ASUCD Senate unanimously passes housing crisis resolution

ASUCD Senate unanimously passes housing crisis resolution

Photo Credits: AGGIE FILE

The emergency resolution SR #7 recommends the City of Davis remove the housing density restrictions put in place in 2008

The ASUCD Feb. 4 meeting was called to order by Vice President Emily Barneond at 7 p.m.

The senate unanimously passed Emergency resolution SR#7, which is intended to encourage more affordable housing in Davis. The resolution includes five proposals that will go to the Davis Housing Element Committee for approval and ultimately to the Davis City Council in the coming weeks. 

The resolution aims to combat the housing crisis in Davis that has left 7% of students homeless and 18% experiencing housing insecurity, according to a 2018 survey by the ASUCD-GSA Housing Affordability Task Force.

“There is not adequate discussion of it outside of students circles,” said Allie O’Brien, the ASUCD chief of staff and author of the resolution. “Students having to find housing are acutely aware of the housing crisis, but a lot of folks in the City of Davis still deny that it exists for students.”

If approved, the bill would remove a 1% growth cap on new housing in Davis, a restriction that has been in place since 2008.

“This sort of resolution is incredibly important,” said ASUCD President Kyle Krueger. “We’re representing student needs and making sure [the proposals] are going forward because it’s an area where what we say really matters.”

Senators hope that this resolution will begin a new era of cooperation between ASUCD and City Council.

“I think that this is a first step showing that we also know what we’re talking about, we have the research done,” said senator Maahum Shahab. “We can show up and speak for ourselves just as well as anybody else.”

Senator Amanjot Gandhoke said he agreed that the resolution may help sway the City Council.

“City Council, they do listen to us when the entire student body can come together around one issue,” Grandhoke said.

Included in the proposals is a call to reduce parking minimums for new developments. When new housing units are built, a certain number of parking spaces must be built with them, and each space costs between thirty and fifty thousand dollars a piece

The resolution would also allow properties that were originally zoned for single families to be converted into multi-unit dwellings. 

“There’s a history of particularly wealthy white folks being very attached to single family zoning, and to some people it feels like a really radical idea to eliminate it,” O’Brien said. “Even though you’ll still have massive single family neighborhoods, there will just be the occasional duplex, triplex or four-plex.”

Among the recommendations, the city is encouraged to create a list of recommended zoning requirements for future projects so developers have a clear idea of what the city wants from their development. 

“It essentially will speed up the process of allowing developments to get approved,” said O’Brien. “It often takes years for developments to get approved in the City of Davis, and that is probably one of the main causes of the housing crisis.”

Lastly, if approved, SR #7 would change city fees for new developments. The new fees would be based on square-footage or the number of units as opposed to the current flat fee, making it less expensive for smaller developments to get approved.

 O’Brien says there is support for the resolution on City Council, but success is not guaranteed and the city process is complex. She said the best things for students to do is to stay involved.

“I would really encourage the City Council to consider these policies,” O’Brien said. “And I would definitely encourage any students who are interested in this kind of thing to reach out to me.”

Before adjourning, the senate unanimously passed SB #54, which allows future legislation in the senate be named instead of referred to by its bill or resolution number. 

Written by: Wm. Schroedter Kinman — wskinman@ucdavis.edu

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