Entries categorized "Housing"

City-County-UCD 2X2X2 “Town Hall” meeting Thursday Oct. 17th 6:30pm -8pm at Genome Center on UCD campus

This important semi-annual meeting is for updates from the City, County and UCD regarding UCD housing needs and impacts.

(Click to enlarge)

By Eileen Samitz

In case you are one of many who are not aware of this important semi-annual “Town Hall” meeting, there will be a City-County-UCD 2X2X2 meeting tomorrow Thursday, Oct. 17th at the Genome Center on the UCD campus in the first-floor auditorium. One wonders why this community meeting is not more conveniently located in the City as was publicly requested early on; the map attached explains where the Genome Center is. To get to it take Hutchinson Drive and turn south on Health Sciences Drive which will lead to a parking lot (see map above).

Since UCD is imposing enormous housing needs on Davis these meetings for updates are only twice a year so this is an important meeting to attend to give input particularly about the slow progress of any additional on-campus housing being produced and the overall deficiency of how much on-campus housing is being planned. For citizens concerned about the impacts on Davis due to UCD’s lack of on-campus housing for its rapidly growing student population, please attend. Anyone wishing to testify will be given 3 minutes to testify. The agenda can be viewed at:

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The current Davis General Plan opposes Sustainable Response to Climate Change

Note: Wednesday, the Davis League of Women Voters will host a presentation by Davis Deputy City Manager Kelly Stachowicz on The General Plan "What Is It and Why Do We Care!", 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM, 3300 Cowell Blvd

By Jon Li

Davis’ General Plan expired in 2015, like old milk in the back of the refrigerator.

The current 2002 Davis General Plan (Housing element update 2010-15) is an update of the 1974 Plan.  That plan was once ecologically innovative but the California Building Code superseded Davis’ code in 1990.

            The 1987 General Plan had so little public participation that it was quickly out of date.   In 1993-4, 16 Davis committees worked on policies for a new general plan in such areas as youth, seniors, art, social services, community computer networks and economic development, as well as the state mandated plan elements like housing, transportation infrastructure, public safety and open space.

            Any innovation died there.  A group of anti-growth activists prolonged the process several years, and buried the innovation in the back of the plan.  The only thing that matters about the current Davis General Plan is kill any economic development because it might cause change.

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League of Women Voters/Civ Energy meeting. Topic: Housing

(From press release) The League of Women Voters Davis Area and CivEnergy are holding an educational meeting on the General Planning process in Davis. It is the first in a series of free, educational forums on housing that are open to the public. The meeting will be held at the New Harmony Mutual Housing Community, 3030 Cowell Boulevard in the Community Room from 6pm to 7:30pm on Wednesday October 16.

This series hopes to begin the discussion on a major community issue: Housing. This includes housing policy, affordability, homelessness and such issues. These events also give the City of Davis residents the opportunity to educate themselves and provide input on the issues above and help steer the housing element of the development of the General Plan update process.

Sign up for a free ticket at Eventbrite.

The League of Women Voters Davis Area was recently restarted in May 2019. They will be accepting donations at this event to offset costs for future educational meetings and forums.

Aggie Research Campus (ARC) Planning Considerations

ARC-map-Oct2019The following memo was sent yesterday to the newly-formed City Council Aggie Research Campus (ARC) subcommittee, composed of Mayor Pro Tem Gloria Partida and Councilmember Dan Carson, with cc's to City Manager Mike Webb, Assistant City Manager Ash Feeney, and Principal Planner Sherri Metzker.

By Greg Rowe

The following comments and suggestions are respectfully offered for your consideration, in the spirit of facilitating a comprehensive evaluation of the proposed ARC project.  The subjects are not arranged in order of priority or importance.  I full acknowledge and recognize, as stated on page 2 of the October 8 City Council report (agenda item 5E), that the project will be scheduled for future commission meetings.  I also concur that, as noted on page 9 of the same report, “In sum, there will be a series of subsequent entitlements at which time more definitive detail will be proposed,” and there is “…the potential for building locations or other features to shift during the final planned development process.”

