Guest Commentary: What Are “Internal Housing Needs” in Davis?

by Rik Keller

“That directive and those words means something!”
— David Taormino on Measure R, 9/19/2018[1]

Measure R (the “Citizens’ Right to Vote on Future Use of Open Space and Agricultural Lands Ordinance”) was passed by the voters and adopted by the City of Davis in 2010. Davis Municipal Code Section 41.01.010(a)(1) states that the purpose of the Ordinance is [my emphasis] “…to establish a mechanism for direct citizen participation in land use decisions affecting city policies for compact urban form, agricultural land preservation and an adequate housing supply to meet internal city needs…”

This article will examine what the phrase “adequate housing supply to meet internal city needs” means. First, while the word “need” is used several times, “internal needs” is not further mentioned in the adopted ordinance or in the ballot language that went to the voters (ballot language is purposely streamlined). Is this sui generis language that just appeared out of nowhere? Can it mean that any type of housing is sufficient to meet some sort of undefined “internal need” in Davis and should be allowed to convert agricultural lands? Measure R does state that “continued conversion of agricultural lands to meet urban needs is neither inevitable nor necessary,” so the Ordinance must have some criteria in mind to achieve this goal of not unnecessarily converting ag land, right?

As will be demonstrated in the following, the phrase “internal housing need” as used in City of Davis policy framework, documents, and studies actually refers primarily to low and moderate income workforce housing, and indeed that category is the only one specifically mentioned and for which specific policies have been crafted to meet the need.

However, despite the clear definition of the phrase “internal housing need” when we look at the City’s General Plan for which Measure R is designed to “further” and “implement,” there are some who have either forgotten this recent history or are hoping that we forget this recent history as they seek citizen approval to convert agricultural lands on the periphery of the city. These proposals should be evaluated carefully to determine whether they are truly addressing the policy language and intent in Measure R, the General Plan, and supporting documents.

Keeping with Measure R directives, project proposals that seek voter approval to develop protected agricultural land should be evaluated based on whether the proposed conversion of agricultural land to other uses is necessary and whether it meets the directive of addressing the city’s internal housing need—the housing need for the city’s workforce, particularly underserved low- and moderate-income households.

Legislative Intent

Legal precedent provides for an analysis of legislative intent to be used to establish an interpretation “where legislation is ambiguous, or does not appear to directly or adequately address a particular issue, or when there appears to have been a legislative drafting error.” [wikipedia]

Measure R states that it [my emphasis]: “implements the general plan and is consistent with the city’s adopted general plan and furthers and implements the policies of the general plan. The city finds that this ordinance will provide for a balance between the preservation of agricultural lands and open space and the housing needs of the city.” Looking into the  General Plan it becomes apparent that the phrase “internal housing need” had a specific meaning in City of Davis policy and legislative history starting around 2002 and leading up through the General Plan Update in 2007 and to the adoption of Measure R in 2010 as an update to the 2000 Measure J language. There is a whole section entitled “Studies of Internal Housing Needs” on p. 47 of the City of Davis 2007 General Plan Update, Chapter 1. Land Use and Growth Management [http://documents.cityofdavis.org/Media/Default/Documents/PDF/CDD/Planning/Plans-Documents/GP/004-01-Land-Use-and-growth-Managment.pdf].

In the very first sentence of this section, we find that in 2002 the City Council “appointed a subcommittee to study internally-generated housing needs. The Council wanted to consider providing housing opportunities for the local workforce as the primary reason for city residential growth…” This is key: the first mention of the phrase “internal housing needs” in the General Plan refers to the housing needs of the local workforce.

Further on in this section we find out that an “Internal Housing Needs Analysis” was prepared for City Council review in 2003 that “analyzed the City’s share of housing needs based on local employment growth [listed first], UCD growth, and “natural” growth through 2015.”

