Monday Morning Thoughts: The Battle for Housing in Davis Is Already Underway

Eileen Samitz at work on Sunday – photo used by permission of the photographer

By David M. Greenwald
Executive Editor

Davis, CA – There are a lot of key questions to be answered in the next few months about the future of Davis and how Davis attempts to address its housing crisis, along with increasing demands by the state to do its part to alleviate a statewide housing crisis.

In the last week, we have seen two key hints about the direction that the city is going.

One key concern is clearly that the city may have to rezone land for as much as 4000 units in 2030—and at the very least the same 2075 that it had to in the sixth RHNA Housing Element cycle.

Bapu Vaitla and Vice Mayor Josh Chapman write, “To accomplish this estimated number of units, the City will require a combination of maximizing infill opportunities, plus looking to peripheral sites.”

In the meantime, the city released its draft of the Housing Element.

While the city believes that Measure J “is not a constraint” in the City’s sixth-cycle RHNA, “the City acknowledges the challenges of utilizing the findings built into Measure J that would allow the City Council to bypass voter approval for the purpose of residential projects needed to meet the City’s RHNA.”

Left unsaid at this time is the implication—acknowledged by the city manager and council—that Measure J may well be a constraint on housing in the seventh RHNA cycle.

The city has proposed a potential for some form of exemption.

The city therefore will look at a possible remedy: “Amend language already in Measure J/R/D that exempts from its public vote requirements projects that provide affordable housing or facilities needed for city services, or other changes to city ordinances that would help create affordable housing. Any change to Measure J/R/D/ would require a public vote.”

This is intended to be on the ballot in November 2024 but “no later than November 2026.”

While the city does not currently believe that Measure J is a “constraint” on housing—it could become one, if the community acts as though it was business as usual.

Here we are, the Village Farms project has not even begun its EIR, and Eileen Samitz and company were seen on Sunday, leafletting in Davis calling Village Farms, “disastrous” and “even worse than Covell Village.”

It argues that it brings “(h)ousing that middle income families cannot afford”—“Roughly 63% of the housing units would be ‘McMansions’ unaffordable to middle income Davis citizens.  Only the bare minimum requirement of 15% of the homes would be ‘affordable’ housing units.”

Left unsaid is that means that 37% percent of the housing would be geared toward lower- and middle-income households.

The flyer overall represents an attempt at a scare tactic and a glimpse into what a Measure J campaign would look like.  But is that healthy for the community?  How is that going to help the community to address the problems of unaffordability and the loss of families with children?

Like most of these pleas, the flyer does not offer alternatives—only negative impacts that are taken out of context or perhaps outright fabrications.

This is illustrative of the approach that has been taken by opponents of housing in Davis for the last 25 years.  Throw out a scare tactic.  Allow the perfect to be the enemy of the proposal.  And fail to create a sustainable plan for growth in this community.

Is the alternative to this approach infill?  From Eileen Samitz’ perception—no.  She has opposed many of the recent infill projects including University Commons.

I would actually credit her with recognizing that dense infill housing is not conducive for families—though I agree with many that it has to be part of the solution.

The council recognizes that infill can only be part of the solution, which is why Chapman and Vaitla specifically mention the need for peripheral housing in their report that goes to council this month.

In May, Judy Corbett and others argued, “Numbers Demonstrate That We Have Room to Grow Within Our Current Boundaries.”

The problem with their approach becomes pretty evident as you drill down—between the housing that has already counted for previous RHNAs and the housing that is on properties unlikely to ever see housing, there is also the fact that among their 7000 units that they “identify,” chief among it is Village Farms.

Samitz has a more realistic approach than many.  While she has opposed a number of projects, she is also supporting Shriners.

The problem of course is finding a location in Davis where you can add significant housing without traffic impacts at this point seems rather impossible.

And while Samitz may support one project over another, a whole host of other people are going to be opposed to the one she chooses to support.  And we will see the exact same arguments against the next project as we do against this one.

While I support the Shriners and all five of the peripheral projects, I think we have to recognize that all of them have impacts.  But the question is—how can we meet our housing needs without creating some impact?  No matter where we add housing, there will be visual impacts and traffic impacts.  That’s the nature of housing.

But if we don’t add housing, we make this community very difficult to sustain and we run afoul with the state and at some point that could well mean that Measure J gets taken out.

So by acting as if this were business as usual, and demonizing the latest project, we are continuing to poison the atmosphere and prevent us from getting the kinds of housing we need.

