Entries categorized "Land use"

Response to Davis Enterprise Article, UCD LRDP Goes to Regents

WestvillageBy Greg Rowe

The recent Davis Enterprise article about UCD’s 2018 Long Range Development Plan going to the Regents for approval on July 18 warrants rebuttal. UCD proclaims the LRDP builds on the success of the 2003 plan “…and charts ambitious sustainability and housing options…”  But this statement ignores that the 2003 LRDP expected that 36% of total enrollment of 30,000 students would live on campus by 2015-16, but in reality UCD missed the mark by 1400 beds, with only 29% of the 3-quarter average of 32,663 students that year living on campus (most in freshman dorms which they had to vacate for sophomore year).   

In addition, a Board of Regents student housing report issued in November 2002 expected UCD would house 38% of its students by 2012 (with a goal of 40% living on campus) but by 2015-16 only 29% lived on campus, translating to a shortfall exceeding 1800 beds. While UCD’s new housing goals seem ambitious, it obscures the fact that UCD has consistently surpassed enrollment projections while under-producing the housing needed meet the needs of its expanded enrollment.  The previous Chancellor’s overly ambitious “2020 Initiative,” which aimed to boost enrollment by 5,000 more students than required by the Regents, significantly exacerbated the student housing shortage.

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Nugget... or Fool's Gold? (4699 Alhambra Drive, Office/R&D)

Elephantmelon
In the development process in Davis, is there an elephant in the room (or the City Council chambers)? Source: https://www.santoro-london.com/en/products/Fruity-Scooty-Notebook-Elephant

The following letter was submitted by Todd Edelman to the Planning Commission for its meeting tonight, July 11, at 7 PM.

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Dear Planning Commissioners,

First of all I would like to say that I consider it very unfortunate that the Downtown Plan Advisory Committee (DPAC) meeting is scheduled at the same time as the Planning Commission (PC) meeting. Tomorrow's Bicycling, Transportation and Street Safety (BTSSC) meeting has been cancelled, but - again - it was planned as simultaneous to that night's DPAC meeting.

***

Second - just so you know - the BTSSC is not apparently seeing this project. I am not clear why this is the case. Aside from their individual unique perspectives and goals, there is a welcome overlap in the scope of what the BTSSC and PC look at in regards to mobility. It seems that this will be missing from this evaluation. I write here on my own behalf.

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JUMP down the page for my suggested SOLUTIONS

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Analysis

Nugget is by most accounts a great company that treats its employees well and offers great service and products (though so far the seeded watermelon on sale this year needs some help...). But the mobility profile for their retail locations bears no relation to our City's goals in our Council-approved Beyond Platinum bicycle plan from 2014: While the goal for bicycle trips for shopping is 30% by 2020, my multiple non-scientific visual surveys over the past 18 months at Nugget on E. Covell show a share between 2 and 4% at best. Even if a large, automobile-oriented market is informally considered to only be responsible for a 15% goal, this location only fulfills a fraction of it (and, by the way this 15% would need to be balanced by other destinations shooting for 45%!).

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Has the City Council already made up its mind concerning the proposed Mace Ranch business park?

Coming-soon-screenshotWill the new City Council listen to its commissions and its citizens?

This morning, I learned of a new proposed Mace Ranch business park from a Facebook post from Councilmember Lucas Frerichs, a post that tagged the soon-to-be other four members of the Davis City Council (among other people).  The proposal seems reasonable to me on its face in terms of its size, purpose, and location, although I reserve judgement until I have heard more about it.  What shocked me, however, was Councilmember Frerichs’s proclamation that the project was “Coming soon!!” with “approval expected,” as captured in the screenshot at the beginning of this post.

I find this shocking because the proposal hasn’t even gone to the Planning Commission yet (as Councilmember Frerichs notes), nor has the City Council had an opportunity to hear from citizens. Will any concerns be raised that make the City Council think twice about the proposal?  It would seem that Councilmember Frerichs, at least, does not think so. 

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Election post-mortem

YoloCountyBallotHaving taken a day off to reflect, here are some of my thoughts about the election just completed.

