Entries categorized "Land use"

Four Car Washes Near 80 & Mace?

Car wash center sign
Poorly-Photoshop'd modification of "Davis Auto Center" sign on Chiles next to I-80

I have been engaged for a couple of weeks on the subject of the proposed car wash at 480 Mace (at Cowell Blvd.), and have written about it.

I am not sure when the following items appeared on the City's website, but I see now that there's also a plan for a "new service station, a convenience store and carwash, a separate retail building, and related site improvements" at 4810 Chiles AND to "maintain the existing carwash [and] construct a new 2,832 square-foot convenience store" and implement related features at 4480 Chiles, which already has a car wash.

My concerns are:

1) The public notification and project documents for the 480 Mace proposal make no mention of the simultaneous process for 4810 Chiles, for which Mr Njoku says he's aiming a hearing on March 23, 2022, though I believe Sherri Metzger said at the PC meeting tonight that this was not guaranteed - nor for 4480 Chiles, which Mr Lee says will have a hearing "soon". This is two weeks after the re-scheduled Planning Commission hearing for 480 Mace. What's the CEQA comments deadline for 4810 Chiles? The sum of this seems to be that perhaps a week before the re-rescheduled Planning Commission hearing on 480 Mace, the residents of 4735 Cowell Blvd who received the 500 ft notice that proposed car wash will receive another for the second car wash at 4810 Chiles, as will other commercial addresses within the 500 ft radius BUT significantly also the Ellington Apartments, which have their main entrance on El Cemonte, and a small shared border with 4810 Chiles. Is the 4810 Chiles applicant going to be making the same mistake as 480's in regards to a lack of outreach. (The letter about the requested continuance from the 480 Mace applicant which was shown at the PC meeting tonight thanked Staff for circulating the announcement and mentioned they were doing similar on NextDoor. Nothing else.

Car wash plan mapOn the left the two existing car washes; on the right two proposed.
Note that proposed ones are directly adjacent.

2) The Traffic Studies for 480 Mace and 4810 Chiles make no mention of each other. I had already written about my concerns for the overlap for design and signalling changes for 480 Mace proposed mitigations and the Mace Re-Design non-approved plans, and this makes me even more curious.

3) The Traffic Study for 4810 Chiles seems to show egress from NB Mace, but it's not clear if it's open, one-way etc. The Study mentions no mitigations for it.

4) The available documents for 4810 Chiles include maps which marginally at best show El Macero Village and Ellington as "Apartments", not e.g. perhaps 500 people or more within 500 ft.

5) The documentation for 480 refers to the proposed buildings having visual elements similar to those nearby, but this is not inclusive of what's proposed for 4810 Chiles, which looks objectively remarkably different (and subjectively incredibly generic and ugly.)

Circle K
Proposal for 4810 Chiles... yeah, ugh...

6) I understand the current zoning, the district plan already referred to by Staff as "out of date", but don't see how it makes sense to have a total of four car washes in close proximity to each other (three mentioned and the one behind the Chevron station at Mace and 2nd St.) and why it's been encourage or allowed to be pursued. Given the very close timing of 480 Mace and 4810 Chiles including the lack of time and effort for community input for 480 Mace, it also seems like a race. Perhaps the Planning Commission won't approve them but what if it does, because...

7) Two of the proposed car washes are so close that their vacuums - or loud stereos played by customers - may be able to be heard by visitors to the other location, and more critically by the apartment complex that lies partially directly in between them, El Macero Village Apartments, where I live, except during the times that the sound of I-80 is louder, but then this all has at least a subjective cumulative effect.

8) Fehr & Peers has done the Traffic Studies for both 480 Mace and 4810 Chiles, and also the design plans for the Mace Re-Design. For the former two they are working for the applicants and for the latter for the City (and County?). It's not clear if their work for the City for the Re-Design of Mace has been used for 480 - or also 4810 Chiles - but it seems so as in the Study for 480 they suggest mitigations for areas - namely, the intersection of Mace and Cowell - for which they've also proposed concrete design modifications at the direction of the City. Is this all perfectly normal?


It is all there in the Numbers … Traffic, Traffic, Traffic!!!

Traffic-on-maceBy Matt Williams

With apologies in advance to those people who find my articles and/or comments too detailed, I’m going to clearly show David Greenwald of the Davis Vanguard the numbers, so that he, and hopefully everyone, understands the traffic study contents. 

For those of you who want to skip the detail and just read the summary, it appears at the bottom of the article alongside the very tall Google Earth image of Mace and its current lane configuration.

With the caveat that the readers of yesterday’s article don’t know what steps might have happened behind the scenes that weren’t described in the article, it appears that yesterday, David Greenwald forgot to follow his own advice.  Several times in the recent past David has complained bitterly that one of the Vanguard’s guest writers published their article without taking the time to check with an information source prior to publishing an article that criticizes one or more aspects of our community’s decisions and/or decision processes.  I believe, but could be wrong if there is information I don’t know about, David would have done well for himself and for the Yes On Measure H campaign team if he had checked with the information source he criticized in yesterday’s article.  If he did do so, I’m sure he will clarify in a comment.

