Sunday Commentary: Davis Needs Housing, but Not There of Course

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By David M. Greenwald
Executive Editor

Davis, CA – The comment from the NY Times video that resonated most with me was when Binyamin Appelbaum pointed out, if you go to these meetings, “it’s always the same song and it goes something like this, ‘I am very in favor of affordable housing, we need more of it in this community, however, I have some concerns about this project.’”

It was easy to guess that a 1200-unit peripheral project was not going to get a lot of support by the largely slower-growth commenters on the Vanguard.

I’m not going to argue one way or another for the project, but I will attempt at least to set the playing field for this discussion, which is likely to take place over the next few years—and not just with this project, but a whole host of Measure J projects.

I have been warning for some time that we are running out of realistic options for infill. The spaces that are vacant in town are either not available for development for a variety of reasons or too small to have a meaningful impact.

Moreover, as I have pointed out a number of times, redevelopment and construction costs are very high—and while I think downtown is a good place for redevelopment, it’s going to be difficult to make it pencil out.

As the city warned, “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.”

Given that, it is likely that we were going to see a number of Measure J proposals come down the pike. And that’s what we are starting to see. So far we have seen one at Shriners and Wildhorse Ranch, but we might see more.

Several commenters called the proposal at Shriners “sprawl.” Are we simply using the term sprawl to refer to anything proposed for the periphery?

In addition to the limited opportunities to continue to rely on infill to meet our housing needs, we have kind of limited where we can continue peripheral growth. Development opportunities to the south, west and east are largely cut off. So most of the realistic areas are to the north of the city.

If I’m looking at the five areas most likely for housing—the property inside the Signature curve, Wildhorse Ranch, Shriners and then Covell Village and finally near Bretton Woods in the Northwest Quadrant.

Shriners itself is bounded on the west by Wildhorse, Wildhorse Ranch which also has an active proposal is there, and to the south is Mace Ranch. If you’re going to develop on the periphery, that property makes probably as much sense as any—maybe you rate that corner spot on the Signature curve slightly higher, maybe Covell Village.

Was surprised (slightly) that the focus wasn’t fully on the 1200 units. We will see what the proposal ends up at. One of the problem with the Measure J process is that it raises development costs significantly, and, as already stated, that will lead to larger proposals.

The other problem that you have is that Measure J often works against smart development practices—higher densities which are more efficient in favor of lower densities that put fewer units and cause fewer traffic impacts.

We will see what the actual housing mix is, but they are proposing significant affordable housing—multi-family units along with about 120 or so units that would sell at 70 percent of median home prices.

At this point, now that the city has addressed the student housing crisis, we have to figure out ways to build housing for families. Every time there was a student housing proposal coming forward, people were lamenting the lack of housing for families or workforce.

Now that we are starting to have projects come forward that address those needs, we will likely hear the standard line of “not here,” “not this project.”

As I pointed out earlier this week, we are fighting to preserve the existing character of this community so hard that we are in fact changing the existing character of this community—making it older with fewer children, and more expensive.

We are pricing the middle class, middle tier of families with children, right out of Davis. That will have huge and profound impacts on our community.

Currently, the Shriners applicant writes, Davis “has 20% fewer families with children per capita than the average U.S. city.

“This ongoing shrinking number of students coming from Davis presents long-term challenges to the fiscal health of the District, as well as the vitality of the entire City,” they write. “The new for-sale and rental housing proposed will make a meaningful contribution to the City’s housing supply and bring much needed new in-district families with school-aged children to the District and the Davis community.”

There will be a tendency for people to dislike this proposal. As one commenter put it, they “hate this” “more than any other development proposal.” Given that they have bitterly opposed every single recent housing proposal, those might be considered strong words.

The problem that I have been pointing out for some time is that we have largely run out of easy projects in non-objectionable locations. Can Measure J function when we don’t have low density proposals away from current residents and impacts? Or are we now locked in, because every new project is going to have impacts on existing residents and traffic?

That will be the next stage of challenge for Davis.

