Is This More Evidence That WDAAC Will Pass? We’ll See
Yesterday’s analysis of the race showed the lack of public opposition to the project outside of a small pocket of people. Today, I will focus less on data and more on anecdotal evidence.
Some of the biggest vocal critics of Nishi have been relatively silent this election. And some have actually come out in favor of the project. That includes, perhaps most notably, Eileen Samitz.
In the Enterprise this weekend she called the project “an excellent project which came a long way after months of input from Davis residents.”
She writes, “Many meetings were held inviting input from numerous neighborhoods and the entire community. The information collected was used resulting in a nicely planned project with various housing types.”
Ms. Samitz continues: “The WDAAC project will have 150 apartments for low-income seniors which are much needed, as well as higher-density stacked flat condos, smaller cottages and bungalows, and some larger single-family units which is what the community asked for during the time for input.”
She argues that “the WDAAC project design evolved based upon the community input it got. The project even provides housing for 20 percent of non-senior residents, so altogether WDAAC provides a variety of housing, but with a focus on helping our senior community with sizing-down housing options.
“The WDAAC is a good project that would help Davis offer more housing options for seniors. I will be voting ‘YES’ on Measure L, as I hope Davis voters will, too,” she writes.
Jim Provenza and Don Saylor
I also found the Jim Provenza-Don Saylor collaboration to be notable. While the two men have now served for nearly a decade together on the Board of Supervisors, they have not always seen eye to eye on development. Jim Provenza has opposed a number of past projects including, most notably, Covell Village.
But this weekend they come out with their own piece together.
They write that Davis is “experiencing our own ‘silver tsunami.’”
Most notably they write: “As Yolo County supervisors we have heard three consistent needs when it comes to seniors: housing, transportation and health care. The West Davis Active Adult Neighborhood/Measure L addresses these three needs and provides a wide range of housing choices for future residents.”
While I’m sure the opposition will have some nits to pick here – Yolo County is the governmental body that oversees many social service agencies in the county, and thus they have a different perspective than many residents.
The two supervisors focus on three aspects of the project.
They write: “A Yes vote on Measure L will support 410 market rate units in various sizes and configurations and provides land for 150 income targeted affordable apartments. These homes are needed now and will provide needed relief to the local housing market.”
They add here, “The Yolo Healthy Aging Alliance supports this project because it is the first development in years to provide affordable housing for seniors.”
Critics have criticized the project’s transportation connectivity, but they offer a different perspective.
They write: “The neighborhood design was modified during the outreach process to allow a circular flow of buses, vans and private vehicles. A neighborhood serving transit hub will include an area for rideshare services, protected seating, access for shuttles and/or buses, EV charging stations, and parking for shared vehicle programs. Utilizing the Activity & Wellness Center as an indoor area where people can wait for transportation in comfort is central to this concept.”
Third, they point out that health care needs are “built into the plan.” They argue, “Locating seniors, especially low-income seniors, proximate to health care is good planning. This project site is across the street from the Sutter complex of emergency room, hospital and medical offices. The Communicare John Jones Clinic is also located in the Sutter complex. This is one of the central health care providers for low-income residents of Yolo County.”
They also point out that the project location “has great access to health care, transportation, and neighborhood shopping. Residents of the proposed project will have easy access to the Marketplace Shopping Center and to extensive biking and walking paths connecting West Davis to the entire community and beyond.”
Yolo Healthy Aging Alliance
Speaking of which, Yolo Healthy Aging Alliance Director Sheila Allen in a recent letter supports the project. She writes: “The Yolo Healthy Aging Alliance supports the West Davis Active Aging project in concept. Such a project could address the current and growing need for more senior housing in Davis that includes universal design and accessibility components both inside the house and in the neighborhood to allow persons to age in place.
“In particular, we support additional affordable units to address an urgent need for older adults living in Davis. We look forward to actively participating when the developer and builders bring forward specific housing design plans.”
Excitement and Traffic
It will be interesting to see if this type of support is enough to overcome Davis’ slow growth tendencies. But the more I look at who is supporting this project, the more I think it will end up passing.
But I do think one of the commenters from yesterday has a good point. They write: “David states that he doesn’t see much pushback against this project but there’s also not much excitement for this project. I feel when the voters go to the ballot box they’re going to think about the extra traffic, how hard it already is to find downtown parking, that this project doesn’t fit real Davis needs accept for a small handfull of seniors who may want to downsize and the fact that it’s sprawl on the periphery so they’re going to vote ‘NO.'”
I think the commenter raises an interesting point when he notes that “there’s also not much excitement for this project.”
To be honest, I don’t know what excitement for a project looks like. If you subscribe to the 40-40 theory (which has held except in 2009), the race will be determined by the people in the middle. You’re not going to find a lot of excitement for the project in the middle. But we saw a lot more pushback against Nishi in 2016 than we did in 2018. And right now, this race feels like Nishi 2018.
The commenter also points out traffic impacts. Tia Will responds that there was a lot of traffic on Friday along Covell – well, that’s been happening on Fridays. I’m not sure how much that has to do with local factors and how much that has to do with traffic simply backing up from the freeway system.
Covell Village was partly decided on traffic issues. Nishi 1.0 was definitely decided on traffic issues. The traffic analysis for WDAAC shows small impacts. Less than ten seconds at peak hours. Having a small project with perhaps 500 cars is just not going to add enough traffic to Covell Blvd., let alone the rest of the town, to have much of an impact.
I’m not seeing a lot of opposition popping up. Am I misreading this? I didn’t see a lot of counter-arguments yesterday. But we will see what ends up happening here.
—David M. Greenwald reporting