Analysis: Enterprise Endorses West Davis Active Adult Community

For as much flack as the Vanguard has received for supporting recent student housing projects, it would probably be fair to note that it’s not clear that the Enterprise ever saw a development project it didn’t like.  That is not a commentary on the merits of any of the recent projects that the Enterprise support, just a commentary on their ability to discern between good and bad projects.

Their bottom line on WDAAC: “Creative projects like this one deserve to move ahead.”  And: “The housing crunch is affecting all sorts of people in Davis. Renters and students are impacted, and so are seniors looking to downsize out of large, multi-bedroom houses.”

The applicants have done a lot of things right in this process, but they have banked on the theory that there is a population in Davis that is seeking to downsize out of large homes and into more senior-age appropriate homes.

The council will first tackle this issue on Tuesday, though the final decision isn’t coming until the last meeting of the current council on June 19.

The specifics: “150 age-restricted affordable apartments; 32 attached, age-restricted cottages; 94 attached age-restricted units; 129 single-family detached, age-restricted homes; and 77 single-family, detached non-age-restricted homes.”

The key, though, is that the project will require annexation and a voter approval under Measure R.

The Enterprise opines: “We think this project would be a massive benefit to Davis and urge the council to put it to a vote of the people.”

They argue that the developers “have been laser-focused on finding Davis’ needs and designing the project to meet them.” They add, “The outreach has been unprecedented, as has been the attention to detail to make sure the development fits in with the community.”

The Enterprise continues: “Also innovative is the effort to make sure that these units go to existing Davis residents, to allow people who live here already to keep on living here as their needs evolve.

“The ‘Davis-based buyers program’ would limit sales to no more than 10 percent of buyers who do not live in Davis; have a close relative in Davis; worked for UC Davis, the city, the school district or a Davis-based business; or graduated from UCD. The baseline features of the project commit to marketing only in Davis and Woodland.”

(Please note that the Davis-based Buyers Program is included in Section B-8 of the Draft Development Agreement: To help ensure that Davis residents will purchase this, the development agreement does include the provision for a Davis-based Buyers program.  “Developer has elected to restrict ninety percent (90%) of the residential units within the Project to initial purchasers with a preexisting connection to the City of Davis, and desires to sell or hold said percentage of market-rate residential units available for sale to households that include a local resident, defined as a person residing within the City or the Davis Joint Unified School District boundary, family of a local resident, a Davis employee, a Davis grade-school student, or an individual that attended Davis schools.”).

The Enterprise continues: “The response from the community has been positive, both overall and specifically by the people the project seeks to serve. We can’t recall such enthusiastic response to a proposal in a long time. This is precisely what Measure R was supposed to encourage — development aimed at the city’s needs in real time.

“West Davis Active Adult Community has dotted all the I’s and crossed all the T’s. We think this thoughtfully conceived, well-planned project deserves to go on the ballot, where it will no doubt win approval by the voters.”

Given the history of Measure R projects in Davis, it is unclear how the Enterprise can presume that “it will no doubt win approval by the voters.”  Probably be better to state, “It deserves to earn approval by the voters.”

We shall see.

—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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5 Comments

  1. Todd Edelman

    WDAAC is to sustainable development what Jeff Reisig is to ethics.

    Here’s WDAAC in a nutshell: Elder parents in East Davis – who are starting to find it difficult to drive, especially in the evening – move to WDAAC and sell home to their daughter and her family who live outside of town and work outside of town. The family includes two children, age 8 and 11. The children are not allowed to travel on their own by bike to see their grandparents.  The round trip bus ride alone takes 90 minutes. The parents get home too late – or are sometimes simply too tired – to drive the family out to WDAAC.

  2. Alan Pryor

    They argue that the developers “have been laser-focused on finding Davis’ needs and designing the project to meet them.”

    What a hoot…In reality, the developers have been laser-focused on building a development that maximizes profits doing what the Taormino’s do best – sprawling developments with over-priced single-family homes – while taking advantage of local Planning Depts. and Councils that are asleep on the job.

    The list of shortcomings of this project are legion – lack of density, no guaranteed affordable housing, lack of transportation connectivity with anything unless they drive…and on and on. Plus this project has so many loose ends (“It is expected that…”) that it will never get through voter approval.

    But don’t expect our Planning Dept or Council to ask for anything better. They’ll just rubber-stamp it and send it to the voters and continue to pretend they are doing their jobs.

    This development belongs in Dixon or Woodland where they have lower housing density and community standards – or more like Florida or Arizona where they specialize in sprawling senior communities. The last thing Davis needs is a Sun City or Del Webb-lite taking up our valuable farm land periphery.

  3. Eric Gelber

    According to the Enterprise, … “The ‘Davis-based buyers program’ would limit sales to no more than 10 percent of buyers who do not live in Davis; have a close relative in Davis; worked for UC Davis, the city, the school district or a Davis-based business; or graduated from UCD. The baseline features of the project commit to marketing only in Davis and Woodland.”

    So, your Aunt Tilley or your sister from Poughkeepsie, who never set foot in Davis, can buy any home in WDAAC, but a lifelong resident of Yolo County can’t. Someone who graduated from UCD forty years ago and left for the East coast has a preference over the Sac State grad who is looking to work in Davis but has no Davis relatives and isn’t yet a local employee. I’d also note that the eligible demographic groups tend to be more white than Yolo County, generally, and than the State. So, the Davis-based buyer’s program will disadvantage non-whites and do nothing to foster inclusiveness and local diversity.

    The Enterprise may call this program “innovative.” But, this innovation, in conjunction with the age restrictions, demonstrates how WDAAC is all about exclusion.

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