UC regents demand opportunities for underserved communities with UC Davis hospital tower approval

By Emily Hamann | January 30, 2022 | The Sacramento Business Journal

A multibillion-dollar expansion of University of California Davis’ hospital can move ahead, after university officials promised to work to make sure the project included support and opportunities for a nearby underserved community and business owners.

Click here to read the article in full.

Oak Park gentrification: $5 million Aggie Square fund to protect tenants from displacement

By Alexandra Yoon-Hendricks | November 14, 2021 | The Sacramento Bee

…community advocates have repeatedly warned that those benefits may not be experienced by low- and middle-income residents and residents of color. Those concerns led to the creation of a sweeping Community Benefits Partnership Agreement* that would invest several hundred million dollars in Oak Park and Tahoe Park through new affordable housing, local hiring requirements, job training and eviction protections. As part of a deal reached with a group of local organizers called Sacramento Investment Without Displacement, the city is required to allocate $5 million from its housing trust fund and general fund to efforts that would alleviate resident displacement and stabilize the housing market.

Read more at: https://www.sacbee.com/news/equity-lab/article256557521.html#storylink=cpy


*Join Sacramento Investment Without Displacement for a Community Benefits Agreement Presentation on Dec 16. Attend to learn more about Community Benefits Agreements (CBA) and how they have significantly impacted other cities. We will also have a discussion on the CBA Ordinance for the City of Sacramento and what should be included as the Ordinance is being developed.


Photo by MART PRODUCTION from Pexels

CEQA can increase affordable housing in Sacramento while protecting communities

By Ralph Propper, President of the Environmental Council of Sacramento | October 19, 2021 | Sacramento News and Review

The City of Sacramento signed a deal this summer to build a U.C. Davis campus and innovation hub, bringing economic investment that will create affordable housing, jobs and transportation infrastructure. Thanks to California’s premiere social and environmental justice law, the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), this agreement was not just a win-win for the project developers and city, but also for the community living near the development. Without a strong CEQA, however, the deal could have had wide-ranging negative impacts for the area’s under-resourced neighborhoods.

The project, known as Aggie Square, is a case study in how CEQA works to protect public health, safeguard communities and spur more affordable housing development. When market-rate developers approach cities with plans to build housing developments, warehouses or other big projects, their main concern is to make a profit. Thanks to CEQA, communities have a chance to make their voices heard by decision-makers before permits are approved and potentially problematic projects are built. Under CEQA, public agencies must study the environmental and public health impacts of a proposed development and identify feasible ways to offset those impacts.

Originally signed by Governor Ronald Reagan in 1970, CEQA protects environmental resources and advances environmental justice and social justice goals. But this keystone law has somehow become the punching bag of for-profit developers, who wrongly blame the statute for creating a barrier to the development of affordable housing. In fact, studies show local zoning and other local factors – not CEQA – are the primary barriers to affordable housing development. While the CEQA process has at times stalled or even blocked inclusionary housing or densification—which does further chill affordable project proposals—the Aggie Square development is a case where CEQA worked as designed, providing a pathway for inclusionary affordable housing and equitable access to opportunity.

The developers of Aggie Square were planning a project that, while bringing economic gains to the city as a whole, would have driven up rents for existing residents, leading to the all-too-familiar pattern of gentrification that displaces lower-income residents. But the outcome was different. Largely as a result of a grassroots effort led by Sacramento Investment Without Displacement that leveraged CEQA to ensure that community voices were heard, the city established a Community Benefits Partnership Agreement that protects local residents from gentrification and reduces the impact of increased traffic surrounding the new development.

Moreover, the agreement goes beyond mitigating harm posed by the project — it creates real benefits for the existing community. It will ensure that a significant portion of the new jobs created by Aggie Square, from entry-level to higher-wage positions, go to local residents. And it will create affordable housing, transportation options, job training and youth education programs.

By requiring decisionmakers to take the time to receive public input, and developers to understand the impact of their proposed development, the CEQA process made this project better and brought it into alignment with state priorities, including by increasing affordable housing supplies. Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg is now talking about replicating the agreement elsewhere in the city, prioritizing economic equity and residents’ rights over the financial gains of big, for-profit developers. This same model could be used to bring affordable housing and economic growth to communities across California.

As we continue to look for solutions to build more affordable housing, all Californians should look past the distorted picture being presented by those who have the most to gain by weakening this 50-year-old law. CEQA may be imperfect, but we must recognize that it is an essential tool for environmental and social justice, and for housing justice.


Click here to read this article on the Sacramento News and Review website.

Photo by RODNAE Productions from Pexels

A $1.1 billion project will mean thousands of jobs in Sacramento. Will renters be displaced?

By Theresa Clift | September 14, 2020 | The Sacramento Bee

Guadalupe Del Angel-Garcia moved into her North Oak Park apartment 14 years ago. Three years ago, her rent was about $800 a month. Now it’s $1,100.

The rent is increasingly difficult for her family to pay, especially since her husband was laid off from his restaurant job due to the coronavirus pandemic. But Oak Park is home. She’s lived there more than two decades and belongs to a close-knit community through her church.

When she heard about Aggie Square, a sprawling new project bringing thousands of jobs to the UC Davis Medical Center about a mile away, she was deeply concerned.

Click here to read the full article.

Click here to learn how ECOS is involved in trying to get UC Davis to uphold the community development principles taught in their classes and make sure Aggie Square doesn’t cause more displacement in Sacramento’s underserved neighborhoods.


Image by Leroy Skalstad from Pixabay

Please! Attend Thursday’s public hearing on Aggie Square

August 2020

At 5pm on Thursday, September 3, 2020, UC Davis is holding a Zoom public hearing on the Aggie Square Supplemental Environmental Impact Report. We need you to register online and briefly express your concern about community displacement and related issues as Aggie Square is built out.  

If you can attend, please register now. You must register prior to the hearing.

Register here: https://ucdavisfoa.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_8Ij6K0WSQDW_Ho0pgtbWzg

Hearing is: Thursday, September 3, 2020 starting at 5:00 p.m. online via Zoom webinar.

For a link to Thursday’s public hearing and the full Supplemental EIR, please go to: https://environmentalplanning.ucdavis.edu/sacramento

We are also encouraging written comments be sent to UC Davis prior to its comment deadline on Sept 16.


Community Concerns that YOU can bring up on Thursday, Sep. 3rd:

  • Displacement of families.
  • A commitment from UC Davis to implement a Community Benefits Agreement (CBA).
  • Access to affordable housing on & near Aggie Square
  • Local hiring for community members living in zip codes 95817-24 and those displaced in last five years; job application support and streamlining; ‘ban the box’ for offenders.
  • Local business protections and support, local business purchasing, and a focus on improving existing commercial corridors without neglecting neighborhood-serving commercial.
  • Environmental protections and improvements, including policies to support clean air and safe and healthy lighting.
  • Transit-oriented development serving those with highest likelihood of using public transit
  • Support and programs to keep neighborhood youth in schools; high-school and community college student job opportunities with mentoring, school-to-job pipeline; safe homework space and assistance.
  • Anti-demolition policies and procedures to protect homes in surrounding neighborhoods
  • An increase in the number of MediCal recipients seen at UC Davis from surrounding neighborhood

Click here to learn more about Aggie Square and ECOS’s involvement: https://www.ecosacramento.net/aggie-square-ucd-med-center-in-sacramento/