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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74 thoughts on “Sunday Commentary: Davis Needs Housing, but Not There of Course”

  1. Alan Miller

    “it’s always the same song and it goes something like this, ‘I am very in favor of affordable housing, we need more of it in this community, however, I have some concerns about this project.’”

    Well at least you can’t accuse me of singing THAT song.  I have consistently stated my opposition to subsidized, A-ffordable housing.

  2. Ron Glick

    “Can Measure J function …?”

    You need to ask? You support it then lament the situation you helped sustain for another decade. At this rate  by the time its up for renewal you will still be wondering if Measure J works.

    Of course it has worked more perfectly than the people who put it forward could have ever imagined. In over 20 years not one unit of housing has been constructed under the ordinance. When you support J you support that outcome. You support it you own it.

     

      1. Ron Glick

        Laugh out loud. After twenty years David still supports the ordinance then once again writes an article that laments the consequences of the ordinance he supports.

        David, you aren’t there yet? This isn’t Charlie Brown and Lucy with the football. You can’t kick your support down the road to another day. Until you change your position, these articles you write, lamenting the reality you support are so hypocritical its shameful. You should be embarrassed but I doubt that is possible.

        1. Alan Miller

          No RG it’s “our fault” for not “accepting the reality” of Measure J and that it cannot be overturned.  So instead Davis should “pre-approve” land for some vague, future unknown development.  Like THAT is realistic!

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            Tell you what, wake me when Measure J is gone and then we can start worrying about housing.

    1. Alan Miller

      Because we need more children, so the school district has more money, so they can pay the teachers more, so the teachers can send more to their public-sector unions.  That’s what.

      Oh, yeah . . . and it’s for the children!

    2. Bill Marshall

      Currently, the Shriners applicant writes, Davis “has 20% fewer families with children per capita than the average U.S. city.

      So what?

      Yes, I’ve ‘heard’ you (and many others)… it seems you (and sometimes the others) tend (in past posts) to support NPG (negative population growth)… no immigration, no reproduction, no new housing… better for environment, personal finances, convenience, etc.

      And, will stop that “evil sprawl”… and, if adopted world-wide, will end “CO2 induced climate change” by humans.  Noble, rational views… very altruistic.

      Hopefully, to come to that apparent view, you and your ancestors were all “indigenous”… didn’t even come to this land from an ice bridge in a previous ice age… you haven’t reproduced… you don’t live in any housing built since 1940 (after which, there was “sprawl”… maybe before… when did “sprawl” start?)

    3. Keith Y Echols

      Hopefully, to come to that apparent view, you and your ancestors were all “indigenous”… didn’t even come to this land from an ice bridge in a previous ice age… you haven’t reproduced… you don’t live in any housing built since 1940 (after which, there was “sprawl”… maybe before… when did “sprawl” start?)

      This is of course silly and irrelevant to the conversation.  It lacks perspective.  Communities have accepted new people into their communities because it serviced the existing community.  Generally for labor purposes.  If Davis were significantly growing economically (and UCD doesn’t count) then it might make sense to plan for more market rate homes to be built.

      At different points in time communities become more and less affordable.   It’s all relative and depends on the individual and the community.  I was not lucky enough to be able to afford to buy a home in San Francisco or Palo Alto when it was more affordable 50-60+ years ago.   Those communities are too expensive for me.  So I don’t live there.  I and no one else is entitled to live anywhere they can’t afford.  I’m not whining about who currently lives there and how they are or not “indigenous”.  It’s their community and I have to consider that if I choose to live there.

      1. Richard_McCann

        Keith E

        I disagree in the case of Davis because we exist almost entirely at the behest of the state of California. UCD is our raison d’etre and why we have the amenities that we have. As I posted a recently, we only need to look at Dixon to see what our town looks like without UCD. And in return, we are obligated to assist UCD in delivering its services to the rest of the state. That obligation includes providing some amount of housing for students (and student enrollment has hovered around 50% of the City population since the 1960s.)

