My View: Looking at the Davis Talent Story

Two weeks ago the Vanguard held a discussion on the future of high tech economic development.  Now, Greater Sacramento has released a report, partnering with CBRE, a commercial real estate broker, to tell the story of the Sacramento Region.

Davis is very much a part of that story.  Two weeks ago, Danielle Casey from Greater Sacramento mentioned that right now, with Davis’ lack of commercial space, companies were not necessarily looking at Davis.  However, the bigger picture here is that Davis is fairly well situated to draw companies and talent – if it is so inclined.

On the plus side, Davis has a ready pool of talent to draw from.  It also has the brand – UC Davis, a respected world class university.  While space is indeed limited and costs are higher than Sacramento, in a way Davis fits in neatly – less cost than the San Francisco market, but a readily established brand.

This is pretty important in the bigger picture.  They found the Sacramento Region as a whole is drawing millennials – in fact only Seattle and Columbia, SC, drew more millennials than Sacramento.

The report notes: “Sacramento is the third most popular city in the nation for Millennials and this trend is expected to continue.”

They find, “People are leaving more expensive cities with a higher cost of living for hubs like Greater Sacramento due to its lower living costs, access to amenities, and proximity to local attractions and the available job opportunities.”

Moreover, they found that Greater Sacramento region has among the highest concentration of diverse populations across the country.

Based on a 2017 McKinsey Analysis, “the organizations with the most ethnic and cultural diversity on their executive boards were 33% more likely to achieve above-average profitability.”

UC Davis is a huge engine of the region’s success – among its key bragging points: top 10 on the West Coast for Computer Science and Engineering, top in the nation for launching women into STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) professions, #5 public university in the nation, the top global veterinary university and #2 in global Agricultural Sciences.

A huge percentage of the population with a bachelor’s degree or higher has a STEM degree – 53 percent.  That’s fourth among comparable cities – trailing San Jose, San Francisco and Seattle but ahead of places like Denver and Austin.

UC Davis is key here with 56 percent of the students graduating with bachelor’s degrees getting those in STEM fields.

 

Situating Davis in this picture is interesting.  The home prices in Davis are a bit more than surrounding areas – but far less than in the Bay Area.  Moreover, rent is more expensive than surrounding areas, but, again, far less than the Bay Area.

What is really fascinating is the median household income, which probably reflects that the number of students is much closer to Sacramento than it is to even Rocklin or Folsom.

There are clear opportunities for Davis – a huge pool of talent, and it’s key to keep that talent at home.  Which means creating jobs in the STEM field that match the profile of students graduating from UC Davis.

The problem right now, once again, is no space.

“When we work with firms that are looking at coming into the region, they’re looking at expanding, it has already been said in terms of certainty… We have innovative companies that are looking at connecting with Greater Sacramento. I’d say, for the most part, Davis isn’t even considered because they’re going to do a look at a requirement in terms of commercial space availability and they’re just not finding it,” Danielle Casey said.

“They don’t even see it all,” she said. “So you’re not even getting a look to begin with.”

The city has about 120 acres of undeveloped commercial space, but a lot of that is either unavailable or tied up. The reality is that number is really about 50 acres and most of it in relatively small parcels.

Everything is set up for Davis to be very competitive in this market, except for one – lack of space for companies to move into.  And that is a factor we can control.

—David M. Greenwald reporting


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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.

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79 Comments

  1. Alan Miller

    The problem right now, once again, is no space.

    Oh!  I thought maybe we’d solved that since last time you wrote an article about this subject.  Or yesterday, whichever was more recent.

    lack of space for companies to move into.  And that is a factor we can control.

    We can “control” this by voting for the ARC.

    This blog post brought to you by the ARC, “saving the world with an ARC,  just like Noah before us”.

  2. Alan Miller

    “They don’t even see it all,” she said. “So you’re not even getting a look to begin with.”

    That’s the third time this month this quote has been used to fuel a post in this blog, and today is only the 14th.

    Led Zepplin had a song called “How Many More Times?”.

  3. Ron Glick

    What is really fascinating is the median household income, which probably reflects that the number of students is much closer to Sacramento than it is to even Rocklin or Folsom.

    Huh? Much closer to Isle Vista or Chico. Students in Davis likely skew the data more than you recognize.

