Commentary: For Better or Worse, the Housing Situation Isn’t Likely to Change in Davis

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By David M. Greenwald
Executive Editor

Davis, CA – Six weeks ago some community members were up in arms—mostly those who were older and already owned homes—as they saw a threat from the proposals from the Housing Element Committee.

One by one, the proposals that might have led to more housing have been either shelved or killed.

Davis faces an inevitable reality.  Over the last 20 years it has effectively not been able to build out.  Only two peripheral sites have been approved by voters—Nishi and WDAAC.  Neither has been built yet.  But effectively the city’s land use law—Measure J—has blocked most peripheral development.

I have often proposed a halfway measure—allowing for the preapproval of housing sites before a full Measure J process occurs.  That allows the voters to vote on a site, which would preapprove the site for development under some parameters, but avoid having to go through the entire cumbersome Measure J vote if the voters are not inclined to support housing or development on that site.

Even that modest proposal, which requires no changes to Measure J, was a bridge too far.

Eileen Samitz called this an “end-run” around Measure J.  She wrote, “So, Davis citizens need to understand that if they support an initiative like this they would have no say on what got built on these properties. It would basically be a ‘blank check’ for the developers of those properties to build anything without the public having any meaningful input.”

Of course, as Dan Carson pointed out, there is no such thing as a blank check, because voters can always petition and put something on the ballot anyway.

Carson opposed exemptions to Measure J/R/D.

“I don’t support the proposal to ‘pre-approve’ land inside the Mace Curve and at Shriner’s, and thus exempt them from Measure J/R/D,” he said. “This approach probably would not work, because any controversial proposal would still be subject to voter approval under state law via a referendum.”

One by one, the council in June indicated that they were not inclined to make major changes to housing in Davis.

One area that might be out of the city’s hands is the changes to R1 zoning.

Vice Mayor Lucas Frerichs noted in June that “this may actually already be something that’s taken out of our hands by the state legislature.”

The bill from Senate President Toni Atkins, SB 9, would automatically allow for duplexes on a single-family zoned lot.  He said that was something that they may not find out until September though.

There has been a lot of focus on SB 9 on this site and throughout the state.  But the report we cited out of Berkeley last week shows it would be a more modest change—particularly in Davis.

Why?  We already saw with the prospectus on redevelopment in the downtown, the costs are prohibitive.  The analysis from a few years ago showed it needed to be really dense and expensive housing to pan out.  A fourplex in the middle of a neighborhood that has to adhere to size and scale restrictions is not likely to be enough bang for the buck to pan out.

That means that any changes to R1 zoning are more likely to impact new neighborhoods in Davis, and there probably won’t be a lot of new neighborhoods in Davis.

And that’s the big problem.  Council is willing to continue to “up zone” in Neighborhood Shopping Centers for instance.  That means, just as they approved housing at University Mall, they might at other locations as well.

“Let’s allow for up zoning there,” Frerichs said.  “There’s already a number of shopping centers in town (where) there’s already mixed-use.  That’s not a bad thing.  There will be more of that in the future.

“Whether it’s done as part of the General Plan update, which is coming in the next year, or some other mechanism, separate policy discussion, I definitely would favor a concept like that.”

But even with that—and as contentious as it was last year—it is unlikely that there are going to be a lot of neighborhood shopping centers rezoning. For one thing, we don’t have that many and, for another thing, it is still expensive.

The HEC also wanted the city to explore by-right approval for new housing if it meets the Zoning Code and Affordable Housing Ordinance.  That seemed to be a contentious issue even though it would have to meet existing zoning codes and, again, would not produce a lot of new housing.

That’s the problem.  The most likely changes to current housing—R1 zoning (possibly) and Neighborhood Shopping Centers—are unlikely to generate much in the way of new housing.

Housing in the downtown is unlikely to occur on a large scale without the reestablishment of redevelopment and, for whatever reason, the legislature seems disinclined to go there.

Locally then, the only major game-changer would be the elimination of Measure J and we can’t even get a modest change that doesn’t materially impact the law to gain traction.

Bottom line is that Davis is unlikely to add more housing in the next eight years. It is likely to get more expensive.

Personally I would like to see what happens if we have a planning/visioning session for the community that could lay some of these issues out and see if the residents have solutions.  That’s unlikely to change things any time soon, but would make for interesting discussion.

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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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100 thoughts on “Commentary: For Better or Worse, the Housing Situation Isn’t Likely to Change in Davis”

    1. David Greenwald Post author

      This goes way beyond SB 9. Moreover you have never expressed to us – even when asked directly – how you would solve the problem.

    2. Alan Miller

      If you want to see my opinion just go back and read my comments on one of the several other articles on this same topic.

      If you want to see DG’s opinion just go back and read one of the several other articles on this same topic.

  1. Alan Miller

    That’s unlikely to change things any time soon, but would make for interesting discussion.

    Old Davis homeowners and the Campus Democrats sniping at each other is not ‘interesting discussion’.

    1. Bill Marshall

      Old Davis homeowners and the Campus Democrats sniping at each other is not ‘interesting discussion’.

      Think I agree, but not sure how to parse the quote… “old” = ‘seniors’ or “old” = long-term?  Yes, I recognize the overlap…

      But we also have ‘community associations of interest’… am thinking “Old East” and “Old North”… both with folk who are ‘generally progressive’, yet ‘conservative’ or, even ‘preservationists’ in their areas as to land use… not saying that’s inherently bad (and it’s not inherently good)… but it seems to be ‘what is’, as the article alludes to… a strong tendency to “status quo”, unless one is not served by that…

      Any ‘sniping’ is counter-productive in public discourse… but can be invaluable in war.

  2. Edgar Wai

    Let each city decide its own residency and zoning within its limits, but let its net migration decide how big the city is allowed to be.

    If you want definitive visions, then start a city with that vision. If people want that vision, they will move there and the city may expand, absorbing cities where people move away from.

    In that paradigm, a city that wants densification can get densification. Preserve different habitat choices and let people choice, instead of making the choices the same by forcing the same rules onto each city.

    1. Richard_McCann

      That’s how you perpetuate segregation. Reactionaries have used “choice” over the decades to defend their racism. Segregation in the U.S. has increased over the last several decades because we’ve left these decisions to local jurisdictions who choose policies that close out underprivileged groups.  Single family zoning started in the early 20th century in Berkeley as a subtle means of locking out Asians and Blacks: 
      https://www.sfchronicle.com/opinion/openforum/article/Want-to-get-rid-of-S-F-s-most-toxic-monument-16353880.php

        1. Richard_McCann

          I’ve been reading the Chronicle for most of the last 40 years. I would not consider it a “conservative” media outlet. It was a bit so in the late ’70s when I started reading it, but by the end of the ’80s it had largely swung the other way. The Examiner was the conservative outlet there until it closed. That they are more conservative than David on one issue (where David is probably well left of the Chronicle readership given the Letters to the Editor there) does not make the paper conservative overall. And I’ve disagreed with David on the importance of housing supply in improving affordability. Designated Affordable housing will have little impact on overall affordability for the middle class which is the real issue in Davis.

        2. Ron Oertel

          Again, David referred to it as a conservative publication.

          In any case, they are using the same “trickle-down” (conservative) approach that you and David advocate, in regard to housing.

          Such labels are not important to me personally, but they are extremely important to some.

          In contrast, 48 Hills (and the Sacramento News and Review) do not appear to be as development-oriented, but are “progressive”.

          You can see examples of this difference in the following link.

          https://48hills.org/?s=wiener

        3. Richard_McCann

          Ron

          So if you’re against “trickle down” housing solutions as you call them, what is your proposed solution for the statewide housing crisis that allows middle class households to live nearer to their workplaces?

  3. Ron Oertel

     Single family zoning started in the early 20th century in Berkeley as a subtle means of locking out Asians and Blacks: 

    Are you familiar with Asian homeownership rates in San Francisco?

    1. Richard_McCann

      Ron

      So if you’re against “trickle down” housing solutions as you call them, what is your proposed solution for the statewide housing crisis that allows middle class households to live nearer to their workplaces?

      1. Ron Oertel

        Thanks for asking.

        One thing I advocate for is careful examination of existing employment/housing balances, before even considering the pursuit of more jobs.

        Ignoring that suggestion is what has led to decreasing affordability in places like San Francisco and the peninsula.

        It is ultimately nothing but greed driving this endless pursuit.

  4. Ron Glick

    “Bottom line is that Davis is unlikely to add more housing in the next eight years. It is likely to get more expensive.”

    Duh.

    You supported it now you must live with it.

