Entries categorized "Housing"

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.

 


What the HEC is Going On? Part III

image from davisite.typepad.comConflicts of Interest in the City of Davis Housing Element Committee

 by Alan Pryor and Rik Keller

 Note: The preceding Part II in this series covering Brown Act violations is here:

 “Housing Element Committee members are expected to remove themselves from all discussions and votes on matters in which they have any direct personal financial interest.

 

In gauging such extra-legal conflicts of interest and/or duty, each member shall exercise careful judgment and introspection in giving priority to the interests of fairness and objectivity; if there is any reasonable doubt that the member has a conflict, the member shall refrain from participation in the committee’s deliberations and vote(s).” – City of Davis Housing Element Committee Ground Rules (p. 4)

Continue reading "What the HEC is Going On? Part III" »


What the HEC is Going On? - Part II

Under rugThe City’s Denial of Brown Act Violations by the Housing Element Committee and Certain of Its Members is Not Credible nor Factually-Based

 by Alan Pryor and Rik Keller

 Note: A subsequent Part III of this series will cover conflicts of interest of HEC members in detail

 Introduction

Last week the authors wrote a carefully-researched and well-documented article on the City of Davis’s Housing Element Committee (HEC) alleging several serious violations of the California state Brown Act open meeting laws prohibiting direct communications between members of jurisdictional bodies. As stated in that article, the composition of the Council-appointed HEC, which is supposed to represent a “diversity of interests” in the community, was instead primarily composed of development and real estate interests and their local supporters.

In our article, we also disclosed that several weeks ago, there were a last-minute series of policy recommendations very favorable to the real estate and development interests in the City that were suddenly introduced to the Committee by these same real estate and development interests. These recommendations, in direct violation of the Brown Act, were sent directly from one member of the HEC to the entire HEC.

The HEC then further violated the Brown Act in considering and voting to adopt the same recommendations without publicly noticing that these recommendations were being considered by the HEC. In essence, these recommendations were introduced secretly to the HEC and then voted upon without full public disclosure and scrutiny of the recommendations. Furthermore, the development and real estate interests on the Committee failed to adequately disclose conflicts of interest in terms of their investments and holdings in the City that would be impacted by these very same favorable recommendations approved by the HEC (see more on this point in the coming Part 3 of this series of articles).

Continue reading "What the HEC is Going On? - Part II" »


Surprising outcome and a few oddities at Planning Commission meeting

Housing-ElementBy Roberta Millstein

This is just a short update to follow on the Davisite’s earlier articles concerning the Housing Element Update (see here, here, and here).

This past Wednesday (June 9th), the City of Davis’s Planning Commission met for a second time to discuss the recommendations of the Housing Element Committee (HEC)-- the first meeting was May 26.  At the earlier meeting, most of the comments from the public concerned 10 recommendations that the HEC had passed.  And a good number of the comments came from UC Davis students who were apparently reading from the same script, since their comments were identical or nearly so.

So, one might have expected that the June 9 meeting would be more of the same.  But that was not the case.

Continue reading "Surprising outcome and a few oddities at Planning Commission meeting" »


Letter from OEDNA Board, RE: Core Transition East in Downtown Plan

June 8, 2021
Mark N. Grote, Secretary
Old East Davis Neighborhood Association

City Council and Planning Commission Members
Planning Staff
Community Members

Re: Future of the Core Transition East

Dear decision-makers and community members: On behalf of the Old East Davis Neighborhood Association Board, I am writing to ask again for collaboration between the city, property owners and neighbors, to address the unique challenges of the Core Transition East as the Downtown Plan moves forward.  

Unique challenges of the Core Transition East parcels

The Core Transition East, located in Old East Davis just to the east of downtown, consists of four large parcels adjacent to the Union Pacific railroad tracks between 3rd and 5th Streets. Current planning provisions designate this area for neighborhood-compatible buildings that make appropriate scale transitions between the downtown core and the traditional, small-scale houses of Old East Davis.

The parcels of the Core Transition East present unique design challenges that are not met by the general building forms of the November 2019 draft Form-Based Code currently under review as part of the Downtown Plan. Some of the unusual features of these parcels are:

Continue reading "Letter from OEDNA Board, RE: Core Transition East in Downtown Plan" »


What the HEC is Going On?

