Commentary: You Can’t Block Housing in Town and Then Point Your Finger at the University

By David M. Greenwald
Executive Editor

Davis, CA -It is inevitable that a conversation about Davis housing needs will result in segments of the community attempting to turn the gaze to UC Davis.

We saw this on Monday of this week, when in response to an article on the presentation to Davis CAN by Jonathan London and Catherine Brinkley from the UC Davis Center for Regional Change, one commenter argued, “I find it particularly interesting that this UC Davis Center For Regional Change director, is silent on how UCD can and should be producing far more high-density on campus housing for UCD not only for students but for UCD faculty and Staff.“

The argument included the fact that “UC is pressuring UC’s to admit even more students, clearly, UCD is going to exceed 39,000 well before 2031.”

And added, “Regarding the MOU, it is completely inadequate because it does not address the many years that UCD neglected to build the needed on- campus student housing as it accelerated it student population growth. This resulted in the huge backlog of on-campus student housing needed now. There is still, a huge deficit of UCD on-campus housing.”

In 2015, I definitely agreed that UC Davis needed to do more of its share to address particularly student housing.  Initially not willing to address the full impact of its enrollment growth, under pressure from the community and the city, UC Davis expanded their on-campus housing commitment to 48 percent of enrollment, up from 29 percent which was the worst in the UC system.

Not only did they sign an MOU with the city, but they have so far added more than 6000 ne3w beds on campus.

In December, UC Davis reported that “under a memorandum of understanding with the city of Davis and Yolo County, and is “on-track to hit its 2023 commitment of 15,000 beds on campus.”

Should it be more?  Perhaps.  But to be honest at this point, I don’t think it’s the university that’s the problem.

I have had people point out that had the university kept up with its commitment over the years for student housing – it would not have led to the encroachment of students into single-family homes in town.

It’s an accurate statement – but it ignores a second 800 pound gorilla in the room.

Davis has not done nearly enough to build housing in town.  I’m not talking about student housing.  I’m talking about family housing.

According to the figures provided by the city, since 2009, the city has built a total of 700 units of single family housing – that comes to less than 50 per year.

In my view, the city can’t build just 700 units of single family housing over the last decade and a half and then credibly blame the university for the housing problems in town.

Along similar lines, individuals who have been instrumental in blocking housing projects over the last few decades can’t then turn around and point the finger at UC Davis.

Again, UC Davis has earned its share of the blame – but they have done a lot more than the city to rectify the situation.

UC Davis has added 6000 beds in the last few years, the city of Davis has added a total of 2208 in the last 14 years.  A good percentage of that is student housing which will help to address student housing issues, but is not going to address housing for families with children.

When we drill down into the Davis Demographics Presentation from February and March to the City Council, we can see the problem faced by the city.

Here is the five year development forecast used by the school district to project student enrollment.

 

The district concluded, “902 city approved residential units planned within the next 5 years.”

But they warn, “81% are multi-family that typically do not house school age children.”

So you basically have a situation where the city has only developed 700 single family homes in the last 14 years, and most of the expected and approved housing in the next five years, will also not meet the needs for family housing.

Can the university do more to provide for faculty and staff housing on campus?  Sure.  But that should not alleviate the city from the responsibility to build housing for the missing middle demographics that includes young families with children.

In response to the discussion on Wednesday, one commenter asked, “how much more prime agricultural land do you want to see sacrificed for single-family houses?”

“Davis has a long history of wanting to preserve farmland, not growing out, but also sadly, not growing up,” Catherine Brinkley pointed out last week.

Jonathan London noted, the “discourse on climate justice” is being “co-opted by folks who don’t want any kind of new housing because, for an environmental basis,” he said, “But if we’re not going to have housing in town, that’s going to mean some density, because people are going to live somewhere.”

He said, “So they’ll be commuting in from other places across the causeway from north to south.  And that’s going to be adding to climate change and air pollution.”

This is exactly the problem with the whole discussion.  Blocking housing on farm land near Davis doesn’t protect farmland, it protects farmland near Davis – possibly.

This is the point I keep making – people have to live somewhere.  By building housing, you are not adding people and thus you are not adding environmental impacts, you are moving people from one place to another – and hopefully you are moving people closer to the university where they are less likely to have to drive to work and if they do, you’ve at least reduced their VMT.

Again, I don’t have a particular problem with asking the university to build more housing – but I do think it’s hypocritical to demand more housing on campus while blocking housing in Davis.

The numbers show in my view, Davis has not done near enough to provide the housing we need in this community.

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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70 Comments

  1. Ron Glick

    Your opinion turns on the use of the word credibly. There is nothing to stop people from kvetching about the University as an excuse for the city to do nothing and there is no doubt that people will continue to do so especially when new housing is proposed nearby to where they live. Will they complain? Yes. Are they credible? No.

    Look at the recent article on water quality at Covell and Road 102. If what the critics are saying is true I wonder why they would live nearby or didn’t raise this issue when Cannery was built. Groundwater migration isn’t stopped by roads, rails or land boundaries yet somehow we are supposed to believe that only the proposed site is unbuildable and all the existing housing on three sides of the site are okay.

    Reminds me of the nonsense about Nishi being singularly unsuited for development based on air quality. As the judge pointed out about Nishi an EIR is supposed to assess a projects impact on the environment not the environments impact on a project. We might remember this when we hear cries over the need for more study or the insufficiency of previous studies.

  2. Don Shor

    Can the university do more to provide for faculty and staff housing on campus?  Sure. 

    I can’t figure out why it’s considered desirable for faculty and staff to live on campus, outside the city limits where they’ll be disenfranchised. If they come here to work they should be welcomed as part of our community, able to participate freely in local politics.

    The university should be held to the MOU, should provide as much on-campus housing for entering students (freshmen and transfer) as possible, and should be urged via the UOP to provide significantly more affordable housing for students. Faculty, staff, upper division and graduate students are likelier to want to live in town and the community should welcome them.

    1. Richard_McCann

      Don

      Agree 100%. Why should existing faculty and staff be allowed to live in town and vote on City issues while disenfranchising future faculty and staff? This is what apartheid was about–maintaining the power of the privileged. Faculty and staff are permanent members of our community and should have a voice in it, no matter when they arrive.

      1. Matt Williams

        Richard and Don, if faculty members choose to live on campus that choice, like all choices, comes with trade offs.  Stanford faculty don’t all live in Palo Alto.  Cornell faculty don’t all live in Ithaca.  Choosing where one lives comes with specific voting privileges, and that applies to everyone, not just faculty.

        1. David Greenwald

          The bigger problem that I see is that there is a segment of the community that is pushing for housing on campus and blaming the university for not building it while they are blocking housing in the city. To me that policy is creating large problems for the city and relying on the university to solve our housing problem is not realistic.

        2. Keith Olsen

          To me that policy is creating large problems for the city and relying on the university to solve our housing problem is not realistic.

          No, people are asking the university to solve their own housing problem and to not rely on the city to do that.

      1. Richard_McCann

        Seriously, yes. It has the same root motivation, one carried out to a greater extreme than the other. Disenfranchisement is a powerful tool for holding privilege as Southern whites showed after Reconstruction.

        1. Matt Williams

          David Greenwald said … “You’re missing the other end of the discussion – the (de facto) exclusion from the city.”

