Entries categorized "Housing"

An Open Letter to South Davis on Issues at Pacifico (January 2021, recycled)

Today the D. Vanguard recycled some old content from January 2021 in a 'new' article "Commentary: Long Troubled by Some of the Comments on Pacifico" and sprinkled in some recent content from an Anti-NIMBY Council-meeting public comment.

I, too, am disgusted by some of the comments on Pacifico, but the comments I find twisted are the opposite comments Greenwald is troubled by -- those by David Greenwald, Georgina Valencia and some much-DV-recycled comments by Gloria Partida . . . and the rest of the Usual Suspects of the "Anti-NIMBY" crowd.

My position remains immortalized in the following letter:

An Open Letter to South Davis (January 2021)

Hello South Davis,

I don’t live in South Davis, but I’m looking at District 3 100’ away out my window.

I share your problems and your concerns. There is a spot 200’ from my house where drug addicts / drug dealers / thieves camp outdoors. This is not a homeless encampment, it is a revolving crime den. In Spring 2020 I had three scary men on meth (I believe) approach me late at night and one threw rocks at me. There were numerous incidents of mental health outbursts. I slept little for two months as these people were up all night.

Our neighborhood mostly solved the problem *this time* eventually by having meetings with both the Police Chief and his Lieutenant, and relentlessly pestering the City Council. That took two months.

Your problems I have heard regarding Pacifico are similar, and thankfully also seem better but not solved. I am here with you in unity. We cannot participate in these issues only when the problem is next to us. We must support other Davis residents who have similar problems, as the problem is bigger than Pacifico, and bigger than the location next to me.

God Bless the people who are helping the truly homeless population that are in need. Those who spoke today on that are I believe sincere. However, the problem is not the needy, but the criminals. We cannot conflate these.

There have been times when residents, and subtly even our leaders, have shamed “the homed” for being “privileged” and not being sensitive to those in need. These are separate issues. We must recognize the needs of the truly homeless. We must also recognize that there is no shame in having a home and a roof over our heads, nor the need to protect our families and yes, our things.

When people talk of drug dealers and thieves, they are not talking about the needy homeless; we must not conflate the two as a rhetorical trick. We must recognize and acknowledge that shaming the ‘other’ and demonizing those with homes, and those without homes, will not result in constructive resolution. We must recognize the needs of all parties as legitimate. Except for criminals, they ‘need’ to be removed.

Alan C. Miller is a resident of Old East Davis


Post-election statement from No on H campaign

No on H 2022_Sign Design_Final w SC Endorse Seal(From press release) We are pleased by the overwhelming defeat of Measure H, which we believe would have resulted in a development that was harmful to Davis.

It was a true grassroots effort of many volunteers over many months, who poured countless hours of their personal time into the campaign. It was also the result of many passionate supporters who donated to the campaign, displayed lawn signs, wrote letters to the editor, and participated on social media.  We thank everyone who was involved in the effort.

We hope the resounding defeat of Measure H  leads to more collaborative community discussions that engage Davisites in creating future projects which will be truly sustainable and environmentally progressive.


Davis still needs a new vision

Back in December 2020, some members of the successful 2020 No on DISC campaign got together and articulated what they felt was a new and better vision for Davis.  With the apparent defeat of DiSC 2022 as Measure H, currently showing a 63.52% "No" vote, I thought I would pull it out again.  I think our vision and much of what we wrote here remains pertinent , including an all-too-prescient prediction that:

"the developers will try to bring back DISC with minor changes and spend another quarter of a million dollars in the hopes of gaining just enough new votes to change the outcome of the election.  What the election vote shows is that such an attempt would be a mistake.  The project proposal was fundamentally flawed and a few more bells and whistles wouldn’t change that."

We did not, however, expect that the developer would spend significantly more than half a million dollars, and still lose.  It is to Davisites' credit that we still saw that this was a bad project delivered through a bad process (including an inappropriate developer-funded lawsuit, spearheaded by a sitting Councilmember).

I hope our op-ed stimulates you to think about an alternative path for Davis.

-RLM

The Failure of Measure B Suggests a New Vision Is Needed
Originally posted December 12, 2020
https://www.davisite.org/2020/12/the-failure-of-measure-b-suggests-a-new-vision-is-needed-.html

West from Rd 30B - Sac skylineBy Roberta Millstein, Pam Gunnell, Nancy Price, Alan Pryor, and Colin Walsh

Measure B – the measure that proposed a 200-acre business park and housing development outside of the Mace Curve – failed at the polls.  The defeat comes with official Yolo County returns showing that 16,458 people, or 52% of voters, said “no” to the project.  In Mace Ranch and Wildhorse, 60% of voters opposed the project.

This is a remarkable result considering that the No on B campaign was outspent by over 14 to 1.  As of October 28, Yes on B had spent $258,919 between when B was put on the ballot in July and the election in November, while No on B had spent $18,149.  The No on B campaign, composed solely of volunteer Davis citizens, created its own literature, designed its own sign and other graphics, was active on social media, and, to the extent possible during COVID, pounded the pavement distributing flyers to let Davisites know about the negative impacts that this project would bring.  It was a true grassroots effort.  There were no paid designers, no paid consultants, no multiple glossy mailers, and no push-polls to gather information on what messages would sell.  Opponents also could not table at the Farmers Market due to COVID restrictions, normally the bread and butter of a campaign lacking deep pocket donors to finance getting its message out.

By comparison, Yes on B hired a PR Firm and other consultants more than a year in advance of the vote to help contrive and package its message and run the campaign.

The fact that Measure B was nonetheless defeated in the face of long odds and unusual circumstances shows that DISC was a bad project for Davis from the outset.  It was too big, chewing up prime farmland and habitat.   The promise of on-site housing for DISC employees could not be guaranteed, making the development car-and commuter- oriented with extensive parking areas. Poor public transportation options exacerbated this problem. The DISC development would have massively increased Davis greenhouse gas emissions and made it impossible for Davis to meet its carbon neutrality goals. We are in a climate emergency, as Yolo County and other counties have recognized; Davis needs to shoulder its share of responsibility for climate impacts, including but not limited to wildfire impacts and extreme weather events locally and globally.

Continue reading "Davis still needs a new vision" »


Community Leaders Urge – Vote "No" on Measure H

(From press release) Here are six of the many respected and well-known community leaders who urge you to vote No on Measure H against the DiSC project, together with a brief statement of their concerns.

