Councilmember Carson wants Davis citizens he sued to be responsible for his developer-paid legal fees
Earth Fashion

City Planning Documents have No Teeth

Mandala-oednaBy Larry Guenther

The Old East Davis Neighborhood Association (OEDNA) requested that the Trackside Appellate court decision be reviewed by the California State Supreme Court. Some were critical of our decision due to the long odds. We were quite aware of the odds, and thus the decision not to review the decision comes as no surprise. We believed, however, that enforceability of City planning documents was a battle worth fighting.

This was a fight for public awareness and enforceability of city planning documents - Statewide. For people to believe in the law, it must be enforceable. With the publication of the Trackside decision, the current City Council can interpret planning documents, approved by previous City Councils, to mean whatever they want them to mean – with no repercussions.

We make plans to create certainty. OEDNA participated robustly in creating the Davis Downtown and Traditional Neighborhood Guidelines to gain certainty for developers and for residents. This decision negates that certainty. So what, then, is the purpose of moving forward with any city planning documents? The Downtown Plan, the General Plan, the Climate Action and Adaptation Plan, or any other plan? The details of those plans – those things we fight for and that we believe have teeth – have no teeth.

Who loses out? The residents of our City, and of every City in California. Because with this decision, all California city planning documents have become uncertain.

Larry Guenther is President of the Board of the Old East Davis Neighborhood Association.


Aaron Wedra

I haven't followed this very closely, but with my limited understanding of the entire issue, I'm glad that we have the OEDNA, and that residents are willing to go through so much effort over the quality of our neighborhoods.

I heard recently from one person that where trackside would go, where the Candy House and other businesses are, is not actually Old East Davis? I take it from the overall issue, that the person was simply incorrect?

I also thought folks want us to build up our downtown. Even if this is on the periphery of the downtown, it doesn't seem unreasonable to have something that is 4 stories. We are talking 4 stories right?

I do agree that it is very clear that Old East Davis consists of 1-2 story houses and apartments. That is certainly a theme and charming.

Anyways, overall, I love the message Larry. It seems important to be able to make exceptions in business and planning from time to time, but if exceptions become the rule, that's worrisome.

Susan Rainer

Unfortunately Davis Council does not have a futuristic regenerative green vision for the city. Sustainable city growth is known, it is in the Davis General Plan ( that is apparently not being read, much less followed) - now gamed to continue business as usual crummy developer projects that do not give back to the community in any way, not with beauty, conservation, or continuity with existing architecture that is more sustainable. Why not look at what other cities have done that are highly sustainable and green? If a better vision was given from the developer, the project could actually have more success. The Living Community Challenge would be a perfect progression for the Vision. This is a guide, created for an international audience - it calls for car-less streets - it took covid to get that to happen in Davis....

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