Guest Commentary: Comparison of Village Farms Davis and Shriners Proposed Developments

by Alan Pryor

Recent online comments suggested a side-by-side comparison of the features of several currently proposed development projects subject to a Measure J vote would be useful to allow readers to do an “apples-to-apples” comparison of the salient features of the projects. As a result, I prepared such a spreadsheet showing what I considered to be the most important features of the Village Farms Davis and the Shriners development projects.

The following general categories were considered in this analysis;

  1. Total Project Size and Buildable Acres
  2. Number of Market Rate and Affordable Housing Units and Density
  3. Area of Open Space, Roadways, and Proposed Mitigation
  4. Distances to Important Local Destinations and Public Transit Access
  5. Infill Potential vs. Sprawl
  6. Other Project Benefits to the Community

Information for the analysis was derived from public sources and/or filings made by the project developers and follow-up inquiries when additional information was sought.


Results – The results of this effort is shown in the following spreadsheet:


Discussion

Total Project Size and Buildable Acres – The total project size at Village Farms Davis is 390.5 acres while Shriners total project size is 234.3 acres. A little over 50% of the Village Farms Davis site (197 acres) is deemed “buildable” and planned for housing (residential parcels and apartments) and building sites for other public use facilities. The buildable use of land at Shriners is about 140 acres or about 60% of the total project acreage.

The differences in buildable percentage of land at the projects are due to the greater percentage of Village Farms Davis devoted to either parks, greenbelts, and other open space habitat including ponds (to accept storm water overflow ) or to other non-residential uses including the planned fire station, pre-K school and day care center, and the Educational Community Farm.

Number of Market Rate and Affordable or Attainable Housing Units and Density – There are substantial differences between the projects in terms of the number and types of housing mix offered.

Total Units – Village Farms Davis has approximately 63% more total units compared to Shriners (1,800 total units for Village Farms Davis compared to 1,100 total units for Shriners) assuming single-family homes (vs duplexes as otherwise allowed by law) are constructed on all non-multifamily residential parcels.

Market Rate and Affordable Rental Apartments – Village Farms Davis also offers a total of 200 market rate apartments and 270 subsidized affordable apartments for rent (15% of total units) while Shriners offers 200 subsidized apartments for rent (18% of the total units).

Deed-Restricted Subsidized Housing – Village Farms Davis additionally offers 310 units of attainable housing in which the developer will provide 15% of the down payment required for the initial homeowner purchase through First Northern Bank. This contribution requires the buyer to occupy the deed-restricted home (i.e. it cannot be rented) and it cannot be resold until after 2 years after which deed restrictions are lifted. Upon resale, the original 15% down payment and 15 % of all equity increases are then paid into a local Affordable Housing Trust Fund.

Market-Rate Parcels – The total number of non-deed restricted market rate residential parcels at Village Farms Davis is 1,020 vs. 900 at Shriners. Single family homes or duplexes can be constructed on these lots.

Area of Open Space, Roadways, and Proposed Mitigation

Parks, Greenbelts, and Ponds – Village Farms Davis has a total of 107.5 acres (27.5% of total project size) of open space including parks, greenbelts, and habitat ponds providing overflow capacity for Central and North Davis floodwaters (in addition to providing overflow to adjacent mitigation land) and a small Educational Community Farm. Shriners has a total of 75.2 acres (32.1% of total project size) of open space including parks, greenbelts, a habitat pond and a baseball/softball complex.

Roadways – Village Farms Davis has a total of 21.3 acres of roadways (27.5% of total project size) and Shriners has a total of 19.1 acres of roadways (32.1% of total project size).

Mitigation – Village Farms Davis’ proposed mitigation is adjacent to and contiguous to the project extending from the north of the project to County Road 29. This land is planned for habitat and seasonal agriculture and will accept excess floodwater flows from central and north Davis during heavy winter rains. Mitigation for Shriners is not specified.

