Analysis: How Housing Element Could Provide Housing Needs for Davis

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By David M. Greenwald

Davis, CA – Drilling down a little further into the Housing Element proposals, it is worth noting the analysis on Measure J.  Six projects have now gone through the development process of Measure J—and four of those six have failed to gain voter approval.

The most recent, DISC (Davis Innovation Sustainability Campus), “proposed 850 medium- to high-density residential units, 153 units of which would have been designated as affordable.”

The Housing Element Draft report notes: “While Measure J adds costs, extends processing times, and has been used to halt development projects that would convert agricultural land to urban development, it is only a constraint to meeting housing needs if the city lacks sufficient infill housing sites.”

Key point: “[T]here is not currently (2021) enough land designated for residential development to meet the sixth-cycle RHNA.”  Further, “All of the sites identified to meet the lower-income RHNA are non-vacant sites. Although, Measure J supports infill development, these sites are not sufficient to meet the lower-income RHNA.”

They continue: “Even with the increased residential densities planned for the Downtown under the Draft Downtown Davis Specific Plan, the City will need to rezone additional sites to meet the RHNA.”

However, they find: “Had DISC passed, the City would have sufficient sites to meet the sixth-cycle RHNA upon adoption of the Downtown Davis Specific Plan and would not need to rezone additional sites.”

The report notes that while Measure J does not “fully prevent the City” from redesignating agricultural land to meet RHNA, “Measure J does place limitations on the City’s ability to rely on rezoning and annexations to meet the RHNA.”

In addition, “the process to rezone and annex land can take a long time and the City only has three years to rezone land to meet the unaccommodated RHNA per State law.”

BAE and AIM Consulting proposed five potential rezoning strategies.

Business Park and Office Land: Redesignate and use vacant land designated for Business Park and Office uses to allow for high density housing (of at least 20 units per acre). Approximately 25 acres of land has been identified and could provide approximately 500 multi-family rental housing units if fully developed for housing. Or a smaller portion of the sites could be identified for housing.

Commercial Land: Redesignate and use vacant land designated for Commercial to allow for high density housing (of at least 20 units per acre). Approximately 1.5 acres of land has been identified and could provide approximately 30 multi-family rental housing units.

Residential Low-Density Land: Redesignate and use vacant land designated for Low Density uses to allow for high density housing (of at least 30 units per acre). Approximately 12 acres of land have been identified and could provide approximately 230 lower income units.

Downtown Davis Specific Plan: The Downtown Davis Specific Plan is expected for adoption in late 2021. The plan would encourage redevelopment of the Downtown and could provide capacity for an additional 100 lower income units within the 2021-29 Housing Element Planning Period.

Sphere of Influence: Annex vacant land withing the sphere of influence into the city and designated for high density housing (at least 30 units per acre). The multi-family rental housing unity capacity within the sphere of influence is unknown and may not be able to meet the City’s rezone obligation within the first three years of the Housing Element Planning Period (May 2024). Annexations are often complex but could be a long-term solution for providing an adequate buffer of multi-family rental housing units.

This is a helpful exercise to look back at even after the fact, because it shows the possibilities and tradeoffs.  In particular, while DISC was not primarily a housing project, the fact that it was voted down could have a very profound impact over future development considerations.

One of the strategies includes rezoning about 30 acres of land identified as Business Park and Office Land—by our calculation that would be nearly half of the viable vacant commercial land in the city.

AIM Consulting reports: “Participant’s opinions were split on the proposed strategy to rezone Business Park and Office Land, although responses were generally positive. Those who agreed that the City should pursue this strategy liked that the proposed sites would accommodate high-density housing well and be located close to commercial services such as groceries, greenbelt access, and public transit stops.”

Rezoning Commercial Land (which was pretty limited with 1.5 acres identified and 30 low income units potential), “Responses to this proposed strategy were generally positive. Those who were proponents liked that the site identified is in close proximity to public transit stops, grocery and retail stores, and an elementary school.”  Meanwhile, “Those who were did not support this strategy expressed concern of a perceived shortage of commercial space within the City.”

The Davis Downtown Specific Plan could provide 100 low-income units: “A significant number of participants responded positively to this strategy. Those who supported this strategy felt that higher density housing in downtown would help meet the needs of service workers who are employed there.”

AIM noted concerns about traffic congestion and impacts of a denser downtown which “would make Davis feel like less of a small town.”

Not enough seemed to question the viability of the redevelopment, especially in the short-term.