IMG_0744The Subversion of the Housing Element Committee (HEC) Deliberation Process by Hidden Development Interests

Note: Several recent articles in the Davisite touch on the subject matter discussed here: For other comments on the Housing Element’s failure to address affordability and the proposals being pushed by development and real estate interests, see Davis Housing Element Fails Affordable Housing (5/27/2021). See also Comments on Draft Housing Element from Legal Services of Northern California (5/25/2021) For comments on problems with the City of Davis’s decision-making process see Good decision-making process involves staff and City Council too (6/3/2021)

By Alan Pryor and Rik Keller

The City of Davis’s Housing Element Committee (HEC), which is supposed to represent a “diversity of interests” in the community, was instead co-opted by development and real estate interests. Two weeks ago, there were a last-minute series of policy recommendations that were sprung on the Committee by these same real estate and development interests in violation of Brown Act open meeting laws. The HEC then further violated these laws in considering and voting to adopt the recommendations. Furthermore, the development and real estate interests on the Committee failed to adequately disclose conflicts of interest in terms of their investments and holdings in the City that would be impacted by the favorable recommendations approved by the HEC.

This subverted process brings up important questions: Why has the City directed a process that has so little public input, especially from genuine affordable housing advocacy groups? How did the City staff allow so many violations of Brown Act laws regarding transparency and open government? Why did the City select HEC members with such a preponderance of real estate interests instead of appointing more representatives from the affordable housing community?

Continue reading "What the HEC is Going On?" »


Comments on Draft Housing Element from Legal Services of Northern California

Screen Shot 2021-06-06 at 11.20.18 AMConcerns raised about lack of public participation from all economic segments of the community without adequate time to review, among many other concerns. Additional changes are needed to comply with the law and provide the most effective strategies to address the critical housing needs facing Davis residents with low incomes.

Background: The City of Davis is preparing the 2021 – 2029 Housing Element to evaluate current and future housing conditions and identify housing sites to meet the community’s needs. Updating the Housing Element is a state requirement. The following letter commenting on the Draft Housing Element from Legal Services of Northern California was sent to the Davisite to post.

May 25, 2021

Jessica Lynch, Senior Planner
Department of Community Development and Sustainability
23 Russell Boulevard
Davis, CA 95616

Via email at jlynch@cityofdavis.org
Re: Housing Element Update 2021-2029, draft submitted May 3, 2021

Dear Ms. Lynch and City of Davis Staff,

We are writing to provide comments on the Draft Housing Element released for public comment and submitted to the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) on May 3, 2021.

As you know, Legal Services of Northern California (“LSNC”) is a nonprofit civil legal aid organization providing legal assistance to low income individuals and families throughout Yolo County. LSNC’s mission is to provide quality legal services to empower the poor to identify and defeat the causes and effects of poverty within our community. LSNC has represented tenants in Yolo County since 1967. Last year, we handled more than 900 housing cases, including almost 200 cases for Davis households. Through our work, we gain insight into the struggles of low- income residents in Davis.

We have prepared these comments in partnership with and on behalf of the Sacramento Housing Alliance, a nonprofit coalition that works to ensure that all people in the greater Sacramento region have safe, decent, accessible and affordable housing in healthy neighborhoods supported by equitable public policies and practices.

The draft element adequately addresses many of the statutory requirements. Our comments cover areas where additional changes are needed to comply with the law and provide the most effective strategies to address the critical housing needs facing Davis residents with low incomes. We, along with SHA, are happy to discuss our comments and provide additional input as the City incorporates our suggestions and finalizes the draft.

Continue reading "Comments on Draft Housing Element from Legal Services of Northern California" »


Davis Housing Element Fails Affordable Housing

Housing elementOn 5/26 the City of Davis Planning Commission met to discuss the draft housing element. The Housing Element is a state mandated component to the Cities General Plan since 1969, California has required that all local governments update the Housing Element on regular intervals to meet the housing needs within the community. The City of Davis is receiving comments on the 2021-2029 housing element through July 1st at 5pm. you can learn more about the 2021-2029 Davis Housing Element here Link .

What follows are the comments of Rik Keller to the Davis Planning Commission.

__________

5/26/2021

To: City of Davis Planning Commission

From: Rik Keller

Re: Housing Element Update

I have been a long-term affordable housing consultant and advocate since the mid-1990s. Locally, I have recently advocated for increased affordable housing for various projects in the City review process...

