Entries categorized "Land use"

The City of Davis Propaganda Machine & Sky Track - Tales of the Bizarre

Last night, less than an hour after the Rec & Park Commission meeting considered Sky Track #large echo & trumpets#, a bizarre posting appeared on a Facebook Page with the City Logo that reads like an oil company trying to claim environmental brownie points after running an oil tanker into a reef full of penguins:

https://www.facebook.com/100064544416178/posts/pfbid02aGvm4r3B34TCAQHLKCEHc8eVoCn3bWFw7PUHHXNAvPjb9ppZhF2AxcXw3RDnre2El/?d=n

The capstone of the posting: "The City of Davis and its staff work diligently to ensure a vibrant community that enhances the quality of life for residents, families, children and students."

Oh please.  Gag me with a spoon.  Make me vomit.  I'm heading to the vomitorium to hurl chunks.

Who wrote that, and why?  What is really going on here that the City has that written in an hour, and up on the web?   It's too perfect.  Why would a City website post something so vomitously self-serving?  That's not what cities do . . . they are government, not private.  Cities shouldn't make proclamations about how great the city and its staff are.  I've met several great City staff btw.  This isn't about how great or not great any particular staff is.  It's about the fact that it is not government's place to toot it's own horn -- and we should all be asking:  why is it doing so in this case?  Something is rotten in West Davis.

And why is the City providing a forum so City residents can get into a Facebook war?  So assholes can berate and belittle the neighbors for what, having an issue with the constant sound of metal grating on metal?  I had no idea the degree of vitriol from users and abusers of the zip-line. What part of 'metal grating against metal' don't you people understand?  This isn't rocket science, it's not even sound science.  We all fucking know that metal on metal and a constant grating noise next to where we live can destroy daily life.  That isn't a sound you just get used to.  We don't need paid sound scientists to use meters and numbers to justify my love when we all know whatever the damn meter says that 'metal grating on metal' is an awful sound.  I have not been so disgusted by some Davis people since the Trackside defenders.  

More on the Facebook forum There are those playing the 'envy card' -- 'you own a house!' - imagine the gall of someone owning a house in Davis :-|.  There are those playing the 'you hate children' card, even though they say they never minded any of the sounds or children playing or shrieking in joy -- only the grating of metal on metal.  There are those playing the 'you get special treatment' card, even though the Krovozas and others are getting shat on by asshole zip-line users/abusers and City government.  There's the 'you knew there was a park there when you bought your house' card, even though the Krovoza's pointed out repeatedly that they moved in next to a park and had no problem with that, the zip-line came much later and that is the only and specific noise issue.  Metal on Metal!

And why is the City now a propaganda machine?  Not that many years ago if I wrote to the City Council, two or three Councilmemebers would write me back with their personal response.  Now an 'information officer' sends me a pre-packaged response about how my email was sent to all the Councilmembers.  This is a new position paid for with your taxpayer money, and what we get is pre-packaged pablum.  Now the propaganda machine is expanded to bizarre City-serving Facebook posts with forums for citizens to berate citizens.  The City isn't a corporation that needs a slogan that it "enhances the quality of life for residents, families, children and students."  Why are we putting up with this shit?

That meeting last night was bizarre.  Truth is lies.  Words are reality.  Coneheads roam City parks.  All that virtual meeting proved to me is a lot of people got dropped on their heads as infants.

Anyway, have fun playing 'Spot the Flaming Davis Assholes' as you read the comments in the Facebook page  :-|

P.S.  Why do we call it Sky Track with capital letters like it's some special thing with a proper name -- instead of "that fucking zip line" ? :-|


Not the Road to Not Waste Water

Poor Outreach, Questionable Process, Certain Traffic Risk, Likely Noise, Unlikely to Meet Shading Goals, Possible Toxic Micro-particulates... Do Plans to Recycle Water Make this Car Wash Acceptable?

 

Wide view of proposed car wash
Curious visualization provided by the applicant: Less than 50% shading of non-planted areas, with some trees not appropriate for Davis, no dirty or clean cars... and one person riding a bike on the sidewalk.