Rezoning of low-density land—about 12 acres, 230 low-income units.  “Participants generally responded positively to this proposed strategy. Respondents expressed that the site located near J Street was close enough to downtown, schools, grocery stores and public transportation. Many respondents were enthusiastic about rezoning both sites and felt that high-density housing would fit in well with the surrounding neighborhood.”

Finally, the sphere of influence strategy was mixed—about 39 percent agreed, 43 percent disagreed (25 percent strongly) and 18 percent were neutral.

On the plus side: “Those who agree with this strategy felt the City was growing enough to warrant expanding the City boundary.

However, they noted that the “City should pursue housing opportunities within City boundaries before annexing more land. Proponents encouraged the City to look at annexing more land near the downtown areas and near UC Davis.”

On the opposition: “Those who were not supportive of this strategy felt that there was no need to expand the City’s boundaries, and annexation would lead to more urban sprawl and less farmland. Participants expressed their concern over annexing land to develop more multi-family housing that is far away from Davis’ commercial and downtown core. This may lead to people walking and biking less, as they would need to use a car to access more services.”

One thing that would have been interesting: presenting this analysis to the public prior to the vote on DISC.  The choice presented to the voters at that time was DISC or No DISC.  (Perhaps as well the consideration might have influenced somewhat the vote on Measure D).  There was not a calculation built into there that No DISC meant… we would have to consider additional options for housing in the next eight years.

A you can see with the results on the sphere of influence, the swing voters there would determine the outcome.  The fact is that there are no longer easy and great strategies for providing enough land to accommodate our housing needs.

—David M. Greenwald

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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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57 thoughts on “Analysis: How Housing Element Could Provide Housing Needs for Davis”

  1. Matt Williams

    Analysis: How Housing Element Could Provide Housing Needs for Davis

    .
    Correction:  The Housing Element can not provide any housing.  Only builders and developers can provide housing.

    1. Bill Marshall

      I was thinking exactly the same thing… was struggling how to word it… you did well… I’d add, “if wishes were horses…”

  2. Alan Miller

    How sweet of the Vanguard to use as its thumbnail photo for this article 820 B Street, the apartments built in a terrible lie by the developers and enabled by the city.  In this, the developers, one of whom was also part of the shameful Trackside shenanigan, presented to the neighbors a building concept in public meetings which the neighborhood approved, then changed he building design and size without further engaging neighbors.  Despite protesting this shenanigan to the City, the building was approved.  And any of you wonder why neighbors protest development?  Then you use the pejoratives ‘NIMBY’ and ‘racist’ when people oppose dense housing.  In fact, it’s experiential distrust of the process, not ‘fear of change’ that drives the opposition.  Thanks for rubbing this disgusting photo in existing resident faces, Vanguard.  You are pushing me more towards the Ron O. camp with every housing article — though ironically both the Vanguard and Ron O. support Measure J.  Go figure!!!

    1. Tim Keller

      You are pushing me more towards the Ron O. camp with every housing article

      Wait… you aren’t already in the Ron O camp?    Id be interested to hear your thoughts on what differentiates your positions.

      1. Alan Miller

        TK, I’m not in any camp.  I voted for DISC (despite your 6/16 ‘narrative’ that voted against it), I voted for Nishi, I supported the West Davis business park, I voted for Covell Village, I did not oppose Lincoln40 after we signed an MOU with the developers (who were very reasonable and cooperative — not all developers are arseholes), and I oppose Measure J and all it’s previous incarnations.

        Is that enough difference for you?

    2. Richard_McCann

      Alan M.

      You’re overweighting that cause of NIMBY opposition, but I agree that a significant part is growing distrust of the government process. Complaints about the concessions to the Cannery abound. There are many other examples of how City decision makers (whether Council members or staff managers) have told us that we “don’t understand” and that we “should change our views” instead of those decision makers hearing what they’ve been told and accommodating those views. Holding developers to agreements is one of those changes that should be occurring.

  3. Alan Miller

    The fact is that there are no longer easy and great strategies for providing enough land to accommodate our housing needs.

    I wonder why.

  4. Ron Oertel

    In regard to DISC, it would have created an even bigger RHNA number in the future, since it created even more need for housing than would have been accommodated onsite.  Said so, right in the EIR.

    One of the things that SACOG looks at when determining RHNA assignments is the amount of local jobs.

