Commentary: One Size Does Not Necessarily Fit All in Smart Growth


Keeping an open mind is important in civic life.  One reason for doing that is that once you make up your mind, you tend to use arguments to rationalize your position.  Whereas, if you keep an open mind, you can explore different ideas and see where they take you.

When I first looked at the West Davis Active Adult Community (WDAAC), I was immediately concerned about several aspects of it: it was a relatively low density project, it was located on the periphery, it was far away from the core of town, and it was the type of housing that I feel we need to move away from.

I still agree with much of that assessment – however, I have come around to the view that the location of the project is actually much better suited for a senior housing project than I originally gave it credit for being.

Part of the problem with the criticism of the location is that people are thinking in terms of one-size-fits-all.  We need our housing near the core, where people can walk and bike and get out of their cars rather than drive.

There are problems with that view.  While we are looking at densifying housing in the core, there is a limit to what kind of housing we can put there and how much.  At some point we are going to have to add housing outside the borders of Davis.  It is not clear that the West Davis site is any worse than any other peripheral land.

But there is a more fundamental problem – not everyone who lives in this community needs to be close to the downtown for their center of life.  That’s really the idea that we need to re-examine.

Consider that this project would be across the street from the University Retirement Community (URC).  It’s location is actually very good for an aging adult.

Let us look at what is around there.  First of all, many of the city’s medical offices are located nearby.  You have Communicare  and Sutter Medical Offices located next door.  UC Davis Medical Group and Dignity Health Care are estimated at about a quarter mile from the project.  You have Sutter-Davis hospital for emergency services, and even healthy, active aging adults need access to medical care and this is a very good location for such access.

What else do folks need?  There is Safeway for groceries, which again is within half a mile.  People can say, well that’s too far to walk.  First of all, how do you get closer than that to a grocery store unless you build one on the property?  Second, you can do things like a shuttle, just like they do with URC, so that the residents don’t have to drive themselves.

You also have a CVS pharmacy in the same Marketplace shopping center, right next to Safeway.  That will clearly serve the needs of the residents, and, again, it is either a short drive, a walk or bike, or a shuttle bus away.

There are also a number of restaurants nearby for dining options.  There will be a recreational and exercise center for activities.

In short, most of what an aging population needs is going to be located at or near the property.

I get it – if you want to live close to downtown, then WDAAC is not the place for you.  Many of the folks who may be looking to downsize probably currently live closer to the core.  There are some senior housing options closer to the core, but, in terms of a larger development, I just don’t see that as feasible.

But, contrary to the claims of opponents of this project, this is really not a poor location for seniors.

As Mayor Pro Tem Gloria Partida put it: “This development fits a need for some of our seniors. Not all seniors want to be Downtown. Downtown is not the Mecca for all seniors. Walkable communities can be incorporated in all areas of our community.”

That does not necessarily negate other concerns people may have – many of which have been raised during the course of these discussions.  But the location does not seem to be a good reason to oppose this project, and may even be seen as a reason to support it.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

Get Tickets To Vanguard’s Immigration Rights Event

Eventbrite - Immigration Law: Defending Immigrant Rights and Keeping Families Together


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.

Related posts

55 thoughts on “Commentary: One Size Does Not Necessarily Fit All in Smart Growth”

  1. Jim Hoch

    “When I first looked at the West Davis Active Adult Community, I was immediately concerned about several aspects of it: it was a relatively low density project, it was located on the periphery, it was far away from the core of town, and it was the type of housing that I feel we need to move away from.”

    But then they became my biggest advertiser…

    1. Rik Keller

      I would also observe that the line “I was immediately concerned about several aspects of it: it was a relatively low density project, it was located on the periphery, it was far away from the core of town, and it was the type of housing that I feel we need to move away from” and the headline “One Size Does Not Necessarily Fit All in Smart Growth” refers to a wide range of smart growth issues about the project.

      But then Greenwald dismisses most of these points with a cursory wave (“I still agree with much of that assessment – however, I have come around to the view that the location of the project is actually much better suited for a senior housing project than I originally gave it credit for being.“) and spends the rest of the article discussing the location of the project.

      Similarly, right at the end of the article he dismisses the in-depth “No on WDAAC” critiques of the project location and transportation connectivity without even mentioning what those consist of or addressing any of their salient points (“But, contrary to the claims of opponents of this project, this is really not a poor location for seniors.”)