 

The Planning Commission is holding a hearing scheduled for March 9, 2022 on the proposed Express Car wash at 480 Mace (at Cowell Blvd), and on this date it will presumably vote on recommendations for the project, which will be brought to the Council at an unspecified later date. See the above link for information about a community meeting on February 24 -- The public comment period ends today.

In my view there have been mistakes in outreach and process, and there are likely multiple negative impacts - mostly due to traffic and noise - of the proposed business at THIS location, only some which have been addressed - or mentioned at all - in the available documentation.

A significant amount of the documentation is on the subject of how the facility will re-cycle water. It's not clear why the self-identified eco-friendly City of Davis doesn't already require this of all similar facilities, nor why the project applicant was not encouraged to - or on their own - partner with one of the existing facilities less than a few minutes away - to allow an update for water-saving and the newer-style hybrid full- and self-serve car wash proposed for this site.

I've made a list of issues below to make this easier to digest, and for me to focus upon! Perhaps only some of these things bother you, perhaps some you've not considered....

I live at the other side of the apartment complex next door and have no financial interest whatsoever in this location nor this type of business.

 

Communication, Outreach, Process

+ Their documents from December promised "community outreach", yet they didn't organize it until after people complained following an article in the Davis Enterprise and a public notice sent out in early February to addresses within 500 ft of the proposed project site.

+ They did no outreach to the Pioneer Elementary School community until one was scheduled due to community pressure. It's not clear how this community has been notified about the sole meeting.

+ They've done no specific outreach to residents especially on the west side of El Macero Village next door, where at least six units are in line of sight to and close to 14 industrial vacuums that will start to be used seven days a week, and from 7AM to 7PM in the summer.

 

NooutreachMOD
A promise but nothing except under pressure - From the City of Davis website, and on there from last year (if you knew where to look) and in advance of the setting of the date hearing in the Planning Commission.

+ This was not brought to the Bicycling, Transportation and Street Safety Commission, which actually looked at the Mace Re-Design a week after the public notice about this was sent out.

+ It was not brought to the Natural Resources Commission, which would make sense to me due to its noise and even potentially positive water impacts, assuming people stop using another facility or don't wash their vehicle at home.

+ It was not brought before the Tree Commission. Though there's little being done to remove existing trees, developers do obligations for a certain amt of tree cover within a certain number of years.

 

NotconnectedwithMaceMessMOD
On February 7, 2022 Planning Staff told me " Mace Corridor Project is a separate process. This project is not directly related and will not conflict with Mace Boulevard modifications. I assume you are familiar with what is happening and know about the Feb 10 BTSSC meeting when they are scheduled to discuss the corridor.

 

Traffic Risks

+ The Traffic Study suggests mitigations within the geographical scope of the Mace Re-Design project, with a final design the Council will vote on in March, before they've had a hearing on the proposed car wash.The proposed mitigations affect the same built features and signalization equipment. Is the intention that Planning Commission will recommend changes that the Council will decide in the scope of the Mace Project, before they decide again on the same elements at the car wash hearing?

+ The Traffic Study makes no mention of the driveway of El Macero Village, which is perhaps less than 50 feet from the proposed Cowell Blvd driveway for the car wash.

+ The Study proposes multiple mitigations for traffic impacts including a left turn pocket into the car wash from EB Cowell, which is in the footprint of the current EB driving path into the El Macero Village driveway.

 

TrafficMOD1
Paths used related to the project if there are no physical modifications that prevent movements. RED is motor vehicle movements, Blue is people riding bicycles, Green is people walking. Note that movements to and from the area at the right (east), El Macero Village, were not part of the Traffic Study.

 

 

+ The Study proposes mitigations solved by staff guiding customers, signage and some hard features (which physically-restrict turn movements, etc), u-turn allowances and so, all at an already busy intersection along a Safe Route to School for children from west of Mace who attend Pioneer ES, and including a bus stop for two NB Unitrans lines. Though there seems to be significant storage space inside for vehicles to queue waiting for a wash, an overflow will go into Mace, just north of the bus stop, and along a Class II bicycle facility.

+ A local tree expert has already spoken in Council that he doubts the tree coverage plans, e.g. the visuals show shading on areas besides concrete, when only the concrete, asphalt etc counts.

NoSetBackNoTreeCover
Heat Island? Facing South towards Cowell Blvd.