  5. Tim Keller

    I dont think I’m as pessimistic David.   The political landscape in Davis IS capable of change.

    For the past decades it has been “developers vs the people” it seems… with “the people” meaning “citizens motivated enough to register opposition to what has been proposed”  – leaving the mainstream Davis voter in a position of deciding to either trust the developer and city staff… or the local activists.

    But im optimistic about the potential of Sustainable Growth Yolo  to change the political dialog.    Now we have citizens who are activley campaining for proactive growth.   ( full disclosure, I’m a member and Director)

    The growth we advocate for might not be exactly what developers would be proposing if left to their own devices, but the net effect should be positive… a middle ground where well-planned, sustainable, and thoughtful growth is advocated for OUTSIDE of a developer’s proposal-specific campaign.

    That dynamic in our town is in its infancy, And I really do think we CAN make a difference.  I wouldn’t have joined that group if I thought otherwise.  So lets not write off the potential for positive change just yet.

    1. Ron Oertel

      But im optimistic about the potential of Sustainable Growth Yolo

      The very definition of a YIMBY group.  The same type of development interests that have always existed, under a new name.

      And one that’s gone out of its way to attack those with concerns, as noted on its website.

      1. David Greenwald Post author

        “The very definition of a YIMBY group.”

        They are a YIMBY group. Their twitter handle is “@YoloYimby” – I think you probably meant to say something else.

      2. Tim Keller

        Ron, Im going to correct something you just said which is incorrect:

        Sustainable Growth Yolo is NOT a “Development Interest”  we are a group of CITIZENS who are pro-growth and want it to be done sustainably.     It is, in fact, very possible to be pro-growth, and yet NOT be in the pocket of developers, or be financially motivated.

        Most of us just want Davis to NOT be a NIGHTMARE to find a place to live in.  Thats it.   Its about equal opportunity, sustainability, and justice.

        Now that I have corrected your error, Ron, I will ask you not to make it again.   I do not appreciate being accused of being in the pocket of someone else, when I am in fact VOLUNTEERING my time to try to improve my community.

        I thank you in advance.

      3. Ron Oertel

        The guy who runs that organization (and was somehow appointed to the HEC) worked directly for development interests, including on the previous campaign for DISC.  That information was previously published.

        The interests of the others on there haven’t been disclosed.

        You’re just along for the ride, since you share their interests.

        1. Tim Keller

          Ron, your post was dismissive and insulting.  I don’t appreciate it.

          There are a lot of people in this town who want to see it grow.  The most politically active of them have been involved with campaigns that align with their beliefs.   How does that make them “developer interests”.?  Are you saying that they can’t possibly have their own opinions about growth if they aren’t paid to?  And are you saying that just because someone worked on a pro-development campaign in the past that they are forever beholden to those “interests”

          No, that’s insane.

          These people care personally about development issues.  They put in time trying to proactively improve our community and find new solutions to help others.  Can you say the same?

    2. David Greenwald Post author

      I am definitely pessimistic on the ability to generate housing between the barriers of Measure J and the cost analysis. The council also rejected some relatively modest reforms after a slight hint of controversy. We’ll see.

      1. Ron Oertel

        I agree with Tim, in that I have no doubt that they will continue to try.  As long as there’s money to be made, it will never end.

        For one thing, DISC is coming back (in approximately “half-form”), as noted.  That development alone includes housing, and wouldn’t be financially feasible without it. And will soon lead to demand/justification for more peripheral housing – including on the “other half”, no doubt.

        Not sure what that’s going to do regarding the size of the fully-equipped lab space that Tim was interested in, as previously promised in one or more of the previous proposals at that site.  Or, whether or not it will include the natural gas lines that such labs need.

        But if it can be defeated, that will bode well for keeping the boundaries of the city relatively intact – and not just related to the proposed DISC site.

        If it’s approved, the opposite will happen.

         

  6. Keith Y Echols

    I believe the political landscape of Davis is changing.  More and more of Davis is becoming part of the growing Sacramento metro region and less of an island to itself.   I’m going to hazard a guess that eventually this may influence the vote away from the traditional NIMBYs and more towards the YIMBYs.

    Measure J, are you ready to admit that it’s not a good idea to let the inmates run the asylum?

    I’ve said before; that simply increasing market rate housing incrementally won’t help the affordability of market rate housing.  I’ve detailed why a number of times.

    Since you can’t really control the supply of market rate housing (to a significant degree where it effects home prices/rents) due to infrastructure restrictions and for-profit builders….building for…uh…profit.  The best way to get more affordable homes in Davis is to build affordable housing.

    The best bang for the (public) buck is for the state/local to massively build and control public housing.  Where that gets built in the community is an entirely different fight/discussion.

    Back to Market Rate Housing: The YIMBY’s that see housing as some moral imperative (because the horrible thought of forcing people to live in the 8th suburban circle of hell known as Woodland, Dixon, Winters and West Sac is unthinkable) aren’t going to convince the NIMBY’s with their (largely irrational) moral outrage.  There needs to be a reasonable compromise.  NIMBYs see new housing as a cost the community and/or a nuisance (traffic, building heights…etc..).  So promote projects where the public gets something out of it that offsets their concerns: every new housing project improves traffic (investment in road expansion), fund social programs to supplement the police, will directly support new industry…etc…something that will sell the NIMBYs.  Or you could go back to believing that self righteousness will be the deciding factor in local housing policy and political change.

     

    1. Don Shor

      The best bang for the (public) buck is for the state/local to massively build and control public housing. Where that gets built in the community is an entirely different fight/discussion.

      Blocked by Measure J. Checkmate!

      So promote projects where the public gets something out of it

      Time for a sports arena, I guess.

      1. Keith Y Echols

        Time for a sports arena, I guess.

        I hear the A’s are looking for a stadium.

        Blocked by Measure J. Checkmate!

        I believe the city and county has plenty of property.  At least I’m guessing so….the city’s would be in the city limits…so no measure J issue.  The county may have land in Davis or outside of it which is also not subject to measure J.

         

        1. Bill Marshall

          I hear the A’s are looking for a stadium.

          Many more A—s who would oppose that (yes, we’re both just ‘playing’… haven’t cared much about the A’s since ‘Catfish’ Hunter was pitching, and/or Reggie Jackson was batting)… and the fireworks would distress our doggie, big time…

          Blocked by Measure J. Checkmate! [a derivative, not yours, originally]

          In large part, that, but even greater, lack of financial resources to fund construction, design, staff expertise/resources, maintenance/repair, administration, etc.  for affordable housing by a public entity… the “projects” was noble theory, but pretty much entirely failed… pick your major City… and they all (Municipal, State, Fed) had more resources, compared to Davis… haven’t seen any that were long-term ‘successes’…  but not my field… perhaps there were some…

          ‘Private’ big affordable housing projects, even if subsidized publicly, have done better, but not stellar…

        2. Keith Y Echols

          In large part, that, but even greater, lack of financial resources 

          You can get resources to fund public affordable from new market rate housing construction.  You can also get it from new commercial construction.  If the city or county already owns the land, then that takes a large chuck out of the initial cost to build.

           the “projects” was noble theory, but pretty much entirely failed… pick your major City

          Yes, the shift away from public housing and towards privately owned affordable housing built by for profit developers started to happen in the mid 70’s and really got going in the 80’s.  One of the big problems with privately owned affordable housing is that often times it comes off the market in 30 years (owners can then sell them for market rate prices….there are affordable housing companies that pick up homes that are near the end of their affordable time…those companies have the intention of selling those homes for a profit)….so many times the rate of affordable housing coming off the market is greater than new units being built. The “projects” became that way because funding was continually cut from them. It’s like if you kept cutting school funding until every kid had to sit on the floor and use a stick to write in the dirt.  A better way to upgrade “the projects” is to increase the number of units and the types of people that qualify for them.  You have varying levels or degrees of affordability.  So that you have a mix of say…teachers, new police officers, entry and midlevel workers from UCD or private businesses in the community.  So affordable housing isn’t just for the poorest of the poor.

        3. Tim Keller

          A better way to upgrade “the projects” is to increase the number of units and the types of people that qualify for them.  You have varying levels or degrees of affordability.  So that you have a mix of say…teachers, new police officers, entry and midlevel workers from UCD or private businesses in the community.  So affordable housing isn’t just for the poorest of the poor.

          Amen to that.

    2. Tim Keller

      The biggest think that I would like for Sustainable Growth Davis to provide to a voice in the community which has previously not been heared because “pro growth” has been a position that only developers have weighed in on.

      The way you will KNOW that we are not a “development interest” is going to be when you see us making recommendations for development that go against the bottom line of the developers.

