Council to Decide on Approval of Lincoln40

Share:
Simulation of Lincoln40 from Olive Drive

The city council has already approved Sterling and Nishi (pending the Measure R ratification) in hopes of addressing the student housing crisis.  They will get a third opportunity on Tuesday when Lincoln40 comes before them, following a long two-year public discussion over the need for student housing versus the size and scope of the project.

Lincoln40 is a 130-unit student-oriented apartment building on 5.92 acres, located along Olive Drive and Hickory Lane just south of the Union Pacific Railroad Tracks and the Davis Amtrak station.  The project will contain 708 beds, a bike barn, parking areas, swimming pool, and various amenities.  The building includes 473 bedrooms, of which 235 would be designed as double-occupancy rooms.

It contains a mix of two- to five-bedroom fully furnished units, ranging from approximately 1024 to 1797 square feet in size.

There will be 204 surface parking spaces and 725 bicycle parking spaces.

According to staff, “The development is primarily designed as an off-campus student-housing complex, but the applicant’s project narrative states that the project would be available to qualified students and non-students.

“Unlike traditional apartments, the proposed project would be leased by the bed and not by the unit,” staff writes.  “For each lease, the tenant would be assigned a unit and the tenant’s specific bedroom, and given personalized access rights to the common areas, which are pool area, clubhouse, study rooms, secured bike areas and main apartment building.”

The project was reviewed by the Planning Commission in early January and the commission unanimously recommended that the council certify the project’s EIR and approve the planning applications.

Staff writes that it believes “the proposed project is approvable as it meets many policy goals of the city, is of a high-quality design and is an appropriate land use for the location.”

The staff report addresses a number of issues and concerns brought up during the public comment process.

First, there are noted traffic conflicts at the intersection of Richards Boulevard and Olive Drive.  Staff believes that the EIR has adequately addressed the issue.  They write: “No new evidence has been provided to refute the expert analysis and mitigation measures in the EIR to support the claim that this project would exacerbate the traffic and circulation situation at the Richards Blvd and Olive Drive intersection if the proposed project applications were approved.  An unsubstantiated assumption is not adequate to refute the analysis performed by trained experts.”

Second, there is the view that the overcrossing should be constructed prior to the development of the project.  The staff writes: “the construction of the overcrossing is a separate City decision…  It is not part of the proposed project.  It cannot legally be required of the proposed project to bear the full cost of the overcrossing construction.”

Staff notes that “this project will also pay its fair share.”  The applicant has agreed through the Development Agreement “to contribute additional funds to the improvement of the overcrossing.”

Third, there is the notion that UC Davis should provide student housing rather than the city.  Staff notes the passage of the resolution on December 20, 2016, which “requested that UCD provide housing for a minimum of 100 percent of the projected student enrollment growth, and at least 50 percent of the total UC Davis campus student population in the Long Range Development Plan.”

As staff points out, “This project will not prevent UC Davis from providing additional student housing.”

Fourth, staff points out that the applicant has revised the affordable housing plan to include onsite affordable rental units, therefore “affordable housing in-lieu fees payment is not part of the revised plan.”

Fifth, there are complaints that the land use is too dense.  Staff counters, “City has policies supporting infill and densification.  The current proposal is consistent with the City infill and densification goals and policies.  Staff does not share the belief that 22 units to the acre is too dense in a RMHD [residential medium high density] designation that permits up (to) 24.99 units to the acre.”

There are also complaints about building height, parking, and energy efficient.

Staff points out that 240 parking spaces is 16 fewer than the minimum required by city code.  However, they point out there have been recent efforts to reduce automobile usage and promote multi-modal transportation.  Therefore, they argue the availability of alternative transportation justifies “a favorable consideration of the proposal.”

On the other hand, “staff does not believe that (zero parking) is a reasonable option since it may impose parking hardship in the area.”  They view the current plans as “an acceptable compromise.”

On the building height, they write, “The proposed building height is acceptable given the tiered height nature of the proposal and the fact that the 5th floor portion will be adjacent to the railroad, thus having a beneficial effect on the neighborhood and site; noise screening.”  Staff adds that “there are no known adverse effects due to the 5-story portion of the building.”

