Entries categorized "Downtown"

Picnic in the Park makes changes

Wednesday music and beer to move downtown

PIPlogo(From press release) The Davis Farmers Market is returning to its roots, putting the focus of its Wednesday market back on the farmers.

COVID-19 health guidelines halted concerts and alcohol consumption at the market. There haven’t been the usual crowds filling Central Park for Picnic in the Park, yet farm-fresh produce sales are up.

Since 1995, the Wednesday market has extended its hours into the early evenings. While not abandoning the Picnic in the Park name, the Davis Farmers Market plans to discontinue the music and beer garden.

Meanwhile, the Davis Downtown Business Association is eager to pick up the music and alcohol portion of the event, and incorporate it into Open Air Davis, as early as next spring.

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DISC site not required to satisfy Davis's commercial needs

Infill would be a better choice

By Pam Gunnell, Richard McCann, and Matt Williams

A 200-acre business park like DISC is not an objective in the City of Davis’ General Plan.  Additionally, DISC contains uses (housing, retail, parks, ag buffer) that require land that would not be needed with an infill model that uses existing parcels inside the city limits. According to the project’s own environmental review documents, the FSEIR, only 101 acres of the 200-acre DISC are needed for R&D, office and light manufacturing.  (FSEIR p. 2-21 and p. 2-254) 

Since DISC is proposed to be built out in 4 phases over 20-25 years, 101 acres of land is not needed all at once.  For that reason, existing smaller parcels in Davis may be able to accommodate the initial R&D development and defer the need to consider DISC for a number of years … at a time when the impacts of COVID on market demand for Office/R&D/Flex space are much clearer.

The City, however, is not seriously considering meeting its commercial needs with infill of existing parcels, despite the fact that a 2019 City study enumerates 124 acres of vacant parcels inside the city limits. (FSEIR p. 2-21 and LINK) This does not include City–owned properties and parcels that are underutilized and could be rezoned – for example the PG&E property on the edge of downtown nor does it include redevelopable properties already appropriately zoned.

Continue reading "DISC site not required to satisfy Davis's commercial needs" »


Criminal Negligence

By Dan Urazandi

There have been a series of crimes at my shop that have forced me to consider crime in Davis. Most of us take it for granted that Davis is safe like it was a decade or two ago. Many of us are learning otherwise as we are victimized by criminals. I hope a few more can be convinced without having to become victims and that corrective action will be taken before things get even worse, particularly as covid policy is emptying California jails.    

   In 2018 and 2019 my son and I were victims of two assaults with deadly weapon while minding our store. This year's crime was a burglary, we were hit with a smash and grab on 9/24. I was aghast and furious that the police would not assign an investigator to the case. They seemed unconcerned with property crime, which begins to explain its massive increase in the last few years. So we handled the case ourselves; when the suspect came back on 10/9 to sell me stolen merchandise from other stores he burglarized and, yes, some he had burglarized from me, my son and I put him under citizen's arrest after some struggle. When I handed him over to DPD they acted for the first time in this case with expedition by letting him go one hour after picking him up. That's after we found him, caught him, fought him and arrested him for them. The thief couldn't have been stupider and we went far beyond what a citizen should have to do to catch this serial burglar, but he went free anyway.

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Letter: The Road Ahead

IMG_3892DISC for me represents a 20+ year commitment to going down the wrong road.  It represents a reversal of fundamental tenets that have shaped Davis for the better.

DISC is sprawl plain and simple. It circumvents every good planning principle that Davis has stood for. It places retail, office and dense housing on the periphery while destroying 200 acres of farmland. It is the antithesis of what we should be doing in the era of global warming as DISC depends on car commuters and makes a joke of the City’s mandate of carbon neutrality by 2040.

Furthermore, DISC will destabilize existing businesses and compromise our ability to fill existing vacancies. Even before Covid, DISC was a poor plan for a community that values a strong downtown. But, Covid on top of DISC boggles the mind.  The SEIR states that cannibalism from DISC will cause sustained commercial vacancies of up to 313,000 sq. ft.

The good news is that we have an alternative option that would take us down the right road.

We have enough land in Davis to serve our commercial needs. In 2019, the city’s justification for converting 3820 Chiles Rd. from commercial to residential reads “the existing current inventory of vacant land for 0ffice and R&D/Flex uses will meet demand for the next 43 to 69 years”.  We also have a Downtown Plan that is full steam ahead and calls for intensifying residential and commercial in the core. Joe Minicozzi, hosted by Cool Davis in March, was unequivocal that investing in the ground Davis already has, that has existing services and infrastructure, is the best path to economic stability and revitalization.

I want to add that Colin Walsh, candidate for City Council District 2, is the one council candidate who has studied every aspect of DISC and has taken a lead role against the project. In Colin you will find a candidate who will make the tough decisions to do what is right, and not what is politically expedient.  He has the resolve and commitment to go down a better road.