      If one of my undergraduate or graduate students turned in an essay like this with conclusions unsupported by any evidence, I would give it a quick glance and tell them do it over. It’s sad that Greenwald is apparently so eager to try to please his one of his main advertisers that he turns in such shoddy work.

    1. David Greenwald Post author

      I like to wait until the end to decide how I’ll vote on most things. As I explained – once you set your mind, you start justifying your decision rather than critically evaluating new evidence. There are clearly things I make my mind up early, but I can tell you I didn’t decide who to vote for for council until a week out.

      1. Keith O

        David, can you in all honesty say you haven’t pretty much been onboard for this project for several months?  Now be honest because as you know we’ve all read your articles.

        1. David Greenwald Post author

          Absolutely have not been on board with this project at all. The opposition has raised issues with the project that I support like affordable housing. As I have explained a number of times, I have a big problem with the theory that they are going to get people to downsize from existing homes in Davis and the Buyer’s Program is suspect legally to me. Plus in general, I don’t support peripheral development (which is a point many have missed over and over again – the projects I have supported have all been infill or Nishi which is for all intents and purposes infill).

  2. Ken A

    It is not a “theory” that many people downsize as they get older (unless David wants to argue that every American that has ever owned a 4 bedroom home is living in that home when they die)…

    1. David Greenwald Post author

      First of all we need to establish what a theory is – a theory is a well-substantiated explanation based on a body of facts that has been repeatedly confirmed through observation and experiment.

      Now I do not buy into this theory in this case that by building senior housing, they will necessarily free up homes in town for families. I’m not disputing that some people downsize when they age. I’m disputing that this project will basically as a conduit for that to occur – people from the existing neighborhoods move to WDAAC, that frees up existing homes for other families to purchase. There are several factors that will counteract that process.

      1. Ken A

        A college roommate grew up in Roseville and his parents (and lots of friends parents) have moved from Roseville to this place:

        A relative worked for a competing national chain that gets older people to downsize and move in.  It is not a “theory” that older people move from nearby communities in to senior facilities, it is a FACT.

        I’m not a fan of the “taking care of our own” plan, but saying it is a “theory” that old people sell larger homes and move to smaller homes in senior facilities nearby is a bigger lie than saying that after donating land for affordable housing worth millions no one will develop it.

        P.S. I’ll say I’m sorry if David can find a single senior neighborhood in America where large homes in surrounding areas are more expensive, but not a single older person or couple has decided to sell their large home and move the in a smaller home in the community…

        1. Richard McCann

          Surprisingly, I agree with Ken A here! Look at the number of Davis residents who move into URC to stay in the community. Whether the Buyers Program is actually effective is another question.

          1. Don Shor

            I watched that with both Covell Gardens and URC. Now when my older customers downsize, they’re moving to Woodland.

      2. Howard P

        Ken and David… you seem to be posting at cross-purposes…

        Of my parents/in-laws, all of whom have passed, not one chose to down-size as seniors… many other seniors I’ve known, did…

        It’s an option that far from all seniors will do… many won’t and, many will… %-ages are a “crap-shoot”… and if the project is approved, we’ll find out with time.

        I don’t expect to down-size… hell, if we move out of State, we might upsize a tad, given the CA market prices…

      3. Rik Keller

        There is a lot of evidence to support the assertion that the theory that the WDAAC project is trying to push–that seniors will be vacating existing housing in Davis and that these will be available for lower-income families –is complete bunk.

        For example:

        1) “Furthermore, recent survey data from Freddie Mac indicate that, “relatively few older [ages 55 and older] homeowners think it is very important to downsize in their next move” (Becketti and Yannopoulous 2016, 6)…. The desire to age in place is also backed by evidence showing that the large baby boomer generation is not reducing housing consumption even though many are retiring or experiencing life changes that might precipitate downsizing” in The Urban Land Institute, Seniors’ Access to Home Equity Identifying Existing Mechanisms and Impediments to Broader Adoption []

        2) Then there is the matter, that even if seniors are interested in “downsizing” to smaller homes, moving into a high-end priced project like WDAAC might not reduce their housing costs at all: “Downsizing to a smaller and less expensive house isn’t the right course for many people, some experts are now saying. For one thing, your new home may not be sufficiently less expensive. Smart About Money, a program of the nonprofit National Endowment for Financial Education, says if downsizing doesn’t reduce your home expenses by at least 25 percent, it isn’t worth the bother.” []

        3) See this too: “However,  despite conventional wisdom more retirees are choosing to upsize, rather than downsize. Consider this, according to a 2014 Merrill Lynch study, of the pre-retirees who said they expect to downsize when they retire, half didn’t move to a smaller home. In fact, according to the report, three in ten retirees upsized into a larger house.

