by Matt Williams
This is the first in a series of articles responding to the following comment made by Keith Echols in the article Former Mayors Condemn Court Action
Another day another article complaining and complaining about a politician being opposed by a group of people on an issue. Note that we haven’t seen a NO campaign article in quite a while (the last one was a financial analysis by Matt) that actually focuses on the issue (as someone on the fence, I’d like see a well-researched article from the NO…because I feel bad for the people of East Davis campaign).
So every morning for the next two weeks, I’ll be providing Vanguard readers and Davis voters with an article on one of the twelve issues I covered in my presentation Thursday at the University Retirement Community, in which Dan Carson introduced Yes On Measure H. reference, at the end of this article I listed these dozens of problems.
What is the most important reason to vote “No” on measure H?
On Tuesday I received a phone call from David Thompson, president of the Twin Pines Cooperative Foundation and co-director of Neighborhood Partners LLC, which has developed and has in development more than 1,400 integrated nonprofit housing units low-income families worth more than $200 million. . Its affordable housing projects in Davis include:
Eleanor Roosevelt Circle
Cesar Chavez Square
David forgot more about affordable housing than I will ever know. So when he asked me if I was interested in understanding why there was significantly less affordable housing in the DiSC project than is required by the City of Davis Affordable Housing Ordinance, I quickly listened.
David started our chat by asking if I had received the recent promotion from Measure H, which says, “Measure H further enhances and advances what we love about Davis by creating affordable housing.”
After I told him that I had indeed seen this statement, he replied “This DiSC statement is simply not true!”
DISC deliberately chooses to provide less affordable housing as a percentage of the total than any previously proposed site that has been put to a citizen vote.
The reason is both simple and straightforward. Prior to 2018, all citizen ballot proposals provided at least 25-35% of housing as permanently affordable under the provisions of City of Davis Municipal Code Section 18.05…the Affordable Housing Ordinance of the city of Davis… which states.
To the extent possible, each Developer must meet the Affordable Unit of Ownership Requirement with respect to the Project, as set out below:
(a) Standard Affordable Housing Requirements for Landlords. Any development that is made up in whole or in part of property units must comply with the following requirements, which must be included in the development’s affordable housing plan.
(1) Affordable housing needs, by type of residential product.
(A) For projects comprising detached single-family property units at market price on lots greater than five thousand square feet, the developer must provide a number of affordable housing units equal to twenty-five percent of the total number of units being developedincluding affordable housing, using one of the methods described in this section.
The general policies for implementing the plan also require that, where possible and subject to applicable legislation, rental housing developments of five to nineteen units provide fifteen percent of the units to low-income households. and ten percent to very low-income households; and in rental housing projects of twenty or more units, that twenty-five percent of the units be affordable for low-income households and ten percent of the units be affordable for very low-income households. General plan policies also require affordable rental housing to remain affordable in perpetuity. (Order 2418 § 1, 2013)
David went on to explain that DISC applied under the “Interim Affordable Housing Ordinance”, which significantly reduced the requirement to 15%. The Interim Affordable Housing Ordinance was passed by City Council in February 2018 with the plan stated that it would expire on December 31, 2018. That extinction never happened and its interim policy is still in effect.
However, this interim policy with its 15% discount was written specifically to apply to land already in the city, and was/is based on the December 11, 2015 economic report prepared for the city by A Plescia & Co titled Preliminary Project Economic Analysis for the City of Davis Affordable Housing Ordinance. This Plescia report begins as follows:
The primary purpose of this synthesis report is to present preliminary information related to the anticipated economic implications of potential Affordable Housing Ordinance requirements on selected prototype residential property and rental development at the urban scale. The economic analysis of the project summarized in this report focuses on estimating the financial feasibility (including profitability) of certain identified prototypes of residential property and rental development.
The preliminary project economic information presented in this report may be used by the City of Davis to inform the process the City of Davis is undertaking with respect to its review of amending its existing Affordable Housing Ordinance with respect to identified residential property and rental. development prototypes discussed in this memorandum.
For the purposes of this preliminary economic analysis of the project, the identified residential and mixed-use prototype alternatives are assumed to be developed each on a hypothetical 2.0 acre infill development site. in the current urbanized area of the city of Davis.
Why in the current urbanized area of the City?
Because land costs in the city had reached hundreds of thousands of dollars per acre.
Land located outside the urbanized area, such as the DISC site, does not suffer from high land costs. He resides on farmland outside the city limits that was purchased for much less than $10,000 per acre…NOT hundreds of thousands of dollars per acre. This economic reality and the clear words of the Plescia report mean that the affordable housing requirement for DiSC should remain at the 25-35% threshold contained in article 18.05 of the Municipal Code.
In November 2019, hundreds of Davis residents applauded Richard Rothstein’s “color of the law” speech, which criticized the government’s role in cutting housing for people of color. Many of us want a future Davis to be more inclusive and expansive when it comes to housing for low-income residents and racial minorities.
DISC does the opposite by providing significantly less housing for low-income residents and racial minorities.
David is unequivocal in his opinion that the Interim Affordable Housing Ordinance simply does not apply to DiSC, and until and unless the DiSC Project changes its Affordable Housing Plan to comply with the provisions of Section 18.05 of the Municipal Code of the City of Davis, the only choice is to vote “NO” on measure H. David Thompson has clearly stated that this is the most important reason to vote “No”. None of us should want to live in a Davis that accepts fewer homes for the most needy and people of color.
As noted at the beginning of this article, every morning for the next two weeks I will provide Vanguard readers and Davis voters with an article on one of the twelve issues listed below that I addressed in my presentation on Thursday. at University Retirement Community.
Reasons for voting “NO” on measure H
• Massive traffic problems
• No firm plan to mitigate traffic
• Unmitigated greenhouse gas emissions
• DISC will cannibalize existing downtown and local businesses in Davis still suffering from the pandemic
• Projected financial projections for the city are questionable or misleading
• We cannot trust our municipal staff and council to protect us from rapacious and predatory developers
• Critical farmland, habitat, and our last views of the Sierra and the Sacramento skyline will be lost forever
• A Yes vote gives the developer lucrative rights without guaranteed core functionality in many critical areas
• The project will exacerbate the housing shortage in the Davis area
• The scale of the DiSC business park is far too large for a small college town like Davis
• A development of industrial research while we are in severe drought?