Distances to Important Local Destinations and Public Transit Access – All distances between the project site and destinations was obtained using the <Measure> function in Google Earth which reports approximate distances between a starting and ending point along specified routes. The starting point for determination of distances from the Village Farm Davis project is the proposed L. St entrance to the proposed development from Covell Blvd. and from the proposed west entrance to the Shriners project from Covell Blvd. These are the main entrances to each project. The selected routes were the closest along walking or biking routes rather than “as-the-crow-flys”.

Distances to Shopping – The Oak Tree Plaza at Poleline and Covell is the nearest full service shopping center to each project. It is directly across Covell from the proposed Village Farms Davis site and about 1.3 miles from Shriners.

Distance to Downtown Davis – Village Farms Davis is approximately 1.3 miles from 5th and G St (considered the northeast corner of the downtown area) while Shriners is about 2.75 miles from the same downtown location.

Distance to Amtrak Station – Village Farms Davis is approximately 1.4 miles from the Amtrak station while Shriners is about 2.9 miles from the station.

Distance to UC Davis – Village Farms Davis is approximately 1.6 miles from 5th and A St (considered to be the northeast corner of the University) while Shriners is about 3.1 miles from the same location.

Distance to Davis High School – Village Farms Davis is approximately 1.6 miles from the administration building at Davis High School while while Shriners is about 2.5 miles from the same location.

Distance to Junior Highs – While Village Farms Davis is substantially closer to Holmes Junior High and Shriners is substantially closer to Harper Junior High, enrollment at any particular Junior High cannot be guaranteed to residents of either Village Farms Davis or Shriner. So the average distance to the administration buildings at the two Junior Highs was determined. Village Farms Davis is 1.15 miles, on average, from the administration buildings at the Junior High Schools while Shriners is 1.02 miles, on average, from the administration buildings at the schools.

Distance to Elementary Schools – Village Farms Davis is closest to Birch Lane Elementary School while Shriners is closer to Korematsu Elementary School. However, similar to the situation with Junior High Schools, attendance at the school closest to each development cannot be guaranteed for residents of those developments. So the average distance to the administration building at the 3 nearest elementary schools (Korematsu, Birch Lane, and North Davis) was determined. Village Farms Davis is 1.06 miles, on average, from the administration buildings at these 3 elementary schools while Shriners is 1.3 miles, on average, from the administration buildings at the schools.

Distance to Major Medical Facilities – There are two major medical facilities in Davis – Sutter Hospital in West Davis and the Kaiser Medical Center in South Davis. Village Farms Davis is an average of about 2 miles from these facilities while Shriners is approximately 3 miles away, on average.

Distance to Existing Below Grade Crossings of Covell – Each of the development projects is near a below grade crossing of Covell Blvd. Village Farms Davis is about 0.4 miles from it’s main entrance to the existing F. St under-crossing while Shriners’ main entrance is about 0.25 miles away from the existing East Covell under-crossing adjacent to the southwest corner of the development.

Number of Bus Routes Running Immediately Adjacent to the Developments – Village Farms Davis has 8 Yolobus and Unitrans routes stopping at 7 stops directly adjacent to or across the street from project perimeters while Shriners has 3 Yolobus and Unitrans bus routes running along Covell Blvd. with 2 stops directly adjacent to or across the street (and within 1 block) from the project perimeters

Existing Transit Stops and Bus Routes directly adjacent to or across the street from Village Farm Davis project site

  1. Covell Blvd & J St.: Unitrans P, Q, and E and Yolobus 43
  2. Pole Line Rd & Covell Blvd: Unitrans P, Q, and L and Yolobus 43
  3. Pole Line Rd & Picasso Ave: Unitrans L
  4. Pole Line Rd & Donner Ave: Unitrans L
  5. Pole Line Rd & Moore Blvd: Unitrans L and T
  6. F St & Grande Blvd: Unitrans F
  7. F St & Anderson: Yolobus 230