On the heels of that study, in 2004, the City Council reviewed another study that addressed the key component of the primary internal housing need—workforce housing—in a “Middle Income Housing – Needs, Impacts, and Options” analysis: “This study analyzed the need for middle income housing, the public benefits and potential impacts of a middle income housing inclusionary requirement, and the public benefits and potential adverse impacts on protected classes from establishing a preference for local workers to purchase or rent local housing.” The study and other analysis found that while a middle income inclusionary housing would reduce profit margins for developers, they would still “not need to subsidize the middle income costs through the construction and pricing of the market rate units in the project unless the project had unusually high development costs and few housing units to absorb these costs.”

In 2005, “the City Council adopted an updated resolution directing staff to implement an annual City growth guideline of 1% based primarily on internal housing needs. The Council also adopted a resolution regarding key issues of a middle income housing requirement and a local employee preference system that would be utilized in the sale and re-sale of inclusionary housing units.”

This is also key: the established growth rate guidelines in 2005 were related directly to internal housing needs, which are defined as primarily as workforce housing needs. Measure R in 2010 is directly related to these growth rate directives and they are mentioned specifically in the Ordinance. And workforce housing was so central to the Council’s conception of the city’s internal housing needs, that they also adopted the Middle Income Ordinance in 2005 as one of the primary ways to address increasing the workforce housing supply for households who had incomes above the City’s low-income affordable housing thresholds. Davis Municipal Code Article 18.06 Middle Income Housing contains the provisions of the ordinance [http://qcode.us/codes/davis/?view=desktop&topic=18-18_06-18_06_010]

I have provided selections from the Middle Income Ordinance and emphasis below. The key things to note are that the Ordinance is focused on housing for the local workforce “in particular” and that the ordinance would not impact elderly households because they had more concentration in higher income categories.

1) The City of Davis is interested in providing housing that is affordable to its local workforce as well as other underserved households. A study of middle income housing needs, impacts, and options completed for the City of Davis found that the Davis housing market is not providing adequate ownership housing opportunities for middle income households. Middle income households cannot afford to purchase even the least expensive market rate housing being developed and cannot qualify for affordable housing units provided for low and moderate income households.

(2) The City of Davis is using its vested powers to provide for the housing needs for all economic segments of the community and the local workforce in particular.

(B) There is a slightly higher concentration of elderly households in the one hundred thousand dollars and above income categories than in the sixty thousand to ninety-nine thousand dollars income range which closely resembles the “middle” income range…The higher income elderly households, however, would generally be able to find decent housing compared to lower income households.

(9) The City of Davis is attempting to provide middle income housing to support the community’s growth in employment by providing employee housing, retain a balance of jobs and housing, provide mobility, and preserve air quality. The City of Davis is attempting to avoid urban sprawl and excessive commuting.

(10) The City of Davis is attempting to balance housing programs with agricultural land preservation programs which purchase conservation easements, including mitigation requirements for the conversation of agricultural land by urban development.

Note also that (10) above echoes almost the exact language used later in Measure R to “provide for a balance between the preservation of agricultural lands and open space and the housing needs of the city.” Clearly, Measure R was drafted with direct reference to existing City policies, programs, and studies including this Ordinance, the growth control provisions, and the 2007 General Plan Update.

Forgotten History?

The story doesn’t end there though. There are some who have either forgotten this recent history or are hoping that we forget this recent history as they seek citizen approval to convert agricultural lands on the periphery of the city.

For example, the developers for the proposed West Davis Active Adult Community (WDAAC) project, which is put forth as Measure L on the ballot in Davis in the November election, have tried to use Measure R language to justify the necessity of converting agricultural land on the northwest periphery of the city. The following is a “legal opinion” released by the developers in January 2018 that did not discuss any legislative intent behind the phase ”internal housing need” but merely made some specious propositions that were either ignorant of or were attempting to erase the actual meaning of the phrase “internal city needs”:

January 2018 . “The phrase “an adequate housing supply to meet internal city needs” is not further defined in Measure R and was not defined in Measure J, the voter-approved predecessor measure passed in 2000. We believe the voters’ decision to not include a definition of this phrase is recognition that the “internal city needs” is a concept that may change over time.”