        4) There are plenty of in-depth academic studies that supports this evidence. I can follow up and list some if anybody is interested.

        5) I have done some back-of-the-envelope calculations based on the square footage figures provided by the WDAAC developer for different units and using existing market prices in Davis for new construction averaging around $425/sq. ft. in the Cannery (in comparison the current existing median home sales price in Davis is around $393/sq. ft.) Conclusion: WDAAC prices (if it was on-line today) would be ~$625k-$800k depending on unit size. The custom homes will be substantially more than that.

        Conclusion: 1) this “freeing up housing” theory is likely to happen at a much lower rate than the project wants us to believe. 2) housing that is freed up is likely to be at the high end of market prices in Davis and is more likely to be snapped up by out-of-town investors for high-priced rentals or upper income households for ownership. It is not going to do anything for the almost 2/3  of  commuters working in Davis or for the almost 1/2 of Davis residents who also work in town with household incomes below $40,000 per year (see 2014 City of Davis Housing Element for those stats).

      4. Matt Williams

        Rik, as a senior aged 71 myself and with a significant other aged 76, I am a “data point” or two “data points.”

        The two of us live in a one-story SFR with a nice garden that we maintain ourselves.  We have actively discussed the possibility of downsizing, and economics is way down on the list of decision criteria.

        — Far above monetary concerns as a decision criteria are the physical requirements of maintaining our garden in a manner to which we have become accustomed.  Getting a mow-blow-and-go service to maintain the garden is an option, but the garden is sophisticated enough that it doesn’t lend it self to that kind of “commodity maintenance”

        — Next are any physical requirements needed to navigate the spaces of our home (we don’t have to navigate any stairs, but do have to pass through 1980-style doors that are not universal access compliant.

        — Until recently one of the criteria was the ADA non-compliant showers and toilets in our bathrooms, but we recently eliminated that concern)

        My personal opinion is that the term down-sizing is misleading.  A much better term might be down-burdening . . . with probably the #1 burden that seniors are looking to shed being having to go up and down stairs.

        1. Matt Williams

          Eric, I wasn’t making a case for either one.

          With that said, I agree with your assessment of my unintended comparison.

          For the record, when I first became engaged with Davis housing issues back in 2006 I quickly saw that as a community we had produced a disproportionately large share of high square-footage Single Family Residences targeted for owner-occupancy . . . and were not producing a sufficient proportion of modest square-footage rental residences.  I also observed that people currently living in Davis, who wanted to continue living here, were not able to do so because our housing supply was not sufficient to meet our “internal housing need.”

          Looking at my thinking from that period through the lens of the issues raised by this current law suit, my self-assessment of that thinking is that it was very short-sighted.  In the perfecrt world, and we all know there is no such thisn as a perfect world, but if there is, housing needs to be accessible to all, not just a selected few.

        2. Ken A

          When Matt says he “observed” “people currently living in Davis, who wanted to continue living here, were not able to do so because our housing supply was not sufficient to meet our “internal housing need”  I’m wondering if he actually talked to them (or just “observed” them leaving and assumed it was due to a lack of supply).

          Everyone won’t give you a straight answer since sometimes it is hard to admit that you don’t make enough money to buy a big home with a view of the Wildhorse golf course (the NY Times had a recent article about a guy that can’t admit that he would have been even richer today if he just kept all the apartments he inherited from his Dad).

          Some people are honest like Jeff’s co-workers that said they want a bigger home with a pool or someone I know that asks why anyone would buy a small home in the Wild “horse” area of Davis when they can get a bigger home for less money in the Wild “wings” area of Woodland.

          Other than a few poor planners (our lease ends tomorrow at noon let’s find a new place to rent in Davis tonight) no one that wants to live here and can pay to buy or rent a place are living somewhere else (the slow pace of development does not push anyone that thinks a few months ahead out of town).

  3. Alan Miller

    it was a relatively low density project, it was located on the periphery, it was far away from the core of town, and it was the type of housing that I feel we need to move away from.


    It “was”, and it still “is”.