Pam Gunnell
Davis


Downtown Merchants Revolt Against DDBA's Support of DISC

The following signed petition was sent to the Davis Downtown Business Association (DDBA) by a group of downtown business owners expressing concern that the DDBA issued a statement in support of Measure B and asking that that statement of support be rescinded until the full DDBA membership can be polled in an open, transparent, and democratic manner – Heather Caswell, The Wardrobe

__________________________________________________________________________

Be Bold – Be an Agent of Change! - A Petition Opposing Measure B and DISC

We believe the heart and soul of Davis is our downtown core. And we believe we must protect it and nurture it to realize its long term, sustainable potential. We support he Downtown Development Plan as a viable means to rejuvenate and enhance the businesses and livability of the downtown core.

We also believe the development of the Davis Innovation and Sustainability Campus (DISC) on the far east side of Davis, with 2.6 million sq ft of commercial space including 100,000 sq. ft. of retail space and 160,000 sq. ft. of hotel and meeting space, will siphon business tenants and merchant customers away from our downtown coreadversely affecting affecting its viability and vitality. 

We therefore are opposed to Measure B which seeks to approve the annexation of prime farmland into the City and the construction of the massive DISC project.

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DISC is using Voodoo Economics

Voodoo-economics(From press release) The Developer's promises of economic benefits from DISC want you to believe all you have to do is vote "YES" on Measure B and the City's potholes will be miraculously filled with the gold nuggets tumbling from the DISC bandwagon.

But the DISC project will not be an economic bonanza and may even cost the City money over the long term. This is because extremely optimistic projections of property taxes from the project will probably never materialize.

And with no fiscal guarantees, the Developer will be the only one hauling away wheelbarrels of money!

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Why Lock Out Our Trees?

The draft Davis Downtown Specific Plan needs to address trees.

Cork oak
Giant cork oak downtown

The mature tree canopy in downtown Davis is an invaluable historic, environmental, and economic asset. It is a legacy we are fortunate to inherit and its future rests in our hands. Ideally, because of our informed stewardship the next generation will inherit a healthier and more extensive tree canopy resource.

The draft Davis Downtown Specific Plan (DDSP) allocates 25 pages of guidance to the design and placement of signage, but nothing to canopy conservation and the integration of new trees into downtown development. We do not believe that this omission reflects the level of value that our city officials, business leaders, and residents place on trees in our commercial area.

Tree Davis has submitted written comments that include these recommendations to bolster the inclusion of trees in the DDSP.

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New metaphors for new understandings of genomes

Parking-signsHow genetic modification is like a modification to the parking code

By Sarah Perrault and Meaghan O’Keefe

The city of Davis — a town of about 67,000 residents in California and the home of the University of California Davis– is considering changing its downtown parking regulations to add parking fees and limit parking hours. Debates about this proposal have been raging in city council meetings, in local news venues, and in social media. The topics of debate, however, are not about the actual proposal, but about effects on people with mobility limitations; about whether there are enough bike racks in downtown Davis; about whether businesses would be harmed by the change; about whether businesses should have to pay for their employees’ parking; about climate change; about traffic jams and traffic signal timing and public transit and more.

On the surface, none of this has anything to do with genes or genetic modification but looked at another way, the similarities are striking. At first glance, the small change to the municipal code is just that — a small change of a few sentences in a 42-chapter document — but the consequences come not from the change itself, but from how that code is used, and from effects on civic life that extend into realms not immediately related to the matter of parking.

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Freedom to Park Downtown: Questions Answered

FreeparkingFrom The Freedom to Park committee, FreedomToPark.org

While tabling for free parking at the Farmers Market, we have encountered very few advocates of “paid parking.” We find that many casual paid parking supporters, upon consideration of all facts, will reconsider or at least support putting the issue to public vote. There are some extremists who assert there should be no vehicles or vehicle parking in the downtown, not even for frail, elderly or handicapped individuals. But most people accept the existence of automobiles and realize that even electric cars must park.

This space is too brief to answer every question or assertion that we have heard, but we will address the most common.  For additional examples, we refer you to our website:  freedomtopark.org

First, the initiative prohibits the charging of a fee for the public parking that is already provided by our tax dollars. It does not change standard parking regulations; it does not change the parking time limits; it does not change the city parking permit program.  Second, the initiative requires the replacement of the 120 parking spaces that the City has already removed from the downtown.  These spaces can easily be replaced by turning parallel spaces into perpendicular or slant parking spaces, for example.

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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

 


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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Fine food and fun at the StrEatery

Can this be a quarterly event?