On energy efficiency: “The applicant states that the project will implement strategies necessary to achieve LEED Gold equivalent standards similar to Sterling.”

Staff is supporting the project, arguing that the “critical need for rental housing is evidenced by apartment vacancy rates in the city.”  They cite the UC Davis 2017 Vacancy and Rental Rate Survey which found that the blended vacancy rate was 0.4 percent, essentially unchanged from the 0.3 percent in the fall of 2016.

Staff writes that it believes the project provides community benefits.  These include the need for affordable student housing, efficient use of the underutilized parcels, being well-served by facilities and services, being compatible with the noise environment and air quality, being compatible with surrounding uses, and providing for “the opportunity to complete the city and specific plan goal of connecting Olive drive neighborhood directly to the downtown.”

Staff further believes that the proposed project is consistent with General Plan policies for infill development and “contributes to the variety of housing types, densities, prices and rents, and designs in the neighborhood.”

Staff also addresses the need for student-oriented housing, writing, “The demand for university student housing affects all of the housing types; thus the City as a whole.  To the extent that the demand for student housing may have a negative effect on all housing types and residential neighborhoods not originally intended for that use, the development of student-oriented housing necessary.”

Staff believes without this type of housing, “students are more likely to be dispersed throughout the city.”  And, while this may reduce some problems, it “spreads the problems over a larger area of the city, especially in single-family residential neighborhoods.”

Lincoln40’s location and plan “are intended to address the potential concerns associated with concentration of student housing.”  The site is within walking distance from campus, with bike access and a bus line.  “The benefits of this site include multi-modal transportation, including relatively easy travel to UCD campus unlike dispersed student housing in single-family residential neighborhoods.”

They point out with the low vacancy rate that “it is evidence that the market is able to absorb student-oriented apartments” and “foreseeable that all units can be occupied.”  They hope it will contribute “to a shift of students out of single family homes” and “thereby freeing up those units for families and the general workforce.”

—David M. Greenwald reporting



Enter the maximum amount you want to pay each month
$
USD
Sign up for

Share:

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.

Related posts

28 thoughts on “Council to Decide on Approval of Lincoln40”

  1. Todd Edelman

    What means

    parking hardship in the area

    ?

    Does it mean that students who are forced to bring their cars to Davis will be forced to park their cars in the area?

    I would allow the planned parking under the conditions that a) Students not be allowed campus parking permits, similar to apartment-type housing such as Solano Park, and what’s likely to be asked by UC Davis for Nishi 2.0; and b) That parking is removed – except for car share – when the overcrossing to the Depot is built, since that will make access to commuter rail, more buses and Downtown extremely easy.

    Details: a) As a member of the BTSSC – and in connection with my proposed initiative in this body to remove parking minimums – I want to create a regulation about the not-allowed-permits thing, since this is not something that UC Davis can control – except in the case of Nishi 2.0, where they have some play with the under-crossing – but mostly so it’s not the result of negotiation for an individual project. The regulation would be based on the time it takes to use means other than a car to get to the center of campus or the MU, etc., or maybe just by bus and bicycle. So maybe ten minutes or less by bike and/or 15 or less by bus would activate the rule? (According to Google Maps, ARC is ten minutes from the location of Lincoln). To be fair, something similar should apply to all tenants within that distance, right? It could be based on leases and sub-leases…

    b) From what I know so far, the concept for the crossing to Davis Depot is circuitous, doesn’t place enough priority on its connection to Downtown itself for the countless hordes who will travel from central South Davis via the Pole Line to Old 40 path plus the other residents of East Olive. To optimize this kind of more direct path, it might be necessary to use more space on the south side of the tracks. (I would actually have bicycle parking on two levels at Lincoln40, one at grade as planned at one at the over the rail height, or close, so that no one has to go down to get their bike and up again to go over the tracks. This makes it even easier to get Downtown, etc. But I am not sure that this can be designed in later if the Council does not request it on Tuesday.) The crossing should also have an elevator option for pedestrians and people with mobility challenges, for whom taking the ramp is silly and a waste of time. Pedestrians should get their own space on the overcrossing, too — this keeps everyone safer.