We have tried this approach for the last 25 years—and it doesn’t work.  It has stagnated this community and driven up the cost of housing to the point where people like Eileen Samitz could not afford to live in their current homes if they had to purchase them today.

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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36 Comments

  1. Walter Shwe

    Eileen Samitz is nothing more than a deceptive NIMBY. By walking door to door in public view she has allowed herself to be photographed. Kudos to the quick thinking person that shot her picture. By claiming to support only 1 project she may be attempting to appear like a reasonable person, but the truth is NIMBYs are never actually reasonable. They are all hardline elitist and highly selfish.

    1. Don Shor

      Eileen Samitz is nothing more than a deceptive NIMBY.

      That is not true. Eileen is straightfoward, does her homework, and presents her arguments clearly. She has supported some housing projects but opposed more. And she is not elitist nor is she selfish. She spent years on the planning commission and has put a lot of effort into making Davis a better community as she sees it.
      So I suggest that you not make personal attacks but instead prepare to dispute her arguments and present your own. That will lead to a civil and perhaps productive debate.
      For the record I disagree with her on this project. I think Village Farms is well-considered, that the project developers are working to adjust it for greater density and to meet other concerns, and that it will be a nice neighborhood that meets many of our needs. Others will disagree: we’ve already heard concerns about transit planning, for example. There are reasonable conversations to be had. Let’s have them and skip the invective.

      1. David Greenwald

        From my perspective there is a reasonable conversation to have, but passing out flyers attacking the project in the way she did is not the way to go about having it.

      2. Walter Shwe

        You can be a NIMBY and also a former Planning Commission member. There have been NIMBYs on the City Council. My prior comment stands as written. Sometimes the truth hurts. People frequently don’t appreciate being called out for who they really are whether they are NIMBYs or neo-fascists.

      3. Ron Glick

        Don: How far from a project does an opponent need to live before they aren’t considered a NIMBY? I think Eileen lives in a neighborhood somewhere close to the project she opposes.

        David: There is no rule under Measure J that arguments need to be reasonable. Elections are one day sales and almost anything goes. Certainly passing out handbills is protected speech. If you want a responsible discussion of the housing issue stop supporting Measure J.

        1. David Greenwald

          The counterargument to that Ron is if people want to do hit pieces on projects, they should be called out for doing hit pieces. It is not conducive to reasonable discussions. If they wish for Measure J to continue, it has to be workable. The 25 year record of Measure J is not workable.

        2. Ron Glick

          So weird David. Since when did you become the judge of what is reasonable speech? Maybe someday Measure J ends but in the meantime Samitz is playing within the rules. Didn’t the Vanguard start out as an anonymous handbill?

          You keep saying Measure J is going to get taken out if people vote no on projects but I doubt that blue sky is going to deter anyone from anything. The way forward is to play by the rules in place until they change something I don’t see happening as long as people like yourself are afraid to admit that Measure J is unworkable and should be done away with.

          1. David Greenwald

            “So weird David. Since when did you become the judge of what is reasonable speech?”

            Isn’t everyone their own judge?

            “Measure J is unworkable”

            I will say this: if this is the approach we are going to see, Measure J may well be unworkable. I’m not there yet, but this is getting closer to pushing me into that camp.

        3. Don Shor

          Don: How far from a project does an opponent need to live before they aren’t considered a NIMBY? I think Eileen lives in a neighborhood somewhere close to the project she opposes.

          Sure. I just don’t think Eileen is ‘deceptive’ which was the other part of the comment.

        4. Matt Williams

          I agreed with Ron Glick.  David’s comments are weird.  Not only the one that Ron points out, but also his ones that decry scare tactics. He is deploying his own scare tactics when he says “But if we don’t add housing, we make this community very difficult to sustain and we run afoul with the state and at some point that could well mean that Measure J gets taken out.” 

          I agree with Don Shor’s response to Walter’s personal assassination attempt.  Eileen and Ron Oertel are simply acting in a manner consistent with our democracy and its protection of free speech.

          David appears to be taking exception to the timing of Eileen’s and Ron’s education efforts.  For me the time is absolutely right to be pointing out concerns about the EIR process.  It is my understanding that the project alternative in the Covell Village EIR that was determined to be “the environmentally superior alternative” is not included in this current EIR.  When exactly is it the right time to ask why that “environmentally superior alternative” is being consciously excluded by the City?  Trying to clean up a mess after it happens is foolish when compared to proactively avoiding the mess.

