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University Mall proposing to become another Mega-dorm, EIR comments deadline is this Friday Dec. 20th

U Mall Fig 3-8 v3
By Eileen M. Samitz

The deadline for comments on the Draft EIR for the monolithic University Mall mega-dorm proposal (University Commons) is this Friday Dec. 20th at 5pm. The email addresses to send comments in are to City Staff at smetzker@cityofdavis.org  and elee@cityofdavis.org.

The proposal is to demolish all of U-Mall leaving only Trader Joe’s (the Arco station is not part of the project) and to replace it with a “mixed-use” project of a wall of 7-story buildings towering over the retail with 264 apartments with almost 900 “beds” (see attached illustration). 25% of the units would be 4-bedroom which makes clear, as the project name “University Commons” suggests, that it is targeting students. Since the City has approved almost 4,000 beds designed specifically for UCD students in four mega-dorms in the City already, the last thing we need is yet another mega-dorm.

The Russell and Anderson vicinity is already hugely impacted with traffic and this project would make it gridlock. U Mall now is difficult enough to find parking, yet the proposal wanted to add over 46,000 square feet of retail (the size of a Safeway grocery store) adding only 2 more parking spaces to support it!

This project proposal is too large and out of scale for that site, and would be luxury apartments with no affordable housing. None of this helps the City’s need for housing for our community’s workers and families and does nothing to provide affordable housing needed. In addition, it encourages UCD to continue neglecting to build the needed student housing on its enormous 5,300-acre campus with a 900- acre core campus. UCD is the only UC which has not agreed to provide 50% on-campus housing, yet it is the largest UC having so much land.

The U-Mall needs to redeveloped into an expanded and updated retail center which is the environmentally superior alternative in the EIR, not another mega-dorm, or possibly a dramatically scaled down mixed-use project if the parking and circulation can work. The City needs the sales tax and this site was intended for retail serving the entire community, not serving UCD’s student housing needs. The City needs the sales tax and this site was intended for retail serving the entire community, not serving UCD’s student housing needs. We have few sites left in the City to offer retail and this is one of the most important.

For information including the details of the project and the Draft EIR documents to review and comment on by the deadline this Friday Dec. 20th at 5pm please see the Davisite article posted today at:

https://www.davisite.org/2019/12/the-new-u-mall-proposal-a-monolithic-mega-dorm-fraught-with-problems.html

Comments

Katherine E

The project you are proposing is way to large for the corner of Russel and Anderson. The traffic situation will create gridlock. Set aside trying to get into the mall and park (which is currently so difficult), but those of us that live west of 113 use Russel to get into town. We sit at several signals now, with cars backed up that can't make left turns, which makes the traffic that wants to flow forward miss signals.
So, where do people park to go to these new retail stores? Slots are narrow, and have you accounted for cars that belong to folks visiting students in the mega dorm?
Davis does not seem to have considered all the negatives and is just pushing through development, without really listening to it's residents.

Ron O

Katherine - I agree, and I'm glad that you brought up the point regarding how extremely narrow the existing spots are (especially on the northwest side, near World Market).

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