    1. Don Shor

      it was a relatively low density project,

      Most people seem to like having some separation from their neighbors if they can afford it.

      it was located on the periphery,

      It is located next to a neighborhood shopping center. Those are a core part of our General Plan.

      it was far away from the core of town,

      Yeah. Not everyone wants to live near the downtown of a city.

      and it was the type of housing that I feel we need to move away from.

      Except that it’s the type of housing lots of people want to buy.
      There is lots of debate about the principles of smart growth on urban planning blogs. The key concepts have gotten a little frayed in implementation, and Davis actually is missing some of the characteristics that usually apply (no rail transit, for example).
      What I find interesting especially is the way people who promote smart growth, downtown proximity, and higher densities often buy or rent homes that meet none of those characteristics. They have children or pets or just like privacy, and want to have more of their own green spaces to use.
      This project should be seen in the context of the eventual annexation and development of the northwest quadrant. The location makes perfect sense for older home buyers, with most of the amenities they need right nearby. Over the next generation or so, as the rest of that area gets developed, broader ‘smart growth’ principles would apply and should be adopted into the update of the General Plan. Residential component downtown is more likely to appeal to a younger, more affluent demographic.

        1. Howard P

          Not sure, but I think “light-rail” (local) was meant… for Don to clarify… but we do have fairly robust “transit” other than SOMV… Unitrans (free for seniors), YoloBus, (nearby), Davis Community Transit, etc.

          Not perfect, but pretty damn good.

          I love that we are an Amtrak community… use it a lot to go east, south, and will try the north next year…

        2. Ken A

          Let’s hope Davis never starts talking about dumping money in to light rail since I predict that JUMP bikes and Lime scooters are going to cut in to light rail business like UBER and Lyft have cut in to Taxi business (most people do whatever they can to avoid taking public transit).

          P.S. To Howard, Amtrak is a lot of fun, but make sure you are not in a hurry (some friends have always wanted to take the train through the Sierras so last winter I rode with them to Truckee and we got there four hours after my wife who left Davis at the same time in a car).  My Uncle likes to take it to visit family in Portland and unlike Southwest that is often a few “minutes” late Amtrak is often “hours” late…

          P.P.S. I have not heard that giving drivers licenses to the undocumented as a reason for a decline in ridership until the Bee wrote “Agency officials say they also saw ridership drop after the state in 2015 allowed undocumented immigrants to obtain driver licenses.”

        3. Matt Williams

          Alan, just for grins you may want to go to HERE to see the presentation materials for Item 9 from the September 20th Downtown Plan Advisory Committee (DPAC) meeting.  I provide you a graphic below from that presentation.

      1. Matt Williams

        Don Shor said . . . Except that it’s the type of housing lots of people want to buy.

        Don, lots of people in Davis “want” to grow Agave attenuata in their yard, or Argyroxiphium sandwicense or Daphne odora “Alba” or Ponderosa Pine.  The fact that they “want” something does not necessarily make it a good idea for either them individually and/or the community as a whole.

        Dan Wolk was very vocal during his term on the Council about how he and many others in the community wanted the City to spend money building a $25 million Sports Park.  As Elaine Roberts Musser said loud and long, “We need to separate our “needs” from our “wants.”  She interchangeably used the terms “wants” and “nice to haves.”  She was spot on with that assessment, in my opinion.  I also feel that assessment applies to the decisions of “down-burdening” seniors.

  4. Ron

    David:  ” . . . and the Buyer’s Program is suspect legally to me.”

    Strange, how some folks acknowledge this, but simultaneously criticize the lawsuit.  (They apparently believe that it is illegal, but for some reason shouldn’t be challenged as such. And, instead of criticizing the developer for this sales ploy, they criticize the litigants.) Go figure.

    The Davis Buyers program is a sales ploy, that will likely disappear if the proposal is approved.

    I doubt that there’s many Davis seniors who will move from their (modest-sized, suburban-style) existing homes, into another nearby (modest-size, suburban-style) home on the periphery.  Why anyone (let alone a senior) would go through that expense and hassle is a mystery, to me.

    As a result of Proposition 5, I strongly suspect that the development will largely consist of those moving there from outside of the area, who may or may not have a “connection” to Davis. When looking at a broader market (e.g., the Bay Area), there are seniors looking to escape more crowded and expensive urban markets, where they can “cash in” on their existing homes.

    In fact, I suspect we’ll see a lot more of these type of developments statewide, after Proposition 5 is approved.  (And, those residents will be bringing their Proposition 13-level taxes with them, to these developments.)