          David your point would be relevant if it were not for any (or all) of the following realities:

          (1) UCD’s conscious/ willful exclusion of itself  from the city.

          (2) the factual exclusion of the UCD faculty’s employment from the city

          (3) the factual exclusion of all the education of the students from the city

          (4) the fact that neither the students nor the faculty migrate/bring their primary daily activities to the city. They move/bring them to UCD.

          1. David Greenwald

            I have no idea what any of those points have to do with where housing is built.

        2. Matt Williams

          David Greenwald said … “I have no idea what any of those points have to do with where housing is built.”

          It had absolutely nothing to do with where housing is built.  It had to do with your disenfranchisement comment, ” the (de facto) exclusion from the city.”

          When a young family chooses to purchase a home for a specific price that is within their financial means (their budget), if they choose to purchase that home in Woodland because it has a lower $ per square foot cost and a larger yard, they are more often than not choosing what they believe is a better after-school environment for their children.  They get a larger house with more square feet and the yard.  When they make that choice, Davis is not disenfranchising or excluding them.  Losing official rights in Davis is one of the tradeoffs that they forsake when they choose the Woodland home with more square feet and a larger yard.

        3. Ron Oertel

          I’d agree with your points overall, Matt – but might note the following as well:

          When a young family chooses to purchase a home for a specific price that is within their financial means (their budget), if they choose to purchase that home in Woodland because it has a lower $ per square foot cost and a larger yard, they are more often than not choosing what they believe is a better after-school environment for their children.

          They’re likely making that decision for the entire family, including “Mom and Dad” – and their 2 vehicles.  Perhaps with more vehicles to come, when their kids become teenagers. Perhaps with a study, so that either Mom or Dad can work from home.

          I’d also note that many of them receive the exact same “during-school” experience as those who choose to live in Davis.  The reason being that they’re attending the exact same schools (but only “one” of these theoretical families is paying parcel taxes to support that school system).

          They get a larger house with more square feet and the yard.

          Don’t forget the 2-3 car garage!

          And for that matter, being in a locale with others who share the same type of interests and needs.

          Proximity to CostCo in particular is another bonus – especially for families. Along with its gas station.

          When they make that choice, Davis is not disenfranchising or excluding them.  Losing official rights in Davis is one of the tradeoffs that they forsake when they choose the Woodland home with more square feet and a larger yard.

          And they “gain” rights to vote in Woodland, such as it is.

           

        1. David Greenwald

          Is that your reflexive reaction every time the racial issue comes up?

          Because if you think about it…

          1. UCD faculty are far more diverse than the overall city population
          2. Home prices are more likely to push people of color out of the overall community
          3. Therefore subsidized housing on campus is more likely to have a larger percentage of people of color

          That definitely puts his comment into the a different lens than you have characterized it.

          1. David Greenwald

            When it’s relevant…

            I wouldn’t have used the term apartheid, but the point underlying it is spot on

        2. Ron Oertel

          David:

          Weird comments – given how you, Richard, and others weren’t concerned about the Davis-connected buyer’s program, at WDAAC.

          Reminds me of those who claim to be concerned about “housing shortages” and “local contributions to greenhouse gasses”, yet (somehow) supported DISC.

          You do realize, don’t you – how this makes you look? It makes you appear as someone who searches for ways to support development – using any argument you can think of. Even when it conflicts with your own stated concerns.

          That definitely puts his comment into the a different lens than you have characterized it.

          Indeed – in your case (as well as Richard’s).

        3. Ron Oertel

          You keep raising the same point expecting a different response…

          You’re wrong about that – as I already know that you don’t have a logical response, nor does Richard.  Which is why I keep bringing it up.

          Kind of reminds me of the school issue, in which you’ve concluded that it’s the city’s responsibility to continuously grow to overcome declining enrollment. (Though that particular belief does not necessarily “conflict” with your other comments. It’s just straight-out ridiculous, on its own.)

        4. Keith Olsen

           Therefore subsidized housing on campus is more likely to have a larger percentage of people of color

          So is a development which includes affordable/subsidized housing enclaves within its community also practicing apartheid?

          1. David Greenwald

            You’re missing the other end of the discussion – the (de facto) exclusion from the city.

        5. Don Shor

          I already know that you don’t have a logical response

          The logical response is two-fold:

          — that some projects will increase jobs, and other projects will increase housing. No project will strike a perfect balance between those things because any project is going to focus on one or the other.

          — WDAAC buyers’ plan was designed to be responsive to the concern that all the new houses would just sell to people cashing out of the Bay Area.

          Others quickly pointed out that this would likely lead to a neighborhood mix that is just as white as Davis. There are some circular contradictions in those arguments (we don’t want Bay Area people here, but they’re more diverse, so we don’t want to have housing just for Davisites because that’s not diverse enough, so just don’t build housing at all and we can keep our non-diverse community as non-diverse as it already is?).

          Back to the jobs/housing balance. I’ve said before that I think it’s a non-issue. If we’re going to consider the jobs/housing balance, I think that projects should probably be evaluated with respect to their impact on the regional market for jobs and housing.

          As I’ve also said before, I don’t think housing and commercial uses mix well. I know others disagree with me on that, and I have no objection to including some commercial or retail components in new housing subdivisions, and vice versa. I just think it’s unrealistic to expect a lot of retail commerce or active commercial enterprises in a residential neighborhood in most cases. There’s a wide gulf between theory and practice when it comes to integrating uses.

          Some of us believe that it’s good to provide an increasing number of jobs locally for some of those who grow up here and for some of those who come here to attend school. Existing businesses and the community benefit from a stable supply of labor. Youngsters who grow up here shouldn’t be forced out of the area because of an artificially constrained housing or jobs market. I believe the community benefits from greater diversity of incomes, ages, and backgrounds, and that the quality of the schools is best maintained by having a steady and predictable supply of entering students so that classes and programs don’t have to be cut.

          It is understood that if you create jobs locally, there will be increased demand for some types of housing. In a healthy housing market, that demand is accommodated because builders can provide housing in a range of prices. Constraining job growth to restrict housing supply, which some literally seem to advocate, means reduced opportunities for young adults locally. I think that’s undesirable.

          It is not necessary or possible for every project to perfectly balance jobs and housing. It would be good, IMO, if new housing developments contained a range of housing styles and sizes, since housing can be somewhat more affordable by design simply by being smaller. So as we evaluate proposals for new housing, it’s reasonable to assess whether they will provide that range of housing.

          In my opinion, our planning goals should include:

          — more diversified employer base;

          — more opportunities for small businesses to start up locally;

          — a healthy rental housing market, using industry standards for apartment vacancy rate as a guide;

          — a healthy for-sale housing market, using industry standards for inventory as a guide.

          IMO the rental market has largely been dealt with by the voter approval of Nishi, the other projects coming on line, and UCD adhering to the MOU for on-campus supply, but there has been insufficient new inventory of housing for sale for several years.

          Davis has not grown as much as surrounding communities for at least a couple of decades now. Davis doesn’t have to grow as fast, nor does it have to add as many houses as our neighboring communities have done. The RHNA numbers for Davis are, and always have been, comparatively low. But allowing some residential growth seems reasonable.