Traffic studies are arcane beasts.  They follow a set of clearly set out rules that a lay person like David and me has to work hard to understand. It is easy for a lay person to make mistakes when trying to understand “WHY?” a traffic finding in the traffic study is what it is.  In late 2020 when formally submitting questions  about the traffic study in the Draft EIR, I learned that lesson the hard way.  To their credit Fehr & Peers responded very clearly, logically, understandably, and professionally to my questions … pointing out where I had gone wrong in my calculations.  They were good teachers.  I thank them for that educational lesson.

So, when the updated traffic study for DiSC 2022 was published I was able to much better understand the data … and also carry forward the intersection by intersection graphics that had accompanied the 2020 traffic study.  However, before I finalized any conclusions based on the new data, I reviewed those tentative conclusions with a retired City traffic engineer and two engineering professionals who have considerable experience dealing with traffic.  Their collective and individual counsel was very valuable.  Their advice would have been very helpful to David if he had sought that advice prior to publishing yesterday.

Continue reading "It is all there in the Numbers … Traffic, Traffic, Traffic!!!" »


Letter: DiSC 2022 is a Trojan horse

I strongly oppose the DiSC 2022 project and there are plenty of reasons why, including the plethora of false claims by the Ramos developers.

First, the project will add 12,000 car trips daily to Mace Blvd., so it will increase traffic, not decrease it as they claim.

Second, the fiscal analysis contains absurd assumptions and inflated projections, resulting in a fairy tale fiscal “benefit”.

Third, while we are experiencing a serious drought and Davis residents will have to cut back on water use to conserve what we can, a large commercial park would significantly draw on our limited water resources.

Fourth, the DiSC housing would be expensive and appealing to I-80 highway commuters. DiSC’s 460 housing units would not alleviate housing need but, instead would create more housing demand for the 2,500 DiSC employees and increase local housing costs. Further, DiSChas no mechanism to assure that any DiSC employee would live on-site, therefore creating even more traffic. The minimal number of “affordable units” will not all be located on-site. In fact, they may not materialize since the developer can opt to pay “in lieu” fees instead. Further, this housing is not geared for family housing. Who wants to raise their kids in a commercial/research park?

Continue reading "Letter: DiSC 2022 is a Trojan horse" »


Misrepresentations of the Yes on H/Yes on DiSC campaign

Yes-on-H-mailer-cropped-annotatedBy Colin Walsh

The Vanguard published a guest commentary by Jackson Mills, “Debunking Deceptive Descriptions of DiSC in No on H Campaign Messaging,” on Tuesday morning. But it’s the commentary itself that is deceptive.

Ironically Mr. Mills himself chooses to mislead people in his selection of an outdated illustration to lead the article. It is notable that the illustration used with this article is from the previous DISC proposal and is certainly not an accurate picture of the current DiSC proposal. The water feature in this picture is an idealized version of the drainage ditch that ran through the middle of the previous project (it also shows far more water than there ever would have been). The drainage ditch does not run through the project in the current iteration. And the drainage ditch certainly doesn’t support paddle boarding as depicted on the Yes on H mailers.

The Vanguard has done nothing to address the Misrepresentations of the Yes on H campaign. Those claims have included such outrageous exaggerations and misinformation such as:

Measure H “helps our community fight the housing crisis” – DiSC will have over 2,400 employees, and by the City’s own documents only 187 will live in the onsite housing. That adds over 2,200 additional people looking for housing in Davis, adding pressure to our already incredibly tight Davis housing market.

Continue reading "Misrepresentations of the Yes on H/Yes on DiSC campaign" »


Davis LWV offers Pros and Cons on Measure H

Sitemapfordisc
This is the developer's provided "Land Plan," downloaded from the City's website here.

(From press release) One side sees new jobs, housing, and city revenue. The other sees traffic gridlock, growing demand for housing, and exaggerated economic benefits.

Davis voters will decide on June 7 whether to annex agricultural land for the Davis Innovation and Sustainability Center (DiSC 2022). This is a scaled-down version of a project defeated by Davis voters two years ago.

To help voters decide for themselves how to vote on the new proposal, the League of Women Voters Davis Area has prepared a nonpartisan Pros and Cons on Measure H.

In table form, the document provides a summary of the pro-and-con arguments on important issues: impact on city and school revenue, the environment, housing, jobs, traffic and impact on the downtown. An overview and history of the project also are provided.

The document can be viewed at bit.ly/MeasureHProCon.

More information about the Davis League — and a copy of the document — are available on the organization’s website at: lwvdavisarea.org.


Affordable Housing Expert argues that Affordable Housing at DiSC does not Comply with City of Davis Municipal Code

Landplan
Site map showing the Residential Area of DiSC adjacent to the Advanced Manufacturing Area. Most of the residential units will be market rate, not Affordable.

