WDAAC HAS NO GUARANTEED LOW-INCOME HOUSING
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.
There is no doubt that we need more affordable (with a capital “A”) senior housing in Davis. The current 4 largest subsidized senior housing facilities in the City have a combined wait list of over 400 people with only about 15-20 openings per year. A similar situation exists for every low income age group seeking to get into subsidized housing. But the low-income housing component of this development is based on hopes and may never be built because the developer is NOT actually required to provide any affordable housing himself. Instead, he is donating a small parcel of land (4.26 acres) in the furthest southwest corner of the project to satisfy his affordable housing obligations.
But there is no guarantee any affordable senior housing will ever be built there. Today, the low income housing developer does not have the resources to finance and construct such a development. Rather, the developer must rely entirely on getting grants from state or federal entities to construct the project in the future, when and if the millions of dollars of government funding ever does become available. With the loss of redevelopment funds and in an era of ever increasing deficits, this essential funding is almost non-existent.
Further, according to David Thompson of Neighborhood Partners at a Planning Commission hearing on the project on November 8, 2017, the actual low income housing requirement for the WDAAC project is 76 units. The current standard for land dedication to satisfy the low income housing requirement is based on 16 units per acre. So 16 units X the 4.26 acre dedication by the developer would equal 68 units, not 76. To actually fulfill his low income housing obligation for this development, the developer would have to donate 4.75 acres, not 4.26, almost 12% more land than he is actually providing. So the developer is not even providing the minimal amount of land required by the City to employ this lowest cost option to satisfy his low income housing obligation.
At this same meeting, Mr. Thompson stated he was exceedingly grateful to the developer for providing land on which Thompson felt he could “potentially” build up to 150 units, or almost double what the Affordable Housing obligation of the project is at present. Based on this, the project developer is now claiming he would be providing more than twice the affordable housing units required by the city.
But in reality, Mr. Taormino is providing none. He is just donating even less than the minimum land required by the city and NO funds are made available for the construction of the low-income units themselves. ALL other recent large-scale developments in Davis have otherwise provided substantial subsidized low-income housing on-site which was built and paid for by the developers themselves at a substantial cost.
For example, Sterling Apartments on 5th St. is putting in a total of 160 apartments of which 38 (19.7%) will be dedicated and reserved as “low income”. They are also using 1.03 acres of land to do so which is 17.1% of the total 6 acre project. Sterling is donating the land used for the low-income housing as a separate but contiguous parcel just like at WDAAC. However, significantly, as stated in the Staff Report recommending Council approval of the Sterling project,
“The proposed Affordable Housing Plan is contained in the Development Agreement. It requires provision of 38 affordable rental units and a $2,025,000 contribution to help with development of the affordable project. No City subsidy is anticipated. The site will be developed by Mutual Housing California, an affordable housing developer chosen by the applicant for this project.” (Emphasis added)
A $2,025,000 contribution / 38 apts. = $53,289/Apt
If the same per apartment contribution to actually build the low-income housing was made by WDAAC as was made by Sterling, WDAAC would be providing over $4,000,000 in additional funding to the low income housing construction -
76 units x $53,289 per unit = $4,049,964
The amount of money actually provided by the WDAAC developer for construction of his low income housing obligation at WDAAC is $0.
Another example, the Lincoln 40 apartment project on Olive Dr. was approved only after the developer agreed to reserve almost 15% of the onsite beds for low income, very low income, and extremely low income subsidized units. Nishi 2.0 just passed a Measure J/R vote to put in apartments housing 2,200 beds of which 15% will also be reserved in perpetuity only for low income, very low income and extremely low income students.
Regrettably, this is not the case with WDAAC! Here the City Council abused its discretionary authority by allowing the developer to donate 4.26 acres of land, totaling only about 6% of the total project size (74.49 acres) to a non-profit that “hopes” to get enough government grants to build a 150 unit apartment complex. As stated earlier, these affordable units may never be built because they are entirely dependent on outside funding since developer contributions for actual construction are not required by the City Council.
So in summary, based on the City’s already dramatically reduced requirements from 35 to 15% in the City’s new Affordable Housing Ordinance passed last year, the project proponent claims that he is providing more than twice the affordable housing units required by the City. But this is not true! The developer is actually not providing ANY affordable housing units. He is merely donating the land on which affordable housing units “may” be built in the future if enough grant money can be obtained by another low-income housing developer.
If free grant money cannot be obtained, then no affordable housing units will ever be built on the dedicated land and the WDAAC developer could get away without ever meeting any of the onsite Affordable Housing Requirements that every other developer in town was recently forced to meet to get their projects approved.