Criminal Negligence
Letter: Fortunate to have Provenza in difficult times

Pros and Cons for Measure B (DISC)

Davis-LWVBy the League of Women Voters Davis Area

The Question:  Should residents approve annexing agricultural land to develop the Davis Innovation and Sustainability Campus (DISC)?  Annexation of county land for city-related uses has required citizen approval since voters passed the Citizens Right to Vote on Future Use of Open Space and Agricultural Landsordinance in 2000 (as Measure J) and renewed it in 2010 (as Measure R). 

The Situation:  Davis has studied options for an innovation park with the goals of leveraging UC Davis' international reputation for academic and research advancements in agriculture, biotech, green-tech, and food science research.  As the options were studied, four options initially appeared to be available but these have since been reduced to one (see Appendix for a more detailed history).  The project site is agricultural land that has been productively farmed for many decades.  Moving forward with the project will put an end to farming on the site.

The Proposal:  Ramco Enterprises, Buzz Oates Group and Reynolds & Brown’s proposal, as presented to the City Council in July 2020, is for a 203.5-acre project site, immediately east of the City of Davis city limits, east of Mace Blvd and just north of Second Street/ County Road 32A.  At full build-out, projected by the developer to occur over a 20-year period, DISC will include:

  • Office, laboratory, research and development space: 1,510,000 ft;
  • Advanced manufacturing space: 884,000 ft;
  • Housing: 850 units, including 125 on-site affordable housing units;
  • Agricultural buffer, park, greenway and open space: 2 acres;
  • Transit plaza for Yolobus, Unitrans and shuttles to/from Amtrak: 6-2 acres;

Fiscal Implications: Negotiations between the City and Yolo County regarding each entity’s share of the projected revenue and other items have not yet been finalized and may be modified with time.  Sales revenue, jobs and increased school attendance are areas of economic impact; estimates differ as seen in the pro and con arguments. 

What Supporters and Opponents Say About Measure B

 

Pro

Con

City Revenue

 

 

$5.5 million annually in new revenue to support essential services and amenities without raising taxes plus $1.3 million for our schools.  Independent analysis confirms property and sale tax revenues increased because 850 units of housing were added and our city sales tax was renewed.

Average property valuations assumed for DISC are 48% higher than just five years ago and 66% higher than current regional averages, overestimating the property tax revenue the City will receive. 

COVID may further decrease demand for commercial and retail space but was not included in the analysis.

Environment

 

 

The most environmentally friendly project of its kind in the nation with all buildings powered with 100% clean energy with on-site solar generation, commercial and housing structures built without natural gas connections, and purchase of clean power from Valley Clean Energy.

Will increase the City's annual emissions by 8%, over 83 million pounds/year. 

DISC has promised to be carbon neutral, but this can only be achieved by buying cheap offsite carbon credits that do nothing to reduce the City's carbon footprint.

Housing

The 153 units of permanently dedicated affordable housing surpasses city requirements and the size of any other project ever built in Davis. 850 units of on-site housing will permit many works to walk or bicycle to their jobs. 

Per the EIR the housing demand created by the project will be 2,913 units beyond the 850 units in the project. Those employees not living onsite will cause traffic issues and environmental impacts. 

Jobs

 

 

Local, green and good-paying jobs to retain our university-educated residents and attract others.   Provide internships for local youth.  DISC will create green jobs and pump millions of dollars into the community

DISC would actually have a smaller carbon footprint if built in other locations with superior public transit access and shorter commutes for workers.

Traffic

 

 

Project includes $77.5 million in roadway fees to correct and improve Mace Boulevard and address other transportation needs and $250,000 annually for transit, shuttles to Amtrak, roadway repairs, and bicycle/pedestrian safety.

Projected 24,000 additional daily car trips onto Mace Blvd (more “Mace Mess”) when completed; no guarantee of specific reductions;

Requirement is for a future unspecified “Traffic Demand Management Program” with no enforcement.

Measure B Supporters and Opponents Websites

Supporters

Opponents

Gloria Partida, Mayor City of Davis

https://www.davisforb.com/

Roberta Millstein,

Chair, City of Davis Open Space and Habitat Commission

https://www.VoteNoOnDISC.com

 

Appendix:  History of Exploration of an Innovation Park Concept for Davis

The City has studied options for an innovation park for over 20 years:

  • 1996 –Economic Research Associates identifies a 200-250-acre technology park as the best option for economic development for Davis and notes that few sites within the city are large enough for this purpose;
  • 2001—Davis’ General Plan includes the goal of a research and innovation park3;
  • 2010— An Innovation Park Task Force (IPTF), consisting of City and UC staff, advisors and students convenes to provide recommendations for an innovation park;
  • 2014—A City-issued Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI) for an Innovation Park elicits three candidates;
  • 2015—One firm drops out, the second retracts its proposal (since applied in the City of Woodland 10 miles to the north) and the third is pended at the applicant’s request;
  • 2016—The Nishi Gateway Project, proposing housing units, innovation park and open space connected to the UCD Arboretum, is narrowly defeated (300 votes) by citizens;
  • 2017—Ramco Enterprises, the Buzz Oates Group and Reynolds & Taylor, re-submits the third proposal for an innovation campus with employee-focused housing.

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