Commentary: A Look at Council Candidates on Housing – the Push for Infill

University Commons – the mixed use project remains in some doubt

By David M. Greenwald
Executive Editor

Davis, CA – A week or so ago, we people were asking for more commentary on the council candidates’ positions on issues.  We now have a huge volume of material to parse through—last week’s three forums yielded roughly 20,000 words on key issues.

One of the most important issues facing the Davis Community is the issue of housing.  After the loss of DiSC in both 2020 and 2022, the pendulum has seemingly swung back toward infill and away from peripheral housing.

When the candidates were asked about what type of residential development they favored, the answer focused toward infill and affordability.

Gloria Partida: “I always advocate for the missing middle because that is an area where we don’t have enough housing. I think that for a long time we built, you know, lots of McMansions and housing was really big and unaffordable. It became unaffordable. And so I think the move back to building smaller units, to building stack flats and condominiums and denser housing is the way to go for us because we have our downtown plan that advocates for that type of housing.”

Adam Morrill: “I would push for mandatory 35% being affordable as far as not big ‘a’ affordable, but affordable for a certain price point within the community and pushing for townhomes, condos.”

Kelsey Fortune: “I really would like for us to focus on infill. It creates opportunities for the city to increase its tax base without increasing infrastructure and maintenance costs. Things like our downtown plan that will, you know, build up multiple different types of housing within the core of our community. Apartments, condos, town homes, you know, denser, denser housing near where people want to live is hugely important.”

Dan Carson: “I think we need to move forward on both market rate and affordable housing because, from an economic perspective, adding units, adding supply makes a huge difference. I’ve fought the good fight, won some, lost some for housing projects at the ballot at the council.”

Bapu Vaitla: “I think the focus initially should be infill housing, downtown dense, affordable climate friendly, transit linked infill. And we have some policy levers to make that happen, including increasing density bonuses, reducing, eliminating parking minimums, fast tracking permitting for developments with a high affordable percentage up zoning to allow these kind of modest increases in density and height.”

Or, as Bapu Vaitla put in another forum, “we need to focus on dense, climate friendly, affordable transit linked infill in our downtown.”

Dan Carson also pushed in the downtown, “We are nearing completion of a new plan for our downtown that will add 1000 market rate and other types of units for about 2200 people over time.”

There was also a push for updating the General Plan.

Adam Morrill, “We need to update our general plan to include those areas so that we don’t result in a patchwork of sprawl, unconnected communities. That’s just not sustainable. It’s not good policy. So in addition to updating a general plan.”

He later added, “First off, we need to make the necessary updates to the general plan. We can’t keep adding, amending peripheral development that just results in patchwork and sprawl. That’s the first thing that needs to be done.”

He wasn’t alone.  Bapu Vaitla added, “I would just say in terms of our vision overall, we need a general plan update. If we as a city do not say what the character of our city is as far as housing, what we want to see, then we won’t attract the kind of developers, nonprofit developers, affordable housing developers that fit that vision of equity and sustainability.”

He later added, “The big thing though, is having a general plan update that sets the character our vision for housing in the city.”

What about peripheral development?

Adam Morrill acknowledged, “With regard to any future peripheral development, which is going to be necessary. Davis needs to grow.”

Kelsey Fortune made it clear that she favored infill projects “rather than focusing on peripheral projects.”

All of the candidates acknowledged the need for housing.  But the push for that housing was quite clearly away from housing on the periphery that tends to be contentious and requires approval of the voters.

How realistic is that?  That’s a big question.

Dan Carson for instance touted the fact the city is moving toward approving the downtown plan adding 1000 market rate—and the city is clearly counting on the downtown not only for market rate, but to fulfill its allotment of low- and very low-income housing as required under RHNA.

But how realistic is that?  The fiscal analysis performed several years ago suggests that downtown mixed use is going to have to be for sale, relatively large units and dense to pencil out for the developers.  And the opportunities for low- and very low-income units are going to be very limited.

Unless RDA or some other form of subsidized housing comes forward, I think it’s questionable that the city can redevelop.

City Manager Mike Webb a few months ago told me that, while he thought we could reach our RHNA allotments for this cycle, he thinks it will be hard to impossible to infill our way out in the next cycle.

The problem the city faces is that the amount of available vacant land is limited and redevelopment and densification is very expensive not to mention contentious.

We saw this with University Commons.  The project was approved by the last council—but because it was dense infill, it needed to be seven stories which drew a lot of criticism for near neighbors.

We now have the announcement that housing is off the table—much to the chagrin of some of the candidates.

We reported problems with this project back in June.

Here is what I wrote:

Meanwhile the prospects remain uncertain for University Commons.  As many probably remember, the project was approved by council on a contentious 3-2 vote only when Brett Lee gained a key concession to lower the building height at the last moment.