      Case in point:  The most profitable thing for a developer to create these days is a cookie-cutter R1 residential development.   SGY is against any new R1 zoning in town, because it is car-centric, and both economically and environmentally un-sustainable.   If someone comes to the City with a new low-density R1 subdivision like wildhorse, we will almost certainly be against it. ( I cant speak for the group, but that is probably safe to say) But instead of just saying “NO” we will be advocating for a denser project with mixed use and good transit connections.

      THAT is what we are mising.  In our process right now, the developer proposes something… and then the voters just say yes or no… with a little bit of due diligence in the middle on behalf of the city.

      In that mix there is nobody who is proactively urging the community to grow, and engaging people on discussing why and HOW that growth should be accomplished.    That is the void I hope SGY will be filling.

      1. Don Shor

        If someone comes to the City with a new low-density R1 subdivision like wildhorse, we will almost certainly be against it.

        How about a subdivision with some low-density, some medium-density, and some multi-family homes and an affordable component provided by non-profit builders?

      2. Keith Y Echols

        I never questioned if you had development interests or not….I actually never paid that much attention to your interests beyond your incubator (because you’ve talked about it and there was an article written about it).

        I wonder how flexible SGY will be?  The likelihood that you’re going to get a bunch of urbanish medium and high density projects proposed frequently isn’t going to likely happen.  This is the Sacramento metro area….the land of the single family residential home.  If you can’t get it in Davis you can in the outer suburban circle of hell in Woodland, Dixon, West Sac….   The Bay Area didn’t see the majority of new development become higher density projects until the last 15 years….and that’s because all of the surrounding areas within the Bay Area ran out of room to build single family homes.   They even reached their geographic limit in terms of distance with development in the far Eastbay and South, south bay.  The Sacramento region has a long way to go before it gets to that point.  So will the SGY be reasonable?  Maybe get an extra bus line and some extra roads for a new R1 housing project (assuming of course it gets past the voters…so it’s all academic at this point)?   How about a contribution to a local solar power plant?  Or will the SGY take a hardline and advocate for a specific vision?

        And to you specifically Tim, I ask what if a proposed R1 development directly supports new or expanding industry in Davis?  Will you and SGY continue to oppose it?  Will you take a hardline or ask for reasonable concessions?

        1. Tim Keller

          All good questions, and I hesitate to answer on behalf of the group, partially because it’s not my place to, and partially because we haven’t discussed how we want to navigate those issues and what our advocacy is going to look like… but I can speak for myself…

          To Don’s question: what you suggest is already way better than a carpetbombing of single family housing…   but I would add in not just a mix of housing types and densities, but a mix of uses.   Toss in some live-work townhomes, have part of the development be ground-floor retail so that the new neighborhood has cafes and restaraunts and maybe a grocer of some kind…   all within walking distance…    And have those denser parts also be located with transit that gets people to other parts of the city…  now you are talking my language…

          To Keith’s questions:  I don’t think that just because this HAS been “the land of the single family home” that we have to perpetuate that pattern into the future.   The suburban model has largely failed as I understand it, economically, socially and environmentally, and from my recent self-education on these issues, that conclusion seems to be pretty universal among urban planners.

          That said, I think that what you suggest is partially correct.. if someone wants a single family home and they can’t find it in Davis, they CAN just find it elsewhere.   But the problem in Davis is that a lot of people, can’t find a place to live here at ALL.   We are in a situation where all of the middle-tier housing is built for students (or occupied by students anyway) and a lot of the single family units are also occupied by students…   which makes me think that if we are going to build anything it should be the medium and high density housing.   It should be better financially for the city (referencing our earlier conversation), and high density means that transit works a lot better too.

          As for your final question… 1). ‘Hard lines” are rarely productive.  2). The innovation space that Davis needs is extremely unlikely to be helped by the inclusion of single family housing.   If I could plan the DiSC location myself it would be REALLY dense…  like a second downtown for davis where you have commercial / retail on the first floor and either office or residential on the 2-4 floors above.   VERY different from what those developers tend to build, which is single-story concrete tilt-ups surrounded by parking…

        2. Keith Y Echols

            I don’t think that just because this HAS been “the land of the single family home” that we have to perpetuate that pattern into the future. 

          There’s a reason why the area is “the land of the single family home”.  It’s because generally speaking people WANT a single family detached home.  Most people that live in condos or townhomes would rather have a single family detached home or will want one in the future if their family grows.  I saw it all the time in San Francisco; single people living in the city, meeting someone and living with them and finally moving out when their family grew.  I saw it happening and thought; it’ll never happen to me.  10 years later it happened to me.  I recommend talking to local realtors about people considering homes in the area and how they view living in condos and townhomes vs. single family detached homes.

          The suburban model has largely failed as I understand it, economically, socially and environmentally, and from my recent self-education on these issues, that conclusion seems to be pretty universal among urban planners.

          The model failed because cities typically built housing without much thought for the fiscal impact on the city.

           It should be better financially for the city (referencing our earlier conversation), and high density means that transit works a lot better too.

          I think you’re confusing my recent statements about housing as my support a policy for more housing.  I guess I should have been clearer and referenced my previous statements.  I do not believe that adding market rate housing is a good idea for the city….UNLESS…it pays for itself and provides some tangible benefit for the city.  My conditions pretty much covers or at least offsets to a certain degree “failed model” issue you bring up.  So I don’t care if people can move to Davis or not.  It’s in the city’s best financial interest for people to come to Davis, work and leave.  It’s in the city’s best financial interest for people to come to Davis, shop/spend money and leave.

          As for Below Market Rate (BMR) Housing/Affordable Housing….my solution is large publicly owned high density units.  How who gets to live there is administered, I don’t know.  I’d say that a large public housing project would include a range of occupants by financial means.  I’d say first and foremost it could house public workers like teachers, fire fighters and police if they chose to live there.  Next maybe a certain number of units dedicated for people that work in the city of Davis (and UCD doesn’t count since it’s not inside the city of Davis).  Next would be people who need subsidized housing that have lived in the city of Davis for at least a year (I do not believe that anyone that wants to live here automatically gets a home).  So there would be varying degrees of workforce housing units to fully subsidized housing.  units.  The workers in the workforce housing units (or higher household incomes) would pay market rate or slightly below market rate…which would help fund and subsidize the rest of the BMR housing units.

            like a second downtown for davis where you have commercial / retail on the first floor and either office or residential on the 2-4 floors above.   

          I’m trying to show you what reality is (and hopefully get you to work towards realistic concessions that get some of what you want).  I get what you’re wishing for.  When I first moved to Davis (though I had been coming here for 10 years almost every other weekend from the city), I talked to then Mayor Rob Davis at the Farmers market….he was out there with a city planner to talk about plans for the downtown (I think).  I griped about Grande Village…how I wished it hadn’t been all large single family homes.  How I wished there had been some mixed use in the project because I missed being able to walk to a coffee shop, restaurant, bar or convenience store.  But the reality is that builders built what they can sell and make the most money.

          As for your second downtown for Davis idea.  Don’t you think the current downtown would have to be established (ie nearly fully leased out and thriving) before the city would consider a second downtown?  Heck, the downtown merchants pretty much oppose all new retail that is proposed outside of the downtown area.  I think your hope for new urbanist types of areas lies in the existing neighborhood retail areas.  I think there have already been proposals for rezoning those neighborhood shopping centers.  The most recent example is that was not just rezoned but a proposed project is the University Mall.  It wouldn’t take much to start to grow that area if the Rite Aid across the street were redeveloped. Then there are some of the surrounding apartment complexes that could be knocked down for denser mixed use projects.  Oh…I know that the neighbors would be up in arms.  But if you start with one project (like the UMall) then the rest start to follow eventually.  There are lots on 5th street next to or near apartment complexes that could be built into neighborhood mixed use retail.  Think about what they could do with the Market Place on Covell…and again some of the 2 story apartment complexes nearby.  There’s the 8th street shopping center that is ripe for being turned into a neighborhood mixed use project (and again the surrounding apartments could be turned to even denser mixed use eventually).  My point is that’s it’s far more practical to think about urban density and communities at the existing neighborhood level and with piecemeal planning with hopefully future growth.  Again, to be clear…I oppose all of this unless it can be shown to provide the city/community a tangible benefit.

           

  7. Ron Oertel

    Tim:  How does that make them “developer interests”.? 

    Sounds like you need a refresher, regarding the leader of the group you’re involved with:

    Gibson was a genetics PhD candidate at UCD, but has spent considerable time in the last few years as sometimes paid and sometimes unpaid political lobbyist and organizer. He worked for the Nishi campaign, for the ARC/DISC (Measure B) campaign, and the University Commons (University Mall) campaign. According to his personal website http://www.dongibson.org/resume Gibson held a position with Spafford and Lincoln PR Firm that represents developers.