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City Council makes promises about proposal for business park outside of Mace Curve

ARC-location-overviewGood outcomes in spite of bad process at Council meeting

By Roberta Millstein

As I and others had requested, at Tuesday’s meeting the Council pulled the items concerning the Mace Ranch Innovation Center (MRIC)/Aggie Research Center (ARC) from the Consent Calendar, meaning that there could be a brief presentation, public comment, and discussion and vote from the Council.  Unfortunately, it got personal and unpleasant at times (more on that below).  But there were a number of good outcomes from the meeting.

My main reasons for wanting the items pulled was to let more Davisites know that the City was moving forward with the ARC, to inform people that there was a project description available on the City’s website, and to get more information about what was going to happen moving forward.  Those goals were achieved on Tuesday.

In particular:

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City moving forward on 200 acre business park outside of Mace Curve

Aggie Research Center (formerly, Mace Ranch Innovation Center) on Tuesday’s Council Consent Calendar

Location of proposed ARC, with sunflowers and corn. Picture taken by R. Millstein 9/2019

By Roberta Millstein

Back in June, I noted that developers had asked the City to resume processing their application for a massive ~200 acre business park on prime farmland outside of (i.e., to the east of) the Mace Curve.  Things were mostly quiet over the summer.  Now, with a pair of items on the Tuesday City Council Consent Calendar, the City is moving forward on this application before the project has even been presented publicly. 

The Council agenda notes, “All matters listed under the Consent Calendar are considered routine and non-controversial, require no discussion and are expected to have unanimous Council support and may be enacted by the Council in one motion in the form listed below” (emphasis added).

Item A on the Calendar concerning the so-called “Aggie Research Center” (or ARC; formerly Mace Ranch Innovation Center, or MRIC) authorizes “the City Manager to enter into a contract with Economic and Planning Services (EPS) to prepare an updated study of the market demand assumptions, the economic impact analysis, the fiscal impact analysis, and the financial feasibility analysis and public financing evaluation for the Aggie Research Campus.”  Item E on the Calendar appoints a City Council subcommittee for the project (Partida/Carson).

Yet ARC proposal has not been presented to City (at least not publicly), its Commissions, or its citizens.  The ARC proposal has been modified from the previous one – which was also not fully vetted (see link at the beginning of this article).  Why is the City planning on moving forward with the proposal without discussion and public input?

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Response to UCD Chancellor’s Housing Task Force, “Turning the Curve on Affordable Student Housing”

Affordable-housing-task-forceAs a followup to Greg Rowe's letter concerning UCD's seeming failure to follow the recommendations of its own Affordable Housing Task Force, below is a memo sent by Rowe on September 15 to Mayor Brett Lee, Councilmember Lucas Frerichs, City Manager Mike Webb Yolo County Supervisors Jim Provenza and Don Saylor, giving a more detailed response to the recommendations of the Task Force. The report of the Task Force can be found here.

This memo is a revised version of a memo sent to the City’s Social Services Commission, which received a presentation on the UCD Chancellor’s Housing Task Force (“Task Force”) on October 15, 2018.[1]  The comments are keyed to specific text in the Executive Summary and other pages of the Task Force report, indicated by bold font.

  • Page 4, paragraph 2: “A dramatic 47% upsurge in Davis campus enrollment programs between 2000 and 2017 has outpaced local housing affordability, helping drive up rents in the City of Davis by over 31% (in inflation adjusted dollars).”
    • Comment: This tremendous enrollment spurt was arguably the single greatest factor responsible for the sharp upsurge in Davis rents.
  • Page 4, paragraph 3: “Far too often, housing costs and unsettled and even abusive housing circumstances undermine students’ educational experiences while they attend… Bold action is needed.”
    • Comment: Again, this is a problem brought on by UCD's failure to moderate admissions and build on-campus housing on pace with growth in the student population.

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UCD grants to homeless students treat the symptom, not the cause

Affordable-housing-task-forceUCD seemingly ignores recommendations of Affordable Student Housing Task Force

By Greg Rowe

A recent article described UCD grants to homeless students. This program treats the symptom and not the cause: UCD’s continued failure to construct affordable campus housing matching enrollment growth.

