Entries categorized "Housing"

ARC Project Recommended Sustainability Features

Recommended Project Alternatives for the Supplemental Environmental Impact Report

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

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

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I. SUSTAINABILITY PLAN

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

  1. Mandatory, measurable and enforceable.

  2. Equivalent in scope and detail to Nishi.

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Business park outside of Mace curve: More environmental review

Questions about traffic, area impacts, climate change

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

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

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

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Business park outside of Mace curve: environmental review

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

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

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

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

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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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City smuggles ARC EIR decision onto Tuesday’s Consent Calendar

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

ARC-location-overviewBy Roberta Millstein

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

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

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

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

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Learn more about the draft Downtown Davis Specific Plan

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

Downtown Davis Plan and Amtrak Study Workshop FlierBy Roberta Millstein

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


Will the City press UCD for more, and more affordable, on-campus housing?

By Roberta Millstein

Middle earth. 2
Middle Earth Tower, UC Irvine: Opened Fall 2019, one 7-story building, houses 490 students

As Colin Walsh documented in his article on last week’s “town hall” meeting between UC Davis, the City of Davis, and Yolo Country, the meeting was unfortunate in a number of respects and failed to fully engage housing issues on UCD’s campus.  The event was followed by a pat-ourselves-on-the-back-for-a-job-well-done op-ed from Chancellor May, Mayor Lee, and Supervisor Saylor.

Last night’s Council meeting gave Councilmembers “another bite at the apple” – another chance to ask about on-campus housing – with a UCD Financial Overview agenda item.

What happened?

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Homeless "Respite Center" Proposed by School Bike Route Receives Pushback

Picture3By Colin Walsh

An ad hoc group of Davis residents have started a Change.org petition opposing the location of the Homeless Respite Center. The new Homeless center is proposed for adjacent to the Dave Pelz Overpass near second street. Those opposing the location seem to clearly state that they support services for the homeless like this project, but not next to a thoroughfare for school children on bikes.

This Item was moved forward by the Davis City Council on July 30, 2019. The project would contain “tough shed” type buildings and likely a designated camping area. It is unclear if there will be water or sewer services or what staffing might be provided by the City.

In the staff report, "staff estimates that the day shelter could accommodate up to 40 individuals at one time and the overnight shelter could sleep up to 15 individuals" but with the addition of a camping area as suggested by council member Frerichs the site may be able to accommodate more.

When the Council addressed this issue on July 30th 2019, the staff omitted from their report and presentation to council that the Dave Pelz overcrossing was a safe route to school. There is no part of the staff report that addresses the impact of a homeless encampment on the bike and pedestrian through-way.

This is the table of advantages and disadvantages from the July 30, 2019 Davis City staff report:
Respite-Center-FTable 4.pdf
This very expensive overcrossing was built to better connect South Davis and East Davis, especially to provide a bikeable route to school for South Davis Junior High Kids.

The petition can be signed at  https://www.change.org/p/davis-city-council-no-homeless-shelter-for-schoolchildren-s-safety

The petition reads as follows:

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Heads up on more City housing discussions

By Roberta Millstein

This is just a brief post to let Davisites know about some upcoming housing-related discussions.  At 6 PM on Tuesday (Oct 22) just prior to the regular Council meeting in the Community Chambers, there will be a City Council and Planning Commission Joint Discussion.  The two planned topics of discussion are:

  • Should there be policy preference for work force housing over student-oriented housing?
  • What is the future direction for affordable housing in Davis, including at risk housing, and with the nature of the interim housing policy, what should be enforced?

Other housing-related items will be covered during the regular Council meeting.

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City-County-UCD 2X2X2 “Town Hall” meeting Thursday Oct. 17th 6:30pm -8pm at Genome Center on UCD campus

This important semi-annual meeting is for updates from the City, County and UCD regarding UCD housing needs and impacts.

Genome-center
(Click to enlarge)

By Eileen Samitz

In case you are one of many who are not aware of this important semi-annual “Town Hall” meeting, there will be a City-County-UCD 2X2X2 meeting tomorrow Thursday, Oct. 17th at the Genome Center on the UCD campus in the first-floor auditorium. One wonders why this community meeting is not more conveniently located in the City as was publicly requested early on; the map attached explains where the Genome Center is. To get to it take Hutchinson Drive and turn south on Health Sciences Drive which will lead to a parking lot (see map above).

Since UCD is imposing enormous housing needs on Davis these meetings for updates are only twice a year so this is an important meeting to attend to give input particularly about the slow progress of any additional on-campus housing being produced and the overall deficiency of how much on-campus housing is being planned. For citizens concerned about the impacts on Davis due to UCD’s lack of on-campus housing for its rapidly growing student population, please attend. Anyone wishing to testify will be given 3 minutes to testify. The agenda can be viewed at:

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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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League of Women Voters/Civ Energy meeting. Topic: Housing

(From press release) The League of Women Voters Davis Area and CivEnergy are holding an educational meeting on the General Planning process in Davis. It is the first in a series of free, educational forums on housing that are open to the public. The meeting will be held at the New Harmony Mutual Housing Community, 3030 Cowell Boulevard in the Community Room from 6pm to 7:30pm on Wednesday October 16.

This series hopes to begin the discussion on a major community issue: Housing. This includes housing policy, affordability, homelessness and such issues. These events also give the City of Davis residents the opportunity to educate themselves and provide input on the issues above and help steer the housing element of the development of the General Plan update process.

Sign up for a free ticket at Eventbrite.

The League of Women Voters Davis Area was recently restarted in May 2019. They will be accepting donations at this event to offset costs for future educational meetings and forums.


Aggie Research Campus (ARC) Planning Considerations

ARC-map-Oct2019The following memo was sent yesterday to the newly-formed City Council Aggie Research Campus (ARC) subcommittee, composed of Mayor Pro Tem Gloria Partida and Councilmember Dan Carson, with cc's to City Manager Mike Webb, Assistant City Manager Ash Feeney, and Principal Planner Sherri Metzker.

By Greg Rowe

The following comments and suggestions are respectfully offered for your consideration, in the spirit of facilitating a comprehensive evaluation of the proposed ARC project.  The subjects are not arranged in order of priority or importance.  I full acknowledge and recognize, as stated on page 2 of the October 8 City Council report (agenda item 5E), that the project will be scheduled for future commission meetings.  I also concur that, as noted on page 9 of the same report, “In sum, there will be a series of subsequent entitlements at which time more definitive detail will be proposed,” and there is “…the potential for building locations or other features to shift during the final planned development process.”

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City Council makes promises about proposal for business park outside of Mace Curve

ARC-location-overviewGood outcomes in spite of bad process at Council meeting

By Roberta Millstein

As I and others had requested, at Tuesday’s meeting the Council pulled the items concerning the Mace Ranch Innovation Center (MRIC)/Aggie Research Center (ARC) from the Consent Calendar, meaning that there could be a brief presentation, public comment, and discussion and vote from the Council.  Unfortunately, it got personal and unpleasant at times (more on that below).  But there were a number of good outcomes from the meeting.

My main reasons for wanting the items pulled was to let more Davisites know that the City was moving forward with the ARC, to inform people that there was a project description available on the City’s website, and to get more information about what was going to happen moving forward.  Those goals were achieved on Tuesday.

In particular:

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