The developers have used this justification for the project that completely ignores the policy context of Measure R that is rooted in the General Plan in numerous presentations to City Council, in their marketing materials, and in media articles. For example:

  • David Taormino (9/19/2018; Davis Vanguard): “However, the legal and policy foundation for the Davis Based Buyers’ Program is the mandate in Measure R which states in part: Purpose Clause (1) “The Purpose of this article… and an adequate housing supply to meet internal City needs…””
  • David Taormino (9/19/2018): “If Vanguard readers think my program is not appropriate and following the mandate in Measure R, then they should postulate what they think the writers of Measure R meant when they put the words “adequate housing supply to meet internal City needs into the Measure”? That directive and those words means something!”

There is, of course, a massive irony in the project developers saying “That directive and those words means something!” about Measure R while at the same time trying to twist those words and give a false definition to them in order to try to justify their project.

There is a second irony in that these same project developers who were trying to use a broad and nebulous definition of “internal housing need” applied to Measure R that apparently means whatever they want it to mean for a particular project, were also involved in efforts to kill one of the main policies in Davis that actually addressed the primary internal housing need in Davis: the Middle Income Ordinance. David Taormino spoke in opposition to the passage of the Middle Income Ordinance as recorded in Davis City Council Minutes from 3/8/2005. The Davis Chamber of Commerce worked on the behalf of a coalition of developers and other business interests and brags about killing the Middle Income Ordinance provisions in 2009: “Ultimately, we were successful in helping to get the Middle Income Ordinance suspended indefinitely.” [http://www.davischamber.com/uploads/2/4/6/9/24698775/board_positions_1999_to_present_updated_feb2016.pdf

And there is a final irony that the suspended Middle Income Ordinance which addressed the City’s primary identified internally-generated housing need—workforce housing—also included studies that found that senior households already had higher representation in upper income categories; but these project developers who were involved in efforts to oppose the ordinance are invoking the phase “internal housing need” to support their project that calls for primarily luxury senior housing.

Moving Forward

The history of the language in Measure R (2010) regarding the policy goal of an “adequate housing supply to meet internal City needs,” stretches back to 2002 and includes numerous studies from that time up to the 2007 City of Davis General Plan Update regarding “the primary reason for city residential growth to provide housing opportunities for the local workforce.”

However, policy support for programs that have been put into place to address this internally-generated need have been weakened by development interests: the City’s Middle Income housing program that was intended to partially address the internal housing need for the moderate-income workforce was suspended in 2009, and the provisions for low-income housing in the City’s Affordable Housing Ordinance were dramatically weakened on an interim basis this year.

There has been a flood of development proposals this year seeking to gain approval before the City’s affordable housing requirements are possibly strengthened again by the end of 2018. These proposals should be evaluated with additional scrutiny to determine whether they are truly addressing the City’s official policy directives and intent in Measure R, the General Plan, and other supporting documents that make up the land use policy framework.

Keeping with Measure R directives, project proposals that seek voter approval to develop protected agricultural land should be evaluated based on whether the proposed conversion of agricultural land to other uses is necessary and whether it meets the directive of addressing the city’s internal housing need—the housing need for the city’s workforce, particularly underserved low- and moderate-income households.

In terms of the WDAAC project in the ballot in November, Measure R does not support a justification for this project as meeting “internal housing need” for workforce housing. It is a project that consists primarily of senior-only, market-rate, upper-income, suburban-sprawl style housing. Approving this project would mean giving up both farmland and the possibility of a better project in that area that addresses the most underserved housing needs of Davis. Compared to when “internal housing needs’ were starting to be discussed in Davis more than 15 years ago and the phrase made its way into City policy, workforce housing, particularly for diverse range of low- and moderate-income households is even more of a pressing need now.

