New online questionnaire for the future of downtown Davis

NewonlinesurveyThe City of Davis is planing for the future of Downtown! The project team is currently drafting the Downtown Davis Plan Specific Plan and would like additional clarity on some topics. The Downtown Davis Plan Online Questionnaire just opened today and will stay open through Tues, October 2.

The website address: www.CityofDavis.org/DowntownPlan


The Spirit of the Davis Based Buyer Program for the West Davis Active Adult Community (WDAAC)

By Jason Taormino

The spirit of the Davis Based Buyer program for the West Davis Active adult community is a focus on our community's needs. Nearly six hundred Davis families have joined our interest list for the for sale homes and there are more than four hundred additional individuals on waiting lists for affordable senior apartments. During our lengthy community outreach including more than seventeen city commission and council meetings we were asked for some methodology to ensure that we focused on this home grown demand rather than advertising in the Bay Area.

On dozens of occasions while dropping off or picking up my kids at Cesar Chavez elementary school I was approached by parents who were eager to move their aging parent(s) to Davis. From my perspective there are two clear segments of demand that our proposed neighborhood can serve from a market rate perspective - seniors in Davis who want to downsize and those who want their aging parents to come to Davis. Additionally, the affordable apartments and a memory care facility serve important needs. Without the senior restriction on 80% of the homes it is highly unlikely that seniors in Davis or bringing a parent to Davis would occur as a significant percentage of the total housing.

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Sierra Club Endorses No on Measure L - No on West Davis Active Adult Community

Sierraclub(Press release) Citing grounds of unplanned sprawling development, the Sierra Club announced its opposition to Measure L in Davis CA on the November 2018 municipal ballot. Measure L is a vote to allow the annexation of a 75 acre parcel of farmland on the northwest periphery of the City and the subsequent development of a senior housing project including 410 single-family, single-story detached homes and a 150 units of low-income senior housing. 

The endorsement of the opposition to this ballot measure follows an extensive evaluation process by the local Sierra Club Yolano Group, the Sierra Club Mother Lode Chapter Political and Executive Committees, and the Sierra Club California Local Measure Review Committee.

The Sierra Club has long-standing official policies designed to minimize urban housing sprawl and maximize intensive infill development. These include planning policies which stimulate conservation of open space and preservation of natural areas and agricultural lands, The Sierra Club opposes sprawl as a pattern of increasingly inefficient and wasteful land use that is devastating environmental and social conditions.

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Erroneous Assumptions and Hyperbole are Used by the Davis Vanguard to Justify WDAAC's Illegal Affordable Housing Program

By Alan Pryor

INTRODUCTION

In yesterday’s column entitled “My View: Unintended Consequences – Will Anyone Go above the Affordable Housing Requirements Again?, David Greenwald made a number of unsubstantiated and erroneous claims about whether the City’s current affordable housing requirements were met by the West Davis Active Adult Community project.

Mr Greenwald claims these City’s minimum affordable housing requirements were more than met by the developer and chastised opponents of the project for making a number of “misleading” or “inaccurate” statements.

As reported by Mr. Greenwald in yesterday’s column,

What we see at WDAAC is that the developer would have been required to build around 84 units in order to reach the 15 percent threshold.  The developer could have avoided much of this kerfuffle by simply donating 1.25 acres of the land, the minimum required and then pumping additional money just like Sterling did to help them build the housing.

The result is that the developers would have met the minimum 15 percent affordable housing requirements.  They would have had a cash contribution in there to assist with building the project.  And this attack by the opposition would not have occurred.

….

“Instead of 1.25 acres, they’ve donated around 4.25 – which means by their calculation, they have made about a $2.7 million contribution over and above what they were required to do.

In addition, there will be an additional 66 or so affordable units (there were some differences in what number that was originally required, but we will use 74 for the purpose of this argument).”