Evans "Previous City Councils required 25-35% affordable housing per each new project. DISC is providing many fewer low income units under a weakened ordinance that does not apply to land outside the city. This project is designed to deliver less units of affordable low income housing."
Ann Evans
Former Mayor of Davis; Founder of the Davis Food Co-op; Author, Davis Farmer’s Market Cookbook
w/ David Thompson
Affordable Housing Developer


Jolly“If these developments were about providing needed and affordable housing and not speculation, the developers would have broken ground on already approved projects. No on Measure H.”
Desmond Jolly
Former Long Range Planning Commission Member
Director Emeritus, UC Statewide Small Farm Program
w/ Julia Jolly



Krovoza“Long-term fiscal sustainability of projects for Davis is paramount. This means projects that pay for their impact and don't further burden city resources. The tax sharing deal with the county was done after the city announced the supposed financial returns. That's completely backwards. I firmly believe the 50/50 split with the county is low, and there's no evidence it’s based on which jurisdiction would pay the most for negative impacts. No on H, for sure.”
Joe Krovoza, Former Mayor of Davis
w/ Janet Krovoza



Dickey“A sustainable project needs to be sited and connected to the community it serves; it needs to favor walking and bike-riding. The location of DiSC 2022, the promise of minimal connectivity for active transportation, and a decidedly car-optimized design will ensure thousands of additional motor vehicle trips through town and onto the freeway each day.”
Darell Dickey
Former Commissioner, City of Davis Bicycle Advisory Commission
Living Streets Activist
Advisor, Bike Davis



Corbett“There are better options for Davis than DiSC. It will not do what they say it will do. With a new general plan Davis can maintain its compact size on existing land and actually provide a better transportation design, more affordable housing, desirable jobs, and improved City financing.”
Mike Corbett
Former Mayor of Davis
Developer of Village Homes
Affordable Housing Developer
w/ Grandson



Caswell“The worst, most deceptive, and disgraceful greenwash campaign in Davis’ history.
Measure H is bad for Downtown, bad for climate, bad for traffic, bad for Davis! Please vote for the Davis you Love, vote no on H”
Heather Caswell
Owner of The Wardrobe
Founder Davis Community Vision Alliance

 

 


Letter: Where’s the Water? NO on H!

Measure H is a rare opportunity for us, as individuals, to choose what is good for the many over what is good for the few.  The NO on H arguments focus on verifiable negative impacts of the proposed DISC development such as increased traffic and paving over of prime agricultural land, while the Yes side claims that, if all goes as advertised, the city will benefit financially.

No matter which arguments you believe or favor, there is one overarching reason to vote NO on H – WATER.  The City of Davis, indeed the entire state, is in the throes of a severe, worsening drought.   Davis receives surface water from the Sacramento River and well(or ground-)water pumped from aquifers beneath the city.  Our surface water supply is limited by finite, maximum water “rights,” which in turn are dependent on upstream reservoir levels and snowpack, both of which are far below normal, and pumping huge volumes of water, especially from the deep aquifers, is unsustainable. 

The agricultural land on which DISC would be built currently receives NO water from the city of Davis – NONE.  And, as ag land, it can be fallowed if necessary.  BUT, if Measure H passes, that 100-plus acres of land will be annexed into the City and connected – permanently - to our city water infrastructure, thus creating a new drain on our already-limited water supply.  And, if water is like any other commodity, even as we conserve more as a community, the demands of DISC and already-approved projects will lead to increased water rates.

But fear not, our city leaders have not forgotten us.  Even as they are campaigning for Measure H, they are planning to educate us with a new “messaging” slogan: “No doubt, We’re in a Drought!”  

Seriously folks, a few people could make a pile of money if H passes, and the City might benefit financially, but I believe we need to help the many by voting NO on Measure H.

Rick Entrikin
Davis


Letter: Not buying DiSC

I knew this Yes on H campaign was off to an ignominious start when I started receiving phone calls.  A lot of phone calls. All seeking my opinion.  Developers care about my thoughts? Not likely.  When you get THAT many phone calls, you know the pockets pushing a project are deep, aggressive, and expect to make a lot of money. They don’t like anyone getting in their way.  Then a sitting city Davis city council member, who heads the Yes on H campaign, sued the opposition with the apparent intent of snuffing out dissenting voices.  This lawsuit against the No on H folks felt Trump inspired: sic lawyers on any opposition and financially drain them into submission. That’ll teach ’em to speak up!

The Yes on H folks are trying to create the illusion that this enormous industrial development will attract people seeking nature.  This project is simultaneously being billed as helping solve the housing crisis in Davis (it won’t), helping endangered species (by paving almost 100 of acres of land, I guess) and solving climate change (because some people may take the bus or bike out there). Their “transit plaza” is …a bus stop. See how easy solving world climate change was! All solved with a single development!  Wow.  I guess mentioning “world peace” was too much of a stretch, even for them. Maybe next time, after they’ve had their way with Davis, they’ll say that their NEXT mega development will solve the Middle East Crisis.

When they expect over 2,500 employees working at site, yet only 460 housing units (with no guarantee that residents in the development are actually working at the site) … then … well, it’s not going to be an environmental utopia, no matter the grand the promises.  No solving the Climate Crisis.  No world peace either, I guess.

Davis needs to vote no on this project before the project leaders shut down any more voices that they don’t like with their lawyers.

Liz Reay 

Davis


It is all there in the Numbers … Traffic, Traffic, Traffic!!!

Traffic-on-maceBy Matt Williams

With apologies in advance to those people who find my articles and/or comments too detailed, I’m going to clearly show David Greenwald of the Davis Vanguard the numbers, so that he, and hopefully everyone, understands the traffic study contents. 

For those of you who want to skip the detail and just read the summary, it appears at the bottom of the article alongside the very tall Google Earth image of Mace and its current lane configuration.

With the caveat that the readers of yesterday’s article don’t know what steps might have happened behind the scenes that weren’t described in the article, it appears that yesterday, David Greenwald forgot to follow his own advice.  Several times in the recent past David has complained bitterly that one of the Vanguard’s guest writers published their article without taking the time to check with an information source prior to publishing an article that criticizes one or more aspects of our community’s decisions and/or decision processes.  I believe, but could be wrong if there is information I don’t know about, David would have done well for himself and for the Yes On Measure H campaign team if he had checked with the information source he criticized in yesterday’s article.  If he did do so, I’m sure he will clarify in a comment.

Traffic studies are arcane beasts.  They follow a set of clearly set out rules that a lay person like David and me has to work hard to understand. It is easy for a lay person to make mistakes when trying to understand “WHY?” a traffic finding in the traffic study is what it is.  In late 2020 when formally submitting questions  about the traffic study in the Draft EIR, I learned that lesson the hard way.  To their credit Fehr & Peers responded very clearly, logically, understandably, and professionally to my questions … pointing out where I had gone wrong in my calculations.  They were good teachers.  I thank them for that educational lesson.