Mike Webb told the Vanguard that financing is a problem, but “they know they need it,” meaning the renovation.  As some remember, Brixmor, the commercial entity that owns the site, initially wanted to do a redesign and were convinced by the city to look at mixed use—a prospect they ultimately agreed to but it took them out of their comfort zone.

Adding to the challenges were last-second conditions put on by council to gain the approval.

Webb said on Monday they will be meeting with the team again.  The question is what they want to do at this point.  The options appear to be either just doing the commercial portion of the project as they originally intended or phasing in residential to make it pencil out.

We now know that they decided to do commercial only.  Everyone is lamenting this. I see this as the failure of our process though—the developers in order to get the project approved put forward a project that would not pencil out.  The result is the loss of a huge opportunity for dense, infill housing.

I have had some interesting conversations in the past week about possible ways forward overall with good, dense infill housing that can perhaps rebuild community trust—that’s what is lacking and it doesn’t help that the Downtown Plan has been delayed as long as it has or that we still don’t have a community vision or General Plan update.

Housing is highly needed, but unfortunately it is not going to become less contentious, and it will be up to the next council to figure out ways to thread that needle.

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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30 Comments

  1. Ron Oertel

    We now know that they decided to do commercial only.  Everyone is lamenting this. 

    Your own article notes that not everyone is lamenting this:

    The project was approved by the last council—but because it was dense infill, it needed to be seven stories which drew a lot of criticism for near neighbors.

    The problem (with all of these candidates) is that no one is actually defining what the supposed increased need is, and the impact of developments in places like Woodland – over which Davis has no control.  The only “choice” that Davis has is whether or not they want to add sprawl in addition to the sprawl that places like Woodland are adding.  (It’s an easy/short commute to UCD, from there.)

    No one ever addresses this at all.  Now, if Davis could control what Woodland (or for that matter – UCD) does, perhaps a discussion could ensue. But until then, a discussion of “need” is akin to pissing in the wind. (Not necessarily “into” the wind, but just carried away by the wind.)

    In the meantime, anyone who is absolutely set on moving to Davis can do so, as there’s always “pre-owned” housing for sale.  But, it’s certainly not necessary to do so, to attend Davis schools.  “Whole lotta poachin goin on”, to paraphrase Jerry Lee Lewis.  (By the way, I guess he’s the last 1950s rocker left.)

    In any case, prices are dropping everywhere – including for the new houses in Woodland:

    https://www.lennar.com/new-homes/california/sacramento/woodland

    Of course, individuals can’t get the same “deal” as corporate buyers, but I’m not sure how large of a factor that is in Woodland. I know it’s a factor in the region.

    But you know the old saying, “buy high, and sell low”.  This seems to be the preferred method for many.  Pretty much how many approach the stock market, as well.  (But hey, there’s always the Lottery or the local casinos.  And in the case of the Lottery, I’m sure that many primarily participate to help schools.)  🙂

    The downturn in the housing market (and economy at large) is also likely a factor regarding University Mall.

  2. Ron Glick

    Davis is an awful place  to do business. Measure J makes building out too risky. But trying to build infill sucks too. The Downtown plan as written makes most of downtown off limits to new construction. Plus anyone who tries to build gets insulted for their efforts while running the gauntlet of getting city approval. U Mall is a perfect example. Meanwhile all the CC candidates avoid speaking realistically about peripheral development because they are afraid of the electorate. Its sort of like the Davis equivalent of Republicans who won’t call out Trump for his violent rhetoric because they are afraid of his voters.

    Davis needs to build a few thousand single family homes on the periphery and use the money it generates to build lots of Affordable Housing. Anyone arguing that infill alone can alleviate  the pressure in the housing market is either dumb or lying. I’m guessing the candidates aren’t dumb but I may be deluding myself by giving them the benefit of the doubt.

    1. Keith Olson

       Meanwhile all the CC candidates avoid speaking realistically about peripheral development because they are afraid of the electorate.

      Oh, so they are afraid of the will of the voters?

       Its sort of like the Davis equivalent of Republicans who won’t call out Trump for his violent rhetoric because they are afraid of his voters.

      If you ask me it’s been Biden and other Democrats who have been putting out the violent rhetoric lately.

    2. Ron Oertel

      Meanwhile all the CC candidates avoid speaking realistically about peripheral development because they are afraid of the electorate. Its sort of like the Davis equivalent of Republicans who won’t call out Trump for his violent rhetoric because they are afraid of his voters.

      As the “counterpoint Ron”, I’d say that they’re afraid of those who have bought-into the claim that there’s a “housing shortage”.  It’s “safe” for them to say, however, that they want more affordable housing – another meaningless phrase.

      Davis needs to build a few thousand single family homes on the periphery and use the money it generates to build lots of Affordable Housing.