  • see: https://www.davisvanguard.org/2018/06/examination-affordability-nishi-projectmeasure-j-expensive-overcrowded/

...and for more equitable and inclusive housing policies in general:

  • see my 3-article series here: https://www.davisite.org/2018/10/keeping-davis-white-land-use-policy-is-a-civil-rights-issue.html

I am a strong advocate for addressing exclusionary housing practices. We already have tools in place to counter “snob”/exclusionary zoning. These include inclusionary zoning (IZ) policies that the City of Davis has in place as part of its Affordable Housing Ordinance [AHO] (see Article 18.05 of the Davis Municipal Code: http://qcode.us/codes/davis/view.php?version=beta&view=mobile&topic=18-18_05)

Unfortunately though, the City of Davis has drastically weakened its IZ policies in the past decade. In 2011, in response to pressure from development groups, it suspended its Middle Income Ordinance that was targeted to provide housing affordable to the local workforce. And in early 2018, the 25-35% requirement for inclusionary/affordable housing in the City’s Affordable Housing Ordinance (AHO) was reduced to 15% “temporarily” because of a need to respond to State rules. In the almost 3.5-years since, the City has been promising to update its IZ requirements, but has repeatedly broken its own deadlines, and hasn’t completed the required studies to update it.

Continue reading "Davis Housing Element Fails Affordable Housing" »


Another Letter to Planning Commission - serious flaws with Davis-Connected Buyers Program

Dear Planning Commissioners -

At the upcoming Planning Commission meeting this Wednesday you will be presented with the newly proposed "Davis-Connected Buyers Program" for the Bretton Woods Project. This new proposal has serious flaws and is essentially gutless in terms of ensuring that a large percentage of new homes are sold to existing Davis homeowners thus freeing up current local housing stock for new families as promised by the developer in the actual language on the ballot in the Measure J/R vote in 2018.

I have written a detailed article published in the Davisite about the new program and its shortcomings that are so severe that it renders the program practically non-existent. To see the article click on the following title, Bretton Woods Attempts Another Bait and Switch with Its Davis Based Buyers Program.

In summary, the new Davis-Connected Buyers Program states that it will have prospective buyers sign a disclosure form identifying their link to Davis but that it also allows ANYONE to refuse to sign the disclosure form because they are a member of a protected class based on any race, gender or gender identity, ethnicity, religion, etc. I myself could refuse to sign the disclosure form simply because I am a straight married white agnostic male and the developer's new proposal says that would allow me to buy a new home even if I otherwise had no links at all to Davis. The developer also claims that they will not investigate or demand proof of any "protected status" claims because he does not want to intrude on the prospective buyers privacy. In other words, the developer will take any and all buyers thus opening the floodgates to anyone who wants to buy there and has the wherewithal to engage in bidding wars.

Continue reading " Another Letter to Planning Commission - serious flaws with Davis-Connected Buyers Program " »


Letter to Planning Commission Expresses Concerns with Bretton Woods Davis-Connected Buyers Program

Below is the text of a letter submitted to the Davis Planning Commission for its April 14th meeting expressing issues and concerns with the Bretton Woods Davis-Connected Buyers Program.

Commissioners:

I write to express concerns with the Davis-Connected Buyers Program (DCBP), which is scheduled to be presented at the Planning Commission’s April 14, 2021 meeting. I am disappointed that this agenda item is an informational update only rather than an action item. That suggests that the City Council is not interested in further commission input or recommendations on the DCBP and that its approval by the Council as submitted by the developer is a fait accompli.

I am now retired but have nearly four decades experience with state and federal fair housing laws. I was an attorney with Disability Rights California, California’s designated non-profit disability protection and advocacy organization, for 26 years and subsequently held positions as Chief Consultant for the Assembly Human Services Committee and as legislative director for the California Department of Developmental Services. I am also a former member of the Davis Social Services Commission.

Provisions of the DCBP do not make sense and the program will almost certainly not achieve its purported purpose. Most importantly, as has been alleged—including in a lawsuit challenging the DCBP that was subsequently dismissed without prejudice on procedural grounds—the DCBP is likely to perpetuate, and possibly exacerbate, existing racial disparities in Davis as compared to the region.

