Sunday Commentary: It Appears Some People Will Object to Any Project

I didn’t know much about the Olive Drive Mixed-Use project when it was placed on the consent calendar to approve the contract for its environmental review.  But as I read it, I was impressed with the concept – mixed use, largely 76 small apartment units that are close to campus and the downtown.

My first thought was – who is going to object to this?  I should have known better.

There are a lot of things I like about the project.  But first let me point out, it’s going out for contract for an environmental review.  That means that the Social Services Commission has not reviewed the affordable housing plan – but given that it’s vertical, mixed-use and the units are as small as they are, it’s actually a bit remarkable they are proposing 20 low-income units.

It also has to go the Planning Commission and the Council.  That means that details of the project’s description, that are a bit rough, could get tweaked.

Nevertheless, there is a lot to like here.

We talk a lot about workforce housing and the need for it.  How about housing for the city’s non-professional workforce?  You know, people making low wages on campus or the in the downtown?  Many of whom take Yolobus to get to work because they can’t afford to live in Davis?

As the project points out: “It is expected the units will be rented by downtown workers, UC Davis employees, senior citizens, those living on a fixed income, and possibly some students.”

There are lots of people who do not own cars that work in Davis and there are some students who would probably appreciate a small unit and who don’t have a car.

And that’s the second point – why not build a place for people without cars?  It’s walking or biking distance to both downtown and campus.  They’ll have hook ups for rideshare and transportation to get to Safeway or somewhere else.

They would have agreements that would “prohibit vehicles for residents without a reserved fee parking space to ensure that overflow parking issue would not impact the surrounding neighborhoods.”

Plus, on Olive Drive, there is not a lot of street parking, so they would have to park and walk a long way if they did try to cheat the system.  But the bottom line – if you have a car, this probably isn’t the place for you to live.  Is that really a controversial subject?

I don’t see the controversy here.  Someone suggested that they didn’t have enough bike parking – 76 bike parking spots, given that these are single-bedroom units that are very small, seems reasonable.  You might have some couples that live there, but it’s not a lot of space for a couple.

That gets me to the next the next point – affordability.  We figure that, given the size of the apartments, they might rent for as low as $500 per month.  That’s as affordable by design as you’re likely to get for a new apartment in Davis.  A subsidized unit – and remember, we have yet to see an affordable housing plan, this is just conceptual and has yet to go to the Social Services Commission, which might knock it as low as $400.

So providing 20 units that are around $400 per month and the rest perhaps at $500 would seem to be a nice affordable project.

What are the objections here?

Is there a market for these type of units – small, affordable, without cars?

I guess I don’t really understand the question when you’re not going to invest millions into a project that you don’t think people are going to live in.  Are there people who are low income and work in the downtown and on campus?  We know that there are.

Do we believe that some of them are without cars?  I think so.  That’s why we have services like Yolobus which bring people from Sacramento, West Sacramento and Woodland into Davis.

As I pointed out above, it would not be that easy to park elsewhere and hike or bike to the place.  It doesn’t seem that difficult to cater a project toward a specific demographic that right now cannot live in Davis because they lack affordable housing.

Another reader points out: “The project application is likewise being deceptive when it states that it  is providing ‘almost double the current number of affordable units required.’  It isn’t. The City has no current requirement for moderate income units, and the project is only providing 13-14% Low Income units,  with nothing in the ELI and VLI categories, so it is not meeting even the City’s highly-weakened ‘interim’ affordable housing requirements .”

That is one way to look at it.  Another way to look at it is that at 425 square feet, the units are probably at least half the size of a typical single-bedroom unit and therefore will start out at a much lower cost.  So therefore, while the project is providing around 20 big “A” affordable units, you can argue that all of the units are aimed at low and moderate income individuals.

Other comments are: “I objected to the ‘description’ of the proposal (regarding who would occupy it), and any false assumption that eliminating on-site parking ensures that residents won’t park in nearby areas.”

So basically the objection is to attempting to build housing for people without cars under the belief that some people might find a way to cheat the system – as though everyone is going to be patently dishonest and sign an agreement to not have car ownership, but sneak one in anyway.