Existing Transit Stops and Bus Routes directly adjacent to or across the street and within 1 block from Shriners project site

  1. Covell Blvd & Alhambra St.: Unitrans P and Q
  2. Covell at Monarch Yolobus 43 (actually 1 block west of Shriners property line)

Infill Potential vs. Sprawl – The Village Farms Davis property is within the Sphere of Influence of the City of Davis while the Shriners property is not in the designated Davis Sphere of Influence. The state definition of an in-fill project is that 75% of the property is contiguous with existing City boundaries or city-owned property. 88% of the Village Farms Davis is contiguous with existing City boundaries or city-owned property while 51.6% of Shriners is contiguous with existing City boundaries or city-owned property.

Other Project Benefits to Community – In addition to the $25 – $30 million expected to be transferred to a local Affordable Housing Trust Fund to benefit Davis on eventual resale of the 310 “attainable” homes, the 2.5 acre Educational Community Farm, and the overflow capacity for excess flood water from central and north Davis directed to the mitigation land as described above, Village Farms Davis is also offering the land and construction costs for a North Davis Fire and Emergency Response Center and a Pre-K/Day Care Center for Davis Joint Unified School District. Shriners is offering a softball/baseball complex on its site.

About The Author

Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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26 Comments

  1. Ron Glick

    Another unintended consequence of Measure J. We now have advocates arguing about which project is better instead of a comprehensive and thoughtful approach to peripheral development. Of course neither of these proposals is anywhere near ready for the ballot and subject to change depending on input from the community, city staff and the City Council so this comparison is essentially meaningless and unworthy of a readers time past the first paragraph.

    1. Matt Williams

      Ron, how is this an unintended consequence of Measure J?  It is actually a direct consequence of having an out of compliance (with State law) General Plan.  That lack of compliance means every application must be processed as a General Plan Exception.  That means/produces planning in a silo.

      1. David Greenwald

        Ron is correct.  It wouldn’t matter if the city was in compliance with the general plan, a Measure J vote still has to go through the full process.

        1. Matt Williams

          David, Ron’s complaint is pretty clear “We now have advocates arguing about which project is better instead of a comprehensive and thoughtful approach to peripheral development.“

          The thoughtful, comprehensive approach to all development comes from having a valid functional General Plan.  In jurisdictions that have a valid, legally compliant Plan, the respective projects are compared to the standards in that Plan, not to one another.  As we have seen with the recent G Street proposals, when a standard exists the developers can develop their proposals to comply with the standards of the Plan.

          Further, each respective individual project proposal could (in a Measure J vote) tell the voters how they have structured their project, both holistically and with individual features, to comply with (and deliver on) those standards.

          They would have a very clear roadmap for how and why to be telling the voters “This is why this is a good project and a well planned project.”  Absent a valid General Plan there is no way to comfortably do that.  It is simply a crapshoot.

      2. Tim Keller

        I agree with Ron that neither proposal is ready for the ballot.    There is extreme cognative dissonance between the thought of putting more low-density single family housing on the ballot, and the standards for development argued for by various people who have opined on the subject recently, including Mr Pryor.

        When people talk about “efficient use of land”, and “parking maximums”, and “transit effectiveness”, and “walkable neighborhoods”, etc.. they are talking about medium-density mixed use zoning… period.

        You cant say that you want these kinds of features in our developments and then back a project that predominantly single family housing.   Its bonkers.

        1. David Greenwald

          It is important to recognize that there is a process by which there is community feedback, feedback from commissions, and then feedback and negotiation from council. Thus by the time the project goes to the voters, it has been transformed.

          While I understand the desire for density, there is an inherent conflict in values between the desire for density, the need for single family homes for families and the concerns that will be raised in a campaign – which also gets to one of Ron’s concerns.

        2. Tim Keller

          It is important to recognize that there is a process by which there is community feedback, feedback from commissions, and then feedback and negotiation from council.