Continue reading " Letter to Planning Commission Expresses Concerns with Bretton Woods Davis-Connected Buyers Program" »


Bretton Woods is Attempting to Pull Another Bait and Switch with its Davis Based Buyers Program

Protections Will Weaken for Prospective Davis Senior Buyers

by Alan Pryor

INTRODUCTION

The Bretton Wood developer, David Taormino, is attempting to pull another bait and switch on Davis seniors by completely gutting the campaign promises he made to Davis voters committing to sell 90% of homes in the new project to Davis-based buyers. The long-promised Davis-Based Buyers Program was intended to ensure that 90% of all new homes sold at the new development were to Davis seniors thereby freeing up their existing large homes for new families to come to Davis.

But make no mistake about it, this newly proposed watered-down plan has so many loopholes in it that it will open the floodgates to advertising and sales to well-heeled Bay Area expatriates flush with cash from sales of their own inflated homes. Indeed, this will probably drive up prices for new homes at the project so high that it will functionally exclude Davis seniors from participating - much like we saw in the Cannery project where the majority of new sales were to buyers from outside Davis.

Continue reading "Bretton Woods is Attempting to Pull Another Bait and Switch with its Davis Based Buyers Program" »


The Failure of Measure B Suggests a New Vision Is Needed

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 "The Failure of Measure B Suggests a New Vision Is Needed " »


5 Very Good Reasons to Vote No on Measure B - No on DISC

Vote-no-on-measure-b-news

(From press release) If you're still undecided about Measure B authorizing the 200-acre DISC Industrial Park on prime farmland and burrowing owl habitat with 2.6 Million sq ft of commercial buildings, following are five very good reasons to vote NO on this massive, sprawling, ill-conceived project that will forever change Davis for the worse.

1. Nightmarish Traffic Gridlock

• The Environmental Impact Report estimated that more than 24,000 in-and-out daily car trips will occur for the DISC project when completed - more than doubling current traffic levels. It will turn Mace Blvd. into a parking lot causing hours of gridlock every day.

• The City and Developer have no plans at all on how they will mitigate this massive influx of new traffic. Instead, a Traffic Demand Management Plan will be prepared by the Developer in the future.

• But "Figuring it all out later" is NOT a plan!


2. Unprecedented Increases in Greenhouse Gas Emissions

• Our world is burning up and melting around us. This year we have seen the largest fires ever in the Pacific Northwest, Colorado, Siberia, the Amazon, and Australia along with record-breaking ice-melts in Greenland and Antarctica.

• Yet according to the project's Environmental Impact Report, "...net emissions in the year 2035 would equal 37,724.31 metric tons of CO2 equivalent per year, the project would NOT meet the City’s target of net carbon neutrality by the year 2040." Instead it will increase the City's carbon footprint by over 8% from this one project.

• Our leaders passed an Emergency Climate Resolution just last year...what are they now thinking?


3. DISC will Cannibalize our Downtown

Thirty different small downtown Davis merchants recently signed a petition opposing the project's 100,000 sq ft of additional retail space (about the size of Davis Target) and the 160,000 sq ft of additional hotel space (more than twice the size of the new Marriott just across the street) because it would present severe economic hardship on the small downtown merchants already reeling from COVID.

• The DISC Environmental Impact Report (EIR) also projected than an additional 313,000 sq ft of commercial space in Davis could become newly vacant due to competition from the DISC project leaving blight in its wake.

• Our Downtown should not be Sacrificed for Developer Profits!


4. DISC will NOT have Affordable Housing

• The DISC Developer falsely claims the amount of affordable housing at the project is "record-breaking" for Davis. That is simply NOT true for either the market-rate OR the subsidized affordable housing.

• The estimated rent for a market-rate 2- bedroom apartment will be $2,500+ per month and the estimated price for a 2,200 sq ft home will be over $800,000+ and will require a $200,000+ annual salary to buy.

• There will be 128 subsidized housing units on-site which is 14.7% of the 850 total housing units. But the West Davis Active Adult Community will have 150 subsidized senior apartments on site which is 31.6% of the 475 total units.

• DISC will neither be "Affordable" or "Record-Breaking"!


5. DISC is using Voodoo Economics to Project a Profit for the City

• Property Tax revenues are based on hopelessly optimistic and unrealistic valuations that are 48% higher compared to the same analysis done by the same financial consultant for the same business park just 5 years ago and 68% higher than current regional averages.

• The City's Finance and Budget Commission voted on a slim 4-3 margin only that the project "is likely to produce a net positive financial benefit to the City"...Not exactly a ringing endorsement.

• And one Commissioner even called the consultant's assumptions a "fairy tale".