  4. Ron Glick

    Nothing new here really. If Davis wanted to attract biotech or high tech it could. That has been known for years. But first we need to get our heads out of the sand and get rid of Measure R.

  5. Rik Keller

    This line keeps getting repeated in article after article: “The city has about 120 acres of undeveloped commercial space, but a lot of that is either unavailable or tied up. The reality is that number is really about 50 acres and most of it in relatively small parcels.”

    The reality is actually that the land that the author claims is “unavailable or tied up” would actually be available and not tied up if there was commercial demand. The reality is actually that existing vacant commercial land has been converted to other uses by developers because there isn’t a demand.

    I haven’t double-checked this 120-acre figure against an official City inventory, but if the figure is actually 120 acres of vacant commercially-zoned land (I’m assuming the author misspoke and the 120 acres does not refer to vacant built commercial space at 120 acres x 43,560 = 5.22 million sq. ft.), here is a back-of-the-envelope calculation of how many jobs that could accommodate:

    *** At a coverage/Floor Area Ratio = 40% and floor area per job = 225sf => 9,293 employees (77.44 employees per acre) and 2.1 million sq. ft. floor area.

    Yes, that’s right: the Vanguard is claiming that the City doesn’t have enough zoned commercial land because it can “only” accommodate 9,300 new employees on the vacant commercial land it does have.

    As a comparison to get a sense of that magnitude, recent figures for UC Davis (2016) show total academic employment at about 11,800, and total career staff employment at 15,900.

    Keep in mind also that at current demographics in Davis of about 2.65 persons per household and 1.1 jobs/household, that employment capacity is the equivalent of an additional population of 22,400 people = an increase of about 1/3 of our current population.

     

     

        1. Rik Keller

          Thanks for posting that, Don. It shows two things: 1) the vacant commercial land inventory from the City includes 125 acres, and 2) the Vanguard has conducted sketchy analysis to claim that figure is “really about 50 acres.”

      1. David Greenwald

        Don – it goes down further because a lot of those properties aren’t available: https://www.davisvanguard.org/2019/01/analysis-pool-of-commercial-properties-shrinks-further-in-davis-as-we-eliminate-two-key-sites/

        You take out 33.5 acres which are for extensions of medical facilities (Sutter is now even building on some of theirs)
        Then you take out another 25 acres on Second St because of the Superfund Site which is not likely available for a long time
        The only one that is questionable that I took out was the 15 acre site at Chiles and Cowell, that one you could argue should still count.

        But the math here isn’t that difficult. And if you look at a lot of those 50 acres, they are on parcels that are small and scattered. If you needed 10 acres for a development, there might be nothing right now.

        1. Rik Keller

          The Vanguard makes a bunch of unwarranted assumptions about what land is available and what isn’t to provide misleading information about the development capacity that we actually have. As it turns out, we actually probably have at least a 25-30 year supply of commercial land.

        2. Craig Ross

          Prove your point.  Which one of these are unwarranted?  Also, how do you explain that this basically is the assessment from the city?  And even if it really were 120 acres, your projected buildout is 5 to 6 acres a year – that’s not a robust economic development program and it completely excludes anything large scale.  Rik is full of crap here based on his bias against David and the Vanguard.

    1. Don Shor

      The reality is actually that the land that the author claims is “unavailable or tied up” would actually be available and not tied up if there was commercial demand. The reality is actually that existing vacant commercial land has been converted to other uses by developers because there isn’t a demand.

      That’s not what it proves. It simply means there is not demand for a bunch of small parcels of disconnected properties. It says nothing about the market demand for a larger business park. More to the point, that isn’t our problem. It’s an issue for the investors to consider.

      Keep in mind also that at current demographics in Davis of about 2.65 persons per household and 1.1 jobs/household, that employment capacity is the equivalent of an additional population of 22,400 people = an increase of about 1/3 of our current population.

      So what? So jobs shouldn’t be encouraged because they might affect the regional population? It’s clear from the article that there is a sufficiency of workers regionally for the jobs that would be created here. The job market is regional, the housing market is regional. Davis is not an island. Practically every household I know of has people working in different cities. In the real world, people commute. The city population is not going to increase by 22,400 people.

