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Davis, California

Thursday, May 16, 2024

Construction set to begin on Bretton Woods Affordable Senior Apartments in North Davis but community is divided

The development promises to develop 150 affordable housing units for seniors in the city of Davis


By ANTHONY W. ZAMMIKIEL  — city@theaggie.org


The Department of Community Development & Sustainability is continuing to review the design application submitted for the Bretton Woods Affordable Senior Apartment Project, formerly known as the West Davis Active Adult Community, as the project is set to begin the construction phase.

“The proposed project will develop 150 affordable housing units for seniors,” according to the Development Projects section of the Community Development & Sustainability page on the city of Davis website. “The project includes two 75-unit residential buildings that will be 4-stories each and one freestanding 1-story community building.”

According to the applicant narrative and justification submitted to the department for the development project, the development will take up 5.64 acres of a larger 70 acre master-planned community development project. This comes after the Davis community voted to approve the plans in 2018. The development project will satisfy affordable housing requirements, with the 150 residential units including studios, 1-bedroom, and 2-bedroom units. 

The West Davis Active Adult Community development project was first proposed to the Davis City Council in 2018, and an amended development plan was approved after successive amendments to the original ordinance.

After being approved, the Davis community voted to affirm the decision within the vote for Measure L. According to the measure notice, all city ordinances require voter approval for projects that change the City General Plan’s land use designation. The development required a change of land use from agricultural to urban, so therefore needed voter approval.

However, the decision to approve the measure occurred before the state of California voted in the 2020 state election to approve California Proposition 19, which changed tax assessment transfers and inheritance guidelines by increasing the property tax rate for inheritance properties. This allowed for property owners above the age of 55 to receive an increase in tax benefits. The Bretton Woods Affordable Senior Apartment development supported Proposition 19 and included online resources describing the proposition, detailing how it helped to create more senior housing and why community members should support the proposition. 

However, the decisions to approve the initial development project and subsequently affirm the construction phase have encountered polarized responses throughout the Davis community. Barbara Williams, a Davis resident, expressed her appreciation for how the community understands the need for focusing on senior housing developments, and is prioritizing affordable housing.

“As someone who, if we are being honest, is just a little bit over the retirement age, I highly approve of the measures by the city in the previous four years to prioritize affordable housing for us seniors and allowing us more opportunities to continue living in this city, especially since we have our roots here,” Barbara said. “It is fortunate that I am in the position that I am in. However, I know too many people who have been pushed outside Davis because there are just not enough places for seniors to live here.”

Gigi Williams, another Davis community member, believes the city of Davis has become less anti-growth and argues that the city should not develop into the surrounding agricultural areas. Gigi is concerned that Proposition 19 has not been not applied equally to all California residents, and the Davis community is no exception.

“Let’s be honest here, Prop 19 and other similar propositions over the years concerning home ownership have historically benefited white Californians and there is a real storied history about people of color being blocked from home ownership in this state, either by implicit or explicit policies,” Gigi said. “Who are the people who are buying homes for the first time? They are Black, they are Latinx, they are Indigenous, they are largely people of color. And Prop 19 focuses on prioritizing these longtime homeowners instead of helping us folks out.” 

More information concerning the Bretton Woods Affordable Senior Apartments can be accessed under the Development Projects section on the Community & Sustainability Development page on the city of Davis website. The development plans include both the applicant narrative and justification submission and the development schematics. More information about the development process when the plans were originally submitted as the West Davis Active Adult Community can be located in the Approved & Pending/Under Construction section

Written By: Anthony W. Zammikiel  — city@theaggie.org