      4. Richard McCann

        For 25 years I have found Eileen selfish and unreasonable. When presented with facts that contradict her position or the inconsistencies are pointed out, her response is just repeat her original statement. You can see this clearly in her posts on the Vanguard. She refuses to engage in discussion that can move an issue forward–it’s only her position that is valid with no compromise. She also portrays her experiences as representative of the larger population, and her desire to protect her property value and her hostility to UCD students are elitist. Her opposition to widening the Richards Underpass in 1996 is one of the key factors leading to the decline of downtown and had cut off South Davis from the rest of the city. She’s brought little of value to the city.

        1. Moderator

          This is not a productive comment, Richard. It is likely to lead to a back-and-forth that will distract from the conversations that would be more useful. Please don’t do this again. If Eileen chooses to reply, we’ll allow that reply and that will be the end of it.
          Folks: stick to issues, not personal characterizations.

        2. Eileen Samitz

          Richard,
          As usual, you have resorted to personal attacks and false accusations when someone disagrees with your position on any issue. Unfortunately, posts like yours have led to far less participation by the community with the Vanguard. But I will respond to your vitriolic post with the facts, since you have invented so much blame, and with so much disinformation.

          First of all, for over 25 years I have followed Davis land use issues including volunteering as a Davis Planning Commissioner, and served on the 2001 General Plan Update and the subsequent Housing Element Update Committee. So, I am familiar with the land use issues in Davis. As a result, I support good planning, and oppose bad planning.

          I also participated on UCD LRDP update because UCD has historically, and continue to not build nearly enough on campus housing for its students. UCD has over 5,300 acres nd a 900- acre core campus yet it is the only UC not providing at least 50% on campus student housing. UCD has been pushing as much as 71% of its enormous student population off campus. Therefore, it a legitimate issue to raise that UCD is not building enough nor higher-density student housing needed, on campus. The more environmentally sustainable student housing is on campus since it reduces traffic, circulation problems and parking demands, placing the student closer to their classes, and is the only way to control the housing affordability long- term. That’s why all the other UCs are building at least 50% on campus housing, except, unfortunately, UCD.

          It is embarrassing that UCD’s recent Orchard Park project is only 4-stories , while directly across the street on Russell Blvd. is a 7-story privately built student housing project. And now Soano Park is being planned, and so UCD needs to not make the same mistake of this low-density housing, that you advocate for in the City. So, it is you who has a double standard on this Richard, not me. I am advocating for environmentally sustainable student housing on campus, so your false accusations of me regarding UCD students and elitism is ridiculous.  I am advocating for better planning by UCD, and it is disappointing that you aren’t.

          Your other disinformation and invention about protecting property values is also ridiculous, because I don’t plan to move from my modest townhouse, so its valuation is not important to me. And I was not actively involved in the Richards Underpass campaign, so this is more of your disinformation.

          Regarding Village Farms and other project with serious problems and impacts, I have been clear on my positions, and why. My opposition to the Village Farms project proposal is because it is ridden with problems, just as it predecessor Covell Village had, but the problems are even worse now. These significant and unresolved problems of the 390-acre Village Farms site include but are not limited to:

           –Massive traffic of more than 39,440 ADDITIONAL car trips on Covell Blvd. and more than 26,900 ADDITIONAL car trips on Pole Line Road  making the current choke point at the Covell Blvd. and Pole Line Rd. intersection significantly worse due to the significant traffic increase from Woodland’s Spring Lake.

          – A 200-acre flood plain on the 390-acre site which goes against fundamental planning principles , plus the State now has policy stating that cities foolish enough to build on flood plains will no longer be bailed out financially by the State;

          -The Village Farms site has a history of toxics leakage from the immediately adjacent former City landfill which is unlined and was a burn pit for years also, and the former Sewage Treatment Plant. There has never been any clean-up action on this site, just inadequate monitoring,

          -Enormous infrastructure financial costs to our community including the proposed Pole Line bike/ped overpass. There is talk of an F St, over- or underpass but that has low likelihood since railroads usually will not cooperate. So, if it does happen, the community will get hit with the costs, and if not, there will be no “connection” of the bike paths as is claimed to this project.

          – What about the cost of the new $14 million Fire station proposed which would be imposed on the community and that does not even include the long-term costs of the long-term staffing and operational costs! Furthermore, we don’t need a  fire station, since 90% of the Fire dept. calls are medical. Instead,  an Emergency Medical Service has been recommended for years by the community which would be a fraction of the cost and could be placed in any of a number locations on the east side of town;

          -There is no safe access across Covell Blvd. Cars speed down Mace to Covell and there are near misses and accidents too often.