    Assuming that the commercial component was actually viable, DISC would make the situation more challenging in the future, not less. And you can be sure that the Vanguard would be at the forefront of the effort to “address” the resulting need – as if they “forgot” what they just argued.

    How’s the city doing with it’s attempt to ensure that multi-bedroom student housing “counts” toward RHNA requirements, at all?  Are they waiting for a final answer, regarding that? Seems like a subject that the Vanguard purposefully ignores.

     

  5. Tim Keller

    This kind of thought process is why I wrote my piece trying to ask the “how much growth do we need” question from a different reference point.

    We are in a city that should NOT be defining its growth vis-a-vis the RHNA minimum.   That is bonkers to me.     We live in a state that is growing, and in a town whose primary industry ( the university) is booming.

    We are a town with a SEVERE undersupply of housing.   To think that we are trying to measure our success against a state growth MINIMUM is insane.    We need a lot of densification, , AND infill, AND additional peripheral development, which itself should be high-density if it is located on arterial transit routes.

    We are a community which has been buried alive.  The HRNA minimums are like trying to breathe through a straw, when instead we should be trying to just un-bury ourselves.

    1. Ron Oertel

      The most important take from PPIC’s reports is that the factors in the zero population growth Johnson and others advocated decades ago appear to be permanent. It’s entirely possible that California will never quite reach the 40 million population that once seemed inevitable, much less the 50-plus million that had been predicted.

      https://calmatters.org/commentary/2021/06/california-population-decline-zero-growth/

      More cities than ever are protesting RHNA allocation of homes they’ve been told to plan for

      https://www.ocregister.com/2021/01/09/more-cities-than-ever-are-protesting-rhna-allocation-of-homes-theyve-been-told-to-plan-for/

      It’s well-past time to remove the Wieners from office. Probably the Newsoms, as well.

      Don’t let them fool you, as the UCD College Democrats attempt to do.

    2. Keith Y Echols

      Once again, WHY do you believe there is an (“severe”) under supply of housing?  As long as there are more buyers than sellers there will be an under supply of housing.

      Unless you can provide some data on how the local housing market constraints are directly effecting the economy, it’s all pearl clutching and thinking of the children about the poor folks who can’t afford to live the great and glorious Davis.  I’ve said before, I’m fine with residential growth as long as it supplements economic growth.  But the economic growth comes first.  Without some direct economic impact (and no, people buying stuff locally doesn’t cut it….it’s better for people to come here to buy stuff and leave), residential growth is a cost to the community.

      One thing that should have been done is that instead of putting up an insurmountable brick wall with UCD on housing; the city should have tried to reach an agreement/understanding about planning for housing that could accommodate their revenue producing assets and employees in exchange for planned UCD business parks inside the city of Davis.  I’d probably start with 3rd and A street for high density mixed use….a “students zone”…you probably wouldn’t need much parking since it’s near the school.

      1. Tim Keller

        Keith, there are multiple sources of data which point to a sever under-supply.  The housing element has data from SACGO which you can see which points that direction, but if you want a quick and dirty tidbit which illustrates the deficiency, try this:  https://www.davisvanguard.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Commute-Flows-Chart-2.png

         

        Any city which has 75% of its workforce commuting in from outside has a SERIOUS problem.   That particular datapoint is a little dated and I couldn’t find a more recent number quickly.  But I doubt those figures have improved.

        So it’s not pearl clutching.   And I agree that residential growth should follow economic growth, but that economic growth has most definitely already happened.   We are playing catch-up now.

        1. Keith Y Echols

          Any city which has 75% of its workforce commuting in from outside has a SERIOUS problem.

          Why is that a serious problem?  Economically (not environmentally) speaking…THAT’S A GOOD THING.  It means that another city incurs the cost of providing services and infrastructure while you get to reap the tax income from the businesses where these people work.  (and again, people living in an area and spending money locally isn’t as desirable as people coming from out of town, spending money and then leaving…..and the piddly property tax money generated per person is laughable compared to their costs).

          It’s when the workforce commutes OUT of the city which is the bigger problem.  Becoming a bedroom community is a bad thing!  You incur the infrastructure and services costs while some other city reaps the benefits of the business tax revenue.

          And I agree that residential growth should follow economic growth, but that economic growth has most definitely already happened.

          Where?  Did I miss the announcement that a bunch of big new companies have moved to Davis and therefore need housing for their workers????   Or are you confusing REGIONAL economic growth with LOCAL economic growth.  Jobs and businesses ELSEWHERE creating housing demand in the region (including Davis).

