Guest Commentary: WDAAC Is the Right Project at the Right Location, at the Right Time

by Mary Jo Bryan

Measure L is coming before the voters this November.  A YES on Measure L will result in the construction of greatly needed senior housing, including smaller, single-story homes and 150 affordable senior apartments.  The need is real. Currently, there are 441 seniors on an indefinite waiting list for affordable senior housing in Davis.

The opponents of Measure L have publicly attacked this Project asserting, amongst others, that it is discriminatory, will not provide the approved housing, is a financial detriment to the city, and is sprawl.  The opposition’s dissemination of misinformation is aimed at stopping this development project.   Please don’t let them.  The West Davis Active Adult Community and Measure L will benefit Davis.

So, what then is WDAAC?

  • Senior housing (for 55+) – single-story or single level, in a mix of styles and sizes, single family greenway homes, bungalows, condos, stacked flats and apartments from 600-1,800 sq ft, designed to meet the needs of an aging population
  • Multi-generational housing—20% of the homes available for any age
  • Affordable housing – nearly three times the required number of affordable units
  • Memory care – an area for a specialized senior care facility
  • Activity and Wellness Center – available to the public, including telemedicine facilities, gym, space for coffee, and a restaurant, intended to bring people together and foster social interaction
  • Public parks and trails – small parks, a dog park and landscaped greenways are incorporated throughout. There are 2.6 miles of trails and walking paths. The Project site bordered by an agricultural buffer area that also includes trails to encourage residents and the community to get outside and walk, bike and play
  • Bike connections – the Project provides a peripheral class 1 bike trail and dedicates a future landing site for a bike/ped bridge over Hwy 113 to complete the City’s peripheral trail
  • Roadway improvements – the Project will improve the pedestrian experience on West Covell Blvd with vast landscaping, bike lanes and improved intersection design to make it easier to cross the street and get to the Davis Marketplace.

And what will WDAAC do for the City?

  • Allows Davis to retain our valued and active aging citizenry
  • Allows seniors to comfortably age-in-place in Davis
  • Allows us to care for our loved ones in Davis
  • Allows for desired downsizing and the correlated turnover of exiting housing
  • Provides much needed housing of a type not otherwise available
  • Implements an energy retrofit program for those existing homes sold to help improve environmental efficiencies
  • Builds 150 affordable senior units (nearly triple the required number)
  • Commits $1,000,000 towards the construction of a 50-meter pool
  • Commits $250,000 in Public Art Grant funds

Why is the WDAAC location appropriate?

  • Adjacent to Sutter Hospital
  • Proximate to numerous healthcare providers
  • Adjacent to University Retirement Center
  • Less than 0.5 miles to the Marketplace
  • On land with poor agricultural value, which will be mitigated 2:1
  • On an existing bus route
  • Sufficient in size to accommodate a viable senior project

And why is now the time?

  • The number of seniors living in Davis is considerable and growing.
  • The Project will provide housing that seniors need now.
  • Affordable senior housing is greatly needed now, with hundreds on waiting lists.

The opponents of Measure L will undoubtedly attack several, if not all, of the statements made in this article.  They will continue to bombard you right up until the election with misinformation.  We sincerely ask that you not let those attacks cloud your judgement with respect to WDAAC and the needs of our senior citizens. We’ve taken care of students, now let’s take care of seniors.

The developer of WDAAC has spent his life in Davis.  The developer of WDAAC is a Davis senior.  The developer of WDAAC has children and grandchildren in Davis.  The developer of WDAAC cares for this community and has brought this Project forward to provide something that the community is currently lacking: senior housing.

WDAAC is the right project for right now.  VOTE YES ON MEASURE L.

Mary Jo Bryan is a 45 year Davis Resident, Advocate for Senior Housing, and Former Candidate for Davis City Council (Spring 2018)

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Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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  1. Todd Edelman

    Less than 0.5 miles to the Marketplace

    Well, the far NW corner – walking in a straight line – is over 1.0 miles from the Marketplace. It is easy to visualize it based on these set of directions. It can be a bit shorter if one cuts through a field and the Sutter parking lot. Access-tastic! 

    dedicates a future landing site for a bike/ped bridge over Hwy 113 to complete the City’s peripheral trail

    A crossing here over 113 would be nice, but how “future” is this? It’s obviously not in the City’s TIP 2018 (PDF) for any activity through 2023. While in theory it could be accelerated, who is going to pay for it? Is SACOG, SB1, or funding from a Causeway toll 😉 going to be prioritized for a “peripheral” route, mostly recreational, that mostly serves both the proposed WDACC and Sutter Davis? I doubt it. The private investment that would likely be needed for this would come from both the WDAAC “Taking Care of Our Own Future Landing Site” developers and Sutter, and it would have been announced already, months ago.