First and foremost, let me assure everyone that the Davisite will continue! Some have speculated that this blog was created just to promote Nishi. That was never the case and time will show that to be true. If there have been a lot of articles about Nishi, that was because many of our current authors (myself included) were very engaged in that issue. The Davisite was always intended to be a blog by and for Davisites, which means that our content will always reflect our authors.

So, now is a good time to reissue a call for authors: send us your thoughts, be they political or not, artistic or not, funny or not. You can be a regular author, or send us something from time to time, or maybe just once – long or short, it doesn't matter. (But remember that on the Internet, most people don't want to read things that are very long!). The sidebar contains our contact info and comment policy, the latter of which serves as guidelines for authors as well.

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No air pollution testing at NISHI? Gimme a break! Not testing is just a public health and public policy sin..... and totally non-scientific.

Frankly, it still boggles my mind that the Nishi developers refused to allow air quality testing at their proposed development site.  They had about all the benefits you can imagine, an ideal situation in that a famous UC Davis professor with the right equipment to do air quality monitoring offered to do the testing in a fair and systematic way (you can call it "scientific") in order to determine the unique patterns of air quality at a site that is below grade, adjacent to a very busy highway and wedged in by the railroad tracks.  BUT THE DEVELOPERS SAID "NO!!!!".

WOW!  A big "NO!!!!" to scientific testing. 

Had they asked the Yolo County Epidemiologist like I did whether or not this kind of testing was advisable from a public health perspective, here is what they would have heard (communication from Dr. Dabritz: 

Continue reading "No air pollution testing at NISHI? Gimme a break! Not testing is just a public health and public policy sin..... and totally non-scientific." »


Nishi’s costs, health risks, and loose ends

Nishi-train-car
By Cara Bradley, Thomas Cahill, Gilbert Coville, Pam Gunnell, Marilee Hanson, Michael Harrington, David Kupfer, Robert Milbrodt, Roberta Millstein, Don Price, Nancy Price, Rodney Robinson, Johannes Troost, Dean Vogel, Colin Walsh, and Michael Yackey

Two years after Davis voters rejected the Nishi project at the polls, it’s back on the ballot as Measure J with the same pollution hazards from the adjacent I-80 freeway and railroad, but without the commercial component that was supposed to deliver significant revenue to the City.

Here are seven problems with the Nishi project:

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Nishi Hot Dog Give Away: Currying favor or buying votes?

Whitcombe-ticketsBy Gilbert Coville

Last night John Whitcombe and the Yes on J campaign gave away free hot dogs at the Anderson Place Apartments in an attempt to convince voters to approve Nishi 2.0.  The Anderson Place Apartments complex, located on the corner of Hanover Place and Covell, is one of the 14 apartment complexes around Davis owned by Whitcombe and Tandem properties. I was not in attendance myself, so the following report and photographs are based on information that was given to me by individuals who prefer to remain anonymous.

Holding rallies like this where freebies are given away is legal so long as there is no quid pro quo. An example of quid pro quo would be if someone says, “I will give you a hot dog if you vote for my development.”  There is no evidence that there was quid pro quo at this event; however, it is eerily similar to some of Whitcombe’s past practices that resulted in a major Davis scandal.

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The Aggie's article on Nishi air quality: Some additional information

The Aggie has a great new article on the air quality issue at Nishi, including interviews with Dr. Tom Cahill and myself.  I have just a few things to add.

One is that since the article was published, the amount contributed by the developer to sell Measure J to voters has gone from over $170,000 to over $250,000 (a quarter of a million dollars).  This is eight times the cost of what one air quality test would have cost.

Second, according to the article "Whitcome says there were some issues found at the site, but 'nothing of any real consequence.'"  That's not an accurate statement because the site has not actually been studied, just an adjacent site.  And here is what they found at the adjacent site (from Barnes 2015, the study used in the EIR):

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Robb Davis/Matt Williams Dialogue on Nishi Financials – Part 3 of 3

Robb and Matt at Nishi Forum

By Matt Williams

As follow-up to the May 6th CivEnergy forum on Measure J, I published my personal reasons why I oppose Measure J as an article for the Davisite and as a comment to the Vanguard.  Prompted by my list, Mayor Davis took the time to respond to all eleven (11) of my comments one-by-one.  I thank Robb for doing so, and particularly thank him for the structured format he used to reply. This is the third in a series of articles on Nishi's financials in which I respond to Robb Davis's replies to me.  The first article is here and the second article is here.