So, when the updated traffic study for DiSC 2022 was published I was able to much better understand the data … and also carry forward the intersection by intersection graphics that had accompanied the 2020 traffic study.  However, before I finalized any conclusions based on the new data, I reviewed those tentative conclusions with a retired City traffic engineer and two engineering professionals who have considerable experience dealing with traffic.  Their collective and individual counsel was very valuable.  Their advice would have been very helpful to David if he had sought that advice prior to publishing yesterday.

Continue reading "It is all there in the Numbers … Traffic, Traffic, Traffic!!!" »


Misrepresentations of the Yes on H/Yes on DiSC campaign

Yes-on-H-mailer-cropped-annotatedBy Colin Walsh

The Vanguard published a guest commentary by Jackson Mills, “Debunking Deceptive Descriptions of DiSC in No on H Campaign Messaging,” on Tuesday morning. But it’s the commentary itself that is deceptive.

Ironically Mr. Mills himself chooses to mislead people in his selection of an outdated illustration to lead the article. It is notable that the illustration used with this article is from the previous DISC proposal and is certainly not an accurate picture of the current DiSC proposal. The water feature in this picture is an idealized version of the drainage ditch that ran through the middle of the previous project (it also shows far more water than there ever would have been). The drainage ditch does not run through the project in the current iteration. And the drainage ditch certainly doesn’t support paddle boarding as depicted on the Yes on H mailers.

The Vanguard has done nothing to address the Misrepresentations of the Yes on H campaign. Those claims have included such outrageous exaggerations and misinformation such as:

Measure H “helps our community fight the housing crisis” – DiSC will have over 2,400 employees, and by the City’s own documents only 187 will live in the onsite housing. That adds over 2,200 additional people looking for housing in Davis, adding pressure to our already incredibly tight Davis housing market.

Continue reading "Misrepresentations of the Yes on H/Yes on DiSC campaign" »


Affordable Housing Expert argues that Affordable Housing at DiSC does not Comply with City of Davis Municipal Code

Landplan
Site map showing the Residential Area of DiSC adjacent to the Advanced Manufacturing Area. Most of the residential units will be market rate, not Affordable.

By Matt Williams

Each morning for the next two weeks I will provide Davisite readers and Davis voters with an article on one of the dozen issues that I covered in my presentation on Thursday at University Retirement Community which had Dan Carson presenting for Yes On Measure H.  For everyone’s reference, at the end of this article I have listed those dozen issues that argue strongly for a “No” vote on Measure H.

What is the most important reason to vote “No” on Measure H?

On Tuesday I got a telephone call from David Thompson, the president of he Twin Pines Cooperative Foundation and co-principal of Neighborhood Partners LLC, which has developed and has in development over 1,400 units of low-income integrated nonprofit housing valued at over $200 million. His Affordable Housing projects in Davis include:

Creekside
Eleanor Roosevelt Circle
Cesar Chavez Plaza
Tremont Green
Moore Village
Twin Pines
Owendale
Dos Pinos

David has forgotten more about Affordable Housing than I will ever know. So when he asked me if I was interested in understanding how there is considerably less Affordable Housing in the DiSC project than is required by the City of Davis Affordable Housing Ordinance, I was quick to listen.

Continue reading "Affordable Housing Expert argues that Affordable Housing at DiSC does not Comply with City of Davis Municipal Code" »


Fact Checking Matt Williams's Affordable Housing article

By Matt Williams

This table provides fact checking for the article Affordable Housing Expert argues that Affordable Housing at DiSC does not Comply with City of Davis Municipal Code

What is the most important reason to vote “No” on Measure H?

A header

On Tuesday I got a telephone call from David Thompson, the president of the Twin Pines Cooperative Foundation and co-principal of Neighborhood Partners LLC, which has developed and has in development over 1,400 units of low-income integrated nonprofit housing valued at over $200 million. His Affordable Housing projects in Davis include:

Creekside
Eleanor Roosevelt Circle
Cesar Chavez Plaza
Tremont Green
Moore Village
Twin Pines
Owendale
Dos Pinos

Factually correct

David has forgotten more about Affordable Housing than I will ever know. So when he asked me if I was interested in understanding how there is considerably less Affordable Housing in the DiSC project than is required by the City of Davis Affordable Housing Ordinance, I was quick to listen.

Factually correct

David started our discussion by asking me whether I had received the recent promotion piece for Yes on Measure H, which says, “Measure H enhances and advances more of what we love about Davis by creating affordable housing.”

Factually correct … confirmable on the Yes on DiSC website

After I told him that I had indeed seen that statement, he replied “That statement by DiSC is simply not true!”

DISC is purposefully choosing to provide less affordable housing as a percentage of the total than any previously proposed site that has come up for a citizen vote.

Factually correct.  He absolutely shared that opinion with me.

The reason is both simple and straightforward. Prior to 2018 all citizen vote proposals provided at least 25-35% of the housing units as permanently affordable under the provisions of Article 18.05 of the City of Davis Municipal Code … the City of Davis Affordable Housing Ordinance … which states.

Factually correct.

To the maximum extent feasible, each developer must meet the ownership affordable unit requirement as it pertains to the project, as set forth below:

(a) Standard ownership affordable housing requirements. Any development that is comprised in whole or in part of ownership units shall comply with the following requirements, which shall be included in the development’s affordable housing plan.

(1) Affordable Housing Requirements, by Residential Product Type.

(A) For projects comprised of market rate single-family detached ownership units on lots larger than five thousand square feet in area, the developer must provide for a number of affordable housing units equivalent to twenty-five percent of the total units being developed, including the affordable units, by means of one of the methods set forth in this section.

[…]

General plan implementing policies also require that, to the extent feasible and subject to existing law, rental housing developments with five to nineteen units shall provide fifteen percent of the units to low income households and ten percent to very low income households; and in rental housing developments with twenty or more units that twenty-five percent of the units be affordable to low income households and ten percent of the units be affordable to very low income households. General plan policies also require that affordable rental units remain affordable in perpetuity. (Ord. 2418 § 1, 2013)

Factually correct.  Every word is copied verbatim and pasted directly from the Municipal Code

David went on to explain that DISC is applying under the “Interim Affordable Housing Ordinance” which substantially reduced the requirement to 15%.

Factually correct

The interim Affordable Housing Ordinance was passed by City Council in February 2018 with the stated plan that it would sunset on December 31, 2018. That sunset never happened, and its interim policy is still in effect.

Factually correct.  The Vanguard has published that very information in past articles.

