Entries categorized "Land use"

Vote Yes for Measure D, to Renew Measure J

Yes on Measure D graphic-1 jpg which can be re-sizedD is for “Democracy in action”

By Ken Wagstaff, Eileen M. Samitz, Mark Spencer, and Desmond Jolly

Background

Measure D is on the November ballot to renew Measure J, which was originally passed by Davis voters in 2000 and renewed overwhelmingly in 2010 as Measure R. Measure J requires voter approval for development of open space or agricultural land within or adjacent to the city. Historically, the city’s borders have been where growth pressure is greatest. Measure J acknowledges the importance of incorporating citizen review into the planning process and is offered for renewal to the public every ten years.

Measure J was originally drafted by Davis citizens, with the help of environmental and legal counsel, as a response to the unbridled growth in the 1990’s. At the time, Davis was growing at more than double the rate of other California cities resulting in serious budgetary shortfalls, circulation issues, overwhelmed city services and inadequate school capacity for children.

Measure J provisions

Continue reading "Vote Yes for Measure D, to Renew Measure J " »


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"!

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Sierra Club Endorses No on Measure B - No on DISC


A Different Vision for the DISC 200 Acres

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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 " »


DISC site not required to satisfy Davis's commercial needs

Infill would be a better choice

By Pam Gunnell, Richard McCann, and Matt Williams

A 200-acre business park like DISC is not an objective in the City of Davis’ General Plan.  Additionally, DISC contains uses (housing, retail, parks, ag buffer) that require land that would not be needed with an infill model that uses existing parcels inside the city limits. According to the project’s own environmental review documents, the FSEIR, only 101 acres of the 200-acre DISC are needed for R&D, office and light manufacturing.  (FSEIR p. 2-21 and p. 2-254) 

Since DISC is proposed to be built out in 4 phases over 20-25 years, 101 acres of land is not needed all at once.  For that reason, existing smaller parcels in Davis may be able to accommodate the initial R&D development and defer the need to consider DISC for a number of years … at a time when the impacts of COVID on market demand for Office/R&D/Flex space are much clearer.

The City, however, is not seriously considering meeting its commercial needs with infill of existing parcels, despite the fact that a 2019 City study enumerates 124 acres of vacant parcels inside the city limits. (FSEIR p. 2-21 and LINK) This does not include City–owned properties and parcels that are underutilized and could be rezoned – for example the PG&E property on the edge of downtown nor does it include redevelopable properties already appropriately zoned.

Continue reading "DISC site not required to satisfy Davis's commercial needs" »


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)" »


Public Comment to DJUSD School Board Last Night — Funny Money in Measure B Argument?

Fact-checkBy Matt Williams

The following Public Comment was submitted by e-mail to the DJUSD School Board with copy to DJUSD CFO Amari Watkins.  The Public Comment was read into the record by Superintendent John Bowes.  As noted in the text of the Public Comment, I have been dialoguing with Amari Watkins over the past three weeks.  What came out of the due diligence homework leading up to that dialogue was a complete surprise.

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Members of the DJUSD School Board, over the past three weeks I have been in e-mail communication with your CFO Amari Watkins regarding the current and future status of DJUSD’s Community Facilities District No. 1 (CFD #1).  Amari has provided the 1989 Resolution documents that created and govern CFD #1, which I have reconciled with the numbers from the four most recent DAVIS JOINT UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT MELLO‐ROOS COMMUNITY FACILITIES DISTRICT NO. 1 SPECIAL TAX REPORTs (“the reports”) prepared by DJUSD’s tax administration consultant, SCI Consulting Group.

Bottom-line … subject to Amari’s (DJUSD’s) provision of any additional legal and/or election documents … the numbers from “the reports” say that CFD#1 will have reached the point where the language from the Rate and Method Resolution, “The special tax shall be levied and collected only so long as it is needed to pay the principal and interest on debt incurred …” will reach both its logical and fiscal conclusion during or before DJUSD’s Fiscal Year 2021-2022 … possibly as early as during or before Fiscal Year 2020-21.  Said another way it appears to be clear that CFD #1 will be fully paid off at the end of Fiscal Year 2020-21, or at the latest Fiscal Year 2021-22.

The implications of CFD #1 ending for the DJUSD annual revenue stream are significant.

Continue reading "Public Comment to DJUSD School Board Last Night — Funny Money in Measure B Argument?" »


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


Downtown Merchants Revolt Against DDBA's Support of DISC

The following signed petition was sent to the Davis Downtown Business Association (DDBA) by a group of downtown business owners expressing concern that the DDBA issued a statement in support of Measure B and asking that that statement of support be rescinded until the full DDBA membership can be polled in an open, transparent, and democratic manner – Heather Caswell, The Wardrobe

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Be Bold – Be an Agent of Change! - A Petition Opposing Measure B and DISC

We believe the heart and soul of Davis is our downtown core. And we believe we must protect it and nurture it to realize its long term, sustainable potential. We support he Downtown Development Plan as a viable means to rejuvenate and enhance the businesses and livability of the downtown core.

