Entries categorized "Business"

ARC Project Recommended Sustainability Features

Recommended Project Alternatives for the Supplemental Environmental Impact Report

Rough-ARCmap-corrected-sustainabilityThe following comments were submitted to the City by The Aggie Research Center Working Group, an ad hoc committee of interested Davis environmentalists with experience in evaluating land use and planning issues in Davis, on December 7. The Group has collaboratively developed this set of recommended sustainability features for the project and submitted them to the developer in November, 2019. With his knowledge, these recommendations are now formally submitted as scoping comments to the supplemental EIR for the purposes of evaluating desirable sustainability alternatives for the project

Others who wish to submit their own written scoping comments can do so via the City of Davis Community Development and Sustainability Department, 23 Russell Boulevard, Suite 2 Davis, CA 95616 Attn: Sherri Metzker, Principal Planner or via electronic mail to smetzker@cityofdavis.org up until Monday, December 9, 2019 at 5:00 PM.

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I. SUSTAINABILITY PLAN

Functional Goal: Develop and implement a comprehensive Sustainability Plan and ensure sustainability commitments made in the Plan are embodied in the subsequent Development Agreement and implemented and maintained for life of project.

  1. Mandatory, measurable and enforceable.

  2. Equivalent in scope and detail to Nishi.

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Business park outside of Mace curve: More environmental review

Questions about traffic, area impacts, climate change

Rough-ARCmap-corrected-traffic-climateThe following comments were submitted by Roberta Millstein to the City of Davis. This is part 2 of 2; other comments submitted by Millstein and posted earlier addressed land use, parks/greenways and open space.  These comments serve as recommendations as to the scope and content of the supplemental environmental impact report (EIR) for the "Aggie Research Campus," a proposed massive ~200 acre business park on prime farmland outside the Mace curve, focusing on the changes in project and conditions from the previous Mace Ranch Innovation Center (MRIC) proposal.

Others who wish to submit their own written scoping comments can do so via the City of Davis Community Development and Sustainability Department, 23 Russell Boulevard, Suite 2 Davis, CA 95616 Attn: Sherri Metzker, Principal Planner or via electronic mail to smetzker@cityofdavis.org up until Monday, December 9, 2019 at 5:00 PM.

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The following questions need to be addressed by the Supplemental EIR for the “Aggie Research Campus” (please note that wherever I say “impacts” I mean “environmental impacts”):

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Business park outside of Mace curve: environmental review

Rough-ARCmap-corrected-landuseQuestions about land use, parks/greenways and open space

The following comments were submitted by Roberta Millstein to the City of Davis today. This is part 1 of 2; other comments submitted by Millstein to be posted later [edit: see here] will address traffic/transportation, area impacts, and climate change impacts/interactions.  These comments serve as recommendations as to the scope and content of the supplemental environmental impact report (EIR) for the "Aggie Research Campus," a proposed massive ~200 acre business park on prime farmland outside the Mace curve, focusing on the changes in project and conditions from the previous Mace Ranch Innovation Center (MRIC) proposal.

Others who wish to submit their own written scoping comments can do so via the City of Davis Community Development and Sustainability Department, 23 Russell Boulevard, Suite 2 Davis, CA 95616 Attn: Sherri Metzker, Principal Planner or via electronic mail to smetzker@cityofdavis.org up until Monday, December 9, 2019 at 5:00 PM.

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The following questions need to be addressed by the Supplemental EIR for the “Aggie Research Campus” (please note that wherever I say “impacts” I mean “environmental impacts”):

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Post-Carbon Potluck & Mace business park environmental review

Rough-ARCmap-corrected copyTwo important events at almost identical times, but synergy possible

By Roberta Millstein

Attend a climate crisis potluck or give comment on the scope of an environmental review?  Both?

The first event: the Davis Post-Carbon Association (DPCA) is having a potluck this Monday, Dec 2 in the Davis Library: Blanchard Room 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. You can meet fellow residents who are taking action and learn how you can join the effort!

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Massive Mace business park comment period extended

Scope of environmental review is in play.

