Entries categorized "Housing"

Information & Questions about the ARC

The following comments were submitted by Greg Rowe, member of the Planning Commission, for the February 26 Planning Commission workshop on the Aggie Research Campus (ARC).  They are addressed to the Chair and staff liaison to the Commission, respectively.

PCmeeting-Feb26
Matt Keasling speaks to the Planning Commission, 2/26

Cheryl and Sherri:

As you know, I'll be out of town for the Feb 26 Planning Commission meeting; I’ll be leaving early Thursday AM. 

I met on January 7 for over 2 hours with Dan Ramos and attorney Matt Keasling (Taylor & Wiley).  Below are a few of the questions I asked, and their responses.  This information may be relevant to next week's workshop.

Continue reading "Information & Questions about the ARC" »


UCD Grade Strike Starts Thursday

Screen shot 2020-02-26 at 4.35.10 PM(from press release) Dear Davis community,

Tonight at our General Assembly, we agreed to move forward in solidarity with the wildcats in Santa Cruz and see through our demands for a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA). On Thursday, February 27, Davis graduate students will begin a grade strike for the Winter quarter to demand a COLA and to call on the University of California to rescind its threats of retaliation against wildcat strikers at UC Santa Cruz.

A grading strike is the withholding of grades by Teaching Assistants (TAs) designed to disrupt the everyday functioning of the University.

We will be releasing more information, resources, and FAQs in the coming days. Please check out our website and follow our social media for all of that.

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Blogger receives ARC docs before Commissions and citizens do

Sustainability-ARCBy Colin Walsh

On Thursday morning, a local blog referred to a set of environmental sustainability "guiding principles" released from the developers of the Mace ARC business park. I looked on the City's ARC website but I could find no such document. Puzzled, I emailed City Manager Mike Webb, and received the following response:

Dear Colin,

I am responding to this message on Mike's behalf.

David Greenwald contacted staff on Tuesday afternoon asking if we had received any new materials on Aggie Research Campus from the developer. The only additional item that we had received was their Environmental Sustainability Guiding Principles for the project. Considering a public document was requested, it was provided accordingly. The attached document was received last week from the applicant and will be posted to the City website later today along with the Natural Resources Commission memorandum when it is ready for posting. Our staff is not able to immediately post each document as it is received. We endeavor to post them in a timely fashion and it will be posted later today along with the staff memorandum to the Natural Resources Commission.

The Natural Resources Commission and the Planning Commission will both be receiving the document with their meeting packets consistent with our regular and accepted operating procedures for commissions. Staff will be seeking the Natural Resources Commission feedback on the applicant's proposed Environmental Sustainability Guiding Principles and the Planning Commission workshop is an informational project introduction. The packet for the Natural Resources Commission will be posted on the City website this evening and the Planning Commission packet will be posted tomorrow evening.

Thank you,

Ashley Feeney
Assistant City Manager

Continue reading "Blogger receives ARC docs before Commissions and citizens do" »


Followup to: Mace ARC Business Park Developer Trying to Omit Details until after Vote

Mac-ARC-map-under-mag-glassTree, Recreation and Parks Commissions will now review before the vote; still unclear what sort of project detail will be left out

By Roberta Millstein

On Tuesday, I published an article that detailed the fact that despite numerous requests and promises from the City, some key commissions would not be reviewing the Mace ARC Business Park until after the Measure R vote (see article here).  I had also forwarded my article to the Davis City Council.  Early yesterday evening, I received the following email response from Assistant City Manager Ashley Feeney:

Dear Roberta,

The ARC project has applied for a General Plan Amendment, Pre-Zoning, a Sphere of Influence Amendment and an Annexation. These are the land use entitlements that would be the subject of a Measure R vote should they ultimately be approved and referred to the ballot by the City Council. Baseline project features would also be established and memorialized as part of the Measure R vote. These initial entitlements would establish land use for the project area. The project will require future implementing entitlements that have been described on the City's ARC webpage.

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Mace ARC Business Park Developer Trying to Omit Details until after Vote

Mac-ARC-map-under-mag-glassThe City’s promise to include full commission review is being broken

 By Roberta Millstein

The developers of the Mace ARC Business Park are avoiding a full analysis of their project proposal and omitting important project details until after citizens have voted on the project.  City staff seems to support them in this, and City Council isn’t asking any questions – even though they had already promised that the proposal would be seen by all of the relevant City commissions. 

Without a full public disclosure of the project and proper impartial commission analysis, citizens will not have the information they need to make an informed decision.

For those who don’t know the legal context, this project will require a city wide vote – because the 200 acres proposed for the ARC business park outside Mace Curve is outside the Davis City limits with an agricultural land use designation, it is subject to a Measure R (formerly Measure J, now Davis Municipal Code Chapter 41) vote.  One of the provisions requires:

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Affordable Housing & Community Space: A Renter Forum

For-renter-forumYolo County Supervisor candidate David Abramson will be hosting a ‘Renters Forum’ on Saturday, February 15 from 5:00-7:00PM. It will be held at Davis Coworking’s new downstairs event space, right next to Fluffly's Donuts and Subway.

It will be an opportunity for renters to share their stories and to get together to develop a vision for affordable, healthful, and climate-positive housing in Davis and Yolo County.

We will also envision how we can move forward in creating affordable and accessible cultural spaces to facilitate arts, music, and healthy activities in Yolo County.

All who are interested (renters and homeowners alike) are welcome to join. Light refreshments provided.

