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