Neighbors Now Opposing High Density Apartments at Cannery

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The Cannery developers avoided one controversy when they announced last week they were withdrawing their request for changes to the development that had “requested an increase in the approved 25,000 square foot tenant building to 34,000 square feet for a fitness center.”

However, they kept alive a request for “proposed revisions on the West Side of the project site, which includes the 54 additional apartment units.”

Originally the meeting was expected to occur this Tuesday, but it has been re-scheduled for March 20.

Lesser known than the fitness center issue, the applicant has proposed 54 additional residential units, for a total of 90 one- and two-bedroom apartment units on the west side.  The units would consist of 12 units located above a retail building and 78 units located in two apartment buildings.

However, the Vanguard has learned that this proposal is drawing criticism from neighbors and residents of the Cannery.

Here is one such letter, sent to the council as an email and acquired by the Vanguard:

Dear Mayor Davis and City Council members:

We are writing to you as voting citizens of Davis, and residents of the Cannery Development.  We request that you do not allow any further residential complexes be approved as part of the Cannery project.  Specifically, do not allow the additional apartments that Leeland Enterprises is proposing as part of the Market Place in the southwest corner of the development.  

For all residents who reside on the west side of the Cannery, the normal path of ingress and egress is on Cannery Loop that already goes by the Bartlett Commons apartments, and will soon pass by the added 120 Gala condominium flats as well as the Market Place commercial area.  The streets are narrow, allow parking on both sides, and are already becoming congested.  Add to this mix a dog park, a basketball court, the entrance to the park (with bocce ball courts, children’s playground and amphitheater), and many children and adults walking, playing and riding bikes.  It will surely become a very congested bottleneck.

From the time we first bought into the Cannery Development farm-to-table community, it has been an ongoing ‘bait and switch’  marketing plan.  The farm can’t currently be farmed due to poor soil conditions that will take a few years to correct.  Lots shown on the master plan that would be Sage homes by the New Home Company were sold for custom homes by other contractors / developers – resulting in a lack of consistency.  The Gala condominium flats were to have four units per floor, for a total of 96 units; but, this was changed to five per floor for a total of 120 units.  And, now the land for the planned boutique style commercial area was sold by the New Home Company to a Marketing Developer that people know very little about.  My understanding is that interest by merchants who want to come to this area has been underwhelming.  So, to maximize profits from the investment, the developer of course wants to add more residential rental units.  We are told that these would be for professionals, and not for students.  We were told that same thing when we purchased our townhome.  But, when several of the same model didn’t sell rapidly, they were sold to investors who are using them for college student rentals.  As homes have come up for sale, several more were purchased by these investors.  And, we have been told by their realtor the investors intend to continue purchasing townhomes and flats as they become available.  This already has, and will continue to increase the number of people and vehicles to more than were planned for.  

Enough is enough.  When the Cannery is built to completion it is going to already be a crowded multi-use community on a small footprint.  Please don’t allow this community to be ruined by more residential rental units in an area that was always planned to be light commercial.  Doing so would have a negative impact on our living conditions, what we bought into, our property values, and our feelings toward you as elected officials.



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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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34 thoughts on “Neighbors Now Opposing High Density Apartments at Cannery”

  1. Ron

    I had posted a comment regarding this same issue, recently.  I was wondering if/when the new residents at the Cannery would start questioning these types of changes.

    To me, it’s yet another sign that (neither) ever-increasing density or sprawl is a viable or worthwhile “goal”

      1. Ron

        I’m not sure that “right” or “wrong” applies to your statement.  The neighbors are concerned about the impacts of the proposed change (e.g., access to reach their new homes, for example).

      2. Keith O

        No, that seems to presume that they bought into a community in which they were promised one thing by the developer that was also voted in by the council just to see things being chnaged on them.

        To me that is very reasonable.

        1. David Greenwald

          Keith: You really think having slightly more apartments sequestered off to the far side of the project is going to make a huge difference?  I’m sorry, we need rental housing in this community.  We’ve asked people in other neighborhoods to accept infill, but not in Cannery?  That doesn’t make much sense either.

        2. Keith O

          The Cannery isn’t even fully built yet and we’re already talking about infill?

          Yes I feel they are being reasonable when they’ve invested hundreds of thousands of dollars, in some cases millions, in that small community just to see things changed on them.

