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June 2020

DISC - Natural Resource Commission recommends project is rejected without fixes.

DISCBizPark

On Friday June 26th the City of Davis Natural Resource Commission (NRC) held an emergency special meeting to discuss the Developer and City staffs rejection of the Commission's recommendations regarding the DISC business park. What came from that meeting is a very strongly worded letter to the City Council highlighting the most important NRC recommendations. 

The NRC's letter revolves around mitigating the massive environmental impacts of the new business park project. and concludes, "without these Baseline Features, the DISC project will result in substantial and negative adverse impacts on the environment and the quality of life in Davis." 

The NRC goes on to recommend against approving or sending this project to a vot with out the improvements.

e putting te project on the ballot without  In the absence of incorporating the recommended minimum additional Baseline Features for the project, we recommend that the project NOT be approved nor placed on the November ballot.

The text of the letter as provided by the City of Davis follows:


Memo

To:      Davis City Council
From:  Natural Resources Commission
Date:   June 26, 2020
Re:      Re-Consideration of Rejected Baseline Features for the DISC Project

Approved by unanimous vote of the Natural Resources Commission on June 26, 2020.

We are writing to ask that Council reconsider certain Baseline Features that the Natural Resources Commission (NRC) proposed, but that were not recommended in the staff report to the Planning Commission. While it is not unusual for staff and commissions to disagree, in this case the NRC feels strongly that its recommendations were not given adequate and informed consideration. In some cases, the staff proposal asked for less than what the Applicant offered in their Sustainability Guiding Principles. In this document, we re-state and clarify the content and importance of the recommended Baseline Features to achieving the Council’s climate and resilience goals.

The summary listing below includes only the most important of the NRC recommendations that were not adopted1. Detailed descriptions and reasons for recommending these features follow.

Excluded Baseline Features Proposed for Reconsideration

Built Environment

(Numbered according to the staff responses in its report to the Planning Commission)

NRC03. The Project shall meet and exceed Title 24, Cal Green Tier 1 and the City of Davis Residential and Commercial Energy Reach Code standards in effect at the time of permitting of each phase of the Project. The Reach Code aims to promote energy efficiency within the City of Davis through the use of energy-efficient building standards and is intended to ensure LEED Gold equivalency or better.

NRC07. All onsite commercial buildings shall be all-electric. Fossil fuels (e.g., natural gas, propane) shall only be allowed for manufacturing processes as specified by a tenant.

NRC12. In anticipation of improved solar connected energy storage, the Project shall be designed and pre-wired for future microgrid capacity and energy storage (that is, be microgrid ready).

NRC19. All commercial and residential parking areas shall be EV ready, equipped with infrastructure designed to facilitate installation of EV charging stations as demand grows.

 

Reducing Traffic Demand

NRC21. Parking costs shall be unbundled from the cost of other goods and services. A separate fee shall be charged for all parking spaces (commercial and residential).

NRC34. …the Developer shall require employer master leasing of all rental housing and ownership of a portion of the single-family housing units and require employment for residency. These requirements shall be dependent upon a minimum firm size, to be designated by the City. (Intended to comply with the Council’s certification of the MRIC EIR for onsite housing for employees.)

Partially because of timing issues, the remaining features were not included in the staff report to the Planning Commission and therefore have no numbers. They were communicated directly from the NRC to the Planning Commission.

Traffic Congestion Mitigation

An additional goal of the TDM program shall be mitigation of daily traffic congestion generated by the project by reducing daily SOV trips by at least 33% compared to the business-as-usual (unmitigated) scenario predictions in the SEIR. In other words, at full build-out the project must generate fewer than 16,000 SOV trips per day (compared to the 24,000 trips predicted in the SEIR). This reduction requirement is to be applied incrementally at each phase of the Project. If daily SOV trips for each phase are not 33% lower than the business-as-usual (unmitigated) projections in the SEIR, then construction of the next phase shall not be permitted.

Improvements in Streets, Roadways, and Bike Paths

(1) Phase 1 [of the project] shall not proceed until public and private funding are budgeted and available and regulatory approvals have been granted for construction or implementation of all other mitigation measures proposed in the Aggie Research Campus Subsequent EIR and Appendix F – Transportation Impact Analysis. The Applicant shall contribute funding to the City to study and implement bus rapid transit (BRT) strategies, including a bus signal preemption system on Mace Boulevard and Covell Boulevard for freeway access or local traffic bypass.

(2) Phase 2 shall not proceed until public and private funding are budgeted and available and regulatory approvals have been granted for a rush-hour bus and 3+ high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane and class IV bicycle path on the frontage road north of I-80 (County Road 32) to allow traffic to bypass the Mace Blvd east bound on-ramps and west bound off-ramps to 1-80.

Phase 2 shall not proceed until public and private funding are budgeted and available and regulatory approvals have been granted for the construction of bus/3+ HOV lanes on 1-80 west of causeway between Richards Blvd and the Yolo Causeway.

(3) Phase 3 shall not proceed until public and private funding are budgeted and available and regulatory approvals have been granted for adding bus/3+ HOV lanes eastbound and westbound on the Yolo Causeway (I-80).

