Sunday Commentary: Most People Think UCD Could Do More

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West Village

By David M. Greenwald
Executive Editor

Davis, CA – There are people in this community who I don’t think there’s value being the host city of a world class university, many blame UC Davis for growing, and many believe new student housing should be on campus.

I don’t share most of those viewpoints to be honest.  I think we benefit from the presence of UC Davis and, while I agree that the university has traditionally not done enough on student housing in particular, I do think they have made some progress here in the last eight years.

That said, I think the university can and should do more.

In a recent column, Chancellor May wrote: “One of my goals is for UC Davis to be a good neighbor with the city and surrounding community.”

I appreciate that—although I’m not sure I agree—as I will explain shortly.

Most of his column addresses student housing.

“For some years, access to affordable student housing has been a key concern for both the campus community and community leaders. We’ve also heard the call for traffic improvements that would benefit bicyclists and pedestrians near the university,” he writes.  “As many of you know, in 2018 we signed an agreement with the city of Davis and Yolo County to commit to making real progress around these goals. “

May continues: “I’m pleased that UC Davis has met our commitments around housing and traffic improvements.”

May announces that on August 16, they will have the grand opening of Orachard Park with approximately 1500 beds.  They also announced the completion of The Green at West Village with 3290 beds.

Said Chancellor May, “With the completion of Orchard Park, we’ve reached the milestone outlined in our agreement with the city of Davis and Yolo County to have 15,000 beds by fall of 2023.”

He added that “due to our focus on housing, nearly 40% of enrolled students based in Davis now have access to campus housing. “

All of that sounds good, but with that last line, it throws up a bit of a yellow caution flag—and maybe even a red flag.

Forty percent is of course not what the university agreed to in the LRDP.  The community was pushing for 50 percent.  They finally topped out at around 48 percent.

So why are we at 40 percent now?

Back in 2018, the city council pushed for 50 percent: “The University will commit to housing a minimum of 100 percent of the projected student enrollment of all new incoming students and at least 50 percent of total University campus student population in the LRDP.”

The university came a long way during the LRDP process.  In 2015, only around 28 percent of students were housed on campus, and that is now 40 percent.  That’s an improvement.

In 2018 we noted that “at this point the university has gone from 6200 to 8500 to 9050 beds.  That still leaves them short of the 10,000 new beds needed to provide housing on campus for half the student population, but it does dramatically move them in the right direction from 28 percent to 48 percent.”

But the university should have done more.

In the MOU for example, he noted that they would reach 15,000 students by 2024 as something they will meet.  But also, 100 percent of new students overall.

And yet, here we are falling short of what was originally agreed upon by only getting to 40 percent rather than 50 percent?

Does this matter?  The short answer is yes.  We still have a student housing crisis.  In January students reported that they were having to camp out to sign up for new housing the fall (nine months away).  That was even with the expectation that all of this new on-campus housing would come on line.

The city of Davis is not blameless here.  The city was asleep at the switch for nearly 17 years, until they finally approved Sterling Housing for students—a project that opened a few years ago.

And while the city has approved several larger housing projects for students in recent years, one of the biggest—Nishi—still has not broken ground.

In short, we still have a student housing crisis.

And while Chancellor May went out of his way to pat himself and his colleagues on the back, nowhere in his column was there any acknowledgement that we still have a shortfall, even if he believes that “UC Davis has exceeded its goal to house 100% of the enrollment growth on campus since the campus Long Range Development Plan’s base year of 2016-17. In the last academic year, 3,790 more students were living on campus. That represents nearly 130% of the enrollment growth.”

All of that falls well short of the acknowledged goal of 9000 and the projected need of 10,000 additional student beds this cycle.

My other problem with the Chancellor’s claim is that he says they want to be a good neighbor to the city.  And yet, as we well know, the university has completed a major economic development project in Sacramento and yet largely ignored any economic development prospects in Davis.

Economic development is a huge part of the future of UC Davis and an area that the city can and must find ways to tap into in order to meet its goals on reduction of VMT and GHG, as well as fiscal and job growth.

In order to meet those needs, the city needs to work just as collaboratively with the university as they have recently on housing.  That is going to take major leadership on the part of the city council but also the Chancellor and his administration to make it happen.

In short, while what the Chancellor suggests is a good start, but I am disappointed that there is no acknowledgement that we all must do more.

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About The Author

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

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69 thoughts on “Sunday Commentary: Most People Think UCD Could Do More”

  1. Walter Shwe

    The blame for Aggie Square not being located in Davis falls squarely on Davis NIMBYs and the unfriendly large scale business development attitude of the City of Davis. In sharp contrast, Sacramento welcomed Aggie Square with arms wide open.