          My concern about even starting a process with a project that is FAR off the mark, is that the process in these feedback loops arent going to change the proposal very much.  There will be token concessions, but not a re-imagining of the project, and that is very much what is needed.

          For example…  if you map every grocery store in town you see there is a distribution of them, and there is a BIG gap in mace ranch…  West mace ranch /slide hill / is a retail desert with a lot of space between the pole-line nugget and target at mace.

          That means that the Shriners property, even by automotive planning standards, should probably have a commercial center with a grocery store as part of it.. but none is even proposed.

          Do we honestly think that the project will get re-thought to THAT degree AND advance enough to make it on the ballot in 2024?   no way.

          Lets keep in mind that even for DiSC where there was a decade of process asking for an innovation park, people STILL complained about a rushed timeline and lack of process…

          Rushing these projects for 2024 is setting up a lose-lose-lose scenario:

          1) we lose if they get passed in a poorly planned way with low density and car-centric housing which will liklely NOT end up housing the local workforce.

          2) We lose if they go through a process and get planned better but then lose at the ballot

          3) we lose if we decide to pursue “one more hit” like a junkie with Measure J, instead of focusing the same energy on actually getting our house in order and fixing the real problem:  Measure J and our broken process.

          Im about as pro-housing as anyone can get in this town.  But I am 50/50 on voting for Shriners at this point.   So if they have lost me.. what hope is there?

          There is NO substitute for doing ACTUAL planning.    Lets just focus on that.

          While I understand the desire for density, there is an inherent conflict in values between the desire for density, the need for single family homes for families and the concerns that will be raised in a campaign

           

          There is no fundamental reason why anyone needs a single family home.   Plenty of children are raised in new york city for example.  I get that “it will be raised in the campaign”  but that is only more reason why doing our planning through a lens of “what will pass at the ballot box” is also bonkers.

          1. David Greenwald

            “ There is no fundamental reason why anyone needs a single family home.”

            In the strictest sense that’s true. There is no reason why anyone needs a single family home, just as there is no fundamental reason anyone *needs* anything above the bare minimum. But that part of this equation is not addressing needs but rather that confluence of wants, desires, affordability, and shelter.

            I certainly would not advocate for exclusive single family neighborhoods, but if we want to address a variety of housing types, a range of affordability, and a range of housing needs, then one component of any project should be single family homes – particularly given my concerns about schools and local declining enrollment.

        3. Ron Oertel

          While I understand the desire for density, there is an inherent conflict in values between the desire for density, the need for single family homes for families and the concerns that will be raised in a campaign – which also gets to one of Ron’s (Glick) concerns.

          There is no “need” for any of these proposals, but especially no “need” for more single-family houses.  Davis is full of those, already.

          Not sure why this one seems unusually-inexpensive:

          https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/2616-Amapola-Dr-Davis-CA-95616/16521539_zpid/

          Maybe just once, we can be honest regarding what all of this actually is – an attempt to expand the size of the city onto adjacent farmland, with a related attempt to justify it.

          The “problem” for the growth advocates is that they haven’t put forth a single, coherent argument regarding the reason to do so. Not even once – and I’ve seen and responded to all of them at this point.

          1. David Greenwald

            “ Maybe just once, we can be honest regarding what all of this actually is – an attempt to expand the size of the city onto adjacent farmland, with a related attempt to justify it.”

            so you believe that for some people – paving over farmland is an end unto itself?

            “ The “problem” for the growth advocates is that they haven’t put forth a single, coherent argument regarding the reason to do so. Not even once – and I’ve seen and responded to all of them at this point.”

            I think what you really mean is that not once has anyone put forward an argument YOU agree with. That’s true.

            On the other hand, if you actually read other people’s views, you see there are a range of different opinions on what type of housing we need. So there isn’t going to be a single, coherent argument because there in fact is not agreement on those issues.