      1. Rik Keller

        Don: “so what?” You are pushing providing a bunch of jobs for out-of-towners to commute here for? And we get all the traffic impacts, and they take the $ they make abs spend it in their community? You want the jobs/housing balance in Davis that is already out of whack to get even worse. This  isn’t any kind of reasonable economic development “vision”.

        1. Don Shor

          People commute to work all the time. People change jobs more often than they change their housing, and many make their housing decisions based on criteria other than proximity to work.
          Commute times here are not that high. Here is a chart showing commute times, at least as of a few years ago, by county. Yolo County commutes are 41st out of 58 counties for commuting time, at an average commute time of 21.6 minutes.

          a bunch of jobs for out-of-towners

          I am not concerned about “out-of-towners.” If you were truly concerned about jobs/housing “balance” you’d be advocating for more housing. Are you?
          https://www.indexmundi.com/facts/united-states/quick-facts/california/average-commute-time#chart

        2. Rik Keller

          Ok Don, we get it: you don’t actually want to create jobs for Davis residents.

          As far as my positions: I have been a strong advocate for providing affordable workforce housing .

          1. Don Shor

            you don’t actually want to create jobs for Davis residents.

            That’s a totally nonsensical reply.
            There is often not a direct connection between where people live and where they work.
            And, just for the record, I do create jobs for Davis residents.

        3. Rik Keller

          Don: you are literally arguing that we shouldn’t plan for housing future employees of commercial development.

          You should probably recuse yourself from discussions of planning issues because you lack even a rudimentary understanding of them.

        4. Rik Keller

          Don: sure we could add a ton more commercial land capacity to add to the large amount that  already have. And yes, some people choose to commute. But to advocate for a giant employment center without adequately planning for where the employees will live is simply terrible public policy from both a local and regional perspective. And this is especially true of a locality that already has a jobs/housing imbalance (in favor of jobs) and for which SACOG has called for moving in the opposite direction for regional planning goals.

          1. Don Shor

            But to advocate for a giant employment center without adequately planning for where the employees will live is simply terrible public policy from both a local and regional perspective.

            If this is a legitimate concern, Davis should build a new subdivision. I’ve said this several times now. If the land is annexed in advance with the preconditions as to how much affordable housing, pace of build-out, and all the amenities Davisites like to add to residential developments, it can address those issues and make everyone happy. As I’ve said before, I consider the housing and jobs markets to be regional. At the moment, Woodland, Dixon, and West Sacramento are providing the housing for Davis workers who are less affluent. Woodland is less than six miles away at this point. So does the Woodland/Davis/Dixon/West Sac region have a jobs/housing imbalance?
            Obstructing development because it might provide too many jobs does not strike me as a reasonable planning goal. One might actually call that “terrible public policy.”

        5. Craig Ross

          “As far as my positions: I have been a strong advocate for providing affordable workforce housing .”

           

          This is nonsense as well.  He’s get every housing project put forward, you can’t build affordable housing without having it attached to something.

        6. Ron Oertel

          Craig (quoting Rik):  “As far as my positions: I have been a strong advocate for providing affordable workforce housing .”

           

          Craig’s response: “This is nonsense as well.  He’s get every housing project put forward, you can’t build affordable housing without having it attached to something.”

          Since Rik can’t see your comments, I just thought I’d repeat them (in case he can see them that way, and chooses to respond).

          Seems to me that Rik is a pretty strong advocate for Affordable housing (and has submitted articles regarding it), and has some professional experience in that area, if I’m not mistaken.

          Personally, I think the Vanguard should do away with the “ignore” feature. It is too easy to select that option by mistake, and too difficult to undo it.

        7. Rik Keller

          Ron O.: oh, is a certain Davis Vanguard volunteer is trying to slander me again? Not surprising.

          I could point to article after article I’ve published in the past couple of years (including on this site) advocating for affordable housing Or I could point to over two decades I spent analyzing and writing affordable housing policy at the state and local level. But some people are willfully blind.

        8. Craig Ross

          Curious that Keller attributes disagreement with slander (misusing the term since slander is oral rather than written).

          Regardless, his positon of advocacy for affordable housing is futile since he opposes reasonable means to raise the capital to build it by opposes market rate projects.