    4. Richard_McCann

      Ron O

      I’ll point this out again–since you are a Woodland resident with no stake or connection to Davis, your comments are as relevant and useful at a Texan complaining about California policies. We really, really, really don’t care about what you think about what Davis should do. You don’t reflect what Davisites think in any way and you haven’t contributed any useful content other than out of context anecdotes.

      1. Ron Oertel

        “We really, really, really don’t care what you think about what Davis should do.  You don’t reflect what Davisites think in any way and you haven’t contributed any useful content other than out of context anecdotes.

        I’ll wait until you add a fourth “really”.

        In any case, at least I’m not a wealthy white business-owning NIMBY, claiming to support UCD while simultaneously preventing those living on campus from clogging “their” precious streets.

        Increasingly impacting those “of color”, as well:

        https://www.davisvanguard.org/2021/11/commentary-should-the-city-re-think-the-west-village-connection/#comment-457888

         

      2. Bill Marshall

        An “el wRONgO” post… you can always ignore.

        I disagree with Ron O ~ 92.6% of the time, and he irritates me when he attempts to ‘guilt others’ to agree with his ‘world view’… but, like a gnat, he can make you think, and you can always refute/disagree.

        But I defend his right to be an annoying gnat because sometimes (not this one) he can have a good insight.  Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

      3. Ron Oertel

        Tried to add, but cut-off:

        I believe I “represent” Davisites a lot more than you do. I know quite a few of them.

        (Not “Vanguardians”, though – you’ve got that nailed, in terms of representing them.)

        Though truth be told, there’s a few “Vanguardians” (commenters) on here that I like – even if I don’t always agree with them.

        And just saw Bill’s response. Thanks, I guess.

        1. David Greenwald Post author

          This is an interesting point…

          “I believe I “represent” Davisites a lot more than you do.”

          How would we measure this?

          Richard I believe voted for the winning position on Measure J votes the last three. Whereas you opposed all three, and the voters approved two.

          I don’t know exactly who he voted for in council elections, but I suspect he is more supportive of the council than you are.

          Then there’s the polling that showed by far the top issues were about housing, which he also seems more intuned with than you are.

          Also the voters of Davis seem a good deal more liberal than you and probably closer to where Richard stands.

          So based on known data, what are you thinking in terms of that comment?

        2. Ron Oertel

          How would we measure this?

          Ask them – you already know who they are.

          Richard I believe voted for the winning position on Measure J votes the last three. Whereas you opposed all three, and the voters approved two.

          Again, the voters seem to have a split, between “who” they support (and what “they” actually support, regarding development proposals at least).  Perhaps partly due to who (exactly) is willing to take the job in the first place.

          I don’t know exactly who he voted for in council elections, but I suspect he is more supportive of the council than you are.

          Of that, I have no doubt.  He and Carson were on the “same team”, against UCD’s proposal.  (Though truth be told, I probably weighed-in against it as well at the time. Not out of personal interest, but more out of “throw no one under the bus”.)

          Then there’s the polling that showed by far the top issues were about housing, which he also seems more intuned with than you are.

          See response above.

          So based on known data, what are you thinking in terms of that comment?

          See response above.

           

        3. Ron Oertel

          Also the voters of Davis seem a good deal more liberal than you and probably closer to where Richard stands.

          I don’t know about that, but everyone who runs for a seat on the Davis council is “liberal”.

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            I’m not sure I’d call Dan Carson particularly liberal. But having had discussions with you on politics, I feel very safe saying that the voters in Davis is far to the left of you. I don’t know how we would precisely measure that, but that’s based on 10,000 or so of your comments.

        4. Ron Oertel

          I believe you’re comparing that to YOUR articles.

          I support rent control.  Is that “liberal”?

          I support environmental protection.  Is that “liberal”?

          I realize that this country has historically discriminated against some groups (not limited to skin color). Is that “liberal”?

          I’ve never been “liberal” regarding crime, but I’m open to solutions other than mass imprisonment.  How would you categorize that?

          Truth be told, you’ve bought-into the Reagan-era position regarding “trickle-down” economics, as it relates to housing. Are you (and Richard) “conservative”?

          Also, why didn’t you (or Richard) speak out against the “Davis buyer’s” program, at WDAAC?