        4. Ron Oertel

          particularly given my concerns about schools and local declining enrollment.

          This is not a legitimate reason to pursue sprawl, as discussed many times on here.

          so you believe that for some people – paving over farmland is an end onto itself?

          Certainly for the developer/owners of adjacent farmland.

          Someone old me that the owner of the Covell Village site purchased it some time ago for only $3 million dollars, as I recall.

          If accurate, that owner (and I think we all know who that is) is poised to make a killing. Even with the “shell game” (affordable housing “plan”).

          1. David Greenwald

            “This is not a legitimate reason to pursue sprawl, as discussed many times on here.”

            Oh, okay, boss.

        5. Tim Keller

          I certainly would not advocate for exclusive single family neighborhoods, but if we want to address a variety of housing types, a range of affordability, and a range of housing needs, then one component of any project should be single family homes – particularly given my concerns about schools and local declining enrollment.

          I totally agree.  I’m a realist.  Single family as part of the mix is fine.   But it is already the dominant form of housing in town.   So there is zero harm in having lets say the bottom half of Village Farms be townhomes and condos.

          You still get people on the homeowners “property ladder” which is important, but you provide more options, better affordability, more people per acre, you skew housing availability towards the local workforce…

  2. Alan Pryor

    While I understand the desire for density, there is an inherent conflict in values between the desire for density, the need for single family homes for families…

    One of the most deeply held Davis values for our neighborhoods is that they have lots of parks, greenbelts, and habitat for wild things. Between 27% and 32% of these projects are reserved for those uses. There is now also a growing and indisputable body of evidence demonstrating that such uses are absolute necessities in neighborhoods to promte mental and physical health of the residents – especially in low income neighborhood where such necessities are in short supply.

    So can you imagine the outcry in Davis if all of the green space in these proposals were sacrificed to put in more apartments in the name of density? I can hear the cries of “those rapacious profiteering developers” coming down from the naysayers in the rafters already.

    And of the folks commenting here on the need for increased density in these new projects (i.e. more apartments and condos and less single family housing), I don’t see any of them moving from their sprawling single family spreads into apartments!…something about pots and kettles comes to mind.

    1. Tim Keller

      So can you imagine the outcry in Davis if all of the green space in these proposals were sacrificed to put in more apartments in the name of density? I can hear the cries of “those rapacious profiteering developers” coming down from the naysayers in the rafters already.

      WOW!  Way to offer a false choice!

      Y0u can build densely AND have plenty of parks.   greenbelts etc.  It’s just that the buildings you DO have are higher and you get more people per acre to enjoy those parks.

      There are many many many examples of cities where higher density has been achieved and there is ALSO room for trees, parks and walkable streets.

      Would it be better to have a sea of single family homes each with their own 5′ strip of grass behind them, or a row of townhomes and an actual functional park between them?   The latter option gets you MORE people per acre AND more greenspace.

      1. Don Shor

        Would it be better to have a sea of single family homes each with their own 5′ strip of grass behind them, or a row of townhomes and an actual functional park between them?

        People who want to have gardens, pets, privacy, and safe places for their kids to play will take the first option. Again, it’s not what you seem to want, but I don’t really understand why you and others insist on projecting your own preferences on others.

        1. Tim Keller

          Don, respectifully, by advoacting for more single family housing  we are projecting THAT model on everyone.   Speaking for myself, unless Im willing to move into a student housing complex ( which did not work for us when we had small kids and neighbors partying until 2AM) then right now for family with young kids.. the ONLY choice is the single family home…

          Why not provide some diversity in the types of housing in this city and let people have options?

          You seem to be arguing against that.

          I have no problem with there being single family housing in the top half of the Village Farms property.   Go for it.  But for the lower half… we can do a LOT better.

          1. David Greenwald

            Tim – are you conflating single family housing with single family zoning or only having single family housing? Because I think we need some single family housing, but not exclusively.