Buow-says-hunhBy Roberta Millstein, Colin Walsh, and Rik Keller

The period for commenting on the scope of the environmental review of the Mace business park, dubbed “Aggie Research Campus” (formerly Mace Ranch Innovation Center, or MRIC), a proposal to build a ~200 acre project on prime farmland outside the Mace curve, has been extended until December 9.  

Edit added Wed, 9 AM: We have learned from Ashley Feeney, Assistant City manager, that there is another change to the previously scheduled meeting Monday Dec 2 meeting, discussed below.  Instead of being a pure open house, "the planning consultant will be making a brief presentation at the beginning [of the] meeting on Monday further explaining the supplemental EIR scope and process. They will be available to explain process and answer questions throughout the meeting as well. The applicant will also have representatives there to answer questions about the project."

Here is some of the backstory and explanation about the comment process.

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Some important clarifications on EIR updates for the ARC

Other issues unfortunately went unaddressed

ARC-location-overviewBy Roberta Millstein

At Tuesday's City Council meeting, an item concerning updating the old Mace Ranch Innovation Center (MRIC) Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the new Aggie Research Campus (ARC) proposal was pulled from the Consent Calendar, allowing for staff and Council discussion of the issue in addition to public comment.

Five commenters addressed the item, including three commenters whose prepared comments appear in a sister article to this one.  Together, these comments made clear why an issue this substantive should never have been on the Consent Calendar in the first place, which is meant for uncontroversial issues that don’t require discussion.

Interestingly, in stark contrast to the last meeting where ARC was on the Consent Calendar, there were no student speakers in support of the project, corroborating the appearance that the previous speakers were coordinated and arranged.

Issues raised included:

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Three comments concerning updates to the ARC EIR

Three-commenters

Many concerns raised about the proposed environmental analysis, timeline, and more

At Tuesday's City Council meeting, an item concerning updating the old Mace Ranch Innovation Center (MRIC) Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the new Aggie Research Campus (ARC) proposal was pulled from the Consent Calendar, allowing for staff and Council discussion of the issue in addition to public comment. 

However, it was a very packed agenda, and so Mayor Lee limited comment time for all citizen speakers on all items to 2 minutes rather than the usual 3.  What follows are the prepared comments from Roberta Millstein, Colin Walsh, and Rik Keller, which are more extensive than the actual comments that they had time to present.  (The City Council's response to these comments is described in a subsequent article).

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City smuggles ARC EIR decision onto Tuesday’s Consent Calendar

Transportation consultant believes ARC may result in new significant impacts or a substantial increase in the severity of significant impacts.

ARC-location-overviewBy Roberta Millstein

After the controversy over the approval of the Mace Ranch Innovation Center (MRIC) Environmental Impact Report (EIR) back in February 2017, and after having to pull the most recent son-of-MRIC item from the Consent Calendar (the project now misleadingly dubbed “Aggie Research Campus” or ARC), you would think that the City Council would have learned its lesson not to try to smuggle important items on the Consent Calendar, where items are meant to be uncontroversial and passed unanimously without any staff presentation or discussion from Council or citizens.

If you thought that, as I did, you were mistaken.

Readers may recall that the ARC is a proposal for a ~200 acre business park with housing and hotel to be built outside Mace curve on prime farmland.  When the City Council approved the EIR, they knew it was very possible, even likely, that updates to the EIR would be needed in light of changes to the project or changes to relevant conditions, such as traffic.  Now that the City is moving forward with evaluating the new ARC proposal, the time has come to revisit the EIR.

Staff is recommending that the Council authorize the City Manager to enter into a contract with Raney Planning & Management, Inc. to prepare a Supplemental EIR and to approve a budget for that purpose, to be paid by the applicant.  However, there are at least three potential concerns with this recommendation.

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Learn more about the draft Downtown Davis Specific Plan

What do you want your downtown to look like?  How many stories do you want it to be?