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            Your views on race and taxes for example are not particularly liberal. Nor are your views on schools. Your views on policing are downright conservative.

        5. Ron Oertel

          I don’t believe I’ve weighed-in much, regarding taxes (in general).

          However, you are probably correct in that my views regarding skin color are not aligned with what’s arisen in the last 5 years or so.

          And yet, I realize there’s a problem, especially (I think) as it relates to black people and relative lack of advancement compared to all other skin colors. Perhaps Native Americans as well, if they’re stuck on reservations without casinos.

        6. Ron Oertel

          Don’t know how you’re defining that, but I’ve never been too concerned with belonging to one club, or another.

          In general, I don’t believe that having tendencies toward one side or another makes you a “good” or “bad” person, nor do I believe that one side has a monopoly on the best solutions.

          But again, you are CONSERVATIVE regarding housing. Your buddies are developers. You agree with The Chronicle regarding housing, but disagree with them regarding Boudin. As such, you are largely in agreement with the YIMBY-types, regarding these issues.

          So, perhaps you’re not as “liberal” as you think you are. (As if that’s something to “strive for”, in-and-of itself.)

        7. Ron Oertel

          Nor are your views on schools.

          That is probably true, in that I believe there’s been too much emphasis on college (vs. trade schools). I value and admire those who have knowledge in the trades who actually do work that means something for all. Truth be told, I’m quite impressed by those who design and build housing, as well. Not to mention those who can then maintain it.

          I also don’t believe that schools should be the primary factor driving community-wide decisions.  (Does that really make me “conservative”?  Are you sure about that?)

          Your views on policing are downright conservative.

          My views on this are not as established as you might believe. But I don’t have much tolerance for crime which harms others.

        8. Alan Miller

          Richard I believe voted for the winning position on Measure J votes the last three. Whereas you opposed all three, and the voters approved two.

          How is who voted in conjunction with the majority pertinent to anything?

        9. Alan Miller

          Your views on race and taxes for example are not particularly liberal. Nor are your views on schools. Your views on policing are downright conservative.

          Ha ha!  Yeah, when viewed from the vantage point of a progressive captain on a justice warrior bridge on a far-left boat off the left coast on the Ocean of Woke.  In other words, if you a bathing in woke progressive waters in progressive west coast town and run a social justice blog.  Otherwise, yeah, he’s pretty liberal . . . -ish.

  3. Keith Y Echols

    I don’t buy the simplistic “Davis needs housing” argument.  I believe it needs some affordable housing.  But there’s no real need for any more market rate housing to increase the costs of community services/use resources and continue to increase home prices.  If market rate housing is built; there should be a tangible benefit that outweighs those costs (like increased Mace traffic for example) for the existing community.  That tangible benefit has to be sold to the Davis voters.

      1. Alan Miller

        So in your world, the people who already have homes get to decide if others should be able to get homes too?

        Welcome to the wonderful wacky world of Measure J Land.

    1. Keith Y Echols

      So in your world, the people who already have homes get to decide if others should be able to get homes too?

      Their incomes will dictate where they can buy a house.  Just like everyone else who came before them and after them.  See how easy that is?

      1. Keith Y Echols

        As time goes on, the incomes go up.  The people get whiter and whites.  Kids get fewer and fewer.  GENTRIFICATION!!!

        Ah..the limited understanding of housing creeps up it’s silly head again.   Also…an irrational socio-political understanding of economics.

        The proposed development and pretty much all market rate housing in the area will go up due directly due to economic gentrification.   And who can afford those new homes?  Wait….don’t tell me….those scary white people!   In terms of cultural impact…I don’t know…maybe you got me there.  How the proposed development will impact what’s already there.  Tell you what, go out to the proposed site and tell me how many jack rabbits of color will be displaced.

        Trying to adjust MARKET RATE housing for some socio-political issue is stupid.  As long as it’s available everyone fairly is all that’s what matters.  If you’re concerned with who can afford it, work on the issues on why certain segments of the population are economically disadvantaged….translation: increase their education, skills and ultimately buying power.