          As for commercial development and any kind of economic development program, the voters have balked and blocked any progress on that. The city council has to start from scratch, and most of the likeliest sites are now coveted for housing as well.  I see it unlikely that we’ll see anything more than piecemeal commercial development on a limited number of infill sites, at least for the next 5 to 10 years. There’s no easy answer to this problem, and it impacts the city’s finances. Unfortunately, it will likely be necessary to continue raising taxes in order to provide the current level of city services. It would be great to see some offsetting commercial development to help the city’s finances, but at this point it seems unlikely that anything is going to come forward.

        6. Ron Oertel

          David:  Apparently to Ron showing actual math is not logical. Ok.

          No “math” even presented. In fact, no actual response at all – mathematical, or not.

          Keith:  So is a development which includes affordable/subsidized housing enclaves within its community also practicing apartheid?

          Yes. 

          Permanently, for that matter (due to the requirement to constrain potential household income in order to keep one’s “home”). And as usual – no response from David – only deflection.

          Maybe that works in political science classes, but not in reality.

        7. Keith Olsen

          First of all, nobody is forcing people to live on campus.  Secondly, who excluded themselves from being part of the city?  Did UCD not want to be part of the city or did the city purposely exclude UCD?  If voting in city elections means that much to people then live in the city or get the rules changed and make UCD part of the city.

        8. Ron Oertel

          The logical response is two-fold:
          — that some projects will increase jobs, and other projects will increase housing. No project will strike a perfect balance between those things because any project is going to focus on one or the other.

          Define “balanced” – “perfect”, or “imperfect” – if you prefer.  In fact, what exactly is the overall goal of the growth advocates?

          Right now, it sounds a lot more like a dog forever chasing its tail.

          — WDAAC buyers’ plan was designed to be responsive to the concern that all the new houses would just sell to people cashing out of the Bay Area.

          That was the argument (in regard to the successful campaign to gain approval).  But again, requiring buyers to have a pre-existing connection to Davis is a textbook example of segregation (including by race).

          Others quickly pointed out that this would likely lead to a neighborhood mix that is just as white as Davis. There are some circular contradictions in those arguments (we don’t want Bay Area people here, but they’re more diverse, so we don’t want to have housing just for Davisites because that’s not diverse enough, so just don’t build housing at all and we can keep our non-diverse community as non-diverse as it already is?).

          What?

          So the argument then switches back to the cost of housing is “not” the problem regarding diversity?  And again, at WDAAC – the requirement was for the buyers to have some previous connection to Davis (regardless of how much money they have).  Again, a textbook example of segregation (including by race).

          Back to the jobs/housing balance. I’ve said before that I think it’s a non-issue. If we’re going to consider the jobs/housing balance, I think that projects should probably be evaluated with respect to their impact on the regional market for jobs and housing.

          Some people think it’s “very much” the “issue”.  In fact, that’s their “justification” for whatever development they’re promoting.

          As I’ve also said before, I don’t think housing and commercial uses mix well.  I know others disagree with me on that, and I have no objection to including some commercial or retail components in new housing subdivisions, and vice versa. I just think it’s unrealistic to expect a lot of retail commerce or active commercial enterprises in a residential neighborhood in most cases. There’s a wide gulf between theory and practice when it comes to integrating uses.

          I agree with that, except (perhaps) in places like downtown.

          Some of us believe that it’s good to provide an increasing number of jobs locally for some of those who grow up here and for some of those who come here to attend school.

          Maybe, but those some people then complain about the resulting “housing shortage” – which they claim already exists.

          Existing businesses and the community benefit from a stable supply of labor. Youngsters who grow up here shouldn’t be forced out of the area because of an artificially constrained housing or jobs market.

          Truth be told, there is not much of a “jobs market” in Davis.  And “youngsters” would be better-off buying a house some 7 miles up Road 102 – even if they did work in Davis (or at UCD).  But even then, it’s not cheap anywhere these days.

          I believe the community benefits from greater diversity of incomes, ages, and backgrounds, and that the quality of the schools is best maintained by having a steady and predictable supply of entering students so that classes and programs don’t have to be cut.

          This is where I would strongly disagree.

          First of all, all housing eventually turns over.

          Secondly, schools exist for the purpose of serving an existing community.

          Thirdly, the parcel taxes will go farther when the size of the district is reduced.

          Fourthly, the same “problem” would ultimately manifest itself in regard to any new housing, if it doesn’t “turn over” fast-enough to suit the district.

          It is understood that if you create jobs locally, there will be increased demand for some types of housing. In a healthy housing market, that demand is accommodated because builders can provide housing in a range of prices.

          I don’t know what “healthy” housing market you’re referring to, but yes – increasing the number of jobs indefinitely also results in increasing sprawl, indefinitely.

          Constraining job growth to restrict housing supply, which some literally seem to advocate, means reduced opportunities for young adults locally.

          It’s not a matter of “constraining” it.  It’s a matter of not purposefully pursuing growth.  And for that matter, isn’t the argument (already) that there “are no young, local adults” in the first place?  Other than those temporarily attending UCD?

          I think that’s undesirable.

          I think it’s undesirable (and outright unsustainable) to continuously pursue growth.

          It is not necessary or possible for every project to perfectly balance jobs and housing.

          The growth advocates first pursue one, then the other.  Forever.

          It would be good, IMO, if new housing developments contained a range of housing styles and sizes, since housing can be somewhat more affordable by design simply by being smaller. So as we evaluate proposals for new housing, it’s reasonable to assess whether they will provide that range of housing.

          I can provide three examples of suitable, existing housing right now, in the $500K – $600K range.

          In my opinion, our planning goals should include:
          — more diversified employer base;

          Leading to more demand for housing.

          — more opportunities for small businesses to start up locally;

          The city already subsidizes Tim Keller’s operation, in the form of loans.

          — a healthy rental housing market, using industry standards for apartment vacancy rate as a guide;

          Seems like that’s what UCD should be doing, when looking in the mirror.

          — a healthy for-sale housing market, using industry standards for inventory as a guide.

          What industry standards?

          IMO the rental market has largely been dealt with by the voter approval of Nishi, the other projects coming on line, and UCD adhering to the MOU for on-campus supply, but there has been insufficient new inventory of housing for sale for several years.

          Based upon what, and how much more?

          Davis has not grown as much as surrounding communities for at least a couple of decades now.

          If it was up to me, those “surrounding communities” would be reigned-in as well.

          The RHNA numbers for Davis are, and always have been, comparatively low. But allowing some residential growth seems reasonable.

          They’re actually “not low” or “reasonable” for any California city.  Especially in the “affordable” category.

          In fact, they’re flat-out “not attainable“.  This is widely acknowledged, even on by David himself.

          As for commercial development and any kind of economic development program, the voters have balked and blocked any progress on that. The city council has to start from scratch, and most of the likeliest sites are now coveted for housing as well.

          Housing is really the only thing that developers want to build in the first place.

          I see it unlikely that we’ll see anything more than piecemeal commercial development on a limited number of infill sites, at least for the next 5 to 10 years. There’s no easy answer to this problem, and it impacts the city’s finances.

          Didn’t you just literally say (earlier in your response) that balance is a “non-issue” ?

          Unfortunately, it will likely be necessary to continue raising taxes in order to provide the current level of city services.