By Matt Williams

Each morning for the next two weeks I will provide Davisite readers and Davis voters with an article on one of the dozen issues that I covered in my presentation on Thursday at University Retirement Community which had Dan Carson presenting for Yes On Measure H.  For everyone’s reference, at the end of this article I have listed those dozen issues that argue strongly for a “No” vote on Measure H.

What is the most important reason to vote “No” on Measure H?

On Tuesday I got a telephone call from David Thompson, the president of he Twin Pines Cooperative Foundation and co-principal of Neighborhood Partners LLC, which has developed and has in development over 1,400 units of low-income integrated nonprofit housing valued at over $200 million. His Affordable Housing projects in Davis include:

Creekside
Eleanor Roosevelt Circle
Cesar Chavez Plaza
Tremont Green
Moore Village
Twin Pines
Owendale
Dos Pinos

David has forgotten more about Affordable Housing than I will ever know. So when he asked me if I was interested in understanding how there is considerably less Affordable Housing in the DiSC project than is required by the City of Davis Affordable Housing Ordinance, I was quick to listen.

Continue reading "Affordable Housing Expert argues that Affordable Housing at DiSC does not Comply with City of Davis Municipal Code" »


Fact Checking Matt Williams's Affordable Housing article

By Matt Williams

This table provides fact checking for the article Affordable Housing Expert argues that Affordable Housing at DiSC does not Comply with City of Davis Municipal Code

What is the most important reason to vote “No” on Measure H?

A header

On Tuesday I got a telephone call from David Thompson, the president of the Twin Pines Cooperative Foundation and co-principal of Neighborhood Partners LLC, which has developed and has in development over 1,400 units of low-income integrated nonprofit housing valued at over $200 million. His Affordable Housing projects in Davis include:

Creekside
Eleanor Roosevelt Circle
Cesar Chavez Plaza
Tremont Green
Moore Village
Twin Pines
Owendale
Dos Pinos

Factually correct

David has forgotten more about Affordable Housing than I will ever know. So when he asked me if I was interested in understanding how there is considerably less Affordable Housing in the DiSC project than is required by the City of Davis Affordable Housing Ordinance, I was quick to listen.

Factually correct

David started our discussion by asking me whether I had received the recent promotion piece for Yes on Measure H, which says, “Measure H enhances and advances more of what we love about Davis by creating affordable housing.”

Factually correct … confirmable on the Yes on DiSC website

After I told him that I had indeed seen that statement, he replied “That statement by DiSC is simply not true!”

DISC is purposefully choosing to provide less affordable housing as a percentage of the total than any previously proposed site that has come up for a citizen vote.

Factually correct.  He absolutely shared that opinion with me.

The reason is both simple and straightforward. Prior to 2018 all citizen vote proposals provided at least 25-35% of the housing units as permanently affordable under the provisions of Article 18.05 of the City of Davis Municipal Code … the City of Davis Affordable Housing Ordinance … which states.

Factually correct.

To the maximum extent feasible, each developer must meet the ownership affordable unit requirement as it pertains to the project, as set forth below:

(a) Standard ownership affordable housing requirements. Any development that is comprised in whole or in part of ownership units shall comply with the following requirements, which shall be included in the development’s affordable housing plan.

(1) Affordable Housing Requirements, by Residential Product Type.

(A) For projects comprised of market rate single-family detached ownership units on lots larger than five thousand square feet in area, the developer must provide for a number of affordable housing units equivalent to twenty-five percent of the total units being developed, including the affordable units, by means of one of the methods set forth in this section.

[…]

General plan implementing policies also require that, to the extent feasible and subject to existing law, rental housing developments with five to nineteen units shall provide fifteen percent of the units to low income households and ten percent to very low income households; and in rental housing developments with twenty or more units that twenty-five percent of the units be affordable to low income households and ten percent of the units be affordable to very low income households. General plan policies also require that affordable rental units remain affordable in perpetuity. (Ord. 2418 § 1, 2013)

Factually correct.  Every word is copied verbatim and pasted directly from the Municipal Code

David went on to explain that DISC is applying under the “Interim Affordable Housing Ordinance” which substantially reduced the requirement to 15%.

Factually correct

The interim Affordable Housing Ordinance was passed by City Council in February 2018 with the stated plan that it would sunset on December 31, 2018. That sunset never happened, and its interim policy is still in effect.

Factually correct.  The Vanguard has published that very information in past articles.

However, that interim policy with its lowered 15% was written specifically to apply to land already in the city, and was/is based on the December 11, 2015 Economic Report prepared for the City by A Plescia & Co entitled Preliminary Project Economic Analysis For City of Davis Affordable Housing Ordinance.  That Plescia report begins as follows:

Factually correct.

The primary purpose of this summary report is to present preliminary information related to the projected economic implications of potential affordable housing ordinance requirements on certain urban scale residential ownership and rental development prototypes. The project economic analysis summarized in this report addresses the estimated financial feasibility (including profitability) information for certain identified residential ownership and rental development prototypes.