Background

On June 17, 2020, the Planning Commission approved a Resolution to the City Council that recommended the Council place the Davis Innovation and Sustainability Center (DISC) project on the November ballot. In the weeks leading up to that meeting, the Natural Resources Commission (NRC); the Tree Commission; the Recreation and Parks Commission; the Bicycling, Transportation, and Street Safety Commission (BT&SSC); and the Open Space Commission all held special subcommittee and Commission meetings during which they developed and approved recommended Baseline Features for the project. The NRC alone convened two special sub-committees that met three times and worked interactively on a list of recommendations to improve the Baseline Features for the DISC project. The recommendations were vetted, edited, and approved unanimously by the NRC at two full Commission meetings (one called as a special meeting) which were then forwarded to the Planning Commission and Staff.

During the Planning Commission presentation, Staff made substantial and material misrepresentations of the nature and advisability of the NRC's recommendations. (See Appendix 1.) That none of its recommended additional Baseline Features were accepted has caused the NRC to wonder whether its recommendations were properly understood or seriously considered. Foremost on the Commission’s mind is that this project, if unmitigated with respect to GHG emissions will lay waste to the City's Climate Action and Adaptation Plan and flies in the face of the City's Climate Emergency Resolution as discussed below.

Climate Emergency Demands Strong Action

On March 5, 2019, the Davis City Council passed a Climate Emergency Resolution in which it pledged, among other things, to adopt policies and practices to reach carbon neutrality by 2040. Without substantial mitigation, the DISC project will generate GHG emissions which will make the achievement of carbon neutrality by 2040 functionally impossible. As discussed in the Final SEIR the Planning Commission forwarded to you for certification, the DISC project will produce annualized GHC emissions of 37,992 MTCO2e when built out. This is an approximate 8% increase in the total city carbon footprint as a result of this one project alone! Of the project total, 29,483 MTCO2e/year are transportation-related, representing about 78% of the total project-related GHG emissions. Without substantial reductions in the built environment and transportation-related GHG emissions, the Final

SEIR concludes:

Because net emissions in the year 2035 would equal 37,724.31 MTCO2e/year, the projectwould not meet the City’s target of net carbon neutrality by the year 2040.”

This is in direct conflict with the City's Climate Action Emergency Resolution approved by this current  Council.

 It is  the N RC’s  view  that existing city policies and  ordinances are not sufficient to achieve its  ambitious climate goal. This is what motivated the NRC to recommend the highest level of GHG- reducing Baseline Features that it thought would be technically prudent and financially responsible.

The additional recommended Baseline Features proposed by the NRC focus on three areas of mitigation:

(1) Maximizing energy efficiency in the built environment,

(2) Minimizing daily vehicular trips to and from the project, and

(3) Improving streets and roadways to minimize GHG emissions from idling vehicles and improve project access by alternative forms of transportation.

On June 22, the NRC formed a subcommittee to prepare this communication on the few critical Baseline Features that were not approved by the Planning Commission. This paper was reviewed and approved by the NRC in special meeting on June 26, 2020.

Baseline Features for the Built Environment

Giving credit where it’s due, the DISC project's proposed built environment is comparatively advanced in terms of proposed sustainability features when viewed from a statewide perspective. Among other things, it includes all-electric residences, a commitment to purchase power from “UltraGreen” energy from VCE (or equivalent), and a commitment to install PV on all conducive surfaces. Nevertheless, the Baseline Features that were approved by the Planning Commission went barely beyond what is already required under City ordinances. The NRC recommendations, which were thought to have been previously vetted by the Applicant, would put the development on the path to be a world-class sustainable project. Without these additional Baseline Features, however, the DISC project will look much like many other business parks in the state with little in the way of unique attributes.

A key premise of the NRC’s recommendations is that the project can avoid investments that will lock in future GHG emissions and save money for businesses and the City in the future. In three of the suggestions listed below, the proposed Baseline Features will likely lower long term project life-cycle costs. For two other proposed Baseline Features, the costs are simply unbundled and charged to vehicle owners instead of building tenants, thus providing direct financial incentive to vehicle owners to reduce private vehicular use at the project. The other proposed feature is essential to the realization of a truly sustainable and resilient development by encouraging the occupation of the project housing by people working at DISC rather than commuting to/from elsewhere. Lacking this feature would negate the environmental value of onsite housing, what makes it the environmentally superior alternative.

The NRC is urging the City Council to examine the built environment features listed in boldface type below. For reference, these proposed Baseline Features use the numbering from Attachment 6 in the Staff Report presented to the Planning Commission. Following each feature (shown in boldface) is its rationale, responding in part to Staff’s critique of them to the Planning Commission.

NRC03. The Project shall meet and exceed Title 24, Cal Green Tier 1 and the City of Davis Residential and Commercial Energy Reach Code standards in effect at the time of permitting of each phase of the Project. The Reach Code aims to promote energy efficiency within the City of Davis through the use of energy-efficient building standards and is intended to ensure LEED Gold equivalency or better.

Staff recommended following the existing ordinance which does not include all the elements of Cal Green Tier 1 because some energy elements were not found to be cost effective and thus by state law could not be required by ordinance. To its credit, the Applicant proposed meeting the full Cal Green Tier I standards in its Sustainability Guiding Principles. Since the requirement would be implemented by contract it is not apparent that a general cost-effectiveness study is legally required. The NRC proposes that the city accept the Applicant’s offer to meet this standard rather than require the less stringent city ordinance. The phrase “LEED Gold equivalency” is intended to convey the standard being sought. The NRC does not propose that the project be LEED certified.