        2. Tim Keller

          Tim – are you conflating single family housing with single family zoning or only having single family housing? Because I think we need some single family housing, but not exclusively.

          Is there a functional difference?  Village farms is planned almost entirely as single family housing, I think there is one apartment complex in the front right?  ONE.

          If you zone, and plan and EIR the place, and sell individual lots as single family lots… thats what you are going to get, even if the zoning isnt technically R1.

           

    2. Tim Keller

      And of the folks commenting here on the need for increased density in these new projects (i.e. more apartments and condos and less single family housing), I don’t see any of them moving from their sprawling single family spreads into apartments!…something about pots and kettles comes to mind.

      I would LOVE to move from my single family home to a condo here in town… WOULD. LOVE. TO.

      But you know how many condos we have in this city?  right… almost none.  In fact I’m lucky even to have been able to snag a single family home!

      So you can take your pot and kettle condemnations elsewhere.   Seriously.

      We already have LOTS of single family housing in this city.   We will only know if there isnt demand for condos and missing middle housing until we build a bunch and then see that its staying vacant.

      The correct experiment to do from an ecologically responsible standpoint is to be building missing middle housing until we reach that saturation point, and AFTER that point we can start building single family housing again.

      If you want to make transit work, it you want to not waste farmland, if you want to have housing that is long-term profitable for the city that is what you do.

  3. David Thompson

    I am grateful for the detailed effort put in by Alan Pryor to compare the two projects as he has.

    I do think that by most comparisons, Village Farms scores better and will continue to be the better of the two. So certainly,  the Davis Eastside project will need to make substantial changes to increase it’s competitveness.

    The most critical issue at the moment is can we meet the RHNA numbers because if we don’t the onerous Builders Remedy will apply to any annexed land. So what we don’t yet know is are the owners of land annexed to the city then allowed to shed requirements agreed to in the Measure J vote if the City’s housing element is not approved?

    The area of comparison that matters most to me is that on affordable housing and here there is not yet the clarity the community needs.

    What I cannot tell from Alan’s charts is how many units of each project will meet the RHNA targets of 580 Very Low Income units, 350 Low Income units and 340 units of Moderate Income categories.

    However, while we are looking at comparing two projects we are not asking ourselves what do we as a community need in land annexed to the city? We are only looking at what the developers want not what we need.

    Here are a few topics to be addressed.

    We have a dangerously low vacancy rate in apartments so most households in Davis are paying above the HUD target of not paying more than 30% for rent.  The sparsity of new market rate apartments in either project dictate that the extremely low vacancy rate remains in place for the next decade. That means thousands of renters will continue to pay more than they should year after year. is that the future Davis we intend to plan for?

    We are in need of very low income units to serve those most in need. The picture we have so far seems to be that very few of the units proposed will meet that VLI need. I suspect out of the total acreage being annexed to the city in each project no more than 2 acres will be dedicated to the VLI needs we have.  Two measly acres for the poorest of us in a community that wants to be of service and talks of inclusivity.

    The “deed restricted housing” is only of two years and then all of those homes go to market. This was previously done in Wildhorse and 56 lucky winners all walked of with thousands of bounty dollars, even before two years because no one watched the program. One of the recipents was a city staff member. One time and these units all go to market. We need to have a portion of these units set aside to be permanently affordable?

    And lastly for the moment, Dos Pinos a limited equity housing cooperative in town is by study the most effective permanently affordable home ownership model in Davis. Why do neither of the projects include a LEHC.?

    Food for thought if you think of the future plan for others.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    1. Ron Oertel

      So what we don’t yet know is are the owners of land annexed to the city then allowed to shed requirements agreed to in the Measure J vote if the City’s housing element is not approved?

      That’s something I’ve noted previously, as well.  It is perhaps the most “amusing” aspect of all of this.

      And even if the housing element is “approved”, it may not “stay that way”.