          I’ve heard that for years, at this point.  When are they going to come through on that “promise” to cut services?  And what if they cut services (or already have done so), and we find out that no one actually notices (or cares)?

          It would be great to see some offsetting commercial development to help the city’s finances, but at this point it seems unlikely that anything is going to come forward.

          Again, this would then lead to more demand for housing, which, if accommodated, would then negate that supposed benefit.

          Are you fully-aware of all of the reports regarding the disaster unfolding in the commercial market?

        9. Ron Oertel

          Some of us believe that it’s good to provide an increasing number of jobs locally for some of those who grow up here and for some of those who come here to attend school.

          I actually have additional questions about this, as well.  Just as with existing housing, don’t existing “jobs” also eventually turn over (in the aggregate)?

          Are you stating that the number of jobs (as with housing) should increase indefinitely, as well?  Why, exactly? And why (specifically) in Davis, when there’s an entire country for such expansion – where it’s welcomed with “wide open arms” (in many locales) at this point?

          And if that’s not your goal, how about putting forth some actual numbers regarding your goal?  Otherwise, isn’t this just a case of “build, baby, build” with no actual goal and no thought whatsoever? 

          Is that any way to make plans for an existing city? (Unfortunately, it seems that way – and not just based upon your advocacy.)

  3. Ron Oertel

    Commentary: You Can’t Block Housing in Town and Then Point Your Finger at the University

    You have this backwards.  It’s university officials (at the latest CAN meeting) who (despite their organization actively pursuing growth), pointed the finger at the city.  It’s not the city that’s pursuing growth.

    In response to the discussion on Wednesday, one commenter asked, “how much more prime agricultural land do you want to see sacrificed for single-family houses?

    And despite repeating it here, that question was never answered.

    Nor was the question regarding how many existing houses were sold during the period discussed.

    Nor was the question (asked multiple times, over the course of several years) regarding the reason that the 96-unit Chiles Ranch development has not even been initiated – more than a decade after a developer purchased the site.

    I can’t figure out why it’s considered desirable for faculty and staff to live on campus, outside the city limits where they’ll be disenfranchised.

    They’re not disenfranchised, any more than you are.

    I believe the underlying reason is that the university would then assume responsibility for its own decisions to grow, and can house these folks in a manner which is the least impactful (environmentally, fiscally – for the city), etc.  In addition, the university could (if it chose to do so) control the costs of that housing.

    Perhaps ironically, it’s some of the “slow growthers” who pushed UCD into pursuing more housing on campus. This is the OPPOSITE situation regarding what’s occurring at Berkeley. And the reason for this difference is that (unlike UC Berkeley) UCD has a lot of space on campus.

    If they come here to work they should be welcomed as part of our community, able to participate freely in local politics.

    They’re not coming to Davis to work.

     

  4. Ron Oertel

    This is exactly the problem with the whole discussion.  Blocking housing on farm land near Davis doesn’t protect farmland, it protects farmland near Davis – possibly.

    Unfortunately, it does not.  Places like Woodland pursue growth, regardless.  And already planned for it – even before Covell Village (Act I) was defeated.

    Here is the five year development forecast used by the school district to project student enrollment.

    Who cares, other than some who might lose their jobs?  And a relative handful of parents who might be inconvenienced, at some point?

    Why are you still pushing this line that the city needs to grow to accommodate an oversized school district? And do those associated with the school district understand the backlash that this might create toward that entity and its people, in the eyes of some? I suspect that the average voter does not yet really understand what the school district is pushing, and the self-interested reason for it. Hopefully, this will change at some point.

    Commentary: You Can’t Block Housing in Town and Then Point Your Finger at the University

    Can’t help but remember that Eileen, for example, was a strong supporter of Davis Live.

  5. Eileen Samitz

    The issue at hand here is an obvious and valid point, which is that UCD can and should build far more housing than they have planned. They have more land than any other UC with over 5,300 acres and a 900-acre core campus. Yet, it is the only UC which has not committed to 50% on-campus housing. Further, when UCD has built any student housing recently it has been only 4-stories , with a very rare 5-story building, while other UCs are building much higher density student housing to provide at least 50% on campus housing. Even private builders are building much higher density student housing than UCD is.

    So, the hypocrisy here is that a UCD speaker advocating for more growth in the City without any mention of how UCD can and should build far more on campus housing and in much higher densities rather than trying to make the City responsible for UCD’s negligence to provide the needed student housing that they are capable of providing on their enormous campus. The perfect opportunity for UCD to get it right this time is with the on-going planning to redevelop the Solano Park student housing complex on campus.

    There is no excuse why UCD cannot build higher densities for student housing on campus like the other UCs are such as UC Irvine with their 6-story twin Mesa Towers which are very popular and successful and UC San Diego building a 16-story to 23-story student housing complex on campus. Further, a private investor built a 7-story student housing project, Davis Live (now named Identity) on Russell Blvd. and had to purchase the land at a major expense and pay all the City development fees. Meanwhile, UCD’s Orchard Park directly across the street from Davis Live (now Identity), is a sprawling complex of buildings which are only 4-stories high.

    So, there is no excuse why UCD accomplish what other UCs and even private developers are accomplishing particularly since UCD’s land is free to build on and UCD dies not need to pay the City any development fees nor abide by any of the City’s planning policies. All of this is simply inexcusable. Further, UCD does not need to lay property taxes on any of the properties they own or rent in the City, so they save money that way also, while the City is denied that needed revenue.

    The obvious question is UCD going to build 7-story housing at the Solano Park site which is being planned for redevelopment?  UCD needs to stop wasting so many opportunities to build higher density housing on campus to provide more student housing rather than pushing 71% of their students off campus.  Or is UCD going continue squandering their opportunities to provide the needed on-campus housing which is the most sustainable planning the only way to control the cost of student housing g long term. This is precisely why the other UCs are building much more on-campus housing now.

    The simple question you should be asking for is, is UCD is are they going to build 7-story housing at Solano Park on-campus since it is being redeveloped, as has been accomplished in the City by a private developer?  This would be more productive than allowing UCD to continue to neglect their ability to provide far more on-campus housing, and pushing their students off campus.

    1. David Greenwald

      “The issue at hand here is an obvious and valid point, which is that UCD can and should build far more housing than they have planned. ”

      Where I’m coming from is that the city can should build more housing than it has over the last 15 to 20 plus years and every time someone talks about the need for housing in Davis, it doesn’t make a huge amount of sense to turn and point to UC Davis when we haven’t kept up our share.

      1. David Greenwald

        RHNA numbers:

        West Sac – 9067
        Woodland – 3087
        Davis – 2075

        Given that – what is the advantage of continuing to push housing away from Davis and towards UC Davis? We already have FAR less in the way of housing commitments.

      2. Eileen Samitz

        Actually Davis has always satisfied its RHNA fair share of growth. Further, until redevelopment funding dried up Davis provided more affordable housing (35%) than other cities.

        But you continue to distract from the fact that UCD can and needs to provide far more and far more dense affordable housing like the other UCs are.

    2. Richard_McCann

      UCD has committed to housing 48% and has met that commitment schedule, and it’s already well ahead of other campuses, including Berkeley which is mired at 26% and faces local opposition for constructing more. (It’s 38% on campus so far for UCD: https://www.ucdavis.edu/news/meeting-our-housing-commitments#:~:text=As%20more%20bed%20spaces%20are,48.4%25%20in%202030%2D31.)