          -The vast majority of the project (i.e., around 63% )of the Village Farms Project would be McMansions which would be unaffordable particularly to young families which the project claims to want to house. This is not going to help brin g in kids to the schools but people (particularly retirees)  escaping the Bay Area who can pay cash for these McMansions.

          -And the minimal 15% affordable housing is embarrassing given the enormous size of the 390-acre parcel.

          -What about the destruction of precious habitat on such as the recent discing of the rare vernal pools on the Village Farms site? This occurred  shortly after a public presentation has been given documenting these vernal pools with many photographs from this past Spring. This is reminiscent of the discing of  Burrowing Owl habitat on this same land parcel when the Covell Village project was proposed.

          So, this is just a few of the many problems that this Village farms site has now, and has had historically. Yet, the developer has come back with a very similar project with even worse impacts, the developer (Whitcombe of Tandem partners) has not even included alternatives such as the previous Covell Village “Environmentally Superior Alternative” which would still need modification, such as preserving the vernal pools, and fewer than the ridiculous 1,400 or 1,800 or more housing unit proposals currently.

           So, of course there is opposition, again, since Village Farms is just a re-play of the predecessor project Covell Village with no effort by the developer to address the many issues that the previous project had, and that the Village Farms project has.

        3. Walter Shwe

          Truthful personal characterizations lie at the heart of NIMBY issues in Davis. What Richard stated was absolutely true. Eileen, Keith Y. Echols along with many others are in fact NIMBY obstructionists. It’s absurd they can’t be called out as such.

  2. Walter Shwe

    This puts the lie to any claims from some NIMBYs that the Greater Sacramento Region doesn’t need any more housing.

    Sacramento had the highest net inflow of Redfin shoppers among more than 100 metropolitan areas, according to Redfin. About 4,800 more people from other regions looked to buy a home here than Sacramento residents who searched for houses elsewhere. Sacramento was the only California region to crack the top 10 and was followed by Las Vegas, Orlando, Florida and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
    Taken from the 11/6/23 edition of the Sacramento Bee.

  3. Eileen Samitz

    Wow David, is this some desperate attempt at some kind of public shaming for handing out fliers on a terribly designed project which is too big which has too many impacts that come with it? And here I thought the Vanguard was a beacon of defending freedom of speech.
    While it is odd that someone would take the photo without engaging with me on this and then send it to you for whatever reason, many of the people in the Cannery were not even aware of the Village Farms project and were very appreciative of being informed. Each person will ultimately decide for themselves how they feel about the Village Farms project, but people are entitled to know about it and the many problems it presents as currently proposed. Since you are in strong support of Village Farms no matter what problems and impacts it brings, we obviously need to agree to disagree. But for you of all people, David, to try to shame local activism, I mean…really?
    And on your point of offering alternatives, well had you paid attention to the recent City Council meeting regarding the NOP on this project, you would have known that I did, in fact, recommend an alternative to be included in the EIR, which was the former Covell Village “Environmentally Superior“ alternative which has been eliminated from this new EIR. This alternative needed a few modifications such as preserving the vernal pools.
    But now,  isn’t that rather odd for the City to actually eliminate the Environmentally Superior alternative as part of the EIR, particularly when the City is supposed to be environmentally conscientious? But, so far, the City Council has taken no action to include it as an alternative.  EIR Alternatives are supposed to have less impacts not more impacts in an EIR. Yet all of the alternatives being studied have the highest impacts of adding 1,395 to 1,800 or more housing units in area already so highly impacted with traffic at Covel Blvd. and Pole Line Rd. 
    Plus, there are a plethora of other problems with this 390-acre site beyond the massive traffic impacts,  like the 200-acre flood plain on it.  It is a fundamental planning principle that you do not build on massive flood plains, particularly since the State passed legislation clarifying that it will no longer financially bail out City’s foolish enough to build on huge flood plains like this. Meanwhile, the previous Environmentally Superior alternative, which had far less environmental impacts, was carved out of the new Village Farms EIR.
    So, sorry to disappoint you David, but distributing fliers to notify a neighborhood which will be significantly impacted by the Village Farms project, like the Cannery residents, is part of the democratic process. It is pretty hypocritical of you to try this stunt to try to discourage me, or anyone, from raising the issue that this Village Farms project is a terrible proposal, with even more impacts than its predecessor Covell Village.