NRC07. All onsite commercial buildings shall be all-electric. Fossil fuels (e.g. natural gas, propane) shall only be allowed for manufacturing processes as specified by a tenant.

All-electric construction for the building envelope is economically justifiable and is imperative for phasing out natural gas by 2050 to meet the state's climate goals. The Staff recommended all-electric residential construction which the Applicant has accepted (NRC06). This exceeds existing city code which provides an incentive for all- electric but does not require it. The NRC is asking that similar approach to the office- type construction in the project. It recognizes that exceptions may be needed for fossil fuels in manufacturing and other processes where electricity is not feasible. Nevertheless, if a residence can be all-electric, the NRC does not see a reason why an office cannot be. All-electric commercial construction can be economically accomplished with equal or lower life-cycle costs than conventional construction. As for

NRC03, this feature would be established by contract and it is not apparent that a general cost-effectiveness study is required by law.

Note that this recommendation is consistent with what other local entities are anticipating.  Electrification of new construction is a major strategy recommendation in the draft report of the Sacramento and West Sacramento Mayors’ Commission on Climate Change2.

With all-electric construction powered by onsite PV and “UltraGreen” power purchases (included in the Baseline Features recommended by the Planning Commission), the project would achieve the functional equivalent of a zero net carbon building envelope (NRC09).

The next two features are intended to prepare the project for future changes in technology.

NRC12. In anticipation of improved solar connected energy storage, the Project shall be designed and pre-wired for future microgrid capacity and energy storage.

Being microgrid-ready means adding conduit to utility pathways so that microgrids can be easily implemented in the future. It is important to realize that this is not a request to for full microgrid installation. By simply installing larger conduits and prepping wiring runs, very little is added to upfront costs and millions of dollars of expenses required to tear up facilities to install the microgrid infrastructure in the future would be avoided. This is the same rationale as providing purple pipe in anticipation of using reclaimed water in the future. Rejecting this Baseline Feature would functionally support PG&E's wish to continue utility dominance of infrastructure design to the detriment of the City's long term climate and resiliency goals. In private meetings, the Applicant agreed that this was reasonable and feasible. It is disconcerting that their support is now apparently withdrawn.

NRC19. All commercial and residential parking areas shall be EV ready, equipped with infrastructure designed to facilitate installation of EV charging stations as demand grows.

Similarly, installing wiring and conduit during initial construction will facilitate the expansion of EV charging infrastructure in the future as demand grows. Again, this is not a request to install EV charging stations at every parking slot, only to make every slot EV ready. Installation of the wiring necessary to make parking EV ready will facilitate access by EV users and save millions of dollars in the future that would otherwise be required for retrofitting parking. At some point in the future, microgrid and EV charging facilities can be integrated to run our houses and offices off the storage batteries in cars. This provision was previously proposed in the Applicant’s Sustainability Guiding Principles. The Staff recommendation fails to anticipate foreseeable technological evolution.

Baseline Features to Reduce Transportation GHG Emissions

As noted in the SEIR, transportation sources and activities contribute the large majority (about 75%) of the GHG emissions in the project. In its February Planning Commission meeting, Commissioner Emily Shandy succinctly summarized the problem in the following quote3.

One of the first things that you said to us this evening was that you want this to be one of the  most sustainable tech campuses in the United States, yet... This is a car-dominated, auto-centric proposal on the edge of town, far from the capitol corridor station, not linked to good transit with huge parking lots and parking structures...Widening Mace to accommodate more traffic is not the answer. It’s going to induce more demand. It’s going to make the people who currently choose other modes of transportation, choose other routes, choose other times of day...go back to this street and we’re going to have all of this new demand. I think that we need to get serious about other modes of transportation. If you want to build this project and you want to be an innovator and bring value to this community, you need to do that right...and that requires outside partners and getting better transit to this site. Without more specific information and  plans  and  guar antees  on  thes e th ings  …  this  is  going  to  be m ore of the s am e k ind  of  development that has brought us, and I don't want to be melodramatic, but has brought us to the  br ink of cl im ate em ergen cy tha t we’re a t  ." (emphasis added)

The NRC is proposing specific plans and guarantees to mitigate adverse traffic impacts. The following  features were included in the NRC recommendations but were not included the Baseline Features  recommended to the Planning Commission by Staff.

Reducing Traffic Demand

The next two measures are focused on reducing GHG emissions from transportation sources. They are the most powerful traffic mitigation measures available.

NRC21. Parking costs shall be unbundled from the cost of other goods and services. A separate fee shall be charged for all parking spaces (commercial and residential).

Charging for parking is a key mechanism for incentivizing vehicular users to use alternative transportation modes. It will be an important element of the Transportation Demand Management plans that are required for the Project. Staff has claimed that the market won’t support a parking charge. It appears, however, that the Staff may be inappropriately applying market studies for public parking in the downtown. UCD charges for parking all over campus, as does other large employers such as Sacramento State and the State of California. The proposed development agreement includes a provision to unbundle and charge for residential parking (NRC33). The NRC does not see a reason to treat commercial parking differently, particularly since both are being done for the same purpose. Again, it is important to note that three-quarters of the anticipated GHG emissions are associated with transportation.

NRC34: …the Developer shall require employer master leasing of all rental housing and ownership of a portion of the single-family housing units and require employment for residency. These requirements shall be dependent upon a minimum firm size, to be designated by the City.