      Thereby driving up the cost of the single-family housing that would subsidize the Affordable housing.  Making places like Woodland all that much more appealing for those with limited incomes and families.  (Though I believe they have their own Affordable housing requirements, as well.)

      Anyone arguing that infill alone can alleviate the pressure in the housing market is either dumb or lying.

      What “pressure”?  How is this being defined, and how will we know when there’s no longer any “pressure”?
      Ig

    3. Ron Oertel

      For the record, I was not able to apply/fix the correct quotation emphasis on the comment above, before being cut-off.

      But, I’m sure that most readers can figure out “which Ron said what”.

  3. Tim Keller

    All of the candidates talking about infill really strikes me as disengenious.    Even the “pro development” council that we have right now shied away from really ACTUALLY pushing for effective infill / upzoning.    Look at Trackside and the U-Mall, and the fact that a story got lopped off of Sterling    If we were serious about “infill” our representatives would have pushed harder to make that happen DESPITE the objection of neighbors because this is the kind of thing we need to do across this ENTIRE CITY if we are actually thinking that infill / redevelopment can make a dent in solving our problems.

    David, I would love to see you ask the candidates about some DETAILS about how they would propose solving things via “infill” … lets get SPECIFIC.    Because as you have pointed out, the cold reality of the situation is that if you put together all of the opportunities for infill and redevelopment that are in front of us… its really not going to move the needle in the real world.    Talking about infill in the generic sense is effectively talking about doing nothing.

    A couple of weeks I had a great conversation about economic development with one of the people who signed the NO on H ballot statement, and we talked about infill alternatives… the PG&E yard came up… which is always does, and I think we agreed:  If the city DOES actually want to prioritize infill over peripheral growth, and take on a challenge like relocating PG&E, then we need to be Agressive with pursuing it, and the council will have to take a leadership role in PUSHING infill / upzoning and redevelopment…

    That is NOT easy, because every such initiative will end up angering whoever it is that lives next to that specific project… The incumbents here shied away from taking that kind of aggressive stance on infill, and my read of their positions is that they are much more pro-development than some of their challengers.

    So when it comes to saying you are “for infill as opposed to peripheral growth”, my message to candidates is : Get SPECIFIC with real plans, or pledges to treat certain issues a certain way… or stop saying you are for infill… its meaningless without a specific concept for how its going to be implemented.

    1. Richard_McCann

      Tim

      Acquiring the PG&E Yard will be a huge lift that likely will require a Section 851 application at the CPUC.  Acquiring another property similarly located would be very difficult for PG&E. (Plus there’s likely site contamination from decades of transformer storage.) Let’s just get over trying to redevelop that parcel–it’s not happening for a very, very long time. (Spoken from 3 decades plus of CPUC proceedings.) Move on from fantasies.

  4. Todd Edelman

    We are simply not building high enough and we’re still prioritizing housing cars over housing people. Building in Downtown will not solve everything… and we’ve made too many mistakes, including recently:

    * Everything in West Village should have been twice as high, with parking lots only for ADA requirements. This could make it use half as much land, or provide four times as much housing, etc.  The City and County should get out of the business of motor vehicle storage for people using their vehicles for shopping or travelling in the region. This is why we have bicycles, rental cars and public transportation.
    * Similarly, the new construction on Orchard Park should have been as tall as Identity Davis, across the street.
    * Reasoning about Sterling-5th was missing: Vehicle traffic concerns were not caused by the height of the building, but by motor vehicle storage, also all on the sunny south side of the building.
    * The whole Research Park area inclusive of much of the various parking lots and the mobile home park (county, I know) could be a lot more dense given it’s extreme proximity to Downtown and Davis Depot. In fact adding a lot more here beyond what’s already approved would pay the fees to make the missing connection from Olive to the Depot happen immediately.
    * The U-Mall re-development still had no way too much ground level vehicle storage and the whole sun and shade concern could have been mitigated by building it high against Russell, rather than the back of the property. Balconies high over boulevards is better than over backyards for all concerned.
    * There should at least be a study about building on top of 113 roughly between Hutchinson and West Covell. It doesn’t necessary have to be use incredibly expensive and the benefits are extensive, from providing housing immediately adjacent to campus and perhaps less campus-oriented housing further north, and quieting the environment close to 113, possibly raising property values. It’s reasonable to have it no taller than three or four stories, in deference to the nearby single-family homes.
    * I-80 could not be built now, so why do let it exist? Clearly making it quieter would be nice, but it’s such a god-darn waste of space. Divert it around town, south of Putah Creek, with extensive noise mitigation to not effect people in southwest West Sac, and add direct egress to various logistics hubs etc in West Sac. Directly to I-80 headed to the Natomas, etc. This would free up a HUGE amount of land for mixed-use development close to the center of town and adjacent to UC Davis and multiple neighborhoods. This fits perfectly with the plan for some kind of moderate high speed passenger rail in the existing corridor, and as a close regional pair with Sacramento Railyards.  Agriculture would be mostly preserved with only temporary disruption during construction of a subterranean half-ring road roughly west of 102, and elevated (with noise mitigation) to the east and up to West Sac.  Much of Davis would have huge benefits in noise reduction and other types of pollution.