Matt: Nishi 2018 has no dollars for deferred maintenance of capital infrastructure.
Robb: See previous point. We don’t need it because the developer is responsible.
Matt: That is the same short-sighted, politically-driven thinking that created the current dilapidated state of our roads and the $8 million annual shortfall in the City Budget.
Robb: That is an editorial comment to which I will not respond.

The interchange above is at the heart of the City’s current unsustainable fiscal situation. Past Councils for well over a decade have ignored the advice of Staff regarding the maintenance of the City’s capital infrastructure. The year-by-year individual circumstances have differed, but the behavior pattern was the same. Over and over again, the Council chose to avoid a public dialogue about the fact that our City’s appetite for spending exceeded its annual income.

Continue reading "Robb Davis/Matt Williams Dialogue on Nishi Financials – Part 3 of 3" »


Robb Davis/Matt Williams Dialogue on Nishi Financials – Part 2 of 3

Robb and Matt at Nishi Forum
By Matt Williams

As follow-up to the May 6th CivEnergy forum on Measure J, I published my personal reasons why I oppose Measure J as an article for the Davisite and as a comment to the Vanguard.  Prompted by my list, Mayor Davis took the time to respond to all eleven (11) of my comments one-by-one.  I thank Robb for doing so, and particularly thank him for the structured format he used to reply. This is the second in a series of articles on Nishi's financials in which I respond to Robb Davis's replies to me.  The first article is here.

Matt: Nishi's cash contribution to City has shrunk 90% from $1.4 million down to $143,000.

Robb: Non-sequiter. Two very different projects, one with revenue from commercial activity, unsecured property tax, sales tax. I am not sure the point of this statement. It is less. It is a housing-only project.

Robb is correct that the revenues mix is different, with no unsecured property tax in this project The final EPS financial assessment of Nishi 2016 projected the unsecured property tax revenue at full-buildout at $9,000, which was one-half of one percent of the annual revenues … a rather minuscule difference.

The annual Sales Tax projection at full-buildout for Nishi 2016 was $286,000 as opposed to $198,000 for Nishi 2018, a difference of $88,000.

Continue reading "Robb Davis/Matt Williams Dialogue on Nishi Financials – Part 2 of 3" »


Robb Davis/Matt Williams Dialogue on Nishi Financials – Part 1 of 3

 

By Matt Williams

As follow-up to the May 6th CivEnergy forum on Measure J, I published my personal reasons why I oppose Measure J as an article for the Davisite and as a comment to the Vanguard.  Prompted by my list, Mayor Davis took the time to respond to all eleven (11) of my comments one-by-one.  I thank Robb for doing so, and particularly thank him for the structured format he used to reply.

After taking time off for a movie and dinner date with a group of Davis friends and the Notorious Ruth Bader Ginsburg, I have put together this point-by-point response to the first of Robb's comments. This is the first of a series of articles in which I will respond to all of Robb's points. I believe that covering them one-by-one will produce a more focused and fruitful dialogue.

Matt:   Nishi 2.0 Will Cost Davis Taxpayers between $350,000 and $750,000 per year

Robb:  FBC findings on Nishi, January 8, 2018 (the only action they took in relation to Nishi)

We also generally concur with the estimate that annual ongoing revenues and costs for the city from the project would be modestly net positive over time.

We note, however, that the estimate does not reflect additional revenues that could result if Davis voters approve an increase in parcel taxes. Also, the estimate does not include revenues from Proposition C cannabis taxes or possible community enhancement funds that could result from the negotiation of a development agreement. Also, the EIR adopted for the original, larger, version of the Nishi project suggests that police and fire costs for serving the new residents could be nominal. (A new environmental review is now being conducted for the revised project.) Thus, in some respects, the net fiscal benefit of the project could be greater than estimated.

Robb made that same point in the May 6th Civenergy Forum, which is that the Council prefers to cover its eyes and ears and proactively ignore everything other than the formal written words they received from the Finance and Budget Commission.  What they are doing is using the specifics of one facet of a multi-faceted process to hear no evil and see no evil.