Downtown Davis Plan and Amtrak Study Workshop FlierBy Roberta Millstein

Here are three ways to find out more about the draft Downtown Davis Specific Plan:

  1. Watch the Opticos Video Presentation to DPAC
    The October 24th Opticos presentation to the Downtown Plan Advisory Committee (DPAC) is available for viewing on the City video archives under  at https://www.cityofdavis.org/city-hall/city-council/city-council-meetings/meeting-videos – click on "Other."  The Opticos presentation at the DPAC meeting begins at about the 05:00 minute mark on the video and goes until 1:02:00. The presentation provides a good introduction and overview of the Draft Downtown Plan and also touches on the Draft Form Based Code.  It is followed by about 1.5 hours of DPAC questions and comments if interested in that part of the meeting.

  2. Community Meeting/Open House – Saturday November 2nd at 1:00 PM
    This Saturday (tomorrow) there will be a Community meeting at the Davis Community Church starting at 1:00 PM. It is for the general public and anyone is welcome. There will be a brief presentation at 1:30, but will primarily be an open house format for the public to come at their convenience. See flier above.

  3. Other Meetings
    Other meetings include a DPAC meeting scheduled for November 14th for committee discussion about the draft plan and two training sessions on the Form Based Code for code users scheduled for November 20th and December 11th. Meeting information is available at: https://www.cityofdavis.org/city-hall/community-development-and-sustainability/planning-and-zoning/downtown-davis-plan/news-and-updates.

The draft Davis Downtown Plan itself is here: https://www.cityofdavis.org/city-hall/community-development-and-sustainability/planning-and-zoning/downtown-davis-plan. The Draft Downtown Davis Specific Plan and Draft Downtown Form Based Code are available for a 90-day public review and comment period ending January 14, 2020. Public comments should be submitted using the online comment form.

More information on the Davis Amtrak Access and Connections Study is here: https://www.cityofdavis.org/city-hall/city-manager-s-office/davis-amtrak-access-and-connections-study

 


30 years of beer: Sudwerk celebrates community on Oct. 26

EventPoster(From press release) One of California's pioneering breweries will celebrate a major milestone on Oct. 26. Sudwerk Brewing Co. marks 30 years in business, with a free community celebration that includes live music and art, and supports two local charities.

The celebration is from noon to 9:30 p.m. at Sudwerk, 2001 Second St. The event supports the Davis Live Music Collective and Davis Schools Foundation, and includes a live mural competition, community mural wall, food by Tommy J’s Grill & Catering, face painting, new beer releases, a sour beer garden and more.

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The current Davis General Plan opposes Sustainable Response to Climate Change

Note: Wednesday, the Davis League of Women Voters will host a presentation by Davis Deputy City Manager Kelly Stachowicz on The General Plan "What Is It and Why Do We Care!", 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM, 3300 Cowell Blvd

By Jon Li

Davis’ General Plan expired in 2015, like old milk in the back of the refrigerator.

The current 2002 Davis General Plan (Housing element update 2010-15) is an update of the 1974 Plan.  That plan was once ecologically innovative but the California Building Code superseded Davis’ code in 1990.

            The 1987 General Plan had so little public participation that it was quickly out of date.   In 1993-4, 16 Davis committees worked on policies for a new general plan in such areas as youth, seniors, art, social services, community computer networks and economic development, as well as the state mandated plan elements like housing, transportation infrastructure, public safety and open space.

            Any innovation died there.  A group of anti-growth activists prolonged the process several years, and buried the innovation in the back of the plan.  The only thing that matters about the current Davis General Plan is kill any economic development because it might cause change.

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Sudwerk earns gold in most competitive beer contest in U.S.

Award Winning Pils Marzen SM(From press release) Sudwerk Brewing Co. of Davis won two medals at the 2019 Great American Beer Festival, more than any other brewery in the Sacramento region.

Put on by the Brewers Association, the 33rd GABF, which concluded Saturday, Oct. 5 in Denver, is the most competitive and coveted beer festival in the nation. The competition included 9,497 entries from 2,295 breweries representing all 50 states plus Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.

Sudwerk was the only brewery in the Sacramento region to take home a gold medal, for its Märzen Amber Lager. It won the American-Style Amber Lager category, which included 101 entries. This was the second year in a row the beer has medaled; it earned a silver in 2018.