    1. Tim Keller

      Aggie square is focused on medical and pharma innovation.  It is co-located with the UCD med center, which is entirely appropriate.   It would make LESS sense for it to be in Davis.     You cant blame Aggie Square on the Nimbys… it is right were it should be.

      What you CAN blame on the nimbys is the fact that UCD hasnt even tried to do any economic development for its other world-class centers of excellence:  Crop Science, Renewables, Materials Science, Automation, Food Tech etc….    We are the world’s number 1 agricultural research university… and agriculture is the world’s largest industry.   THAT is what we are losing…. that would be a fair statement ,    But Aggie square which focuses on medtech specifically and represents 40% of UCD research dollars… is exactly where it is supposed to be.

  2. Ron Glick

    “In short, while what the chancellor suggests is a good start, I am disappointed that there is no acknowledgement that we all must do more.”

    That’s all you got?

    UC didn’t vote down Ramos’ project so how is it the fault of UCD? And why is economic development in the City UC’s responsibility?

    Your complaints make no sense.

  3. Ron Oertel

    Economic development is a huge part of the future of UC Davis and an area that the city can and must find ways to tap into in order to meet its goals on reduction of VMT and GHG as well as fiscal and job growth.

    How would creation of more economic activity and jobs reduce VMTs and GHGs – especially in a city in which there’s already a claimed “housing crisis”?

    By the way, the Woodland technology center (or whatever it’s called) is moving forward in regard to the EIR, etc.  (This is what’s left of the proposal that would have been located at the site which will be now be occupied by Bretton Woods, instead.)  1,600 housing units were “added” during its “move” 7 miles up Highway 113.  (To a site that had previously been zoned for commercial-only development, I understand.)

    1. Walter Shwe

      How would creation of more economic activity and jobs reduce VMTs and GHGs – especially in a city in which there’s already a claimed “housing crisis”?

       
      Almost all economic activities possess carbon footprints. Would you rather there be no employers?
       

      By the way, the Woodland technology center (or whatever it’s called) is moving forward in regard to the EIR, etc.  (This is what’s left of the proposal that would have been located at the site which will be now be occupied by Bretton Woods, instead.)  1,600 housing units were “added” during its “move” 7 miles up Highway 113.  (To a site that had previously been zoned for commercial-only development, I understand.)

       
      More supposed sprawl is occurring in your own backyard Ron. You appear powerless to halt it.

      1. Keith Olsen

        Almost all economic activities possess carbon footprints. Would you rather there be no employers?

        Then people promoting these economic developments need to stop claiming they actually reduce VMTs and GHGs.  

      2. Ron Oertel

        Almost all economic activities possess carbon footprints. Would you rather there be no employers?

        Not what I asked.

        Again, how does creating more jobs in a city in which some claim that there’s already a housing crisis reduce greenhouse gasses?

        How is that not a “prescription” for more inbound commuters?

         

         

        1. David Greenwald Post author

          If you keep asking the same question, you keep getting the same answer, you keep rejecting the same answer, why should I keep answering your question?

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            Sure I have: the answer is creating a better housing-jobs balance where people do not have to commute nearly as far to their jobs and thus reducing the VMT and climate impact. We have had this discussion so many times.

        2. Ron Oertel

          Sure I have: the answer is creating a better housing-jobs balance where people do not have to commute nearly as far to their jobs and thus reducing the VMT and climate impact.

          So, here’s the part I don’t understand regarding your claim.

          Already, there’s a claimed “housing shortage” primarily based upon the number of jobs already available to Davis residents, primarily on campus or in Sacramento.

          You also claim that there’s a net influx of commuters to jobs at UCD in particular, due to the jobs available on campus combined with a “housing shortage” in Davis.

          Isn’t that at the heart of what you and the other housing activists claim?

          If so, how would adding even more jobs in Davis “reduce” VMTs and greenhouse gasses?  Wouldn’t this increase the number of inbound commuters – which (according to you) is already a problem?

           

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            In my view what you are missing is this: as the LAO put it, the housing crisis is not necessarily an overall lack of housing, but housing that “is affordable” and “meets their needs.”

            So the problem of Davis is that you have a large influx of workers who come to Davis/ UC Davis from out of town because the housing is not affordable or at least what is affordable doesn’t meet the needs of people.

            And those who live here, are not finding jobs in town (unless they work at the university) that earn enough money and meet their needs.