However, that interim policy with its lowered 15% was written specifically to apply to land already in the city, and was/is based on the December 11, 2015 Economic Report prepared for the City by A Plescia & Co entitled Preliminary Project Economic Analysis For City of Davis Affordable Housing Ordinance.  That Plescia report begins as follows:

Factually correct.

The primary purpose of this summary report is to present preliminary information related to the projected economic implications of potential affordable housing ordinance requirements on certain urban scale residential ownership and rental development prototypes. The project economic analysis summarized in this report addresses the estimated financial feasibility (including profitability) information for certain identified residential ownership and rental development prototypes.

Factually correct.  Every word is copied verbatim and pasted directly from the Plesia Report document

The preliminary project economic information presented in this report can be used by the City of Davis to inform the process being undertaken by the City of Davis in regard to its consideration of amending its existing Affordable Housing Ordinance as it relates to the identified residential ownership and rental development prototypes addressed in this memorandum.

[…]

For purposes of this preliminary project economic analysis, the identified residential and mixed-use prototype alternatives are assumed to each be developed on a hypothetical 2.0 acre infill development site within the current urbanized area of the City of Davis.

Factually correct.  Every word is copied verbatim and pasted directly from the Plesia Report document

Why within the current urbanized area of the City?

Header

Because land costs in the City had risen to the level of  hundreds of thousands of dollars per acre.

There probably were a number of reasons, but this is the root cause reason.  So this statement can be characterized as an opinion rather than a fact.

Land that is outside the urbanized area, like the DISC site, does not suffer from high land costs. It resides on agricultural land outside the City Limits that was purchased for considerably less than $10,000 per acre … NOT hundreds of thousands of dollars per acre.

Factually correct

That economic reality, and the clear words of the Plescia report mean the affordable housing requirement for DiSC should remain at the 25-35% threshold contained in Article 18.05 of the Municipal Code

Opinion / Conclusion / Position

In November 2019 hundreds of Davis residents applauded Richard Rothstein’s talk on the “Color of Law,” which critiqued the role of government in reducing housing for people of color. Many of us want a future Davis to be more inclusive and expansive of housing for low income residents and racial minorities.

Factually correct

DISC does the opposite by providing considerably less housing for low income residents and racial minorities.

Opinion / Conclusion / Position

David is unequivocal in his opinion that the interim Affordable Housing Ordinance simply does not apply to DiSC, and until and unless the DiSC project changes its Affordable Housing Plan to comply with the provisions Article 18.05 of the City of Davis Municipal Code, the only choice is to vote “NO” on Measure H.  David Thompson has clearly stated that it is the most important reason to vote “No.”  None of us should want to live in a Davis that accepts fewer homes for those most in need and people of color.

Opinion / Conclusion / Position plus a recommendation for solving the problem identified.

As noted at the beginning of this article, each morning for the next two weeks I will provide Vanguard readers and Davis voters with an article on one of the dozen issues listed below that I covered in my presentation on Thursday at University Retirement Community.

Reasons to Vote “NO” on Measure H

• Massive Traffic Problems
• No Firm Plans to Mitigate Traffic
• Unmitigated Greenhouse Gas Emissions
• DISC will Cannibalize Existing Downtown and Local Businesses in Davis that are Still Hurting from the Pandemic
• Projected Financial Projections to the City are Questionable or Misleading
• We Cannot Trust our City Staff and Council to Protect Us from Rapacious and Predatory Developers
• Critical Farmland, Habitat, and our Last Views of the Sierra and Sacramento Skyline will be Lost Forever
• A Yes Vote Gives the Developer Lucrative Entitlements with No Guaranteed Baseline Features in Many Critical Areas
• The Project Will Exacerbate the Housing Shortage in the Davis Area
• The Scale of the DiSC Business Park is Much Too Large for a Small College Town Like Davis
• An industrial-research development while we are in a serious drought?

N/A


Letter: 2 reasons for voting No on H: Muzzling citizens & exclusionary housing

Thompson graphic 2Dear Davis Citizens:

Two reasons for voting No on H.

Council Member Carson tried to silence six voices opposed to Measure H. The six Davis citizens incurred a $71,000 bill to defend themselves, and now Carson is suing them for his legal costs of $76,358. Those volunteer voices are potentially paying $147,000+ from their personal savings.

On the other hand Carson has incurred no personal costs because his attempt to muzzle citizen voices opposed to Measure H was financed by the DISC developer.

That has prompted me to raise my own citizen voice … Council member Carson’s developer-funded stealth tactic should not be rewarded!  That alone is reason enough to vote No on Measure H.

However, there is a second reason to vote No on H. There’s Less Affordable Housing than the norm!

I received a Measure H piece, stating,

Measure H enhances and advances more of what we love about Davis, Affordable Housing.

Simply not true. DISC is providing less affordable housing as a % than any site set for a citizen vote.

Prior to 2018 all citizen vote proposals provided at least 25-35% of the housing units as permanently affordable. DISC is applying under the “Interim Affordable Housing Ordinance” which substantially reduced the requirement to 15%.

However, the interim policy with its lowered 15% was written specifically to apply to land already in the city.  Why?  Because land costs in the City are hundreds of thousands of dollars per acre.

The DISC site does not suffer from high land costs.  It resides on agricultural land outside of the city that was purchased for likely less than $10,000 per acre.  Therefore, the affordable housing requirement should remain at 25-35%.

In November 2019 hundreds of Davis residents applauded Richard Rothstein’s talk on the “Color of Law,” which critiqued the role of government in reducing housing for people of color. Many of us want a future Davis to be more inclusive and expansive of housing for low income residents and racial minorities.

DISC does the opposite by providing considerably less housing for low income residents and racial minorities.

Please join me in voting No on H.

David J Thompson
Davis


Old East Davis Requests Review of the Trackside Project Appellate Decision

Mandala-oednaThe Old East Davis Neighborhood Association (OEDNA) is requesting review by the California Supreme Court of the recent appellate court decision on the Trackside development project, in the case of OEDNA vs. City of Davis.

We are doing this because we believe that the City should be faithful to the plain meaning of its planning and zoning rules, and because we want to preserve the setting and feeling of our historic neighborhood.

By convention, land use policies adopted by a California city can be interpreted by the same city when the policies are applied to specific projects. While this sounds logicalgiving cities flexibility and local controlif understood too broadly, the conventional view could allow a city to reinterpret planning policies in ways that violate their original meaning and intent.

In the Trackside case, the Yolo Superior Court found that the City of Davis overstepped its discretion in approving the project, which does not conform to the City’s land use policies for mass and scale transitions between the downtown core and traditional neighborhoods.