      2. Rik Keller

        Extensive research shows that business parks don’t have any kind of magic synergistic effects. If the current market in Davis shows that commercial properties are being converted to other uses—and it does—it actually does show that there is not even sufficient market demand for the properties that are available. A business park wouldn’t magically create new demand

        Davis has a very large capacity for commercial development. One wouldn’t know it from the false information that the Vanguard is pushing though.

        1. Craig Ross

          “Davis has a very large capacity for commercial development. One wouldn’t know it from the false information that the Vanguard is pushing though.”

          This is not a true statement.

          Anyone who wants an objective analysis should watch the city discussion from January – it bears out what the Vanguard has been saying.

          You have Danielle Casey’s statement from a few weeks ago that no one is looking at Davis because it lacks shovel-ready and even available commercially zoned land.

          The only one who is arguing otherwise is Rik Keller, he made a bare assertion, no data.

          If you look at the Vanguard’s analysis, you will see why that number really is closer to 50 rather than 120.  It has to do with ownership of the land by Kaiser and Sutter, as well as the Frontier Fertilizer spot.

          I challenge Rik to come up with a different analysis for land availability.  I just don’t see it.

  6. Ron Oertel

    Don:   “It’s clear from the article that there is a sufficiency of workers regionally for the jobs that would be created here. The job market is regional, the housing market is regional. Davis is not an island. Practically every household I know of has people working in different cities. In the real world, people commute. The city population is not going to increase by 22,400 people.”

    Yeah, some of them will commute from (or “through”) Davis to reach this place (below).  I wonder if the EIR for ARC includes the impact of this (e.g., those exiting I-80 at Mace, then traveling along Covell up to Road 102).  Or, in the reverse order.  Especially when I-80 is backed-up.

    https://cityofwoodland.org/583/Woodland-Research-Technology-Park

    Then add ARC to this, and let the fun commence and continue! So much better than leaving it as a beautiful piece of farmland, providing a natural and logical boundary to the city.

    Oh, but wait – we need this to repave the same roads that will be further impacted by ARC. 😉

    1. Don Shor

      Yeah, some of them will commute from (or “through”) Davis to reach this place (below).

      And some (many, now) will commute from Woodland to work at UCD. And some will commute from Dixon and West Sacramento to work in Davis. And some will commute from Dixon to work in the Bay Area, choosing to live in Dixon because the housing is much cheaper. Did you have a point? That people commute to work? Yes, they do.

      1. Ron Oertel

        Or, for that matter, does the EIR address the impact of all of the people who would commute to ARC from all of the new developments in Woodland? A majority of those folks would also likely use Road 102 to Covell.

         

         

      2. Ron Oertel

        To further clarify, all of the new houses recently completed, under construction, or planned for Woodland. 

        There are literally thousands of them, any/all of which may include commuters to ARC.

  7. Ron Oertel

    “The EIR is online at the city web site. You can find it and read it.”

    Seems you don’t know the answer.  But, I suspect that it will be very carefully read, analyzed, and possibly challenged as this proposal is pursued (and as conditions have changed).

    The underlying assumptions will also be questioned by voters, who can probably envision the result.

     

      1. Ron Oertel

        Thanks for the offer – sure, please do provide a link to the specific section which discusses traffic impacts.

        Since you stated that you have read it, how about responding to my questions (above) – at least from your perspective?  Especially given what you’ve acknowledged regarding commuters?

        In your opinion, does the EIR address those points?

        1. Don Shor

          MRIC cumulative impacts
          My opinion is that the long-term plan to add additional lane capacity on I-80 and auxiliary lanes on Chiles and Richards ramps would be the biggest factor on local traffic around the MRIC/ARC site. That is planned and even scheduled, more or less, but I don’t know if it’s funded yet. It’s described in the EIR as “a project to construct carpool lanes between Downtown Sacramento and the I-80/Richards Boulevard interchange in Davis.”
          Some of the other assumptions that were built into the EIR, such as commercial development on Nishi and in northwest Davis, will not be happening. So any re-assessment of the cumulative impacts would need to add or subtract for those changes.

        2. Bill Marshall

          In your opinion, does the EIR address those points?

          In my opinion, yes. I speak not for Don Shor.

          please do provide a link to the specific section which discusses traffic impacts.