Factually correct.  Every word is copied verbatim and pasted directly from the Plesia Report document

The preliminary project economic information presented in this report can be used by the City of Davis to inform the process being undertaken by the City of Davis in regard to its consideration of amending its existing Affordable Housing Ordinance as it relates to the identified residential ownership and rental development prototypes addressed in this memorandum.

[…]

For purposes of this preliminary project economic analysis, the identified residential and mixed-use prototype alternatives are assumed to each be developed on a hypothetical 2.0 acre infill development site within the current urbanized area of the City of Davis.

Factually correct.  Every word is copied verbatim and pasted directly from the Plesia Report document

Why within the current urbanized area of the City?

Header

Because land costs in the City had risen to the level of  hundreds of thousands of dollars per acre.

There probably were a number of reasons, but this is the root cause reason.  So this statement can be characterized as an opinion rather than a fact.

Land that is outside the urbanized area, like the DISC site, does not suffer from high land costs. It resides on agricultural land outside the City Limits that was purchased for considerably less than $10,000 per acre … NOT hundreds of thousands of dollars per acre.

Factually correct

That economic reality, and the clear words of the Plescia report mean the affordable housing requirement for DiSC should remain at the 25-35% threshold contained in Article 18.05 of the Municipal Code

Opinion / Conclusion / Position

In November 2019 hundreds of Davis residents applauded Richard Rothstein’s talk on the “Color of Law,” which critiqued the role of government in reducing housing for people of color. Many of us want a future Davis to be more inclusive and expansive of housing for low income residents and racial minorities.

Factually correct

DISC does the opposite by providing considerably less housing for low income residents and racial minorities.

Opinion / Conclusion / Position

David is unequivocal in his opinion that the interim Affordable Housing Ordinance simply does not apply to DiSC, and until and unless the DiSC project changes its Affordable Housing Plan to comply with the provisions Article 18.05 of the City of Davis Municipal Code, the only choice is to vote “NO” on Measure H.  David Thompson has clearly stated that it is the most important reason to vote “No.”  None of us should want to live in a Davis that accepts fewer homes for those most in need and people of color.

Opinion / Conclusion / Position plus a recommendation for solving the problem identified.

As noted at the beginning of this article, each morning for the next two weeks I will provide Vanguard readers and Davis voters with an article on one of the dozen issues listed below that I covered in my presentation on Thursday at University Retirement Community.

Reasons to Vote “NO” on Measure H

• Massive Traffic Problems
• No Firm Plans to Mitigate Traffic
• Unmitigated Greenhouse Gas Emissions
• DISC will Cannibalize Existing Downtown and Local Businesses in Davis that are Still Hurting from the Pandemic
• Projected Financial Projections to the City are Questionable or Misleading
• We Cannot Trust our City Staff and Council to Protect Us from Rapacious and Predatory Developers
• Critical Farmland, Habitat, and our Last Views of the Sierra and Sacramento Skyline will be Lost Forever
• A Yes Vote Gives the Developer Lucrative Entitlements with No Guaranteed Baseline Features in Many Critical Areas
• The Project Will Exacerbate the Housing Shortage in the Davis Area
• The Scale of the DiSC Business Park is Much Too Large for a Small College Town Like Davis
• An industrial-research development while we are in a serious drought?

N/A


Letter: 2 reasons for voting No on H: Muzzling citizens & exclusionary housing

Thompson graphic 2Dear Davis Citizens:

Two reasons for voting No on H.

Council Member Carson tried to silence six voices opposed to Measure H. The six Davis citizens incurred a $71,000 bill to defend themselves, and now Carson is suing them for his legal costs of $76,358. Those volunteer voices are potentially paying $147,000+ from their personal savings.

On the other hand Carson has incurred no personal costs because his attempt to muzzle citizen voices opposed to Measure H was financed by the DISC developer.

That has prompted me to raise my own citizen voice … Council member Carson’s developer-funded stealth tactic should not be rewarded!  That alone is reason enough to vote No on Measure H.

However, there is a second reason to vote No on H. There’s Less Affordable Housing than the norm!

I received a Measure H piece, stating,

Measure H enhances and advances more of what we love about Davis, Affordable Housing.

Simply not true. DISC is providing less affordable housing as a % than any site set for a citizen vote.

Prior to 2018 all citizen vote proposals provided at least 25-35% of the housing units as permanently affordable. DISC is applying under the “Interim Affordable Housing Ordinance” which substantially reduced the requirement to 15%.

However, the interim policy with its lowered 15% was written specifically to apply to land already in the city.  Why?  Because land costs in the City are hundreds of thousands of dollars per acre.

The DISC site does not suffer from high land costs.  It resides on agricultural land outside of the city that was purchased for likely less than $10,000 per acre.  Therefore, the affordable housing requirement should remain at 25-35%.

In November 2019 hundreds of Davis residents applauded Richard Rothstein’s talk on the “Color of Law,” which critiqued the role of government in reducing housing for people of color. Many of us want a future Davis to be more inclusive and expansive of housing for low income residents and racial minorities.

DISC does the opposite by providing considerably less housing for low income residents and racial minorities.

Please join me in voting No on H.

