Guest Commentary: My Critique of Village Farms

Sent to City of Davis in reference to the Village Farms Scoping Session

The City has asked citizens to comment on the Village Farms project

Here are mine…

by David J. Thompson

The project is based on obsolete planning principles which feature the single family home

Preponderance of SF homes in this era is absurd for a town that thinks it’s green

Global Warming is guaranteed and increased by this car-centric planning model

Too few market-rate apartments for a community with such a low vacancy rate for the past 30 years. The lack of market rate apartments means tens of thousands of Students and working people will continue over paying on rent given the continued low vacancy rate

There should be many more market rate apartments to bring down the excessive rental costs in Davis. Most of the 55.7% of Davis households (the 36,780 renters) are already overpaying rent (more than 30% of income spent on rent is HUD guideline)

Dos Pinos housing co-op has been the most successful home ownership program in Davis. 38 years later it is still providing substantial savings for its moderate income owners. It helps families time and time again rather than a one off bonanza and it’s gone forever. There are 122 households on the waiting list for DP (60 units) and the list has been closed since 2017 (2021 info from DP). There are between 6-10 turnovers per year. Why was another Dos Pinos co-op not included in Village Farms?

Dos Pinos (limited equity co-op), Aggie Village (form of UC Land Trust), Greene Terrace (limited equity condo) and the City’s Affordable Ownership program (resale limits to provide permanently affordable home for many years to come) have created over 200 permanently affordable homes which have been successfully helping almost 1,000 local Davis families over many decades. Why were none of these models included in Village Farms?

Unlike previous applications there are no permanently affordable For-Sale homes anywhere in Village Farms

If the results for the For-Sale affordable housing are similar to previous misuses of this failed model then we will see a repeat of the previous $20 million give away of public funds to many households who scam the system. All For-Sale affordable homes must be permanently affordable to help the many in need not a one-time bonanza for the few lucky winners. The council stopped this before and should again

Land alongside Covell should be many more market rate/affordable apartments to encourage higher bus usage. Proximity to Nugget shopping center would support non-vehicle owning renters

Given the existing SF dominance of Village Farms few residents will turn to bus usage

If vehicles are a heavy contributor to climate change should we as citizens be adopting an almost 100% car centric and anti-bus project

Implied bus service within Village Farms is not financial viable due to predictable extremely low density usage

Have Unitrans plan Village Farms for highest possible passenger usage

We’ll be building Village Farms over the next ten years which will increase global warming and racial and income disparities in our city rather than a model which could immediately address climate change and increase inclusion

Of 400 acres only 13.5 acres are set aside for very low and low income housing

At 16.7% of units for very low and low income units this is below the 25% previously required and the lowest % of any project in thirty years. Why reduce low income housing to just over the minimum required. Why do the poor get less?

Placement of all low-income housing should be directly on Covell Blvd

109 acres of park and open space set aside for city upkeep will be expensive to maintain

Could a few of those acres be assigned to serve low income housing needs? We have an affordable housing crisis not a park/greenbelt crisis

The population of racial minorities in Davis is substantially increased through more low income housing. There are much fewer %s of racial minorities in SF homes

Village Farms plan falls behind on our RHNA very low and low income obligations

The Village Farms project as presented will continue the car-centric SF sub-division that has contributed extensively to global warming and racial exclusion

Without major changes in the Village Farms proposal I will be voting NO and without major changes in the purpose and uses of the Housing Trust Fund (HTF) I will be voting NO on that too. There is too much focus on funding for sale homes and not enough focus on what for me should be the highest priority of the HTF “funding more permanently affordable rentals for very low and low income households.”

We will not increase racial and economic integration and diversity if we continue to favor public actions and policies that avoid attacking and removing built in institutional segregation.

Village Farms Scoping Session Submitted Critique due to the City of Davis smetzker@cityofdavis.org by December 8, 2023

From David J Thompson, 516 Rutgers Drive, Davis, CA 95616 dthompcoop@aol.com MA, in Architecture and Urban Planning, UCLA

David J Thompson, my own opinions and not representative of Neighborhood Partners, LLC or Twin Pines Cooperative Foundation.

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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1 Comment

  1. Tim Keller

    Preponderance of SF homes in this era is absurd for a town that thinks it’s green

    WOW David… you cut straight to the chase… BRAVO

    There should be many more market rate apartments to bring down the excessive rental costs in Davis.

    Amen.  We spend a lot of time talking about capital-A affordable, but we need more market rate housing in affordable form factors as well.    I would be willing to trade the gimmicks of the one-time affordable single family homes for more of the “more affordable by design” market rate housing

    Placement of all low-income housing should be directly on Covell Blvd

    Agreed, but I would go a step further.  All the highest density housing needs to be at the southern edge of the property so that it can be within walking distance of transit.  Both village farms and shriners are proposing parks at their southern edge, mostly likely in an attempt to mollify nearby neighbors..   Its a bad idea and an example of a negative side-effect of measure J.   We need density on our corridors,

    Could a few of those acres be assigned to serve low income housing needs? We have an affordable housing crisis not a park/greenbelt crisis

    If we substitute townhomes / co-ops and Condos for the zer0-yard single family homes, then we dont even need to make that compromise.  We can have more housing AND keep more open space by not wasting acreage.
    ——-
    Well said David.

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