We also believe the development of the Davis Innovation and Sustainability Campus (DISC) on the far east side of Davis, with 2.6 million sq ft of commercial space including 100,000 sq. ft. of retail space and 160,000 sq. ft. of hotel and meeting space, will siphon business tenants and merchant customers away from our downtown coreadversely affecting affecting its viability and vitality. 

We therefore are opposed to Measure B which seeks to approve the annexation of prime farmland into the City and the construction of the massive DISC project.

Continue reading "Downtown Merchants Revolt Against DDBA's Support of DISC" »


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


Pro-DISC letter is misleading

OSHC ARC resolutionBy Roberta Millstein

My fellow Open Space and Habitat Commission (OSHC) member, Patrick Huber, writes to defend the environmental status of the Davis Innovation and Sustainability Campus (DISC) (see Davis Enterprise letter). I respect Patrick; we have worked well together on the commission for a decade. However, although we have agreed on many things, he provides a partial and thus misleading picture of DISC in his letter.

On April 23, 2020, the OSHC voted unanimously on a motion, seconded by Patrick, not to recommend DISC (then called ARC) on the grounds that it would result in a substantial net loss of a noteworthy combination of open space values, including: prime agricultural land, open space on the City’s perimeter, habitat for sensitive species such as burrowing owl and Swainson’s hawk, and views of the Sierra Nevada and Sacramento skyline (see adjacent screenshot).

Continue reading "Pro-DISC letter is misleading" »


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" »


No on DISC signs now available

E538AF89-DD67-40D4-AAE5-84E5FE1BBF5EThe No on DISC - No on Measure B campaign announces that its signs are now available, free, for use on your lawn or street facing window. This creative and attractive sign uses humor to point out three major flaws in the project: increased traffic gridlock, increased greenhouse gases, and loss of burrowing owl habitat. 

You can request your sign at https://www.VoteNoOnDISC.com/, where you can also learn more about the problems with this massive business park proposed on prime farmland outside the Mace Curve. You can also donate to support the cause and volunteer to help by writing a letter to the editor or through other means. 

“Like” the campaign on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/VoteNoOnDISC/


The disastrous University Commons mega-dorm proposal goes to City Council August 18 for final vote

New Staff report reveals even more issues

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By Eileen M. Samitz

The Planning Commission’s 7:0 denial vote

The monolithic University Commons redevelopment proposal is heading for a final City Council vote on August 18. This project is completely out of scale for the surrounding neighborhoods and would create enormous impacts in the already heavily trafficked Russell Blvd. corridor and beyond. In addition to creating a 7-story, block-wide “wall,” the impacts from this project would negatively affect the entire community in many ways. 

The project’s many problems include the “rent-by-the bed” group housing format consisting of 894 beds which includes many 4-bedrooms apartments unsuitable for families. The City has approved four mega-dorms in the last few years; there’s no need for a fifth.  The Planning Commission voted unanimously to reject the project and its Environmental Impact Report (EIR) due to many reasons covered in a recent op-ed including the “significant and unavoidable” traffic impacts. Such a resounding denial rarely happens unless the project is as exceptionally bad as the University Commons proposal. The weblink to that op-ed with the many reasons for the Planning Commission’s rejection for the project and its EIR can be viewed here.

Continue reading "The disastrous University Commons mega-dorm proposal goes to City Council August 18 for final vote" »


University Commons: Will Council grandfather in another Tree Blighted Parking Lot?

IMG_6229
This is a picture of one of the large "successful" trees the landlord planted years ago when the University Commons development first opened. Note the massive scar as a result of neglect of pruning (lower limbs need to be removed so they are not broken off by trucks driving by),  And again rocks placed around the base of the tree that get hot and both stifle growth. Most trees in this lot have rocks any arborist will tell you hurt trees, but maybe the landlord is based in Tucson.   Why does this happen? What is the solution? The City Arborist is stretch thin and has no time to inspect commercial parking lots to assure landlords are caring for trees, so we get to city's 50% shade requirement. This is why we need to require landlords to reimburse the city the cost of hiring an outside arborist to provide tree maintenance oversight. Council required this for the DISC development,  why not University Commons too?

By Alan Hirsch, City Lorax 

This Tuesday, the city council will address details to permit a 7 story dorm proposed for University Commons/Trader Joe's shopping center.

There is debate about it size, height, affordability, type of units in the build.

But there is one fact everyone agrees on:

IF it follows the current city policy it will end up in the middle of an unshaded parking lot full of stunted trees.

Continue reading "University Commons: Will Council grandfather in another Tree Blighted Parking Lot?" »


Letter: Endorsing Walsh for Davis City Council

Roberta-with-Colin-signI write to endorse Colin Walsh for Davis City Council District 2. I first met Colin when he was working on the campaign against Nishi 1.0. I was immediately impressed by his passion and dedication. He often worked late into the night and was concerned to get every detail right. Since then we've worked on a number of initiatives together, including the community blog, Davisite.org, which fosters neighborly dialogue in Davis.