The NRC proposed this feature to follow up on the original Council requirement when certifying the MRIC EIR that 60% of onsite housing be project employee-occupied to make the mixed use alternative the environmentally superior alternative. While some means of achieving this goal are not legally enforceable, the NRC has offered this alternative to incentivize firms to keep employees close to their jobs and in on-site housing so that the current DISC proposal will continue to be the environmentally preferred option. Indeed, the Final SEIR may not be able to be legally certified without this type of provision to comply with the previously adopted findings in the MRIC Final EIR. Staff responded that this request jeopardizes overall project feasibility and is more than the market will bear, but does not offer any evidence on this point. It should be noted that some Bay Area companies are master-leasing for employee housing and UCD master-leases entire apartment complexes in Davis for student housing. Regardless of

the actual means, it is essential at the end of the day that some meaningful and substantial nexus between the commercial and residential development be adopted. If the housing occupancy is completely divorced from the project then there is nothing to prevent 850 new families moving to town and commuting to Sacramento or the Bay Area, which would undermine the purpose of this feature.

Traffic Congestion Mitigation

As before, the boldface material is quoted from the NRC recommendations transmitted to the Planning Commission and staff, and the plain text material is commentary. There are no numbers because these recommendations were not included in the proposal to the Planning Commission.

An additional goal of the TDM program shall be mitigation of daily traffic congestion generated by the project by reducing daily SOV trips by at least 33% compared to the business-as-usual (unmitigated) scenario predictions in the SEIR. In other words, at full build-out the project must generate fewer than 16,000 SOV trips per day (compared to the 24,000 trips predicted in the SEIR). This reduction requirement is to be applied incrementally at each phase of the Project. If daily

SOV trips for each phase are not 33% lower than the business-as-usual (unmitigated) projections in the SEIR, then construction of the next phase shall not be permitted.

The NRC particularly believes that achievable daily trip reductions must be mandatory and quantitative and so can be enforced. If the project currently anticipates approximately 24,000 trips per day associated with the project, the NRC believes this can be reduced by 33% through proper vehicular management and incentives offered to employees to utilize alternative forms of transportation. Indeed, the previously approved Nishi Sustainability Plan looked to reduce VMT by 39% below 2010 values by with a goal of achieving a 50% non-single-occupancy-vehicle (SOV) mode also share by 2035. This proposed Baseline Feature requires appropriate and sustainable trip reductions be achieved in each phase of the project before the next phase can begin. The City otherwise has no guarantees that there will be any reduction in the crushing  gridlock-inducing and GHG emitting transportation impacts.

Note that this recommendation is consistent with what other local entities are anticipating. The 2030 mobility goals recommended in the draft report of the Sacramento and West Sacramento Mayors’ Commission on Climate Change are 30% of all trips be by active transportation and 30% of all trips be by transit and pooled shared vehicles4.

Improvements in Streets, Roadways, and Bike Paths

Even with the reduced amount of vehicular traffic from incorporating the above mitigation measure substantial and unacceptable levels of delays on local traffic are still expected. Current conditions on Mace Blvd and I-80 present choke-points in traffic flow that will substantially increase traffic local traffic back-ups, thus increasing vehicular idling time which increases GHG emissions. In addition, risks to bicyclists and pedestrians by vehicles maneuvering to improve their relative position in traffic queues are increased. As a result, it is imperative that additional mitigation measures be incorporated into the project to reduce these GHG-inducing vehicular delays on Mace Boulevard, Covell Boulevard, and 1-80.

The NRC proposes the following series of mitigation measures to be implemented on a timeline tied to different phases of the project5. These recommended street, roadway, and bicycle-pedestrian traffic improvements are presented in the SEIR as ways to ease anticipated choke-points and untenable traffic conditions which will otherwise only get worse with project build-out.

Phase 1 Traffic Mitigation. Phase 1 shall not proceed until public and private funding are budgeted and available and regulatory approvals have been granted for construction or implementation of all other mitigation measures proposed in the Aggie Research Campus Subsequent EIR and Appendix F – Transportation Impact Analysis. In addition the Developer shall contribute funding to the City to study and implement bus rapid (BRT) transit strategies, including a bus signal preemption system on Mace Boulevard and Covell Boulevard for freeway access or local traffic bypass.

Phase 2 Traffic Mitigation. Phase 2 shall not proceed until public and private funding are budgeted and available and regulatory approvals have been granted for a rush-hour bus and 3+ high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane and class IV bicycle path on the frontage road north of I-80 (County Road 32) to allow traffic to bypass the Mace Blvd east bound on-ramps and west bound off-ramps to 1-80.  In addition, Phase 2 shall not proceed until public and private funding are budgeted and available and regulatory approvals have been granted for the construction of bus/3+ HOV lanes on 1-80 west of causeway between Richards Blvd and the Yolo Causeway.

Phase 3 Traffic Mitigation. Phase 3 shall not proceed until public and private funding are budgeted and available and regulatory approvals have been granted for adding bus/3+ HOV lanes eastbound and westbound on the Yolo Causeway (I-80).

Conclusion

As noted above, there continue to be environmental deficiencies in the DISC project proposal passed by the Planning Commission despite valuable citizen input based on extensive research and work provided by NRC and other commissions. In particular there is too much reliance on existing ordinances and not enough apparent concern about the daunting challenge facing the city in meeting its climate goals. Installation of obsolete infrastructure at the outset would add to the environmental debt on the next century that is an immoral legacy to leave to future generations. Given the project’s size and duration, it would be irresponsible to not require the full measure of infrastructure, technology, and operations regarding GHG emissions and traffic.