Max capacity 40. Please register in advance to ensure your seat! https://www.facebook.com/events/122783449070392/


Statement from Equity Advocates on SB 50

Screen Shot 2020-01-30 at 5.54.10 PMReacting to the failure of SB 50 to move out of the Senate, the groups Alliance for Community Transit-Los Angeles (ACT-LA), Public Counsel, PolicyLink, Western Center on Law and Poverty, Public Advocates, and the California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation made the following statement:

It is time to reject false choices and get serious about affordable housing and community stability.

The debate around SB 50, and SB 827 before it, has too often been reduced to a false choice: protect the status quo of exclusionary zoning or embrace a trickle-down market-based model. While this simple NIMBY-YIMBY binary fuels online arguments and frames the public narrative, millions of Californians continue to suffer without appropriate solutions. We reject the status quo, but we also reject the notion that the low-income communities and communities of color most harmed by the planning and zoning decisions of the past should be forced to accept new policies that fall short of true equity and inclusion.

Continue reading "Statement from Equity Advocates on SB 50" »


How much housing is being built in Davis?

The answers might surprise you.

Sterling-project-under-construction
Sterling project, 2100 5th St, under construction (611 beds)

 By Roberta Millstein

Recently on NextDoor and elsewhere, Davisites have been disagreeing about whether Davis is building enough housing or whether it needs more.  The discussions have become particularly relevant in light of two potentially large projects: the University Commons project (264 residential units / 894 beds) and the so-called Aggie Research Campus (ARC), which proposes 850 units as part of the larger proposal for a massive 200 acre business park outside of Mace Curve.

But to answer the question of whether we have enough housing or not, Davisites need to know how much is in the pipeline.  I suspect that most Davisites don’t know the answer to that question, even if they’ve been paying attention.  This article is the result of my attempt to figure out the answer. 

If you just want the answers I calculated, here they are: the housing that is now in the pipeline will accommodate more than 10,000 additional people in the City and more than 20,000 additional people in the City and UC Davis combined.  The details of those answers are below.

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Wiener’s housing deregulation bill is back!

It's an unfunded mandate for an unproven assumption about affordable housing

48hillsyimbywiener
Sen. Scott Wiener, shown here with Yimby leader Laura Foote Clark, says he thinks people who fear displacement from market-rate housing are “quacks.” Photo credit: 48hills

By Tim Redmond

State Sen. Scott Wiener will hold a press conference and rally in Oakland Tuesday/7 to announce that he’s re-introducing a new version of his housing deregulation bill, SB 50. It will need to get through committee and off the Senate floor this month.

Yes, SB 50 is back– with some amendments, and the current opposition of the San Francisco Board of Supes (which means the city’s official position on the bill is Oppose).

The East Bay Times calls it a Zoning Reform Bill, but it’s much more than that. It’s a measure that, in essence, would force California cities to rely even more on the private sector to address the housing crisis.

It does not offer a penny of state money for affordable housing. It doesn’t do anything to mandate that cities limit office development until they have adequate housing for the workforce. It starts and ends with the assumption – unproven and by some accounts just wrong– that greater density will lead to lower housing prices.

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The new U-Mall proposal – a monolithic mega-dorm fraught with problems

Davis needs an expanded retail project at U-Mall, not another mega-dorm

By Eileen M. Samitz

U Mall Fig 3-8

Project description

The owner of University Mall, Brixmor Property Group, has proposed a renovation of this important community shopping center that opened in 1966. The effort would demolish 90,563 sq. ft. of the existing University Mall building and replace it with a mixed-use development comprised of 136,800 sq. ft. of retail space, 264 multi-family housing units, and a 3-level, 246,000 sq. ft. parking structure.  The existing 13,200 sq. ft. Trader Joe’s store would remain, resulting in a shopping center with 150,000 sq. ft. of retail space. The ARCO service station on the southeast corner of the site is not part of the project. 

This “University Commons” project would total 795,300 sq. ft., meaning the retail space would occupy just 17% of the building area. The single greatest use of space would be the residential area, comprising 412,500 sq. ft., or almost 52%.  Parking would consume 246,000 sq. ft., or almost 31%.  Brixmor says the residential units could be rented by anyone, but concedes that most of the apartments will be occupied by students.  In other words, the project would become an ultra-dense residential project with window dressing retail that would likely focus on being student-serving, rather than the original intent of having businesses that serve the entire Davis community.

Continue reading "The new U-Mall proposal – a monolithic mega-dorm fraught with problems" »


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.

Continue reading "ARC Project Recommended Sustainability Features" »


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 " »


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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Massive Mace business park comment period extended

Scope of environmental review is in play.

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

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

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

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

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Unprofessional behavior from City staff and Councilmember Arnold

Poor communication continues; irregularities confirmed

Appl-received-aug-2019By Roberta Millstein

At Tuesday’s Council meeting, several Davisites and I showed up to give public comment about an item on the Consent Calendar, scheduled to be approved without discussion. The item concerned the environmental review for a new housing project proposal for Olive Drive.

We raised concerns such as: the fact that this was the first time the project was disclosed to Davisites, preventing any input from citizens prior to review; the failure of City staff to provide the project application and description, only providing them when Colin Walsh noticed that they were missing and requested them, with the result that Davisites had less than the required 72 hours to review (see article from Colin Walsh); and the likelihood that the project is not realistic as proposed, which would make the environmental review pointless at best.

This was the third time in recent days that we have had to raise concerns about items being on the Consent Calendar that should not have been, the other two times having to do with a proposed ~200 acre business park on prime farmland outside of Mace curve.

Last time, Councilmember Will Arnold yelled at us.  This time, he compared us to Flat Earthers.

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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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Some important clarifications on EIR updates for the ARC

Other issues unfortunately went unaddressed

ARC-location-overviewBy Roberta Millstein

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

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

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

Issues raised included:

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Three comments concerning updates to the ARC EIR

Three-commenters

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

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

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

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