Continue reading "Robb Davis/Matt Williams Dialogue on Nishi Financials – Part 1 of 3" »


Yes on Nishi exceeds a quarter of a million dollars in expenditures

Pileofmoney-croppedThis came in as a comment on an earlier post, but we thought it deserved its own post.

Davis Gateway Student Housing LLC & Afiliated Entities, the organization for the developers of the Nishi project, has now spent $250,324.06 on the Yes on Measure J campaign!

The most recent expenditures are approximately $31,000 for "Field Expenses", $2,000 for "Voter Contact", and $15,000 for another mailer. And approximately $5,000 for a print ad. That's going to be some ad. Perhaps a full-page in the Sunday paper.

Yes, folks. That's one quarter of a million dollars.


Opposing the Nishi project Because of Costs & Lack of Integrity in the Process

Nish-from-tracks
By Matt Williams

Individuals have different reasons for opposing the Nishi project.  My personal reasons are as follows:

  • Nishi 2.0 will cost Davis taxpayers between $350,000 and $750,000 per year.
  • Nishi’s cash contribution to City has shrunk 90%  from $1.4 million down to $143,000.
  • $650,000 per year of Community Services District revenues in Nishi 2016 have “vanished” in Nishi 2018.
  • Nishi 2018 has no dollars for deferred maintenance of capital infrastructure.
  • That is the same short-sighted, politically-driven thinking that created the current dilapidated state of our roads and the $8 million annual shortfall in the City Budget.

Guess who picks up the fiscal difference … Davis taxpayers

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Promised Nishi Mitigation Features May Never Materialize

Nish-from-tracks

Proponents of Nishi have made much of the promised mitigation features: the tree screen and the air filters. One has to ask, of course, why mitigation is even necessary, and the EIR for the project makes that clear: the location between I-80 and the train tracks brings with it poor air quality and "significant and unavoidable" health impacts. There is no controversy on that point, although some "merchants of doubt" have tried to turn it into one.

Questions have also been raised about whether the promised mitigation will do what it is supposed to do; for example, Dr. Thomas Cahill has pointed out that the tree screen will be much less effective because the freeway is elevated adjacent to Nishi, and the supposed 95% efficiency of the air filters has never actually been demonstrated in a real-life situation (with filters operating at a much lower efficiency in real-life situations).

But the situation is even worse than that. The promised mitigation measures might not even be implemented.

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Davis Vanguard Continues to Deny Nishi Traffic Problem and Attempts to Pour Cold Water on John Troidl's Article

Nishi-OldDavisRdBy Dan Cornford

In response to John Troidl's article of yesterday in the Davisite the DV published an article or "commentator" today entitled "Commentary: Nonsensical Argument that Nishi Project Will Make Downtown Traffic Worse."

Below I will paste in my response to David Gs arguments and his failure to address any of John's. But I urge others to post their comments on the DV today as soon as possible as the traffic issue, IMHO resonates like no other when it comes to Nishi.

It will be interesting to see if the DV allows my short post not because I briefly argue against DG's position, but because in his article DG studiously avoids making any mention of the fact that this article appeared on the Davisite (Now what could possibly be the reason for that? A prize for the right answer.), but instead says he found it on his Facebook feed.

 

Here is is my attempted short post on the DV:

Most unsurprisingly, David makes no effort whatsoever to summarize let alone do justice to John Troidl's article and argument. This is unlike with some of his previous adversaries who he summarizes at length. Perhaps he fears the weight and substance of John's argument. It is worth pointing out also that with Nishi 1.0, when access by Olive Drive to Nishi was permitted, David parroted exactly the same argument (and the very flawed EIR traffic study supporting such an assertion) yet now he, and most Nishi 2.0 advocates, argue that the presumed lack of access (No-one knows how long this agreement with UCD will hold up!) totally negate the real traffic problems created by Nishi. And he thus further shreds his credibility. If you want to read John's article in full and read comments on it go to:

http://www.davisite.org/2018/05/the-nishi-project-will-make-downtown-traffic-worse.html

Edit added 5/23/18 at 11:50 AM: Having originally included the link to the Davisite with my comment, they have now deleted the link that link or "edited" it which proves my point and shows that they see the Davisite as a threat.