    1. Ron

      Todd:  “From what I know so far, the concept for the crossing to Davis Depot is circuitous . . .”

      From what I know so far, it’s theoretical/not fully funded (much like the crossing to the Cannery).  And yet, that won’t make any difference, regarding approval of Lincoln40. Hell, just send ’em through Olive/Richards, instead.

        1. Ron

          I guess that Todd isn’t the only one with a sense of humor.

          Hey – don’t you usually go to bed about now, to write tomorrow’s housing shortage article? 🙂 Surprised that you’re still up. Usually, Don takes over, on the housing shortage “night shift”.

          Yeah, I know that student housing is an actual issue. Just would approach it differently, that’s all.

        2. David Greenwald

          “No new evidence has been provided to refute the expert analysis and mitigation measures in the EIR to support the claim that this project would exacerbate the traffic and circulation situation at the Richards Blvd and Olive Drive intersection if the proposed project applications were approved. “

        3. Ron

          Yeah, it’s not likely that semi-interested external parties would pay for their own “expert analysis” to refute it.  Every person living in that place will need to frequently cross that intersection, in some manner.  (Including trips that aren’t necessarily to campus.) Hope it doesn’t also create safety concerns.

          As the cumulative impacts (e.g., traffic and fiscal) resulting from megadorms and other projects “pile up”, we might see a revolt at some point. However, perhaps not until some more irreversible damage is done.

          Don’t worry – the council will almost certainly approve it, anyway.

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            yes, let’s discount expert analysis based on bias and conjecture. The standard cited by the city is a good one because it forces actual evidence to be used in order to overturn such analysis

    2. Ron

      Todd:  “Pedestrians should get their own space on the overcrossing, too — this keeps everyone safer.”

      Good to see that you still have a sense of humor.  🙂

      I wonder how long it will be before anything (other than the overcrowded megadorm) is built?

      Also wonder how much this will cost the city, in the long term. (Oh, right – we don’t count “fixed costs” or long-term costs, beyond a certain arbitrary point.) Good thing the impact fees have been updated – not!

  2. David Greenwald

    Not if the room is designed for double occupancy. Double occupancy becomes housing insecurity when students are combining into rooms designed for single occupancy and under the table to reduce costs.

    1. Todd Edelman

      Because it’s a large-ish room? We see the triples in UCD residence halls. It’s not clear – as I mentioned in comments to the other story – if HHS is talking only about space, but sharing itself, which most un-connected people in the USA do not do.

      1. David Greenwald Post author

        Yeah, if I stuff five people into a car with five seat belts, that’s insecure. If I put seven people in my van that has seven seat belts, it’s by design. It makes a difference.

      2. Todd Edelman

        You meant six in a five? The HHS info says nothing about the size of the room. I am pretty sure they don’t mean the size of the room. Anyway, that triple-up residence hall room is ridiculous — one of the desks is a foot from two of the beds. That it’s extremely expensive makes it a kind of terrorism. Jails are designed, too.

        1. David Greenwald

          I’m pretty sure that the design of the room must matter.  After all, if you have a large room designed for two people, how would that be housing insecure?  And if it is, then, you have rendered the definition of insecurity functionally meaningless.

  3. Ken A

    I know Highbeam has a lot of work to do but I’m guessing that city council is hoping to address the housing crisis and David didn’t plan to write: “The city council has already approved Sterling and Nishi (pending the Measure R ratification) in homes of addressing the student housing crisis”

    1. David Greenwald

      It didn’t help that the .pdf from the city had something wrong with it, so I had to hand type rather than copy and paste, although I have no such excuse for the typo above.

    2. Highbeam

      Ken, I was actually working on this article about 6:45, when I got ahold of the Sac mechanic who stole my car (I’ll call it unauthorized use, and Sac police aren’t very helpful), which I have been searching for since 2/20. That was corrected by the time you posted but I had not saved it..

      cathy

      1. John Hobbs

        “Sac police aren’t very helpful”

        A gross understatement when it comes to crimes that are unlikely to get them positive headlines.