    Councilmember Dan Carson nominated Gibson for the HEC, though Gibson’s application did not disclose his employment organizing developer campaigns. Gibson is chairman of the recently-formed Sustainable Growth Yolo group (Yolo Growth).

    Yolo Growth seems to only have recently emerged (see this Davisite article that includes a discussion of Yolo Growth’s proposals), but the website has posted two 2020 advocacy pieces written by DCD members on behalf of the Brixmor University Commons project. There is no indication where the current funding is coming from for the current Yolo Growth Work, but their work is very similar to other Spafford and Lincoln projects, and the website is done in the same style. This group is very similar to other so-called “YIMBY” groups in CA, many of which act as fronts for developers and urge rapid construction growth.

    Gibson was the only signer of Yolo Growth’s letter to the HEC advocating for radical market deregulation favorable to developers. This letter was sent by Gibson to the rest of the HEC Committee and was not released to the public until after the HEC adopted all of GIbson/Yolo Growth proposals.

    https://www.davisvanguard.org/2021/06/guest-commentary-the-city-of-davis-housing-element-update-developer-web/

    As I already noted, the interests of the other group members have not been disclosed.

    But again, one can look at your group’s website, to see how they view those with concerns.

    1. Tim Keller

      Ron, I don’t need a “refresher”. I’m part of the damn group.   I know these people, I talk to them, and I’m telling YOU how it is.

      This group is very similar to other so-called “YIMBY” groups in CA, many of which act as fronts for developers and urge rapid construction growth.

      I hope everyone who reads this can spot what is wrong with this statement.  It contains both a logical error and at least one unsupported claim that I suspect was actually made up on the spot.

       

      I can also tell you that when we started the group, we had a young lady on a zoom call with us from the california “yimby” association, and I asked her a LOT of questions about how that group was financed, because I did NOT want to associate with them if they were “just a front for developers”.  I can also tell you that if it turns out that “many” of the YIMBY groups are captured by development interests, the I will be asking our group to discontinue using the term.

      There you go Ron.  You have been advised of the truth of the group directly, by someone with first-hand knowledge of the matter.  I appreciate in advance you getting it right in the future.

       

    2. Ron Oertel

       

      Ron, I don’t need a “refresher”. I’m part of the damn group.   I know these people, I talk to them, and I’m telling YOU how it is.

      You’re the one who claimed that this recently-created group has no connection to development interests.  This is factually and grossly incorrect, regarding its founder -who was somehow appointed to the city’s Housing Element Committee, as well.

      Regarding the other folks in that group, they have not been researched.  Since you know them, have you asked them if they also have connections (e.g., recent employment with) those businesses pushing development such as Spafford and Lincoln?

      And why are they going out of their way to increase divisiveness (e.g., by highlighting a “student ghetto” comment and so-called “anti-student rhetoric”?  Are they not interested in the reasons behind those concerns?  (I personally don’t condone the specific language, but that’s not really the point is it – unless someone tries to make it the point.)

      https://www.sustainablegrowthyolo.org/news

      I participated in the Zoom meeting you’re referring to.  That woman was from YIMBY Law.

      None of these people (including Don Gibson) had any answer whatsoever, regarding what they’re doing to reign-in sprawl.  As I recall, the woman from YIMBY Law (who was apparently from Los Angeles) said something along the lines of “Los Angeles is expensive” in response to my question, which I found ironic since it is one of the birthplaces of sprawl.  Basing this on memory, but that’s pretty much all she said regarding that topic.

      YIMBY Law is, in fact – training and supervising others to monitor and pressure local officials regarding RHNA requirements.  The same requirements that they were involved with in the first place.

      Yimby Law staffer and Seaside councilmember Jon Wizard gave the surveillance theme a more inclusive spin. (Yimby Law is the outfit that Sonja Trauss started in November 2019 after mysteriously departing from the California Renters and Legal Education Fund, which she’d co-founded.) As one of Yimby Law’s two Housing Element coordinators, Wizard trains and supervises volunteer cadres who assist HCD by reporting municipalities’ actual and prospective evasions of state housing law.

      thanks to the new legislation, “HCD has the potential to be moving much like the CIA. Most of the time its [work] is done below the waterline.”

      https://www.housinghumanright.org/inside-game-california-yimby-scott-wiener-and-big-tech-troubling-housing-push/

      YIMBY is SUING the state to increase those requirements, as well.

      https://reason.com/2021/02/09/california-massively-increased-the-amount-of-housing-the-bay-area-has-to-allow-yimby-lawsuit-says-eh-could-be-more/#:~:text=A%20new%20lawsuit%20from%20two,Area%20has%20to%20plan%20for.&text=In%20a%20man%2Dbites%2Ddog,planning%20for%20too%20little%20housing.

      If you want to be involved in this group, so be it.  But don’t misrepresent what they are, and what they’re attempting to do.

       

       

       

       

      1. Tim Keller

        You are moving the goalposts Ron.   And I’m glad you did.

        You initially referred to the GROUP as “a developer interest” meaning the group itself is organized for, driven by, and beholden to developers.   Which is the same meaning that was implied in the article you linked.

        I can guarantee you that is not the case.

        NOW you have retreated to a very different claim: that these people have “connections to development interests”   To which I say “duh”  of course.

        These are politically active people.  They get involved in issues which are important to them.  But because they have worked on those kinds of campaigns does NOT mean they are owned, controlled, or directed by the backers of those previous campaigns.

        But those who oppose development LOVE to point out those “connections” and imply that they mean something…   but they don’t.   And every time you try to divert the discussion at hand with an ad-hominem attack of that sort, I’m going to push straight back.

        We are citizens who want Davis to grow.   You may not agree with us.. that’s fine.   But don’t insult us by claiming that our opinions and actions are somehow not our own.

        1. Ron Oertel

          Here’s what I said, which is what you originally responded to:

          The very definition of a YIMBY group.  The same type of development interests that have always existed, under a new name.

          And one that’s gone out of its way to attack those with concerns, as noted on its website.

          I stand by that comment, and would also note that they’re being counseled by the organization “YIMBY Law”.  Again, I witnessed that myself.

          I do not know if they have also sought out guidance or support that wasn’t publicly announced.

          One thing I’ve started to learn about is that “big tech” is one of the primary funding sources of the YIMBY/Wiener efforts. As money becomes more entrenched in the political system, it becomes that much more difficult to derail it.

          The local group appears to still be in its early stages.

          But given its current direction, they may need more than a possible “name change” that you mentioned.

        2. Tim Keller

          I explained to you precicely why our group is not “The same type of development interests that have always existed, under a new name.”  

          And your response is essensiallly you respond by sticking your fingers in your ears saying “nyeah nyeah cant hear you”

          Bravo.

          I wont make the mistake of expecting reasoned dialogue with you again.

        3. Ron Oertel

          If you’d prefer me to word this as:

          “. . . the same type of people who have always pushed for more development, most if not all of whom have direct connections to development interests that have been around for years/decades . . .”, perhaps that would be more to your liking.

          With the caveat that they’re now (also) organizing as a separate entity, and are seeking support from a larger, well-funded entity with the same goals/name.  While simultaneously attempting to market/disguise themselves as some kind of grass-roots effort composed of citizens who have no connections to development interests, and do not stand to benefit directly from them. While fighting with, attacking, and insulting those involved with actual grass-roots groups, who (unlike the YIMBYs) do not stand to benefit financially from their own efforts.

          Sometimes, even playing the “race card” even though they themselves (the YIMBYs) are overwhelmingly white (and professional), and are not viewed in a positive manner in places like the Mission District of San Francisco, due to the resulting gentrification/displacement caused by their efforts.

          Similar to the situation regarding UCD’s Aggie Square, which resulted in a lawsuit by neighbors concerned about displacement.

          Good luck with that.  Perhaps YIMBY Law will be willing to provide some marketing expertise to help sell that message for your group.

          In any case, I hope that this clarification is to your liking.

           

        4. Tim Keller

          No, the “clarification” is NOT to my liking.

          1)  You say “same type of people who have always pushed for more development ”     What does that even mean?      Is it the same as  “Just like the same type of people who always oppose everything”   ?     You are just spewing rheteoric to dismiss an entire group of people you disagree with.

          2) This whole section is Bull$#!t:

          While simultaneously attempting to market/disguise themselves as some kind of grass-roots effort composed of citizens who have no connections to development interests, and do not stand to benefit directly from them. While fighting with, attacking, and insulting those involved with actual grass-roots groups, who (unlike the YIMBYs) do not stand to benefit financially from their own efforts.