            So if you only attempt to solve one half of the problem – housing – you miss the other end of the problem that leads to VMT/ GHG.

            Is it ever going to be a complete match? Of course not. But we can do better than we are now, and reduce GHG.

        3. Keith Olsen

          Sure I have: the answer is creating a better housing-jobs balance where people do not have to commute nearly as far to their jobs and thus reducing the VMT and climate impact. We have had this discussion so many times.

          If the solution were every time a community built business parks and housing that it actually reduced VMT and climate impact we wouldn’t have the climate problem have today.  I think that’s a weak theory.

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            Can you agree that we have not developed well in the past – people have to commute long distances because of the mismatch between housing and jobs and that is detrimental to the environment, particularly since we have a car-driven culture?

        4. Ron Oertel

          So the problem of Davis is that you have a large influx of workers who come to Davis/ UC Davis from out of town because the housing is not affordable or at least what is affordable doesn’t meet the needs of people.

          So based upon this theory, how does adding even more jobs address that?

          And those who live here, are not finding jobs in town (unless they work at the university) that earn enough money and meet their needs.

          Ignoring the increasing number of retirees (for the moment), you’re claiming that if more jobs are created, those currently working in Sacramento will “switch” to a job at a technology park on the fringes of an expanded Davis?

          For example, a state of California worker (who has built his/her career within that system) is suddenly going to abandon that system for a job at a technology center?

          And that those (new) jobs would not primarily be occupied by more commuters?

          And that the “newly-vacant” job that the state worker formerly occupied won’t (also) create more demand for housing (including in Davis)?

          Am I understanding all of your underlying claims correctly?

           

           

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            “So based upon this theory, how does adding even more jobs address that?”

            Because there’s a lot of people who live in Davis, who commute to work.

        5. Ron Oertel

          Because there’s a lot of people who live in Davis, who commute to work.

          This is a partial response to one of my questions regarding your underlying assumptions.

          But just addressing singular response on its own, your theory is that a lot of the workers who commute to Sacramento (mostly at state jobs) are going to abandon that system for a newly-created job at a technology park on the fringes of Davis, and that those jobs won’t primarily be occupied by commuters.

          Do I understand your claim correctly?

          (By the way, this also ignores the fact that a lot of state workers are apparently able to telecommute, these days.)

          But let me ask you the primary question again, since you haven’t answered it (in reference to your own comment):

          David:  So the problem of Davis is that you have a large influx of workers who come to Davis/ UC Davis from out of town because the housing is not affordable or at least what is affordable doesn’t meet the needs of people.

          So based upon this theory, how does adding even more jobs address this?
           

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            I think the main problem is you’re overthinking this. The bottom line is that a large number of people commute into Davis to work and a large number of people commute out of Davis to work. That’s not an ideal situation for climate change but also for traffic. That’s primarily due to an imbalance between jobs and housing. The question is: can we improve upon that? That’s not the only driver of housing and jobs and there is no perfect fix.

        6. Ron Oertel

          I think the main problem is you’re overthinking this.

          I think the main problem is that you’re putting forth self-contradicting claims.

          That’s primarily due to an imbalance between jobs and housing.

          On the one hand, you claim that (due to jobs available at UCD, combined with a local “housing shortage”, there’s a net influx of commuters through Davis.

          On the other hand, you claim that there aren’t “enough” jobs available for Davis residents, requiring them to commute elsewhere.  (Apparently, “unable” to land the jobs that commuters to UCD occupy – and therefore had to “settle” for jobs in Sacramento, for example.)

          And that this latter group of outbound workers would happily (and be able to) “switch careers” to work at a technology center (perhaps in an entirely different field) than the one in which they’re currently working, if only a technology center was built for them on the outskirts of an expanded Davis.

          Do I understand what you’re claiming correctly so far?

          Also, what exactly do you mean by “imbalance” between jobs and housing?  Given your own comment below, doesn’t this indicate a net excess number of jobs available compared to the amount of housing in Davis? 

          Especially when considering the fact that there’s already a net influx of workers commuting “through” Davis to reach UCD?

          So the problem of Davis is that you have a large influx of workers who come to Davis/ UC Davis from out of town because the housing is not affordable or at least what is affordable doesn’t meet the needs of people.

           

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            You’re still over-thinking this.

            Your concept of “abandon” or “switch careers” assumes a level of permanence that I don’t think is reflected in the real world. I think you have to look in terms of churn – the typical person changes homes and jobs on a pretty regular basis.