        “We don’t send an officer for this kind of issue, but call a report writer in the morning…”

  4. Tia Will

    the fact that the 5th floor portion will be adjacent to the railroad, thus having a beneficial effect on the neighborhood and site; noise screening.”  Staff adds, “there are no known adverse effects due to the 5-story portion of the building.”

    What the staff has not addressed is the impact of the 5 story component on the neighbors located immediately on the north side of the tracks. Our view scape will now be changed from one of greenery and single story buildings, to a parking area and 5 story buildings meant to reduce the impact on Olive Drive residents, but which stand to adversely affect those of us to the north.

    I am supporting this project because I believe that the housing of students is a greater need than my aesthetic preference of that of the neighbors. The developers of this project have met with me on numerous occasions with regard to my canvassing the neighborhood and all immediately affected neighbors having the same opinion that some kind of “green screen” would mitigate this concern which is shared by all. I fully anticipate that they will honor their commitment to mitigating the effects of their building design for the affected neighbors, but would appreciate acknowledgement of this impact by city staff and perhaps some statement in favor of mitigation.

    1. Don Shor

      my canvassing the neighborhood and all immediately affected neighbors having the same opinion that some kind of “green screen” would mitigate this concern which is shared by all.

      Based on this proposed planting plan they have done that, except that most of the trees are deciduous and the evergreen (Cork oak) is rather slow growing.
      http://documents.cityofdavis.org/Media/CityCouncil/Documents/PDF/CDD/Planning/Project-Applications/Lincoln40/D.-Lincoln40-Conceptual-Planting-Plan.pdf

    2. Howard P

      I’d be surprised if the existing neighbors on the north side of UPRR can see the existing one-story units… would be shocked if they’ll see the proposed parking lots.  The 5-story structure, likely interim/long-term loss to seeing a mature tree canopy, yeah, that makes sense…

      Still don’t suspect realtors are touting “spectacular views” when listing OED properties…

      Will take some pictures now about the ‘viewscape’.. if the project is approved, after it is built, will take pictures, and will share so all can see “the impact”.

      1. David Greenwald Post author

        It seems kind of tucked away, but I think the most notable comment from Tia was the importance of housing over viewlines here.

      2. Alan Miller

        I’d be surprised if the existing neighbors on the north side of UPRR can see the existing one-story units…

        HP, what the hell is that supposed to mean?  I can see almost all of the existing one-story buildings out my living-room window.  How that is relevant to anything is beyond me.

        One of the first things Lincoln40 reps did is show the neighbors the shadow study and that the lowest-sun winter shadow would not reach the first houses in Old East Davis.  That was in outreach made before they applied or put the project in the media.

        Trackside, on the other hand, took months — after they went to City and media — to finally release a shadow study, and when they did it was ridiculously complicated and one of our neighbors, a scientist by schooling, showed the shadows were off by 40 degrees, and they said he was wrong because they used “licensed professionals”.

        So let us say there is a bit of difference in the approach.

      3. Tia Will

        Howard

        Instead of implying that I don’t know what I am looking at, why don’t you come over and take a look. For me it is about 3/4 block away. For some of the closer neighbors, it is less than 1/2 a city block. Are you really maintaining that one cannot see structures at a distance of 1 block? If so, I sincerely hope that you are not still driving, or even biking for that matter.

        1. Howard P

          I already said I would… and take pictures… I simply said I’d be surprised… life is full of surprises… despite your and Alan’s protestations, I never said “untrue”, “wrong”, etc.   Chill…

          Unlike “some” here I usually admit when I err.

          “Some”, I guess are always right, so even in the face of contrary facts, pretty much never acknowledge their errors.

          And remember, we are talking ONLY about single story structures on the subject property…

    3. David Greenwald

      “I am supporting this project because I believe that the housing of students is a greater need than my aesthetic preference of that of the neighbors”

       

Leave a Reply

X Close

Newsletter Sign-Up

X Close

Monthly Subscriber Sign-Up

Enter the maximum amount you want to pay each month
$ USD
Sign up for