      One might ask if city officials are raising concerns with the state (as other communities have done), but I think we “no” the answer to that.

  4. Ron Oertel

    I’m not sure that the diagram accompanying this article “supports” Alan’s cause (e.g., dwarfing and wrapping-around The Cannery).

    And this is directly-related to “density”, as well.

    I’m gaining more respect for Tim Keller – for what my opinion is worth at least.

    Though I’m no fan of 400 acres of even-denser development on farmland, either.

    Truth be told, there is no “shortage” of housing in the first place.

    And if anyone on the school board is advocating for more housing (so that they don’t have to close a school), I may show up for the next school board meeting, as well. (So far, they’ve also failed to explain “why” any additional housing would ALSO not result in folks “ageing in place”.)

  5. Matt Williams

    Deed-Restricted Subsidized Housing – Village Farms Davis additionally offers 310 units of attainable housing in which the developer will provide 15% of the down payment required for the initial homeowner purchase through First Northern Bank. This contribution requires the buyer to occupy the deed-restricted home (i.e. it cannot be rented) and it cannot be resold until after 2 years after which deed restrictions are lifted. Upon resale, the original 15% down payment and 15 % of all equity increases are then paid into a local Affordable Housing Trust Fund.(emphasis added)

    .

    There is a lot to like about the proposed program described in the quote above.  John Whitcombe should be thanked for conceiving it and bringing it forward in this proposal.

    With that said, I have bolded the final sentence, which contains a fatal flaw … a flaw that is easily remedied.  Specifically, the resale provision as written converts an “affordable” unit to a market rate unit.  This perpetuates a problem that Davis has had for decades … the shrinking of the inventory of affordable units.  David Greenwald and others have the actual numbers, but at one time Davis had an inventory of several thousand “affordable” units, which has dwindled down to several hundred due to lax administration of the affordable housing program. Provisions in the deeds of those “affordable” units were never enforced when a resale happened. The lesson from that is that ownership is the only way to be sure an “affordable” unit doesn’t lose its affordability provisions at the time of resale.

    Having the Housing Trust Fund own 15% of these “affordable” units in perpetuity has another benefit.  The same lax administration of the affordable housing program meant that the financial resources (dollars) that existed in the Trust Fund slowly and steadily decreased until they no longer existed.  The expenditures on salaries and benefits and other expenses actually decreased “housing affordability” in Davis over time.  That is the exact opposite of the result wanted by the majority of the people who responded to the City of Davis surveys.

    The long standing example of Aggie Village should be a template for this proposed program.  UCD retains partial ownership of each Aggie Village unit in perpetuity.  The City of Davis should do the same with not only Village Farms Davis, but with the units of all peripheral projects as well.

  6. Eileen Samitz

    Well gee… What an interesting sales pitch for Village Farms, but looks like there is misinformation stated in this article and some other important comparisons which were conveniently left out of the article, including but not limited to:

     Village Farms is not infill, it is a peripheral development just like all the other four peripheral proposals, per our General Plan:

    City of Davis General Plan, Chapter 1: Land Use and Growth (page 53)
    “Infill is defined as urban development or redevelopment on vacant or “underutilized” urban-designated land within a city’s boundaries, as an alternative to accommodating growth through expansions of city boundaries.”

    But then, there is a laundry list of other significant problems that the Village Farms project has that Shiner’s does not have, nor the most of the other peripheral proposals. Here is a short list of Village Farms problems and issues:

    1) The history of leakage of toxics and other contaminants from the adjacent former unlined City landfill and sewage treatment plant, onto the Village Farms site. How many people would want to live on the Village Farms site, which is adjacent to a former City unlined landfill and sewage treatment plant with a history of leakage of toxics and other contaminants onto the Village Farms site?

    2) The Village farms proposal of massive groundwater retention ponds adjacent to the former unlined landfill and sewage treatment plant. These groundwater basins which would re-charge potentially contaminated  groundwater into our  aquifers and impact the wildlife and habitat as well.