Bottom line – this is a project that seeks to reach a market that is not served in Davis, which it does it through the creation of small units that will be affordable by design and it does so close to campus and downtown in hopes of finding a group of people who do not need or do not have vehicles.

Details will need to be worked out, but it seems that this is the type of project we should be encouraging, not discouraging.

—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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74 Comments

  1. Ron Oertel

    A new point:

    Do we believe that some of them are without cars?  I think so.  That’s why we have services like Yolobus which bring people from Sacramento, West Sacramento and Woodland into Davis.

    No – that’s not why.  I suspect that many of these folks have cars.  As do the folks who take Yolobus to Sacramento every workday.

    This proposal is yet another student housing development, in which new residents would be asked to sign a questionable agreement.

    1. Craig Ross

      That’s a very biased statement.  There are whole subclasses of people who make low income and don’t own cars because they can’t afford the upkeep.  You need to get out of your middle class bubble.

      1. Ron Oertel

        There are lots (and I mean lots) of “poor” people who have cars (and cell phones, for that matter).

        It’s not that expensive to own an old beater car. Some people even live in them.

        If these folks are living in West Sacramento and Woodland, they have access to cars for reasons other than commuting to Davis/UCD.

        1. Craig Ross

          Of course it is.  You have to pay for gas.  You have to pay for insurance.  And a beater car breaks down half the time and unless you know how to fix it, that’s a huge cost.

        2. Ron Oertel

          One does not have to ensure the vehicle itself, for damage.

          Avoiding driving is not the same thing as not owning a car.  That’s another reason that old beaters are not necessarily driven every day.

          Again, there are lots of poor people who own cars.

           

        3. Ron Oertel

          Not sure what category you’re looking at, but your table doesn’t address whether or not they’re students.

          Looks like 100% of households with 2 workers have cars.  Maybe Davis should “require” parking to facilitate more workers?

          It’s student housing.

        4. Ron Oertel

          And actually, it doesn’t even address “where” they work.  Could be in Sacramento.

          Here’s what I’d “suggest”, regarding tenant agreements:

          1)  Thou shall not own a car, or ever ride in one.

          2)  Thou shall not receive any visitors or deliveries which rely upon motor vehicles. This would include any purchase made online, or in retail stores.

          3)  Thou shall always work in Davis (e.g., at a downtown coffee shop), and forgo any opportunities that arise elsewhere.

          4)  Thou shall not travel outside of walking/biking distance of one’s home (which happens to be adjacent to a freeway) for any reason whatsoever.

          5)  Thou shall agree to subsidize other tenants (e.g., “Nishi-style”).  If income rises above a specified level, thou shall pay market rate rent, or will leave the premises immediately (in favor of someone who agrees to the above).

        5. Ron Oertel

          I tried to add a couple of other stipulations, but was prematurely cut-off.  In any case, here it is:

          6)  Thou shall claim that they’re a “local worker”, even if the sole (temporary) reason that they’re here is to attend UCD.

          7) Thou shall exclusively attend city council meetings to advocate for more student housing in the city (rather than on campus). In coordination with development interests.

        6. Rik Keller

          here’s a couple “thou shalt nots” for the list:

          + Thou shalt not try to catch a rideshare ride at the same time to get to work if the number of ye be more than three. [only three spaces reserved for this]

          + Thou shalt not own more than one bicycle per household

          + Thou shalt not question the wisdom  of relying on venture capital-subsidized private rideshare companies–who currently are in cash-burn mode–to fulfill public transportation needs

           

        1. Rik Keller

          Ron O.: see my longer comment. The  rent levels that Greenwald set forth in the article are not even close to what they would be. They were pulled from somewhere, but not reality.

        2. Alan Miller

          People who work on campus at low wage jobs is who they are gearing this towards.  This gives them an apartment for $400 to $500

          Tell you what . . . I’ll make you a bet . . . you pay me the difference between your upper limit, $500, and the actual monthly rent when the apartments are built.  If it’s below $500, I’ll trap a possum and make you breakfast.

      1. Rik Keller

        Don Shor said “It’s not a student housing development. Anybody can live there.”

        The point is who is most likely to live there. Clearly it would be students.