          But being your researcher (given it is all public record, and on City website), is not what I expect to get income from, and I’m disinclined to do it for you ‘pro-bono’.  Maybe Don Shor will be more generous.

          But as a freebie, will give you some hints… the data and analysis included will need to be reviewed, to see how much needs to be updated, as to material changes, if any.  There may not be much, as the EIR is relatively recent, and the cumulative analysis included any changes in land use, traffic trends, ‘reasonably foreseeable’ @ the time of EIR preparation.

        3. Rik Keller

          Don: check out Table 5-1 on p. 5-4 in the EIR document you just posted a link to. In it you will find that (as of 2015) Davis has 6.36 million sf of commercial development. Backing out retail at 2.2 million sf, and that leaves 4.16 million sf of non-retail commercial development.

          Revising my back-of-the envelope calcs above for 124.5 vacant acres of commercially-zoned non-retail land:

          *** At a coverage/Floor Area Ratio = 40% and floor area per job = 225sf => 9,641 employees (77.44 employees per acre) and 2.17 million sf floor area. And this doesn’t even address the issue of development opportunities on occupied lower-density sites that could be redeveloped for higher-value uses  Note also, that the EIR itself, using assumptions of slightly less development density than I used concluded that Davis had 2 million sf of development capacity on existing vacant commercial land. 

          A quick comparison shows that this development capacity would increase our existing non-retail commercial developed floor area by over 50%. 

          Yet the Vanguard continues to claim in article after article that we have “no space.” This is truly nonsensical.

           

        4. Rik Keller

          Don: another thing you are ignoring in the EIR is that the demand for commercial space in Davis is limited to such a adfree that tenants moving to ARC/MEIC would cause vacancies in existing properties in the city. To a large degree, we would just be shifting around the location of existing development rather than creating new jobs .

          “ALH Economics concluded it is possible that some existing innovation sector businesses may seek to relocate to the MRIC upon availability or sometime thereafter. Therefore, existing office and industrial space in Davis could experience increased vacancy as a result of the innovation center.”

          But don’t worry! At least the owners of those properties have deep pockets, so the building won’t become completely decrepit!

          “…many of the office and industrial properties in Davis are owned by major institutional and private real estate companies, with the financial wherewithal to withstand prolonged vacancy and fund the maintenance. Therefore, the potential for properties to be well maintained during periods of prolonged vacancy exists. ALH Economics therefore concludes that the office and industrial components of the proposed project, in combination with other related developments, are not anticipated to cause adverse physical impacts leading to urban decay, despite the anticipated potential of some prolonged existing office and industrial base vacancies.”

      2. Rik Keller

        Don, if you have actually read the EIR and the draft (unvetted) fiscal impact analysis, you would know that a lot of the projected impacts of the project are because of the new housing/households projected to be in Davis because if the project.

        (You would also know that the EIR bizarrely describes Davis as having a housing/jobs balance tilted heavily toward housing because it ignores UC Davis employment. But that’s a whole other issue)

        1. Don Shor

          Don, if you have actually read the EIR and the draft (unvetted) fiscal impact analysis, you would know that a lot of the projected impacts of the project are because of the new housing/households projected to be in Davis because if the project.

          I agree that the fiscal impacts are likely overstated, specifically that the “ripple effect” of increased local transactions would be lower because many of the workers would be commuters. Of course, the builder would promptly reply that you’ve just made an excellent argument for their proposal to add housing on site….

        2. Rik Keller

          Don: Let’s be clear: the developer is proposing to add housing to the business park proposal because the business park is not financially viable. (This is the same reason why we are likely to see auxiliary retail/hotel/etc. uses in a final proposal). Nodding toward a housing/jobs balance is simply good ad copy as a backfill

          1. Don Shor

            the developer is proposing to add housing to the business park proposal because the business park is not financially viable.

            That is not a reasonable conclusion. Housing is more profitable and returns dividends more quickly, but you cannot conclude that the business park is not viable.

