TEN GOOD REASONS TO OPPOSE THE PROPOSED WEST DAVIS ACTIVE ADULT COMMUNITY (WDAAC) PROJECT

SUMMARY – There are numerous and significant problems with the proposed West Davis Active Adult Community project. These problems generally fall in one of three categories, as follows:


  • WDAAC does not meet Current or Future Housing Needs for Davis, has No Guaranteed Low-Income Housing, and is Inherently Discriminatory.
  • WDAAC includes Massive Developer Give-Aways, May Actually Cost the City Money on an Annual Basis, and the Development Agreement is Non-Binding and Weak.
  • WDAAC is a Sprawling, Unsustainable Development, In the Wrong Location for a Senior Development, and Opens Up the Entire Northwest Quadrant without any Planning.


These problems range from wasteful use of farm land for large 5,000 sq. ft. lots with expensive single-story, “down-sized” 1,800 sq. ft. luxury homes to a complete lack of connectivity to the city because of the peripheral location and inadequate transportation infrastructure. This project is the worst example of sprawl seen in Davis in over 2 decades and is the antithesis of smart, sustainable urban planning. It is designed to meet developer needs for maximum profit rather than to provide truly affordable housing for seniors or families of modest means.

Although the stated design objectives are to allow ordinary seniors to move close to their families and thereafter age in place, the reality is only the most well-to-do will be moving into the proposed homes, some of which will run to $750,000 or more. This project is designed to cater mostly to wealthy seniors. The last thing Davis needs right now is a sprawling Sun City-like retirement community that essentially warehouses our seniors on the edge of town. Davis does NOT need an expensive, exclusive senior enclave. Davis needs housing for moderate and middle income seniors and families.

The WDAAC’s “Taking Care of Our Own – Davis-Based Buyers Program” is inherently exclusionary and illegal. In addition to the projects’ primary (but legal) discriminatory practice of reserving almost all (80%) of home purchases for seniors (thus, for the most part, excluding younger buyers), the “Taking Care of Our Own – Davis-Based Buyers Program” requires 90% of home sales occur to persons with a pre-existing connection to Davis. This program thus virtually assures the racial and wealthier demographics of Davis are preserved in this project for many years in the future. This does not reflect Davis’ values of inclusivity and diversity.

Also, other than the minimum land donation on which to build required low-income housing, the developer is NOT contributing anything to the actual construction costs of the low-income units as has every other major development in town for the last decade. Instead, the developer is relying completely on “possible” future availability of government grants to build the units. Thus, there is no guarantee that the needed low-income units will ever be built.

Furthermore, this project is fiscally irresponsible. It includes massive developer give-aways totaling, among others, over $3.4 million in reduced development fees alone. These give-aways subsidize developer profits at the expense of existing residents’ tax dollars.

The City projects a positive annual income for the City budget as a result of build-out of this project. However, this estimate is based on accounting methods that assume unneeded reduced costs on a per resident basis for providing City services such as public safety and transportation. A more realistic projection indicates that the cost of providing services to this peripheral location may exceed benefits and income to the City by more than $150,000 per year.

Finally, the proposed project opens up the whole northwest quadrant of the City to development without proper planning for the entire area, serious evaluation of such piecemeal development on the community, traffic and city services, or serious consideration of community needs and values.

The Davis community should reject the WDAAC proposal, make the developer go back to the drawing board to come back with a project that meets the real community needs for affordable, inclusive housing serving both seniors and working families, and make the city end such controversial and unnecessary massive developer give-aways.

Here are 10 Important Reasons Why this Project is Not Right for Davis and Sets a Very Bad Precedent for Future Developments.

WDAAC does not meet Current or Future Housing Needs for Davis, has No Guaranteed Low-Income Housing, and is Inherently Discriminatory

1. WDAAC does not meet our City’s real demographic needs for more diverse and affordable housing for working families and those of moderate income.

2. WDAAC does not meet the needs of seniors of ordinary means.

3. The Developer’s “Taking Care of Our Own – Davis-Based Buyers Program” is inherently exclusionary, certainly illegal, and does not reflect Davis’ values of inclusivity and diversity.

4. The proposed low-income senior housing component of WDAAC is a ruse. The developer is not making ANY contribution to the low-income housing construction costs and there is no guarantee in the Development Agreement that the low-income units will ever be built.

