Chiles Apartment Project Presents Its Affordable Plan

The Chiles Road Apartments is designed as “a traditional rental housing project” which means providing predominantly one and two bedroom units rented by the unit that meet community needs for housing that are distinctly different than recently approved student housing projects.

On Monday, the Social Services Commission was asked to weigh in on two possible affordable housing plans by the developers.  The first option would be an on-site median and moderate rate units, providing 34 on-site units that consists of five percent of the units for media income and 10 percent for moderate income.

The second option, is the creation of a Housing Trust Fund annual revenue stream which would dedicate an on-going contribution to the city’s Housing Trust Fund.

City Planner Eric Lee told the commission that staff has no preference for which option the commission recommends.

The proposed 3820 Chiles Road Project consists of 225 high density units which targets workforce housing with studios, one-, two-, and three-bedroom units, which will be rented by the unit.  The applicant is seeking to redevelop a 7.4 acre property located at 3820 Chiles road.

Right now they are proposing 16 studios, 90 one-bedroom apartments, 102 two-bedroom apartments and 17 three-bedroom apartments.

Chuck Cunningham, one of the project developers, explained that they are looking to meet current unmet housing needs for working professionals, families, visiting professors and baby boomers who no longer wish to own their own homes.  He pointed out that this is not a project geared toward students, but naturally some could live there.

During public comment, Eileen Samitz stated that she “appreciate(s) the design of this project, focusing on the very important needs for workforce and family housing.”

Greg Rowe, a Planning Commissioner noted that in the Scoping Comments for the Draft EIR which came before the Planning Commission.  He said that there was a financial feasibility study done for being able to develop this property with its current land use designation of commercial.

That study concluded “that there’s such a large capacity of commercially designated land relative to the meager supply that you would have to wait years if not decades before a commercial development would happen here.”

He said, “I think that the best possible use of the land in the short-term is to do exactly what their proposing that is to put the kind of housing in there that’s duly needed for families and workforce people.”

The commission was asked to weigh in on their preferred affordable housing plan.  The first option is a standard on-site option.

Under the second option, as Chuck Cunningham explained, “the developer would commit to providing a revenue stream to the City’s Housing Trust Fund. The exact amount is not determined at this point, but would be an amount equivalent their subsidy of the median and moderate income units proposed under Option 1. It would be a minimum or $100,000 to start and would be expected to increase over time.”

Kelly Stachowicz clarified that the housing trust fund was funded within the budget and the council could decide how to use the money.

Chuck Cunninham explained that “the returns that this project would have is less than those metrics” meaning that they would make less than the recommended rate of return on their investment.

“We did the best we could,” he said.  “The returns will be less than the model they used” would find as viable.

He said he was hoping that construction costs would moderate and hoping that interest rates would stay relatively low.  “We wouldn’t be doing this if we didn’t think this was going to work.”

Claire Goldstene pushed back against the project, “This is a difficult project for me.  There is a lot here that I like.”  She cited the fact that it is oriented toward workforce housing, has ongoing sources of revenue, unit leases.

However she said, “I have an overriding concern about the location, the proximity to the freeway.”  She does not believe this is the place “where Davis wants to put a large apartment complex.”

She acknowledged that her concern was outside of the commissions purview of affordable housing.  She said, “We need affordable housing, but I wouldn’t want to do that in a way I thought was not in the best interest of the community as a whole.”  She added, “I’m in a bit of a pickle.”

Tracey Tomasky remarked that “There are lots of things I really like” including “the diversity of who it’s attracting.”  She liked the creative approach and had no preference on the form of the affordable housing.  “I could go either way,” she said.

Donald Kalman added, “My preference would be to build the units, they serve a need.”  He added, “keeping this idea in mind for future projects might be really good idea.”

On the other hand, Georgina Valencia said, “We are going to have workforce people living there whether there are deed restrictions or not.”  She was therefore supportive of creating a stream of money for the affordable housing trust fund.

This is a proposal that seeks to target middle income affordable housing through both subsidy and design.

“The proposal targets median and moderate income households as the “missing middle” under Option 1 or ongoing contributions to the Housing Trust Fund under Option 2 which may be used by the City to help low, very low, or extremely low income households,” staff notes.

—David M. Greenwald reporting


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

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

31 Comments

  1. Ron

    As noted in the article, this is a 7.4 acre site.  It is zoned for commercial usage, and houses an existing commercial building (which was determined to be not worth saving due to seismic and design concerns).