            This is the same reason why we are likely to see auxiliary retail/hotel/etc. uses in a final proposal

            Those are reasonable components of a business park, especially one adjacent to the freeway. They also provide good returns to the city via taxes. One of the investors, Buzz Oates Inc, routinely builds commercial properties and presumably is comfortable with the viability of the proposal. More to the point, that’s not our problem. A business park with hotel and some retail is what’s being proposed. It has benefits to the city and provides jobs. It provides sites for some businesses that may wish to grow ‘up’ into a larger venue. Those businesses generally don’t want to build their own properties, and the smaller sites presently available tend to have issues or simply aren’t on the market, or aren’t big enough for the Mori Seiki and Schilling – type enterprises.
            Today’s article simply shows that there is a large pool of available workers in the region. This region is expected to grow and analysts see a demand for commercial properties. Davis has far fewer sites than a typical city of its size, and certainly far fewer than comparable university towns. So this project is not likely to fail and will certainly generate some revenues for the city.
            Because the parcel is hemmed in on all sides, including an ag easement on Mace 395 (which I strenuously supported here on the Vanguard several years ago), it is not really growth-inducing in the sense of creating increased values and speculation about surrounding parcels. There aren’t any surrounding parcels. So it is really an ideal location for development. The housing component perplexes me and I have stated my reservations before about that. But overall there really aren’t significant negatives about this proposal, and it is the culmination of a long, public planning process of identifying and encouraging economic development sites as part of a strategy for improving the fiscal health of the city.

        3. Ron Oertel

          Don:  “Because the parcel is hemmed in on all sides, including an ag easement on Mace 395 (which I strenuously supported here on the Vanguard several years ago), it is not really growth-inducing in the sense of creating increased values and speculation about surrounding parcels. There aren’t any surrounding parcels. So it is really an ideal location for development. The housing component perplexes me and I have stated my reservations before about that.”

          The growth-inducing impacts are by no means constrained by restrictions on surrounding parcels.  This proposal would likely increase pressure to develop other undeveloped parcels, such as the Shriner’s property (essentially sandwiched in-between Wildhorse and the proposed ARC site), as well as the probable re-emergence of Covell Village.

          There are already activists (including you) who are advocating to develop other sites.

           

        4. Rik Keller

          Don: the analysis in the EIR shows that demand for commercial sites is so low that a business park would “cannibalize” existing commercial sites in the city and create vacancies in those. The EIR also shows massive traffic impacts.  There are lots of other impacts enumerated too, but you choose to stick your head in the sand.

          Larger picture: the data I presented (that also accords with the analysis in the EIR) shows that Davis has a HIUGE existing capacity for commercial development. Yet the Vanguard continues to say that we have “no space.”

        5. Ron Oertel

          Strange, how areas such as San Francisco haven’t added any “space” (undeveloped / un-annexed prime farmland) for decades, but seems to do pretty well. Same goes for most cities in Silicon Valley/Bay Area.

        6. Craig Ross

          San Francisco is probably the worst possible example you could give.  The housing is completely unaffordable in part because they cannot reasonably add to the supply.

          Is that really the example you want?

        7. Ron Oertel

          Well, that is interesting regarding San Francisco.  Certainly no “shortage” of economic activity, there.  Is it your position that annexing farmland would “fix” that situation, for San Francisco?

          San Francisco (and that entire region) has a reputation of being one of the wealthiest areas in the country, if not the world.  A hub of economic activity.  Why is it that city government never seems able to receive a net benefit from that wealth?  Perhaps part of the reason is highlighted in the article you cited:

          “Salary and benefits cost increases continue to be the largest driver of the city’s growing deficit, accounting for nearly half of the projected increased costs,” the mayor’s budget instructions to her department heads stated. “The city’s revenue growth projections slow in outer years and are outpaced by expenditure growth nearly 3-to-1, making it unsustainable for the city’s expenditures to continue to grow at its current rate.”

        8. Ron Oertel

          I see that your second comment references the cost of housing.

          Why is it that the wealth generated at the top never seems to transfer down to those in need, let alone to city government?  While simultaneously driving up the cost of housing?

          A vicious circle, for anyone other than those at the top.

          I can assure you that some are doing quite well, in San Francisco. Mark Zuckerberg is one such individual, but there are others.

          Is that really the model you want for Davis?

        9. Ron Oertel

          Craig:  You’re the one promoting it.  Economic activity benefiting those at the top, coupled with rising housing prices (and continued fiscal deficits).

          Otherwise known as a “win-lose-lose”.

