City, County, UC Davis Agree to MOU on Student Housing Commitments

On Tuesday, all three agencies jointly announced that the city, county and UC Davis “have agreed to a legally binding memorandum of understanding (MOU) on a series of shared goals and commitments to improve collaboration and partnership.”

According to the release, the terms of the MOU “include a commitment to build more housing for students and a guarantee to house 100 percent of any new student enrollment growth on campus, a joint transportation plan and traffic improvement projects, the elimination of master leases in the City of Davis, and forming a stronger town-gown partnership through a variety of collaborative activities.”

“UC Davis is pleased that we’ve reached an agreement with the City of Davis and Yolo County regarding our Long Range Development Plan,” Chancellor Gary S. May said. “Our aim was to make sure the agreement will have a positive impact for our students, and this one will.”

He added, “Increasing on-campus housing will benefit our students, but also Davis, the County and the region at large. We value our town-gown relationship and look forward to continuing to strengthen our areas of shared interest.”

Mayor Brett Lee echoed Chancellor May’s sentiments. “I am very pleased we are entering into this partnership with UC Davis. I believe it strengthens our relationship and will be of long-term benefit to our community,” he stated.

Supervisor Jim Provenza also emphasized the commitment to housing all student enrollment growth on campus. “I am pleased that the City of Davis, Yolo County and the University have reached a compromise that will guarantee that 100 percent of new enrollment will be housed on campus. Also significant is the University’s commitment to addressing economic issues related to campus growth and our mutual agreement to collaborate regularly during the life of the Long Range Development Plan.”

He added, “If the parties continue to work together in good faith, we will be well on our way to addressing the housing crisis for UC Davis students and the City of Davis. We appreciate the willingness of the University to work with us in reaching this agreement.”

According to the terms of the MOU, the university is required “to grow the number of on-campus beds available to students, starting with the LRDP baseline of 9,818 and building to at least 15,000 beds by fall 2023 (10,500 beds by fall 2019, and 12,500 beds by fall 2021).”

The university also agreed to pay the city and county $500 each for every bed that was not delivered within six months of the agreed upon dates.

“In addition, the University has committed to providing housing to cover any new enrollment in excess of that projected in the Long Range Development Plan. Per an initial request from Chancellor May to the City, the City, County and University will create and publish an annual Joint Housing Report that will be issued by Sept. 1, 2019, and annually during the life of the 2018 LRDP,” the statement explained.

“I’m appreciative of the agreement reached by the City, County and University,” said City Councilmember Lucas Frerichs. “The delivery of additional student and faculty housing is paramount, and the additional commitments to collaborate on issues which affect us all, including transportation projects and the City’s Renters Resources Program, helps strengthen the relationship between all our institutions.”

“We have succeeded in charting a new path forward while finding constructive ways to work together for the benefit of our students, staff, faculty and broader community,” Kelly Ratliff, vice chancellor for Finance, Operations and Administration, said. “Most importantly, our West Village housing project can proceed as scheduled this fall, which will make at least 1,000 beds available in 2020 and the remaining 2,265 available in 2021. This agreement keeps us on track to build substantially more housing over the next several years, which we outlined in the LRDP, and ends master leases in the City.”

In addition to the formation of a partnership on many significant community issues, “UC Davis also agreed to contribute $2.3 million for traffic improvement projects for a number of areas, including the Richards/I-80 interchange, County Road 98, Russell Boulevard bike path west of Highway 113, and the Russell Boulevard Corridor. The three entities will develop a joint transportation plan together, which will include how to improve bicycle and pedestrian experiences. UC Davis will initiate a working group that will include City representatives to plan for the future of Unitrans.”

The statement continued: “A number of partnership and collaboration activities to foster better town-gown relationships was also agreed upon. Senior officials from UC Davis, the City and County will participate in an annual public meeting to hear from the larger community. In addition, two high-ranking representatives each from the University, City and County will meet at least twice during the first year of the agreement in an open meeting format. The University will also contribute funding annually to a rental resources program approved by the Davis City Council last year.”

The university, city and county agreed to form a working group to discuss mutual opportunities and explore solutions to common challenges. In addition, UC Davis will conduct an economic and fiscal analysis of the University’s impacts and benefits to the region, including to local governments.