    1. Tim Keller

      I agree with many of Todd’s points…  which still beg the question that I put forward… which of these candidtaes are going to SPECIFICALLY commit to pushing for specific ideas like this?  Are any of them going to commit to building taller and to supporting the elimination / modification of parking minimums?

      Are any of the candidates willing to put up a proposal which says… THESE are the properties which I want to get redeveloped to be 7+ stories, and HERE is my plan for doing so?

      Infill vs peripheral is really nice to SAY, but hard to DO.  It should be seen as a false promise if the candidate isnt willing to be specific.

    2. Bill Marshall

      We are simply not building high enough and we’re still prioritizing housing cars over housing people. 

      Simple questions, for you, Todd E, and some other posters, and authors…

      What is dense enough, high enough, and would you choose to live there?  Simple…

      What does “housing cars” mean?  Are you ‘carless’, and have no visitors, guests who use cars?  Simple…

      Do you expect from others what you do not wish for/expect for yourself?  Again, simple…

      1. Todd Edelman

        Bill M: It’s not about me, and this is not a really useful starting point for a query, but anyway:

        What is dense enough, high enough, and would you choose to live there?  Simple…

        There are all sorts of factors such as orientation, shade, airflow… tight spaces (narrow streets) work well with four to five stories, arteries can handle taller buildings. (I’ve lived here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here a low-density complex of sorts, a family house or two… and now in an apartment complex in South Davis. I overwhelmingly enjoy the taller places with lots of density… BUT I think that all homes should have at least one sunny space and either a view or the smell from soil when it starts to rain…

        What does “housing cars” mean?

        Residential PARKING

        Are you ‘carless’,

        NOT now but I have been in Davis and in most of the place I mentioned…

        and have no visitors, guests who use cars?  Simple…

        YES and no
         

        Do you expect from others what you do not wish for/expect for yourself?  Again, simple…

        I AM just one type of person etc, I would be happy to live in a Davis with the features I proposed, without my own motor vehicle…. but with appropriate bikes, carshare, trains every 30 min to the Bay Area and every 15 to Sac…
         

      2. Richard_McCann

        I think the target density would be Oakland’s excluding its regional parks or about 9,000 per square mile. Oakland was sufficient transit service to live there without a car. Most importantly commercial enterprises need to be distributed throughout the neighborhoods so biking and walking is much easier. Davis is at about 7,000 per square mile, while San Jose is at 5,000. I lived in Oakland and Berkeley off and on for a dozen years and enjoyed it. I either had no car, or used one rarely while I was there. I visit often and find that I park fairly easily.

  5. Richard_McCann

    Ron O

    Your bias as a Woodland resident is coming through. So now Davis should bow down to the whims of Woodland. I can only see resentment in your comments.

    (It’s an easy/short commute to UCD, from there.)

    Not true. It’s more than 7 miles from the shortest distance, and 11 miles on average. That’s more than 4,000 miles a year of driving for a commuter. The transit service is poor and won’t be easily improved given the lack of housing density in both communities. It’s a very difficult bike commute for most people. Staff housing needs to be close to campus to reduce commuting VMT (65% of our GHG emissions.) And we should not disenfranchise and segregate staff by putting them on campus instead of in town.

     

    1. Ron Oertel

      Your bias as a Woodland resident is coming through. So now Davis should bow down to the whims of Woodland. I can only see resentment in your comments.

      You have an active imagination, as nothing I said would lead to that conclusion.

      I have no resentment, and this isn’t about “me” in the first place.  Though it’s entirely predictable (and expected at this point), that you’d attempt to make this about me, rather than the issue (or non-issue, as it were). You attempt to do so at every opportunity.

      (It’s an easy/short commute to UCD, from there.)

      Not true. It’s more than 7 miles from the shortest distance, and 11 miles on average. That’s more than 4,000 miles a year of driving for a commuter. The transit service is poor and won’t be easily improved given the lack of housing density in both communities. It’s a very difficult bike commute for most people. Staff housing needs to be close to campus to reduce commuting VMT (65% of our GHG emissions.) And we should not disenfranchise and segregate staff by putting them on campus instead of in town.

      The “shortest distance” is where the majority of the new housing is being built.  Also, you’d have to compare that to some place like Shriner’s (or DISC), while also accounting for the greenhouse gasses resulting from driving through congested Davis, vs. uncongested Highway 113.