          Every home-owning voter in this town who has seen their home values rise by hundreds of thousands of dollars over the prices in nearby towns has benefitted more financially from nimby efforts than ANYONE in this group is.   Period.

          Trying to dismiss a local civic group because its members have been politically active in previous political campaigns which happen agree with our fundamental mission is ridiculous.  Statting that they  are trying to “disguise” their interests and are motivated by money in a “as opposed to actual grassroots groups” is both false and insulting.

          There are a LOT of people in this town who don’t want to see it crumble into bankruptcy.   You may not like it, and if you have to invent some corrupt conspiracy in your head in order to sync that fact with your world-view, then fine.  But don’t propagate unsupported conspiratorial conjecture HERE.

           

        5. Ron Oertel

          No, the “clarification” is NOT to my liking.

          Truthfully, I didn’t think it would be.  🙂

          Every home-owning voter in this town who has seen their home values rise by hundreds of thousands of dollars over the prices in nearby towns has benefitted more financially from nimby efforts than ANYONE in this group is.   Period.

          I would have to say that I think the most “impressive trick” of all (even more than the use of the “race card”) has been the ability of YIMBYs to frame this as benefiting homeowners, when the YIMBY’s are the ones funded by the technology industry which is creating the problem in places like the Bay Area, in the first place.

          It’s not homeowners clamoring for Facebook, Google, etc.

          There are a LOT of people in this town who don’t want to see it crumble into bankruptcy.

          I don’t want to see that, either.  It’s unfortunate that Davis and cities all over California never examine the reasons that this occurs in the first place, and keep pursuing the same policies which created the challenge.  Something about doing the same thing over-and-over, but expecting a different result.

          But the YIMBY’s don’t give a damn about fiscal issues.  That’s just another one of their political smokescreens.  They come from the same frame of mind (and advocate for the same interests) which created the problems for cities throughout California in the first place. But there are other groups (and their political allies) which created that problem, as well. (They share some commonality with the YIMBYs, in that they also don’t care about the fiscal impacts of their selfish pursuits.)

        6. Ron Oertel

          It’s not homeowners clamoring for Facebook, Google, etc.

          To clarify, it’s not the existing homeowners doing so.

          However, it sometimes is the newer homeowners who replace them.  Those are the people with real wealth, who work for and/or have stock in big tech.

          Of course, they do pay a lot more in property taxes (which is good for whoever receives that, I suppose), but they price everyone else out of the market. And yet, this does not translate to “fiscal health” in many places – including San Francisco itself.

          “Techie bros” are not particularly popular among “non-techies”, in some circles in the Bay Area. (The same thing is occurring in other towns like Austin now, as well. But to a lesser degree.)

        7. Tim Keller

          Thank you for charting the depths of your invented reality.   It has been illuminating.

          I wasn’t aware that I was in the pocket of developers AND big tech!   Need to figure out where those checks have been going.. cause they never made it to MY house…

          It’s sad.   Because mixed in there with your rant, I think that I detect that you and I might actually agree on a number of policy issues, even if we wont ever agree on whether a specific thing should be built or not.   But you have labeled us as corrupt, and it seems you aren’t interested in hearing anything otherwise.    Hope that kind of thinking works out for you.

        8. Richard_McCann

          Ron

          As a resident of Woodland, what you think of Davis’ housing policies isn’t particularly relevant. You can comment on Woodland’s policies, and Yolo County’s, we’re not interested in you bringing your perspective on Woodland values to impact Davis policies.

        9. Ron Oertel

          Richard:  I am writing an article for the Davisite regarding your “research” and posting of information that you’ve found on the Internet, and (more importantly) – the manner in which the Vanguard handles this (especially in regard to its own policies).

          You are not the only one who has done so.

          The article will be available/posted, soon.

          But regardless, your argument is the “opposite” of what you usually argue, in that you advocate for the expansion of Davis to include non-residents.  I generally do not, nor do I advocate that for Woodland. The growth and development patterns of Woodland are essentially what some are advocating for in Davis.

          I can only conclude that the reason for your post is for a purpose other than engaging in honest debate.

        10. Keith Olsen

          Ron has every right to comment on any issues he pleases.  Davis policies effect Woodland and other surrounding communities plus someone who might be planning on moving to Davis would also want to weigh in.

        11. Ron Oertel

          Thanks, Keith.

          But you’re incorrect, in that Richard (otherwise known as “we”) has spoken, regarding who is allowed to comment. 🙂

          He only wants input from those (currently) able to vote on proposals via Measure D, as well. Which seems strange, given his arguments.
           

        12. Alan Miller

          As a resident of Woodland,

          Is RO getting doxxed again?  I mean it’s not like the previous doxxing that gave the coordinates of his house, but was his location something he volunteered?  If not, off limits in my book(view).

          what you think of Davis’ housing policies isn’t particularly relevant.

          Is anything Don Shor says relevant?  I think it is.  Shutting people down based on where they reside has no value in my world(view).  I don’t agree with DS much, but I’ve never said he shouldn’t comment because he’s not a resident.

          You can comment on Woodland’s policies, and Yolo County’s, we’re not interested in you bringing your perspective on Woodland values to impact Davis policies.

          “we’re” not interested?   I not sure who the “we” is here, be that “we” certainly doesn’t include “me”, and apparently not KO either, so me and KO is a “we”, so I’ll say “We ARE interested!”.  Bring on those Woodland values!  (especially the value of housing, much lower!)

        13. Craig Ross

          Coordinates of a house or even an address are doxxing.  Saying someone lives in Woodland is not doxxing.  I agree with Alan Miller, who cares if he lives in Woodland.

        14. Alan Miller

          Every home-owning voter in this town who has seen their home values rise by hundreds of thousands of dollars over the prices in nearby towns has benefitted more financially from nimby efforts

          Every home-owning voter and mega-apartment-owner in this town who has seen their home values rise by hundreds of thousands of dollars over the prices in nearby towns has benefited more financially from Measure JeRkeD.

        15. Keith Olsen

          So out of towners shouldn’t be commenting on Davis housing policies but at the same time we have people complaining that racist Davis housing policies are keeping out of towners out?    Think about that one for a while.

        16. Ron Oertel

          I appreciate Keith’s, Alan’s, and Craig’s responses. Though “Craig” seems to downplay the significance of the Vanguard’s decision.

          The issue isn’t really about where one lives.

          It’s about doxing (targeted researching and posting of) personal information that hasn’t been shared.  Doing so enables the “doxer” (and the organization which supports it) in a position to decide “which” personal information will be researched and shared.  The original commenter then has no control over what is shared.

          And in this commenting environment, anything you share can and will be used against you, to personally discredit someone and their comments.

          As will information that is researched and posted solely for that same purpose.  Richard’s post is an example of that – solely intended to discredit.

          I believe my article will be posted on the Davisite later today.

        17. Tim Keller

          I think that the detail that Ron lives in woodland is actually relevant.

          People were quick to point out that the chair of SGY lives in Sac…  ( and commutes here everyday because he cant find a place ).   They say that somehow makes his voice less relevant.  I don’t agreebecause he is clearly impacted by davis housing issues.

          Alan seems to want people to not opine on issues affecting old east davis if they don’t live there.  Is that relevant?   Does the fate of that neighborhood affect me?   Much less than it does him, I will grant.

          There IS general acceptance of the notion that if something doesn’t affect you, then you should buzz off…   and yes, I get that things that happen in davis do affect woodland…  hell..  Spring lake wouldn’t exist if davis had kept up with demand.

          But That said, the unspoken implications of Ron’s arguments do change quite a bit when you understand that he lives in woodland.   For example, he has said dozens of times that Davis doesn’t need an innovation park and that companies can just go to the woodland one that is still looking for takers…

          If you think Ron lives in Davis…  then you think he is a nimby…   but if you know he lives in woodland, then you start to suspect that he actually wants the tax revenues and jobs etc to go to HIS city…   very different context.   So understanding a little bit about the frame of reference of the speaker can be important to really understanding their point of view.

          Just like Alan might prefer that I defer to his needs / wants regarding his neighborhood, I also prefer that people defer to MY needs and wants for the issues that affect ME.   Is that not part of the social contract we have here?   And if so, as a davis resident who lives just below the mace curve is a stones throw away from the proposed DiSC site, does that not mean that when it comes to issues that involve my neighborhood, but  obviously don’t affect Ron in any material way, that I can feel comfortable just ignoring his objections because it’s actually none of his business?  I think that’s entirely fair.