    1. Howard P

      (I guess they figure that it is illegal, but for some reason shouldn’t be challenged as such.)

      Eric, I, and others don’t figure it’s illegal… we have said/opined it is wrong, and bad public policy… but may well be perfectly legal. Particularly on the faux “racial” charge. I’d be shocked if a judge finds against, based on that assertion.

      1. Ron

        You bring up an interesting point, however.  What if the Davis Buyers program doesn’t automatically disappear, if the development is approved? (Actually, the program doesn’t even exist yet, but apparently would be created in cooperation with city officials, afterward.)

        Then, the lawsuit goes forward, I guess.  I don’t know what the legal ramifications of that are (for the developers and the city), if houses are being sold under the program, but the program is later found to be illegal. But, for sure – the development activists on here will blame the litigants for whatever happens.

        Stay tuned!

        1. Ron

          The “legal mechanism” has already been initiated.  You’ve essentially predicted that it (the lawsuit) will succeed, even if the developed is approved.

          The developers won’t have any reason to give a (blank) about the program, after the vote. In fact, the subsequent elimination of the Davis Buyers program would open up a much broader, wealthier market to them (e.g., the Bay Area). (The same seniors who will bring their Proposition 13 taxes with them to Davis.)

      2. Rik Keller

        Howard P. said “particularly on the faux “racial” charge. I’d be shocked if a judge finds against, based on that assertion.”

        Howard: in that case you would be shocked to read about the actual case law regarding disparate impacts (discriminatory effect). Make sure you sit down before reading the following!:

        Example: “The majority of the remaining circuits… follow a prima facie approach, meaning that “proof of discriminatory effect alone is always sufficient to establish a violation of the [FHA].[Keaton Norquist, “Local Preferences in Affordable Housing: Special Treatment for Those Who Live or Work in a Municipality”, Boston College Environmental Affairs Law Review 36(1).(2009)

        And : “Local preferences imposed by predominantly white communities in racially diverse areas virtually invite FHA-effect [disparate impact] claims.” []

        Here is some interesting history too:

        Before the Supreme Court decided Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project, Inc. in 2015, the Davis Vanguard’s own David Greenwald was lamenting the possible “end of fair housing” and the Fair Housing Act if that case overturned legal precedent established in the cases described by that statement above. He captioned the article photo “Marchers in Davis on Monday to keep Martin Luther King’s Dream alive while on Wednesday, the Supreme Court heard a case that could further dismantle the dream.”  [see

        But despite Greenwald’s fears, the decision in Inclusive Communities upheld applying “disparate impact” to the Fair Housing Act. It is quite interesting to now see Mr. Greenwald’s hypocrisy in turning around and denouncing the lawsuit against the WDAAC project, which is a textbook example of the disparate impact of  discriminatory and exclusionary location restrictions.

        All the way back in 2015, Greenwald stated that it was going to spell the “end of fair housing” if that case overturned disparate impact claims. And now we have a textbook example of an exclusionary housing program with the “Taking Care Of Our Own” program in WDAAC and Greenwald is against a lawsuit seeking to enforce that very decision.


        1. Eric Gelber

          And : “Local preferences imposed by predominantly white communities in racially diverse areas virtually invite FHA-effect [disparate impact] claims.”

          Rik is far more informed on recent case law related to local preferences than I am, but I do have a couple of questions about his analysis:

          1. Are there reported cases upholding local preferences in which disparate impact has been alleged?

          2. If so, what facts distinguish these cases from those in which local preferences have been held to violate fair housing statutes? For example, is the extent of the racial imbalance (percentages) compared to the diversity of the area a determining factor? Where does Davis fall on such a continuum?

          As I (and Howard) have repeatedly argued, whether unlawful or not, buyer restrictions based on residency or local connections are bad policy. At a minimum, they create (or perpetuate) a perception of being an unwelcoming community.

        2. Rik Keller


          Interestingly, the two “legal opinions” that the project proponents released on this issue were woefully inadequate to provide any context like this. Unless the City of Davis did an independent analysis (and there is no indication that they did), the decision-makers have not received adequate information with which to make a judgement.

          Here is a quick summary of a few cases regarding “residency requirements,” disparate impacts, and the Fair Housing Act. This article was written before the 2015 Inclusive Communities Supreme Court case that upheld the precedent.