        1. Don Shor

          Davis has a serious lack of housing inventory in the move-up category of single-family homes. That’s been true for years and Measure J is the main reason. This is causing people who have established their careers here and are raising their families locally to seek housing outside of Davis when they finally have enough money and credit to qualify for a home. They are buying in Spring Lake and in the new subdivision on the southwest side of Dixon. We are delivering plants to both of those areas every week.
          Measure J has essentially blocked any of that type of housing. I’m less concerned with trying to somehow provide affordability in this market, though I have no problem with Davis attempting to mandate some reasonable percentage of homes in certain income categories. Both of the current proposals reflect the developers’ understandings of the Davis market, and I also appreciate your perspective that they need to sell project proposals to the existing (voting) public based on some community benefits.
          Davis has no shortage of requirements for how to make the housing more _______ (fill in the blank with your preferred virtue). Many of those requirements make the housing more expensive. I don’t see that part changing. It’s a tough market to develop in, as I’m sure you know. But calling a subdivision that is literally adjacent to another subdivision “sprawl” broadens that term to make it literally meaningless.

        2. Keith Y Echols

          But calling a subdivision that is literally adjacent to another subdivision “sprawl” broadens that term to make it literally meaningless.

          Pretty much the majority of annexed property is going to be adjacent to some other former development.  If you made being adjacent development/existing structures a way to differentiate “sprawl” then almost no new development would be called sprawl.

          While I generally oppose sprawl and even most new market rate housing in general; I try to be pragmatic about proposed projects.  I think they need to offer something to the exiting community because housing is a cost to the community.  DISC, I’m willing to stomach their housing in order to get the needed business park built because I think Davis needs the economic development.  That something for the existing community needs to be sold to the voters to overcome their objections/concerns about any new proposed development.  That has to come from city leaders and not the developers.  In fact the two need to work together (and not just hammering out a development agreement) to communicate, teach and convince the voters of the benefits of the new development.

          I tried to define “sprawl” by both physical/geographic traits as well as urban planned socio-c0mmunity based traits. The obvious is the geographic traits that make the project sprawl.  The socio-community based traits would be a design that connects the neighborhood to the greater community or creates a local community neighborhood that the rest of the greater community would like to to connect to.  If the new development is not connected to the community and is just a bunch of houses on the periphery…then it’s just sprawl.

      2. Alan Miller

        Their incomes will dictate where they can buy a house.  Just like everyone else who came before them and after them.

        Yeah, but now you can get a guv’ment subsidy and it “Big A”.

        See how easy that is?

        And so no, no longer that simple.

        1. Keith Y Echols

          Yeah, but now you can get a guv’ment subsidy and it “Big A”.

          I make it a point to differentiate market rate and affordable housing planning and projects.    You’re going to have to provide some degree of housing for the economically disadvantaged.   You can either do it under controlled circumstances through affordable housing projects that are “subsidized” or at least received economic incentives for developers.  Or you will have to invest a boatload of money into infrastructure so that home builders can massively build out houses to the degree that it may impact home prices enough to let poor people buy or rent homes at reasonable rates.  Which of course will lead to SPRAWL.  I choose the former.

          And so no, no longer that simple. 

          Market rate housing should be pretty simple.  If you can afford it, you can live there.  That’s pretty simple.

      3. Richard_McCann

        Keith E

        Your statement is incorrect. You are saying that a community is entitled to constrain the supply of housing to keep housing prices high so as to keep people out. In the world where incomes actually dictated whether they could buy a house, then it is also true that the supply of housing would be unconstrained to meet the increased demand for housing. You’re citing only one half of the economic equation in reaching an efficient market equilibrium (which is what you are implicitly relying on in your statement).

        1. Keith Y Echols

          Your statement is incorrect. You are saying that a community is entitled to constrain the supply of housing to keep housing prices high so as to keep people out. In the world where incomes actually dictated whether they could buy a house, then it is also true that the supply of housing would be unconstrained to meet the increased demand for housing. You’re citing only one half of the economic equation in reaching an efficient market equilibrium (which is what you are implicitly relying on in your statement).