      Land is not “free” for UCD–that land is being used for other purposes including world-leading research efforts. And the evident obstacles to building on West Campus–a platted neighborhood standing empty for a decade–show that costs are much higher than for private developers.

      And the important difference between 4 and 5 stories is that the latter relies much more on elevators, which is a key issue when building for families who need much more accessible walk ups.

      And left unresolved is the need for faculty housing in town. Perhaps faculty may want to live on campus in neighborhoods owned by a university but Stanford was developed more than 50 years ago. (Matt, is the Cornell neighborhood inside or outside of Ithaca city limits?) But that should be a decision made by faculty, not by UCD and most certainly not by the citizens of Davis. Forced disenfranchisement is an unacceptable afront to civil rights.

      1. Ron Oertel

        But that should be a decision made by faculty, not by UCD and most certainly not by the citizens of Davis. Forced disenfranchisement is an unacceptable afront to civil rights.

        Is that right?  There’s “redlining” in regard to faculty members? Or, is it listed in the CCRs, for example? “NO FACULTY ALLOWED”.

        Are local real estate agents and property managers aware of this? And if so, are they enforcing it?

        This sounds like something to report to state or federal agencies (and perhaps major media outlets), as well as the attorney general. That would really blow the lid of the entire issue. (I’m surprised that it hasn’t already come to light.)

        Do they ban anyone else based upon their employment (e.g., those working at state agencies in Sacramento)?

  6. Ron Oertel

    Leaving aside for the moment the question of where faculty/staff “should” be housed, there is no discussion regarding whether or not that “need” has already been met.  (They’re living somewhere, already, and there’s no reason to assume they’d move out of wherever they’re living.)  Nor is there any discussion regarding how many more faculty/staff will be pursued by UCD, going forward.

    Nor is there any discussion regarding how to “reserve” housing for faculty/staff, off-campus.

    Wasn’t this the supposed goal of The Cannery?

    And again, without any numbers, cost of housing, or anything else – some just blunder ahead with their usual advocacy with their usual fake arguments, regardless. The same people who weren’t concerned about segregation at WDAAC (in regard to the Davis-connected buyer’s program), the same people who claim to be concerned about housing shortages and local contributions to greenhouse gasses (while simultaneously advocating for DISC).

    They’re also the same people who advocate continuously growing the size of the city so that the school district isn’t forced to right-size. Which isn’t going to prevent that from happening, regardless.

    It would be laughable, if city leaders weren’t part of that, as well.

    1. David Greenwald

      This statement is not based on reality: “They’re living somewhere, already, and there’s no reason to assume they’d move out of wherever they’re living”

      1. The university hires new faculty and staff each year – those people need a place to live
      2. Many people start out as renters and are looking to buy
      3. Many people buy outside of Davis and hope to move to Davis when/ if they can afford it

      1. Ron Oertel

        This statement is not based on reality: “They’re living somewhere, already, and there’s no reason to assume they’d move out of wherever they’re living”

        What part of that is not based upon reality?  It’s a factual statement. You’re claiming that they don’t already live “somewhere”?

        Interestingly-enough, I’m reasonably sure that a certain UCD professor (who is essentially a YIMBY leader) lives in a more-expensive locale than Davis (San Francisco), and commutes to Davis via Amtrak. The reason being that he seemingly talks about this commute, in his public comments.

        But as far as the points you brought up:

        1.  It was my suggestion to first start with that very point, assuming that the goal is for the city to provide housing for new faculty and staff.  First, start with the net, projected increase going forward.  (This would have to account for those leaving, as well.) I have yet to see any numbers regarding that.

        2.  Relevance?

        3.  This is (no doubt) one of the most incorrect assumptions you’ve made.  Once newcomers have made their choice (e.g., comparing what’s already available in Davis vs. surrounding cities), that choice is not easily (or inexpensively) “undone”.  Some may do so, but conversely – some may move out of the city to nearby cities as well.  Again, you’d need to project the net projected change, regarding this.  And once again, it would be an estimate – though you can probably compare the number of people who moved from nearby areas to The Cannery, to start with.  And then determine if they actually are staff/faculty, at UCD.

        Your entire assumption here is also dependent upon folks ignoring pre-existing housing, in favor of something “new”.  Mello Roos also plays a factor regarding such decisions.

         

        1. David Greenwald

          “Your entire assumption here is also dependent upon folks ignoring pre-existing housing, in favor of something “new”. ”

          The entire premise is based on the scarcity and unaffordability of existing housing.

        2. Ron Oertel

          The entire premise is based on the scarcity and unaffordability of existing housing.

          Your entire premise is based upon the claim that it’s “scarce” and “unaffordable”, and (also) that this would be “fixed” by a given development. Again, was it “fixed” by The Cannery?

          I can point you to several for sale right now, which show that housing is both “available” and “affordable” in Davis.  (And probably without Mello Roos, as well.) Even during this nationwide “tight” housing market – which itself will change.

          If I was looking to buy a house (anywhere) right now, I might be hoping that the federal government doesn’t pay its bills, starting next month. That would create a massive crash in prices nationwide (albeit it would probably be difficult to obtain a mortgage). In any case, I’d rather face high interest rates, than high prices. You consistently ignore the impacts of broader forces, regarding the housing market.

          On a related note, all of this will permanently change as baby boomers start dying off.  I just came across this article, today.  And it’s not the first time that this was discussed.

          There are two factors at play. First, the baby boomer generation is very big. Second, they are much more likely to own property than other cohorts.

          In the US, the number of owner-occupiers who will stop owning homes between 2026 and 2036 will number between 13.1 million and 14.6 million, according to a 2018 paper by Dowell Myers and Patrick Simmons.

          “The beginning of a mass exodus looms on the horizon,” the economists warned.

          The growing reluctance to downsize has delayed the impact of the demographic release so far. But in the long-run, it could make the impact more extreme. Instead of moving down the housing ladder, older homeowners are waiting to fall off it.

          https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/realestate/house-prices-face-a-looming-hit-from-the-baby-boomers-who-got-rich-off-property/ar-AA1b8kBz?ocid=hpmsn&cvid=e75f763d90e34ef3855d8aeb0c694604&ei=13

           

           

        3. Ron Oertel

          But again – going back to the point I first brought up, no one (including you, or anyone else) has put forth any numbers whatsoever regarding the expected, net increase in faculty and staff going forward.  And yet, you’re basing your entire claim regarding “need” on that. (Assuming that UCD is actually pursuing a net increase in faculty and staff in the first place.)

          My guess is that this is a very limited pool of people, most of whom will either pursue existing housing options, or a new house (primarily in Woodland). Again, they’re planning to build an additional 1,600 housing units at the Woodland technology park, alone! That location is an extremely easy commute to UCD – more so than potential developments on the east side of Davis.

          Explain how there’s a predicted “housing shortage”, in light of that.

          1. David Greenwald

            “But again – going back to the point I first brought up, no one (including you, or anyone else) has put forth any numbers whatsoever regarding the expected, net increase in faculty and staff going forward.”

            That’s your strawman, not mine.