To our dismay, the appeals court reversed the Yolo court’s decision, and in doing so claimed that the City has almost unlimited discretion in the application of its planning policies.

Continue reading "Old East Davis Requests Review of the Trackside Project Appellate Decision" »


Promises Made...Promises Broken!

Broken promisesHow Ongoing Complacency by the Davis City Council Allowed the Bretton Woods Developer to Renege on Many Election Commitments Made to the Voters of Davis

Part 1- A Specious Lawsuit by the Bretton Woods Developer, David Taormino as agent for the Binning Ranch Company LLC,  Forces the University Retirement Community (URC) to Abandon Plans to Construct an Enhanced Memory Care Facility at the Project Site. The Developer Proposes to Alternatively Construct 30 Detached Senior Homes which Seemingly Violates the Supposedly Immutable Voter-Approved Baseline Features of the Project but Which Could Result in Millions Dollars of Additional Profits to the Developer.

By Alan Pryor

Introduction

This is Part 1 of a planned series of articles discussing how the City Council is approving entitlements for the Bretton Woods project that violate the project's supposedly unchangeable Baseline Features. These Baseline Features were contained in ballot language presented to voters and upon which the voters relied when the project was approved at the polls in November 2018. The approved entitlements also completely change key provisions of Development Agreement between the Developer and the City that was also very prominently presented to the public prior to the vote.

Continue reading "Promises Made...Promises Broken!" »


Not the Road to Not Waste Water

Poor Outreach, Questionable Process, Certain Traffic Risk, Likely Noise, Unlikely to Meet Shading Goals, Possible Toxic Micro-particulates... Do Plans to Recycle Water Make this Car Wash Acceptable?

 

Wide view of proposed car wash
Curious visualization provided by the applicant: Less than 50% shading of non-planted areas, with some trees not appropriate for Davis, no dirty or clean cars... and one person riding a bike on the sidewalk.

 

The Planning Commission is holding a hearing scheduled for March 9, 2022 on the proposed Express Car wash at 480 Mace (at Cowell Blvd), and on this date it will presumably vote on recommendations for the project, which will be brought to the Council at an unspecified later date. See the above link for information about a community meeting on February 24 -- The public comment period ends today.

In my view there have been mistakes in outreach and process, and there are likely multiple negative impacts - mostly due to traffic and noise - of the proposed business at THIS location, only some which have been addressed - or mentioned at all - in the available documentation.

A significant amount of the documentation is on the subject of how the facility will re-cycle water. It's not clear why the self-identified eco-friendly City of Davis doesn't already require this of all similar facilities, nor why the project applicant was not encouraged to - or on their own - partner with one of the existing facilities less than a few minutes away - to allow an update for water-saving and the newer-style hybrid full- and self-serve car wash proposed for this site.

I've made a list of issues below to make this easier to digest, and for me to focus upon! Perhaps only some of these things bother you, perhaps some you've not considered....

I live at the other side of the apartment complex next door and have no financial interest whatsoever in this location nor this type of business.

 

Communication, Outreach, Process

+ Their documents from December promised "community outreach", yet they didn't organize it until after people complained following an article in the Davis Enterprise and a public notice sent out in early February to addresses within 500 ft of the proposed project site.

+ They did no outreach to the Pioneer Elementary School community until one was scheduled due to community pressure. It's not clear how this community has been notified about the sole meeting.

+ They've done no specific outreach to residents especially on the west side of El Macero Village next door, where at least six units are in line of sight to and close to 14 industrial vacuums that will start to be used seven days a week, and from 7AM to 7PM in the summer.

 

NooutreachMOD
A promise but nothing except under pressure - From the City of Davis website, and on there from last year (if you knew where to look) and in advance of the setting of the date hearing in the Planning Commission.

+ This was not brought to the Bicycling, Transportation and Street Safety Commission, which actually looked at the Mace Re-Design a week after the public notice about this was sent out.

+ It was not brought to the Natural Resources Commission, which would make sense to me due to its noise and even potentially positive water impacts, assuming people stop using another facility or don't wash their vehicle at home.

+ It was not brought before the Tree Commission. Though there's little being done to remove existing trees, developers do obligations for a certain amt of tree cover within a certain number of years.

 

NotconnectedwithMaceMessMOD
On February 7, 2022 Planning Staff told me " Mace Corridor Project is a separate process. This project is not directly related and will not conflict with Mace Boulevard modifications. I assume you are familiar with what is happening and know about the Feb 10 BTSSC meeting when they are scheduled to discuss the corridor.

 

Traffic Risks

+ The Traffic Study suggests mitigations within the geographical scope of the Mace Re-Design project, with a final design the Council will vote on in March, before they've had a hearing on the proposed car wash.The proposed mitigations affect the same built features and signalization equipment. Is the intention that Planning Commission will recommend changes that the Council will decide in the scope of the Mace Project, before they decide again on the same elements at the car wash hearing?

+ The Traffic Study makes no mention of the driveway of El Macero Village, which is perhaps less than 50 feet from the proposed Cowell Blvd driveway for the car wash.

+ The Study proposes multiple mitigations for traffic impacts including a left turn pocket into the car wash from EB Cowell, which is in the footprint of the current EB driving path into the El Macero Village driveway.

 

TrafficMOD1
Paths used related to the project if there are no physical modifications that prevent movements. RED is motor vehicle movements, Blue is people riding bicycles, Green is people walking. Note that movements to and from the area at the right (east), El Macero Village, were not part of the Traffic Study.

 

 

+ The Study proposes mitigations solved by staff guiding customers, signage and some hard features (which physically-restrict turn movements, etc), u-turn allowances and so, all at an already busy intersection along a Safe Route to School for children from west of Mace who attend Pioneer ES, and including a bus stop for two NB Unitrans lines. Though there seems to be significant storage space inside for vehicles to queue waiting for a wash, an overflow will go into Mace, just north of the bus stop, and along a Class II bicycle facility.

+ A local tree expert has already spoken in Council that he doubts the tree coverage plans, e.g. the visuals show shading on areas besides concrete, when only the concrete, asphalt etc counts.

NoSetBackNoTreeCover
Heat Island? Facing South towards Cowell Blvd.

 

+ My research has shown that the industrial vacuums typically used for self-service at car washes don't have HEPA filters. It's not clear if micro-particulates from vehicle cleaning will affect nearby areas, e.g. the apartments nearby. This issue is not mentioned in the project documentation.

