Entries categorized "Environment"

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”):

Continue reading "Business park outside of Mace curve: More environmental review " »


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”):

Continue reading "Business park outside of Mace curve: environmental review " »


Business Park Developer Accused of Providing Misinformation

Lawyer
Attorney representing the business park defends a questionable table at the EIR scoping meeting.

Last minute release questioned

Attorney's for the Massive Mace Business Park dubbed "ARC" provided the City of Davis with a letter and tables in preparation for the EIR scoping yesterday. The City posted these documents to the City Website and emailed them to select individuals. Unfortunately these documents have come under scrutiny for possibly containing misinformation.

The City of Davis did not vet the information before releasing it to the public and injecting it into the EIR process. In the words of City Manager Mike Webb, "These documents were submitted by the applicant and therefore are appropriate to posted to the city web site as such."

When asked if the "City has opened itself up to litigation by sending false and misleading information out in advance of tonight’s meeting," Webb stated, "The City, as you know, does not edit documents that are submitted by the applicant. "

The letter below details some of the problems with the applicant's last minute release:

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University Commons: Public Meeting and Environmental Review

Public comments on Draft Environmental Impact Report accepted through Dec 20

University-commons-site-plan
Brixmor Property Group, University Commons Illustrative Site Plan

(From press release) The City of Davis Planning Commission will conduct a public meeting on the University Commons Project Draft EIR, as described below, at a meeting beginning at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, December 11, 2019 in the Community Chambers, City Offices, 23 Russell Boulevard, Davis, California. Please contact the Department of Community Development and Sustainability for the approximate time this item will be heard.

Project Description:

The Planning Commission is scheduled to review the Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) that has been prepared for the University Commons Project located at 737-885 Russell Boulevard, known as University Mall. The proposed project would demolish approximately 90,653 square feet of the existing University Mall building to create a new mixed-use development. Buildout of the proposed project would result in the addition of 264 new multi-family residential units and approximately 136,800 square feet of retail space, not including the existing Trader Joe’s building, which would be retained as-is. The proposed 264 multi-family residential units would include a mix of unit types with a total of 622 bedrooms and 894 beds. The ARCO gas station is not part of the proposed project or project site and would also remain unchanged.

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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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VCE Integrated Resource Plan Workshop

Information / Questions / Customer Input

VCE(From Press release)  – Valley Clean Energy will host a public workshop in early December to discuss and seek input to their Integrated Resource Plan (IRP). The workshop is open to all VCE customers and interested parties, and will offer information and answer questions, while gathering input from customers.

VCE’s IRP outlines our planned power supply for the next 3 years and provides a forecast for expected electric demand and resource supply until 2030. The IRP also details our commitment to renewable and low carbon energy procurements. The IRP is a VCE planning document that is updated every 2 years and is also governed by regulatory requirements. Our final plan will be submitted to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) for consideration in May 2020.

The workshop agenda will include:

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Mace Mess: 11 Broken Promises

Mace mess2Squandered Trust

Comments given to the Davis City Council by Mimi McMahon

Trust is an important element when citizens elect officials to act on their behalf.  There is no room for special interests or personal gain.  A promise is a contract. The City has squandered the trust of Davis citizens and those affected by the Mace Mess you and your staff have created.  You have wasted millions of dollars of our hard-earned taxes. 

Broken and Unfulfilled Promises

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Thursday's Caltrans Workshop Key to Davis Growth and Climate Future

IMG_6919By Alan Hirsch

On Thursday Caltrans will hold a workshop on the future of the I-80 corridor, Davis’s Connection to the rest of the World.  It will be in the Blanchard room of the Library at 6:30pm.

Caltrans will be considering different options to deal with transportation demand in this corridor.

Will they just address only thru traffic, i.e. Tahoe Snowbirds...or real needs of people who live in the corridor, for example transit needs that can’t be met by slow, limited stop and expensive Capitol Corridor Train service or the anemic and unreliable Yolobus service?

If you care about traffic on Mace Blvd...or how we can have accommodate economic growth in Davis -- like the proposed 12,000 (!!!)  trip a day Aggie business park on Mace curve  -- this is the meeting to go to.

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Business park outside of Mace curve takes another step

Notice of Scoping Meeting and Preparation of a Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR)

RoughtARCmap-corrected
Rough map showing approximate outline of proposed business park - Corrected from earlier image, which did not show full scale of project

What follows is the official notice of a meeting that you can attend to give input on the Supplemental EIR on the so-called "Aggie Research Campus," formerly named "Mace Ranch Innovation Center."  The project would include not only offices and R&D space, but also housing and a hotel, with ~4300 parking spaces total.

Information on the project can be found on the City of Davis's website, here.

