)… and the applicant knows that full well… like magic… a ‘mis-direction’…

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