          I think this is the last comment I can make on this article.

        2. Ron Oertel

          Any city which has 75% of its workforce commuting in from outside has a SERIOUS problem.

          Why would anyone combine “Commute Flows, City of Davis and UC Davis” into one graph?

          Does this 75% include those who are commuting to campus (outside of the city)?  If so, that’s an outflow, not an inflow (in regard to Davis.

        3. Ron Oertel

          Honestly, I’m not even seeing what the heck Tim Keller is talking about, in regard to that graph.

          What “meaning” is he getting out of it, let alone the change over that period?

          Which “workers” is this referring to? And what does the “Area” refer to in the first place, in regard to “living” or “working” in the Area?

        4. Matt Williams

          Tim, here is another table that puts the 2014 numbers from your Table 25 into context.

          https://www.davisvanguard.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/UCD-Faculty-and-Staff-Place-of-Residence-from-2014-Housing-Element-.png 

          The highly dispersed origin locations of UC Davis Faculty and Staff is just as much an effect of personal choice as it is one of housing shortage.

           

        5. Tim Keller

          Why is that a serious problem?  Economically (not environmentally) speaking…THAT’S A GOOD THING.  It means that another city incurs the cost of providing services and infrastructure while you get to reap the tax income from the businesses where these people work.  (and again, people living in an area and spending money locally isn’t as desirable as people coming from out of town, spending money and then leaving…..and the piddly property tax money generated per person is laughable compared to their costs).

           

          I’m sorry Keith, that is, simply, factually incorrect.

          This is the first link you get when you google:  “How do cities make money”

          https://www.taxpolicycenter.org/briefing-book/what-are-sources-revenue-local-governments

          It contains the following graph:

          https://www.taxpolicycenter.org/sites/default/files/styles/original_optimized/public/book_images/5.1.2-figure1.png?itok=7BR0S6Th

          You state that people working here and living somewhere else is good for the city financially.   But that is incorrect.   If you work here, you may, or may not contribute to an industry that generates sale tax revenue.  But what is MORE true is that you are taking your WAGES from whatever industry you are working in here and spending it elsewhere.   Both on sales tax, but more importantly on property tax.

          And while you are here, you are enyoying our streets, our fire and police protection, etc.

          So no.   People working here and leaving is a loss for us.  Period.

        6. Richard_McCann

          Table 25 is a very telling graphic. It tells us that 3,400 people who worked and lived in Davis moved out of town, with almost all of this loss from jobs moving out of Davis. This loss of employees leads to a loss of economic vitality in the community.

          Without some direct economic impact (and no, people buying stuff locally doesn’t cut it….it’s better for people to come here to buy stuff and leave), residential growth is a cost to the community.

          People generally don’t buy stuff at their place of employment unless it is very convenient. Few Davis businesses are convenient to UCD, so when a UCD employee gets in their car to go home out of town, they will stop in their own community to buy whatever they need. That’s how residential development pays for itself–and why we’re now on the money-losing end of this trend.

           

        7. Matt Williams

          Richard McCann said … “Table 25 is a very telling graphic. It tells us that 3,400 people who worked and lived in Davis moved out of town.”

          Actually it does not say that at all.  During that same time period the number of people living in Davis over the age of 55 increased by 4,200.  So the 3,400 people who worked and lived in Davis more than likely simply retired.

          Richard McCann also said … “People generally don’t buy stuff at their place of employment unless it is very convenient. Few Davis businesses are convenient to UCD, so when a UCD employee gets in their car to go home out of town, they will stop in their own community to buy whatever they need. That’s how residential development pays for itself–and why we’re now on the money-losing end of this trend.”

          I’m pretty sure that the people who commute to work at the universities in Palo Alto, and Eugene and Ann Arbor would disagree with your statement. In those university towns the businesses are not conveniently located either.  But location is not the key determinant … the critical mass, both in absolute numbers of businesses and breadth of offerings of those businesses, is what makes them different from Davis.  I grew up in Philadelphia with a local DJ touting “Choice not chance at a Butterball dance!”  The anemic Davis retail “choices” are the problem, not the convenience of the location of those choices.

  6. Keith Y Echols

    Yeah…convert all that planned commercial space for more residential development….good idea!….let’s try to get possible net positive tax revenue producing land and convert into a place for users of local resources and infrastructure (who’s piddly property taxes might pay for a few city council luncheons. ).

    I really hope Orange County is able to sock it to the HRNA (they’re going to court over it….other cities across CA are considering it).