        1. Don Shor

          By that definition, every multi-family housing unit is a “student development” as are increasing numbers of single-family homes. So it’s a pointless and intentionally misleading phrase used in this context.

        2. Ron Oertel

          Don:  Didn’t you make similar claims regarding Nishi (e.g., “anybody can live there”)?

          Clearly, new rental developments on Olive Drive (and without parking) are going to be occupied primarily by students.

          Are you (and David) actually making serious claims, otherwise? This borders on absurdity, if not complete lack of credibility. I’d suggest giving up that line of argument, at least.

        3. Rik Keller

          Anybody have any data on the breakdown of the student/non-student breakdown at The Lexington (across the street from this proposal)? Mu understanding that it very heavily student-populated.

          Oh, and rents at the Lexington a year or two ago were $2,035 for the cheapest option,  a 2 bed/2 bath flat that comes in right at 1,000sf total floor area.

          This new proposal is for 1 bed/1 bath units at 450sf. At about the same total sf per bedroom as Lexington, with increased kitchen costs per bedroom,  new construction, and the convenience/privacy of not having to find a roommate, I think we’re looking at market rent rates of at least $1,200.

          However, given that the actual 2019 Low-Income rent level cap for a 1-bedroom unit (up to 80% of AMI) in Yolo County is $1,320, and the the developer states that only 13-14% of the units will reach this target, that’s already at indication that projected market rents are in excess of that.

          As a comparison to the Nishi project, because the project leases by the bed, the projected lease rates in 2018 for a double-occupancy ‘market’ rate bedroom were $1,700. Projected single-occupancy room (shared kitchen and living spaces) lease rates for the project were $1,000. And the “affordable” Very Low Income units were projected at $1,344 per double-occupancy bedroom. It would not be surprising to see this new project try to approach Nishi levels at $1,700 per bedroom.

          In the fantasy world of the Davis Vanguard though, the market rate rents will be $500 for this new project (“We figure that, given the size of the apartments, they might rent for as low as $500 per month.  That’s as affordable by design as you’re likely to get for a new apartment in Davis.”)  Anybody want to place a wager on that likelihood?

  2. Rik Keller

    This is a ridiculous article. Why have a process for reviewing the project at all? Apparently, even though Greenwald didn’t know any details about the project a day ago, he has already decided that it is perfect—there are no possible valid criticisms  of the project.

    Even though the project affordability description is deceptive and misleading, it is perfect. Even though it is completely out of scale with the Olive Lane/Gateway Specific Plan and requires rezoning from current commercial and residential designations currently allowing a max of 15/du/acre, and going up to almost 90 du/acre, it is perfect. Even though it proposes an experiment to almost totally eliminate car ownership among its residents, an untested project concept even in bike-friendly Davis, it is perfect. Even though it relies on alternative transportation modes but doesn’t provide an increase in the standard bike parking minimum, it is perfect.

    It is unknown where the rent levels of $4oo for the affordable units and $500 for the market rate  units in this article were pulled from. If the Vanguard was correct, at a $500 rent level, the developer could claim credit for providing 100% affordable units for  Extremely Low Income households.

    However, the actual 2019 low-income rent level cap for a 1-bedroom unit (up to 80% of AMI) in Yolo County is $1,320. Moderate-income (up t0 120% of AMI) rent cap is $1,980. The developer is not trying to claim credit for any VLI  or ELI affordable units which would be capped at $825 and $495, respectively.

    This, of course, is not be a valid point according to the Vanguard. Whatever the rent level will be is perfect.

     

     

    1. Rik Keller

      Because they are banning car ownership, part of the alternative transportation plan for the project is a time machine to go back a few decades where the rents were $500.

        1. Bill Marshall

          The same way they can legally keep folk from smoking in a unit… or making excessive noise… or,…

          By a contract (lease), freely entered into by two willing parties… oh, and I doubt they will prohibit anyone from owning  car… just from using an owned car in conjunction (on -site, or immediate vicinity) with the enjoyment of the lease…

          The owner cannot prevent someone from owning a car, but it would be a legal violation of the contract for the tenant to use one (except for ride-share means)…

          [Contracts 101].