        10. Ron Oertel

          I do appreciate the article you cited, though.  And, will refer to it again in response to those who claim that economic activity “automatically” has a positive correlation with city finances.

          I understand your point regarding the pursuit of economic activity driving a need for affordable housing. It’s unfortunate that this (also) does not seem to occur – in much of the Bay Area.

        11. Craig Ross

          Interestingly enough – you’re making the same mistake on both.  You can’t have wealth without housing and you can’t have fiscal prosperity with just economic growth, you also need cost containment.  You’re looking at both from only one side of the equation, which is why your analysis is wrong on both.

        12. Ron Oertel

          But again, it’s also the story of how those at the top benefit, while those at the lower rungs do not.

          There is apparently a sufficient number of well-off individuals who are able to purchase those houses, at the prices they command.

          I believe it is you who is making the “same mistake twice” – pursuing economic activity that could raise the cost of housing (while failing to address fiscal shortfalls).

        13. Craig Ross

          It’s not only the top that benefit, the problem is without housing the average person even the average person making $170K can’t afford to live there. It’s your policies on housing that prevent the middle class and working class from benefiting.

        14. Ron Oertel

          San Francisco has approved a great deal of market-rate housing in recent years – all of which is expensive (and wouldn’t be “needed” in the first place, had they not aggressively pursued economic development).

          At one time (not so long ago), San Francisco (and the entire Bay Area) was well-within reach of middle-class workers.  The pursuit of technology industries changed that (and yet, has apparently not helped the fiscal situation – which somehow isn’t all that surprising).

          This pursuit (which doesn’t seem to benefit anyone, other than those at the top) has also given rise to the “supercommuter”, resulting from the willingness of outlying communities to accommodate sprawl.

          That is, in fact, the model that you’re advocating for Davis (but on a less-intense level).

  8. Bill Marshall

    Strange, how areas such as San Francisco haven’t added any “space” (undeveloped land) for decades, but seems to do pretty well. Same goes for Silicon Valley, most Bay Area cities, etc.

    Not quite true, but true in the main… they “added” land, available to their purposes, by moving cemeteries (exhuming graves, etc.) to Colma… in San Mateo County… when SM County was created at the turn of the 20th century (compare Colma’s ‘permanent population’ with registered voters (ironically, Colma’s “permanent population” voted heavily, twice, in determining whether San Mateo or Redwood City would be the ‘County seat’… judge didn’t like the evidence of ‘voting the cemeteries’… yes, residents, but technically ineligible).  [History is fun… and instructive]

    SF (City and County) is an anomaly, since San Mateo County was created.  Yet SM County was the ‘bedroom’ for SF… their (SF) success (?) was/is based on adjacent Counties, redevelopment, including huge high rises, supplanting res for non-res… I really am not fond of that “model” for Davis… if you are, we can agree to disagree…

    SF also has CalTrain, Bart, Muni (buses and light rail),and previously, So Pac commuter trains (actually they had a form of light rail even before that!)… comparing SF to Davis, is well… kinda’ like comparing apples to turtles.

    1. Ron Oertel

      Me:  Strange, how areas such as San Francisco haven’t added any “space” (undeveloped land) for decades, but seems to do pretty well. Same goes for Silicon Valley, most Bay Area cities, etc. 

      Bill: ” . . . they “added” land, available to their purposes, by moving cemeteries (exhuming graves, etc.) to Colma… in San Mateo County…”

      Would you care to “expand” on when that occurred?  Might it meet the definition of “many decades ago”?

      Bill:  “SF also has CalTrain, Bart, and previously, So Pac commuter trains (actually they had a form of light rail even before that!)… comparing SF to Davis, is well… kinda’ like comparing apples to turtles.”

      I’m sure that Yolobus (which already operates commuter lines to/from Davis/UC Davis) would appreciate your lack of acknowledgement.  Many government employers (e.g., in Sacramento) subsidize the cost for users. That, coupled with the cost of parking has encouraged many to use such services.

      Any word yet, regarding the number of parking spaces planned at ARC, and how they might be divided between residents vs. commuters to the site?

      1. Ron Oertel

        Just to clarify, I was misquoted (and I accidentally “repeated” that misquote, above).  I believe that the commenter may have copied my statement, before I completed editing it.