“This agreement marks a new era and a shared commitment to collaboration among the City, County and campus,” Supervisor Don Saylor said. “I am pleased that today’s UC Davis leadership has committed to providing additional student, faculty and staff housing on campus with specific milestones, contributing to transportation needs in the area, and to deep, intentional partnerships now and in future.”

In a separate statement, Councilmember Dan Carson called the agreement, “a breakthrough for our community.

“This legally binding and enforceable agreement provides firm commitments for UC Davis to build more on-campus housing in sync with student enrollment increases as well as millions of dollars in funding to help mitigate the impacts of campus growth on our community,” he said.

He added, “As important, the City of Davis and the campus are committing themselves to pursue various joint housing, transportation, and strategic planning initiatives with clear processes for the city to seek additional help in dealing with the impacts of enrollment growth.”

Mayor Pro Tem Gloria Partida added, “I am proud and grateful to be a part of leadership in this area that recognizes that collaboration and relationship building is key to providing the best opportunities, experiences and resources to the communities they serve.

“I look forward to contributing to the future shared work this agreement lays the ground work for. It has been a long time coming and I commend the people that gathered and fearlessly faced the challenge of bridging differing needs.”

—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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  1. Todd Edelman

    One of the speakers at Public Comment last night at City Council commented on the lack of transparency of the mentioned negotiations — I’m not clear what’s normal for these activities, but in regards to one of the results I do know that

    $2.3 million

    would, for example, pay for only about half of the Pole Line to Olive bike/ped connection (that’s been mostly funded by SACOG). Measure I, the parcel tax for roads and paths, would, if it had passed, have raised about $2.8 million annually. It’s about 16 months of the Measure I revenue. Projects planned for Anderson Road and 14th-Villanova are also each in the 3 to 4 million dollar range.
    As the 2.8 million one time payment is going to all the projects mentioned, it’s not clear how much can be built — based on what other things cost, it won’t go far. It’s really only a gesture towards reducing the transport impacts of UC Davis.

      1. Todd Edelman

        I said 

        I’m not clear what’s normal for these activities

        and hope that my feelings were not lacking


        in that the pledged amount of money was not

        high level

        and thus not



        public matters.

        1. David Greenwald

          So step number one is to figure out what is normal for such negotiations.  My presumption is that they are a matter of legal negotiations, they met with a mediator after all, and therefore they would be closed to the public.

          1. David Greenwald

            Why is that the case? I think the city got the most important things it wanted and probably a few extra things.

        2. Todd Edelman

          My point is that 2.3 million is not really very much. That’s all about that.

          I would have preferred a temporary enrollment freeze until things get better in terms of housing provision, vacancy rate, etc.

          What seems to be critical is an analysis of how all of this – this agreement plus the development of what’s in the pipeline – will affect housing prices and availability in the next decade. It would ideally also have more speculative ideas about the effects of building housing in the PG&E space and in all the large parking lots around town (on top of parking, if necessary) and general densification… and obviously excluding the planned museum of suburban design and elder sequestration known as WDAAC.

          1. David Greenwald

            “My point is that 2.3 million is not really very much. That’s all about that.”

            It’s more than zero. Again, I think the city got what they needed to get in this agreement. The biggest thing to me was a guaranteed timeline for the building of student housing and remedy if the university did not follow through.

        3. Howard P


          Next 20 years:  chances of converting parking lots (public or private) to housing… 0.13%… chances of converting PG&E corp yard to housing… 0.0012%.

          Ain’t gonna happen…

        4. Ron

          Todd” . . . and obviously excluding the planned museum of suburban design and elder sequestration known as WDAAC.”

          As noted previously, Todd has some creative writing ability!

        5. Todd Edelman

          In regards to

          That’s all about that

          the housing agreement is central and much more important. What I meant is that there isn’t anything else to say about the transportation contribution issue.

  2. Ron

    From article:  “The university also agreed to pay the city and county $500 each for every bed that was not delivered within six months of the agreed upon dates.”

    Just wondering if this is “one and done”, or if it’s an annual payment if the shortfall remains.

  3. Ron

    From article:  “According to the terms of the MOU, the university is required “to grow the number of on-campus beds available to students, starting with the LRDP baseline of 9,818 and building to at least 15,000 beds by fall 2023 (10,500 beds by fall 2019, and 12,500 beds by fall 2021).”

    I’m wondering how they suddenly came up with another 5,000 beds to be created relatively soon, and where they’ll be located.

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