          Nice knowing you Ron.  😉

        18. Ron Oertel

          I think that the detail that Ron lives in woodland is actually relevant.

          To what?

          People were quick to point out that the chair of SGY lives in Sac

          I initially had some misgivings regarding that, as well.  But then it was pointed out that he was appointed to a key city commission.  And that a lot more than his locale must be disclosed, as a result.  (Apparently, it was not as I recall.)

          Alan seems to want people to not opine on issues affecting old east davis if they don’t live there.  Is that relevant?   Does the fate of that neighborhood affect me?   Much less than it does him, I will grant.

          One does not have to live in Old East Davis to understand the reason for someone’s concern.

          There IS general acceptance of the notion that if something doesn’t affect you, then you should buzz off…

          You sound like one of those “Davis elites”, who wants to keep everyone else out.  Like Richard McCann.

          But That said, the unspoken implications of Ron’s arguments do change quite a bit when you understand that he lives in woodland.   For example, he has said dozens of times that Davis doesn’t need an innovation park and that companies can just go to the woodland one that is still looking for takers…

          True – and I pointed out that I don’t support that one, either.  As pointed out multiple times.

          If you think Ron lives in Davis…  then you think he is a nimby…   but if you know he lives in woodland, then you start to suspect that he actually wants the tax revenues and jobs etc to go to HIS city…   very different context.   So understanding a little bit about the frame of reference of the speaker can be important to really understanding their point of view.

          This is one of the problems with disclosing personal information – it often leads to incorrect conclusions.  It also starts becoming about the commenter, rather than the comment.

          My concern is rarely related to NIMBYism.  It’s about sprawl.

          Just like Alan might prefer that I defer to his needs / wants regarding his neighborhood, I also prefer that people defer to MY needs and wants for the issues that affect ME.   Is that not part of the social contract we have here?

          Do you have a copy of that contract? And are you claiming that what happens in your neighborhood only impacts you?  Is everything about your needs?

          And if so, as a davis resident who lives just below the mace curve is a stones throw away from the proposed DiSC site, does that not mean that when it comes to issues that involve my neighborhood, but  obviously don’t affect Ron in any material way, that I can feel comfortable just ignoring his objections because it’s actually none of his business?  I think that’s entirely fair.

          Perhaps personal information (such as locale, where one works, city pensions they may have, businesses that one owns, etc.) are actually what is “no one else’s business”.

          Here’s an idea:  How about if we let the commenter decide “which” personal information they’d like to share?  (Unless required to be disclosed to be on a city commission.)

          Ironically, the same type of issue came up when writing the Davisite article – which is still being hammered-out.

          Nice knowing you Ron.  

          We’re just starting to get to know each other.  I’ll be one of the people holding signs on Mace Blvd again next year (in front of “Half-DISC”) – if you want to say hello.

           

        19. Keith Olsen

          Nice knowing you Ron

          Where’s this coming from?  I doubt Ron is going anywhere.  His opinions are valued on here.  I find it curious that the Vanguard has allowed what many would consider to be doxxing.

  8. Ron Glick

    “Measure J, are you ready to admit that it’s not a good idea to let the inmates run the asylum?”

    I doubt David ever will. If he was going to he should have done so before Measure R passed. Its why I find all his lamentations about housing to be laughable. David knows the issues but at the end of the day, when it might have mattered, he whiffed on challenging the dominant paradigm.

  9. Bill Marshall

     I do not believe that adding market rate housing is a good idea for the city….UNLESS…it pays for itself and provides some tangible benefit for the city.

    Let’s ‘unpack’ that… starting with the “UNLESS”…

    “unless it pays for itself”… agreed, fully…

    “unless it … provides some tangible benefit for the City.”  somewhat strongly disagree… smells of arrogance that someone needs to provide a “pound of flesh” for the ‘privilege’ of joining the community… smells of extortion… by the folk who already have that ‘privilege’…

      1. Bill Marshall

        Ask those who want much more than that… I’m not one of “those”, so not the right person to direct the question to…

        Perhaps the one I quoted?  other posters who have basically (and repeatedly) ‘said the same thing?

        You question is seriously misdirected.  You are borderline, ‘out of line’…

        As, I assert, are most of the posters who have repeatedly said, that new development of SF “might be” tolerable, if everyone else “gets goodies”…

        ‘Reporter, heal thyself.’

        I don’t try to ‘bite’ at a baited hook… perhaps why you don’t seem to understand…

      2. Keith Y Echols

        Isn’t a tangible benefit providing housing?

        Tell me how new housing is a tangible benefit to the EXISTING community.  It’s an incurred cost.

        1. David Greenwald Post author

          (1) 57 percent of Davis residents rent, some would like to own houses
          (2) Scarcity in housing especially student housing leads demands for minidorms
          (3) Leads to demands for more density in new projects which puts new developments at odds with existing neighborhoods
          (4) Declining enrollment in schools will lead to declining schools which will hurt standards of living
          (5) Greater diversity and more families is greater vibrancy

          There is a whole list of benefits to the community.

        2. Keith Y Echols

          (1) 57 percent of Davis residents rent, some would like to own houses

          That’s nice.  I wish them good luck.  Woodland is a nice place too.  Lots of people rent in San Francisco and would like to own there too.

          (2) Scarcity in housing especially student housing leads demands for minidorms

          Eh, if housing prices keep going up, that won’t be a problem much longer (see Palo Alto).  If the city thinks its a big enough problem, they could regulate it with codes that make mini-dorms less viable.  What about a $1000 tax/fee for every person living in a residence above the number of bedrooms +1?

          (3) Leads to demands for more density in new projects which puts new developments at odds with existing neighborhoods

          Yeah…so?  People gotta work this stuff out…or not build.

          (4) Declining enrollment in schools will lead to declining schools which will hurt standards of living

          The school district needs to figure out what their optimal levels of enrollment for funding is.  Besides it’s far more economical to bus kids in then build new homes in town just to support the schools.

          (5) Greater diversity and more families is greater vibrancy

          No one’s stopping anyone of any kind from buying homes in Davis.  All are welcome.   What do you want to do…add affirmative action like legislation to the market rate homes on the market?  I’ve already told you that incremental housing increases do nothing but INCREASE home prices.  You’re never going to be able to add enough supply to effect home prices.

          There is a whole list of benefits to the community.

          I guess I need to define the word “tangible” for you?

           

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            Keith:

            ” (1) 57 percent of Davis residents rent, some would like to own houses

            That’s nice. I wish them good luck. Woodland is a nice place too. Lots of people rent in San Francisco and would like to own there too.”

            So basically in your world, the community equals home owners, not renters. Am I right?

        3. Keith Y Echols

          So basically in your world, the community equals home owners, not renters. Am I right?

          The community is whomever lives here.  Renter or home owner.  Whoever lives where ever they live can afford to live there.  Renter or home owner.  I’ve never felt entitled to live anywhere.  I don’t understand how anyone can feel entitled to live anywhere.  I’ve rented rooms in the bay area and barely scraped by and I never felt entitled to a better home.  I later rented apartments and never felt I was owed a home I could buy.  I rented in Davis for a couple years and never felt I was owed a home that I could afford to purchase.
          To be clear, we’re talking about MARKET RATE HOUSING.

          I believe a different set of rules should exist for affordable/BMR housing.

    1. Keith Y Echols

       provides some tangible benefit for the City.”  somewhat strongly disagree… smells of arrogance that someone needs to provide a “pound of flesh” for the ‘privilege’ of joining the community… smells of extortion… by the folk who already have that ‘privilege’…

      I’ll personally cop to arrogance…..well founded arrogance on this subject…but arrogance non-the-less.

      It’s extortion if the money goes directly into my pocket.  It’s a city fee or concessions to the voters if it’s for the benefit of the community.

      Look at this way.  If the incurred cost to the community of a new 200 unit residential development is something like net $300K per year (costs minus property and other taxes) but the developers agree to widen the nearby roads and add a new public park with a public swimming pool…is that extortion?

      Ah…you had to use that silly hot button “privilege” word.  Yes, there are people that have more than other people.  There will always be people that have more than other people. Yes some of the poor unfortunate souls will have to live in the 8th suburban circle of hell that is Woodland, Dixon and West Sac.  Not everyone can live where they want….I’m still waiting for San Francisco to creating housing for me.

       

       

      1. Richard_McCann

        But your solution is to build a moat around the community to protect that privilege. That’s the aspect that is objectionable. As someone pointed out in an earlier discussion, the net total revenues for new developments are positive to a community–the problem is that the state syphons off too large of a share apparently. That can be solved if local governments pressure the state to change the revenue allocation formulas in return for increased housing shares. Similar solutions have happened often in the past, the most famous being in the aftermath of Prop 13.