Last year the Chancellor appointed an Affordable Student Housing Task Force, which was guided by the assumption that improving housing affordability “…is part of the campus’s fundamental responsibility to students.” The June 2018 task force report had 15 recommendations, some which would directly boost housing affordability.

Unfortunately, UCD has seemingly ignored the most meaningful recommendations, including:

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Destruction of mature trees at WDAAC

California black walnut stump after removal. Tree was north of Covell Blvd. and along the west side of the West Davis Active Adult Community development site.

By Greg McPherson and Larry Guenther

On a global scale, planting billion of trees to combat climate change will be for naught if we don’t stop clearcutting the Amazon and other forests. The same idea applies on a local scale. Tree Davis’s upcoming planting of 1,000 trees will matter very little if healthy, mature trees are removed from development sites. Large amounts of carbon dioxide stored in these big, old trees is rapidly released after removal, whereas it takes many years for young trees to acquire biomass and accumulate carbon.

In November Davis voters approved Measure L, which established Baseline Project Features to guide development of the West Davis Active Adult Community (WDAAC) property, which is located west of the Sutter-Davis Hospital and north of Covell Blvd. In early June we noticed that 14 large, old California black walnut trees were among a host of trees removed from the site. We wondered why these veteran trees were not protected in a greenspace buffer along Covell Blvd.

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A Tour of The Sustainable Living and Learning Communities

A IMG_8406A future focused interdisciplinary institution grows from the deep roots of UC Davis’s alternative communities.

By Colin Walsh

In an earlier article we discussed the new SLLC that binds together the Student Farm, The Experimental Community Gardens, the Domes, Design Lab workspace, and Project Compost and the Tri Co-ops (Pierce, The Agrarian Effort, and Davis Student Co-op). What had been distinct learning communities with similar values and commitment to student agency, are now a unified grassroots educational initiative that explores a broad range of principles and practices related to agricultural, environmental, and social sustainability. Together, they aspire to promote 4 values, according to the SLLC website: experiential learning, sustainability, community, and place.

We also looked at the Green Fellowship program, a new effort to “fund projects exploring student-led advancement of social justice, sustainable technology, and environmental sustainability at UC Davis” according to the website.

A_IMG_4047The Tour

On Saturday 5/11, as a very nice wine and cheese reception featuring food from the Student Farm and wine from the award winning Matthiasson and Farella wineries wound down (Steve Matthiasson and Tom Farella where in attendance), our tour guides gathered us together in the Eco Garden by the historic farm house at the student farm. We were welcomed warmly by our guides Carol Hillhouse and Nick Tamayo. Nick described his several years of experience with the student farm as he became ever more involved.

First, we walked through the Eco Garden, literally taking time to smell the flowers. Our guides took the time to point out plants and told us about the history and visions for the areas as we went.

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Mace Ranch Innovation Center reborn as Aggie Research Campus

West from Rd 30B - Sac skylineThe on-again off-again on-again business park proposal returns, with scanty detail

By Roberta Millstein

The proposed Mace Ranch Innovation Center (MRIC) is back, now reborn as the Aggie Research Campus (ARC).

In Spring 2016, the developers of the proposed MRIC decided to put the project on hold, citing “higher than expected costs” and a less-than-promising economic analysis.  This was actually the second hold on the project, the developers having suspended the project once before, then having brought it back, then having suspended it again.

When the proposal was suspended for the second time, some City analysis had been done, but some commissions were still in the process of analyzing the proposal, such as the Finance and Budget Commission, the Natural Resources Commission, and the Open Space and Habitat Commission (as I noted in a letter to the editor in the Enterprise after the first hold).