        4. Ron Oertel

          That’s your strawman, not mine.

          In that case, you seem to be specifying a “solution” without a “goal”. Nothing but platitudes.

          On a related note, is UCD still planning to house more faculty/staff on campus? What’s the status of that? (Or, do they also have no goal?)

      2. Don Shor

        there’s no reason to assume they’d move out of wherever they’re living”

        The average American moves 11 – 12 times in their lifetime.

        1. Ron Oertel

          Don:  Again, the comparison would be someone who purchased a home, and is not moving out of a given area.  Not including, for example, renters (and/or student) moving to another city.

          And again, you’d have to look at the net change (e.g., every time they build a new development in a nearby city, doesn’t this (also) cause some people to move out of Davis)?

          It is EXTREMELY expensive (and quite the “hassle”) to sell, buy, and move – and paying more to move to a nearby house that’s smaller than the one you’re already in probably doesn’t appeal to many families in particular. (The same reason they purchased outside of Davis in the first place.)

          Though again, in my opinion – the smartest thing to do (in general) is to buy a pre-existing house, which may also not have Mello Roos attached to it. At least, not to the same degree. These type of houses tend to be in better, more-convenient locations as well. (The same reason that they were developed a long time ago.)

    2. Walter Shwe

      If I was looking to buy a house (anywhere) right now, I might be hoping that the federal government doesn’t pay its bills, starting next month. That would create a massive crash in prices nationwide (albeit it would probably be difficult to obtain a mortgage).

      You Ron are just another conservative that wants to crash the US economy for their own purposes just like Trump and his allies. You don’t care about any of the millions of people that would be directly negatively affected.

      1. Ron Oertel

        I’m not a conservative (or liberal/progressive).  Those labels have no meaning to me.

        But from a personal perspective (regardless of political views), I’d want housing prices to crash if I was buying a house.  I suspect that I share that view with many “progressives”.

        Much of the cause in the run-up of housing prices (nationwide) was due to the extremely low interest rate that had been maintained by the federal reserve. And this is also now part of the reason for the collapse in the banking system.

        And the current fight over the debt limit is due to concerns regarding the nation’s debt, partly as a result of the stimulus programs. Someone has to pay that debt, eventually.

        1. Walter Shwe

           I suspect that I share that view with many “progressives”.

          Your suspicion is definitely wrong. For one, they have more sympathy for their fellow men and women. For another, true progressives all want a clean debt ceiling bill with none of the “stings” conservatives have united behind.

          And the current fight over the debt limit is due to concerns regarding the nation’s debt, partly as a result of the stimulus programs. Someone has to pay that debt, eventually.

          Someone also has to pay for even greater debt increase under the conservative Trump Administration as well.

          In his FY 2021 budget, Trump’s budget included a $966 billion deficit.14 However, the national debt actually grew by $1.5 trillion between October 1, 2020, and October 1, 2021.

          FY 2021: $1.5 trillion
          FY 2020: $4.2 trillion
          FY 2019: $1.2 trillion
          FY 2018: $1.3 trillion

          https://www.thebalancemoney.com/us-debt-by-president-by-dollar-and-percent-3306296

           

           

           

        2. Ron Oertel

          Your suspicion is definitely wrong. For one, they have more sympathy for their fellow men and women. For another, true progressives all want a clean debt ceiling bill with none of the “stings” conservatives have united behind.

          My comment was limited to wanting to see housing prices crash.  Are you stating that you don’t want to see that?

          I’d also like to see rent control become more widely-adopted.

          Of course it wouldn’t actually be good if the government didn’t pay its bills, as it would have a lot of other negative impacts (besides crashing the housing market). As such, I was being facetious with my earlier comment. But I do want to see the housing market crash more than it already has, so far.

          I take issue with your apparent conclusion that progressives necessarily have more empathy than conservatives.  (I believe “empathy” is a more-correct word, here.)

          I used to be believe that, but no more. Partly as a result of my experiences commenting on this blog.

          For what it’s worth, I’d characterize your views as traditionally-conservative, regarding support of development, support of cars, and lack of concern regarding the environment.

          But again, you might find labels more meaningful than I do.  I view myself (and most people) as adopting an “a la carte” view regarding individual issues, more than identifying with a label. As such, I’m not sure why you’re bringing up Trump, as if you’d expect me to disagree with you.

          For that matter, Covid stimulus was probably needed under both administrations, though they may have taken it too far.

        3. Walter Shwe

          My comment was limited to wanting to see housing prices crash.  Are you stating that you don’t want to see that?

          I don’t want housing prices to dramatically fall, just either stabilize or slightly decrease. Another effect of failing to increase the debt ceiling will be dramatically higher interest and home mortgages rates.

          Of course it wouldn’t actually be good if the government didn’t pay its bills, as it would have a lot of other negative impacts (besides crashing the housing market). As such, I was being facetious with my earlier comment.

          I have to take your comments seriously unless you you state you are being facetious. After all, this site deals exclusively in serious issues, not light-hearted ones.

          For what it’s worth, I’d characterize your views as traditionally-conservative, regarding support of development, support of cars, and lack of concern regarding the environment.

          I support continued development in part because it’s due to past development that I am able to live where I now live. That’s also the case for all of the commenters on this site. I try to not be a hypocrite.

          I assume the vast majority of liberals also drive or ride in vehicles, at least occasionally. American society is still largely based on vehicular transportation. There are still many places you simply can’t reach without vehicles. In not all cases is it practical to take mass transit.

          I do have concern for the environment, but only within reason. I firmly believe that everyone has the right to live in safe and affordable housing in the type of housing of their choosing and in the community they desire to reside in. After all, every living individual has a carbon footprint

          I and other liberals definitely do have more empathy for my fellow human beings than conservatives do with the exception of conservatives. For instance, liberals definitely have more empathy for the downtrodden among us. I expect most conservatives feel likewise regarding most liberals. I have often witnessed conservatives on social media referring to liberals as “libtards“. When it comes to politics, I always play for keeps and play to win because in most cases the other side does too including ultra-conservative groups like the Moms for Liberty.

        4. Ron Oertel

          I don’t want housing prices to dramatically fall, just either stabilize or slightly decrease.

          They’re definitely stabilizing/decreasing.

          Another effect of failing to increase the debt ceiling will be dramatically higher interest and home mortgages rates.

          True – but I’d rather deal with high interest, than high initial prices (if I was buying a house).  The reason being that few keep their mortgage for the entire 30-year period, and property taxes are based upon purchase price.

          I support continued development in part because it’s due to past development that I am able to live where I now live. That’s also the case for all of the commenters on this site. I try to not be a hypocrite.

          In my case, I was priced out of my original locale because of the pursuit of development (e.g., the technology industry).

          But in general, I don’t view any particular area that I might prefer to live in as “owing” me a house at a price I can afford. I am quite certain that such a belief (if translated into policy) would ultimately lead to the destruction of vast semi-rural areas, habitat and farmland. Which (in fact) has already occurred, in many areas.

          I’d view THAT type of belief as “hypocrisy”, if one claims to be concerned about environmental protection and stability.

          I assume the vast majority of liberals also drive or ride in vehicles, at least occasionally. American society is still largely based on vehicular transportation. There are still many places you simply can’t reach without vehicles. In not all cases is it practical to take mass transit.