          Note especially the following case that has a lot of similarities to the “Taking Care Of Our Own” program in WDAAC:

          DOJ Investigation in Darien, Connecticut
          In May 2010, DOJ’s Civil Rights Division initiated an investigation of Darien, Connecticut, over concerns that the town’s zoning regulations included several residency preferences that could have had the effect of discriminating against minorities. Darien has a very small minority community, as white residents comprise over 94% of the town’s total population. The town had adopted zoning regulations requiring certain developers to build affordable, below-market housing units for sale or rent whereby individuals within six so-called “priority populations” would have the opportunity to obtain this affordable housing before the general public. The six “priority populations” included residents who provided volunteer emergency services; employees of the town of Darien or the Darien school system; residents who worked in Darien; town residents; nonresidents who worked in the town; and former residents who had previously lived in the town tor at least one year. In its letter to Darien announcing the initiation of its investigation, DOJ expressed particular interest in the rationale behind adopting the preferences for priority populations. The town’s planning and zoning commission voted in fall 2010 to remove the priority population provision from the zoning regulations, thus ending the residency preference.”

          See also this for another example:

          On April 15, 2014, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced that it had reached an agreement with the City of Dubuque, Iowa, to settle allegations that the City discriminated against African Americans in the administration of its Housing Choice (“Section 8”) Voucher Program.

          In a 2011 review, HUD had found that Dubuque imposed policies that discriminated against housing choice voucher applicants based on their race through adoption of a residency preference system that put individuals from predominantly African American areas at a disadvantage. The preference system had been adopted in response to racial tensions and concerns about crime.

  5. Howard P

    BTW, based on statistics, Prop 5 is racially discriminative, based on the logic of the suit.  Disproportionally favoring white seniors…

    BTW, I currently intend to vote against Prop 5… for reasons far removed from “race”…

    Amazing how some folk get “fixated” on Prop 5… apparently for reasons other than what the measure does.

    1. Ron

      Howard:  “Amazing how some folk get “fixated” on Prop 5… apparently for reasons other than what the measure does.”

      Well, the text below shows one thing that it does.  The “portion” of this loss that would belong to Davis as a result of WDAAC has not been analyzed:

      Annual property tax losses for cities, counties, and special districts of around $150 million in the near term, growing over time to $1 billion or more per year (in today’s dollars). Annual property tax losses for schools of around $150 million per year in the near term, growing over time to $1 billion or more per year (in today’s dollars). Increase in state costs for schools of an equivalent amount in most years.[8],_Property_Tax_Transfer_Initiative_(2018)

  6. Eric Gelber

    Locating senior housing on the periphery, away from the the center of town, is not one of my concerns with WDAAC. It’s a matter of choice. No one will be forced to live there. I’m sure all the units will be sold to or rented by those for whom location is not a deal breaker.

    An emphasized selling point of WDAAC is that it will enable seniors to downsize. That’s nice, but let’s not confuse this with meeting a priority internal housing need. Building smaller homes for those seniors who already own oversized houses and want to downsize is not high on the list of internal housing needs. Moreover, the large expensive homes those seniors will sell will not significantly meet priority housing needs (or address the racial imbalance). And to the extent WDAAC arguably meets a need for accessible housing, that need is not restricted to seniors.

    1. David Greenwald

      Eric has laid out a point of agreement for me – articulated it well – the problem is the combination of downsizing seniors freeing up homes that will not fill core housing needs.

  7. Tia Will

    I remain both undecided and open minded with regard to this project. Of the opinions expressed so far, Eric’s post comes closest to my feelings. Much has been said about the project from the perspective of those who might choose to live there.

    I have seen very little information about whether or not this is the best possible use of this parcel of land with regard to the remainder of the community. Would not more density and habitations for more people of lower income be better? Might a live/work project be better? Given the proximity to the freeway, might light industrial in terms of spin offs from the university be better use?

    I don’t know the answers. I just have a very hard time seeing a project primarily for seniors, of dubious value interms of supporting people with a connection to Davis, having relatively low density as the best possible use of this land.

  8. Jeff M

    Watch House Hunters International.  The plot is the same.  One spouse/partner wants to live near the more active city center and the other wants more quiet and more room.

    That is the standard trade-off everywhere.

    But the Davis bossy people are largely irrational or else are elitists thinking they know better… projecting their preferred lifestyle on everyone else.