Another example: Since last fall when the MRIC Mace curve business park project resurfaced to become ARC and then DISC, Colin has read thousands of pages of documents, attended Council and Commission meetings, asked hard questions, and made thoughtful suggestions, all on his own time as a citizen committed to good process and careful analysis. He raised concerns about the compressed timeline for community engagement and about the inadequate affordable housing proposed by the developers.

His comments to the Open Space and Habitat Commission on the DISC business park were particularly helpful to me as a commissioner. He pointed out that the bat studies at the site were insufficient, an issue that might otherwise have been overlooked, and urged that the Prime farmland at the site weigh heavily in any decision. I also appreciate his work as a member of the Tree Commission, arguing for a greater number of trees in the project (alas, the recommended number was rejected by the developer, but the number was increased somewhat).

So when Colin says that he will solicit community and commission input, you can believe him. When he says he will analyze thoroughly and ask hard questions, you can believe him. When he says he will foster open and transparent government, you can believe him.

Colin is committed to social justice and the environment and would make an outstanding Councilmember. Whether or not you are in his district, you can support him with an endorsement, lawn sign, letter to the editor, or donation. See his website at walsh4davis.com for details. If you are in District 2, please give him your vote.


Roberta Millstein
Chair, Open Space and Habitat Commission
(speaking for myself alone)


Keeping My Commitment to the Community

Screen Shot 2020-07-31 at 7.51.43 AMBy David Taormino

The list of challenges for residential developers and builders in Davis is long and well known.

To be honest, our community’s reputation for opposing nearly all growth was a major hurdle when we presented Bretton Woods to 14 financially qualified and experienced national home builders. Almost all solicited builders turned down Bretton Woods without any consideration of the project’s merits, with its Davis location cited as their deciding factor. Several builders that turned it down are currently building in Spring Lake, aka “North North Davis,” where 80 percent of buyers come from Davis.

Voters approved Measure L in November 2018, with the understanding that Bretton Woods would be a community intended to accommodate current Davis residents, and that 90 percent of sales would be limited to Davis connected buyers. This was what I pledged, and my commitment to achieving this goal remains unchanged.

In October 2019, I asked the City, on behalf of the builder, to amend the Development Agreement (DA). The builder requested that the City remove the 90 percent Davis connected limitation from the DA for two reasons — they would have more autonomy if the market for Davis based seniors was not as substantial as expected; or if someone filed a discrimination-oriented lawsuit. Some in the community criticized this request to remove the language pertaining to the Davis Connected Buyers Program a “bait and switch.” I want to explain why that is not the case.

Continue reading "Keeping My Commitment to the Community" »


David Taormino and Bretton Woods Are Attempting a "Bait-and-Switch" with the Davis-Based Buyers Program

by Alan Pryor

Summary

David Taormino, the developer of the Bretton Woods senior housing development just west of Sutter Hospital, is trying to pull another fast one on the City of Davis' senior population. Taormino just proposed, and City Staff supports, that the Davis-Based Buyers Program be rescinded from the signed Development Agreement for the Project that already exists between him and the City. This local senior-preferential buying program reserved 90% of the 560 new homes in the project for seniors that have a pre-existing connection to the City of Davis. It promised that the project would be for local or Davis-connected seniors and not just a high-end enclave for rich retirees fleeing from the Bay Area.

This requirement to preferentially sell to existing Davis seniors was widely promoted and promised to voters in actual ballot language when the project was approved in the November, 2018 general election (then known as the West Davis Active Adult Community). Well, after Taormino and all his lawyers and the Davis City Council all loudly and adamantly proclaimed the project was definitely and undeniably legal in all respects, now David Taormino claims he has new "concerns" about the legality of the program and he wants to rescind it and its promises to Davis seniors. There has been no new legal opinion or justification provided by Mr. Taormino to substantiate this newfound concern.

Of course the real reason that Taormino has this newfound concern for the law is that he realizes that by selling his new homes to wealthier Bay Area expatriates instead of the local senior voters he so ardently-courted (but who have far less home equity in their existing homes), Mr. Taormino can probably get an extra 10 - 15% or more for each home he sells to out-of-towners. And he can market the homes to a whole lot more people than he would if otherwise restricted to Davis. 

But Taormino heavily sold this project directly to Davis senior voters by promising them that this project would be just for them and not cater to Bay Area transplants. He even collected hundreds and hundreds of names and email addresses of senior voters by claiming he was putting them on a buyers "waiting list" for the new homes and then proceeded to bombard them with campaign literature in the guise of project "updates" throughout the election campaign.

This whole bait and switch process is fundamentally dishonest and reprehensible. And for City Staff to recommend that Taormino be allowed to remove this obligation from the Development Agreement while getting really noting of substance in return, it shows City Staff is once again willing to play ball accommodating developers without regard to what is best for the City and, in this case, its senior residents.

Continue reading "David Taormino and Bretton Woods Are Attempting a "Bait-and-Switch" with the Davis-Based Buyers Program" »