            It’s never going to be perfect, but what if we could achieve a 5 to 10 percent reduction in GHG simply by better aligning jobs and housing? Isn’t that worth it?

        7. Ron Oertel

          You’re still over-thinking this.

          I’m not “over-thinking” this.  I’m trying to determine why you claim the things you do.

          Your concept of “abandon” or “switch careers” assumes a level of permanence that I don’t think is reflected in the real world.

          A typical job at a “technology center” (other than a janitor, for example) would likely require a specific type of education.

          Also, the longer that one occupies a career (and becomes older), the less-likely that a significant type of career change would or can be accomplished.  (Especially if they’re working at a government job in Sacramento, for example.)

          But again, this is a sidetrack from your primary claim – which notes that there’s already a net influx of workers through Davis.

          So the pool of people you’re speaking about (in regard to outbound commuters, who would “switch” to working at a technology center on the outskirts of an expanded Davis) is a much smaller pool than inbound commuters – whom you claim (already) cannot find housing that they’re able to afford in Davis.

          And given that jobs at a technology center are presumably more likely to be specialized/higher paying, what would that do in regard to housing availability and cost – which you claim is already in short supply?  And what impact would that then have on inbound commuting?

          It’s never going to be perfect, but what if we could achieve a 5 to 10 percent reduction in GHG simply by better aligning jobs and housing? Isn’t that worth it?

          Again, your own claims (and the already-existing net influx of inbound workers) provides clear evidence that adding more jobs in a locale which already experiences a net influx of workers passing through would increase GHGs, not decrease them.

          Especially when compared to a community which doesn’t already have a claimed “housing shortage”.

          It would make far more sense for you to argue that communities which don’t already have a claimed “housing shortage” and “net influx of inbound commuters” could experience a reduction of greenhouse gasses by adding more jobs.

           

           

  4. Keith Y Echols

    Technically Davis isn’t a host city.  More importantly legally it isn’t a host city.  So weather or not Davis gets any benefit from UCD is irrelevant.

    Bottom line, UCD should be responsible for housing it’s revenue producing assets.  The city can take care of the student population by creating a student quarter that has student housing and student focused commercial services/retail/entertainment…etc… that generates much needed sales tax revenue for the city.

    1. Richard McCann

      Davis is as much of a host city as any other host city of a public university in California. Despite being located within Berkeley, UCB pays no property taxes to the city, plus that city must provide many of the services to the university with little or no compensation. On the other hand, UCD provides many of its own services including utilities and fire protection at no cost to the City of Davis. Berkeley benefits economically in the same way as Davis does, and similarly suffers in the same fiscal way. You are perhaps the only person in the world who doesn’t consider Davis the “host” city of UCD.

  5. Eileen Samitz

    I appreciate this article today and agree the vast majority of it. The simple truth is UCD can and needs to do far more in terms of producing a lot more on-campus housing. UCD has over 5,300 acres and 900-acre core campus and since it is the largest UC, it is inexcusable that they are the only UC not committed to providing at least 50% on campus housing. So, that is nothing for UCD to be proud of, and in fact, it is a huge embarrassment. The fact that UCD planners have not performed to the standard as the other UCs makes one wonder, is it a lack of competence, or a lack of desire to accomplish what the other UCs have so successfully accomplished?

    It gets even worse when it is recognized that Gov. Newsom has allocated $1.2 BILLION for student housing, yet UCD has not applied for any of it. Nothing for UCD to be proud of here either.

    What about sustainable planning for their project and efficient use of the land they develop for student housing. Well, building low density projects consisting of only 4-strories (with a rare 5th story) is nothing for UCD to be proud of either when other UCs like UC Irvine and UC San Diego building densities in the range of 6-stories to 23-stories.  It is clear that UCD likes to teach sustainable planning, but does dot practice it. In other words UCD’s philosophy appears to be “Do as I say, not as I do.”

    Pushing at least 60% of UCD’s students off campus is also nothing for UCD to be proud of, when they have plenty of  land and are fully capable of producing much higher densities on campus like the other UCs. UCD is fully capable to build at least 7-story student housing, as has been done in the City such as “Identity” student housing project built by a private developer on Russell Blvd. near Hwy. 113. This private developer had to pay city development fees, pays property taxes, and had to buy the land in the City which was very expensive. UCD has none of these expenses, yet, they continue to under-perform when compared to other UCs as well as compared to private developers in producing the higher densities needed for student housing.   