    They reject sprawl with an almost religious fervor until they corrupt the very meaning of the word; but they fail to accept the reality that different people value different arrangements and have different life-requirements.

    Like all communities, Davis needs a mix of different housing and it is up to the people buying the housing to decide what type of housing they prefer.  Smart development is more a macro / community design topic… not an invitation for the bossy people to dictate how many square feet you have, and how much open space is allowed.

    Frankly, it is the high concentration of Davis bossy people that keeps me wanting copious space between me and my neighbor.

    1. Eric Gelber

      Jeff –

      You make some points I agree with. But, as usual, you might try saying the same thing without the derogatory labels, insults, and generalizations, and maybe people might take your comments seriously. Just a suggestion.

      1. Jeff M

        I appreciate the advice.  But you are basically suggesting I change the topic of my post.  The topic of my post is to suggest some self-awareness for those believing that their view of perfection is always the same for everyone else and hence is fine at the most granular level of intrusion.  I don’t believe you can make that case effectively without some inflammation.

  9. Tia Will


    it is up to the people buying the housing to decide what type of housing they prefer. “

    This has been true in the distant past. It was true when the typical way a house was built was by the individual who owned the lot, as my father did, and it is true today in custom building only. Who decides the type of housing available today is largely the developers and investors with the potential homeowners  forced to choose from what is available whether it would be their choice or not.

    1. Jeff M

      Well I can concede a small bit of your point in that Davis’s housing market is inelastic for some of the residents… especially the students that don’t have a car… but otherwise largely reject your main point with the analogy that I cannot purchase a new Ford F150 hybrid.   So thus I, and everyone else that wants a Ford F150, is forced to chose from what is available whether it would be their choice or not.  And in fact your comment becomes a bit nonsensical as you can only acquire what is for sale and/or what you can build yourself… for anything.

      The difference with housing is that you can chose to live in another community.  That is what several of my employees have done.  They live in Sacramento in a bigger house with a bigger yard and a pool.

  10. Ron

    Tia:   “Given the proximity to the freeway, might light industrial in terms of spin offs from the university be better use?”

    How about that idea?  Why not at this location (almost adjacent to Highway 113 – with no other adjacent residences), instead of near perennially-congested I-80?

    Or, is it like the Cannery – in which the owners simply refused to allow a commercial component (per Don, as I recall).

    In any case, the proposed site of WDAAC makes more sense for a commercial component than the Cannery site.

      1. David Greenwald Post author

        “It’s time to stop allowing developers to drive the city’s planning process.”

        It’s hard to do that when there are market necessities that come into play in terms of investments, return on investment, investors, etc.  I think the better approach is to seek ways to balance the interests of the communities with the interests of the developers in order to realize community benefit.

        1. Ron

          David:  “It’s hard to do that when . . .”

          . . . you let developers drive the process and planning for the city”.

          The entire city is in a constant state of “reaction” to what developers propose.

        2. Rik Keller

          Yes, developers ARE largely driving the city’s planning process. And then anyone who opposes a particular project for any of a host reasons is attacked as a no-growther, and the supporters tell people they should be happy with a few token concessions in projects that are mostly serving upper-income groups.

          Developers, citizens, and the City decision-makers all want predictability. A big step toward that would be to enforce the policies we already have on the books rather than pretending, for example, any project that comes along is consistent with Measure R and General Plan policies just because s developer provides a paper-thin justification.

        3. Ken A

          Does Rik know anyone opposed to the WDAAC that would describe themselves as a a “pro growth” individual.  I’m also wondering if even one person in the No on L group will sign a statement that they are a supporter of developing the Covell Village site as long at it is developed in a way they approve of.

          P.S. I would not call pointing out the fact that some people have opposed every development project in town since the 80’s an “attack”…

  11. Alan Miller

    One spouse/partner wants to live near the more active city center and the other wants more quiet and more room.

    Green acres is the place for me
    Farm livin’ is the life for me
    Land spreadin’ out so far and wide
    Keep Manhattan, just give me that countryside

    New York is where I’d rather stay
    I get allergic smelling hay
    I just adore a penthouse view
    Dah-ling I love you but give me Park Avenue…

    The chores…
    The stores…
    Fresh air…
    Times Square

    You are my wife
    Good bye, city life
    Green Acres we are there

Leave a Reply

X Close

Newsletter Sign-Up

X Close

Monthly Subscriber Sign-Up

Enter the maximum amount you want to pay each month
Sign up for