• Clearly, a thumb has been put on the scale to make the project seem economically far rosier than reality. _________________________________________________________


The more we hear about DISC, the more it is clear that Davis will get all of the traffic and pollution and the Developers will get all of the profits. It's time to just say "NO"!

__________________________________________________________


Sierra Club Endorses No on Measure B - No on DISC


A Different Vision for the DISC 200 Acres

Image1-2
Photo credit: Nick Buxton

By Juliette Beck

A little over twelve years ago when I was pregnant with my first child and deciding whether to move to Davis to join my sister in raising our families here, I looked at the air quality data and considered the impacts on newborn lungs.

I ultimately made the decision to move here and fight like hell for my children to grow up on a livable planet, in a healthy community. Given the climate emergency that has choked our skies with smoke for weeks on end, I'm not sure I'd make that same decision today.

We are at a critical turning point in human history. For decades, scientists, activists and frontline communities have been telling us we must change course. This summer, it has become undeniable that all of us here in California are now on the frontlines of a rapidly destabilizing climate.

With Measure B (thanks to Measure J/R now on the ballot as Measure D), we as citizens of Davis have the opportunity to vote on how our community will respond to the climate emergency - an emergency caused in large part based on how we as a society develop land and open space.

Located just east of the Mace Blvd curve and north of the Ikeda Market, this swath of farmland borders Davis as a gateway to our city. It could be a showcase for climate positive, regenerative farming that sustains our local food needs. But if Measure B passes, it will instead be a sprawling development comprised mainly of $800,000+ luxury homes and a massive industrial business park.

Continue reading "A Different Vision for the DISC 200 Acres " »


Pros and Cons for Measure B (DISC)

Davis-LWVBy the League of Women Voters Davis Area

The Question:  Should residents approve annexing agricultural land to develop the Davis Innovation and Sustainability Campus (DISC)?  Annexation of county land for city-related uses has required citizen approval since voters passed the Citizens Right to Vote on Future Use of Open Space and Agricultural Landsordinance in 2000 (as Measure J) and renewed it in 2010 (as Measure R). 

The Situation:  Davis has studied options for an innovation park with the goals of leveraging UC Davis' international reputation for academic and research advancements in agriculture, biotech, green-tech, and food science research.  As the options were studied, four options initially appeared to be available but these have since been reduced to one (see Appendix for a more detailed history).  The project site is agricultural land that has been productively farmed for many decades.  Moving forward with the project will put an end to farming on the site.

Continue reading "Pros and Cons for Measure B (DISC)" »


Letter: Multiple grounds for a no vote on Measure B

Measure B (DISC) is perhaps the worst development project that has ever come before Davis voters. Above all, it will have major adverse and irreversible environmental effects, and instead of helping to solve the housing problem, it will only aggravate it. Finally, it will do nothing to solve the city’s major fiscal issues, and indeed only exacerbate them.

A year ago, Davis leaders declared a “climate emergency” and declared it would achieve carbon neutrality by 2040. This massive project (over twice the size of the Cannery project) will spew more than 37,000 metric tons of carbon emission every year from the traffic it generates, according to the EIR, a net increase of 8% in Davis’ existing carbon footprint.

The project will generate 24,000 additional car trips daily, and the EIR (Appendix F, p. 123) says that at 14 intersections traffic will deteriorate to Level F. This does not take full account of the cumulative traffic impacts produced by the building of the many many thousands of units completed, under construction and approved in the last few years.

Moreover, the developers are in no way committed to mitigating in any way the inevitable traffic deadlock.

Furthermore, the EIR notes that DISC will create a minimum need for 3,760 housing units to accommodate the jobs generated. But it will only provide 850 units, and 83% of them will be at high-end market rates.

Finally, this development, even on its own terms, will not provide the revenues to offset the city’s serious fiscal deficit, quite to the contrary. The city’s Finance and Budget Commission was deeply skeptical of the developers’ claims, three doubted that there would be a net fiscal profit, and one even called the fiscal projections a “fairy tale.” This does not even take into account the major infrastructural spending by the city necessary to try and mitigate the environmental impacts.

What’s not to abhor? Please vote No on B.