David J Thompson
Davis


No on DiSC's statement on vandalized Yes on H signs

IMG-4080The No on DiSC/No on H campaign denounces the recently discovered vandalism of a large Yes on Measure H sign posted on Covell Blvd at Risling Ct., possibly in the public right of way. Although we have been frustrated by the misrepresentations of the Yes on DISC campaign (including the signs themselves which give no indication of the true nature of the DiSC project) this type of petty property crime is not an appropriate means of advocacy.

The No on H campaign has also been experiencing rampant sign theft. Large numbers of the signature orange “No on H” traffic jam signs have been stolen across the city. Most notably, on 2 separate occasions more than 10 signs were removed from multiple homes in 2 different neighborhoods.

If your sign has been stolen or damaged, or if you would like a “No on Measure H” lawn sign, please contact the campaign through the website https://www.VoteNoOnDisc.com/


Letter: Who wants DiSC?

DISC overview shotWho wants 12,000 more daily car trips on Mace Blvd? 

Who wants to annex and pave over 102 acres of prime farmland and environmental habitat OUTSIDE the City of Davis boundary?

Who wants to violate every principle of effective city planning by developing 80,000 square feet of retail businesses beyond the city’s downtown?

Who wants an additional 460 housing units that would deplete scarce water resources and distress our already fragile infrastructure, including roads, schools and downtown parking?

Who wants a project that may violate air quality standards and add a 4.5 percent increase to Davis’s carbon footprint?

Who wants a project that proponents say will “Combat Climate Change”? (Been to Mar-a-Lago lately guys?)

Who wants a project that will develop 1.34 million square feet of office space when most businesses are transitioning to remote work-at-home employees? (Seen those massive empty development projects in China?)

Vote “NO” on H.

Here’s what Joni Mitchell said:

“They paved paradise and put up a parking lot
With a pink hotel, a boutique, and a swinging hot spot
Don’t it always seem to go that
You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.”

David L. Johnson
Davis


Letter: Why was the Yes on H campaign chair involved in the City-County negotiations?

The City's staff report for the tax sharing MOU says the "discussions . . . have included the City Council subcommittee of Mayor Partida and Councilmember Carson, along with city staff, and the City Attorney."

The staff report goes on to say "The Bradley-Burns sales taxes generated from points of sale on the project site will be shared 50% County and 50% City. This share applies to Bradley Burns only and not to the Davis local 1% sales tax as approved under Measure Q"

The involvement in this process of Councilmember Carson needs to be emphasized, because in the City's financial analysis of DiSC presented to the Finance and Budget Commission in December, the City's financial consultant EPS projected the City would get 100% of all annual sales tax revenues and the County would get 0%.  The negotiated terms of the MOU reported by both the City and the County reduce the City's projected net tax revenue by over $350,000 per year, and reduce the City's "best case" projection from $3.88 million to $3.53 million.

Since $3.88 million is no longer accurate, City should explicitly direct the Yes on Measure H campaign team to cease-and-desist any further use of the $3.88 million figure in its messaging or materials.  Given Dan Carson's dual role as a member of City Council and as the Honorary Chair of the Yes on Measure H campaign team quickly and efficiently conveying that cease-and-desist statement should be easy to accomplish. 

With all the above said, "Why was the Yes on H campaign chair involved in the City-County negotiations?" – negotiations that produced such an unfavorable result for the City?

Don C. Price
Davis


Letter: Growth and Gridlock in Davis

Isn’t there a better way to provide funding for city services than paving over prime agricultural land with an industrial park? We have an internationally recognized agricultural research university and the city is proposing to despoil the very essence of that educational field: the land. The university hasn’t asked for this project or even endorsed it.

I’ve lived in Davis for 37 years and have watched leaders plead again and again for sprawl on our periphery, touting the need for often-delusive revenue to cover unchecked city spending. Like many, I put roots down in Davis because it offered what I desired most, excellent, innovative city planning, strong schools, and a strong city spirit. In the past, Davis was known nationally as a charming small college town with abundant bike paths and lanes, surrounded by farm land and open space.  I left southern California specifically because of regional gridlock and air quality. Why are Davis leaders trying to replicate those problems here?

Are we in a race with other communities to build the most car-centric, traffic-choked developments: Is there something inherently wrong with maintaining  a small community that values its neighborhoods and agricultural roots?  Why don’t city leaders demonstrate some  economic creativity and re-imagine a  government that can sustain itself without gobbling up all the open space that surrounds it.  Or shall we let regional developers dictate our future?

The commuter gridlock that has already invaded East and South Davis is spreading throughout the city. Is this to be our future?  Besides death and taxes, it’s the one sure thing that will happen if the proposed development, Measure H, passes. Yes, ‘more cars are coming anyway’ as a result of the ‘Waze’ traffic app. Why make that worse by adding another 12,000 car trips to the mix?

 Please help maintain the current quality of our city and vote No on Measure H.