By Roberta Millstein

On Thursday evening, the Davis Food Co-op and Land & Ladle, in partnership with COOL Cuisine Davis, put on an event dubbed the StrEatery, held adjacent to the Co-op on 6th St. About a dozen food trucks were there, offering cuisines ranging from Mexican to Filipino to Hawaiian and more. Beer and wine were also available.

What follows are some photos and my idiosyncratic impressions from the event. I'm sure others had different experiences, and I encourage them to share those in the comments.

But my main question is, when do we do this again?  There were too many good choices and only so much room in my stomach!  Maybe this should be a quarterly event?

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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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The Village Feast returns

Village Feast_ Ashley Muir Bruhn
Diners at the 2018 Village Feast sit at long tables under the sycamore trees at Davis’ Central Park. Ashley Muir Bruin/Courtesy photo

Prepare to dine al fresco at Central Park on Sept. 28

By Wendy Weitzel

The acclaimed Village Feast returns to Davis on Saturday, Sept. 28, with discount tickets available through July 31.

The event, from 1 to 4 p.m. at Central Park, 401 C St., Davis, is presented by Davis Farm to School and the Les Dames d’Escoffier International, Sacramento. The event celebrates September Farm to Table month in the Sacramento region.

The Village Feast follows Le Grand Aïoli tradition of late-summer feasts of Provence, France, where aïoli — golden garlic-mayonnaise — unites people and food for a gastronomic celebration. Guests bring their own best dinnerware, flatware and linen or cloth napkins, setting the scene for a long, leisurely meal under the shade of the sycamore trees. Wine glasses are provided.

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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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Making Biking Convenient

Is making driving worse our Bike-rack-1 only alternative?

By Roberta Millstein

When I read the Davis Enterprise op-ed on roads, driving, and biking last month (“Infrastructure, what is it good for?”), I was sympathetic.  After all, it does seem to make sense to call out the “operative principle” that “if only we make driving (or parking) inconvenient enough, then people will drive less, or slower, or somewhere else.”  Indeed, as the op-ed says, we surely don’t want to rejigger our roads and our parking spaces only to increase car traffic and cars idling if the goal is to reduce carbon emissions.

But now I am not so sure.

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Statement from the Old East Davis Neighborhood Association

Regarding the 5/15/2019 Court decision on the Trackside project

OEDNA-v-CoDThe Old East Davis Neighborhood Association is grateful that the Court conducted a thorough review of the administrative record and made a well-considered decision. The Court was unusually diligent, in that the Parties were brought together for a second hearing to ensure that all relevant aspects of the case were presented.

Vacate-and-rescindIt was never the neighborhood's intention to prevent redevelopment of this site. We support infill. In a Davis Enterprise Op Ed on Sept 24, 2017, we showed that the Trackside proposal could be downscaled to fit within neighborhood Design Guidelines and City zoning. The Court's ruling is a good outcome that could lead to a well-designed, transitional building that is consistent with Davis' land use policies.

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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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‘Davis Needle’ points the way between UC Davis and downtown

NeedleInstall
 Mike Hollibaugh of Holly Solar watches as artist Mark Grieve, in hardhat, guides forklift driver Dave Pedroli during Tuesday's installation of "The Davis Needle" at Third Street and University Avenue in Davis. Courtesy photo.

By Wendy Weitzel

A 25-foot-tall obelisk created from reclaimed bicycle parts is a sparkling new addition to Davis’ public artworks.

On Tuesday, artists installed “The Davis Needle,” which rises from the center of the Third Street and University Avenue intersection. The city of Davis commissioned it in 2011 as part of the Third Street Improvement project.

“I feel like I’ve been working on it my whole life,” artist Mark Grieve joked on Tuesday morning, as he adjusted the base before a forklift hoisted the sculpture into place. Crowds gathered to watch the installation, some of them enjoying lunch or beverages at two adjacent restaurants: Third and U Café and Pho King 4.

Artists Grieve and Ilana Spector designed and built the sculpture, and Mike Hollibaugh of Holly Solar devised and installed the internal LED lighting system. At night, an animated sequence of random, fluid lights will surge through the sculpture.

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On the So-Called "Parking Compromise"

Dynamic-pricingBy Daniel Urazandi 

 I want to thank every businessperson, customer, employee, visitor and friend who cared enough about downtown to object to the city's paid parking plan. If we had not spoken up they would have metered every space, endangering businesses and increasing our cost of living while reducing quality of life. While we deserve our moment of relief and celebration there are very real problems with the substitute plan the city is imposing.

    Council decided not to put meters on the streets but to put them in nearly every public lot instead. This is 279 spaces that will go paid, a 600% increase. Common sense and all data says this will send drivers to the streets to avoid paying in the lots, making it harder to find a free space. This will hurt businesses, particularly those closest to the lots. The lot across from Woodstocks is going paid while there are three vacant storefronts on that block. The disincentive of paid parking will help ensure that the only occupants there continue to be homeless camps.

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