          I pretty much agree, but our shared view is not considered “progressive” regarding that.

          I do have concern for the environment, but only within reason. I firmly believe that everyone has the right to live in safe and affordable housing in the type of housing of their choosing and in the community they desire to reside in.

          The “right” to live in the type of housing of one’s choosing, and in the community they desire to reside in” has never occurred in the history of humankind, and also has nothing to do with environmental protection.

          After all, every living individual has a carbon footprint.

          True.

          I and other liberals definitely do have more empathy for my fellow human beings than conservatives do with the exception of conservatives. For instance, liberals definitely have more empathy for the downtrodden among us. I expect most conservatives feel likewise regarding most liberals. I have often witnessed conservatives on social media referring to liberals as “libtards“. When it comes to politics, I always play for keeps and play to win because in most cases the other side does too including ultra-conservative groups like the Moms for Liberty.

          From what I’ve seen, conservatives tend to give more to charity (in one form, or another – e.g., through religious organizations).

          “Moms for Liberty” would probably tell you that they’re trying to protect vulnerable children, whether or not you (or I) agree with that.  I tend to share the view that “gender-affirming” medical interventions on minors may be “problematic”, to borrow a word that’s often associated with progressives.

           

        5. Keith Olsen

          I and other liberals definitely do have more empathy for my fellow human beings than conservatives do with the exception of conservatives. 

          Wow!

           I have often witnessed conservatives on social media referring to liberals as “libtards“.

          Yeah, like liberals never name call conservatives.

          When it comes to politics, I always play for keeps and play to win because in most cases the other side does too including ultra-conservative groups like the Moms for Liberty.

          Boy, Shwe managed to mention Moms for Liberty in an article about housing.

           

        6. Walter Shwe

          Wow!

          Once again you express another completely conservative viewpoint. You are actually highly conservative despite any claims to the contrary.

          Boy, Shwe managed to mention Moms for Liberty in an article about housing.

          In one of Ron Oertel’s previous comments he managed to discuss Sonoma Raceway despite the subject having nothing to do with either Sonoma County or Sonoma Raceway. Since Ron and I were discussing the differences between conservatives and liberals, completely conservative organizations like the Moms for Liberty are entirely fair game. I offered the Moms for Liberty as an excellent example of who conservatives really are there days. Peace.

        7. Walter Shwe

          I’d view THAT type of belief as “hypocrisy”, if one claims to be concerned about environmental protection

          Do you Ron live in a neighborhood that was once rural or farmland? Do any of the commenters on this site that decry development on farmland live in areas that at one time were rural or farmland? The answers to these 2 questions will determine whether or not Davis NIMBYs are in fact the real hypocrites despite any claims to the contrary.

          “Moms for Liberty” would probably tell you that they’re trying to protect vulnerable children, whether or not you (or I) agree with that.  I tend to share the view that “gender-affirming” medical interventions on minors may be “problematic”, to borrow a word that’s often associated with progressives.

          I don’t accept what the Moms for Liberty claim to be about, because the truth lies elsewhere. Their ultimate goal is to turn the United States in to a highly conservative fascist banana republic where it’s either their way or the highway. They use parents and community members as “pawns” to achieve their goals. Their tools of choice include fear, doubt, confusion and intimidation. Sharla uncovered the truth regarding this organization.

          Jennifer Jenkins, a Brevard County School Board member who unseated Moms for Liberty co-founder Tina Descovich, traced harassment in her district back to the beginning of Moms for Liberty protests during school board meetings.

          Someone even falsely reported Jenkins for child abuse, she said, prompting an investigation from the Florida Department of Children and Families.

          According to Vero News, a local news outlet for Indian River County, Florida, co-founder Justice visited her fifth-grade son’s school to oppose the district’s COVID-19 mask mandate and was “being so disruptive and disrespectful in her interactions with Beachland teachers and administrators” that the school’s superintendent “warned she could be barred from the campus.”

          https://www.mediamatters.org/critical-race-theory/unmasking-moms-liberty

        8. Ron Oertel

           

          Do you Ron live in a neighborhood that was once rural or farmland? Do any of the commenters on this site that decry development on farmland live in areas that at one time were rural or farmland?

          Yes – everyone does.  Even in places like San Francisco (which wasn’t necessarily farmland, but was undeveloped).

          The answers to these 2 questions will determine whether or not Davis NIMBYs are in fact the real hypocrites despite any claims to the contrary.

          Again, you’re just flat-out wrong, regarding this.  For the same reason that I don’t demand that my original home town (or some place like Marin county) build me an “affordable” house on land that’s preserved, one way or another.  (Marin has a very high percentage of preserved land, via parks, watersheds, conservation easements on private land, zoning, etc.)

          In my original home town, there really isn’t any open space left at all.  Prices rose due to the pursuit of economic development.  Recently, politicians like Scott Wiener have declared war on those types of cities, “supposedly” on behalf of someone like me.  And yet, I don’t support what he’s doing at all.

          We’d all be living “somewhere” (not necessarily where we currently are), if our housing hadn’t been built.

          It simply cannot continue as it once was.  And fortunately, it is not (in some ways).

           

          I don’t accept what the Moms for Liberty claim to be about, because the truth lies elsewhere.
          Their ultimate goal is to turn the United States in to a highly conservative fascist banana republic where it’s either their way or the highway. They use parents and community members as “pawns” to achieve their goals. Their tools of choice include fear, doubt, confusion and intimidation. Sharla uncovered the truth regarding this organization.

          So you say.

        9. Walter Shwe

          I don’t accept what the Moms for Liberty claim to be about, because the truth lies elsewhere.

          Their ultimate goal is to turn the United States in to a highly conservative fascist banana republic where it’s either their way or the highway. They use parents and community members as “pawns” to achieve their goals. Their tools of choice include fear, doubt, confusion and intimidation. Sharla uncovered the truth regarding this organization.

          So you say.

          I have real evidence to back my assertions, but you do not Ron Oretel.

        10. Ron Oertel

          I have real evidence to back my assertions, but you do not Ron Oretel.

          Your citation primarily consists of subjective, descriptive comments – not “evidence”.

          I, on the other hand, make no assertions regarding Moms for Liberty.  Other than what I read on here, I have no idea who they are, or what their goals are.

        11. Keith Olsen

          I and other liberals definitely do have more empathy for my fellow human beings than conservatives do with the exception of conservatives.
          Wow!

          Walter Shwe response:

          Wow!
          Once again you express another completely conservative viewpoint. You are actually highlyconservative despite any claims to the contrary.

          Wow again!!!

           

           

           

        12. Walter Shwe

          Your citation primarily consists of subjective, descriptive comments – not “evidence”.
          I, on the other hand, make no assertions regarding Moms for Liberty.  Other than what I read on here, I have no idea who they are, or what their goals are.

          My multiple citations are descriptions of the personal experiences from multiple people that have to put up with the repeated intimidation from members of this radical conservative group. “Looking the other way” is no excuse in issues of this magnitude.

  7. Eileen Samitz

    What? Please explain how 5 stories rely “more” on elevators than 4 stories? This does not make any sense. Are you saying ADA compliance is not needed above 4 floors? I don’t think so.