Sudwerk also won bronze for The People’s Pilsner, in the Bohemian-Style Pilsener category, out of 123 entries.

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Freedom to Park Initiative Seeks Signatures

FreedomtoparkComplaints about parking availability and the battle over paid parking have been going on in Davis for decades. We are entering the final stage.

By Daniel Urazandi

Some local businesspersons and concerned citizens have drafted and filed an initiative that does what should have been done long ago-- sets a baseline for parking downtown that expands both bike and auto parking, and bans parking meters throughout Davis. Once 4,200 Davisites sign the petition the initiative will go on the ballot and we can vote on it  ourselves. Council has already voted several times, each time choosing to erode and restrict parking while charging for it. We are certain the vast majority of folks want the opposite—free parking and more spaces—so that is exactly what our initiative provides.

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Valley Clean Energy responds to Woodland utility fraud news

VCE(From press release) Valley Clean Energy — the official, locally governed electricity provider for Woodland, Davis and unincorporated Yolo County — would like to reassure its customers that recent reports of utility fraud are not connected to the agency in any way.

Valley Clean Energy (VCE) began offering customers clean, low-carbon power in June 2018 and currently serves more than 54,000 customer accounts. The not-for-profit public agency reinvests its revenues back into the communities it serves.

Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig issued a news release Friday, Aug. 2, to warn local residents to be aware of utility service providers who are switching customers’ gas or electric service without consent or authorization.

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Frustration Over Paid Parking Expansions

Paid-parkingNew citizen initiative filed in response

Frustrated by City Hall's insistence on paid parking expansions despite massive popular resistance, friends of downtown and concerned Davisites have filed a citizen's initiative to go on the March 2020 ballot. The proponents of record are Daniel Urazandi and Robert Milbrodt although many people have been involved in drafting the initiative. To become involved yourself come to a campaign organizing meeting at Steve's Pizza 6PM on Thurs June 20.

Public notice from the proponents:

Why an initiative?

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City Council needs forward thinking on broadband internet

My understanding is that the major question in front of the Council is whether to continue to pursue a municipally-owned broadband network.  The Broadband Advisory Task Force (BATF) says yes; staff says no.  I am here to support the BATF recommendation.

I was astonished to see Dan Carson's editorial in the Davis Enterprise. It would seem that he has already decided, in advance of today's staff presentation and  without hearing comment from the community and fellow Councilmembers that Davis should not control its own broadband network. I hope that he and other Councilmembers have an open mind on this. 

Everyone seems to agree that having municipally owned broadband would bring great benefits to the City, spurring economic development and small business, bringing in needed revenue, and provide fast internet to schools and low income households. Given that, you would think that this would be a no brainer. 

Yet Carson, following the staff report, worries about the costs. This seems to miss the point in multiple ways. To quote a recent article on the topic: 

“Cities invest in many facilities that are not designed to make a profit, from sports stadiums and convention centers to airports and museums. Cities are not indifferent to the economics of such projects, but the bottom line is not strictly enterprise solvency. Especially for infrastructure like broadband, the network effects and spillovers should contribute to the economic and social life of the community.” https://www.vice.com/amp/en_us/article/a3np4a/new-municipal-broadband-map

Furthermore, as things stand now we are at the mercy of a monopoly. As coincidence would have it, Comcast raised its prices just this month. My household is now paying almost $80 for high speed internet. Our only “alternative” is to “pay less by paying more,” that is, by getting our internet bundled with other services we don’t want and wouldn’t use. We live in Central Davis, yet AT&T cannot provide high speed bandwidth to our household. We are at Comcast's mercy. This is not forward thinking. 

Carson compared City owned broadband to the bullet train. A more accurate comparison would be SMUD, a lost opportunity for Davis to control its own electricity. 

Let’s not make that same mistake again. Let’s do what over 750 communities have done <https://www.brookings.edu/blog/the-avenue/2017/06/29/new-report-swings-and-misses-on-communities-and-next-generation-broadband/amp/> and control our own broadband network.  