        3. Ron

          So, you want to return to pre-Measure J levels?

          Also not sure why you put rental housing in a separate category of “need”, compared to for-sale housing.  Ultimately, that’s just another justification to pursue ever-increasing sprawl or overly dense neighborhoods.

           

        4. David Greenwald

          Keith: I was always opposed to the Cannery in part because it was largely large SFHs that were not affordable for families.  This actually fixes a major problem by providing more rental housing – something that is a critical need in the city.

        5. Ron

          David:  I suspect that the new residents of the Cannery who purchased “traditional” (not particularly large homes, on small lots) feel differently.  Hence, the letter above.

        6. David Greenwald

          How is this issue different from every other higher density infill in the city?  The council has given the go ahead to all of them which means at least in their mind, the issue is settled.

        7. David Greenwald

          Quoting Tia from yesterday: “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”

        8. Ron

          Quoting from the letter, above:

          “For all residents who reside on the west side of the Cannery, the normal path of ingress and egress is on Cannery Loop that already goes by the Bartlett Commons apartments, and will soon pass by the added 120 Gala condominium flats as well as the Market Place commercial area.  The streets are narrow, allow parking on both sides, and are already becoming congested.  Add to this mix a dog park, a basketball court, the entrance to the park (with bocce ball courts, children’s playground and amphitheater), and many children and adults walking, playing and riding bikes.  It will surely become a very congested bottleneck.”

  2. Ron

    David:  “At least on rental housing – we have the community need.”

    I’m not convinced that you can logically divide the “need” that you’re referring to, between rental vs. for-sale housing.  If a city continues to respond to market demand, pursuit of both types of housing ultimately lead to sprawl or overly-dense neighborhoods.  (In fact, rental housing generally has greater impacts for neighbors and the city as a whole.)

    And, if UCD is creating the need (and “using up” available locations), then the “need” (e.g., for both students and non-students) will be displaced to other neighborhoods (such as the Cannery).

    In any case, I’m still not sure why you put renters in a special category of “need”. (Other than student housing.)

    1. David Greenwald

      You don’t have to be convinced, there are structural barrier between the two.  Rental housing specifically student housing is a local demand whereas the problem with attempting to meet for-sale housing is that you really are dealing with regional demand.  The solutions in each case are separate and distinct.

      1. Ron

        You assuming that there is no “regional demand” for rental housing in Davis, but there is “regional demand” for for-sale housing.  Other than the need created by UCD, do you have some data to backup that assumption?

        1. David Greenwald

          No, Eileen’s point is that the design of these buildings makes it unsuitable for non-students, my point is that the market and the cost of housing are the drivers in that.

        2. Ron

          UCD (and their pursuit of students who pay them $42K/year) is the “driver”.  And, in reference to Howard’s comment regarding “Charlie Brown and the Football” (in the other article, today), the city is Charlie Brown, in this case.  (A gullible sucker, that continues to respond inappropriately – to its own detriment.)

  3. Todd Edelman

    When seeing this I was all prepared to come here and snark about having-one’s-cake-and-eating-it-too-ism and unmet bicycle modal share goals per usual, BUT this is trauma, personified… a total clusterf*ck in so many ways, from the narcissistic entitlement of the writer to the justified rage in the same writer… to the bored developer robots I saw at the last Planning Commission meeting which had a vote on this … to the not great connection from that part of the former cannery compressed suburb by bike to Downtown (sorry, had to) … to the non-appearance* here in Comments from Councilmembers who consistently voted for the Cannerythings, and the non-appearance* of City Council-candidates who could give us some suggestions on how to solve it.

    Meanwhile in Slovakia the largest protest since the end of Communism….

    *In lieu of a real town square, this seems to be a legitimate request?

  4. Jeff M

    It is really easy to understand what the average Davis resident will support:

    – Less traffic so they can get where they need to go in their cars faster.

    – Fewer cars so they can get where they need to go in their cars faster.

    – Fewer people so they can get where they need to go in the their cars faster.

    – More parking as long it does not require more parking spaces.

    – More bike riding as long as the bike riders are not seen nor heard. 

    – Affordable housing as long as it is not in their neighborhood.

    – Greater density in other neighborhoods as long as their neighborhoods have lesser density, bigger lots where the sun always shines, wide streets, ample parking and walking distance to shopping and entertainment.