        2. Ron Oertel

          Bill:  “The same way they can legally keep folk from smoking in a unit… or making excessive noise… or,…”

          Not the same thing.  Your examples address behaviors on the premises/property.  In contrast to the following, from yesterday’s article:

          “Residential rental agreements would prohibit vehicles for residents without a reserved fee parking space to ensure that overflow parking issue would not impact the surrounding neighborhoods.”

          Again, addressing behaviors/choices off the premises/property.  Leaving aside enforceability for the moment, how would that hold up under legal challenge?

        3. Alan Miller

          The owner cannot prevent someone from owning a car, but it would be a legal violation of the contract for the tenant to use one (except for ride-share means)…

          WM, WTF does that even MEAN?

    2. Alan Miller

      It is unknown where the rent levels of $4oo for the affordable units and $500 for the market rate  units in this article were pulled from.

      I’ll gladly speculate that wherever it was pulled from, the sun does not shine there.

  3. Eric Gelber

    It appears some people will object to any project.

    Or at least have a pre-existing “glass is half empty” bias toward any project—being quick to point out potential shortcomings without considering how the project will address an unquestioned need—in this case the need for affordable workforce housing. There’s also a pre-existing bias against students. Yes, many units would be rented by students. But I’d note that ”student” and ”workforce” are not mutually exclusive categories. It’s estimated that in excess of 40% of students are employed full- or part-time while attending college, and students make up a substantial portion of the Davis workforce. (Or perhaps it’s more helpful to say a substantial portion of the local workforce are also students.) At the conceptual level, the Olive Drive project would seem to be a good one. Support or opposition at this point is premature.

    1. Bill Marshall

      Support or opposition at this point is premature.

      AMEN!  [Although I sometimes decide what to support, based on who opposes the matter,and their arguments]

      The “Environmental document” is a disclosure document… it decides nothing.  Some seem to oppose even disclosure (lest they don’t hear what they have already made up their minds on?  So that others may come to different conclusions?)

      The applicant reimburses the City for all its costs and that of the consultants… no harm, no foul.  Plenty of time/opportunities for public input, political maneuvering/persuasion… but not for the subject action, which is to study/analyse/disclose facts and pros and cons…

      Funny, how another of today’s threads speaks to 1st Amendment and free speech… hearing a property owner out on a proposal to use their land in a particular way… actually protected under the 1st AND 5th Amendments… but some appear to wish to squash those rights…

       

    2. Ron Oertel

       There’s also a pre-existing bias against students. 

      Pointing out that the development would primarily be occupied by students is not the same thing as “bias” against students.

    3. Rik Keller

      Eric G: the Olive Lane/Gateway Specific Plan apparently has a “pre-existing bias” against this project, since it would require a rezoning to allow residential uses at about 96 units/acre rather than the commercial uses and residential uses up to 15 units/acre now.  The SP also calls for preserving the large trees and cottage home forms in the area, so that’s a another bias.

      And the City of Davis apparently has a “glass is half empty” bias toward any project since it requires a review process rather than just believing whatever the project developer might say and rubber-stamping any project that comes along.

      While there is an “unquestioned need for affordable workforce housing,” it is also true that it is important to question whether this proposal even addresses that adequately.

      1. Eric Gelber

        A review process is not a bias for or against proposed projects. It’s a means of ensuring that standards are adhered to. And rezoning processes exist to provide the flexibility that enables municipalities to adapt to changing needs and circumstances.

        1. Ron Oertel

          One of the reasons that some have advocated for more on-campus housing (which is the only place where housing can be exclusively reserved for students) is so that existing commercial sites are not unnecessarily lost – while simultaneously claiming that there’s a shortage of such sites.

          Another reason for this effort was to ensure that new developments won’t continue to be overwhelmed by the need created by UCD.

           

          1. David Greenwald

            Looks like four of the five parcels are currently housing, and the commercial site will be at least replicated, so I’m not sure of your point.

        2. Rik Keller

          A review process provides scrutiny about a project, whether it meets standards, and the impacts it could  have. An important part of this is examining a project with a critical eye to determine these findings.

          Why do you think the questions that I and others are raising are different than this?

          We’ve already seen ludicrous claims in this article about rent levels that are completely unrealistic and demonstrably false. And the City’s staff report mischaracterizes the level of affordability that the project is proposing . These kinds of things are why scrutiny is important.