Rik Keller is a university instructor in communication studies and social work. He has 17+ years of professional experience in housing policy & analysis in Texas, Oregon, and California after obtaining his master’s degree in city planning. He is also a 10+ year Davis resident and a current renter.

[1] http://www.davisvanguard.org/2018/09/guest-commentary-response-davis-based-buyers-program/


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40 Comments

  1. Craig Ross

    Am I the only one having trouble understanding this piece – is the claim here that when we are talking about internal housing needs, the only definition is workforce housing?

    1. Howard P

      Not a ‘claim’, as I read it, but “sowing a seed”, implying it.

      Rik has hinted on the ‘link’ several times, but has not come out and equated it.  Clever to do that.

    2. Eric Gelber

      The article acknowledges that the phrase “internal housing need” refers “primarily to low and moderate income workforce housing, and indeed that category is the only one specifically mentioned and for which specific policies have been crafted to meet the need.”

      WDAAC not only fails to address this primary need, it is in direct conflict with the policy. Because of the age restrictions, the development will, by definition and intent, exclude the very individuals intended to be the primary beneficiaries of the policy.

      1. Ken A

        When Eric writes “The article acknowledges that the phrase “internal housing need” refers “primarily to low and moderate income workforce housing,” is there some legal opinion or court decision that “acknowledges” that the phrase “internal housing need” refers “primarily to low and moderate income workforce housing or do Eric and others just “wish” the phrase “internal housing need” refers “primarily to low and moderate income workforce housing?

      2. Howard P

        The article, yes… still searching for the full text(s) of J and R… not expecting you to provide, Eric… but would appreciate a link from someone, so I can verify or question, based on the full docs.

        I support affordable workforce housing… although it was not available to us (late 70’s)… [it was a real stretch for us, to find basic housing, both rental, and then purchase… as a professional working for the City… we made do, but contributing to ‘savings’ were out of the question… vacancy rate for MF was 0.5%, and a third of that was unavailable to us due to “senior” restrictions… rough for a couple and a child.  So, I “get” that problem…]

        Also, we came here at a time when white males were “lesser” for City hiring preferences… height of ‘affirmative action’… guess my creds overwhelmed that “bias”. Or not enough applicants ‘of color’…

        Like Eric, I oppose the “local preference thing”… first out of college, didn’t get a job due to an “implied” version of that… 6 mos later, was offered the job… local boy didn’t work out… by then, had a job, didn’t want to relocate to WA.

        The program, as written, even if found legal (I don’t think the court will buy the ‘discrimination thing’), should be “ditched”.  Bad policy, bad precedent…

  2. Don Shor

     the phrase “internal housing need” as used in City of Davis policy framework, documents, and studies actually refers primarily to low and moderate income workforce housing, and indeed that category is the only one specifically mentioned and for which specific policies have been crafted to meet the need.

    By the logic of this article, the only land that could be annexed would be for lower-cost housing. As you’ve probably noticed, developers don’t build that.

    Approving this project would mean giving up both farmland and the possibility of a better project in that area that addresses the most underserved housing needs of Davis.

    Who did you have in mind to build this housing, Rik?

    You are inadvertently making a compelling argument for revision of Measure R.

    1. Ken A

      Don may have missed the recent posts by David Thompson of Neighborhood partners one of the many developers that “DO” build lower cost housing (after getting millions in free land, tax dollars and/or cash from investors who get tax credits).  I think it was Alan (not the no development Alan) who said a better name for “affordable” housing is ” taxpayer subsidized” housing…

      1. David Greenwald

        ” I think it was Alan (not the no development Alan) who said a better name for “affordable” housing is ” taxpayer subsidized” housing…”

        That view is not completely accurate either.  For instance, in the case of Nishi and Lincoln40 and Davis Live – there is affordable housing without taxpayer subsidies, it’s internally subsidized.