    The site is another example of a loss of an existing commercial space, for housing.

    1. David Greenwald

      From the article:

      Greg Rowe, a Planning Commissioner noted that in the Scoping Comments for the Draft EIR which came before the Planning Commission.  He said that there was a financial feasibility study done for being able to develop this property with its current land use designation of commercial.

      That study concluded “that there’s such a large capacity of commercially designated land relative to the meager supply that you would have to wait years if not decades before a commercial development would happen here.”

      He said, “I think that the best possible use of the land in the short-term is to do exactly what their proposing that is to put the kind of housing in there that’s duly needed for families and workforce people.”

    2. Howard P

      An existing commercial space that has been off the tax rolls for years, being exclusively leased to UCD for many years… its lack of close proximity to I-80 exits have never made it real attractive for Comm… when it was built, and in its “heyday” it was the site for Pacific Standard Life, as I recall… a real big revenue generator for the City… yes it would be tragic for its reutilization as housing…

      Had it been re-purposed as Comm (gee, guess the “market” thought that wasn’t viable…) it would likely be vacant, or largely so.  Guess we could have put a mini Home-Depot or Wally-Mart there… another missed opportunity, to be sure!

      Car dealers wouldn’t have touched the site with a 40 foot pole. No restaurant has survived long except near the I-80 exits…

  2. Ron

    From article:  “He said that there was a financial feasibility study done for being able to develop this property with its current land use designation of commercial.  That study concluded “that there’s such a large capacity of commercially designated land relative to the meager supply that you would have to wait years if not decades before a commercial development would happen here.”

    Try telling that to the folks pushing for a peripheral mixed-use development, on prime farmland outside the city.

    Strange, how they determined that there was sufficient interest to construct the existing commercial building on this 7.4-acre site, in 1966.

     

    1. David Greenwald

      “Try telling that to the folks pushing for a peripheral mixed-use development, on prime farmland outside the city.”

      I did, they don’t believe you understand how this works. The point that the fiscal analysis is making is that there is a build out period of time, a 7 acre site in the context of 120 or so existing available acres isn’t going to make a big difference. A peripheral innovation park will feed economic development for the next 30 to 50 years. This site won’t, but it will fill a vital need for workforce housing.

      Eileen Samitz: “Appreciate the design of this project and focusing on the very important need for workforce and family housing.”

      1. Ron

        It makes no sense to claim that there’s a “need” to annex prime farmland for commercial/mixed-use development, while simultaneously converting existing commercial sites for housing.

        It’s a tough argument to make, to say the least.

        1. David Greenwald

          First of all, you should read the analysis that Greg referred to.

          Second, you need to understand the concept of competing needs and best uses of land. It may be that you need both commercial and residential, and you are better served by taking this piece of land and converting it to residential uses given its location and focus on other areas for commercial development. This is a key concept that you keep glossing over.

          Third, you need to understand how build outs work.

          Fourth, you need to understand scale.

          Add all that up, this isn’t that difficult a concept. Good day.

        2. Ron

          I’ll try to find that fiscal analysis.  Was the analyst hired by the developer?  How is it that this property was determined to be viable enough to construct a commercial building in 1966, but it’s now no longer true? (Note that it was considered for commercial use rehabilitation, as late as 2015.) It also apparently has some historical significance designations, due to its design.

          And, if there’s no need for a 7.4 acre site for commercial (or possibly mixed-use), why is there suddenly a need for a 200-acre site outside of city limits? (I assume it would not be occupied by a single commercial tenant.)

          Regarding “best uses of land”, it seems that (in general) Davis is depending upon developers to tell us what that is.

        3. Craig Ross

          “How is it that this property was determined to be viable enough to construct a commercial building in 1966, but it’s now no longer true?”

          My calculation is that 1966 was 52 years ago, do you concur?

          “Regarding “best uses of land”, it seems that (in general) Davis is depending upon developers to tell us what that is.”

          You mean we are depending on people who would invest millions of dollars to tell us what works and what doesn’t?  You think that’s strange?

          I think David’s point is spot on – we have more than one need and have to determine the best use for a given parcel of land.

        4. Ron

          Craig:  “You mean we are depending on people who would invest millions of dollars to tell us what works and what doesn’t?  You think that’s strange?”

          No – I don’t think it’s “strange”, at all.  I’d call it “business as usual”.

          In general, developers will propose whatever makes the most money for them (and that they think they can get approval for).  That’s why we have sprawl, for one thing.