          What sort of mandatory waiting period are you proposing before it is appropriate to discuss the project details that have been released?

        3. Josh Pollich

          Davis is in the middle of nowhere surrounded by square miles of nothingness. It continues to shock me that the city obsesses itself with artificial scarcity when there is physically (if not politically) abundant and ample space for commercial sites on all sides.

        4. Ron Oertel

          Josh:  You sound like a fan of the usual valley/LA-style sprawl. There’s certainly no “shortage” of that.

          It continues to shock me that some want to continue following that model. (Actually, it doesn’t surprise me that development interests will continue pushing for that. Even more so, when they encounter any resistance – which makes their resulting “payoff” all the sweeter.)

        5. Bill Marshall

          How is a 425 sf infill project conducive to LA-style sprawl?

          Simply, because it is more assertions/spaghetti that someone might use to not even consider anything that someone chooses to oppose… without study, without analysis, without reasonable discussion… dismissive, pre-emptory… encouraging violation of 1st and 5th amendments… “self”-ish…

          Other than the obvious, unclear…

          As is the reference to a “425 sf infill project”… 425 SF (square feet?)… 425 SF (single family dwellings?)… huge difference as to context…

          The word “sprawl” is also ambiguous as to ‘meaning’… does one mean the change of population from 1700 to 2019 in the US?  Huge.

          “Sprawl” is a ‘buzz word’, designed more to evoking emotions to achieve an “end”, than being particularly descriptive… but, it can be descriptive in certain locations… certain epochs… definitely “anti-growth”, ‘anti-change from status quo’… the “I’ve got mine, to hell with others” mindset… perhaps…

          From its very beginnings, one could define Davisville “sprawl”… much more what has occurred since 1917…

      2. Richard McCann

        So if this project doesn’t adequately address the affordable workforce housing issue, what type of project would that is also financially viable? All we hear is “not that stone, bring me another stone…” These responses are illustrative of the headline, and proves David’s point. Come forward with your that is realistic and doesn’t rely on “we’ll hold our breath until you do what we want you to do…”

        1. Rik Keller

          McCann with yet another in a long string of strawman arguments, this time involving hokey stone and breathholding scenarios. If the project doesn’t address affordable workforce housing–and with 87% of the units at rents that will be above  $1,300/month or more for a 1-bedroom apartment, it demonstrably doesn’t-then why are we getting gushing articles in the Vanguard like this claiming some sort of paradise where all the units will be at $500 rent or below? It doesn’t even meet the City’s anemic interim affordable housing standards.

          All we hear from developers and from their apologists like you here is that such-and-such isn’t “financially viable”. They need to provide realistic pro forma analyses demonstrating exactly what is and what isn’t financially viable that doesn’t involve evidence-free claims that they “just couldn’t possibly do it”. Then we can talk.

           

           

    4. Rik Keller

      Another point: the project is not just at a “conceptual level.” It has specific characteristics and features detailed in an actual application submitted to the City. It just happened to be sprung to the public a couple days before a Council meeting even though the City has had the application for months.

      A key part of the environmental review will be the traffic analysis. This will be based in turn on almost complete ban of car ownership for the residents. An adequate environmental review should not consider that this is necessarily a feasible model.  This type of development is untested here. Furthermore, the proposal is wildly out of scale and character with what the Specific Plan calls for. One would think that the City would treat such a project that is proposing such things as  requiring actual discussion before environmental review, rather than putting it on the consent calendar with release of project materials only a couple days prior.

      1. Ron Oertel

        One would think that the City would treat such a project that is proposing such things as requiring actual discussion before environmental review, rather than putting it on the consent calendar with release of project materials only a couple days prior.

        One would “normally” think so – but apparently not in Davis these days.  (Second time, now.)

         

      2. Bill Marshall

         requiring actual discussion before environmental review,

        Yes we need discussion before gathering, analyzing facts… true wisdom…

        Gathering facts requires full discussion on a regular item (perhaps a Public Hearing), and does not belong on Consent Calendar… I reject that BS… many levels… philosophical and procedural… among others…

        1. Rik Keller

          The scoped CEQA work states that it will include the following: “The project’s net new peak hour vehicle trip generation will be compared to existing traffic volumes on Olive Drive and at the Richards Boulevard/Olive Drive intersection to determine if and how the project would materially alter traffic volumes and/or conditions on surrounding roadways.”

