Note: The following comments made at the City Council's Feb 1, 2022 meeting. The City Council, as expected, decided to proceed with putting the project on the ballot for voters to decide.
By Roberta Millstein
DiSC is back. But why is it back? Is it any better than the project that voters rejected just a little over a year ago?
It has no new features. Indeed, the developer initially deleted a bunch of features from the proposal and, after pushback from the Planning Commission and others, has now added some of them back in. But at best that only restores the status quo to the previously rejected project.
It is a reduced project, but half of huge is still huge. It’s the size of one Cannery instead of the size of two Canneries.
It’s still a freeway-oriented and car-oriented project that will massively impact traffic on Mace Blvd, I-80, and adjacent Mace Ranch surface streets. As a consequence, the greenhouse gases from the project will shred the City’s already weak carbon neutrality commitment. Nothing the developers can do on site can change that, since most of the climate change impact would be from commuters to and from the site. Vague promises of possible transportation improvements don’t change this climate killer either.
It’s still consuming prime farmland that could be better used for habitat for sensitive species or for regenerative agriculture to fight climate change.
It’s still harming Davis’s downtown. Note that retail is the one thing that has not been cut in half – it is now a much larger percentage of the project. That spells trouble for our beloved downtown businesses.
It’s still making Davis’s housing problems worse rather than better by adding jobs without sufficient housing and by not putting in place mechanisms to ensure that housing goes to workers onsite.
It’s still not a financial win for the city. The most the Finance and Budget Commission would say is that they thought it would be a net positive. Well, one dollar to the City is a net positive. That’s about as weak an endorsement as you can get.
The job of the City Council is to make sure that only good, well-vetted projects come to the voters and citizens of Davis, that our scarce and precious open space is only used for the best purposes. This not-innovative, not-green, not-sustainable, rehash of a project is not doing that.