Entries categorized "Land use"

15 mph DESIGN SPEED in Davis!

SD15
 
My strong feeling is that all local streets - including Downtown - should have a 15 mph design speed. This is already a number most are familiar with, as it's used alongside e.g. speed tables on school routes and even the sharp turn from 2nd St to L St.

The design speed is a speed that most people feel comfortable moving at in motor vehicles. People on bikes can also feel a design speed, but they are nearly infinitely more inherently safe than motor vehicles to others in the public ROW. 15 is also a bit faster than most cycling speeds.Traveling by bike on most greenbelt paths in Davis at 15 mph feels too fast - the paths are under-built - and perhaps the biggest design flaw in post 1970's Davis, sadly and ironically complemented by the clinically-insane wideness of many streets in West Davis, Mace Ranch and South Davis... but also much older streets in Old North, etc.
 
Does it seem slow? Perhaps. However, consider that for most journeys by motor vehicle a relatively short distance is on local streets. So any journey lengthening will be minimal.
 
Or can it even be shorter? Yes! 15 mph speed design is best complemented by elimination of existing mandatory stops; to be replaced by yields. It's these often unnecessary stops that lengthen journey time the most. Getting rid of them also decreases pollution (gas, particles and noise) and makes people less likely to feel the need to speed to the next stop sign.
 
So it can be both safer and faster!

Continue reading "15 mph DESIGN SPEED in Davis!" »


Big problems at BTSSC meeting tonight!

2nd StRailway modification project along 2nd St. leads to subverted process and disrespected City policy.

The item "CCJPA 2nd Street Improvements 30% Design" is on the Consent Calendar for the Bicycling, Transportation and Street Safety Commission (BTSSC) today.

The Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority (CCJPA), which runs the eponymous rail service with partner Amtrak, is planning to make modifications to the railway parallel with 2nd St, roughly between L St and the Pole Line. A significant part of the project will also raise, repave and re-stripe 2nd St - there's long been a problem with railway ballast making its way to the street - and include installation of an ADA-compliant sidewalk on the north side of the street, where no sidewalk currently exists up to the west end of Toad Hollow.

So far, so good? Unfortunately not. The item involving a significant infrastructure modification is only on the Consent Calendar and the changes to the street itself - aside from the new sidewalk, which is clearly a good thing - are not following the 2016 Street Standards, and the whole length of 2nd St is not compliant with the 2013 General Plan Transportation Element.

Continue reading "Big problems at BTSSC meeting tonight!" »


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" »


Letter from the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation concerning the Cannabis Land Use Ordinance

The following letter was sent to the Yolo County Board of Supervisors on May 4 and shared with the Davisite for publication.

Dear Chairman Provenza and Board of Supervisors:

On behalf of the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, I write to voice our continued strong concerns about the manner by which the County of Yolo is proceeding with regard to its Cannabis Land Use Ordinance ("CLUO"). Our concerns are far-reaching and fundamental. We continue to believe the Environmental Impact Report the County commissioned is deficient under the California Environmental Quality Act ("CEQA"), for all of the reasons stated in our prior correspondence and which we hereby incorporate by reference.  For reasons we cannot fathom, the County continues on a myopic course, refusing to supplement or expand an analysis to one that measures the actual environmental impacts of an industry the County unleashed four years ago as an admitted experiment, and without any CEQA analysis whatsoever.  On a matter of such great import, involving a land use policy affecting so many people's lives, we fail to understand why the County is unwilling to take the time needed to get it right, or meaningfully consider reasonable alternatives to  protect people and their property. Instead, the County seems dedicated to moving forward against this deficient record, and recommending final action on an ordinance that will establish legal rights for a problematic industry.

We implore the Board to step back and review the record. The comments from long­ time Capay Valley farmers and residents are generally consistent. Furthermore, County responses to people's grievances are revealing, as they are largely dismissive and conclusory, and protective of the cannabis industry generally. By this correspondence, we ask the Board to take corrective action and slow this process down to ensure CEQA is satisfied and that the best land use policy is developed. At the same time, we ask the Board to grant the Tribe's and our neighbors' request to protect the Capay Valley region, and in particular to, carve cannabis grows out of the rural residential communities west of Interstate-505 along State Route 16, which are simply not suitable to cannabis cultivation. As noted, the Tribe would help mitigate the impacts to growers who invested in the Capay Valley, by helping finance their relocation.