WDAAC includes Massive Developer Give-Aways, May Actually Cost the City Money on an Annual Basis, and the Development Agreement is Non-Binding and Weak.

5. The City has granted the developer massive give-aways and subsidies by, among other things, reducing project impact fees by over $3.4 million compared to fees normally charged to new developments.

6. The City projects a positive annual return to City coffers as a result of build-out of this project. However, this estimate is based on accounting methods that assume unsubstantiated reduced costs on a per resident basis for providing basic City services.

7. There are no guarantees that this project will ever be built as proposed because the Baseline Features are vague and imprecise and the Development Agreement is exceedingly weak.

WDAAC is a Sprawling, Unsustainable Development, In Wrong Location for a Senior Development, and Opens Up the Entire Northwest Quadrant without any Planning

8. The far edge of town is exactly the wrong location for a senior development and this project has exceedingly poor connectivity for seniors.

9. WDAAC is a sprawling development reminiscent of the 1950s and 1960s. It does not meet any of the Sacramento Council of Governments’ (SACOG) Seven Principles for Smart Growth and clearly needs more density, different and diverse building types, and good transportation infrastructure.

10. WDAAC opens up the entire northwest quadrant of the City to speculative, piecemeal development with no overall, comprehensive Specific or Master Plan for the area whatsoever.

Who funded this ad? - Paid for by No on Measure L, FPPC # 1408165

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Sierra Club Opposes Measure L - Endorses No on Measure L

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For Immediate Release: September 19, 2018

Sierra Club Endorses No on Measure L - No on West Davis Active Adult Community

Citing grounds of unplanned sprawling development, the Sierra Club announced its opposition to Measure L in Davis CA on the November 2018 municipal ballot. Measure L is a vote to allow the annexation of a 75 acre parcel of farmland on the northwest periphery of the City and the subsequent development of a senior housing project including 410 single-family, single-story detached homes and a 150 units of low-income senior housing.

The endorsement of the opposition to this ballot measure follows an extensive evaluation process by the local Sierra Club Yolano Group, the Sierra Club Mother Lode Chapter Political and Executive Committees, and the Sierra Club California Local Measure Review Committee.

The Sierra Club has long-standing official policies designed to minimize urban housing sprawl and maximize intensive infill development. These include planning policies which stimulate conservation of open space and preservation of natural areas and agricultural lands, The Sierra Club opposes sprawl as a pattern of increasingly inefficient and wasteful land use that is devastating environmental and social conditions.

“While the Sierra Club is highly supportive of the 4.25 acres of the project planned for 150 high-density apartments reserved for low-income senior occupancy, we do not support the adjacent development which will turn more than 60 acres of productive farm land into single-story, single-family homes on large lots”, said Alan Pryor, chair of the local Sierra Club Yolano Group. “This development is inconsistent with official Sierra Club land use and urban planning policies. Instead, it is reminiscent of sprawling development of the 1950s and 1960s with a sea of uniformly low-slung buildings laid out in a rectilinear fashion. It is the antithesis of smart urban planning”, he added.

Additionally, he noted, WDAAC does NOT meet any of the Sacramento Council of Governments’ (SACOG) Seven Blueprint Principles for Smart Growth (www.sacog.org) including:

1. Compact development
2. Mix of land uses
3. Transportation options
4. Quality design
5. Use of existing assets (land or buildings)
6. Housing options
7. Preserving natural resources

This project clearly suffers from lack of density and needs more different and diverse building types with an integrated transportation infrastructure.

There are also concerns that this new project encroaches into the undeveloped northwest quadrant of the City. Properly planned, the northwest quadrant of Davis offers an important opportunity for meeting development needs in Davis in a manner that reflects Davis values - vibrant integrated and connected neighborhoods, affordable co-housing, community gardens and edible vegetation, appropriate commercial, and live-work buildings, all bordered by protected farmland and open space.

Working towards these goals necessitates a General Plan update or a Northwest Specific Plan. Piecemeal development, focusing on one project at a time, will preclude this important planning opportunity.

The Sierra Club is the nation's largest and oldest environmental group and has almost 1,000 members in the City of Davis.

For more information please call Alan Pryor at 916-996-4811 or go to www.NoOnWDAAC.org

Paid for by No on Measure L, FPPC # 1408165.

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