Planned West Davis Adult Community, if Approved, Would Perpetuate Racial Imbalance in the City of Davis
(Press release) The proposed restrictive West Davis Active Adult Community on the City of Davis’ November 6 ballot which advertises its purpose as a planned community “Taking Care of Our Own,” is being challenged in federal court because it will perpetuate racial imbalance and discriminate against minorities by restricting sales to residents of Davis
In a federal complaint filed Monday, September 24, by Sacramento civil rights attorney Mark E. Merin, plaintiff Samuel Ignacio, a Filipino/Hispanic senior on behalf and all other minorities outside of Davis, seeks to stop the project because it excludes those living outside of Davis from buying most of the 410 planned for-sale units.
Davis, a city whose senior population is disproportionately “white” as a result of historic racially restrictive covenants, red-lining practices, and previous University of California hiring practices, approved the project with 90% of its units restricted to “purchasers with a preexisting connection to the City of Davis.” The result of this “local resident” restriction, as alleged in the civil rights complaint, is the continuation of a racially imbalanced community and the exclusion of minority would-be purchasers in violation of the Federal Fair Housing Act.
Because the ordinance approved a zoning map change and the conversion of agricultural land to urban land use development, the changes approved by the Davis City Council in Ordinance No. 2534 must be put to a vote of the Davis citizenry, a vote now scheduled for November 6, 2018. If that vote is approved by the voters, a blatantly discriminatory project (marketed as “Taking Care of Our Own”) with an obvious disparate impact on minorities desiring to locate to the City of Davis will be authorized to proceed in violation of Sections 804(a) and 805(a) of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. 3601 et seq.
Plaintiff Samuel Ignacio, a Filipino/Hispanic senior, filed the action on behalf of himself and all other similarly situated racial and ethnic minorities who desire to purchase residences in the proposed West Davis Active Adult Community, for declaratory and injunctive relief against the City of Davis, Binning Ranch Holding Company, and J. David Taormino for approving, marketing, and developing a housing project with a disparate impact on him and other prospective minority purchasers of units in the development.
The “residency requirement” for 90% of the proposed sales is unlawful, according to Merin, because in communities with populations that are disproportionately White and/or non- minority they perpetuate segregation by excluding minority applicants who live outside the community from obtaining housing there. Residency requirements prevent minority families from moving to high-opportunity areas ensuring that overwhelmingly-White communities remain overwhelmingly-White.
Merin and other opponents of the West Davis Active Adult Community will appear at the Davis City Council meeting at 6:30 pm on Tuesday, September 25, to implore the City to avoid this costly litigation, withdraw its support for the project, and move Davis towards becoming a more inclusive, representative community.