+ Planning Department Staff told me that the South Davis Specific Plan is "out of date" yet "not formally rescinded". The links he sent me were from 1987 and earlier. Though a car wash is allowed, lots of other things are also allowed. See here,

NoSetBackDetail
Out of Code? The Davis Municipal Code requires a 25 ft set back, but in the plan - the dotted area is the eastern limit of the property - the residential district is about 15 ft from the structure. See http://qcode.us/codes/davis/view.php?topic=40-40_16-40_16_050&frames=on

+ El Macero Village, next door, is very close to I-80. Units have modernized windows, but it's very noisy it they're open. People living nearby already have this burden to deal with. There's no car wash in Davis which has multiple self-service vacuum cleaner stations located so close to so many residences, and open so early AND late. (The only roughly comparable site is Cable Car, but it opens an hour or two later and closes an hour or two earlier, depending on the season. It doesn't have 14 vacuum units, let alone 21 in total like the proposed car wash.)

+ In many places in California it's not legal to wash a vehicle in front of one's house, and in Davis only  due to the drought do we have the minimal required mitigation of a nozzle on every hose. I recall using a car wash in San Francisco in the 1990's, and pretty sure that at the time all car washes had to recycle water. Why is "Eco-Davis" so far behind in this aspect?

+ Presumably the applicant has a business case, and this "pencils out" for them and any investors. But is this accessing an untapped market (people that never wash their cars or do it at home) or will it serve people who currently use facilities elsewhere in town or nearby? If the latter, is it helping reduce lines and waits at these places, or just taking business away? Has there been a detailed study on this? It's great to have a car wash that recycles water - and I have a car, too, which I like to keep clean - but this location simply presents too many challenges and risks in noise and traffic safety and environmental degradation.

IMG_20220214_141807(1)
This is a view from the entrance area at the second story apartments to the east of the project. The applicant produced no visualizations from this point of view. The proposed wall of seven feet in height will be just a little taller than the bushes next to the fence. It's likely that some of the vacuum bays will be in view of the apartment windows, which are closer and have a different angle than this view.



I always prefer a locally-owned business when I have the choice. It's not relevant to me if they're
successful immigrants and new to the region or country or have been in town for a long time, and that's not something that the Planning Commission should find particularly relevant.

 

Zoning (and more about process...)

The area has changed a lot since 1987, it's way more built up, and Mace is now seen by many tens of thousands of people as a legit bypass of I-80, and it's not clear what the Re-Re-design will change. The proposed site is immediately next to a residential site - and from what I see the proposed set back is too short, it's about 15 ft from a structure on the east side of the lot to the residential property line - and we know a lot more about negatives of sound then we did decades ago, though the applicant says it will be just at legal limits at peaks (stereos of customers mentioned in a discussion on NextDoor were not taken into account). So just the fact that this is an industrial site right next to a residential one makes it somewhat unique, and of course wealthy people in town and City Council members don't live next door, and on top of that, the aforementioned specific conditions tell me that a lot more communication from the City and from the applicant should have been done, rather a single meeting scheduled only after people wrote the City with comments.

Perhaps it needs to be re-zoned. The world has changed since the early 1980's when zoning was sorted out for this location. Possibly for housing. New housing could have considerable mitigation for noise, with special windows, building materials and dense greenery Without any parking, which would just be a waste of space, and expensive to build underground, and to make up for not building it higher than 35 ft. The lot is roughly half the size of the lot next door, which has over 100 two and three-bedroom apartments, but also considerable space used for parking, green space and recreation areas. So perhaps up to 50 one to three bdrm apartments with a central atrium.

 

In Conclusion...

Formal problems such as an improperly limited traffic study, the over-lapping approval situation with the Mace Re-design, an apparently not enthusiastic position on community outreach, especially to most relevant elementary school, the unclear outcome of the Mace project (besides the formal overlap) and sensitivity of the area, perhaps newly realized, due to the shooting incident and collision in the past couple of weeks, tells me that we should all thank the applicant for trying to make a better car wash and create a few well-paying jobs with good insurance benefits, but to do it in another location -- perhaps working with one of the current car washes not so far away to convert it to this more modern type.

 


Why is DiSC back?

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.

DISC overview shot

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.

Continue reading "Why is DiSC back?" »


Letter from DISC developers to Davis Automobile Association

AutoCenter
It took some digging but I found a key letter from the DISC developers to the City of Davis Association of Private Motor Vehicle Sellers and Suppliers:

Dear CDAPMVSS,

Following are what we plan on the primary characteristics of DISC in regards to your organization’s mission:

1 – Most of the day a connection by private automobile to Downtown Davis, UC Davis and West Sacramento will be extremely convenient and fast.

2 – A private automobile will be required to conveniently and quickly travel to Pioneer Elementary, Nugget (on Mace) and surrounding stores, and of course to the Davis Auto Mall (identifiable by its bicycle logo from I-80).

3 – Travel by cycling and walking to Harper Junior High and Korematsu Elementary will be significant until a crossing guard is killed and two students are injured at the intersection of Alhambra and Mace. In response we plan to place small posters at bus stops in the area to direct drivers to slow down. We were going to pretend to compromise and pretend to return to our spoken-only agreement the construction of a grade-separated crossing of Mace but in the end the Council didn’t ask for it.

4 – Travel by automobile to schools outside of east Davis will be the majority mode, especially to Davis High School, and drivers will threaten students crossing E. Covell to get to Birch Lane Elementary, crossing F and 14th to get to North Davis Elementary and the high school.

5 – The TDM plan will determine that carshare is not interesting for nearly all residents who have opted to rent a parking place near their home.

6 – Caltrans has confirmed that they have no interest in assisting in building a safe and dedicated bicycle and pedestrian facility across I-80 in the vicinity of Mace, similar to their same position on the I-80 Managed Lanes project.

7 – Some residents will ride cargo bikes to Target and surrounding shops until a user is killed at the corner of Mace and 2nd.

8 – The Chevron station at Mace and 2nd will gain business.

9 – Mode share of the fare-free shuttle to Davis Depot and Downtown will be insignificant due to duration and inability to match fluctuating schedule of Capitol Corridor trains due to problems outside of their control, such as shipping traffic on the Carquinez Strait that requires bridge interruption.

Thanks, the DISC development team.


DISC 2022 Transportation - Planning Commission falls for Developer's Trick

TrapBacThe trap was set likely shortly after "DISC  2020" was defeated by voters.  When the developers of this peripheral sprawl - or I'll be nice and call it West West Sacramento - were planning to re-introduce it last year for a vote this year - they realized that a key demand was a grade-separated crossing of Mace. So they removed it from the Baseline Features... fully-intending to agree to do it as a concession.

Back story

The City Council-approved Street Standards (2016) don't mention e-bikes at all. What this means is that the width, curvature, and proper siting of infrastructure that would optimize the use of e-bikes - in particular the Type 3 variant that has assistance up to 28 mph - is totally missing in Davis, or more immediately in concepts, plans as well as development agreements and baseline features in current and near-future projects.