Now as UCD and DJUSD let out for summer vacations, the developers have returned to request that the City resume processing their application.  See the following letter addressed to the members of the Davis City Council:

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Proposal Triples Size of Homeless Shelter

Pauls-place-renderingCurrent Zoning Does Not Allow for 4 Story Project

By Colin Walsh 

Paul’s Place homeless shelter was announced on the front page of the Davis Enterprise yesterday noting how the very rapid growth of the Davis homeless population has overtaxed the old H street facility. This 4-story proposal will include 28 units, 4 emergency beds, “program space to connect people with public benefits, housing and employment opportunities and health and human services, as well as the basic services needed on a daily basis by those living outdoors: food, clothing, showers, restrooms and laundry facilities.” (link)

With the increasing local homeless population there is little doubt that solutions need to be found. Paul’s place would replace the existing well-worn Davis Community Meals 12 bed shelter at 1111H St.

One hurdle the new shelter will need to overcome to be built is the size of the proposed new building. At 4 stories tall it would be the tallest commercial or residential building between 5th St. and Covell. It will be the building in a half mile radius and the current zoning does not allow for 4 a story building.

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Let’s Talk About Housing and Homeless in Davis

June Programs at Davis Methodist Focus on Shelter

(From Press release) Across California, affordable housing and homelessness is a huge and growing problem.  Yet solutions proposed by cities and non-profits are often met with neighborhood opposition.  How can we work together as a community to help our neighbors who are struggling to keep or find shelter?  As part of this conversation, Davis United Methodist Church is offering three programs on housing and homelessness on Sunday mornings, June 9, 23, and 30, from 9:45 to 10:50 at the church, which is located at 1620 Anderson Road in Davis. 

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Honoring Dr. Thomas Cahill

Cahill programA man whose outstanding science was matched by his humanity

By Roberta Millstein

On Saturday, a packed St. James Catholic Church paid their respects to one of Davis’s most esteemed and well-loved sons, Dr. Thomas Cahill, better known to his friends and family as “Tom.”

Tom’s achievements were many; they are outlined in the obituary in the Davis Enterprise.  What most impresses me about his record was his dedication to doing science that mattered.  Trained as a nuclear astrophysicist, he quickly turned to the issue of air quality in California and was one of the small team that successfully advocated for the lead- and sulfur-free gasoline in the early 1970s.  His work on air quality continued throughout his career, even after his “retirement,” working on ultra-fine aerosols (including their impact on first-responders to the 9/11 World Trade Center attack) and aerosol impacts on global climate.

A few years ago, I was visiting at another university and met another faculty member who worked on air quality.  I asked him if he had heard of Tom Cahill.  The answer?  “Of course, yes!  Tom is the person to talk to about air quality issues.”

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Statement from the Old East Davis Neighborhood Association

Regarding the 5/15/2019 Court decision on the Trackside project

OEDNA-v-CoDThe Old East Davis Neighborhood Association is grateful that the Court conducted a thorough review of the administrative record and made a well-considered decision. The Court was unusually diligent, in that the Parties were brought together for a second hearing to ensure that all relevant aspects of the case were presented.

Vacate-and-rescindIt was never the neighborhood's intention to prevent redevelopment of this site. We support infill. In a Davis Enterprise Op Ed on Sept 24, 2017, we showed that the Trackside proposal could be downscaled to fit within neighborhood Design Guidelines and City zoning. The Court's ruling is a good outcome that could lead to a well-designed, transitional building that is consistent with Davis' land use policies.

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New study challenges Wiener’s approach to housing

Eminent economic geographers say that deregulation and upzoning will make gentrification in cities like SF much worse.

By Tim Redmond

Pretty much everybody who’s paying attention to the housing crisis in San Francisco – except, apparently, the Chronicle – is talking about the new study by eminent economic geographers Andrés Rodríguez-Pose and Michael Storper that argues against looser zoning rules as a solution to the housing crisis.

Even Richard Florida, who used to love the idea of cities attracting the young “creative class” (before he discovered gentrification) says the study is important. It’s the latest in a series of studies that challenge the notion that allowing the private market to build more housing will bring down prices.

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Extortion in Davis? Not from Measures J/R

Cannery-moneyBy Matt Williams

Extortion is the practice of obtaining something, especially money, through force or threats.  Measures J/R clearly do result in additional expenses for a developer; however, the City (and the community) don’t receive any payments as a result of any of the provisions of Measures J/R.  The additional developer dollars are paid out (discretionarily) to third parties, like election campaign consultants, and advertising channels, and experts providing testimony, etc.