      Assuming that someone is driving to UCD every weekday (which by no means should be “assumed” in the first place), I’m coming up with approximately 3,360 miles per year.

      I recall that the DISC site is about 5 miles from campus, through congested Davis.  As such, I’m coming up with approximately 2,400 miles per year.  (And again, you’d have to account for inefficiencies created by driving through Davis traffic, from that location.  There’s a vast difference in vehicle efficiency (and time) when comparing city miles, vs. freeway miles.

      In addition, adding more traffic within the existing city of Davis creates more inefficiency for existing drivers, which would also need to be accounted for when conducting a comparison.

      There’s also the fact that not everyone in a household “commutes” at all, or to the same location.  There are people who commute from Davis to Woodland.  Some of those associated with Yolo Food Bank come to mind, as one example.

      But probably the larger commuter destination for either city is Sacramento, itself.

      Based upon these numbers (and resulting inefficiencies described above), I suspect it’s about a “wash”, as far as the difference in commuting impacts.

      Either of those locations would be served by public transit.  There’s already a commuter bus line from Woodland to UCD.

      But again, I’m not “advocating” for housing in Woodland.  It’s occurring regardless of what I think, or what Davis does.

      The only “choice” that Davis has is whether or not to add more sprawl, to accommodate more people who don’t already live there.

      But again, there is no housing shortage.  Solutions are being proposed for which there is no “problem” in the first place. What’s being proposed here is to add more NON-RESIDENTS to the city of Davis. (This is where there’s also a lack of honesty regarding what’s being proposed.)

      If the housing downturn continues, watch what happens regarding building activity in the region (after they “work through” the housing that’s already under construction).  In a sense, builders are getting caught with their pants down (again), while they work through that inventory.  (See link I provided above, regarding the drop in new housing prices.)

      Of course, the rising interest rate is what’s primarily causing the downturn.  This was actually needed to cool the overheated housing market in particular.

      I guess we’ll see if this turns into a full-blown “housing crisis” (as the term originally meant – back around 2007 – 2011).

      But for sure, the people who are complaining about “high housing prices” now aren’t going to take advantage of that downturn. “Buy high, sell low”. It’s always the same folks.

  6. Richard_McCann

    Ron O

    First, not all new UCD employees would live in Spring Lake–they would be distributed around the City.

    But importantly you miss the most important element of making the campus more accessible–multiple means of traveling there, not a single strand served by a periodic commuter line. Davis already has Unitrans which is a quite a good transit system for a city of this size that is already focuses on getting to campus from all over town. No need to cook up a new transit line. And in addition, traveling by bike to campus is pretty easy from most places in town, including from Mace Blvd thanks to the bike lanes.

    We have a housing crisis–we only need to look at the market prices as the single best indicator of the situation. Your assertion is contradicted by the most basic fact that cannot be refuted. Basic supply and demand are driving the prices upward.

    And of course this about you–why else would a Woodland resident try to impose his will on Davis residents who aren’t interested in hearing his uninformed opinion?

     

    1. Ron Oertel

      Richard:  First, not all new UCD employees would live in Spring Lake–they would be distributed around the City.

      Don’t know what your point is, regarding that.  Aren’t we speaking about “new” development, here?  The vast majority of which is occurring on the South side of Woodland?

      And it’s not just Spring Lake on the South side of town.  It will also be the “technology park”, which added 1,600 housing units during its “move” 7 miles or so up Highway 113.  A straight shot to UCD.

      Richard:  But importantly you miss the most important element of making the campus more accessible–multiple means of traveling there, not a single strand served by a periodic commuter line. Davis already has Unitrans which is a quite a good transit system for a city of this size that is already focuses on getting to campus from all over town. No need to cook up a new transit line. And in addition, traveling by bike to campus is pretty easy from most places in town, including from Mace Blvd thanks to the bike lanes.

      And yet at first, you said the following in your earlier comment:

      The transit service is poor and won’t be easily improved given the lack of housing density in both communities. 

      So, which is it?  Pick a lane, so to speak.

      And, how many existing UCD employees (e.g., from the far reaches of town) use Unitrans to commute to UCD?  Not to mention any future peripheral developments, some 5 miles away from campus?

      How many would commute from (say DiSC, or Shriner’s) via bicycle to campus every day? (Probably about the same percentage as those who would use the eventual Woodland/Davis bike path, if it’s ever built.)

      How many non-students (in general) use Unitrans in the first place?

      And in regard to Woodland to UCD, why are you discounting the service (via YoloBus’ #42 line)?  Every half-hour, in the morning.

      Not to mention the dedicated commuter express, to UCD/Davis.

      But again, I’m not advocating for housing in Woodland.  It’s occurring regardless.  And the price differential alone will ensure that new-to-the-area (and somewhat less-wealthy) families will continue moving there.  (Probably some moving from Davis, as well.)