    3) The massive 200-acre FEMA 100-year flood plain that Village Farms has on its 390.5-acre site. Good planning principles and common-sense call for no building on enormous flood plains. Natomas had disastrous flooding due to building on a huge flood plain causing massive damage and cost millions to repair.

    4) The lack of safe access across Covell Blvd. and F St. for the Village Farms proposal, due to existing infrastructure and barriers like the railroad track along F St. Railroad do not often give access over of under their tracks due to liability amongst other reasons. In contrast, Shriners has an existing  bicycle/pedestrian access under Covell Blvd. currently right on its frontage property line.

    5) The enormous infrastructure costs that would come with Village Farms such as for the proposed Pole Line overcrossing for the project. Village Farms is more than likely going to try to get the City (therefore Davis residents) to share these costs. And whatever the developers’ share of the costs would then be passed along to the project homes, increasing their cost.

    6) The massive gridlock that 1,800 Village Farms units would create at the Covell Blvd. and Pole Line Road intersection, particularly with the Spring Lake and other Woodland traffic now impacting that intersection.

    7) The bare minimum of 15% affordable housing on Village Farms despite the enormous Village Farms 390.5-acre parcel. Meanwhile, Shiner’s is offering at least 18% affordable housing.

    8) The Village Farms disingenuous  “free 15% down payment” for “affordable units” is just a scheme. All the developer has to do is increase the cost of the home at least 15% to cover that “gift”. Does the developer really think Davis residents will not see through this? . Further, there is no “benefit’ to the Housing Trust Fund until the house sells. What if the original owner never sells?

    9) Village Farms will develop  far more ag but preserve less. The Village Farms project will develop 390.5 acres of ag land, but states it will only provide 340 acres of ag land mitigation, which is not even  a 1:1 ag mitigation. In contrast, Shriners would use only 235 acres of ag land but then will  preserve twice as much ag land with 2:1 ag mitigation preserving 470 acres of ag land. The other peripheral project proposals would need to provide 2:1 ag mitigation as well, but Village Farms is proposing to provide even less than 1:1 ag mitigation land.

    10) This same Village Farms developer got entitlements via a Measure J/R/D vote over 5 years ago for the Nishi project proposal, yet has still not delivered on it. Why should the City even consider allowing this developer to apply for entitlements for another project when he has not even broken ground the Nishi project after so many years? The same situation could happen again.

    So, again, this is just a short list of some of the problems and issues not raised or discussed in the article regarding Village Farms, which is clearly the worst project proposal of all the project proposals.

    1. Ron Oertel

      Further, there is no “benefit’ to the Housing Trust Fund until the house sells. What if the original owner never sells?

      Also, what if the original owners just rent the houses out (at full rental market value)? (Perhaps after some minimal period of occupancy?)

      For sure, there’d be a built-in incentive to NEVER sell, regardless.

      These type of schemes never work out as advertised.

      Here’s an alternative idea: You want a house? Go buy a “used” one, such as the example I provided above. No strings attached, often times – no Mello Roos, etc.

      And stop “expecting” ANY community to build you a new, cheap one. (For that matter, you can get a relatively cheaper one some 7 miles up Road 102.)

      I’m sick of hearing this, especially when housing prices are DECLINING.

      9) Village Farms will develop  far more ag but preserve less. The Village Farms project will develop 390.5 acres of ag land, but states it will only provide 340 acres of ag land mitigation, which is not even  a 1:1 ag mitigation. In contrast, Shriners would use only 235 acres of ag land but then will  preserve twice as much ag land with 2:1 ag mitigation preserving 470 acres of ag land. The other peripheral project proposals would need to provide 2:1 ag mitigation as well, but Village Farms is proposing to provide even less than 1:1 ag mitigation land.

      So in exchange for more sprawl, they preserve less land.

      Such a deal!

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