    What is interesting is that the Chancellor’s article tried to herald the Orchard Park 4-story complex on 19-acres as such an “accomplishment”. Yet, Orchard Park could have produced almost twice as many student beds had it build 7-stories like the “Identity” student housing project immediately across the street from it on Russell Blvd., and as the other UCs building much higher densities.

    Another valid question is, how many new “units’ have been built versus UCD simply shoe-horning more beds into existing housing units on campus? There has been plenty of complaints by the student regarding this with a minimal discount, if any. In fact, one student sued UCD’s student housing managing company on campus for trying to “bait and switch” him into a double-occupancy room when he paid for a single-occupancy room. In that case, due to legal action taken by the student, the company had to correct that foolish stunt.

    The bottom line is that the recent article by Chancellor May is unfortunately is essentially a “spin” on the real issue, and a diversion to try to excuse UCD from building much higher density student housing on campus.

    However, UCD has the opportunity to “get it right” with the current redevelopment planning of Solano Park on campus. Keep in mind that UCD will have less beds on campus for a few years now, since they are vacating Solano Park, so more students will be pushed off campus until Solano Park is redeveloped years from now. However Solano Park is the perfect opportunity for UCD to build a minimum of 7-story student housing on campus. The question is, will UCD continue to under-perform or step-up to actually implement sustainable m planning that they teach, but have not practiced so far?

    Further, UCD can be a better neighbor by restoring the UCD graduation ceremonies to the Davis campus, rather than moving them to Sacramento like UCD did this past year despite the City Council asking them to please keep the events here. This is because Davis relies on that annual revenue from the hotels, restaurants, and retail. Plus, these students attended UCD here on the Davis campus, not in Sacramento, so here in Davis is where they would want their families to come to see them graduate. This was an lose-lose-lose decision by UCD for their students, the students’ families, and Davis. So, we can only hope that UCD will be a better neighbor by correct this situation by restoring UCD graduations to be here on the UCD campus for the benefit of their students, their families and the City of Davis.

      1. Eileen Samitz

        This poll very likely reflected the assumption by the students that if their graduation was on campus, the administration would foolishly have it outside again in blistering heat. UCD had the graduations in the ARC in the past, an there is no reason why UCD  can’t go back to that.

        1. Walter Shwe

          This looks like the survey in question. This survey is both realistic and practical. These traits I often find severely lacking in Davis NIMBYs.

          Q3: In terms of location for the commencement ceremonies, what would be your preference?

          35% (242 votes) I would prefer the ceremonies be held on the Davis campus in the University Credit Union Center (UCUC) recognizing I would be able to invite no more than FOUR guests to attend the ceremony

          53% (367 votes) I would prefer the ceremonies to be held in Sacramento in a venue like the Golden One Center recognizing that I would be able to invite at least SIX guests to attend the ceremony

          11% (79 votes) I have no strong preference regarding the location of the ceremony

          https://www.ucdavis.edu/commencement/2023-student-survey-results

        2. Ron Oertel

          I’m not seeing anything about the cost to rent the Golden One Center, vs. the presumably no-cost venue on UCD’s on campus.

          Or, “who” pays for that.

           

           

        3. Eileen Samitz

          Walter,

          Your information confirms my point that UCD did not clarify in their question if the graduation ceremonies would be outside or inside. It simply asked the question if they wanted to be allow to have 4 or 6 attendees. Gee…now isn’t that leading question to influence the decision?

          Further, Ron makes an excellent point. WHO paid for renting the Golden One facilities? What an en waste of money spent by UCD which for graduation ceremonies which could have been held at the ARC. My UCD masters degree graduation was at the ARC which was fine, so why not now?

        4. Walter Shwe

          Oh, my goodness again Eileen. If a student close to graduation didn’t know if the Golden One Center was outdoors or indoors, they could just Google it. They should know by then if the Arc is outdoors or indoors. When did you graduate Eileen? Times change.

        5. Richard McCann

          Eileen

          If you had followed the news, you would have seen that the ARC wasn’t big enough to accommodate the graduation ceremony. Instead students would have been given a small quota of tickets for their families. That choice was included in the survey when it was conducted as Walter notes.

        6. Keith Olsen

          Boy, Eileen you just can’t quit.

          Walter, speaking of someone who just can’t quit, look in a mirror.

          I agree with Ron and Eileen here.  The ARC has been just fine for many years, why all of a sudden is it a problem?  It’s not like it was going to held outdoors again.  Costs must also weigh in on any decision.

           

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            That’s not quite true Keith. During the winter, the ARC has been just fine. The ARC was not large enough for spring, and so using it would have resulted in fewer family members attending. They moved it indoors due to the heat concerns that occurred in 2022.