    But…hmmm….once again we’re discussing housing and we figure infill by itself isn’t going to cut it (and most in the city don’t like it in their neighborhood)  and then come against the city’s inability to expand….inmates running the asylum and all…..hooray for direct democracy!

    I wonder what Davis’ HRNA housing element requirements would look like if UCD had to house it’s own students?  But…what the heck…I’m guessing Woodland is being required to house all of Davis’ run off.

    1. Mark West

      “if UCD had to house it’s own students…”

      Name one University in the Country that houses all of its students?

      I know several that house their first-year undergraduate students, but have never heard of one that houses all four year’s worth of undergraduates and all of the graduate students as well. This repeated argument that the students should all live on campus with the University being responsible for their housing, is beyond ridiculous.

      1. Don Shor

        Housed on campus or in campus-affiliated housing:
        UC Irvine 41%
        UC LA 48%
        UC Merced 44%
        UC Riverside 28%
        UC San Diego 38%
        UC Santa Barbara. 39%
        UC Santa Cruz 50%
        UC Davis (could not find % data). UC Davis guarantees on-campus housing to all incoming first-year freshman, transfer students, and second-year returning students. This is subject to COVID restrictions.

      2. Keith Y Echols

        Name one University in the Country that houses all of its students?

        Of course no University is required to house it’s own students.  Forcing UCD to house students isn’t the issue.

        The issue is calculating who should be responsible for planning of such housing.  The HRNA’s calculations and enforcement are haphazard at best.  Should Wooldand be forced to house Davis run off?  (right now they do so willingly).  The HRNA is basically making cities that are bedroom communities (which isn’t fiscally healthy for a city) to become even more subservient to the job generating cities around them.  The job centers reap the economic benefits of having businesses generate tax revenue for them while having the bedroom suburbs incur the cost of housing all the workers.  Why should the city of Davis be expected to support/incur the costs (services and infrastructure) of housing their students without getting something out of it (an no, piddly tax revenue from property tax and sales tax on hamburgers and burritos isn’t sufficient….it makes sense to make people from OUTSIDE of Davis to come here to spend money).   I stated elsewhere that the city of Davis should have negotiated to get UCD to commit to some business parks/centers inside the city of Davis and in return they could plan for a student housing zone (IMO around 3rd and A street) of dense mixed use housing.  Put simply, if the city is to plan for housing UCD students (and incur the infrastructure and services costs), UCD should provide something for the city.

        1. Mark West

          “The issue is calculating who should be responsible for planning of such housing.”

          That is only an issue for folks looking to deny access to appropriate housing for those who need it.

          Davis is a university town, and is responsible for providing appropriate housing opportunities for the faculty, staff and students.

        2. Keith Y Echols

          Davis is a university town, and is responsible for providing appropriate housing opportunities for the faculty, staff and students.

          Ah….the irrational ramblings of the cult of the University.   The poor folks who lack the ability to differentiate the city from the University.   They shout: “But the city of Davis wouldn’t be here or be what it is without the University!”

          Here’s the reality: there’s a good portion (majority) of people that live in Davis that have little to nothing to do with UCD.

          Here’s some more reality: UCD gets to push off it’s housing needs (responsibility and costs) to a town that isn’t in the greatest financial shape.  If Acme Widgets company popped up next to Davis and said we need you to house 1000s of our widgets…oh yeah and it’s going to cost you in infrastructure and services….would you be cool with that?

          That is only an issue for folks looking to deny access to appropriate housing for those who need it.

          Oh for the love of god…my goodness is that a whiff of indignation????…more pearl clutching and “thinking of the children!”.  Yeah…forcing people to live in the 7th circle of hell that is Woodland, Dixon or Winters is repressible.  Btw.  What is your criteria for living in Davis?  Do we just house whomever wants to live here?

          1. Don Shor

            there’s a good portion (majority) of people that live in Davis that have little to nothing to do with UCD.

            What is your evidence for this?

        3. Mark West

          “Do we just house whomever wants to live here?”

          People need to live somewhere, preferably near where they work or go to school. Lots of folks are associated with the University, directly and indirectly, so there should be no surprise that many of them want to live here in town. Why should the people of Davis be ‘special’ by getting to choose who else is allowed to live here. I thought that sort of machination was outlawed long ago. It is not ‘pearl clutching,’ as you so elegantly put it, to believe that people should not be subjected to housing discrimination.