The problem with David’s analysis is that it is just blanket statements of numbers presented as facts. There is no quantitative calculations to justify these claims nor references to the Affordable Housing Ordinance or the Development Agreement to substantiate these claims.

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Why it’s a problem that “Yes on L” is refusing to debate the WDAAC project

DebateThree days ago, Alan Pryor revealed on the Davisite that David Taormino was refusing to participate in two public forums on the West Davis Active Adult Community (WDAAC), apparently because he particularly objected to debating Alan.  But maybe some Davisites don’t see why this is a problem.  After all, are developers obligated to participate in a public forum?

Yes, they are.  And they shouldn’t be able to select who their debating opponents are.

To see why, let’s compare a public forum for the Davis City Council with a public forum for Measure L. 

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Hidden Figures, Billie Jean King, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg

HiddenfiguresUnfortunately, movie reviews are not my forté. (The Davisite looks forward to the time when our movie reviewer, G. Bruno Fischer, can resume writing his reviews again).  But three recent movies, all focused on women, have me reflecting on what they have in common. 

I've begun to think that all women are, in some sense, hidden figures. 

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Why Won’t David Taormino Participate in Forums or Debates on Measure L – What is He Afraid of or Hiding?

AfraidEmojiBy Alan Pryor

There is a long history of community forums and debates in Davis on important ballot measures that were hosted by various community groups. Indeed, every major ballot measure for the past 10 years has seen at least two or more such forums or public debates occur leading up to election day.

I myself have participated in a number of these debates on behalf of the City including two supporting passage of Measure D (the Parks Tax Renewal in 2012), six supporting passage of Measure I (the Water Project in 2013), and two supporting passage of Measure O (the Sales Tax Measure in 2014). I also represented the No on Nishi 1.0 campaign in 2016 in five forums or debates.

The campaign committee “No on Measure L – No on West Davis Active Adult Community” has offered to participate in any and all such public forums and debates on Measure L during this election cycle and we were rearranging our work and vacation schedules to make sure we were available to attend such events.

We thought we had a minimum of 2 forum/debates scheduled and were actively working to arrange to participate in others until late last week. Then we were informed that the two planned events sponsored by CivEnergy and Rancho Yolo were abruptly cancelled and simultaneously the phone lines went dead with prospective sponsors of other potential forums/debates.

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Why Is Davis So White? A Brief History of Housing Discrimination

Part one in a series on discrimination and housing in Davis, this article provides an overview of mortgage loan redlining, restrictive covenants, and other discriminatory housing practices in the U.S., with examples from Davis showing the extent of discrimination in housing practices that excluded non-white populations from specific areas. 

Sierra Vista Oaks (Miller Drive)-1950-detail
Image: detail of the deed restrictions for the Sierra Vista Oaks subdivision in Davis (Miller Drive & Ovejas Avenue north of 8th Street) from 1950. [source: Yolo County Clerk-Recorder archives, retrieved by the author]

By Rik Keller

Background

In 1917, the Supreme Court in Buchanan v. Warley ruled municipal racial zoning unconstitutional. In response, private agreements—including restrictive covenants—started to be put in place to continue residential segregation practices: “Racially restrictive covenants refer to contractual agreements that prohibit the purchase, lease, or occupation of a piece of property by a particular group of people.”[1] These were legally-enforceable contracts put onto the deed of the property. They were enforced with the help of neighborhood associations, real estate boards, and other organizations. For example, the National Association of Real Estate Boards (NAREB), started in 1908, promoted the use of racial covenants in new developments.

Typical language in these racially-restrictive covenants included statements such as “…hereafter no part of said property or any portion thereof shall be…occupied by any person not of the Caucasian race…[2] These covenants became so commonplace that “by 1940, 80% of property in Chicago and Los Angeles carried restrictive covenants barring black families.”[3]

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Deceptive map for the West Davis Active Adult Community (WDAAC) Project

CourtesymapAny complex project will have its pros and cons, so voters need accurate information in order to be able to properly assess them.  The “courtesy map” included in an article about the project in today’s Davis Enterprise, presumably provided by WDAAC project proponents, works against this purpose.  It is extremely misleading.