          Richard,

          What in the world are you talking about?  I’m surprised you’re an actual economist as you continue to stick to a SIMPLISTIC understanding of supply and demand and continue to spout it as the primary driver in the housing market without understanding the details that effect the supply and demand.  It’s like some weird dogma.

          The REAL WORLD dictates that the supply of housing is constrained because of many factors.  IT COSTS THE COMMUNITY MONEY AND RESOURCES TO ALLOW ADDITIONAL HOUSING TO BE BUILT.  It costs money to expand infrastructure to significant degree for home building to effect home prices (over the exiting market and gentrification).  Also the high amount of capital required to build homes keeps homes from being built beyond immediate sales (ie…few spec homes…supply built up to lower prices).  The sales of those homes go to the developer and not the city.  So the community has no incentive to allow new housing to be built unless the new housing provides something for the community.

  4. Bill Marshall

    Anything beyond the 1917 City limits was either “leap frog development” (ex., El Macero), or “sprawl”.  Some “infill” occurred, following the “leap frog”…

    Semantics/rhetoric.

    1. Keith Y Echols

      Anything beyond the 1917 City limits was either “leap frog development” (ex., El Macero), or “sprawl”.  Some “infill” occurred, following the “leap frog”…

      What’s your point?

      1. Keith Olson

        Oh, it can be a mess on the north side too when heading to Guad for a burrito for dinner.  Plus all those cars heading to the overpass from the north side just make everything a bigger Mace mess. 1200 new houses along with DISC4 will all contribute to an even bigger Mace mess.

  5. Ron Oertel

    Sunday Commentary: Davis Needs Housing, but Not There of Course

    “It” does not, nor do any of the people living in Davis.

    As always, it’s about adding NEW residents.

    And yes, it is sprawl.

    One thing at a time. Defeat DISC first, and then focus on the others. Pick ’em off one at a time.

    Fortunately, it makes it even easier when they all start announcing their intentions simultaneously.

    1. Craig Ross

      Dumb comments by [Ron O].  Of course he doesn’t see a housing crisis.  It’s about housing for people who rent.  It’s about housing for people who work in Davis and drive to Davis.  It’s about housing for people who have children and work at the university but have to commute to town.  It’s about making Davis affordable for the average person.  Oh well, Ron doesn’t get it.

      1. Ron Oertel

        I support rent control.

        There’s no evidence that any of the people you’re referring to would move (from a cheaper location) to an insanely-expensive (for this region, at least), low-medium density development such as the one proposed at Shriner’s.

        More likely that folks from the Bay Area would move there.

        I’d suggest focusing on the land inside of Mace Curve, either for commercial, residential, or mixed-use. (That is, if some believe there’s a need to develop peripheral land.)

        1. Don Shor

          There’s no evidence that any of the people you’re referring to would move (from a cheaper location) to an insanely-expensive (for this region, at least), low-medium density development such as the one proposed at Shriner’s.

          People are presently buying new home sites in Dixon for $700 – $800K as soon as the sites are mapped and the house plans are released. Demand for s-f homes in the whole region is huge. It is very likely that people currently renting homes in Davis, at $2500 – $3500 per month, would seek to buy new s-f homes if they became available in Davis. They would do so because they’re already here, drawn by the reputation of the schools, the proximity to the university. Added market factors include the ability to reduce their commute time and distance, the high likelihood of a job opportunity in or near Davis for at least one of the wage earners, and the desirable characteristics of the community.

          I’d suggest focusing on the land inside of Mace Curve, either for commercial, residential, or mixed-use. (That is, if some believe there’s a need to develop peripheral land.)

          You’d “suggest focusing on” that site? Would you support a development that included “commercial, residential, or mixed-use’ inside the Mace Curve?

        2. Ron Oertel

          People are presently buying new home sites in Dixon for $700 – $800K as soon as the sites are mapped and the house plans are released.

          Yeah, that’s about how much they cost now – in the cheaper cities such as Dixon and Woodland.