      The fact is that (families in particular) get “more for their money” in places like Spring Lake.  Including a place to park, etc.  This is not unlike how the Bay Area developed (e.g., Daly City).

      There is no way you’re going to force families (in particular) to do without cars.  They’ll continue seeking out locations which enable this.

      We have a housing crisis–we only need to look at the market prices as the single best indicator of the situation. Your assertion is contradicted by the most basic fact that cannot be refuted. Basic supply and demand are driving the prices upward.

      So again, places like Woodland are helping to “moderate” those prices.  And yet, those purchasing new “traditional” single-family houses still need approximately $600K (starting) to do so – even in places like Woodland.  (Though again, the prices are declining.)

      What price do you think similar housing in Davis would sell for?  Put a number on it, and tell us how you think this will occur (e.g., when considering how Spring Lake is “moderating” prices in the first place).

      I said earlier that it’s always the “same people” complaining about “high housing prices”.  But actually, it’s always the same people on here (like you) who are plenty wealthy in the first place (and have their own homes and businesses), who are “complaining” about housing prices.  I have yet to hear from anyone on here who is actually seeking to purchase a house (at XX “discounted price”), or any reason or method regarding how they think this will occur.  Or, how they believe they won’t lose out to someone from the Bay Area, for example.

      And of course this about you–why else would a Woodland resident try to impose his will on Davis residents who aren’t interested in hearing his uninformed opinion?

      You have no idea whether or not I have a connection to Davis.

      In any case, you’re the one who consistently and constantly attempts to “impose your will” on the voters of Davis, by seeking to disenfranchise them regarding Measure J.  You’re the one who is arguing to move entire cities (such as Woodland) into Davis.

      And you consistently attempt to make this about me, rather than the issues (or in this case, the “non-issue”).

      There is no housing shortage.  None.  This claim is arising from the same interests that caused sprawl in the first place.  They simply changed their arguments.

      For the most part, all we have on here is a bunch of well-off Davis elites supposedly concerned about the “poor, unwashed masses” who have no connection to Davis in the first place.  I suspect that there’s other reasons for their “concern”.

      Their entire “concern” reminds me of all of the “enlightened, white elites” who lecture “less-fortunate” white people about their supposed biases.  How does it feel from that privileged vantage point, looking down at others? (“Superior”, I would guess.)

      And while you’re at it, tell us how the “Davis-based buyer’s” program (or whatever it’s called) at Bretton Woods fits into your argument when lecturing others.

      1. Don Shor

        Housing shortages or surpluses are defined by the months or days of inventory in a particular market. Available inventory fluctuates but you will find industry analysts consider a 4 – 6 month inventory to reflect a healthy market for buyers and sellers. Longer inventory, better for buyers. Shorter inventory, better for sellers. “Housing shortage” is another term for “low housing inventory.”
        As of Feb. 2022 the Sacramento area inventory was 0.7 months.
        So do you have any data to support your assertion that

        “There is no housing shortage. None.”

        ?

        1. Ron Oertel

          You’re expanding your claim to Sacramento?

          And you’re referring to self-interested “industry analysts” to define a “shortage”?

          O.K. – here’s the first thing that popped up. (It’s already a couple of months old.)

          Sacramento Housing Market Among The Most Susceptible to a Recession Downturn

          Inventory is up, too. Active listings jumped 22% from May to June and are now up 73% compared to last year when there was severely low inventory. Though it’s not a buyer’s market just yet, sellers are forced to be “more reasonable” and come to the table ready to negotiate, says Waheed Akhtar, a Sacramento real estate agent with RE/MAX Dream Homes.

          “Sellers are softening up,” Akhtar says. “They’re offering options to buyers. They’re not only lowering the prices a little bit; they’re offering to pay down the buyer’s rates and offering money back to the buyer.“

          https://www.sacbee.com/money/sacramento-housing-market-susceptible-to-downturn-in-recession/

          I believe this is my 6th comment for the day, though one of my earlier comments simply noted an error (due to a premature cut-off period for editing).

          In any case, the housing market is still in the early stages of a crash (or “correction”, if you will).  The analyst (via the link below) consistently presents relevant, accurate data regarding that.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ZrFw4tPmC8

          This despite the fact that many are reluctant to sell when their houses are losing value, and when they’ve already locked in low interest rates.

          People don’t necessarily buy houses based upon “need”.  They do so when (they think) it makes financial sense for them to do so.  Much of it is based upon fear (e.g., of “missing out”, or “getting stuck”).  For example, much of the recent run-up was due to fear of missing out on low interest rates.  This is also what caused an artificial/temporary jump in housing prices.