        7. Ron Oertel

          Oh my god, who cares if students want to invite more than 4 people to witness their “oh-so-special” personal event.

          That is, unless they want to pay for the cost of renting Golden One, themselves.

          I’ve got two master degrees, one bachelor degree, and one associate degree.  Not once have I ever attended my own “graduation ceremony”.

          These students are already subsidized by taxpayers, in the first place.  Who is paying for the Golden One rental?

          And if it actually is students, why not ask them if they want to pay for it?  I suspect you’d get a different answer (and that they’d “suddenly be fine” with inviting 4 guests, rather than 6).

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            “Oh my god, who cares if students want to invite more than 4 people to witness their “oh-so-special” personal event.”

            Wow, really? How do you know who cares? That’s the whole point of graduation is to invite family.

          2. David Greenwald Post author

            Rhonda is the youngest of six and the first member of her family to graduate from college, but her family can’t see her walk because Ron Oertel doesn’t think it matters. He doesn’t know who pays for Golden One and didn’t bother to try to find out. Rhonda wanted to know who the f- Ron is – but I said, it doesn’t matter. The Ron Oertel has spoken. Live with it.

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            She’s fictional of course. But then again, 42 percent of students at UCD are first generation college students. So “she” is representative of a very real element.

        8. Ron Oertel

          Well, given that I share the distinction of being a “first-generation” college graduate, “Rhonda” and I have something in common (besides a somewhat similar name).

          Ask “Rhonda” if she wants to pay the cost of renting Golden One.  Maybe she can roll that into her student loans.

        9. Ron Oertel

          That’s the whole point of graduation is to invite family.

          Really?  That’s the purpose of attending college for 4 or more years?

          Well, now I know why “Rhonda” won’t be able to pay off her student loans.

        10. Eileen Samitz

          Walter,

          You missed my point. What was not clarified in the questionnaire was if the graduation ceremonies for UCD would be inside or would they be inside like the disastrous decision by the UCD administration have outdoor graduation ceremonies in typical summer blistering heat a year ago.  How could they possibly think that could work in the high temperatures se have been seeing in the summers lately?

    1. Ron Glick

      “The fact that UCD planners have not performed to the standard as the other UCs makes one wonder, is it a lack of competence, or a lack of desire to accomplish what the other UCs have so successfully accomplished?”
      I’m not so sure about comparing UCD to other UC’s. as this article from The Atlantic spells out about how many UCLA students are living in cars.

      https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2023/08/california-vehicular-homelessness-car-dwelling-los-angeles/674901/

      Here is what I think everyone is missing. We are so far behind on housing production that every time anyone says we should do this instead of that they are wrong. We need to do it all. Yes UC needs to build more housing but so does the city, the county and the surrounding counties. If it was simply that one entity or jurisdiction could build enough to solve the problem or one type of housing could solve the problem this would already have been solved. Of course as soon as you say that there is only one solution you are neglecting some demographic that also needs housing.

       

       

       

  6. Ron Oertel

    For some reason, I periodically receive unsolicited social media advertisements from Ryder (on Olive Drive).  As such, I assume they had (or maybe still have) some vacancies.

    It appears that they’re still offering incentives (up to $3,000) to rent a place, there.

    https://ryderonolive.com/

    1. Ron Oertel

      Yeap – they have a “check availability” tool, which appears to show some available units.  I only briefly tried it.

      Seems that we may have yet another fake “housing shortage” claim.

      Wait until Nishi comes online, as well.  Yikes.

        1. Ron Oertel

          Hmmm.  That’s from January of this year, but I’ve received several unsolicited advertisements from Ryder since then.  And again, there appears to be some availability there even now.  One wonders why a development would advertise in the first place, if they already have an excess number of applicants.

          I only checked Ryder (briefly), because of the unsolicited advertisements.

          I notice that the survey is limited to those who choose to participate.  But why is it that UCD is tracking vacancies in the city, rather than on campus?  Is their position that this is the “city’s” responsibility – or are they supposedly using it as a metric for them to address what they themselves cause?

          I did notice this:

          In fall 2022, UC Davis housed about 13,600 students and their family members, a lower number than last year because of the smaller size of the entering class.
          Sheehan added that the 2021 entering class was the largest in UC Davis’ history, and while many students chose to live their second year on campus at The Green at West Village, a larger number than expected sought housing in the community. In keeping with its enrollment targets for fall 2022, UC Davis enrolled fewer new undergraduates than in fall 2021.