          You can actually get houses for that price in Davis, as well.  Though due to the insane housing market (nationwide) lately – there isn’t a lot of supply of pre-existing houses.  That will change, as it always does.

          Regardless, here’s some that are for sale in Davis, now:

          https://www.zillow.com/homes/davis,-ca_rb/

          Demand for s-f homes in the whole region is huge.

          Demand for those has been huge across the nation, lately.  In the Sacramento region, they’re mostly coming from somewhere else (e.g., the Bay Area).

          It is very likely that people currently renting homes in Davis, at $2500 – $3500 per month, would seek to buy new s-f homes if they became available in Davis.

          One would have to look at how much house that can buy, assuming that folks have also saved up for a downpayment.  In other words, their income and downpayment.

          But again, I do (normally) see houses in the $700K range in places like Mace Ranch.

          They would do so because they’re already here, drawn by the reputation of the schools, the proximity to the university.

          The university is the primary draw, directly or indirectly.  Folks can live outside the city and attend Davis schools.  (For that matter, they can also easily commute to the university from places like Spring Lake in particular.)

          Added market factors include the ability to reduce their commute time and distance, the high likelihood of a job opportunity in or near Davis for at least one of the wage earners, and the desirable characteristics of the community.

          It’s a nice community, no doubt.  At least for the valley.

          I’d suggest focusing on the land inside of Mace Curve, either for commercial, residential, or mixed-use. (That is, if some believe there’s a need to develop peripheral land.)

          You’d “suggest focusing on” that site? Would you support a development that included “commercial, residential, or mixed-use’ inside the Mace Curve?

          I would expect that site to eventually be developed.  I don’t envision myself engaging in a campaign against it.

          But (in general), I don’t make assumptions that the city needs to continuously look to expand its boundaries.

           

           
          https://www.zillow.com/homes/davis,-ca_rb/

        3. Ron Oertel

          But again, I do (normally) see houses in the $700K range in places like Mace Ranch.

          By the way, does anyone know how much those (rather ugly) houses go for, between Pole Line Road and Mace Ranch?  (Are they “Stanley Davis” homes?  Not sure. They look like they’re from the 1960s-1970s periods.)

          They must be at least a little cheaper than $700K.  And they do seem to have substantial yards.

          Of course, any normal buyer would probably compare that to whatever they can get in a surrounding community for the same price.

          But at least Mace Ranch homes are kind of nice (and suburban in feel).

          Wildhorse is a little nicer.

          And then, we can discuss Lake Alhambra, where someone actually asked me not to park in front of their house, at one time. They claimed to be selling their house (in a note, on my windshield). And apparently, my vehicle was bringing down desirability. (Still have that same vehicle, by the way.)

  6. Ron Oertel

    I see that “normal” families (meaning not particularly high-income) will continue to gravitate to places like Spring Lake in particular, if they have a connection to Davis.  Especially in regard to new housing.

    Anything new for the same price (in Davis) is not going to accommodate families as easily, since it would necessarily be smaller, less yard space, less garage/parking, etc.  Though again, I have seen “pre-owned” housing in Davis that meets those requirements.

    Given that what’s being proposed at Shriner’s is overwhelmingly low-medium density, this isn’t going to be inexpensive housing.  (Think “The Cannery”, but with actual yards.)  I would expect it to start at more than $1 million easily, for the low-density (and perhaps even the medium-density).

    And again, any cheaper new housing in Davis won’t be large enough (in regard to square footage, yards, garages/parking) for families. Especially when nearby communities will continue providing that, at a somewhat cheaper price.

    This is what occurs when ALL housing becomes more expensive. Even the previously “el-cheapo” areas. Sort of like how Daly City used to fill that role for San Francisco.

  7. Todd Edelman

    I am not a slow growther!!! I am not a slow growther!!! I am for sustainable mixed use development on infill or “greyfill” (parking lots).