Our Efforts to Reach A Resolution That Would Protect Much of the Greater Capay Valley Region from Cannabis Cultivation.

Continue reading "Letter from the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation concerning the Cannabis Land Use Ordinance" »


Capay Valley is Being Overrun by a Disproportionate Share of Yolo County Cannabis Farms

The Overwhelming Majority of the Owners of these Cannabis Farms are NOT Capay Valley Residents

by Alan Pryor

According to records provided by residents of Capay Valley opposed to the proliferation of cannabis farms in that rural and semi-rural area, there are 54 licensed pot farms in Yolo County with identified APN parcel numbers. Of these 54 farms, 27 (50%) are located in or near the unincorporated towns of Guinda, Rumsey,  Capay, and Esparto in the geographically short and narrow Capay Valley. The remaining 27 farms are located in other widely dispersed unincorporated areas of Yolo County. Based on land area alone, this is obviously a hugely disproportionate concentration of cannabis farms in this generally less wealthy area of the County.

Capay Valley Cannabis Farms

It is further noteworthy that of the 27 cannabis farms in the Capay Valley, only 7 (26%) have a person or business owner with an actual identified mailing address in the valley itself – everyone else is from somewhere else.. (Note: County records are incomplete or inaccurate so some property/business owner information was not released or otherwise unobtainable. As a result, not all information is currently available for all cannabis farms licensees).

Continue reading "Capay Valley is Being Overrun by a Disproportionate Share of Yolo County Cannabis Farms" »


Residents United to Demand a Cannabis Exclusion for Greater Capay Valley

The following group-written letter was sent to the Yolo County Board of Supervisors, several of whom also shared the letter with the Davisite and suggested that other people concerned about this issue can contact the Board at: "Oscar Villegas, 1st" <oscar.villegas@yolocounty.org> "Don Saylor, Chair, 2nd" <don.saylor@yolocounty.org>, "Gary Sandy, 3rd" <gary.sandy@yolocounty.org>, "Jim Provenza, 4th" <jim.provenza@yolocounty.org>, "Angel Barajas, 5th" <angel.barajas@yolocounty.org>, "Patrick S. Blacklock, Co Admin’r" <patrick.blacklock@yolocounty.org>

[Updated to add signatories].

Dear Supervisors: 

We are residents of the rural communities along Highway 16 west of the 505 in Yolo County, with most of us living and some of us farming in and around Madison, Esparto, Capay, Brooks, Guinda and/or Rumsey. This area is a special one, renowned for the quality of its produce and sustainable farming, and variously called the “Capay Valley” or “greater Capay Valley.” We submit this letter to express our strong and united opposition to the cannabis industry in our communities.  

Since the County first began experimenting with the cannabis industry four years ago, and authorized cannabis cultivation without any prior analysis or environmental review, the greater Capay Valley quickly became overwhelmed with cannabis grows. As you stand ready to approve an Ordinance that will bring some permanence to this industry, we ask you to hear us.  While we recognize the County wants this industry because of the revenues it will generate, the Board needs to consider the real costs this industry poses to our way of life.  

Many of our families have lived in this region for generations. We have personally witnessed – and experienced – the harmful impacts of this industry. We want to make it clear to you, the elected Board of Supervisors, including our District 5 Supervisor Angel Barrajas, that we want the cannabis industry out of the greater Capay Valley, which needs to be protected from cannabis cultivation and related uses with an express exclusion or ban.

Continue reading "Residents United to Demand a Cannabis Exclusion for Greater Capay Valley " »


Letter: Don’t turn Capay Valley into a Sacrifice Zone

The following letter was sent to the Yolo County Board of Supervisors and shared with the Davisite

Hello Yolo County Supervisors,

Allow me to be frank. Although each county supervisor is elected by the voters of their district, you represent all the residents (whether they voted for you or not) of the entire county.