        (However, I think we should look at the total fiscal situation that includes state contributions to local government. I looked at the fiscal impacts of large solar projects on rural counties, and because of the way the sales tax allocation worked, those counties has a large net benefit from the projects. The problem was that the cashflow was indirect in a way that the counties couldn’t readily identify it. The same could very well be true to real estate developments.)

        I’ve said before; that simply increasing market rate housing incrementally won’t help the affordability of market rate housing.  I’ve detailed why a number of times.

        And as a professional economist I disagree with your premise. In the housing market, one person’s old house is another person’s affordable house. We have that all through Davis where houses, particularly duplexes, were built in the ’50s and ’60s to serve middle class families. As the housing stock aged and new developments were built in the periphery in Mace Ranch, Northstar, Evergreen and Pioneer, housing prices stayed flat while prices escalated in other markets in the 1990s. Then Measure J arrived and our housing development was restricted. Yes, real estate prices rose everywhere but they rose somewhat more quickly here over the next decade. We sold our house built in 1982 in August 2007 for three times what we paid for it in August 1996. Your argument that somehow building higher quality housing raises prices for lower end housing doesn’t hold logically or empirically.

        You’re also ignoring the importance of the rental market’s impact on housing prices. Because we haven’t kept up with UCD enrollment growth, student rental demand has increased substantially, thus making rental property ownership much more profitable. It’s those sales, not the sales to single family owners, that have been driving Davis prices up over the last decade.

        1. Ron Oertel

          You are ignoring the impact of Woodland (in particular), in regard to “supply”.

          Your entire post has been disputed repeatedly in the past by another commenter who has actually studied the price differential over the years. (And not just by looking at some irrelevant anecdotal experience for selected years.) You have seen those articles, and had no logical response to them.

          The difference has remained relatively constant, before and after Measure J.

          Davis prices do not fall as quickly as other communities, nor do they rise as quickly.

        2. Keith Y Echols

          the net total revenues for new developments are positive to a community–the problem is that the state syphons off too large of a share apparently.

          Actually I think it’s the County that takes the bulk of the property taxes.  I think the city gets like 18% of the 1% property tax the county collects?    Hey, I’m fine with reassessing the value of adding homes if the tax revenue is adjusted the infrastructure costs of adding housing.

          And as a professional economist I disagree with your premise. In the housing market, one person’s old house is another person’s affordable house. 

          As a former real estate professional who’s job was to research markets, acquire land and finance projects….I disagree with the simple dogma of supply and demand in the CA real estate market.  I’ve explained many times here that incremental housing supply increases don’t do much or anything to lower housing prices.  The two reasons are:

          1. Builders (for the most part) don’t build unless the market is going up.

          2. Builders will constrain their production of new homes for optimal pricing.  During the Great Recession, builders didn’t just keep building.  There was a shadow inventory of lots sitting around that didn’t start to get developed until 2012 or later.  Think about it, when you go to a new housing development, do you see lots of new homes that are ready to move into?  No there’s a model home and usually you reserve a lot, then buy the house and they build it.  To do it any other way strains builder cashflow and adds huge financial risk (and banks/lenders wouldn’t be cool with it either).

          3. Builders build new homes which are usually priced near the top of the market.  New homes then usually bring up the prices of the existing homes.    To a degree that more than offsets the meager impact the new home has on the supply.

          You’re also ignoring the importance of the rental market’s impact on housing prices. Because we haven’t kept up with UCD enrollment growth, student rental demand has increased substantially, thus making rental property ownership much more profitable. It’s those sales, not the sales to single family owners, that have been driving Davis prices up over the last decade.

          I’m not ignoring it.  I just don’t see the difference.  A home price is a home price.  Every city has rental properties.  Davis home prices are impacted by the student population….that’s pretty obvious.  I’m not sure what your point is.

           

        3. Alan Miller

          But your solution is to build a moat around the community to protect that privilege.

          We have met the moat and it is us.  Not me, not Glick, but the 83% of Davis voters who voted yes on Measure D  (“JeRkeD”). 

          Imagine:  83% of Davis residents are systemic racists  😐

          *(that’s my sarcastic face, lest anyone think I’m serious)

        4. Ron Oertel

          Some portion of that 83% voted “yes” on Nishi and/or the development formerly-known as WDAAC.

          Some portion of the 17% (who want to disenfranchise the other 83%) voted “no” on Nishi and/or WDAAC.  (Those are the folks that I find amusing.)

          [Moderator: this is your fifth and final comment on this thread for today.]

  10. Bill Marshall

    I believe my article will be posted on the Davisite later today.

    For those unfamiliar with the Davisite, here is their stated comment policy:

    Post a comment

    Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

    Am far from suggesting that here…

      1. Bill Marshall

        Yeah… since another poster mentioned “it” twice in this thread, figured I could get away with it once… better to ask forgiveness than permission at times… or claim temporary insanity…

  11. Rick Entrikin

    Perhaps I missed it, but nowhere in the preceding, 75 comments did I see any mention of the source of water for more development in Davis or any other city in Yolo County.   And, with our already stretched-to-the -limit water supply, how will more people and more housing benefit anyone?

     

    1. Ron Glick

      Davis’ water supply was secured when AKT bought Conaway Ranch. This is a non-issue. Perhaps that is why it doesn’t get mentioned much. Even further, with roughly 90% of the water in this state being used by agriculture, water for domestic use has little impact overall and can be easily shifted from agriculture in a shortage.

      Going even deeper into this issue the kind of housing being built in this area on small lots or in big multi-family buildings uses very little water that doesn’t get recycled.

      1. David Greenwald Post author

        I think we’re more precarious than that. If we have another year next year like this one, we will see just how precarious. That said, I largely disagree with Rick that this should be a consideration, if we are at the point where a marginal increase of houses is breaking point on water, housing policy is the least of our problems.

      2. Tim Keller

        Going even deeper into this issue the kind of housing being built in this area on small lots or in big multi-family buildings uses very little water that doesn’t get recycled.

        Thats really going to be the key to smart / sustainable growth going forward.     The concept of a single family home surrounded by a lawn is SO 1945…    And it certainly doesnt make sense now.

        1. Alan Miller

          The concept of a single family home surrounded by a lawn is SO 1945…

          There’s a lot of 1945 in 2021.  Maybe a few fewer lawns and a bit more zeroscaping, but plenty of SFHs.

  12. Rick Entrikin

    Ron Glick wrote: “Davis’ water supply was secured when AKT bought Conaway Ranch. This is a non-issue.”

    My reply:  A non-issue?   The City is now getting less than 30% of it’s water from the Sacramento River and we are using both deep- and intermediate-aquifer wells (the latter of which were supposedly going to be shut down after the $300 million River water plant came online).

    DG:  “…if we are at the point where a marginal increase of houses is breaking point on water, housing policy is the least of our problems.”

    Reply:  Yep, housing IS the least of our problems compared to our shrinking water supply.  The City has imposed mandatory water use restrictions, and such limitations are becoming more stringent, regionally and statewide, with each passing day.  The reason it “doesn’t get mentioned much” is that drawing attention to lack of water is not in the best interests of developers and pro-development politicians.

     

    1. David Greenwald Post author

       Water in California is shared across three main sectors. Statewide, average water use is roughly 50% environmental, 40% agricultural, and 10% urban, ’

      If this from PPIC is correct then the problem isn’t development at all. Urban use is only a small portion of the water in California

    2. Ron Glick

      I disagree that its not getting mentioned because of development issues. I guess that is a difference of opinion. As for Davis running out of water we are pretty far up the pecking order of places that are going to run out. If we run out most of the state will already be abandoned. I think the drought is serious but arguing that lack of water should limit Davis’ growth isn’t a serious argument. Water is essential for life but its also a commodity. If there is a shortage we will need to pay more for water but domestic use of water is both a small portion of the water used in California and a high priority during a shortage.

       

    3. Don Shor

      In a severe drought, Davis can go back to the deep aquifer, and if necessary even go to the intermediate wells. That’s what the city is doing right now. We aren’t going to be in a drought forever. We had 35″ of rain in 2017 and 30″ in 2019. Davis is in very good shape for even this kind of drought because of having the multiple sources. Woodland’s in pretty good shape but doesn’t have the deep wells. It’s the developments that are in unincorporated areas that are going to be problematic, like Wild Wings.