        4. Tim Keller

          Btw.  What is your criteria for living in Davis?  Do we just house whomever wants to live here?

          yes.  Actually.  And it’s in our economic best interests to do so.

          Here’s the reality: there’s a good portion (majority) of people that live in Davis that have little to nothing to do with UCD.

          if you say that’s it’s okay for people who are not affiliated with the university to live here, then by definition you have to be okay with letting anyone who wants to live here.  Right?  Why should that opportunity only apply to the people who just by chance are already here and what justification could one possibly have for saying that someone else can’t do the same.

          Ah….the irrational ramblings of the cult of the University.   The poor folks who lack the ability to differentiate the city from the University.   They shout: “But the city of Davis wouldn’t be here or be what it is without the University!”

          I have about as much sympathy for this perspective as I do for the “trump won the election” perspective.

          If you want to live in a small town, move to a small town.   Davis is a UNIVERSITY town.  If you live here, (and pay extra to do so as opposed to neighboring small towns) and say that you aren’t here because of the university then you are lying to yourself or to us, or both.

        5. Keith Y Echols

          yes.  Actually.  And it’s in our economic best interests to do so.

          HOW?  By incurring the cost of housing more people?  You seem oblivious to the fact that there is a cost to the community for planning to house more people.

           If you live here, (and pay extra to do so as opposed to neighboring small towns) and say that you aren’t here because of the university then you are lying to yourself or to us, or both.

          I am most definitely not here because of the University.  The arrogance of the UCD folks in Davis continues to astound me.

          if you say that’s it’s okay for people who are not affiliated with the university to live here, then by definition you have to be okay with letting anyone who wants to live here.  Right?  Why should that opportunity only apply to the people who just by chance are already here and what justification could one possibly have for saying that someone else can’t do the same.

          What in the world are you talking about?  A community exists to benefit the community (you know those that currently live in the community).  Anyone who wants to live here should be able to live here or anywhere if they can afford to live here/there.  If you don’t like it…advocate for public housing options….I do.

          I have about as much sympathy for this perspective as I do for the “trump won the election” perspective.

          Eh, I have to remember to be more patient and have more sympathy than the poor people that believe they know more about housing than someone who did this for a living.

        6. Matt Williams

          Don Shor said … What is your evidence for this?

          In reply to Keith’s statement … there’s a good portion (majority) of people that live in Davis that have little to nothing to do with UCD.

          The US Census shows that 24,520 City of Davis residents had jobs in 2018.  It was 23,329 in 2014.  According to the table above, 4,719 of those 23,329 are Faculty or staff at UCD.  That calculates to 20%.  If you assume that every single person living in Davis who is over the age of 55 is a UCD retiree then you get to 49.6% (18,294 out of 36,904), and of course that assumption way overestimates the UCD retirees.

          Is that US Census evidence good enough for you?

           

          1. Don Shor

            Is that US Census evidence good enough for you?

            No. When my kids lived in town, it was because I had come to UCD to go to college and stayed in the area years prior to their even being born. The percentage of people here who “have little or nothing to do with UCD” is likely not a majority. There’s not that much else that brings people here. I am not just talking about people who attend school presently here or work here. I do now know some people who have retired to Davis from other parts of the country. What attracts them is that it’s a university community in a semi-rural area.
            Without UCD, Davis is Dixon.

        7. Matt Williams

          Don, in providing your response to me rejecting the evidence, you are redefining what Keith said, which was …

          there’s a good portion (majority) of people that live in Davis that have little to nothing to do with UCD.

          .
          Your statement, that “Without UCD, Davis is Dixon.” is true, but that is tangential at best to what Keith has said.

          People stay in Davis for many, many reasons that have nothing to do with UCD … and their day-in, day-out activities absolutely qualify as “having little or nothing to do with UCD.”  My better-half and I are perfect examples.  We came to Davis in 1998 because she was a graduate student in Viticulture.  For two plus years we definitely did not qualify under Keith’s statement … we had plenty to do with UCD.  We also expected to leave after she finished her Masters and grow grapes out in the countryside somewhere.  But we didn’t leave, and none of the reasons we stayed had anything to do with UCD.  The climate.  Davis being “nowhere, but close to everywhere.” The visual and aesthetic and spiritual richness of the agricultural lands.  All those things gave us much more reason to stay than to leave.  The presence of UCD actually wasn’t even in the top 25 reasons to stay.