In the last 10 years I can only think of one example of “extortion”  and that example is one where the developer “extorted” an $8 million payment from the City.  Of course I refer to the Cannery CFD.  Not only did the developer receive that $8 million cash payment, but that $8 million payment cost the Davis taxpayers a total of $21.8 million in principal repayment, bond closing costs and interest payments.

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City Council Out of Step on Parking, Roads, Housing, and the Claw: Will it Impact the 2020 Council Race?

Checking-pulseTonight, the City Council will decide whether or not to convert approximately 32% of downtown parking to metered parking spaces, 7 days a week, 10 AM-10 PM.  The opposition to the City’s proposal from citizens and business owners has been vocal and voluminous. 

Will the City Council nonetheless vote to proceed with the plan?  And if they do, will voters next spring remember and think twice about re-electing incumbents?

This is not the first indication that the Council isn’t communicating well with its citizens. 

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Regarding Chiles Road Apartments / Loss of Commercial Site

Chiles-Project-2WThe following letter was submitted to the Davis City Council yesterday (March 15) and is reprinted here with permission of the author.  For background information on the proposed Chiles project, see this Davis Enterprise article. The Council will consider the project at its upcoming meeting on Tuesday, March 19.

To Davis City Council:

In reference to the Chiles Road apartment proposal, some seem to be claiming that there's a "shortage" of available commercial space (while simultaneously advocating for conversion of existing commercial space to accommodate residential development). If there is an actual shortage of commercial space, then the proposed conversion of the Chiles Road site (from commercial to residential zoning) is difficult to logically explain. One might think that (at a minimum), a mixed-use proposal might be appropriate and in-demand - assuming that one truly believes that there's a shortage of commercial space. (Also assuming that the city believes that commercial development is needed, to fill its coffers.)

In any case, this latest missed opportunity is surely something I'll remember, if/when the MRIC proposal arises again.

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Laundered Campaign Contributions Appear to Have Been Made to the Yes on Measure L Campaign by West Davis Active Adult Community

Money-launderingby Alan Pryor, Treasurer and Principal Officer of No on Measure L


In previous articles pertaining to the financial disclosures of the Yes on Measure L/West Davis Active Adult Community campaign on the November 2018 ballot in Davis, I provided evidence showing:

  1. About $70,000 of campaign expenditures that were made by the Yes on Measure L campaign for attorney’s fees were probably illegal under FPPC campaign finance regulations as set forth in the FPPC Disclosure Manuals that provide guidance and requirements for such campaign expenditures.
  2. The Davis Vanguard ran daily ads from the inception of the campaign until voting day and for a substantial period beforehand. The payment for these ads is not disclosed on any financial statements filed by the Yes on Measure L campaign which may be a violation of FPPC regulations.
  3. A disclosed financial filing expenditure of $3,000 was made to "Froggy's" for food service for a Vanguard fundraising event. This is probably not an allowable campaign expense for the Yes on Measure L campaign under FPPC guidelines.
  4. Over $64,000 of non-monetary contributions to the Yes on Measure L campaign for “salaries” have been disclosed in campaign filings but the recipients of these salaries have been kept secret. Further, it is not known if these payments were for personal gain, which is prohibited by FPPC regulations, or may be otherwise disallowed under FPPC guidelines.

This information is more fully disclosed in the BACKGROUND section attached to the end of this article and referenced in previous articles I have written as disclosed therein.

In this article I report how the primary financial contributor to the Yes on Measure L campaign is the West Davis Active Adult Community entity itself, totaling $164,500. In 2017, West Davis Active Adult Community was formed as a Fictitious Business Name business under the charter of Doug Arnold Real Estate Inc. Doug Arnold Real Estate Inc was a California Domestic Stock Corporation whose Agent for Service of Process was David Taormino. However, Doug Arnold Real Estate Inc was dissolved in 2018, thus apparently rendering West Davis Active Adult Community as an orphan company without legal status in California.

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