Looking at the map provided, you’d think it would be just a short hop from the WDAAC to the Marketplace shopping center, where there is a supermarket, a drug store, restaurants, and other useful businesses.  Of course, this would be desirable if it were true.  But it isn’t true.

The Google satellite map shows the real story.  Highway 113, just a thin line on the courtesy map, is a wide freeway, together with on-ramps and off-ramps (not shown on the courtesy map at all) on either side.  Pedestrians will have to cross the distance of the highway and the on- and off- ramps. 

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Vegan food at de Vere’s Irish Pub? Yes!

AvocadotoastLast night, about 30 members of Cool Cuisine visited de Vere’s Irish Pub, where a grand (and tasty) time was had by all.  Cool Cuisine, founded by Davisite Anya McCAnn, “is a coalition of individuals and organizations seeking more plant-based dining options.”  Through meetups at restaurants and potlucks, Cool Cuisine seeks to support people who want to eat plant-based diets (for whatever reason, and whether they are vegans or not), while also encouraging local restaurants to provide more plant-based restaurant items.  In other words, all are welcome – check out the Facebook page or the Meetup group to be updated on future events.

I’ve been to several successful Cool Cuisine restaurant meetups now, including ones at Symposium, Nami Sushi, Davis Noodle City, Yeti Restaurant, and Three Ladies Café.  In some cases we were given special menus, whereas in other cases we just enjoyed the vegan items already on the menu.  But de Vere’s was certainly an unexpected surprise, vegan food not being typically associated with Irish pub fare.

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WDAAC Is a Sprawling Urban Planning Disaster

Westdavisby Alan Pryor and Pam Nieberg

Forward -

The Davis City Council has approved a sprawling senior housing development project located in West Davis along Covell. Voters will have a chance to approve or reject the project in this year’s November election. The project is called West Davis Active Adult Community (WDAAC).

On Tuesday, 8/28, an article by the author was published in the Davisite that discussed the massive reductions in Development Fees given away by the City to the Developer.

On Thursday, 8/30 another article was published that discussed the erroneous financial assumptions used by the City to project a positive annual financial benefit to the City. That article also discussed how the Development Agreement and Baseline Features for the project are so vague so as to make them functionally  unenforceable

This current article focuses on the gross deficiencies in general land use and planning for the project and how it fails to meet objective City guidelines for senior housing nor regional sustainable urban planning standards.

1. The Far Edge of Town is Exactly the Wrong Location for a Senior Development and This Project has Exceedingly Poor Connectivity for Seniors.

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How will – and should – the recent Monsanto Roundup decision affect Davis?

PesticideapplicationA few weeks ago, a jury awarded $289 million in damages to a California school groundskeeper, finding that his cancer was caused by on-the-job exposure to Monsanto’s pesticide Roundup, the main active ingredient of which is glyphosate.  How will this affect Davis?  How should it?

Recall that, in a rather messy and prolonged process, the Davis City Council voted to “phase out” the use of glyphosate.  But where is the City in that process?  Do we even have an IPM specialist to replace Martin Guerena (who stepped down many months ago after being ill-treated by the City), i.e., someone who could oversee this phase out and report on it?  

And does the phase out need to be accelerated?  Or should it occur immediately?

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West Davis Active Adult Community (Wdaac) Includes Massive Developer Give-Aways, Part 2

WestdavisMay Actually Cost the City Money on an Annual Basis, and The Development Agreement Is Non-Binding and Weak

by Alan Pryor and Nancy Price

Part 2

Forward: The Davis City Council has approved a sprawling senior housing development project located in West Davis along Covell. Voters will have a chance to approve or reject the project in this year’s November election. The project is called West Davis Active Adult Community (WDAAC).