CO2 levels continue to climb, setting a record in May despite the global economic slowdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic6. The most recent evidence of the impending calamity are the record high temperatures in Siberia exceeding 100 degrees F leading to massive forest fires on a scale not experienced before7.

In conclusion, the NRC advises the Council that without these Baseline Features, the DISC project will result in substantial and negative adverse impacts on the environment and the quality of life in Davis. In the absence of incorporating the recommended minimum additional Baseline Features for the project, we recommend that the project NOT be approved nor placed on the November ballot.

 

Appendix 1 – Notes on Planning Commission meeting

During the deliberations of the Planning Commission, there was only 10 minutes of presentation by staff members during which they gave a variety of non-quantitative reasons as to why they did not support adding ANY of the recommended additional Baseline Features from ANY Commission. Only about 6 minutes of this time was devoted to the NRC's additional recommended Baseline Features. There was no further direct discussion or questions posed by the Planning Commission about any of these proposed additional recommended Baseline Feature subsequent to Staff's dismissal of the recommendations. This is not meant as a criticism of the Planning Commission. They otherwise had before them almost 1,600 pages of a Final SEIR and Staff Report that they were asked to read and opine on in only about a 2 week period which presented an insurmountable task. The Planning Commission clearly relied almost entirely on Staff for their analysis of the usefulness of these recommended Baseline Features which analysis.

The entirety of the Staff's presentation to the Planning Commission regarding the NRC's recommended Baseline Features are as follows:

Question by Chair Cheryl Essex, Planning Commission Chair to Staff (from 13:05 to 14:05 on Meeting Videotape)

"We heard a lot of questions from the Public about us ignoring or Staff ignoring the NRC Comments or the Natural Resources Commission comments that had come in and I wanted to understand what was going on with that. Were that comments that came in late or were considered? Where could we find that information in the packet of information if they are there?"

Answer by Sheri Metzker, Principal Planner for City of Davis from 14:05 to 20:14 on Meeting

Videotape

Re: NRC's Recommended Sustainability Baseline Features

"OK. Many of the comments were from members of the Natural Resources Commission who had expressed their disappointment that the recommendations they had given us for sustainability features were not included in the staff recommendations and what they are particularly referring to is

Attachment 6 document that is in your Staff Report. Attachment 5 which is the one just before it, the one that gives you sort of the narrative version of what those recommendations were and Attachment 6 is one I prepared where it lists the comment made by the Commission and it follows that with a response on the right side as to whether or not the response was included in the approval documents.

In many cases the reason why their comments were not included falls into one of two categories. First, the recommendation made by the NRC was essentially the same concept what Staff recommended except the Staff version is less detailed and we did that for a couple of reasons. First, it would keep the baseline features more easily understandable for the average voter because we need to remember that those baseline features are going to be reviewed not only by the City of Davis and the Planning Commission and the City Council but also by the average voter next November should this project be approved and we were trying to keep them as understandable as we possibly could.

And secondly, the less detail you put in the more flexibility it allows for implementation later on when we actually have to put these various measures in place because there could be other technologies or other aspects that we are unable to contemplate today because they simply don't exist. Remember this is a twenty year project so it is going to be going on for quite a long time. And therefore we feel that some level of flexibility is important to maintain. I went through and counted and conceptually 23 0f the 38 recommendations that were made by the NRC were the same except the language used by the recommending body vs the language used by Staff was different. But I think the concepts were the same. The 2nd type of recommendation made by the NRC asks for energy compliance, sustainability compliance that are beyond the current Reach Cal Green building Code requirements The NRC states that because this is a 20 year build-out that they should address the fact that this is a long term project that they should ask for more than what is currently included in the current code. Staff feels that Davis is already a leader in requiring sustainability features and would likely continue to be so. And so as the State improves the new codes and finds new technologies and then subsequently makes those codes available for adoption that the City is likely to adopt those new codes and the project would then have to comply with them. Therefore during the build-out the Applicant would then have to meet those new sustainability requirements. And if you would like to hear a little more about that we have Greg Mahoney who is our Deputy Community Development Director and is our Chief Building Inspector who is extremely knowledgeable in the case of the Green code, the Reach code I should say, and the Cal Green requirements for building codes."

Re: NRC's Recommended Transportation-Related Baseline Features

"The last piece is the Transportation Demand Management measures that they recommended. Those I believe were not available at the time I wrote the staff report, however we don't recommend inclusion of their very specific TDM measures because TDM measures, excuse me, Transportation Demand Management measures should be designed for a specific user and so the idea is supposed to be that its important that we wait until we have an identified tenant in the project so that we can design transportation demand management measures that will be applicable to that particular user. Using myself and madame chair as an example, the way we get to work, well she doesn't go to work anymore, so the way she used to go to work and the way I go to work are not the same. So what would work for mitigation for the two of us wouldn't be the same and I think that's the same sort of application that I would like to see happen here. The NRC also recommended all improvements including those being built out happen within the first two years of the project, I should say street improvements happen within the first two years of the project. Mitigation timing is determined at the time the impact is made by the project and so there is no clear nexus between requiring all of the traffic improvements required in the EIR within 2 years of the original start of the project. The idea is that there should be a traffic study that should identify whatever is necessary depending on the phase and the type of development that is being asked for. And that study would identify which of the mitigation measures identified in the EIR should be applied to that individual project."