        1. Ken A

          Most (if not all) of the other people living at Nishi and Lincoln40 and Davis Live will be “taxpayers” that are “subsidizing” the people in the affordable units.  I’m not on an expert on all the tax laws (after the recent Trump changes) but I know that there is a long list of ways the developers of “affordable” housing get tax breaks and tax credits (as a kid a friend’s Dad made a ton of money developing “affordable” tax credit housing back before they used the PC term “affordable” and just called it “low income” housing)…

      2. Alan Miller

        I think it was Alan (not the no development Alan) who said a better name for “affordable” housing is ” taxpayer subsidized” housing…

        Yeah, um, let’s not do this, and I mean everyone.  Unless you are commenting directly under a particular Alan’s comments, let’s use both first and last name.  I don’t want to even remotely be associated-with/confused-with the two other Alan’s who post on here and speak at City Council meetings.  Thank you!

        (and yeah, he’s referring to yours truly)

  3. David Greenwald

    I find this whole thing odd.  Assuming that workforce housing was determined to be an internal housing need – there is little doubt that it has been – does that then preclude other internal housing needs.  Student housing clearly became a priority in the last three years and was addressed as such.  Senior housing could become more of a priority.  I don’t really know why we need to have this discussion.  Hopefully there are things I am missing here.

    1. Eric Gelber

      As I’ve argued repeatedly, we can build housing that meets the needs of seniors without also explicitly excluding (intentionally discriminating against) younger households with similar needs, including the low and moderate income local workforce, families with children, etc.

      1. David Greenwald

        I don’t disagree with your point that we can build housing that meets the needs of seniors without designating it senior housing, but that’s not the point raised in this article that I’m asking about.

        1. Eric Gelber

          I think it does go to the point raised in the article. WDAAC  legitimately addresses a need other than the identified need for local workforce housing; but, in addition, it needlessly and explicitly discriminates against that priority demographic by establishing age restrictions. Addressing those two local housing needs don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

          1. David Greenwald

            That’s one reason I question this analysis. The General Plan includes a Housing Element, which is not a static document, but rather is updated every few years and it develops a housing needs assessment.

            The most recent one from 2013, covering the period from 2013-21: “There is evidence that the city needs additional rental housing units for students and other low and very low income households, including elderly households, single-parent households and persons with disabilities…” The it says: “Moderate and above moderate ownership housing continues to be in demand for the local workforce, elderly households, persons with disabilities, as well new employees in the City.”

            I guess a key question is why use a 15 year old document when the more recent one addresses internal housing needs and identifies both low income rental housing for seniors and moderate ownership housing for seniors as clear needs?

        2. Eric Gelber

          I don’t disagree. But why approve a development that addresses one of those other identified needs but, in addition, needlessly discriminates against all the others? Segregated enclaves is not the way to address multiple housing needs.

          1. David Greenwald

            My problem all along here is this: I think there are a lot of good reasons to vote no on this project. I feel like the No on L team has focused on bad reasons for the most part to do so.

            I think we can have a reasonable debate over how we should addressing housing needs in a community that is going to have limited opportunities to address those needs. One point I would make is that the city did a reasonable job of addressing the student housing crisis – although clearly, litigation is now going to slow the ability to actually build beds. Was that the wrong approach? Some people have argued that it was. I don’t see the senior housing needs in quite the same level of urgency, but certainly David Thompson makes a compelling case about low income senior needs. I don’t know – I would love to have that discussion however.

    2. Rik Keller

      David Greenwald said:

      I find this whole thing odd.  Assuming that workforce housing was determined to be an internal housing need – there is little doubt that it has been – does that then preclude other internal housing needs.  Student housing clearly became a priority in the last three years and was addressed as such.  Senior housing could become more of a priority.  I don’t really know why we need to have this discussion.  Hopefully there are things I am missing here.