    On an existing bus route

    that from this location takes over 30 min to Downtown. Will bus service be increased from this location? I am not sure it is viable. Will an operator be interested in taking a bus inside the property so that the stop is a reasonable walking distance for everyone who lives there? This would make a journey very long for others outside of WDAAC. A dedicated shuttle would be very expensive to staff if it had even a shade of the flexibility of a private car. When wealthier people who live here can’t drive any longer, they may Lyft/Uber, sure.

    Sufficient in size to accommodate a viable senior project

    What does this even mean?

  2. Rik Keller

    Mary Jo Bryan says “The opponents of Measure L… will continue to bombard you right up until the election with misinformation.”

    These is a strong accusation made without any specifics provided. For months, the Yes On L campaign has made unsubstantiated allegations, even going so far as to collaborate with the publisher of the Davis  Vanguard to tally the number of supposed lies, but never saying what they consisted of. Davis deserves better than this.

  3. Jim Hoch

    “it is discriminatory” Of course it’s discriminatory. Even [edited] Mary Jo calls it “senior housing”

    “will not provide the approved housing” Whether any of the affordable housing is built is entirely a matter of speculation. The “smart money” here is not waiting to see and will build the rest of the project regardless.

    “is a financial detriment to the city” Most new housing is.

    “and is sprawl” Since sprawl is defined as  “the expansion of human populations away from central urban areas into low-density, monofunctional and usually car-dependent communities” This is exactly that. 

    Of course this is the same Mary Jo that ran for city council advocating for family housing while living in a community that bans families.

  4. Tia Will

    I had an interesting conversation with Mary Jo Bryant, whom I greatly respect, about this project before I had decided on my “No on L” vote. We talked about a number of the issues she has sited as pros and came to opposing conclusions on most of them.

    1. Close to hospital, MOBs and pharmacy – is this really a huge advantage for “active adults” in a city the size of Davis?  Her thought was yes, my perspective – not so much so.

    2. Is there good walkability/connectivity – Mary Jo believes there is. I disagreed. So I decided to get some data. I used the EPA’s method of calculation using Sutter Davis Hospital address as a proxy for the site. The breakdown was as follows on a 1-100 scale:

    Walk score – 41  designated as car dependent, most errands require a car.

    Transit score – 39 designated as some transit. A few nearby public transportation options.

    Bicycles – 91 designated a bikers paradise.

    So if you are a biking enthusiast senior, this location may be great for you. Otherwise, perhaps not so much.

    3. Is there sprawl? This is a highly subjective term. We seemed to be in agreement that a more compact project might best have met community needs. For Mary Jo this did not seem to be as high on her list of priorities as it is for me. My position is that conservation of land is a major issue for us and that should be a major planning component for any developer.

    4. Discriminatory issues. There is no doubt that age discrimination is a fundamental part of this project. Mary Jo finds that a plus, I find it a detriment. But neither of us would deny it is an intentional aspect of the project. Racial discrimination. This issue had not been raised at the time of our conversation. I do not believe this was deliberate or intentional on the part of the developers, however, the suggestion that it may have that unintended effect should be enough for the developer to rethink their approach.

    5. Is it “good for Davis”. This again is quite subjective and is based on what you see as the greatest priority for the most people. The project will doubtless be good for those who both qualify and like the location and type of units proposed. That is not in question. For me, the issues is there more need for senior housing than other types of housing in Davis. When I asked the developers, they were unable to provide any objective evidence that this is the case. This means that if you are a student, a young professional ,a member of family with children, or a senior that needs live in assistance, it probably is not the best project for you. Thus I find the statement the project is “good for Davis” as a global positive, is wanting. It certainly does not help those who cannot live there since there is not guarantee that other housing affordable to them will be “freed up”.

    Finally, the conversation that Mary Jo and I had was completely positive with each of us merely sharing our own perspective without attacking the other. I enjoyed discussing it with her. I wish that all of the on line and public discussion had maintained the same mutually respectful tone. That however has been abandoned as even in this piece she is attempting to convince readers that those who oppose this project are being disingenuous at best and deliberately deceptive at worst. Both sides have engaged in this negativism about the motives of the opposition. It is possible to be either for or against this project and still be completely honest about the reasons for your position. I wish both sides would acknowledge a difference of opinion does not equal dishonesty.


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