    Also, UCD’s student population is at 38,000 now and it its most recent UCD LRDP defines a maximum of 39,000, but not until 2031. First with only 38% on-campus housing , that means UCD is pushing 62% of its student housing off campus.

    Second, do you really think that being at 38% on-campus housing, is “on schedule” since UCD is at 97% of their maximum student population now with 8 years to go to 2031? With all of this accelerated student population growth UCD has pushed already, do you think UCD is not going to exceed the 39,000 maximum campus population by 2031?

    All of these UCD numbers are terrible, and they illustrate the problem that I am pointing out.

  8. Ron Glick

    Matt Williams said:
    David your point would be relevant if it were not for any (or all) of the following realities:
    (1) UCD’s conscious/ willful exclusion of itself  from the city.
    This is factually incorrect. When West Village was being planned Don Saylor on the City Council and Mariko Yamada on the Board of Supervisors opposed annexation into the city. Gary Sandy, representing UC Davis at the time, claimed UC was okay with annexation and that UC was willing to negotiate an MOU about cost sharing.

    I’ve been making the argument for decades that students living on campus not being allowed to vote in Davis elections was a form of voter suppression. One piece of evidence is all the people who are happy that they are excluded for fear that they would vote differently because they have different interests. That is the essence of voter suppression.

     

    1. Matt Williams

      Ron G, you may be right with respect to that bit of West Village history.  I hadn’t been pulled into Davis politics at that point.  Can you point me to some source documents?  I’ll be glad to go to the Library to research and/or I can reach out to Gary Sandy to discuss with him his recollection of those events.

      With that said, West Village accounts for approximately 4,600 to 5,000 student beds.  According to the UCD November 2022 update sent to me by Mabel Salon the number of students living on campus is between 13,600 and 14,000.  That means aWest Village annexation would leave approximately 9,000 UCD students’ “disenfranchisement” status unchanged from what it is now.

      For the record, I have no problem at all with your position on UCD students having a voice in elections.  In truth they aren’t currently “voiceless” as the student occupation of US Bank several years ago illustrated very clearly.

      1. Ron Glick

        There is another example. Aggie Village, designed primarily as faculty housing, is built on University land but is incorporated into the city.

        David’s entire argument that faculty housing should be built in places where the residents can participate in city elections exposes how ingrained suppression of the student voting cohort is in local politics. Why should we be more concerned about faculty participation at the ballot box than student participation? We shouldn’t, but the shamelessness with which the argument can be made reveals how widely accepted student voter suppression is in Davis.

        If Eileen, or other advocates of more housing on campus, advocated that we annex those properties so that we enfranchise the people living there to vote in city elections I’d be right there with them. Sadly, I’ve never heard the advocates of more campus housing make that argument.

        1. Matt Williams

          Ron G and David, your respective points don’t hold up when placed in the the spotlight of reality.  Palo Alto has a large population next to it … five large populations in fact.  Menlo Park, East Palo Alto, Mountain View, Los Altos, and Los Altos Hills.  Further, Davis already has its own large populations next to it in the form of El Macero, Willowbank, the UC Davis campus, Patwin, and North Davis Meadows.

          With that said, I have absolutely no problem with enfranchising all the residents of those five areas in City of Davis voting.

          But let’s hypothetically assume that West davis was indeed annexed into the City.  How would that have changed the trajectory of Davis housing.  Ron G says “it would have made it easier to annex more housing to the West.”  That makes no sense.  Annexation would not have changed the ownership of the land.  It still would have been owned by UCD.  If anything, annexation would have made the bureaucratic hoops for development proposals more complex and more costly.  The University would still do all of its own LRDP planning, but layered on top of that would be project review bu the City.  UCD would want its economic pound of flesh.  The City would have all of its fees and taxes.  Right now, all those City fees and taxes are avoided.  So how is it that annexation would produce more housing?  It’s a puzzlement.

      1. Ron Glick

        Matt, you need to do a thought process through the lens of what happened when West Village was planned. If West Village had been incorporated into the city it would have made it easier to annex more housing to the West. Should we call it West West Village like North North Davis? I can see a future with South South Davis houses getting built where even more people can’t vote in Measure J elections.

  9. Eileen Samitz

    The point which keeps being distracted from here is that UCD is fully capable of providing housing for far more students than it is planning. UCD has a huge backlog of student beds needed from decades of not building the housing yet having accelerated student population growth. As a result, UCD has been pushing the vast majority of its students off campus. It is likely more then 62% of its students being housed off campus because UCD has vacated 1/3 of Solano Park on campus student housing to redevelop it. But is UCD going to squander this opportunity as it has all the others up until now for a low-density project again?

     The current UCD MOU is inadequate since it refers to only student population growth from the time the LRDP was approved. The MOU does not address the huge backlog of student beds which UCD neglected to build before the current LRDP was adopted.

     On annexing the UCD into the City. Well, that question was broached to UCD years ago and they are not interested. Why would they, when:
    1)      UCD gets to ignore City polices including development and municipal code.
    2)      UCD does not have to pay property taxes of land owned or rented in Davis, revenue that the City of Davis needs.
    3)      UCD really feels no need to cooperate with the City, like UCD pulling this year’s graduation ceremonies off of the UCD campus and having them in Sacramento. The City asked them not to do this because the event helped to bring in visitors for the event annually which was a significant revenue boost for Davis.
    4)      UCD continues to push at least 62% of their student off campus which is seriously impacting the housing availability in Davis for workers and families. (It is likely more than 62% of UCD students being pushed off campus now due to Solano Park on-campus housing being vacated for redevelopment.)

    So, please, this is not about disenfranchisement at all since 62% of their students who live in the City have the ability to vote in the City.

    Further, UCD needs to build on campus housing for their faculty and staff because they are having a lot of trouble recruiting because faculty. they are so top heavy with administration with enormous salaries, that that is where so much of their budget is focused as well as with vanity projects like the museum and the second music recital center instead if prioritizing student housing that they need to be building on campus.

    All the other UCs are building 50% on campus housing except UCD which is the largest campus with over 5,300 acres and a 900-acre core campus. The reason the other campuses are doing this because it is good planning. All of these other UCs recognize and acknowledge that on-campus student housing is the only way to control student housing costs long-term. It is also the most sustainable planning since it drastically reduces traffic, circulation, parking and other impacts on the environment and the surrounding cities. So, good planning  is why all the other UCs are building as much as they can a quickly as they can, except UCD who continues to resist providing at least the amount of housing all the other UCs are, even though it has the most land.

    Further, Gov. Newson allocated $1.4 billion of money for university student housing, yet UCD did not apply for any of it! Again, this is inexcusable and negligent of UCD. As a result, UC San Diego is building a 16-23 story student housing complex, yet UCD keeps squandering their on-campus student housing building opportunities to 3- to 4- story building with a rare 5-story building. UCD’s on campus Orchard Park is an embarrassment being a  sprawl of 4-story buildings, when it is right across the street on Russell Blvd. from the  7-story privately built Davis Live (now named “Identity”) student housing complex.

    Finally, instead of distracting from this current important issue, why isn’t the Vanguard asking if Solano Park on campus is going to be at least 7-stories as a private developer has accomplished of a student housing project in the City? Even the graduate students are complaining that UCD is not building  them enough on-campus housing, yet the Vanguard is avoiding talking about that subject.
     

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