      1. Bill Marshall

        Don… good to note a) historic avg rain for Davis ~ 18-20″, b) excess rainfall does not refill intermediate/deep aquifers much, at least in the short term (10-20 years)… too many impermeable/semi permeable layers between NG and aquifers… only ‘strong’ recharge sources known are at the base of the foothills to the west, where the aquifers are “exposed”… c) NorCal river sources (surface and storage) are heavily influenced in the “here and now”…

        Heavier years of rainfall are generally helpful for the shallow aquifers, and the run-off that ends up in the bypass/Sac River…

      2. Alan Miller

        It’s the developments that are in unincorporated areas that are going to be problematic, like Wild Wings.

        Tanker trucks of water meeting shipping tankers in the Port of Sac that were sitting off the coast of Greenland as the ice sheet melts.  When global climate change makes lemons, make lemonade!  Water’s a commodity, right?  So, Greenland water shipping may be expensive, but it will allow us to grow, baby, grow!

  13. Ron Oertel

    I think the drought is serious but arguing that lack of water should limit Davis’ growth isn’t a serious argument. 

    I’m just glad to hear that Davis has “no problems” with water supply, so there shouldn’t be any need to conserve it.  🙂

    Hell, they can probably even sell some to other communities, given its “surplus”.

    Has anyone let the water managers know about this?

    1. Bill Marshall

      “Trolling on a river”…

      You have made it clear (many posts, many years)… “no new people”, no new development, as it adversely affects ‘the environment’ [yours?] (sometimes, it seems you support NPG, beyond ZPG… and use the slightest sign of NPG to argue against need for development)… all of which is fine… go for it…

      Understand there are many of us who do not share that ‘apparent’ view… are you concerned about water supply(?) or is that just a foil?

      I am not “pro-development”, res. or other… neither am I against it, unless it is egregious… non-sustainable… we may have different concepts of sustainable… fair enough…

      But, you seem to latch on to each and every straw that backs your ‘view’… fine… not credible, but your free choice… you mock/ridicule many facts/opinions that differ from your own… won’t speculate why you do that, particularly in ‘development’…

      Have a great weekend…

      1. Ron Oertel

         “no new people”, no new development,

        Those are two different things.

        There will always be new people, replacing the old people.  Those that move out, or move on to the next existence (or lack thereof).  The latter includes each and every one of us, eventually. (And really, not all that long from now.)

        There will always be new development, as well.  Nothing lasts forever.  (Ask the former residents of Greenville about that.)

        As far as water is concerned, it’s just another factor in regard to human impact/demands on the environment.  And rather than address limitations, cities simply demand that existing residents “use less” to accommodate new development.  This was also an issue regarding the massive new development in Folsom.

        As such, it is not necessarily a situation that creates “cooperation”.

        “Flush twice, prevent sprawl”.  🙂

         

         

  14. Rick Entrikin

    First, assuming that the PPIC’s calculation of percentages, that David quoted, are accurate, only 50% of all CA water is actually available for Ag or urban uses.  Therefore, Ag uses 80% and urban 20% of available water (not 90 and 10%, respectively).  Second, even though ag is already receiving greatly reduced river water allotments and having to drill deeper and deeper wells to access receding groundwater stores, urban supplies also are being curtailed.  A “non-issue?”  Should “not be a consideration” for proposed and future developments?

    Perhaps the following excerpt from the June 29, 2021 Bloomberg Law will shed more light on the seriousness of this issue. and why it must be a major consideration in future building proposals.

    “Housing advocates and developers are warily watching California’s intensifying drought and what it may mean in a state that needs millions of new homes to house its residents.

    Eighty-five percent of the state is in extreme drought. And in coastal Marin County, north of San Francisco, rainfall is at its lowest levels since records began 140 years ago.

    It’s here where the state’s twin issues of housing stock and water availability are colliding. But it could be a harbinger of things to come for the rest of the state.

    Additional housing puts more stress on water supplies. The housing and water conflict “piles one major policy crisis on top of another,” said Richard Frank, director of the California Environmental Law & Policy Center at University of California, Davis.

    Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed executive orders in April and May declaring 41 counties in a drought state of emergency, giving water regulators more authority to manage water use and diversions.

    At the same time, an estimated 120,000 affordable homes need to be built each year through 2030 to meeting housing needs, particularly for extremely low-income residents, according to a 2021 report from the California Housing Partnership, a nonprofit affordable housing group.

    “I’m afraid I do think it’s going to become a bigger issue,” Partnership CEO and President Matt Schwartz said.”

    1. Don Shor

      There are thousands of water agencies in California and they are wildly variable as to how drought resilient they are. We don’t have a statewide water system. What is happening in Marin County is irrelevant to us, and in fact Marin County has planned very poorly for long-term water supply. One of the reasons I argued publicly and very hard for the surface water project here was to broaden our water supply and help Davis get through precisely what we’re going through now. My property in Solano County is likewise reasonably secure against drought.There are other areas that are in much worse shape where new housing would be unwise.

      1. Ron Oertel

        Marin County has planned very poorly for long-term water supply.

        I don’t think so.

        Based upon what I recall, they could have tapped-into the water supply from the Russian River.  Not sure if that was related to Warm Springs Dam, built some 40 years ago or so.

        Regardless, I suspect that those in Marin realized that development would be forced-upon them, if they increased water supply. As such, they probably made the right choice for their communities (as well as those who appreciate them, without even living there).

        Those folks do things right, starting around 50 years ago. (Several examples of that, including blocking Marincello, a freeway out to Pt. Reyes, etc.)

        There’s a PBS program regarding those earlier efforts. I recall one (former supervisor?), who said that development interests were surprised that he couldn’t be “bought”, one way or another.

        1. Alan Miller

          Not sure if that was related to Warm Springs Dam, built some 40 years ago or so.

          The reservoir is now down 88′ below it’s maximum elevation.  I don’t have the exact numbers, but the percentage of total volume shrinks much faster than the elevation.  This year the lake level has taken to a catastrophic decline rate compared to previous years.  A couple of more years of drought is an existential threat to the lake itself, and long before that the generation of electricity, a la Lake Oroville.

          Warm Springs dam and Lake Sonoma are a tragedy that submerged a beautiful valley, now a moonscape of denuded soil in the drought, and also submerged Skaggs Hot Springs, a treasure that cannot be replaced.

          Lake Sonoma is part of a system that waters most of Sonoma County’s population in addition to the City of Novato, but not the rest of Marin County.

          People who think like Don Shor marvel at the environmental benefits of another man made lake.  People who think like me marvel at the human stupidity of the destruction of this beautiful canyon.

          Two opinions, you decide.

        2. Ron Oertel

          I do remember the fight against Warm Springs Dam.

          I didn’t realize that the water level had dropped so far.

          New dams are like freeway expansions, in that the only thing they accomplish is more development which (then) depends upon them.  It’s never done to “improve” the situation for current populations.

          It’s subsidy for more development.  With the “bonus” of having direct negative environmental impacts, in-and-of themselves.

          And as the entire system starts showing signs of strain from this pattern (e.g., climate change, lack of consistent precipitation), a larger number of people are then impacted, as well.  To be “solved” by even more dams and freeways?

          Thought I’d search for a photo of Skaggs Hot Springs, that you mentioned:

          https://digital.sonomalibrary.org/documents/detail/57531

        3. Ron Oertel

          I also just found this article, regarding the history and fight against Warm Springs Dam.

          SMSCPARTFOURpp185-203.pdf (martingriffin.org)

          Also, if you ever have a chance to watch “Rebels With A Cause”, I’d highly recommend it. (This is the PBS program I mentioned earlier.)

          https://www.pbs.org/video/rebels-with-a-cause-g718xi/

          To some degree, the subsequent generations have lost their way – perhaps as reflected by the Vanguard itself, somewhat.

          Though they do appear to be concerned about climate change. (Or at least, claim to be.)

        4. Alan Miller

          That’s one shot of the resort.  Out of business for many years, but surely would have been brought back with the resurgence of popularity of hot springs and the proximity to the Bay Area.

          Another tremendously popular tourist destination was The Geysers, once having more tourist traffic than Yosemite.  If you want to know what ‘sustainable’ energy does — no one can access the hot springs anymore except on a bus tour – completely ruined.

        5. Ron Oertel

          Thanks – I’ll try to find some information regarding The Geysers.  I’ve heard of a geothermal plant somewhere in/near that area.

          Since you mentioned Yosemite, I’ve “heard” that there’s also a valley underwater, there.  🙂  Also creating “renewable” energy (and a water supply). No way would that happen, today – even for (or perhaps especially) a city like San Francisco.

          You might like the video I posted a link to.

          These are the types of issues I’m actually interested in, but as they say – I can always write an article myself I guess. Or, just read about it elsewhere.

           

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