That means your unspoken eagerness for pot revenue needs to be balanced against how the carpet-bagging influx of most pot grows being located mostly in District Five could undermine what was already here and growing.

“The “California Travel Impacts” report, prepared for Visit California by Dean Runyan Associates, shows visitor spending reached $454.3 million and supported 5,219 jobs in Yolo County in 2019.”

While our county’s three large cities get the credit, recreation in Capay Valley is also a significant factor, with river rafting, Almond Festival tourism, lavender farms and wine tasting, the Yocha Dehe Golf Club, Cache Creek Casino Resort, Séka Hills Olive Mill, Mother’s Day garden tours, and 3 decades of Full Belly Farm’s Hoes Down events drawing considerable crowds. The county took in $15 million in local tax revenue in 2019 from visitors.  https://www.dailydemocrat.com/2020/05/16/new-economic-report-highlights-importance-of-tourism-to-yolo-county/

Continue reading "Letter: Don’t turn Capay Valley into a Sacrifice Zone " »


Forthcoming book features women innovators in agtech in Davis

From Farms to Incubators Cover Award-winning journalist and filmmaker Amy Wu has written a forthcoming book “From Farms to Incubators: Women Innovators Revolutionizing How Our Food Is Grown,” that profiles dozens of women innovators and leaders in the growing sector of agtech. Agtech encompasses innovations including drones, sensors, artificial intelligence and blockchain that help growers with the challenges they are facing including severe labor shortage and loss of arable land. The book features a number of women in the Davis area including Thuy-Le Vuong, Pam Marrone and Fatma Kaplan.

  • Vuong is the CEO and founder of The Redmelon Company that extracts oil from Gac, a tropical fruit known to be rich in nutrition packed carotenoids.
  • Marrone is the founder of Marrone Bio Innovations (MBI) a bio-based pest management company that produces herbicides, fungicides and insecticides with plant-based or using naturally-occurring microorganisms with the goal of replacing chemicals in agriculture.
  • Kaplan is the founder of Pheronym a company creates biopesticides that use pheromones (chemicals capable of acting like hormones to impact the behavior of the receiving individuals) to control a wide range of agricultural pests.

The book will be published on May 4, 2021 by Linden Publishing (based out of Fresno) and is available for pre-sales through various outlets including Barnes & Noble and Amazon. This past February Amy was named one of Food Tank’s 15 Leading Women at the Intersection of Food and Technology. In 2020 Amy was named one of Worth magazine’s “50 Women Changing the World.” To learn more about From Farms to Incubators go to www.farmstoincubators.com.

Amy Wu is an award-winning writer for women’s ag and agtech movement who is bicoastal and splits her time between New York and California.


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" »


Better main shot cropped_REDCity is blocking bike lanes?

The City of Davis' only response to recent crashes in the vicinity of Pole Line Road and East Covell Blvd has thus far been Enforcement1. Actively, the Davis Police Department has been monitoring some locations in the area.  Passively, the City has placed a
radar speed sign on WB East Covell between Manzanita and Baywood Streets, right about here.

Why is the radar speed sign in the bike lane? The City places similar signs - and they and private contractors place various construction signs - off to the side on streets when there's space to do so, so they clearly understand the advantage of doing so. But when there's no space, they place the signs on the side of the street, and on most collectors and arterial streets in Davis this means it's in a bike lane.

"Putting a radar feedback sign on Covell to invite drivers to slow down: good. Putting a sign in bike lane: not good," says Nicolas Fauchier-Magnan, the President of Bike Davis, who usually goes by Nico.

"Obstructing the bike lane, on a street where drivers routinely go 50 mph or more is simply irresponsible. 

"Come on, City of Davis," continues Nico. "You should know better, and you can do better. Please fix this terrible blunder before someone gets hurt. There is plenty of space on the grass, outside of the bike lane, to safely place this sign."

Continue reading "" »


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 " »


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"!

__________________________________________________________


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 " »


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.

==============

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