    1. David Greenwald

      I don’t think your approach is conducive for a public discussion. It’s trying to inflame passions before we have had a public process. If that’s the approach you’re going to take, I think you are going to see Measure J wiped out. The city needs housing. Blocking projects in this manner is hardly the way to have that discussion.

      1. Eileen Samitz

        David,

        The same developer, John Whitcombe (of Tandem Partners) who proposed Covell Village before, which was strongly rejected and voted down by the community, has come back with a very similar project with an even worse design and worse impacts, which is Village Farms. So, this massive Village Farms proposal is just a re-play of Covell Village.

        And David, informing people about the severity of the impacts and the poor design of the Village Farms project is part of the public discussion. Further, there has clearly been no effort to design a better project with less impacts. So, yes now there is public discussion about this massive project with massive impacts being proposed again, after being rejected once before.

        And let’s face it, David, you are going to support and advocate for Village Farms no matter how badly designed or how severe the impacts are. So, you are clearly going to disagree with any criticism of the Village Farms project proposal.

        1. David Greenwald

          Circumstances have changed a bit since 2005.

          I believe that the city needs housing, I have made that plain. I believe that if you are concerned with the project that there are appropriate ways to address *some* of your concerns. But I also think that a big problem here is that the perfect is the enemy of the good.

        2. Matt Williams

          David, I know you believe the City needs more housing, but as keith Echols has eloquently pointed out, the people moving into those houses are going to be close to 100% commuters unless Davis adds jobs to its economy.  More commuters to jobs across the Causeway and down in the Bay Area makes the carbon footprint of Davis much worse than it already is.

          Where is the City’s Economic Development plan?  What are the core competencies of the Davis community that thos new jobs should be leveraging/building on?  Where is there any collaboration with UCD?

        3. Richard McCann

          Matt

          It is not true that new housing will serve only commuters. In fact the Census site that you found and posted here earlier shows that 17,046 Davis residents commuted out in 2020 while 18,290 commuted into Davis/UCD. There are 26,645 jobs inside Davis and almost three-quarters are filled by commuters who would be buying housing here if we got the price down. Numerous studies show, many of which I’ve posted here, that increased supply leads to lower prices.

    2. Keith Olsen

      Wow David, is this some desperate attempt at some kind of public shaming for handing out fliers 

      That’s what I felt when I read the article.

      And here I thought the Vanguard was a beacon of defending freedom of speech.

      I’m sitting here literally laughing out loud.

       

       

       

      1. David Greenwald

        In the Abrams dissent , one of the seminal dissents in the annals of free speech, Oliver Wendell Holmes alluded to the “marketplace of ideas” – free speech doesn’t mean freedom from criticism in fact just the opposite.

        1. Keith Olsen

          free speech doesn’t mean freedom from criticism in fact just the opposite.

          I’m talking more along the lines of your blog’s comment policies and your moderation practices.

        2. Walter Shwe

          I’m talking more along the lines of your blog’s comment policies and your moderation practices.

          You really have no idea what is and isn’t legal under our Constitution Keith. Only government entities are subject to the 1st Amendment. It is perfectly legal to photograph someone in public spaces. This issue comes up when law enforcement officers lie that people aren’t allowed to take pictures of them in public places.

          The First Amendment applies only to governmental action—not behavior by private employers, private companies, or private, non-government individuals—unless they acted in concert with government actors.

          https://www.chandralaw.com/faqs/what-is-a-violation-of-my-first-amendment-rights#:~:text=The%20First%20Amendment%20applies%20only,in%20concert%20with%20government%20actors.

      2. Walter Shwe

        And here I thought the Vanguard was a beacon of defending freedom of speech.

        Where on this site is this stated? As far as I am concerned this is just another complete NIMBY lie and mischaracterization.

    3. Richard McCann

      Eileen

      You’ve done little to help improve the environment. Your positions have led to increased commuting and increased greenhouse gas and air pollutant emissions. You’re not in a position to assert that you are concerned about environmental issues. You just use CEQA as a tool to build your moat around Davis.

      And we’ve pointed out the many flaws in your claims about problems at Village Farms yet you continue to repeat your erroneous statements.

      1. Eileen Samitz

        Richard,

        I support well planned projects which make sense, and I oppose project(s) which are badly planned which impose ridiculous impacts, like Village Farms.

        While I believe we should reduce car use when we can, I am not unrealisitc and demanding that there be no cars allowed, or no parking allowed, or drastically reducing cars and parking allowed, as you have advocated for on some new projects.  Do you really think that seniors and disabled people with mobility issues will not need cars as time goes on? Do you really think that families will not need a vehicles particularly for their kids needs? Particularly when Davis has such a paltry and inadequate public transit system. Most bus stops don’t even have bus shelters  to protect the riders from the extremes in the extreme summer heat and winter rain, wind and cold.