           

          1. Don Shor

            there appears to be some availability there even now.

            That’s not how the health of a housing market is evaluated. And just FYI: many landlords leave listings up even after the unit is rented, particularly those with multiple listings.
            5% vacancy rate is considered a healthy rental market. Davis is nowhere near that. So it’s a housing shortage in that category, regardless of how many advertisements you see.

        2. Ron Oertel

          That’s not how the health of a housing market is evaluated.

          The really odd thing about this (other than the fact that UCD is conducting it while their chancellor is simultaneously claiming “victory”) is, why would self-interested landlords even respond to the survey in the first place?

          In other words, if a landlord was trying to extract as much money as possible from student rentals, why would he/she voluntarily participate in a survey in which the results would likely be used to “justify” more competition against themselves?

          This seems similar to the situation in which you’re voluntarily asked what “race” you are, when you already know that (if you’re not a “preferred” race), the results will eventually be used against those who share your skin color – possibly including yourself.

          Of course, this wouldn’t apply regarding landlords who are also developers who are attempting to build even more student housing.  In that case, they’re (sort of) competing against themselves, but can control the outcome.  In such a case, they might conceivably even have a motive to “lie”, and claim that they have no vacancies.

          And I understand that there are indeed some major landlords in town, who are also active developers attempting to build more student (and other) housing.

          Of course, the survey itself does not note what percentage of landlords actually responded.

          And just FYI: many landlords leave listings up even after the unit is rented, particularly those with multiple listings.

          The advertisements I received were not “left up” – they were actively “pushed out” to me and others.

          5% vacancy rate is considered a healthy rental market.

          Terrific.  What’s the vacancy rate on campus?  And again, what is UCD’s motivation in publishing this survey every year in the first place?  Are they using it for self-reflection, or is the implication that the city needs to do something about the issue?
          Do you suppose that the chancellor even looked at the results of that survey, before announcing “victory”?

          By the way, do they include the vacancy rate during summer?  I don’t recall, but I believe that on-campus lease periods don’t include summers.

           

  7. David Thompson

    As David Greenwald asks, UCD does need to do better. And Orchard Park shows that UC Davis is not even trying. In today’s need to do smart planning this 19 acre open site provides much less than it could and regretfully, we don’t get to do it again. A 19 acre site like this in or near Davis should be much more productive.

    The site should have been done at least at 40 units per acre.

    That would ordinarily have brought about 760 units.

    760 units times an occupancy of 4 would have generated 3,040 beds.

    If done (as Eileen Samtiz points out) OP would have acheived those numbers with an added floor per each of the eleven 4 storey buildings.  What if we added two floors per building to bring the height to six storeys.  Then occupancy could have been another 616 beds per floor (11 buildings time 14 units per floor times 4 occupants.  TO a total of 11 buildings times 6 storeys times 14 units per floor times 4 occupants per unit = 3,696 beds. on the same 19 acres.

    OP was clearly not done to deal with the housing crisis we have.

    OP creates 1,549 beds

    OP is about 32 units per acre and therefore less units per acre than any other recently built apartment communities in Davis.

    Less density than the norm is not how UCD can overcome a costly housing crisis.

    *Numbers are fickle and in the case of UCD hard to find. My numbers come from working on affordable housing in Davis for the past 30 years. To a developer of non-profits OP is a terrible waste of the biggest site in or near Davis for very hard to find land.

    Mistakes like this mean higher costs to renters  anywhere in Davis for many more decades.

    We won’t meet our RHNA low and very low income numbers if the city approves the densities and usages suggested by the two applicants.

     

  8. David Thompson

    The five minute edit did not come one for me so I am posting one correction I needed to make.

    If we added two floors to make it six then we end up with 3,696 beds on the same site vs the 1,549 we are getting.

    We are in a housing crisis OP wasted a big opportunity.

  9. Richard McCann

    We should be thinking less about ourselves and more about our collective responsibilities to each other. Providing sufficient housing to our young adults in training is one of those responsibilities. Focus on the description of gift-based vs. autonomous liberalism by David Brooks in this Atlantic article. He uses how Canada’s assisted suicide program has gone too far to illustrate the important difference. https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2023/06/canada-legalized-medical-assisted-suicide-euthanasia-death-maid/673790/

  10. Richard McCann

    BTW, where did “most” come from in this headline. In a recent discussion about housing and parking on Nextdoor, it was clear that the sentiment of the commentors cut the other direction.

