[edit 3/5 the sign on this dumpster fire illustration is the current sign in front of the Pacifico buildings]
Letter to City Council on Febuary 26, 2020
Hello Mayor Lee and Council Members,
You may have heard that on Monday 2/3/20, there was a fire in the dumpster that belongs to Sharps and Flats apartments. This fire was directly on the other side of our back yard fence and was 20 feet from our home.
The smoke filtered into our home making it difficult to breath. Other residents in the area noted smoke as far as Pole Line and Drew Ave north of Cowell. Others said they stayed indoors and did not let their children go outside.
Since the fence has gone up round Pacifico separating it from the bike path, much of the activity that has historically take place on the bike path and Evergreen Court and surrounding areas, is now highly concentrated in the shared parking lot between Pacifico and Sharps and Flats.
The video cameras are contributing by pushing many Pacifico residents and affiliates to do their drug deals and threatening arguments and dangerous activity in the shared parking lot where they are off Pacifico cameras. The parking lot is behind my house and I have heard arguments and contentious drug deals, individuals being coerced into doing things they don’t want to do, gun shots and now we have fires.
In his State of the City address, Mayor Lee indicated that as a whole, “we want to become more resident focused “ and “as we make mistakes we own up to them.”These are fine words and nice goals, but they have yet to be matched with serious actions.
If there is an area where the City’s past mistakes have negatively impacted residents, it is in South Davis. Residents near Pacifico specifically, have lived with serious problems caused by the City’s mismanagement and neglect of their property and tenants on a regular basis for over 8 years resulting in a host of inappropriate problems.
The burden has been heavy to bear for a very long time. Residents and renters have been more than patient and accepting. We have been heartfelt and helpful, accommodating, understanding and forgiving, but evidently that is not what helps or improves people's lives in a tangible way. We need meaningful action now that will address these dangerous situations for everyone involved.
Owning up to mistakes has to involve more than just acknowledging those mistakes, it requires actually fixing them.
At a minimum, I would ask that you:
- Demolish the existing Pacifico buildings now (don’t wait until you have an alternative project in hand; that could take forever and meanwhile the problems continue).
- Move the individuals currently living at Pacifico. Those with mental illness and drug addiction need a facility with wrap-around services, such as Creekside. Low-income working families would benefit tremendously by living in an affordable apartment such a Sterlilng where it will be a healthier and safer environment.
- Sell or give the Pacifico property to a developer who will develop appropriately scaled mixed income housing, predominately market rate, on the site (if necessary with financial assistance from the City).
- Address the safety hazards and basic functioning issues on Drew/Cowell, Valdora/Cowell and Pole Line Road/Cowell.
- Reconsider the Respite Center location. The community is still dealing with Pacifico issues. To compound the situation by inviting others with similar drug habits, friends, and shenanigans into the surrounding area will only intensify existing problems. Safeway, as you know, is just on the other side of the bridge/5th street where the proposed Respite Center is suppose to be located. Safeway already has problems with needles in the parking lot and well established urine locations in between Safeway and Rite Aid that creates an abominable stench. The monies used for the Respite Center should go to established and trusted organizations with years of experience and knowledge working with 'homeless' in the area. Those who are addicted to meth and/or other drugs and/or who may have some form of mental illness need more intense services.
This community that I love and care about, cannot afford to be neglected any longer. Considering what the community in South Davis has endured and is still enduring, the City should have compassion and do all that’s necessary to bring peace, functionality, neighborly trust and safety back to our residents.
Tracy De Wit
at the request of a reader here is more context to the word co-op on the dumpster fire graphic
When the section of Davis that includes Pacifico was developed in 1999, the developer met the City required affordable housing for the neighborhood with the Pacifico co-ops. To date, they are the only housing that has been built that provides City required affordable housing for students.
In 2010/2011, the property foreclosed, and the City took ownership. At the time of ownership, only one resident was considered a student. The City opened two of the buildings for standard affordable housing, the only tenant requirement being income qualification. The project currently serves 44-48 residents, who average 15% of the area median income.
in the fall of 2019 City Manager told the Council that at this time the City was technically meeting its legal obligation to provide affordable housing at the closed Pacifico buildings because they continue to be zoned for affordable housing. For almost 10 years, the City has failed to actually provide the intended and legally required affordable housing at Pacifico.