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UC Davis Housing Proposal Calls for Removal of About 200 Trees From Historic Ranch

The land was donated to University California, Davis by the farm owner's daughters with the intention of funding scholarships for the school of medicine.

The University of California, Davis has made an application to Sacramento County for a property subdivision map of 17 parcels that would include the removal of at least 208 trees and a historic ranch in the heart of Fair Oaks.

The proposed subdivision, first reported by The Sacramento Bee, if approved by the county, would call for the development on a 7-acre piece of property donated to the UC Davis School of Medicine. The property, originally owned by Walter Magnum Davis, had been designated for residential development in Sacramento County's general plan, said Assistant Director of Endowment Real Estate Allen Meacham.

Davis, a prominent surgeon, who practiced medicine from about 1890 till 1910, left the property to his daughters Oma and Elizabeth who donated the property to UC Davis with the intention of funding scholarships for the school of medicine, said Meacham.

"The possible residential development of the property has been considered by the Fair Oaks Community Planning and Advisory Council (CPAC) on two different occasions," Meacham said. "Based on the comments from the neighbors (of the property) during those CPAC discussions, our sense was that proposing a subdivision that was similar to the nature of the subdivisions they live in would be most acceptable to those living around the property."

Meacham goes further to cite the county's general plan actually calls for denser development of the property and that his organization chose not to pursue that denser development.

"We felt that a density similar to that of the neighboring single-family neighborhoods was probably more appropriate."

According to The Bee's report, the reason the project doesn't coincide with the county's general plan is because it's considered "infill" development, construction in an already established neighborhood.

Meacham could not elaborate as to the viability of the local real estate market and how the development could potentially contribute to the community.

The ranch, which is located in a secluded area, densely populated by the trees, is at the end of Pollard Avenue.

According to the development proposal, the project would remove trees possibly as old as the ranch itself, which would make them older than Fair Oaks. The majority of those trees being oaks, but also pines, olive, orange, palm, juniper and sycamore, just to name a few. All of the trees are native to California.

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Fair Oaks, is this the best use for this land? Could the UC Davis School of Medicine find a more effective way of using the land to fund scholarships? Let us know in the comments below.

Alf Tanner. April 10, 2012 at 11:21 PM
Tuition goes up every year, the kids get pepper sprayed in the face for sitting around, education, education, education! How did UC-Davis get in the real estate business? They are free to do what they want with their "land" but it seems weird that the university of california is getting in the real estate development game. I think they should tie a class or something into this, that way the kids learn something - like how to destroy a really cool eco system to build 17 homes out of stucco and dirt in a part of the country that doesn't need more homes at all. For many, many years to come.
Eve April 11, 2012 at 06:27 PM
We need to save our trees which is the heritage of the land Fair Oaks sits on. There is plenty of land elsewhere for the UCDavis project without removing trees native to California. When we remove trees we take away the wildlife habitat. The balance of nature is a very necessary element to our health and well-being. Will there be meetings we residenta can atten about this project?
Bolivia Erin June 23, 2013 at 01:33 PM
I have been living in Fair Oaks all my life. The most special aspect of this town is the heavily wooded land and the country feel. I have been walking past that piece of land for most of my life and marveling at the beauty and uniqueness of that property for decades. I wish that I could afford to buy it as a whole; I know that somebody would, and I am devastated to learn that it is to be chopped up and sold to make more beige stucco houses. If it were five to ten years from now, I would have the money to save it myself. I'm depressed about this plan.

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