      Yes, you are missing the entire point, which is very odd indeed, considering that I sent you an advance draft containing most of the discussion in the article several days ago, in order to give you time to digest it and make informed commentary.

      Since you have not done this, I’ll connect the dots for you:

      1) We are having the discussion because certain people have claimed that the language in Measure R regarding “internal housing need” has no definition and can therefore mean whatever they want it to mean, for the purpose of then turning around to claim that they are addressing Measure R policy directives.

      2) “Internal housing need” actually has a specific meaning that is set in City of Davis policy documents: primarily workforce housing.

      3) This is set forth in the 2007 General Plan. There have been no other definition put forth since then and there have been no studies since then to update this analysis.

      4) The only time the 2013 Housing Element (which is part of the General Plan–all chapters of which need to be consistent with each other–and not something that replaces or supersedes other chapters) mentions the word “internal” only when referring to the City of Davis Internal Housing Needs Analysis from 2003 (which it still relies on for data), Measure R, and the City’s 1% growth policy (2008; which also relies on the 2003 Internal Housing Needs Analysis).

      5) Therefore, the 2013 Housing Element is reliant on this same policy framework and definition of the City’s internal housing needs as  Measure R in 2010, the 1% growth policy in 2008, and the General Plan in 2007. They are all interconnected and use the same definitions and analysis.

      6) There have been no studies since then to re-visit the delineation of the city’s primary internal housing need.

      7)  There have been a minimal amount of projects in the past 8 years since Measure R was adopted that have met and reduced this need for workforce housing, especially for moderate and low incomes.

      8) Other types of projects, such as student housing, have been pushed by developers because UC Davis has been negligent in providing housing for its massive enrollment increases, and developers have found out that student housing has high profit margins, especially with the increasing shift to rent-by-the-bed schemes.

      9) Workforce housing is still the primary internally-generated need in Davis and remains the most under-served.

      10) The 2013 Housing Element states that, in 2010, only 31.3% of Davis workers lived in the city of Davis.

      11) The 2013 Housing Element states that, in 2010, 63.5% of persons commuting into the city of Davis had household annual incomes below $40,000, and 48.6% of persons already living and working in the city of Davis had household annual incomes below $40,000 (see Table 9).

      12)  Keeping with Measure R policy directives, project proposals that seek voter approval to develop protected agricultural land should be evaluated based on whether the proposed conversion of agricultural land to other uses is necessary and whether it meets the directive of addressing the city’s internal housing need—primarily the housing need for the city’s workforce, particularly underserved low- and moderate-income households.

      1. Don Shor

        Measure R means whatever the voters choose for it to mean. It simply gives the citizens the right to vote on annexation for development, or a change in zoning to residential. That’s it. All the other discussion about original intent is interesting, but not governing. If, for example, the voters choose to approve annexation for a primarily student-oriented development, they may do so — and did, by a 60/40 vote, with Nishi. So this discussion of “internal housing need” is moot.

  4. Ron

    It would be interesting to know how any recent development has met “internal needs”.  Perhaps starting with the Cannery.

    Seems like developments are proposed with some unsupported assumptions, and without any method or follow-up to determine if internal need was actually met (vs. providing housing to accommodate “external/market” demand – to which there’s presumably no limit).

    1. Ron

      edited

      Ultimately, I view the entire controversy regarding “internal needs” with a great deal of skepticism. I’ve found it’s usually a “code word”, to justify a given development (which more often than not, satisfies an “external” need).

      1. Ron

        And, if the homes being “freed up” are then occupied by those from outside of Davis, there is no net gain in housing to meet “internal needs”.  In that case, the net growth is (once again) a result of meeting external market demand.  (The existing residents remain in Davis in the new development, but are replaced by new residents in existing housing.)

        It’s complete nonsense. A better approach might be to decide how much the city should grow over time. (If only there was an organization such as SACOG, which established such requirements.)