The NRC does admit to some poor communication regarding the boldface statements. The 2-year deadline referenced by Ms. Metzker was in a statement at the very end of the recommendations and was text from a previous draft that had been left there accidentally. As can be seen in the traffic management recommendations, a timeline was proposed that linked mitigation actions to phases of the project. A 2-year deadline is not reasonable and that is not what the NRC had in mind.

 

 

1 Other NRC recommendations were simplified by staff reportedly to make them more understandable to the public or to allow flex ibility in their implementation. While there may be some benefit in this, the NRC took efforts to communicate its ideas in precise language. It is concerned that editing by staff has muddied the commission’s intent, or introduced flexibility where the NRC wanted accountability. So even for those r ecommendations accepted by staff, the NRC asks that the Council look at the original wording.

https://www.lgc.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/MCCC-Report_6-15.pdf. There is an economic discussion in the technical report at https://www.lgc.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Technical-Report_06-15.pdf.

3 Recording transcription from tape of Planning Commission Meeting on February 26, 2020, beginning at 2:55:00. See http://archive- media.granicus.com:443/OnDemand/davis/davis_de9c5068-01b0-4a81-a017-42ae0e8a09c0.mp4.

https://www.lgc.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/MCCC-Report_6-15.pdf. There is additional discussion of these and the 2045 goals in the technical report at  https://www.lgc.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Technical-Report_06-15.pdf.

5 In its list of recommendations, a reference to a 2-year deadline to implement all mitigation measures was mistakenly retained from a previous draft. This is not the NRC’s current position as described above.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2020/06/04/carbon-dioxide-record-2020/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2020/06/21/arctic-temperature-record-siberia/;  https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/wildfires- ravaged-siberia-last-year-this-spring-the-blazes-are-starting-even-bigger/2020/05/15/c00bdb50-9446-11ea-87a3-22d324235636_story.html


Soroptimists working hard for women and girls

SoroptimistInstallation2020
This Zoom screenshot shows Soroptimist International of Davis 2020-2021 officers wearing starry-eyed glasses for their installation. From top left are Heather Carpenter, Lynn Fowler, Wendy Weitzel, Maggie Memmott, Evie Wright, Kacie Woodward, Emily Ziser, Elaine Barratt, Katherine Hess, Karen Westphalen, Lori Hansen and Carol MacDonald.

(From press release) Soroptimist International of Davis isn’t letting the pandemic impede its work to improve the lives of women and girls.

The service club wrapped up its 2020-2021 year with its installation of officers on June 23. Also this spring, members stewarded a City Council resolution on women’s rights, gave grants to single moms, and awarded local scholarships. Below are a few highlights:

Resolution for women’s rights

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Valley Clean Energy makes new hire

R_Boyles(From press release) Valley Clean Energy is pleased to announce the hiring of Rebecca Boyles as its new director of customer care and marketing. In this position, she is responsible for all customer touch points, including outreach, marketing, programs, key accounts and customer policy development.

Boyles joins Valley Clean Energy after spending four years in progressively responsible positions in customer care and billing operations at MCE (formerly Marin Clean Energy). Her additional leadership experience includes chairing the Billing Operations and Customer Care Committee for CalCCA, the statewide community choice energy association, as well as directing social media for the communications team at the Women's Environmental Network.

Prior to working in the utilities sector, Boyles focused on stakeholder engagement at Future 500, a nonprofit that advises Fortune 500 companies on sustainable business practices and community relations.

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Davis Farmers Market open on July 4

July4IGpost(From press release) While the Fourth of July won’t have the traditional fireworks, the Davis Farmers will be open, featuring all of the flavors that make the holiday memorable.

On July 4, the market is open for its regular Saturday hours – 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. – in Central Park, 301 C St., in Davis.

Vendors will have all of the components for the perfect household barbecue, including farm-fresh corn, watermelon, tomatoes, meats, fish, breads and cookies and cheeses. Come stock up on produce, eggs, beans, rice, nuts, dried fruits and flowers. Fruit in season includes berries, melons and stone fruit. There are tons of veggies at the market, like cucumbers, summer squash, eggplants, Brussels sprouts and avocados.

There are also tortillas, pizza crust, pita breads and dips, baked goods, olive oil, jams, honey, kettle corn, almond milk and almond butter, fresh apple juice, juice pops, coffee, tamales, hot dogs and Indian food.

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Family-Friendly Father’s Day Walk in Davis to Protest Racial Injustice

(From press release) On Sunday, June 21, 2020, Parents of African-American Children - Davis (PAACD) is hosting a family -friendly walk in Davis to honor the victims of racial injustice and police brutality and highlight the importance of talking to children early about race and racial prejudice.

The walk will begin at 9 am at Playfields Park (2500 Research Park Drive) in Davis and continue on the bike path to John Barovetto Park (about 2.6 miles). At 11 am, at John Barovetto Park (4400 Alhambra Drive), the group will stand in silence for 8 minutes and 46 seconds to remember George Floyd and all the victims of police brutality.

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Is the Proposed Davis Innovation and Sustainability Campus a Land-Use Dinosaur Before It is Even Approved to be Put on the Ballot?

Is it a "Field of Schemes"?

