The No on Measure L crowd has repeatedly claimed that West Davis Active Adult Community’s Affordable Housing Program is in violation of the city ordinance. However, according to the city manager and confirmed by a reading of the Affordable Housing provisions for “Project individualized programs,” it would seem that the affordable housing proposal of 150 units is in compliance with those standards.
During the forum on Measure L, Alan Pryor argued that the developer is not even meeting the minimum requirements of the city’s low income housing ordinance. One of the points he made was, “Since this is a for sale housing project, they should be required to provide for sale housing units. The city code says that half of those units should be three bedroom for sale units, half should be two bedroom for sale units.”
Mr. Pryor had previously made the point that “the Affordable Housing Ordinance for ‘For Sale’ housing projects (under which the WDAAC clearly falls) specifically requires a mixture of 2- and 3-bedroom units to be provided to low income ‘buyers’ at affordable prices…
“A proper analysis of the WDAAC affordable housing obligations shows that they should provide 66 affordable for-sale units – half 2-bedroom and half 3-bedroom homes. If you converted these into single bedroom units it would require a total of 166 one-bedroom apartments not merely the 55 one-bedroom and ‘studio’ units that David Thompson claims is required.”
David Thompson during the forum countered: “The 150 units that we get to build, are for seniors. Seniors do not need two or three bedroom units. Elderly low income seniors are usually single people. HUD and other requirements are that we can only build a one-bedroom unit for them, they cannot live in a two-bedroom unit.”
Doubling down on this point, Rik Keller yesterday cited: “City of Davis Municipal Code, Article 18.05 AFFORDABLE HOUSING… “Housing Mix. The developer must provide a mix of two- and three-bedroom units, with a minimum of fifty percent of the units as three-bedroom units…”
However, in talking with David Thompson, he pointed out that Eleanor Roosevelt was single-bedroom apartments and that it too was a land dedication site connected to a broader commercial project.
Based on that it seemed reasonable that the opponents were simply missing something in the admittedly complicated ordinance, and they had apparently not consulted anyone from the city about the requirements.
City Manager Mike Webb explained, “The portion of the code cited… is not applicable.”
Why? “If the project proposed inclusion of ownership housing to meet its affordable requirement, then the City would require the mix of two- and three- bedrooms. However, the developer proposed instead a separate land dedication with 150 senior rental units, which allows for a lower level of affordability (80% Area Median Income and below rather than the 120% that would be required for ownership housing).”
He explained, “It’s a project individualized plan to address the needs of a specific group (low income seniors).”
If you look at the Affordable Housing program under “OWNERSHIP UNITS” there is a section of “Project individualized program” where: “All ownership project types may meet the affordable housing requirement with a project individualized plan as specified in Section 18.05.050 (a) (3). Such plans, however, must generate an amount of affordability equal to or greater than the percent specified above and meet the same income targets.”
(3) Project Individualized Program.
(A) The developer may meet the city’s affordable housing requirement with a project individualized program that is determined to generate an amount of affordability equal to or greater than the amount that would be generated under the standard affordability requirements. The affordable units must, at a minimum, meet the same income targets specified in the standard ownership affordable housing provisions.
(i) A project individualized program shall be developed by the developer and city staff, taken action on by the social services commission, and if the main project application requires, heard before the planning commission for decision.
(ii) If the main project is requesting planning entitlements that require city council approval, it shall then be heard before the city council for final decision.
(iii) If the main project does not require a city council hearing, the planning commission’s or the social services commission’s determination may be appealed to the city council by any member of the public.
(B) The project individualized program is not intended to allow exception to a public input and review process. The project individualized program is intended to be viewed thoroughly and scrutinized in public forums, allowing for input and competition from the public, other community-based nonprofits, staff, and at a minimum, the social services commission. The public hearing at the social services commission shall be noticed to all community-based housing nonprofits in the area, to the greatest extent possible, regardless of their involvement in the project. This public hearing shall scrutinize the project based on the following criteria:
(i) Need for government subsidy;
(ii) Sustainability of the project and its services;
(iii) Community need of the project type based on recent needs assessments and recent projects completed;
(iv) Uniqueness/innovation of the proposed project;
(v) Overall benefits and drawbacks of the project;
These meetings shall be carried out without any finite contracts in place between the parties involved, allowing for the potential direction to the developer to change the project. If the social services commission finds that the proposed project does not satisfy one or all of the criteria listed above, it may choose to direct the developer to fulfill his or her affordable housing requirement through a land dedication process. This decision may be altered at either the planning commission or city council public hearing, if the project requires review by either of these deciding bodies. Decision of either the social services commission or the planning commission to direct the developer to do a land dedication to meet his or her affordability requirement, may be appealed to the city council.
—David M. Greenwald reporting