      2. David Greenwald

        “And, if the homes being “freed up” are then occupied by those from outside of Davis, there is no net gain in housing to meet “internal needs”. ”

        How can that be possible?

      3. Ron

        In that scenario, the new homes are occupied by current residents (who already have housing).

        The old homes are occupied by new residents.

        No net gain in housing to meet internal needs, unless the new residents are workers who are currently commuting to Davis.

      4. Ron

        David:  “. . . or with kids”.

        Does having a kid qualify one as being in the “internal need” category? Housing designed for families automatically “qualifies” as meeting an internal need?

      5. Ron

        A quick search did not reveal the word “families” in Rik’s article, above.

        But, I think you can envision what would likely be the result if it is included.  (Family housing development proposals, for those who don’t necessarily have a current connection to Davis. While simultaneously claiming that it’s meeting an “internal need”.)

        Ultimately resulting in exclusion of those without children.

      6. Ron

        Whatever’s in the 2013 housing element would not negate the point I made.  Also, secondary effects are just as exclusionary.

        “Want to be on the Davis priority list for new housing?  Have a kid!”

        These are the types of consequences/complications resulting from trying to define/address internal needs.  And, is ultimately why it’s better to simply determine how much the city should grow (e.g., in regard to SACOG requirements).

        I do see the logic of attempting to address workforce housing, due to the impacts of their commute. But, I’m skeptical that this would actually work, since they have other nearby choices to live that will remain significantly less-expensive. (Therefore, it might make more sense to allow improvement of public transportation, as well.)

    2. Ron

      It appears that some comments/exchanges were inadvertently deleted, and cannot be restored.  Therefore, I will try to reiterate some of the points:

      If housing is built to accommodate an “internal need”, it does not necessarily result in a net increase in housing for internal needs.  For example:

      If existing residents (who already have housing) move into a new development, they are simply transferring their address/location within Davis.  If their old houses are then occupied by those who move in from outside of Davis, then that’s simply accommodating external/market demand.

      Unless the old houses are occupied by local workers (who previously commuted to Davis), the end result is that there is no net increase in housing for internal needs.

      It seems to me that it would be a lot easier to refer to SACOG requirements regarding the total amount of new housing that Davis is responsible for.

      1. Matt Williams

        Ron said . . .  “It seems to me that it would be a lot easier to refer to SACOG requirements regarding the total amount of new housing that Davis is responsible for.”

        Ron, based on our past conversations about SACOG, I know that you know that it is impossible to do what you recommend in your statement above.  In addition to the fact that the only citeable SACOG requirements are backward-looking, and what you are asking for in your sentence above is forward-looking.  Further, as is described in it’s Mission Statement below, SACOG is an advisory organization rather than actual government agency.

        Provide leadership and a dynamic, collaborative public forum for achieving an efficient regional transportation system, innovative and integrated regional planning, and a high quality of life within the greater Sacramento region.

        As a result, SACOG does not require anything, but rather makes recommendations for priorities of funding for capital projects (meeting their recommendations) within the six-county Region using Federal and State funds.  Further, SACOG does not determine local government b>responsibilities… they channel and consolidate the commitments of its individual member agencies, and reports those commitments to the State of California, the Federal Government, and other interested parties.

        1. Ron

          Matt:  I was referring to the “fair share” growth requirements.  Those are indeed forward-looking, in that they are issued for future years.  (I understand that Davis has already exceeded the last round of requirements.)

          There has been a significant, recent change regarding the ramifications of disregarding these types of requirements, in communities statewide.  We could explore what those are, but it’s probably better to do so in another article.  I understand that some communities have disregarded the guidelines in the past (when there were fewer ramifications for doing so), but Davis (despite its reputation as a slog-growth community) is not one of them.

          Ironically, I believe that the capital funding that you’re referring to often helps to subsidize the resulting new developments (e.g., via transportation “improvements” to help serve those new developments).