        Here’s the accurate citation, which can be found further up this page:

        “Strange, how areas such as San Francisco haven’t added any “space” (undeveloped / un-annexed prime farmland) for decades, but seems to do pretty well. Same goes for most cities in Silicon Valley/Bay Area.”

  9. Ron Oertel

    Wondering why the questions I asked (regarding commuters to the site) were deleted.  Such questions directly tie into the article’s premise regarding “Davis” talent.

    Perhaps Don will consider reposting the deleted comments/questions, especially since he’s the one who (initially) noted that workers commute everywhere, these days.

      1. Ron Oertel

        Unfortunately, I did not make a copy before it was unexpectedly deleted.  I understand that the Vanguard has copies of every comment made.  Would you repost it, or send it to me via email?  Otherwise, I would have to reconstruct it from the earlier comments.

        Of course, no one has actually responded to the questions so far, regardless.

        1. Moderator

          Ron:

          Here’s the questions (slightly reworded), again:

          Impact of commuters to/from Woodland innovation center on Davis streets (further impacted by ARC):

          Does the EIR for ARC include the impact of those commuting to the Woodland innovation center (e.g., those exiting I-80 at Mace, then traveling along Covell up to Road 102)? Or, in the reverse order. Especially when I-80 is backed-up?
          https://cityofwoodland.org/583/Woodland-Research-Technology-Park

          Commuters from thousands of new houses in south Woodland:

          Does the EIR address the impact of all of the people who would commute to ARC from all of the new developments in Woodland? A majority of those folks would also likely use Road 102 to Covell.

          To further clarify, all of the new houses recently completed, under construction, or planned for Woodland.

          There are literally thousands of them, any/all of which may include commuters to ARC.

  10. Rik Keller

    In summary, I have done vacant/ buildable/ underdeveloped land inventories for dozens of communities. In my professional opinion, the author of this article has made major factual errors and drawn false conclusions.
    For land use planning purposes, a vacant land inventory is intended to provide a summary of land designated/zoned for certain uses over a long time period: 20-30 years. Whether all of that land is immediately available (“shovel-ready”) is generally not an important consideration as long as it is available in a long-term perspective. Even if the author is correct (and there is no strong evidence that he is) and only about half of the 125 acres of vacant commercially-zoned land is currently available for development, that is still a huge capacity at the present: about 1 million sf of floor area and 5,000 jobs. And the other half of the land would be considered available for development over a long term planning period. The idea that there is “no space” is a false one, no matter how many times in gets repeated by the Vanguard.

     

    1. Mark West

      Rik must be right since he has told us (repeatedly) that he is an expert. So the reason that Schilling Robotics is leaving Davis (following Rik’s logic) is because of the excess of available land on which to build their next facility…

      No matter what our local, self-proclaimed expert says, there is a shortage of suitable land for expanding businesses in town, just as there is a shortage of available land for building appropriate housing inside the city limits. I assume that Rik needs neither a new job or a home, so what we have here is someone proclaiming to be an expert while pushing his personal agenda. Sounds a bit like a conflict of interest to me, but I’m sure he has an explanation for that as well…he is an expert after all.

      1. Ron Oertel

        Every company that leaves creates a vacancy for another company to occupy.

        Perhaps Davis isn’t the best place for companies looking for a lot of cheap, expansive space, especially when compared to surrounding communities. Then again, the housing (850 units?) appears to be the primary motivation regarding the proposal.

      2. Rik Keller

        Hey Mark: is this the kind of charm that delivered that  last-place showing in your City Council run?

        Ya know: this is really basic stuff and extremely easy to confirm the data and findings I’ve briefly discussed. The fact that you can’t follow along and can’t provide anything in response other than personal insults speaks volumes.

  11. Ron Glick

    I’ll never forget Tyler Schilling at the city council in 2014. After asking staff to put back up a screenshot of what you need to do to get a plant approved at Mace Ranch that ended with a measure R vote Schilling made a statement that went something like this:

    I’m not going to Austin. I don’t want to scare my employees but if I were to show those guys in Austin everything you need to do to build a new plant in Davis they would say “Are you f—ing kidding me.”

    If Schilling goes elsewhere that is why. Its because with Measure R it makes it more difficult and risky to try to get approval in Davis than anywhere else if you need to annex land.

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