        Meanwhile, since you are asking others to give up their cars and parking, have you given up your two cars and parking, or is it just others that need to do that?

        Village Farms would cause massive greenhouse gases by proposing 1,400 to 1,800 or more housing units at an already choke point of  the Covell Blvd. and Pole Line Rd. intersection and surrounding streets.  Village Farms is too big, and has too many impacts and costs.

        1. Tim Keller

          While I believe we should reduce car use when we can, I am not unrealisitc and demanding that there be no cars allowed, or no parking allowed, or drastically reducing cars and parking allowed, as you have advocated for on some new projects.

          Wow, NO cars allowed?  Richard “demanded” that no cars be allowed?

          Sounds pretty extreme.

          When did Richard say this?   Can you provide a link or maybe cut and paste a statement from him saying this?  I’d be interested in seeing that.

          Most everything I’ve seen from Richard is pretty closely backed up with research and facts…. thats the kind of guy he is.   Likes to stick pretty closely to the truth.

          What you are saying doesn’t sound like him.

           

  4. Don Shor

    The Vanguard is a perfect place for a public discussion.
    Eileen’s handout has summarized the issues:
    traffic
    costs to the city
    affordability
    bike and pedestrian access
    flood plain
    toxics from dump

    some areas for discussion and criticism:
    using Covell Village EIR to evaluate this one
    specific traffic statistics
    citing traffic impacts from Spring Lake?!

    Key question for anyone opposing this project and others: how does Davis meet current and next-cycle RHNA numbers?

    1. David Greenwald

      “Key question for anyone opposing this project and others: how does Davis meet current and next-cycle RHNA numbers?”

      Part of the problem is that most of the issues cited there are going to be issues anywhere – particularly traffic and affordability.

    2. Keith Olsen

      The Vanguard is a perfect place for a public discussion.

      Hardly perfect.

      While it is odd that someone would take the photo without engaging with me on this and then send it to you for whatever reason

      I thought it odd too.

      Eileen Samitz at work on Sunday – photo used by permission of the photographer

      The photographer gave permission, but was Eileen asked?

       

       

  5. Ron Glick

    David said “I will say this: if this is the approach we are going to see, Measure J may well be unworkable. I’m not there yet, but this is getting closer to pushing me into that camp.”

    Better late than never. Of course if you aren’t there yet I wonder what it will take? Maybe another vicious Measure J election or the subsequent attack on Gloria Partida as fallout might convince you or if we get to year 24 without a single unit of housing subject to the ordinance being occupied or perhaps it will be some other of the many unintended consequences to finally get you over the line. But I’ll admit  the derivative of your learning curve seems to be barely above zero.

  6. Tim Keller

    I would actually credit her with recognizing that dense infill housing is not conducive for families.

    I totally disagree, as would the millions of people who raise families in cities much much denser than Davis.  It is a total myth, a bias, to think that you need a single family home in order to raise a family.  You dont.  Period.

    But even it that WERE true, davis is already predominantly single family homes, we just dont need to worry about the supply of single family homes, because if we produce more denser housing, then it also means that more students will find housing, more empty-nester couples / retirees who dont need that 4-5 beedroom house can right-size into a condo…  and we will actually free up single family home units that are currently occupied by people who WANT something denser.

    Until we have produced enough missing-middle type housing to see an actual measurable vacancy rate, then we should be building nothing but.

    The problem of course is finding a location in Davis where you can add significant housing without traffic impacts at this point seems rather impossible.

    Its true that you cant make ANY changes to the city that dont affect anyone, but there is a very clear “best option” if you want to optimize for something like traffic:

    1) Build housing that is preferentially geared towards people who are already commuting here anyway

    2) Design a very good transit system that is faster than driving as an option

    If you do both of those things, then you can provide housing and reduce the overall traffic impacts on our town.    But the transit system has to be designed explicitly with the housing, and the housing needs to be densely centered on the transit line.  No half measures: deliberate transit-oriented development

    We have an opportunity to do that in Davis, with a dedicated transit corridor that comes up F street and goes through the lower portions of these neighborhoods.   But these developers arent thinking that way at all, instead they are thinking of putting parks at the lower ends of their developments because they want to mollify nearby neighbors and be less controversial for sake of passing a measure J vote.

    Its the worst way to plan a city.

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