C.H. Pickett
Davis


The Whole Story about DiSC’s Claim of $3.88 Million Net Revenue to the City

Seven ways in which the City and the Yes on Measure H campaign make DiSC 2022 appear economically far rosier than is likely

By Matt Williams

The City and the Yes on Measure H campaign literature for the DiSC project emphasize that one of the important benefits to the City of Davis General Fund is a “$3.9 million net revenue gain for the City of Davis annually to address the city’s $7 million funding gap and maintain our quality of life without a tax increase.”

The net annual revenues projected to accrue to the City that have been presented to the voting public use the most optimistic “best case scenario” to make their pitch … but other less rosy scenarios exist.  During the December meeting of the Davis Finance and Budget Commission (FBC), Commissioner Jacobs suggested multiple times that it would be helpful to City Council if the consultant were to run the analysis using a worst-case and best-case scenario.  Unfortunately, that suggestion was not implemented by the City.

Scenario analyses are particularly valuable here in Davis because, for a variety of reasons, past development projects in the City have rarely yielded the revenues the City expected to them to produce. The $3.88 million surplus projected for this Measure H project may be the theoretical best case, but it does not recognize potential adverse impacts on this rosy projection. As shown below, if all of the seven impacts quantified in this document are considered, net annual revenues to the City could actually result in a deficit of $770,000.

Continue reading "The Whole Story about DiSC’s Claim of $3.88 Million Net Revenue to the City" »


PBE welcomes No on DiSC to public forum

(From press release) The Davis Progressive Business Exchange will meet from noon to 1 p.m. Wednesday, May 4, at Lamppost Pizza, 1260 Lake Blvd. in West Davis.

The topic will be DiSC, the Davis Innovation Sustainability Campus. After supporters spoke last month, Matt Williams will speak on May 4, representing the No on DiSC campaign. Davis voters will be asked to vote on this issue on June 7 as Measure H.

The public is invited to these free open forum events. Contact Bob Bockwinkel at 530-219-1896 or e-mail G Richard Yamagata at yamagata@dcn.org for  information.


Letter: Time to say "No" to DiSC

ClockOne of the few benefits of COVID has been people’s heightened awareness around the climate crisis. For me personally I have made significant lifestyle changes regarding my transportation choices and frequency of travel, started purchasing second hand clothing, and committed to eating sustainably produced foods.

I would like to think that our City Council would also have learned and grown more conscious of their leadership’s impact on Davis during this urgent time when we need to reduce our carbon footprint. Look no further than the DISC development (Measure H on the ballot) to see how they have failed to grow.

The new 2022 iteration of DiSC will, according to the Sierra Club, create “excessive traffic, greenhouse gas emissions, and poor land-use and planning.” DiSC will “increase the city’s carbon footprint by 5%.” It is frightening to see the City Council push so hard for this massive development of office space, a big hotel, and fancy condos on the outskirts of town near an area of Davis already burdened by poor planning decisions (e.g., Mace Mess).

Meanwhile one council member, the notorious Dan Carson, took the time and small- minded perspective of suing the citizens of Davis themselves who operate the No On DISC campaign. What an incredibly unconscious and egocentric move! Is this the government we have to help us create radical change to address climate crisis issues?

As an average citizen who works from home for a non profit, is married to a Davis school teacher, and believes a better world is possible if we all contribute, I would kindly ask you to open your minds to voting No on Measure H in the June ballot. Learn more at VoteNoOnDisc.com campaign site.

Nikki Martin
Davis


Letter: Measure H misrepresents itself

Greenwashed-trafficDavis voters rejected DISC in 2020. We didn’t want environmental and quality of life costs for all in exchange for economic gain for few. So the developers hired a PR firm to reframe the issue as Measure H, or to lie so blatantly as to make Loki swoon.

They say paving 102 acres will “preserve agricultural land,” that DISCs 12,000 more cars daily will “make driving easier” and “speed up commutes” (quotes direct from Yes on H). They think a population that is in favor of downtown, open space, clean air and minimal traffic will vote for a project that is the antithesis of these because they put a bicycle on their lawn signs.

They hope Davisites are too stupid to see through greenwashing newspeak and they need the councilpeople they own to maintain a pretense of environmentalism while vigorously campaigning for a freeway sprawl development that’s as carbon neutral as Charles Koch’s vacations. In future I suggest the developers save the corporate PR money and I can suggest equally believable slogans like “Trees Favor Axes,” “Snails For Salt” and “Turkeys Love Thanksgiving.”

Dan Urazandi
Davis


Should Measure H be renamed to Measure M – with "M" for Misleading?

By Matt Williams

Over the last few weeks there has been a lot of discussion about Dan Carson's lawsuit over ballot statements that were alleged to be “objectively and verifiably false and/or misleading.  Honorary Campaign Chair Carson and the Yes on Measure H campaign team have had their day in court (pun intended), but it turns out that the language in the Ballot Arguments is just the tip of the “objectively and verifiably false and/or misleading” iceberg in the ongoing consideration by the voters of the DiSC 2022 proposal.