          So, I think you may want to reread what Keith said.  You have imposed on his words a meaning that is not there … an meaning that is very personal to you, and a meaning that I agree with. “Without UCD, Davis is Dixon.”  But I believe Dixon has almost all the qualities that caused my better-half and me to stay in Davis. The climate.  Dixon being “nowhere, but close to everywhere.” The visual and aesthetic and spiritual richness of the agricultural lands. Don’t sell Dixon short.

        8. Tim Keller

          HOW?  By incurring the cost of housing more people?  You seem oblivious to the fact that there is a cost to the community for planning to house more people.

          Um… cities make money through property tax and sales taxes… see my post above.

          Yes, there is a cost to adding more people, but it ALSO increases revenue.  If well managed, that marginal revenue should be more than 100% the cost of the increase.

          I am most definitely not here because of the University.  The arrogance of the UCD folks in Davis continues to astound me.

          You are welcome to enjoy this university town along with the rest of us.   But dont come to a university town and then complain about the university.  It is our primary industry, it is what makes this town what it is.    You don’t have to contribute to the success of the university, yourself, but PLEASE don’t get in the way of those of us who ARE.

        9. Ron Oertel

          [edited]
          But if housing “made money” (enough to offset its cost), cities across California wouldn’t be in a fiscal predicament in the first place. Which is glaringly obvious.

          And with this one, it’s #6 for me, as well.

        10. Keith Y Echols

          You are welcome to enjoy this university town along with the rest of us.   But dont come to a university town and then complain about the university.  It is our primary industry, it is what makes this town what it is. 

          Such irrational sentimentality.  The town is a separate entity from the school yet it seems too difficult for you to accept that.  I can come to this town own property and say what I like.  The town is not the university!  After our discussions on economic growth, I had hoped you were reasonable.

          Um… cities make money through property tax and sales taxes… see my post above.
          Yes, there is a cost to adding more people, but it ALSO increases revenue.  If well managed, that marginal revenue should be more than 100% the cost of the increase.

          lol….keep in mind you’re arguing with a former real estate developer that used to make the arguments you’re making.  Let me help you here:  if you had add 5oo new residential units at $800K per home that’s about $720K in tax revenue for the city (1% total and then 18% of that to the city).  Now if you have about 3 people per residential unit that’s a whopping $480 per person of revenue for the city.  Revenue that needs to cover the extra costs of providing water, sewer, police, fire, road maintenance (expansion?), parks and rec…etc…

        11. Keith Y Echols

          Without UCD, Davis is Dixon.

          So that indebts the city to the University?  So if we monetize that debt…what is it?

          And for everyone that has little to nothing to do with the University…are they indebted to it too?

          And if the residents of the city of Davis who wish to no longer worship at the alter of the University….will the University magically go POOF! and disappear and turn the poor city into those dreadful places like Dixon?

          Btw.  More and more of Davis is losing it’s college town island and becoming a bedroom community to the greater and growing Sacramento area.

    2. David Greenwald Post author

      Davis has the lowest RHNA requirement in the county as it is. Woodland’s is 50% larger.  Sacramento like 4.5 times larger.  Winters is about 500 units, but of course it is far far smaller than Davis.  So what makes you think UC Davis is driving Davis’ RHNA number?

      1. Keith Y Echols

        To my knowledge, the RHNA methodology primarily uses population projections based on the CA Dept. of Finance to determine their housing element calculations.  So what do you think is one of the main drivers of projected population growth in the city of Davis?

        Keep in mind, I’m not just bagging on UCD.  I don’t think Davis (or any other city) should be forced to become more of a bedroom community to Sacramento or whatever nearby job center that creates population growth.  If a city wants to grow…that’s fine…but I don’t think they should be forced to grow because of the actions of another city.

  7. Ron Oertel

    Why should the people of Davis be ‘special’ by getting to choose who else is allowed to live here.

    They don’t.  They do get a say in how much it might/might not expand.  Actually, every community has that ability, but not all have the same tools.

    Marin and Sonoma counties, for example use agricultural easements, urban limit lines, and zoning restrictions – which ensure that parcels do not drop below a given size.  (Many parcels in Sonoma county were subdivided in a half-hazard, almost nonsensical fashion decades ago, before that restriction went into effect.)

    I’ve forgotten which cities also have measures quite similar to Measure D (Sonoma? Napa? Others?). Seems like there’s a hodgepodge of tools/restrictions around California.