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Winters Votes to Join Valley Clean Energy

VCE(From press release) The city of Winters is the fourth local jurisdiction to join Valley Clean Energy, Yolo County’s not-for-profit public clean power electricity agency. The cities of Woodland and Davis as well as the unincorporated area of Yolo County are already members, having launched the agency in June 2018.

At its Oct. 15 meeting, the Winters City Council passed a resolution approving the terms of membership in VCE as well as the first reading of an ordinance authorizing implementation of the community choice aggregation program for all electricity customers in Winters. The second reading and adoption of the ordinance occurred at the Nov. 5 council meeting.

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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:

Continue reading "Some important clarifications on EIR updates for the ARC" »


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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As the fires rage and the blackouts continue, Newsom ducks

The guv sounds tough -- but he has no plan. And he's ignoring the only (obvious) solution to the current and future crisis.

Screen-Shot-2019-10-28-at-8.17.07-PM
Gav talks tough about PG&E — until it comes to solutions.

By Tim Redmond

Gov. Gavin Newsom is sounding all harsh and tough toward PG&E as Northern California burns out of control again and the blackouts continue.

At a press event that he promoted on Twitter, Newsom said that PG&E’s “years of greed, years of mismanagement, years and years of putting shareholders over people are over.”

Watch the video: It’s classic Newsom. “We will hold them to account,” he says. “We will restructure” the company when it gets out of bankruptcy.

And then … what?

How is that “restructuring” going to work if PG&E remains a privately owned utility that sets up its own corporate structure? How are we going to “hold to account” a company when it’s already in total collapse – and Newsom has no plan to address that except to ask Warren Buffett to buy it?

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VCE Pays Back Startup Loans Early

VCE_loan_repaid_early
Pictured left to right: VCE Board member and Yolo County Supervisor  Don Saylor, VCE Chair and Woodland City Council member Tom Stallard, VCE Board member and Davis City Council member Lucas Frerichs, and VCE Interim General Manager Mitch Sears

(From press release) Valley Clean Energy’s board of directors has announced that the local community choice energy agency is repaying its start-up loans early, years ahead of schedule.

VCE was formed in 2016 as a joint powers agency comprising the city of Davis and the unincorporated area of Yolo County. The city of Woodland joined later, in 2017. Each agency lent VCE $500,000 to cover program implementation costs with a requirement that the loans would be repaid with interest.

“Now, after less than 1½ years in operation, we are repaying the loans — far ahead of schedule,” said Tom Stallard, a member of the Woodland City Council who chairs the VCE board of directors. “The agency’s firm financial footing allows us to do so.”

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Candidate runs for Yolo County Supervisor on a Local Green New Deal platform

IMG_4955My name is David Abramson and I am running for District 4 Yolo County Supervisor on the platform of a Local Green New Deal. A Local Green New Deal lays out a plan for local infrastructure, planning, and policy that will help us address the climate crisis we are in. It also aims to transform our economic system into one that supports ecological healing and true community wealth-building.

Growing up in Davis and living here most of my life, I know that Yolo County residents care about their communities. We care about each other, we care about our families, our neighbors, our schools, about the health and well-being of our workers, our youth, and our elders. We care about the health of our planet, and about the future we want for our grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

We hear the calls from the youth saying, "We want a future! We want our political leaders to step up to the challenge, to transition from fossil fuels, and to take the challenges that humanity faces seriously and fearlessly, and to spring forward into action!"

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VCE takes steps toward creation of a locally owned and operated public utility

VCE(From press release) The board of Yolo County’s clean power agency has submitted a $300 million bid to purchase Pacific Gas & Electric’s lines, poles and other electricity distribution assets within Yolo County.

The purchase would enable the creation of a locally owned and operated public utility that the board has concluded would result in a more successful, efficient and safe electricity system.

Following the announcement this summer of its intent to examine the purchase of local PG&E assets, and after months of study and review with expert consultants, the Valley Clean Energy board of directors submitted a non-binding offer Friday, Oct. 18, to purchase PG&E’s assets.

Valley Clean Energy’s offer would ultimately be subject to approval by the federal court handling the PG&E bankruptcy case.

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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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Open Letter to City Council on Jump's Age Discrimination

Jumpvote
Uber photo modified by T. Edelman

Todd Edelman sent the following email to the City Council today for tonight's Council meeting. For reference, please see yesterday’s article by the same author.

Dear City Council,

1 -  I feel it is important to note that when modifications to the bike share ordinance related to bike share were initially adopted, the BTSSC was bypassed, and that one element which Staff pushed hard for - locking bikes TO racks - resulted in a lot of the problems we had with bikes parked where they were not supposed to. Though Sacramento's unofficial policy permitted flexible parking in 2018, the Staff resisted a change until the spring of this year. Thankfully, the current Staff Report recommends e.g. "parking in the street like a motorcycle".

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