          Again, see the link I provided above, regarding the price cuts for new housing in Woodland.  Anyone wanting a house within a short commute of UCD doesn’t have to “wait”.  There’s lots more coming, as well. (Tell you what – give them a call, and ask them if they have a “shortage”. Would have to look at it again, but there’s like a dozen houses nearing completion listed from that one builder, alone.)

          Again, not advocating for it, but it is a fact.

          Just checked Zillow, and it looks like there’s a significant amount of housing for sale in Davis, as well.  As there always is.

          Alternatively (if anyone reading this is actually looking for a house), you could “wait-and-see” what Davis might approve in the future.  Probably some real “bargains” regarding brand-new housing in the future, if you just wait.  Sounds like a “plan”.

          I suspect that this is how most people “get rich” – just wait and advocate for someone to build new, cheaper housing for you – in a town that is already somewhat expensive.  🙂

          But let’s call this what it is – a plan to expand the size of the town, and bring in more non-residents.

          There’s already something like double the amount of outward-bound commuters from Davis to locations outside of Davis, compared to those commuting “to” Davis.  This indicates an “excess” of housing supply (if anything) – not a “shortage”.

          Davis has far more housing than it “needs” for its workers.  The problem (if anything) is that those workers can’t afford to purchase a house (even in Woodland), by working at a local coffee shop.  Then again, many of those workers are temporary residents (students) in the first place, who have yet to start their actual careers.

           

           

           

           

    2. Todd Edelman

      Richard wrote

       including from Mace Blvd thanks to the bike lanes.

      The Campus Travel Survey indicates that this is not the case… as does my personal experience (south of I-80 wall). This was one of the major issues with DISC, at least in the opinion of some who voted against it. 

      It could be easier, even without e-bikes, with consistent, pleasant, protected cycle tracks in good condition. But it has none of this. I don’t say “much easier” because for many Unitrans is free, driving is partly-free etc at least not for campus destinations…

  7. Kelsey Fortune

    All candidates are talking about prioritizing infill and creating a general plan that reflects the community’s vision, but three of five supported Measure H. Voters, pay attention to whose words don’t align with their actions.

    1. Bill Marshall

      Prioritizing infill, and supporting peripheral development, when appropriate, are not mutually exclusive… hence…

      Voters, pay attention to whose words don’t align with their actions.

      Doesn’t make any sort of sense… but I’m not in “D1”, as some like to call it…

      There is another concept… politicians, or ‘wannabes’, who either actually, or “fake”, move their addresses, in order to vie for office, are suspect … two examples are to be found in Sac City and environs…

      Their attention to words of law, “don’t align with their actions”…

      Four CC candidates have lived in their “district”, for 5+ years… one hasn’t…

      1. Kelsey Fortune

        Council prioritized DISC over the downtown plan. They literally chose a peripheral project over infill opportunity.

        I moved because I had the opportunity to get a nice backyard for my new husky, but yes, I am a renter most people in Davis.

        I’m curious how you feel about the council instituting districting in the first place without consulting with the public. I certainly don’t agree with that and would be interested in initiating the conversation about what the community actually wants.

        1. Bill Marshall

          I’m curious how you feel about the council instituting districting in the first place…

          I believe it was a bad answer to a bad, supposed/threatened ‘mandate’…

          I hope you accept that as a fair answer to a fair question… that is how it is intended,,,

  8. Ron Glick

    “What “pressure”?  How is this being defined, and how will we know when there’s no longer any “pressure”?”  

    It is pretty straight forward. When asked, affordable housing is the top issue among Davis voters. The voters are consistently telling the candidates they want more affordable housing options. That is where the pressure is coming from. The candidates are listening to the voters as the system is designed to make them do.

    1. Ron Oertel

      Per the survey, only 29% said that “Lack of affordable/senior/student housing” was their top concern.  And it actually dropped slightly, since 2019.

      Doesn’t sound like much of a mandate, especially in a city with a high percentage of students.

      And without even defining what any of that means (e.g., whether or not it’s subsidized, the “price” that they’d like to see, etc.).

      The percentage of people who think the city is on the “wrong track” is also about 30%.  (I find these types of questions particularly amusing, as very little of value can be gleaned from the question itself.)

      https://documents.cityofdavis.org/Media/Default/Documents/PDF/CityCouncil/CouncilMeetings/Agendas/2022/2022-07-05/05-Resident-Satisfaction-Survey-Presentation.pdf

      You really have to examine how these surveys are conducted (e.g., the percentage that didn’t respond at all, the questions asked, etc.).

      Next time, here’s a question they might want to ask property owners:

      How much would you like to see your property value go down?  (Actually, that’s a good question to ask of the city as well, when the corresponding property tax assessments go down.)

      By the way, property values ARE going down – which doesn’t usually happen when there’s a “shortage”.  Plug in any Davis address into Zillow, and you’ll see.  Or, ask any real estate agent.