Let’s be bold and act for the greater good of the community. 

Davisites, please come to City Council this evening and let the Council know that this issue is important to you. 

 


A response to Dan Carson's op-ed opposing a city-owned broadband network

There are significant economic reasons to have a municipal fiber project

Published by Matt Williams in the Davis Enterprise, reprinted with permission of the author

I respectfully disagree with Dan Carson.

As a member of the BATF I would like to share with the public the following list of reasons that explain why BATF came to the official conclusion in writing that “the emotion and passion around the concept of a municipal fiber project could not be any more intensified."

BATF officially chose not to include the detailed list in the current recommendation memo because the focus of the memo was limited to the two additional tasks Council gave the BATF in 2018. These reasons cover what was learned during the whole BATF duration from 2016 to 2019. It is important to note that there are some BATF members who might not personally agree with some of the listed reasons; however ALL of the reasons were actively discussed by the BATF. 

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The need for cheap, abundant, ultra-wide Internet bandwidth

Fiber-optics-internetBy Robert Nickerson

Sometimes it seems this town is trying to find its get up and go. If we were taking an auto trip we are getting a lot of constituencies into the car, Ag and Seed, BioTech, New Downtown, Innovation Center, are all getting in and closing the door, putting on our seatbelts, turning the key and not getting anywhere. To our dismay, we look down and see no tires. We are missing an essential element that forms the vehicle that drives our economy to growth, to speed us along our way, that thing is cheap, abundant, ultra-wide Internet bandwidth. Businesses and their employees working in these fields that we are trying to bring to town, require access to the fastest and most reliable transport infrastructure available, fiber optic cable. For three years the City of Davis Broadband Advisory Task Force has been evaluating the feasibility of a community-owned fiber optic network. On June 4th they will deliver their recommendation that it is, and that the City should seriously consider pursuing this opportunity. We agree, and hope the City Council takes the next steps the Task Force recommends.

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Community Owned Fiber Optic Ring

DavisGIGGUIDING PRINCIPLES

By DavisGIG

The community owned fiber optic project will meet many specific economic and connectivity objectives of its community partners. More importantly its design is guided by certain principles and community values and brings direct substantial benefits to Davis residents. These benefits are referenced from and included in the Feasibility Study Report (FSR), the phone survey, and the DavisGIG online poll. Some of the current needs that the network is designed to address are:

  1. Digital Inclusion - Currently in the marketplace there are areas where residents have no choice, or poor connectivity. There are three specific areas in Davis1 where only one wireline provider offers any service considered by the FCC to have “Broadband.”2 A community owned network that covers all parcels, and methodically expands to future parcels ensures that all residents, regardless of income level will be connected to the network.3

  2. Digital Divide - The network, which will connect to every parcel in the community, can ensure that all residents regardless of income level have at least minimal level of wireline broadband service without data caps or restrictive transfer allowances that come with cell phone plans. Municipal ownership will ensure, through operational policy or specific vendor lease relationships to the municipal fiber, that a low income plan is available.4 Davis residents strongly believe Internet access on the fiber network should be available to all.5

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City Council Makes Target Mall Decision Based on Demonstrably False Claims

By Daniel Urazandi

I wasn't at all surprised when the sitting council voted unanimously to remove the zoning restrictions on the Target mall. But I was astonished by the content of the staff report they based that decision on. It makes claims that are demonstrably false to anyone who has taken even a walk around downtown, and then these are the very statements that have been parroted by the chamber in a support letter and by council in their decision. From the report:

“In 2006, the city was concerned that the shopping center could have a negative impact on the economic viability of the downtown.

Studies were prepared that showed there was little likelihood of urban decay, which has held true.

After 10 years of operation in the city, staff believes it can be empirically deduced that the tenants in the shopping center are not relocating from the downtown area nor are they causing closure and mass vacancy in the downtown area”

“In fact downtown is thriving regardless of the existence of other businesses in Davis”

“there is no evidence that the shopping center has an impact on the downtown area.”

In other words, they are doubling down on the lie they told in 2006 even in the face of plain evidence from the intervening years.

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