    We have lots of huge parking lots in Davis. Some are somewhat peripheral – Target-land, Oak Tree Plaza, El Macero Plaza, Stonegate – but at least all are on existing bus lines, and Stonegate is relatively close to UCD (even better if there’s a bus route directly from Russell through West Village…). The shopping center on 8th St is not far from Downtown, Oakshade Town Center, the Marketplace and Anderson Plaza are ideal for UCD students as they are on existing, near future and improving bicycle corridors to campus.

    We build these places with smaller, more economical units below and more expensive and larger units above.  Most of these places are also close to elementary and junior high schools.  We design innovative spaces that are conductive to informal and formal tutoring of kids by college students.

    Nearly every one of these places has diverse shopping within seconds away by foot, in some cases closer to any owned car underneath the housing.  Most of the existing lots are never close to being full; there will be some sacrifices on guest parking and limited residential parking… ideally any parking is in structures built to be re-purposed later on.

    This housing will be very desirable. There will be no shortage of interested renters and buyers.

    1. Alan Miller

      We build these places with smaller, more economical units below and more expensive and larger units above . . . We design innovative spaces that are conductive to informal and formal tutoring of kids by college students.

      We?

      … ideally any parking is in structures built to be re-purposed later on.

      Later on?  As when cars cease to exist?

  8. Bill Marshall

    a community is entitled to constrain the supply of housing to keep housing prices high (Richard McC)

    What in the world are you talking about? (Keith Y E)

    What Richard refers to (ignoring what he said was the motivation) existed in Davis, via CC “housing allocation” process in the late 70’s, early 80’s.  It was not a big secret… they also used the “housing allocation” process to designate “small builder” allocations… if you were to look at the CC membership then, the ‘small builders’ then, and their relationships, they were easy to “connect the dots”… it was about ‘control’, keeping prices appreciating, and making sure that those builders connected to CC got their chunk of the pie.  Existing HO’s got their piece of the pie, in that restrained supply, increased demand for existing properties, and increased those values… Econ 101.

    I saw it, lived it, held my nose as I processed those developments.

    It had a “revival” leading up to Measure J… intended to do the same things, but now by voter-approved ‘mandate’… one only needs to look at the late 70’s 80’s council members, and the folk they supported for the passage of Measure J.

    Several of those involved in promoting Measure J, including at least one former CC member, fought, and even threatened to sue, to deny zoning changes that they thought would possibly diminish/limit increase of the value to properties THEY owned… long timers can connect the dots…

    It is the “dark underbelly” of development pressures in Davis, and has been going on for decades, off and on.  An inconvenient truth.  And to a certain extent we’re seeing the “I’ve got mine, you have to pay premium to get yours” today.  Flies in the face of “affordable housing” and “growth”.  It is what it is.

    I am neither pro, nor anti growth, and factually, my property values have gone up a great deal (well beyond inflation) over the years… I did not need that to happen.  But it did.

    1. Keith Y Echols

      I’m well aware that local constraints and influence on development is more common than not.  One of my business partners was implicated in the FBI Operation “Rezone” (google if it if you’re not familiar with it).  It happened a decade before I knew him and I didn’t know about the scandal or his involvement in it until 15+ years later.  But I was aware of all of his personal political connections in the area that helped get projects approved.

      I’m not anti-growth or pro-growth.  I believe growth should benefit the existing community.  Residential growth by itself doesn’t benefit the existing community.

      1. Bill Marshall

        Agree, but with a nuance… I believe growth should be neutral or benefit the existing community.  

        We may be close to being on same page… but I reject the notion that the existing community gets a measurable “dividend”… I do believe in the “no harm, no foul” concept.

        You can judge how close we are to being on the same page…

        1. Keith Y Echols

          I should clarify my statement about residential growth.  MARKET RATE residential growth should benefit the existing community.  I do believe cities have an obligation to provide housing opportunities to a “certain number” of economically challenged or disadvantaged people that are part of the community.   What that “certain number” is; I don’t know….as it would have to do with the surrounding community as well.  I think much of this is baked into the RHNA numbers to a certain degree.  But based on what little I’ve read (I’m still in the middle or reading the details) I don’t like the way those numbers are calculated.   But in general, I support affordable housing projects to a much greater degree than market rate projects.

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