So, grab your Titanic deck chairs, and we will navigate some icy waters as the communications from the Yes On Measure H campaign team take you over, around and through their own “false and misleading” assertions about the benefit DJUSD will get from the DiSC project.

Our narrative starts in early March when Amy Haug, whose name is prominently featured on their website as a member of the Yes on H campaign team, contacted the leaders of the various PTA/PTO organizations conveying the following message:

I am not trying to bring this to you in a partisan way, just to bring information.  I have already talked to the DHS PTA in the announcements part of their meeting and am scheduled to talk to Emerson, DaVinci and Harper this month.  There is some really important things that parents should be aware of on the upcoming ballot measure.  Here are just some of the benefits of the DISC for parents specifically:

  • The developer has been negotiating with the school district and have agreed to a one-time donation of $2.3 million and a yearly donation of $700,000 every single year thereafter directly to the DJUSD.

To the credit of the leaders of the various DJUSD PTA/PTO organizations, they did some research on Measure H and determined that it does not have direct relevance to the mission and purpose of their respective PTA/PTO.  As a result, they unscheduled the pending Yes On H presentations.

Before jumping forward from early March to early April, I ask you to take note of the words “negotiating” and “donation” in that Yes On Measure H message.  Both the referenced $2.3 million and $700,000 are legally mandated fees/taxes/levies that all homeowners within the DJUSD boundaries pay each year in their Yolo County Tax Bill.  I can not remember when any of those fees/taxes/levies were negotiable for any taxpayer … or could even vaguely be considered to be a “donation” to DJUSD.  In fact, whether it was intentional or not, the use of the terms “negotiating” and “donation” is both false and misleading.

Continue reading "Should Measure H be renamed to Measure M – with "M" for Misleading?" »


Will the supposed $3.9 million net revenue gain to the City ever really come?

By Matt Williams

The City and the Yes on Measure H campaign literature for the DiSC project emphasize that one of the important benefits to the City of Davis General Fund is a claimed “$3.9 million net revenue gain for the City of Davis annually to address the city’s $7 million funding gap and maintain our quality of life without a tax increase.”

Where does that $3.9 million projection come from?

The source is the December 2021 financial analysis prepared by the City’s financial consultant (EPS) and presented to the Finance and Budget Commission (FBC) in December 2021.  In that analysis, Tables B-1 and A-2 provide the specific relevant net revenue data, and both those tables are copied on the other side of this handout. 

At what point in time does the $3.9 million net revenue gain actually happen?

As Table B-1 clearly shows, the $3.9 million Annual General Fund Surplus only happens when DiSC is fully built out (at the end of Phase 2B). 

When does full buildout actually happen?

According to Table A-2 from the same EPS financial analysis, the end of Phase 2B isn’t projected until the end of the 12th year of the project (at the end of 2034). 

What is the net revenue gain in the years prior to full buildout?

Table B-1 shows that the net revenue gain is only $333,000 in Phase 1A, and $1,351,000 in Phase 1B.  Both those numbers are small fractions of $3.9 million.  Only when the project reaches the end of Phase 2A ... projected by EPS to be at the end of the 9th year of the project (the end of 2031) ... does the projected net revenue gain get to 90% of the $3.9 million, with the final 10% not coming until three years later.

How solid is the 12-year projection for achieving Full Buildout? 

Given the fact that the DiSC development team has publicly stated that they will not be doing any marketing until after they achieve a positive result at the ballot box from Davis voters on Election Day, that 12-year projection is highly speculative.  Under those conditions, full buildout could just as easily take 25 years, or not happen at all.  If full buildout never happens, then the $3.9 million net revenue gain never happens.

Continue reading "Will the supposed $3.9 million net revenue gain to the City ever really come? " »


Councilmember Carson wants Davis citizens he sued to be responsible for his developer-paid legal fees

Upside-down-farmland(From press release) Yesterday afternoon, Davis City Councilmember Dan Carson's attorneys filed a brief in Yolo County Superior Court on his behalf, seeking $76,358 from the six named Davis citizens in his failed lawsuit. Councilmember Carson's lawsuit attempted to delete more than 25% of the ballot Argument against Measure H. That would amount to more than $12,700 for each individual named in the lawsuit: Mike Corbett, Stephen Wheeler, Darell Dickey, Juliette Beck, Roberta Millstein, and Alan Pryor, the authors and signers of the ballot argument.