      Here’s another question, for next time:

      How much agricultural land surrounding Davis would you like to see paved over/developed? 

      Or, how about this:

      How much “should” a house cost in Davis?

      (And while you’re at it, describe the house – size, parking/garage spaces, yard space, etc.)

      The media itself is saturated with articles regarding the housing correction across the country.

      But again, “affordability” is a different issue than a “shortage”.  And prices don’t usually drop (as they’re now doing), during a shortage. Usually, houses take longer to sell in this type of environment, as well.

  9. David Greenwald

    Per the survey 77 percent of the public is dissatisfied with the affordability of housing (a net negative 54). That is the more pertinent question in gauging the depth of public concern on this issue.

    1. Ron Oertel

      That is interesting, given that only 29% said that “lack of affordable/senior/student housing” was their top concern. (I hadn’t scrolled through the entire survey, before.)

      Not sure what to make of it.

      Again, it would be interesting to know what the respondents believe is a “satisfactory” price (and for “whom”).  In other words, for residents vs. non-residents, students, etc. And, how they envision achieving that.

      Here’s the type of question I’d ask, if I really wanted to know.  Of course, it starts out with an assumption:

      “If single-family housing prices are moderated by (XX) percent, by paving-over (XX) amount of farmland, would you support it”?

      Here’s some others:

      “How large do you want the city to become (in regard to building on farmland, size of population, etc.).”

      “What percentage of housing proposals should include Affordable housing”?

      In any case, I’m not seeing the percentage of people who didn’t respond to the survey at all.  Those are usually the people who don’t have a “cause” that they want to make known.

      I’m also not seeing “affordable” defined in any way, shape or form.

      I guess the REAL survey occurs when a peripheral development proposal makes it onto the ballot. That’s when you’ll actually know what the voters think, at least. (That’s also where other questions would arise regarding traffic, etc.)

    2. Ron Oertel

      Another odd thing about that survey is that only 3% had their top concern as the “cost of living”, and that this was presented as a separate category than the 29% whose top concern was lack of “affordable/senior/student housing”. I believe that most people view the cost of living as INCLUDING the cost of housing.

      And given that this survey was conducted back in April (before interest rates starting “doing their thing” to housing prices, the economy, etc.) – I suspect that the results would be different today.

      Prior to the early part of this year, the media was constantly reporting the spike in housing prices during the pandemic. (Partly because of the increase in telecommuting from home, etc.)

      Not to mention the impact of inflation, since then (e.g., on “cost of living” – which isn’t limited to any specific city).

      But again, I’m not seeing any mention of the percentage who didn’t respond, or any definitions regarding “affordability”, etc.  (The question which resulted in a 29% response also “mixes” 3 different categories – affordable, student, and senior housing into “one” category.)

      In my opinion, the mass media heavily influences “opinions”.  And lately, they’ve “switched” their focus from rising housing prices – to falling housing prices, inflation, etc.

      Truth be told, surveys like this are not that enlightening.  Just ask the 30% who are “not satisfied” with the direction of the city regarding what that actually means to them.  Or, the 70% who are “satisfied”.  You’ll likely get widely-divergent answers, regarding what that means on an individual level.

      Not to mention what “affordability” means to them (and for whom).  (But again, this has probably changed since April.)

      Again, I’d ask property owners (or the public at large) how much they’d like to see property values diminish (in addition what’s already occurring).  Or, ask the city how much less tax revenue they’d like to see, as a result.

      And, how much farmland they’d like to see paved over, and at what amount of “reduced costs”.  (Again, you’d have to put forth some unsupported numbers to do so, but it might still be interesting.)

      Also, how large would they like the city to become?  How many more non-residents would they like to see added to the city? And if those new residents are from wealthier areas (such as the Bay Area), do they believe that housing prices would be moderated by pursuing more sprawl?

      In any case, that’s ultimately what Measure J addresses.

       

  10. Edgar Wai

    If you divide land on Earth even for each person, each person would get 4.5 acres of land. This 4.5 acre is a type of credit until they specific which piece of land they claim.

    When people contest on the same piece of land, you could let them bid with those credits. Convenient places would then cost more. While densified places would help offset that cost. But the choice is at the person deciding how to spend their credits.

    Even if the world doesn’t implement such credits, you could use the concept as a moral compass to judge which side is the aggressor.

    For example, if a small city has people who only have a house there, and outsiders want it to densify, then it is the outsiders who are the aggressors.

    On the other hand, if the people in that small city own more than their share elsewhere, and the outsiders are those with credits but nowhere to spend, then the city people are the aggressors.

    By identifying who are the aggressors, you could prevent policies that pit people who have nowhere to spend credits against people who are spending their credits responsibly. The real culprits are those who own more land than they have credits for.

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