Dan Cornford
Davis


Letter: The Road Ahead

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pam Gunnell
Davis


DISC is using Voodoo Economics

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

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

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

Continue reading "DISC is using Voodoo Economics" »


 DISC will be an Environmental Disaster

DISC is an Unmitigated Environmental Disaster - Vo 00001 DISC is an Unmitigated Environmental Disaster - Vo 00001(From press release)

Our world is burning up and melting around us. This year we have seen the largest fires ever in the Pacific Northwest, Siberia, the Amazon, and Australia along with record-breaking ice-melts in Greenland and Antarctica.

Yet DISC will increase Davis' annual carbon footprint by over 8% - over 83 million pounds per year!...What are they thinking?

Friday, October 2           Davis, CA

 What is Measure B and the DISC Industrial Park 

Measure B is on the November 3 ballot in Davis asking to annex 200 acres of Prime farmland into the City and pave it over to build a sprawling car-centric industrial center and 850 housing units.

This land-use dinosaur would be located on the northeast corner of 2nd St and Mace Blvd just across the street from Ikeda's Market.      

Read more      

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 DISC will be an Environmental Disaster 

  • The Developer claims the project will be carbon neutral. But according to the project's Environmental Impact Report, "...net emissions in the year 2035 would equal 37,724.31 metric tons of CO2 equivalent per year, the project would NOT meet the City’s target of net carbon neutrality by the year 2040." This is unacceptable!

  • There is no way the vast bulk of the project's carbon emissions can be reduced on-site. Instead the Developer will rely on purchase of cheap off-site carbon credits or mitigation elsewhere in the City to supposedly become carbon neutral. But this does nothing to actually reduce the City's total carbon emissions. This is deceitful!

  • The Developer falsely claims if DISC isn't built in Davis, it will just be built elsewhere with more greenhouse gas emissions. But all new commercial buildings anywhere in California must meet ever-increasing energy efficiency standards. This is misleading!

  • The Developer claims the project's jobs will be "Green" jobs. But because almost 80% of the greenhouse gases generated from DISC come from the projected 24,000+ daily car trips, DISC would actually have a smaller carbon footprint if built in other locations with superior public transportation access and much shorter commutes for workers. Commuter jobs are NOT "Green"!

The more we hear about DISC, the more it is clear that Davis will get all of the adverse environmental impacts and the Developers will get all of the profits. It's time to just say "NO"!

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Sierra Club Endorses No on Measure B - No on DISC

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For more information, order a lawn sign, or make a donation -  www.VoteNoOnDISC.com


DISC's Housing will NOT be "Affordable" or "Record-Breaking"

(From press release)

DISC will have Unaffordable Housing and Worsen Davis' Housing Shortage!

Saturday, September 25                         Davis, CA

  What is Measure B and the DISC Industrial Park 

Measure B is on the November 3 ballot in the City of Davis asking to annex 200 acres of Prime farmland into the City and pave it over to build a massive, sprawling industrial center and 850 housing units. The project is located on the northeast corner of 2nd St and Mace Blvd just across the street from Ikeda's Market.                  

Read more            

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 DISC's Housing will NOT be "Affordable" or "Record-Breaking" 

The DISC Developer claims the amount of affordable housing at the project is "record-breaking" for Davis. That is simply NOT true for either the market-rate OR the subsized affordable housing.

Continue reading "DISC's Housing will NOT be "Affordable" or "Record-Breaking"" »


Sierra Club Endorses No on Measure B - No on DISC in Davis, CA

Sierra Club endorsedCiting grounds of “excessive traffic, greenhouse gas emissions, and poor land-use and planning”, the Sierra Club announces its opposition to Measure B in Davis CA on the November 2020 municipal ballot.

Measure B is a vote to allow the annexation of approximately 200-acres of Prime farmland on the northeast periphery of the City and the development of a business park along with a 850-unit housing development. The project site is now farmed and serves as foraging habitat for numerous Special Status Species including Burrowing Owls, Swainson’s Hawks, and White-Tailed Kites.

The endorsement of the opposition to this ballot measure follows an extensive evaluation process by the local Sierra Club Yolano Group, the Sierra Club Mother Lode Chapter Political and Executive Committees, and the Sierra Club California Local Measure Review Committee.

The Sierra Club has long-standing official policies designed to minimize urban sprawl onto farmland and habitat and maximize intensive infill development. These include planning policies that further conservation of open space and preservation of natural areas and agricultural lands. The Sierra Club opposes sprawl as a pattern of increasingly inefficient and wasteful land use with devastating environmental and social outcomes.

Continue reading "Sierra Club Endorses No on Measure B - No on DISC in Davis, CA" »