To address this, over two-and-a-half years ago when I was on the Bicycling, Transportation and Street Commission (BTSSC) I got support for adding an item to the long range calendar which would address it; this first appeared on the LRC in September 2019, with a possible date of December 2019 for the agenda. (It is abbreviated somewhat erroneously as "intersection design guidelines / standards"). It has been pushed back repeatedly since then, and the BTSSC did not support forming a sub-committee about it during 2020.

What this means is that significant concepts and projects which could alleviate transportation problems, such as Reimagine Russell, the new-ish Class I multi-user path on the south side of Russell (chronically and clinically-referred to as a "bike path) or smaller projects all over the city are not future-proofed for the increase of modal share for cycling we desperately need to improve everything from climate impacts to conviviality to fitness to transportation crashes. Our city is simply too large now in size to have a significant modal share with "acoustic" bicycles. Not convinced? Look at the low bike modal share from peripheral areas of town in the UCD Campus Travel Survey, which shows low share even for people with campus destinations where car parking is not always convenient, and not fare-free. It's not hard to extrapolate - necessary, as the City has essentially refused to do its own counts for years - that almost no one regularly rides from Mace Ranch or some other peripheral areas to Downtown for a coffee or beer - sort of the most normal thing in the Universe in a bicycle-branded cycling city.

SurveyCycling
UCD Campus Travel Survey 2019-2020 (pg. 30) - By bike, DISC is just over four miles from ARC, a central point on campus when considering agricultural facilities. This distance has about a 10% modal share for cycling, and includes mostly students, many who don't have their own cars.



However, as we can see from the example above, the faster type of e-bikes are quite expensive. I've seen nothing lower than just over $3,000. Though important - or all - major arteries in Davis - should be optimized for this type of bike - the idea is not only to optimize for them but make safe for all users, including on acoustic bikes - it cannot mean that this type of bike should be essentially required to live here and enjoy the purported high quality of life. Infrastructure optimized for fast bikes is also a significant improvement for all bikes, as it's direct, requires a minimum of stops, is not shared with motor vehicles... or pedestrians and dogs.

To be more precise, the goal should be the 15-Minute City. This is a relatively new standard or classification of a very, very old sometimes organic strategy to make key locations in a city within 15 min from anywhere else, for all means of transportation. This seems to also serve as a kind of proof of the bicycle modal share results in the Campus Travel Survey. It's definitely something that should be part of our new General Plan, or even worked on earlier by a joint Commission process (BTSSC, Planning... perhaps Natural Resources and Social Services...). I would argue that it should also be about effort, so a 5 or perhaps 7-minute walk is the equivalent of a 15 min bike ride. I've said that if kids can't walk unaccompanied 5-minutes from where they live to buy ice cream cones, it's a failure (and that's just one example, a single ice cream place or a truck at DISC doesn't make it sustainable.)

It's also quite important to be reminded that the City of Davis has for over four years not had a senior civil engineer with a transportation focus. Many projects have gone forward - sometimes to completion, often with significant flaws - without the benefit of this experienced and wise counsel.

 

Last Night

At the Planning Commission review of Disc 2022 last night - and early this morning - I was actually quite impressed by the comments from multiple Commissioners regarding negative transportation issues of the planned project, and even the general discussion about its unavoidable impacts and uncertainly of benefits from transportation demand management... well, at least earlier in the discussion. Commissioner Shandy was particularly right on with her criticism of planned widening of Mace - presented by the developer as a kind of unquestioned religious observance - contradicts claimed benefits for people cycling and walking. There were other positive and thoughtful comments by a majority of Commissioners.

I knew that the grade-separated crossing of Mace was a kind of sneakily-hidden prize and tried to point out in my sort of sloppy recorded comment that that a safer crossing of Mace would not on its own make DISC 2020 excellent for cycling (this is better than "cycle-friendly"), because of distance from Downtown and places further west, and besides that, safe crossings directly to the south along Mace across 80 would cost many millions and be very complicated (and at least in my head I know that Caltrans District 3 and the Yolo County Transportation District have withdrawn the earlier plan - it was supposed to be built first! - of a new bike and ped bridge across the Bypass as part of the I-80 Managed Lanes Project.)

Screenshot from 2022-01-13 02-14-21
Just an aside about the bandied about "globally-known sustainability of Davis": This was the air quality last night shortly after the meeting was over (via Purple Air)

 

 

The Trap is Sprung

Though it was fully-intended to be a positive thing and I will give credit to Commissioner Shandy, the discussion and lead-up to a vote turned sour when she proposed that a grade-separated crossing of Mace and a Class I trail across the undeveloped land south of Harper Junior High would make her feel better about the planned Mace widening and other traffic impacts. She suggested nothing about safe cycling and walking connections to other places, such as the Nugget and popular restaurants across 80. But the problem is that, for example, the area planned for housing at DISC 2022, on the north and eastern side of the project area, is more than 15 minutes away by bike from Downtown and at leat 20 to 25 minutes away from the UC Davis campus that is the raison d'être for DISC 2022! Moreover, the route has almost no optimized cycling infrastructure the whole way (varied from local streets to arteries, no protected bike paths, lack of priority at stops, etc... there is no proposal for any of this in any proposed development agreement or baseline features). But mainly it's too far by bike... never mind walking! Most of the time people - with free or with un-bundled parking - will take I-80 between campus and DISC, even more so to many facilities etc on the west side of campus related to agriculture. I-80 is such a fantastic route much of the day that nothing can compete with it, including shuttles and express buses, which I am sure will at best have a tiny modal share.  This creates huge challenges for any development more than 15 min away from key locations, and it means simply that they should not even be considered. (Oh, wouldn't it have been great if staff were directed to work on the General Plan and told the developers that there was no capacity to work on stuff that would very likely be in violation of a progressive outcome for it?)

So the Planning Commission has recommended the two elements mentioned above that are supposed to address problems on Mace to the City Council. My conclusion is that the developers will signal their intention to accept them - perhaps with a little drama - and the Council will praise them for doing so. But again, even with everything promised (e.g. shuttles, TDM) and not promised (e.g. e-bike-optimized infrastructure) there's still no place for DISC. Still no way to successfully do something better than I-80 via private vehicle for anything but a minority. There's really nowhere to walk to from DISC. Hopefully the voters will see through this ruse and others and reject DISC 2020.

Galadrieltempted
In the ALTERNATIVE timeline, Lady Galadriel was tempted by but in the end did not succumb to the Power of the Grade-Separation ring

 

Denethor
In the REAL timeline, Lord Denethor, Steward of Gondor, was consumed by the Grade Separation Ring and driven mad.