  4. Alan Miller

    My first thought was – who is going to object to this?  I should have known better.

    – David Greenwald, 11/17

    When I first read this article, I said to myself, this is pretty dope.  I wonder how someone will oppose it.

    – Craig Ross, 11/16

    Is DG and CR the same person?  Clark Kent and Superman?  Batman and Bruce Wayne?

      1. Alan Miller

        You know what they say about great minds…

        I imagine you were going to say they “think alike”:  that’s the modern, abridged version.

        However, the original expression had actually quite the opposite meaning:

        “Great minds think alike, though fools seldom differ.”

  5. Bill Marshall

    Not the same thing.  Your examples address behaviors on the premises/property.  In contrast to the following, from yesterday’s article:

    “Residential rental agreements would prohibit vehicles for residents without a reserved fee parking space to ensure that overflow parking issue would not impact the surrounding neighborhoods.”

    Again, addressing behaviors/choices off the premises/property.  Leaving aside enforceability for the moment, how would that hold up under legal challenge?

    Exactly the same thing!

    What you quoted was about use of vehicles associated with the lease… your focus on “direct premises” is the ‘strawman’… contracts are contracts… whatever two willing ‘persons’ agree to is binding on each.

    I strongly suspect that it would hold up to legal challenge, as a violation of a contract.  Or should… some judges are quirky…

    The property owner may not be in a position to confiscate a tenant vehicle parked down the street, but they could determine it was in violation of representations given @ the time of lease, and void the lease or whatever… ask Eric.  He’s the legal guy…

    1. Ron Oertel

      Exactly the same thing!

      Not even close.

       whatever two willing ‘persons’ agree to is binding on each.

      Not necessarily.  There are such things as agreements which are subsequently determined to be illegal, or even unconstitutional.

      ask Eric.  He’s the legal guy…

      And yet, you’re opining, without any knowledge.  Nor do we know if even Eric would know this, though he’s certainly welcome to opine.

      1. Bill Marshall

        And yet, you’re opining, without any knowledge.

        Mirror time, big time… let me count the ways… no, you need to think, reflect…

        And “without any knowledge”… really? There are many posters on here who know whether I have “knowledge” or not…

    2. Alan Miller

      ask Eric.  He’s the legal guy…

      Legal guy.  Thus, a legal guy’s opinion is fact?  As in, all lawyers see the law in the same way, because it’s the law, in rock, not interpret-able.  uh huh

  6. Todd Edelman

    If anyone’s interested, here is my written statement on the “University Commons” DEIR, prepared for – and read at – the November 14 meeting of the Bicycling, Transportation and Street Safety Commission. (I read the entire statement, but In the interest of time, I only asked number six from my “Questions”.) I hope it provides a bit more insight into the earlier stages of the development approval process in Davis.

    Aside from the following motion, which is verbatim, the rest is only my take on what transpired. The minutes of the meeting will not be approved until December.

    Commissioner Mitchell made the following motion, which I seconded:

    “The BTSSC cannot recommend that the University Commons project move forward because impacts to bicycle facilities, pedestrian facilities, and to study intersections, as identified in the Draft EIR, remain “significant and unavoidable”.

    Commissioner Patel spoke in some detail about how he preferred the Low Parking Alternative. Commissioner Gudz said good things about that, too. Commissioner Jacobson expressed concern that we shouldn’t prevent the project from going forward. Commissioner Andrews had a similar take as Mitchell about “unavoidable”. I seconded Mitchell’s motion because it agreed with my piece about the result of their being no construct of the City and University. Staff pushed back, saying that there would be input from UC Davis and the coming Russell Corridor Collaboration. No one really responded to my critique about the Low Parking Alternative being too limited and e.g Mitchell said my proposal for some kind of temporary formal district which recognized that the area was an integrated network, just not a formal one, was too “prescriptive”. If I recall correctly, Mayor Lee – our Council liaison – left the meeting during the discussion.