The Nishi Project Will Make Downtown Traffic Worse

By John Troidl

I don't get it: If I read the YES ON J (pro-Nishi) material, it seems like they are saying that there will be essentially no ("limited") traffic impact if the Nishi development is approved and actually built.

 How can that possibly be?

There are 700 parking spots planned for the Nishi property. One for each housing unit, right there fronting the highway. Wait, that's just one parking space for each apartment.... 1/3 of a car for each bed located at Nishi.

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Dr. Thomas Cahill Responds to Bob Dunning

Nish-from-tracks
In a recent Enterprise column, "Pollution Doesn't Magically End at Olive Drive," Bob Dunning  asks:

...if this is truly all about ultra-fine metals from brakes on trains, why aren’t these same folks sounding the alarm about all the other areas in town that are similarly at risk?

In response, Dr. Thomas Cahill, UC Davis Professor of Physics and Atmospheric Sciences and founder of the DELTA Group (Detection and Evaluation of Long-range Transport of Aerosols), sent us the following information and asked us to publish it.

Continue reading "Dr. Thomas Cahill Responds to Bob Dunning" »


Getting the Nishi Discussion Out of the Rabbit Hole: Part 2 of 2 (Red herrings? No, bad planning)

MeasureJ-forum

By Colin Walsh and Matt Williams

In Part 1, we detailed the three main reasons to vote against Nishi 2.0/Measure J that we gave at the CivEnergy forum on May 6: 1) bad air quality, 2) costs, and 3) lack of integrity in the process. If the City and the developer could rectify these three concerns by demonstrating that the air quality was acceptable for housing with an onsite study, by fixing the budget shortfall, and by returning integrity to the process, then housing could be built at Nishi – but then the project should be far larger than it is.  The current proposal is too small and does not make proper use of the site.

Instead of addressing these three serious concerns, the Vanguard spends the entirety of its May 9, 2018 article addressing the so-called “Red Herrings,” all of which were points of discussion stemming from audience questions. Here in Part 2, we show how each of the points the Vanguard raised are examples of bad planning on the part of the city, possibly due to the rush to put this matter on the June ballot at the request of the developer. Each of these concerns are real problems with the ordinance the City Council voted to put on the ballot. Clearly this ordinance should have been better vetted before going to Council. 

Continue reading "Getting the Nishi Discussion Out of the Rabbit Hole: Part 2 of 2 (Red herrings? No, bad planning)" »


Getting the Nishi Discussion Out of the Rabbit Hole: Part 1 of 2 (air quality, finances, lack of integrity)

MeasureJ-forum
By Colin Walsh and Matt Williams

The Davis Vanguard’s article of May 9, 2018 (“Commentary: Enough with the Weird Red Herrings”) is a disservice to the Davis Community. Instead of addressing the main body of the CivEnergy Measure J Forum (held on May 6), the article goes down a rabbit hole of answers given in response to audience questions.

Let’s start with the basics. As we stated at the CivEnergy forum, there are three main reasons to vote against this project: 1) bad air quality, 2) costs, and 3) lack of integrity in the process.

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Why the Nishi Site is Worse than Other Sites

Nishi-overall-satelliteSouthwest-nishi-satellite Northeeast-nishi-satelliteIn a recent letter to the editor in the Enterprise, Bill Wagman asks, "What is the difference [between Nishi and Olive Drive] and why do there seem to be no concerns voiced about Olive Drive. Or are there concerns which have not been made public?"

The answer is: It is possible that there are health concerns at other near–freeway sites such as Olive Drive. Peer-reviewed studies have found elevated health risks at many near-freeway sites. But the Nishi is of particular concern because it is adjacent to where the freeway goes from six lanes to three lanes, and so there are often backups on that portion of I-80, especially during weekend Tahoe traffic. More backups mean more car and truck braking. Braking releases ultrafine particulate matter into the air, and that causes health risks such as an increased risk of ischemic heart disease, an increased risk of lung damage, an increased risk of cancer, and an increased risk of developmental problems.

Also, Nishi is of particular concern because the freeway is elevated next to Nishi, so the pollutants travel further, as peer-reviewed studies of similar sites have shown.

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