On Tuesday, 8/28, Part 1 of this article was published in the Davisite, which discussed the massive reductions in Development Fees given away by the City to the Developer. This is Part 2 of the article.

_______________________________________________________________

  1. The City Projects a Positive Annual Return to City Coffers as a Result of Build-Out of this Project. However, this Estimate is Based on Accounting Methods that Assume Unsubstantiated Reduced Costs on a Per Resident Basis for Providing Basic City Services such as Public Safety and Transportation.

The City’s Finance and Budget Commission analyzed the potential financial impacts to the City and made a number of projections about the project’s financial viability with respect to income or loss to the City. Their report to the City Council on February 12, 2018 can be found at www.cityofdavis.org/home/showdocument?id=9199:

The conclusions reached by 4 of the Commissioners (with two dissenting votes) made the following observations (with emphasis added):

  1. At the time of this analysis, the commission did not have available to it a development agreement with the city for the project. Therefore, any conclusions we have reached should be considered preliminary and subject to change….
  2. We recommend that the commission, or if necessary an FBC subcommittee, be provided a timely opportunity to review and comment on the fiscal provisions of the proposed development agreement before its presentation to City Council for approval.

Surprisingly, the Finance and Budget Commission never did again review the Development Agreement before it went to Council.  But nevertheless, City Staff assumed when otherwise calculating the project’s positive return to City coffers that the City’s average cost for providing services to the residents of WDAAC were only going to be 75% of the City's otherwise calculated average costs. Staff made this assumption without any quantitative explanation as to how they derived that 75% figure.

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Take action to prevent deregulation from destroying local ISPs like Omsoft

Fiber-optics-internetJust like everything else, the current deregulatory craze at the expense of common sense is about to hit the Internet Access Industry, and WE NEED YOU to take 5-10 minutes and write a letter at the website www.savecompetition.com . Please share liberally, as this is not being reported on in a major way.

DEADLINE 9/4/2018

Here is the crisis.:
The US TELECOM ASSN, the trade group for the Mega Giant telecoms like Verizon, ATT and Centurylink have petitioned the FCC for forebearance from the COPPER line sharing requirements of the landmark 1996 Telecommunications Act. They state that there is robust competition in local Internet Access markets and great cheap fast Internet Access throughout the US. They request to end all regulated wholesale access to the Unbundled Network Elements (Copper Pairs) of the Telephone Network your grandparents, parents and you paid for through your taxes.

California companies like Omsoft, SonicNet, CruzIO, LMI, Shasta.com, and Cal.Net, along with the remaining small ISPs across the nation will have their access to their main Internet Transport medium, the Public Switched Telephone System, (PSTN) completely shut off in 2 years.

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Looking for feedback on new app to support local businesses in Davis

HeynearbyHey Davis Neighbors,

My son Will has been working on a mobile app (called HeyNearby) to support local businesses in Davis. It’s early days but he’s looking for people to give it a try.

Here’s a quick summary of what it does:

It allows you to save and share all your favorite businesses in town. Once you have your list, you never have to search again.

You can take the “Town Quiz”, which allows you to add any shops, restaurants or services (in Davis as well as in any work or vacation spots).

You can give “Kudos” to your favorites. This let’s everyone know why you think a business is special. Since everyone’s a critic these days, they are trying to highlight the positives.

Lastly, you can also invite your friends to the app so we can all share our favorites. That way, whether you’re looking for an electrician, plumber, music teacher, or anything else, you can just see what your friends recommend.

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West Davis Active Adult Community (Wdaac) Includes Massive Developer Give-Aways

May Actually Cost the City Money on an Annual Basis, and The Development Agreement Is Non-Binding and Weak

by Alan Pryor and Pam Nieberg

Part 1. The City has Granted the Developer Massive Giveaways and Subsidies by, among other things, Reducing Project Impact Fees by over $3.4 Million Compared to Fees Normally Charged to New Developments.

