SR #7 asks university to increase capacity for future campus housing
On Jan. 26, ASUCD passed a new resolution to submit comments on the Notice of Preparation for the Environmental Impact Report (EIR), the next phase for the UC Davis Long Range Development Plan (LRDP).
Resolution #7, authored by Sara Williams, the External Affairs Commission chair, proposes a larger share of on campus housing than previously planned for the 2017-2027 plan. The resolution passed with a vote of 10-0-1, with Senator Shaitaj Dhaliwal abstaining.
As required by the California Environmental Quality Act, the university released a Notice of Preparation, which allows for comments regarding the drafting of the EIR that will eventually be submitted.
“UC Davis requests input regarding the scope and content of the Draft EIR that is relevant to your agency’s statutory/regulatory responsibilities or is of interest to individuals, to ascertain potential environmental impacts of the project,” the notice read. “Responses to this NOP are requested to identify: 1) the significant environmental issues, reasonable alternatives, and mitigation measures that should be explored in the Draft EIR; and 2) whether your agency will be a responsible or trustee agency for the project.”
The current LRPD includes plans to provide housing for 90 percent of enrollment growth and 40 percent of all Davis-based students by 2027-28.
ASUCD, as well as the Davis City Council, which passed a concurrent resolution, proposes that the university revise those plans to be able to house 100 percent of enrollment growth and 50 percent of all Davis-based students.
Ricardo Martinez, a fourth-year political science and philosophy double major and ASUCD senator, said that the 50/100 proposal will help students who are forced to search for housing outside of Davis.
“What the resolution says is that UC Davis should meet the 50 percent in-housing threshold for students so that we can accommodate more students here on campus to live here instead of having them go outside the city and not, you know, find any housing because right now vacancies are really low,” Martinez said. “So the City of Davis has a problem with housing and that in-turn affects students who often times can’t find a place to live and usually what they do is they go with friends or they live in Woodland and it’s just, it’s not a good mix when it comes to housing.”
UC Davis began planning the LRDP in the fall of 2015. After Feb. 17, the last day for individuals and government agencies to submit comments on the EIR, the university plans to draft the LRDP and EIR for public review in fall 2017. UC Davis will submit the finalized versions to the UC Regents for consideration in early 2018.
ASUCD President Alex Lee, who signed off on the resolution, said that housing in Davis has become a major problem that needs further discussion before UC Davis can move forward with the 10 year plan.
“I definitely think that the issue of housing isn’t going away anytime soon,” Lee said. “The issue is just going to get worse and worse and by the time we see any construction start on the proposed LRDP, it’s going to be pretty bad by then. I think that the city and the campus need to do their part to provide housing for all of it’s population, of course the key demographic is students, who are the majority of both populations, of the city and of the campus.”
The City of Davis and the University have been in continuous discussion since LRDP planning began, although there hasn’t always been mutual agreement regarding the final steps.
“I think the relationship between the City of Davis and UC Davis is not that well and it’s not cohesive in terms of them having a mutual understanding,” Martinez said. “So I think there needs to be an improvement, especially by administration, to reach out to the City of Davis and the mayor, because the City of Davis has been reaching out to the administration, and they haven’t been that responsive. I think the resolution puts the administration on notice and lets them know that students are aware of the current issues that are going to affect them now and in the future, so I think it would be good for the administration to take student concerns into account moving forward in the next 10 years.”
Written by: Ivan Valenzuela — firstname.lastname@example.org