It only took about an hour and a half to change the Davis City Council’s opinion of the fate of two 6,000 square foot lots in East Davis.
The city had planned to give the land to Habitat for Humanity, but the council decided with a 4 to 1 vote to give the Solar Community Housing Association to build cooperative housing.
The land, located at 233 and 239 J St., was originally purchased by the Davis Redevelopment Agency in August of 2005 for $825,000.
Two historic homes will be moved from 311 and 315 B St., housing eight to 10 people. The larger house will be used as common spaces, like a kitchen and living room. The 315 house will be remodeled with six bedrooms.
A city loan of $200,000 is needed, while the SCHA has $120,000 in reserves, a $93,000 subsidy for moving the B Street homes, and $150,000 from refinancing and mortgaging SCHA properties. Costs are expected to be around $455,800 for inspections, moving the houses, remodeling and construction.
“It’s so uniquely Davis,” said Councilmember Sue Greenwald. “It’s a fit, and it’s very rare to have the opportunity to enhance the co-ops.”
Construction will begin in July of 2010.
SCHA owns and operates the Sunwise and J Street Co-ops in Davis, and is also helping to establish the Davis Bike Collective.
Max Stevenson, a member of the SCHA Board of Directors spoke of the co-op’s model for a low-impact lifestyle.
“There is a demand for low-income and cooperative housing,” Stevenson said. “It’s inexpensive, with no television, grown food, less cars, a passive solar design, low flush toilets, one Internet and other sustainable features.”
Habitat for Humanity representatives said they had a strong track record for completing similar projects and emphasized that their project would serve low-income residents.
Many neighborhood residents spoke positively of the current co-op on J Street as a part of their community parties, voter registration and gardens.
Resident Doug Walter also gave another reason for the council to support the neighborhood’s preference.
“Expressed preference of the neighbors does need to get significant weight for more than one reason,” Walter said. “[Giving the neighborhood what it wants] will help the council find support when it comes time for the building of the L Street development.”
According to the SCHA’s proposal, their Board of Directors “set rental rates on an annual basis such that they do not exceed fair market rent for individuals with an annual income that is less than 80 percent of the area median income.”
The proposal goes on to state that “a basic condition to gain SCHA membership and join a co-op, the potential resident’s income must be below 80 percent of the county median income. There is also a six year limit on residence in an SCHA co-op, to ensure reasonable turn-over and offer the educational experience of cooperative living to a broader membership base.”
The council set plans to find another location for affordable housing through Habitat for Humanity.
A 6,000 square foot parcel on 1212 L St. was a suggestion, and the Redevelopment Agency has been put in charge of researching buildings that can be used for the 1212 lot.
ANGELA SWARTZ can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.