    – A farmland moat around the city where they can dream of living in a rural farming community, but with lots of urban amenities.

    – Fewer Republicans but less city debt.

    – No big box stores except for the ones they like to shop at as long as they are located in other communities. 

    – Fewer poor people and fewer homeless people with more services for the poor and homeless. 

    – A much smaller UCD and a city with lots of educated and diverse people that make it a vibrant and interesting place to live.

    After all of these years reading about and debating the topic of city growth and development, I finally understand.

  5. Eric Gelber

    Please don’t allow this community to be ruined by [54] more residential rental units in an area that was planned to be light commercial.

    Hyperbole much? The current homeowners may have legitimate complaints about certain representations made to them that have not come to fruition. But moving forward with a plan that later turned out not to be viable would be irresponsible. An alternative use of a peripheral portion of the property that is fully in keeping with the character of, and will have minimal impact on, the overall development, and that will address the needs of the larger community seems to be worthy of consideration, notwithstanding the inevitable NIMBYism when it comes to infill and densification.

  6. Tia Will

    You really think having slightly more apartments sequestered off to the far side of the project is going to make a huge difference? “

    Two points: 1. “slightly” is an easy adjective to use if you are not the one likely to be impacted. 2. Same with the word “huge”. If it is you that lives with increased congestion daily, you may well see this as a “huge” impact.

    It is fine for you to quote me. However, I believe that there are important differences that should be noted.

    1. With the Lincoln40 developers, there has been no “bait and switch” as appears to be the case with the changes requested by the Cannery developers. At the time that I bought my home, no one reassured me that the homes that were present were going to be there in the long term and I was aware from having driven and walked by that the Olive Dr. neighborhood was long past due for upgrade. I do not believe this to be true for the new residents of the Cannery. And they are all “new” residents.

    “The current homeowners may have legitimate complaints about certain representations made to them that have not come to fruition. But moving forward with a plan that later turned out not to be viable would be irresponsible”

    The problem I see here, Eric, is that we have no idea what is meant by “not viable”. Does “not viable” ( like its cousin, “pencil out”)  mean that they will not see huge profits, that they will see less profits than anticipated, that they will be barely making it, or that they will be operating at a loss ? We do not know because they do not have to share this information. Don Shor quite reasonably asked me a few threads back why I used the word “skeptical” with regard to developer intentions. This is yet another example of why I feel skeptical. At what point does the developer have to assume responsibility  for the viability of their own plan and not pawn it off on the city in terms of exemptions, or on the adjacent neighbors in the form of increased density and congestion because of their own planning errors. We are frequently told that developers and investors should be given allowances because they are taking the financial risk. I would posit that they are not taking risk if the city is going to consistently bail them out regardless of concerns of the neighbors or previous representations ( promises) made to them.

    One last point. If we can have no trust in the representations that are made to us upon purchase, why would anyone in their right mind not be skeptical about future developer representations. A very good reason for putting some check on these bait and switch tactics may well be the ill will and distrust they are bound to generate. If these developers truly cannot make the original plan work, I would suggest that they have the transparency to step up and explain to both the city and concerned homeowners exactly what went wrong and why the change is needed. Now that would be taking some responsibility.

     

     

  7. Tia Will

    Full disclosure re my preceding comment. I was adamantly opposed to the Cannery in its current configuration. I felt that the city was giving away far too much in return for far too little in terms of transportation, extremely limited walkability, the unlikelihood in my mind that a working community farm would be established, the paucity of truly affordable housing and my feeling that critical city housing needs were being sacrificed to the expensive “nice to have” component.

    I have not become more enamored of this project as time has gone by.

    1. Eric Gelber

      I don’t deny that Cannery homeowners as well as the City may have legitimate complaints for the failure to deliver on significant amenities—like a community farm, walkability, or access to transportation. But I doubt if housing for 54 additional renter households versus light commercial use on the periphery would have been a material factor to prospective buyers. (It might be an issue for the City, though.) This appears to be an “I’ve got mine and we don’t want more renters in our neighborhood” phenomenon.

      1. Howard P

        You imply a good point… what is in the past is in the past… no re-do… now the question is do we stick with what is done, or how do we proceed into the future…

    2. Howard P

      History of your past opposition to the project as a whole, means zilch today… any constructive comments for moving forward, or ‘staying pat’ with what is?  Or just venting?

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