    1. Eileen Samitz

      Richard,

      The majority of that Nextdoor discussion was you and Tim Keller advocating to eliminate parking and for other people to give up their cars. Also, I don’t recall you answering my question if you and your spouse had cars? So, my proposal was anyone advocating for the elimination of parking and a needs to be willing to give up their car(s). Yet, the response to that so far has been “crickets’.

      Furthermore, there was plenty of push back on elimination of parking because of senior and disabled people in particular and even families with kids needing a vehicle to get to medical appointments as well as their activities which are not always convenient to get to by bike particularly when our valley  weather frequently goes over 100 degrees in summer, or raining and windy in winter.

      Davis needs to first update and expand its public transit system to make it more frequent. and to travel to more places in Davis, before drastically reducing parking availability, parking downtown where the retail relies on parking to survive.

       I am not saying we that should not try to dial the use of vehicles back to some extent, but the City is putting the cart before the horse by not addressing the inadequate public transit situation first. Even then, there should not be any situation where there is zero parking like the enormous Hibbert site 5-story multifamily proposal which is only offering 5% affordable housing for that matter, which is ridiculous. The parking needs will just be pushed out the surrounding neighborhoods creating more problems.

       

      1. Keith Olsen

        The majority of that Nextdoor discussion was you and Tim Keller advocating to eliminate parking and for other people to give up their cars. Also, I don’t recall you answering my question if you and your spouse had cars? So, my proposal was anyone advocating for the elimination of parking and a needs to be willing to give up their car(s). Yet, the response to that so far has been “crickets’.

        This has already been addressed in an earlier exchange on another article:

        Keith Olsen June 27, 2023 at 1:21 pm

        But the bottom line is that we need to encourage people to downsize the number of cars they own to improvement the environment.

        How many cars are parked and owned at your residence by your family Richard?

        ReplyReport comment ↓

        Richard McCann June 27, 2023 at 2:29 pm
        Two because we moved here with that many and I figure selling the car I drive 4,000 miles per year will end up being driven 10,000 miles and emitting more GHGs. We could get by pretty easily with one plus a periodic rental or an e-bike. We ride our bikes all over town. If we lived downtown, we definitely could use only one car.
        https://www.davisvanguard.org/2023/06/redevelopment-of-davis-ace-site-filed/

        1. Ron Oertel

          Richard McCann June 27, 2023 at 2:29 pmTwo because we moved here with that many and I figure selling the car I drive 4,000 miles per year will end up being driven 10,000 miles and emitting more GHGs.

          Let me get this straight.  Richard is claiming to “save” his car from being driven 10,000 miles per year by “someone else”?

          Is he aware that the theoretical person he would have sold it to can purchase a car from someone else (and drive that one 10,000 miles per year)?

          We could get by pretty easily with one plus a periodic rental or an e-bike. We ride our bikes all over town. If we lived downtown, we definitely could use only one car.

          Got it – he and his spouse each have a car.

        2. Eileen Samitz

          Ah, thanks for this info Keith. It is as I expected.

          First,  both of those cars need a parking space, even if not driven often.

          Second, so I guess it is others who need to give up their cars, and who need to give up having access to parking. How does that saying go? “Do as I say, not as I do.”

           

        3. Walter Shwe

          There is one word for what Eileen previously stated, hypocrisy.  In an earlier piece from David, a so called expert advocated for the elimination of parking minimums. I called out that person for blatant hypocrisy too. If all the people that want parking minimums eliminated desire to free themselves from hypocrisy, I have the perfect community for them. It’s Culdesac Tempe in Arizona. Take a look mom, no personal vehicles allowed. It appears that the residents may actually be paying a premium to live there despite the developers saving money because they didn’t need to construct and maintain parking lots.

        4. Keith Olsen

          “Do as I say, not as I do.”

          Al Gore and John Kerry are living the highlife in their mansions and flying in private jets all around the world while telling everyone else they need to conserve.

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            So what have you done to save the planet… ever? You want to call out hypocrisy – there’s plenty of it to go around. But at the end of the day, it’s not going to actually do anything.

        5. Keith Olsen

          So what have you done to save the planet… ever? 

          First off I don’t go around suggesting to others what they can and can’t have especially when I have that stuff myself.  But I did recently pay $16,000 to have 16 solar panels installed on my roof.  What have you done?

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            My point is that at this point, individual actions are not going to save the planet. I applaud you for getting solar panels, as that will also save you money in the long run, but it’s not going to make a dent in climate change. We are all hypocrites when it comes down to it. But at the end of the day, pointing our fingers at each other, is not going to solve this.

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