FieldofschemesBy Alan Pryor

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The COVID-pandemic has accelerated and likely made permanent huge increases in home-based, work-related remote telecommuting. This trend would dramatically decrease office space needs in sprawling business parks like the proposed Davis Innovation and Sustainability Center (DISC) (formerly known as the Aggie Research Campus (ARC), and before that, as Mace Ranch Innovation Center (MRIC)).

In turn, this reduced demand for office space will drastically decrease rental income from such large office developments. Because property valuations are strongly based on rental income, reduced rents will reduce property valuations which will, in turn, reduce property tax income to the City. And if such property tax income is sufficiently depressed in the future and exceeds the costs to the City of providing essential services to residents and business park tenants, the DISC project could turn into a net drain on City coffers.

Continue reading "Is the Proposed Davis Innovation and Sustainability Campus a Land-Use Dinosaur Before It is Even Approved to be Put on the Ballot?" »


Sutter Davis Hospital Farmers Market returns

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Riffat Ahmad from Ahmad Farm sets up at the June 11 soft opening of the Sutter Davis Hospital Farmers Market. Debbie Ramming/Courtesy photo

(From press release) The Sutter Davis Hospital Farmers Market is back – with precautions in place to protect the health and safety of its vendors and shoppers. The market is open from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursdays through Oct. 29.

Since 2010, the Sutter Davis Hospital Farmers Market has brought farm-fresh, local foods and produce to the hospital’s main entrance, 2000 Sutter Place in West Davis. Its soft opening was June 11. 

Hospital and farmers market leaders worked together to develop a plan that accommodates about seven vendors and includes the same precautions that have worked for the Wednesday and Saturday markets in downtown Davis: requiring face coverings to attend the market, social distancing of vendors, sidewalk markings to help with social distancing of shoppers, and hand hygiene stations. Sellers wear gloves and masks, and typically select the produce for the customer.

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Valley Clean Energy - 2 Years Strong

VCE(From press release) During these trying times, it’s more important than ever to take note of the good news that’s worth celebrating.

“Please join us as we mark the anniversary of Valley Clean Energy,” said Don Saylor, chairman of the board of directors of the not-for-profit public agency and a Yolo County supervisor. “We’re two years strong as of June 1, and it’s all because of you, the VCE customers who support us in taking charge of our clean energy future.”

People who suffer from asthma and other lung-related conditions have been hit especially hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, so cleaning up the air in California has become even more important for everyone.

“That’s just what VCE has been doing these past two years, by offering people cleaner, greener electricity and an option for 100% carbon-free power,” added Dan Carson, VCE’s board vice-chair and a member of the Davis City Council. “And we’ve only just begun.”

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The Planning Commission is being “played” by staff in order to ram through the DISC project under artificially imposed deadlines

01249638-444B-40A8-B2FD-E9FF09231DFBThe following was emailed to the Planning Commission today; it is reprinted by permission of the author.
 
Dear Commissioners -

Tonight you have before you a 1,000-page Final EIR for which you are being asked to recommend certification but you have had only a little over a week to review it. You have had a 600-page Staff Report before you for less than a week but you are being asked to approve Baseline Features for a project that is 4 times larger than anything the City has ever seen before.

So if you feel like you are being railroaded by the Staff to bum rush this project through without being given the time to carefully deliberate and properly consider the huge implications of this massive undertaking, you're exactly right!

But this is not accidental or due to the pandemic as Staff would have you believe. Staff and the Developer have intentionally planned (a less polite term to use would be "schemed") to get this matter to you at the last possible date to give you as little time as possible to review this project.

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BTSSC's Transportation Baseline Features for ARC/DISC

Sub-Committee will bring draft to full Commission meeting this week

MRICARCDISCfinalProposed Transportation Baseline Features for Davis Innovation Sustainability Campus:

Parking Lots and Internal Streets, Housing, Transportation Demand Management, Site Access and Traffic Mitigation Features and general Mitigation Features

The City of Davis (City) Bicycling, Transportation and Street Safety Commission (BTSSC) met on May 8, 2020 and formed a sub-committee on transportation baseline features for the proposed Davis Innovation Sustainability Campus (DISC; formerly known as the Aggie Research Campus) Project (Project). These draft features will be reviewed with the full BTSSC on June 11, 2020 with any resulting vote submitted to the appropriate city bodies, with a recommendation for the revised features to be included in “Baseline Project Features” submitted for voter approval of the Project pursuant to a Measure R vote. The draft of this sub-committee discussion is below.

Information on the June 11 meeting, including how you can comments, can be found here.

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Should Davis defund the police?

By David Abramson

The City of Davis Finance and Budget Commission is meeting tonight at 6:30 to discuss proposed budget cuts, including that of the Davis Police Department.

Written comments can be submitted by 4:30 today to FBC@cityofdavis.org or can be given live during the meeting: https://www.cityofdavis.org/city-hall/commissions-and-committees/finance-and-budget-commission/agendas

My guess is this will be on the 6/16 City Council agenda, and further comments will be needed directly to City Council, but the commissions are a good place to start.

See below for the letter I submitted.

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Not so much “community” in the BrightNight solar deal

47036D8C-C262-42A2-A15A-D4433024F394By Matt Williams


Intentions and goals are only words unless they are accompanied by accomplishments, and when it comes to accomplishments, especially in the realm of renewable power, City Hall is very good at "talking the talk" but not very good at “walking the walk.”

That is a bold statement.  Is it factual?  The answer to that is “Absolutely!” and the evidence of how little actual accomplishment the City has achieved is illuminated by looking at a side-by-side timeline of the City and Yolo County from 2011 to present.