     

  8. Bill Marshall

    Now if you have about 3 people per residential unit that’s a whopping $480 per person of revenue for the city.  Revenue that needs to cover the extra costs of providing water, sewer, police, fire, road maintenance (expansion?), parks and rec…etc…

    Part right, part wrong… water, sewer, garbage, and a portion of Public Safety, are paid separate from property tax… paid in utility billing… so, your concept has merit, but your assumptions are flawed, your calculations therefore inaccurate…

    But the kernel of your point is valid.  [last I saw, Davis avg. person/DU was ~2.7…]

  9. Ron Glick

    “Such irrational sentimentality.  The town is a separate entity from the school yet it seems too difficult for you to accept that.”

    Technically correct but the two entities are neighbors with many interconnected interests. In fact, so interconnected that Aggie Village is part of both UC and the City.

    1. Matt Williams

      My neighbors and I have a lot of interconnected interests as well, but that doesn’t give me or my better-half the right to sleep with any of those neighbors, or them the right to sleep with me or my better half.

      Boundaries exist for a reason.

        1. Matt Williams

          I think (but could easily be wrong) that that splitting was only an accident of history.  When the City and the University were forst set up, I doubt anyone gave even a moments thought to the voting patterns of 21-year old students.  There probably weren’t very many 21-year olds who lived on the campus.

          There was a lot of water over the bridge by the time the voting age was reduced from 21 to 18, but the accident of history was well entrenched by that time.  UCD clearly likes its independence

        2. Ron Glick

          Selective memory Matt. When Aggie Village was built as faculty housing it was annexed, although it still sits on University land, proving that the historical anomaly of the 18 year old vote coming after the founding of the campus and the current city and university boundary is not indelible.

          The drive for maximum on campus housing to minimize production of City housing perpetuates the existing split and dilution of the voting power of the student cohort in City and Measure D elections.

          A big nimby once asked me why I stay in Davis? Why didn’t I move to Oklahoma or someplace? What I heard was her saying that people who disagree with her shouldn’t live here. I replied dismissively that “The fruit here was better.” If asked today I would reply “What difference does it make we already have voting like in Texas, Arizona or Georgia.”

        3. Matt Williams

          Not selective memory Ron, just before my time.  I never knew, until you told me here this morning that Aggie Village was once part of the campus.  Who was responsible for the building of Aggie Village?

        4. Ron Glick

          I believe Aggie Village is still part of both the campus and of the city. You would need to take a deep dive into the history and the entitlements. I do know the houses there aren’t free market. The rate of appreciation is limited.
          Perhaps Bill Marshall knows more of the details of how it is structured. He might have been in the room where it happened.

          1. Don Shor

            When I was a student in landscape architecture, a standard assignment in one of the introductory courses was to design a mixed-use development on the then-vacant Aggie Village site. It was fully owned by UCD.

            The commercial part of Aggie Village was sold by UCD to private developers:
            https://www.ucdavis.edu/news/sacramento-family-purchases-aggie-village-site-davis

            The housing was limited to UC Davis staff or faculty, but can be rented out. I believe they were originally equity-limited.
            https://localwiki.org/davis/Aggie_Village_Cottages

  10. Bill Marshall

    Am calling the game… new contender…

    Matt W 8; Ron O 6; Keith E 9

    The “5” is NOT a rule, or imperative… it’s a ‘guideline’ that has ‘exceptions’…

    Whatever… test the limits if you desire… but please, only if it is germane to the topic…

    1. Bill Marshall

      So, I’ll test the limit… most of the “surplus” posts were germane, and provided some enlightenment… no problem here, with that…

  11. Bill Marshall

    The housing was limited to UC Davis staff or faculty, but can be rented out. I believe they were originally equity-limited.

    You are mainly correct (sorta’) but also incorrect, as to the way it was set up when the units were actually built…

    Correct:  UC sold the portion of the site known as Davis Commons (think Borders, etc.) to Mark Friedman.

    Sorta’:  the units were marketed as “99-year leases” (think Hong Kong… very similar concept… China did not renew the Brits lease…)… correct as to limited equity, as the land belonged to UCD, the structure to the buyer (think MHParks… not ‘same’, but similar concept)… the “market” originally was ‘tiered’… 1) UCD faculty/staff; 2) DJUSD faculty/staff; 3) City of Davis employees [I know of at least one Division Head who got in on the ‘get-go’]… as to the rental part, some units had ‘granny flats’ intended for that… from the ‘get-go’…

    Not 100% sure what the current situation is, but portions of your post Don, are in error, and misleading.

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