 

 

Question

Last night I was quite surprised when the developer said with much conviction that baseline features were not necessary to enforce the creation of certain designs and programs at DISC 2022, as these would be required by CEQA. Then why have baseline features as a solution for any of these things, in all the discussion for years up until now? If a reader could enlighten me I would truly appreciate it.

Afterword

I am all for more housing - for all income levels, but with a significant proportion below market and lower income - and workplace and related development in Davis. I have never said I was against these things in any local discussions, for example in the Davis Vanguard. But they have to be infill, they have to be on greyfields such as parking lots, industrial areas along 5th St - not only the PG&E yard - and in the eastern side of South Davis and other areas much closer to Downtown and especially for what DISC 2022 purports to be about much closer also to campus. With electric shuttles on fixed routes, optimized cycling infrastructure, a new connection across 80 around L St., mixed-use above (existing) parking lots and so on many if not close to all of the actual benefits of a project like DISC 2022 can be realized. It's not impossible, it's not rocket science, it simply requires conviction, creativity and less b.s. and false claims about sustainability. Hopefully Council, Commissions... local media... and organizations such as Bike Davis and Cool Davis re-direct the citizenry towards an alternative to DISC or a truly sustainable version of it... closer to and integrated with the City of Davis and the UC Davis campus.


No DiSC Baseline Features to Reduce Traffic and Related GHG Emissions will Produce even Greater Adverse Environmental Impacts than Those Projected in the EIR

The following email was sent to the Planning Commission this afternoon.

Dear Planning Commissioners:

Firstly, I sincerely apologize for the late hour at which these these comments are delivered to you.

I understand you have received a letter yesterday from Roberta Millstein discussing how the Baseline Features have been throttled back at DiSC 2022 relative to DISC 1.0. However, her communication only discussed the Baseline Features which were originally proposed for DISC 1.0 and then materially weakened or removed entirely in DiSC 2022.

There were a number of other important recommended Baseline Features proposed by various Commissions which never saw the light of day in either DISC 1.0 OR DiSC 2022. This communication focuses only on those unaccepted Baseline Features recommended by the Natural Resources Commission that could have profoundly beneficial impacts in terms of reducing expected traffic problems and reducing GHG emissions otherwise associated the project

According to the EIR, transportation represents 78% of the 55 million lbs of new GHGs projected to be produced by the DiSC project. In fulfilling their project review objectives, among many worthwhile suggestions, the NRC in particular recommended 3 very clearly identified Baseline Features for the project to reduce adverse traffic impacts and associated GHG emissions from the project. All were rejected by the Developer of the project.

We recommend that the approvals for this project not be granted until the Developer has agreed to the NRC-recommended Baseline Features identified below.

Respectfully submitted,

Alan Pryor

Continue reading "No DiSC Baseline Features to Reduce Traffic and Related GHG Emissions will Produce even Greater Adverse Environmental Impacts than Those Projected in the EIR" »


Dramatic reduction in Baseline Features in DiSC 2022

Screen Shot 2022-01-11 at 9.10.17 PM
The following email was sent to the Planning Commission in the evening of Jan 11, 2022.  (The agenda for the meeting can be found here):

Dear members of the Planning Commission,

I am writing concerning item 6A of your meeting tomorrow (Jan 12), the public hearing on the DiSC 2022 project.

As you may recall, for a project that will be facing a Measure J/R/D vote, the Baseline Features (BFs) are key.  The BFs are the only features that are guaranteed parts of the project.  In contrast, any features that are part of the Development Agreement can be changed by the City Council.  So, in terms of what the project is, and what the voters will be voting on, it is extremely important to know what the BFs are.

As it turns out, a number of BFs have changed or been eliminated in the change from the old DISC (rejected by voters in Nov 2020) and the current DiSC 2022 proposal.  Here is my count:

  • 19 BFs essentially unchanged
  • 2 features enhanced
  • 5 BFs changes due to reduction in the size of project (e.g, less housing)
  • 7 BFs that offer a weaker version of feature unrelated to changes in project size
  • 13 features eliminated altogether (appeared in old DISC but not in DiSC 2022).

Of course, whether these changes are important or not is for you and others to determine, but some of them are arguably important.  Indeed, there are changed or eliminated features in each of the main categories, reducing the sustainability, housing, transit, etc., features of the project.

I urge you as Planning Commissioners to query the developer about all of these changes in order to determine if they are justified.

Attached please find a spreadsheet that shows these changes.

The BFs for old DISC can be found online in the following document: http://documents.cityofdavis.org/Media/CommunityDevelopment/Documents/PDF/CDD/Aggie%20Research%20Campus/20-111%20-%20DISC%20Project%20Ballot%20Measure.pdf

Sincerely,

Roberta Millstein
Davis citizen
Former chair, Open Space & Habitat Commission

**** Download Baseline feature comparison *****


Regarding the overturning of the Yolo Superior Court's decision on Trackside

Tside-3-3rdst-house-sml

A statement from the Old East Davis Neighborhood Association (OEDNA)

Residents concerned about the unique feel of Davis should be troubled by this ruling. By overturning the trial court, the appeals court implies that the City does not have to keep its own commitments as implemented in the ordinances and planning documents. The appeals court grants the City license to take any provisions agreed upon by the community to protect neighborhoods or specific resources and then interpret them in a way that best serves the interests of developers or other special interests.

When the City decided not to create a historical district for the 2001 General Plan, they opted instead for a conservation overlay district, having protections codified in the Design Guidelines and enforced in the zoning codes. Many community members and businesses, including OEDNA, worked to complete these documents, trusting that future City Councils would honor their intent.

A Mixed-Use Mass and Scale guideline states: "A building shall appear to be in scale with traditional single-family houses along the street front." And a zoning code states: "Wherever the guidelines for the DTRN conflict with the existing zoning standards including planned development, the more restrictive standard shall prevail." The Trackside Project as approved by the City clearly does not follow this directive. However, the appeals court decision ruled that the City has almost complete discretion in how it interprets and/or reinterprets its planning documents.

Continue reading "Regarding the overturning of the Yolo Superior Court's decision on Trackside" »


Comments on DiSC 2022 Technical Memorandum

DiSC2022-conceptualmapBy Matt Williams

What follows are the public comments that I submitted to the Finance and Budget Commission (FBC) this morning regarding the Economic & Planning Systems, Inc. (EPS) Fiscal Analysis of DiSC 2022. The Technical Memorandum prepared by EPS can be found here. The 27 items included are not exhaustive.

Continue reading "Comments on DiSC 2022 Technical Memorandum" »