          My main point is that SACOG fair share growth requirements are a reasonable reference point, regarding the amount that any community is expected to grow to accommodate regional needs.  (Hence the “fair share” nickname, which did not originate with me.) In fact, I’m reasonably certain that this is the purpose of these requirements.

        2. Ron

          Thought I’d go ahead and post this, regarding “fair share” growth requirements:

          The RHNA and RHNP are based on a housing projection determined by State of Calfornia’s Housing and Community Development Department (HCD). These state-mandated documents allocate a “projected share” of the regional determination to each of the cities and counties in SACOG’s six-county region. The RHNA establishes the total number of housing units that each city and county must plan for within the eight-year planning period. Based on the adopted RHNA, each city and county must update its Housing Element to demonstrate how the jurisdiction will meet the expected growth as a whole, as well as for each of the four income categories that comprise the total. 

          https://www.sacog.org/regional-housing-needs-allocation-rhna

        3. Ron

          Don:  “So please explain the methodology that led to these outcomes in the last SACOG housing allocations”

          Perhaps you could do your own research regarding your own questions (and post your conclusions if you so desire), rather than directing such questions to me.

          1. Don Shor

            Perhaps you could do your own research regarding your own questions (and post your conclusions if you so desire), rather than directing such questions to me.

            That seems like a great idea. Perhaps others here could adopt it as well.
            But I have. We’ve discussed it in the past.
            So, just to clarify: you don’t know SACOG’s methodology and don’t know why they allotted West Sacramento (population 49,000) 5.6x the amount of housing as Davis (population 68,000).
            But you are touting it as a planning mechanism.
            What if they reverse those numbers in the next go-around?

        4. Ron

          Don:  “But you are touting it as a planning mechanism.”

          In fact, that’s what it is (as noted in my citation, above):

          “The RHNA establishes the total number of housing units that each city and county must plan for within the eight-year planning period.”

          Don:  “So, just to clarify: you don’t know SACOG’s methodology . . .”

          You’re continuing to ask me a question for which you’re doing no research on your own.  Suggest you do so, and post your conclusions.

          Don:  “What if they reverse those numbers in the next go-around?”

          Well, I hope not.  Perhaps you’re implying that the process/methodology is corrupted (or corruptible).  Seems like something to be on guard for, regardless.  I’m sure that there are development interests (and development activists like you) who would prefer such an outcome.

          Actually, I hope that they establish more reasonable/lower numbers for West Sacramento next time, as well.  In any case, perhaps their allocation had something to do with being a next-door neighbor to Sacramento, itself. It might also have something to do with the “pro-development” culture and political establishment in that city. (The latter reason is why it’s kind of a hell-hole, in my view. I sincerely hope you’re not holding up that city as a model of what Davis should pursue.)

           

        5. Matt Williams

          Ron said . . . There has been a significant, recent change regarding the ramifications of disregarding these types of requirements, in communities statewide.

          Ron, I am not aware of any “recent change.”  What change was/is that?

  5. Richard McCann

    First, a presentation by BAE at the Downtown Planning Advisory Commission (ask Matt Kowta for it), showed that we had a 18% job growth from 2005 to 2016. That would be the “workforce housing needs” that we are discussing here. Because all employees are looking for housing, and jobs are constantly turning over, everyone in the the job market is a participant in the housing market, so we need to consider the entire job market increase. If we don’t then the higher paid employees will push the lower paid ones out of the housing market. Ask San Francisco how that works.

    Second, this is premised on some type of segmented housing market in which somehow housing would be built only for lower income workers. As pointed out by others here, all of these new projects have been mixed housing that use housing for higher income households to pay for the low-income housing. They can’t be separated. So any guidance has to be applied in the context of this practical reality. (Also, remember that the guidance was written when redevelopment agencies still existed and there was some source of public funds. Those funds no longer exist.)

    Third, the West Davis project would be built on low quality agricultural land with poor drainage. It’s not prime ag land. Set aside that argument for this project.

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