The Davis City Council has approved a sprawling senior housing development project located in West Davis along Covell. Voters will have a chance to approve or reject the project in this year's November ballot. The project is called the West Davis Active Adult Community (WDAAC).

The City Council has agreed to development-related fees in the Development Agreement for this project that, in all but the market rate non-age restricted housing units, are generally from 25% - 60% less than the current mandated fees normally required of other development proposals. This has resulted in essentially a give-away to the project proponent of approximately $3.4 million in fees which is a discount of more than 40% compared to fees that would otherwise normally be charged to a developer for a project with this number and size of units as shown in Appendix A.

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Bold, Beautiful, Bizarro World

Camera 707The story of a “a pop culture archaeologist” and “a place to explore both current and nostalgic aspects of our shared American experience.”

By Colin Walsh

There is an unassuming low-slung building under a pitched roof mid block on E street between 2nd and 3rd in Davis CA. The building is set back from the street and set further into the building is a door to another world. Through that door is a den of untold treasures: comic books, new and used, even classic and hard to find games; movie collection of titles that may not be suggested to you on Netflix; vinyl albums, card games, and a range of Americana and pop culture ephemera. The real treasure though is the store itself.

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Unitrans Ending Free Rides on Spare the Air Days for 2018

(Press release) Unitrans did its part to “Spare the Air” 15 days in a row, waiving fares for all riders July 27-Aug. 10, but, unfortunately, can no longer spare the expense and will discontinue the free-ride program from Monday, Aug. 27, through the end of the year.

Unitrans“With the high number of wildfires this year, Davis and the surrounding area experienced an unprecedented number of Spare the Air days, more than Unitrans anticipated in its annual budget,” said Jeff Flynn, general manager of the UC Davis and city transit system, which is operated by the Associated Students of UC Davis.

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Davis Tenants Clean & Green Bill of Rights - Message no. 1

DSCN4761By Todd Edelman

On the left in the photo is a new filter for our AC/furnace; on the right,  one about 60-75 days old including two weeks of wildfires. This is, of course, used inside the house, so everything here has come inside though we've had the doors and closed almost all of the time for the past couple of weeks.

These are MERV 13 filters (which our landlord is paying for! Thanks!) Two technicians from Blake's said that a filter of this high value is suitable for our fairly modern HVAC. These are what's planned for use at Lincoln40. When they get this black and clogged up they also start to whistle a bit in the holder as air is trying to go around them, which at least raises energy costs.

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Winters Putah Creek Park – Case Study of a Failed Project

Putah-creek-friends2Note: This is a follow-up to yesterday's post that described the lawsuit filed by the 501(c)3 non-profit Friends of Putah Creek; it is also authored by Friends of Putah Creek.

Description of the Project

The Winters Putah Creek Park project is a perfect example of good restoration intentions going awry and resulting in serious degradation of creek habitat by massive alteration of the natural form of the stream bed. This is being called “geomorphological engineering”.

The project was designed by the Solano County Water Agency (SCWA) to alter the streambed and riparian floodplain in three phases along the entire 1.2 miles of Putah Creek flowing through the City of Winters. The first phase was begun on the upper 1/3 end of the creek in 2011 by nearly clearcutting a mature riparian forest of native and non-native trees alike, from stream bank to stream bank, and importing over 70,000 cubic yards of alien, clayey fill. The soil was graded flat and smooth with a slight 2 percent slope toward stream. The floodplain and channel were heavily compacted and stream was left with only a narrow channel through the center of the former streambed. The final depth of the compacted fill varied from about 2 to over 12 ft.

Stream and floodplain features such as wetlands, ponds, swales, back-channels, undercut banks, and deep pools that create ecological diversity and complexity were completely eliminated in this process. The newly-formed barren floodplain was soon replanted with thousands of native plants. The intention was to quickly provide a fully functional riparian habitat complete with undercut banks and creek-side shading suitable for the entire food chain to thrive.

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