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Black Lives Matter Protest at Davis Police Department

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Protesters gathered in community park and marched through downtown and then on to the Davis Police station. Chief of Police Pytel was the only officer present for much of the rally. There were no officers in riot gear in Davis, unlike last week when a group of mostly highschool students were met by heavily armed police in riot gear. Photos by Rik Keller

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We have a problem in Davis

F7403023-8B59-4518-B391-D57E2C32E247By Emily Hill

White people of Davis, this is relevant here, too:

One of the fundamental things wrong with police culture is solidarity with violent colleagues. 

You may have seen the video of police in riot gear pushing over a 75 year old man who started bleeding from the head while the other officers present walked by him, seemingly unconcerned.

Two officers have been suspended and ALL 57 of the city's emergency response team resigned from the team in solidarity with their dangerous coworkers. There have been no consequences for the officers who stood by and did nothing. None of those 57 should be in any position of community authority, let alone with a service weapon.

This is not a problem "over there". This extends to Davis.

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Celebration of Abraham statement on killing of George Floyd

Celebration of Abraham (COA), a Yolo County interfaith organization for over 17 years, is saddened and outraged at the killing of George Floyd and expresses our deepest condolences to his family. We are anguished at the continuous violence black Americans have suffered throughout the history of our county—slavery, Jim Crow, mass incarceration and the senseless killings at the hands of white vigilantes and law enforcement.

We understand that many in the law enforcement community, including the Davis Police Chief, are horrified and speaking out against the systemic racism and militarism in policing.

Celebration of Abraham encourages all to reflect and to take action so such acts of abuse of power are no longer the norm. "Othering," as discussed during one of COA's community conversations, is a divisive force that is among the roots of the problem. As humans, we are programmed to organize information we take from the world into categories. For much of recorded history, humans have used categorical differences to justify fear or power relations between groups. Our religions have within them the capacity to unite us, though there are those who use these traditions to divide us. Our Abrahamic faith traditions tell us to value the other.

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Davis Soroptimists present community grants

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A baby gets a checkup at a Communicare Health Center. A Soroptimist grant will fund a new postpartum group for moms in need. Courtesy photo.

(From press release) This spring, Soroptimist International of Davis awarded $6,500 in funds to like-minded nonprofits through its annual Community Grants program.

The following organizations received awards:

  • Communicare Health Centers received $2,000, to supply a new postpartum group providing moms and babies with the best start possible through education, community support and health care.
  • Thriving Pink earned $1,500 for educational workshops to support local breast cancer survivors.
  • Yolo Diaper Bank received $1,000 to purchase the supplies needed to wrap and deliver 100,000 diapers over the year to agencies that distribute diapers to families that would otherwise not have enough.
  • Yolo Children’s Fund was awarded $1,000 to meet the needs of girls and teens who are abused or disadvantaged. It funds special projects, needs or educational enrichment that would otherwise go unmet.
  • Short-Term Emergency Aid Committee received $1,000 for legal documents to help individuals get housing, employment and aid, especially women who need to support their children or escape violence.

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Effects of Increases in City of Davis Employee Compensation from 2011 to 2018 on the City's Current Budget Crisis

Effects of Increases in City of Davis Employee Compensation from 2011 to 2018 on the City's Current Budget Crisis

by Alan Pryor

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The actual average increase in total annual compensation (Pay and Benefits) for City of Davis full-time, year-round (FT) employees has been 5.9% each year from 2011 through 2018. This is more than twice the average annual rate of inflation of 2.8% during the same period as determined by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics for Bay Area Urban Wage Earners & Clerical Workers. The actual average increase in salary without benefits (Pay) has been 4.5%.

The actual average annual total Pay and Benefits paid to City of Davis FT employees in 2018 was $144,115.  Compare that to the average annual total Pay and Benefits of $118, 640 that would have alternatively been paid in 2018 if annual increases in total compensation had instead been held to the annual CPI increases since 2011.

Similarly, the actual average annual Pay (without Benefits) paid to City of Davis FT employees in 2018 was $97,834.  Compare that to the actual average annual Pay of $88,324 that would have been paid to FT employees in 2018 if annual increases in payroll-only compensation had instead been held to the annual CPI increases since 2011

For comparison, median earnings for FT private sector workers in Davis was $63,125 in 2018. City employees thus received an average 55% greater Pay ($97,834/$63,125) and 128% more in Pay and Benefits ($144,115/$63,125) than FT private-sector workers in 2018.

The annual differences between the actual total Pay and Benefits paid by the City to all FT employees from 2012 through 2018 and that which would have been paid if annual increases had instead been held to the CPI is very substantial and ranges from $3.645 Million in 2015 to $7.668 Million in 2018. On a cumulative basis, the City has paid in excess of $34 Million more to FT employees in Pay and Benefits from 2012 through 2018 had annual payroll increases otherwise been held to increases based on CPI. 

That additional money could have been very beneficially used in the intervening years to resurface many additional miles of the Davis streets and bike paths in most need of repair while still providing adequate annual increases in employee compensation to match inflationary pressures on their costs of living.

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Photos from #BlackLivesMatter George Floyd Demonstration in Davis

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Peaceful protest of the murder of George Floyd and countless others, Sunday May 31, Davis CA.

Photos by Rik Keler (https://www.rikkeller.com/)

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