    Vote:  Aye: Edelman, Mitchell, Andrews; Nay: Gudz, Patel, Jacobson (Commissioner Csontos was not present).

    Motion Fails.

    There were no other motions. Further details in the minutes will be available prior to the December meeting.

     

    1. Rik Keller

      Todd: if I have this correct, you are pointing to the issue of inadequate scoping of CEQA work from the outset which lead to inadequate alternatives being considered for University Commons. This is helpful to keep in mind in the face of those who say that CEQA work should be charged ahead on without proper discussion & scoping. It’s the old garbage in-garbage out theory.

      1. Todd Edelman

        Thanks. That makes sense.

        To be clear – or it’s obvious – I am not as knowledgeable about all of these things as I like to be.  General education for our Commission on these matters is based on… whatever we have time to grok in the less-than-a-week from the time a packet is released to us plus the accumulative effects of EIR reviews over time.

        On the other hand – to their credit – the City is offering Form Based Code workshops… I think just for Staff and Commissioners? We’ve never been offered workshops on CEQA, LOS vs. VMT… and basic concepts like the controversial 85% percentile mechanism to determine speed signage on roads only became clear to me recently.

    1. Bill Marshall

      A ‘sucker bet’… a ‘gimme’… it will likely be pulled, with no substantive difference in outcome… it did belong on Consent Calendar, tho’…it will pass 5-0…

  7. Rik Keller

    The article states “but given that it’s vertical, mixed-use and the units are as small as they are, it’s actually a bit remarkable they are proposing 20 low-income units.”

    #1) it’s not “vertical mixed use”. 72 units will be in 4 different buildings that are solely residential. Only 4 units will we above the small amount of commercial in a separate building

    #2) the author is presumably thinking of the exemption from affordable housing requirements that applies in the CASP area. This project is not in that area, nor would it meet the requirements for “vertical mixed use”

    #3) There is nothing “remarkable”. The project is not proposing 20 low-income units. It it proposing 20 moderate- and low-income units with an unstated distribution between the two categories. Assuming it is 10/10, then the 10 low-income units (13% of 76 units total) would not even meet the City’s highly reduced interim affordable housing requirement of 15%. And it proposes not to have any ELI or VLI units which are required at 5% reach as part of the 15%.

    What is remarkable is that the project is trying to get away with not meeting its affordable housing obligation

    #4) the units aren’t particularly small for 1-bedroom units. Right across the street, The Lexington had rents a year or two ago at $2,035 for the cheapest option, a 2 bed/2 bath flat that comes in right at 1,000sf total floor area. This new proposal is for 1 bed/1 bath units at 450sf.

    #5) “affordability by design” is largely a sham. All but 10 of the units are likely going to rent for more than the low-income threshold (up to 80% of AMI)  for 1-bedroom units, which for  2019 in Yolo County is $1,320.

    #6) why is the Vanguard providing effusive praise for a proposal for expensive apartments that doesn’t even meet weakened City affordability standards?

    1. Ron Oertel

      Rik:  #6) why is the Vanguard providing effusive praise for a proposal for expensive apartments that doesn’t even meet weakened City affordability standards?

      Alan P: ” . . . the Vanguard will support any project!”

      Though I probably would have said “any and all” development proposals, while glossing over the facts and analysis that Rik provides.

      Thank you, Rik.

  8. Alan Miller

    Still waiting . . . will CR take me up on my ‘bet’ . . . I’ll trap a possum and cook CR breakfast if rent is below $500.  I get paid the difference in monthly rent between $500 and the actual first ‘affordable by design’ monthly rent at this new complex.  I’m guessing I’m gonna win several hundred bux, and no possums will be hurt in this wager.  Are you ready to rumble, CR?

  9. Rik Keller

    Fantasy: “So providing 20 units that are around $400 per month and the rest perhaps at $500 would seem to be a nice affordable project. What are the objections here?” [Davis Vanguard]

    Reality: The BAE Urban Economics 2018 Apartment Vacancy and Rental Rate Survey states that average rent in Davis for 1-bedroom units in 2018 was $1,367.

    So, one objection for starters is that the Vanguard is mistaken on the rent levels of the units by a factor of 3 or more.

     

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