"The individuals who Carson has targeted are not wealthy industrial park developers like Dan Ramos who has paid for Councilmember Carson’s attorneys thus far. “They  are community members, and community members who have integrity and are well respected," stated Pam Gunnell.  Gunnell further stated that “Understanding who these community members are is critical to understanding No On H. Michael Corbett was the developer behind Village Homes who most recently has built a small affordable housing project in South Davis. Dr. Stephen Wheeler is a professor of urban planning and design in the department of human ecology at UC Davis, and author of “Planning for Sustainability, Reimagining Sustainable Cities” and “The Sustainable Urban Development Reader.” Darell Dickey is a former Bicycle Advisory Commissioner, long-time member of the Davis Bike Club, and proponent of safe bicycling in Davis. Juliette Beck is a long -time climate change activist, mother and candidate for Yolo County Supervisor. Dr. Roberta Millstein is Professor Emeritus in the UC Davis Philosophy Department, specializing in environmental ethics and philosophy of biology; she is a former Chair of the Open Space and Habitat Commission. Alan Pryor is retired and serves as the Chair of the Sierra Club Yolano Group and is a former 12-year member of the City of Davis Natural Resources Commission. “

Councilmember Carson and Dan Ramos have both acknowledged previously that Ramos, the developer behind the DiSC project on the June ballot as Measure H, is bankrolling Carson’s attorney's fees. If Carson prevails in his request for award of attorney fees, these individuals would be legally compelled to pay Yes on H's fees. Presumably Developer Ramos would then be reimbursed for his attorney costs to sue the authors and signers of the No on H argument.

Continue reading "Councilmember Carson wants Davis citizens he sued to be responsible for his developer-paid legal fees" »


Despite No on DiSC's success in court, Councilmember Carson still thinks that the citizens he sued with developer money should pay legal fees

Triplepunch(From press release) In a Yolo County Superior Court filing on April 22, the No on Measure H campaign rejected Councilmember Dan Carson’s latest court filing arguing that six Davis residents should not have their legal bills paid as a result of his spurious lawsuit.  The legal bills in question are those incurred by the No on Measure H campaign defending against Carson's lawsuit that attacked the No on H ballot statement. The No on H campaign believes that the lawsuit was a blatant attempt to squelch their free speech rights.

Further, Carson’s latest filing states that Carson himself intends to file to collect attorney fees from the 6 individual Davis citizens he named in his lawsuit! However, while Carson's wants the six Davis residents he sued to be financially responsible for all of Carson's attorney fees, it turns out that all of Carson’s legal costs are actually being bankrolled by the DiSC developer.

In a reply brief filed in Yolo County Superior Court, the No on H campaign called Carson’s actions “a tried and true political tactic to deplete the opposition’s financial resources through whatever means possible, because in politics, money itself is speech.”

“Petitioner Dan Carson, a City Councilmember and representative of the developer-backed Yes on H Committee, initiated litigation that would have prevented Real Parties in Interest Alan Pryor, Michael Corbett, Stephen Wheeler, Darell Dickey, Juliette Beck, and Roberta Millstein (“Real Parties”) from expressing relevant opinions about the Davis Innovation and Sustainability Campus 2022 (DiSC 2022),” the brief says.

Real Parties were forced to obtain counsel to defend their speech rights, depleting campaign resources. Even worse, Petitioner has now threatened to file a fee motion against these six private citizens for payment of Petitioner’s attorney’s fees, even though he did not achieve the results he sought in his Petition for Writ of Mandate,” the brief continues.

The case is a triple punch designed to stifle comment, reduce campaign activity, and financially punish citizens who simply engaged in protected political speech in the ballot pamphlet. Unlike Petitioner, who made the choice to come to court, these six Real Parties were dragged unwillingly into this forum by the filing of this lawsuit. These individuals should be made whole, and the attorneys who took this case on a partially contingent basis should be fully compensated for successfully defending Real Parties’ right to present their ballot argument as they intended,” the brief concludes.

Continue reading "Despite No on DiSC's success in court, Councilmember Carson still thinks that the citizens he sued with developer money should pay legal fees" »


Sierra Club Endorses No on Measure H - No on DISC

DISC overview shot

(From press release) Citing grounds of “excessive traffic, greenhouse gas emissions, and poor land-use and planning”, the Sierra Club announces its opposition to Measure H in Davis CA on the June 7, 2022 municipal ballot.

Measure H is a vote to allow the annexation of approximately 100-acres of Prime farmland on the northeast periphery of the City and the development of a business complex, hotel- conference center, and retail along with a 460-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.

While the Sierra Club is strongly supportive of efforts to stimulate economic development and provide housing, particularly for working families, we do not support the DISC development which will turn over 100-acres of productive Prime farmland into a massive, sprawling, auto- dependent business park", said Alan Pryor, chair of the local Sierra Club Yolano Group. "Although some on-site housing units will be constructed, there is no mechanism to ensure that the housing will be occupied by workers at the development project itself”.

This development is inconsistent with official Sierra Club land use policies encouraging infill development. Instead, the project is reminiscent of peripheral, sprawling, car-centric developments of earlier times that encourage long-range commuting. It is the antithesis of smart urban planning”, added Mr. Pryor.

Of particular concern is the 12,000+ daily auto trips projected to result from the development adding further congestion to an already bottle-necked City thoroughfare, Mace Blvd., and the I-80 freeway. In addition to the wait-times and traffic disruption, this excessive traffic is the primary contributor to the over 22,000 metric tons per year of additional greenhouse gases projected to be produced by the project. This DISC project alone would increase the greenhouse gas footprint of Davis by almost 5% jeopardizing the City's mandate of carbon neutrality by 2040.

Continue reading "Sierra Club Endorses No on Measure H - No on DISC" »