        5. Ron

          It’s not necessarily a question of what will work.  Unfortunately, what we’re consistently seeing is what works “best” – for developers.

          Some folks apparently equate that with what’s best for the city.

        6. Craig Ross

          That’s the first question because if it doesn’t work for a developer, it doesn’t work.  The second question is whether or not is a community need.  I think the answer here is clear.  So I don’t get why you’re questioning this.  It’s not like we need housing for workers and families OR economic development.  We need them both.  So we can approve one and look for the ideal place for the other.

        7. Ron

          I wouldn’t be counting on approval of another peripheral development anytime soon.  Especially when continuously/simultaneously sacrificing existing, large commercial sites based upon developer proposals.

        8. Keith O

          But, you’ve apparently got an ally regarding your developer-oriented views, in the form of the Vanguard.

          Yes Ron, they do seem to see eye to eye on almost everything.

        9. Alan Miller

          you are better served by taking this piece of land and converting it to residential uses given its location

          But that would put one so quoted in a “pickle”, and we can’t have that.

          “I’m in a bit of a pickle.”

           

    2. Howard P

      Tu es “ill-informed” (was thinking “bete”, but that might be considered a personal attack… or an idea/concept attack, so I won’t “go there”)… see my earlier post.

      UCD got a great lease deal, for years, as it was a bad location of Comm (no one else wanted it!)… it was vacant for many years… looked like a mausoleum and ‘kinda was… 52 years of perspective shows that… in 1966, that property was not ‘sustainable’ as a type of real revenue-generating Comm.  If you can find a Comm broker who thinks he/she can successfully market it, go for it…  I doubt it… I don’t believe it is marketable for Comm… experience… observation…

      Same is true for the Sequoia/Ott project down the road… a very awkwardly laid-out site (thanks, Mike Corbett, et al.)… the current site plan there is the best I’ve seen in 32 years… and pretty much the only one… thought it was going to be a park & ride as highest/best use, but was wrong… certainly not Comm, or its original SDSP designation “Recreation-Commercial”.  Res looks viable, given bike/ped/transit values… it should move forward…

      Suggest you limit your comments to expertise or opinion… I try to differentiate… suggest you do so, as well…

      42 days to Anonygeddon…

       

  3. Don Shor

    However she said, “I have an overriding concern about the location, the proximity to the freeway.”  She does not believe this is the place “where Davis wants to put a large apartment complex.”

    Like New Harmony and Cesar Chavez Plaza?

    1. Howard P

      Don… huge difference between Comm and Res as to ‘proximity’… the first is exit dependent… the latter is more transit (including ped, bicycle, but, other transit)dependent…) your two cites fit those like a glove…

      1. Ron

        ” . . . difference between Comm and Res as to ‘proximity’… the first is exit dependent . . .”

        Commercial is indeed “exit dependent”, if the goal is to induce freeway commuting by employees from other communities.

        But truth be told, there is not much difficulty in reaching any site in Davis, from freeways. (However, the freeways themselves are often another matter, these days. With very little consideration of that, in regard to each additional development proposal in Davis or elsewhere. Same thing is true regarding water supply, etc.)

  4. Todd Edelman

    Nishi’s “urban forest” + 300 ft. exclusion zone for housing is inadequate for the medium-term – until motor vehicles get a lot cleaner – but still should have served as the template for everything approved since then and heading towards possible approval. It has both aesthetic and acoustic/vibratory benefits beyond its variable efficacy on particulate pollution. Eventually, but also before the long term, all homes in Davis should be moved at least that far from I-80.

    I regret that I did not set this as my personal bottom line when – as a BTSSC member –  I saw this project and Plaza 2555. It’s bizarre that that our Social Services Commission is de-purviewized from protecting people’s physiological health as it protects their wallet, and it’s equally high up on the clusterf*ckarian index that the City’s advisory body on mobility cannot protect people from bad mobility, i.e. the question of a project site is not ours to answer. But anyway… my understanding is that I could not even abstain on a vote for the reason I mentioned since there is no formal conflict-of-interest. Could I credibly oppose a project on moral and ethical grounds? If I go against some detail or vote “no” on the whole shebang, it would be at least partly for the wrong reasons.

    1. Alan Miller

      all homes in Davis should be moved at least that far from I-80.

      And put where?  And who pays for the moves?

      And should the land thus opened up be used to place more lanes on I-80?

Leave a Reply

X Close

Newsletter Sign-Up

X Close

Monthly Subscriber Sign-Up

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