 

+ My research has shown that the industrial vacuums typically used for self-service at car washes don't have HEPA filters. It's not clear if micro-particulates from vehicle cleaning will affect nearby areas, e.g. the apartments nearby. This issue is not mentioned in the project documentation.

+ Planning Department Staff told me that the South Davis Specific Plan is "out of date" yet "not formally rescinded". The links he sent me were from 1987 and earlier. Though a car wash is allowed, lots of other things are also allowed. See here,

NoSetBackDetail
Out of Code? The Davis Municipal Code requires a 25 ft set back, but in the plan - the dotted area is the eastern limit of the property - the residential district is about 15 ft from the structure. See http://qcode.us/codes/davis/view.php?topic=40-40_16-40_16_050&frames=on

+ El Macero Village, next door, is very close to I-80. Units have modernized windows, but it's very noisy it they're open. People living nearby already have this burden to deal with. There's no car wash in Davis which has multiple self-service vacuum cleaner stations located so close to so many residences, and open so early AND late. (The only roughly comparable site is Cable Car, but it opens an hour or two later and closes an hour or two earlier, depending on the season. It doesn't have 14 vacuum units, let alone 21 in total like the proposed car wash.)

+ In many places in California it's not legal to wash a vehicle in front of one's house, and in Davis only  due to the drought do we have the minimal required mitigation of a nozzle on every hose. I recall using a car wash in San Francisco in the 1990's, and pretty sure that at the time all car washes had to recycle water. Why is "Eco-Davis" so far behind in this aspect?

+ Presumably the applicant has a business case, and this "pencils out" for them and any investors. But is this accessing an untapped market (people that never wash their cars or do it at home) or will it serve people who currently use facilities elsewhere in town or nearby? If the latter, is it helping reduce lines and waits at these places, or just taking business away? Has there been a detailed study on this? It's great to have a car wash that recycles water - and I have a car, too, which I like to keep clean - but this location simply presents too many challenges and risks in noise and traffic safety and environmental degradation.

IMG_20220214_141807(1)
This is a view from the entrance area at the second story apartments to the east of the project. The applicant produced no visualizations from this point of view. The proposed wall of seven feet in height will be just a little taller than the bushes next to the fence. It's likely that some of the vacuum bays will be in view of the apartment windows, which are closer and have a different angle than this view.



I always prefer a locally-owned business when I have the choice. It's not relevant to me if they're
successful immigrants and new to the region or country or have been in town for a long time, and that's not something that the Planning Commission should find particularly relevant.

 

Zoning (and more about process...)

The area has changed a lot since 1987, it's way more built up, and Mace is now seen by many tens of thousands of people as a legit bypass of I-80, and it's not clear what the Re-Re-design will change. The proposed site is immediately next to a residential site - and from what I see the proposed set back is too short, it's about 15 ft from a structure on the east side of the lot to the residential property line - and we know a lot more about negatives of sound then we did decades ago, though the applicant says it will be just at legal limits at peaks (stereos of customers mentioned in a discussion on NextDoor were not taken into account). So just the fact that this is an industrial site right next to a residential one makes it somewhat unique, and of course wealthy people in town and City Council members don't live next door, and on top of that, the aforementioned specific conditions tell me that a lot more communication from the City and from the applicant should have been done, rather a single meeting scheduled only after people wrote the City with comments.

Perhaps it needs to be re-zoned. The world has changed since the early 1980's when zoning was sorted out for this location. Possibly for housing. New housing could have considerable mitigation for noise, with special windows, building materials and dense greenery Without any parking, which would just be a waste of space, and expensive to build underground, and to make up for not building it higher than 35 ft. The lot is roughly half the size of the lot next door, which has over 100 two and three-bedroom apartments, but also considerable space used for parking, green space and recreation areas. So perhaps up to 50 one to three bdrm apartments with a central atrium.

 

In Conclusion...

Formal problems such as an improperly limited traffic study, the over-lapping approval situation with the Mace Re-design, an apparently not enthusiastic position on community outreach, especially to most relevant elementary school, the unclear outcome of the Mace project (besides the formal overlap) and sensitivity of the area, perhaps newly realized, due to the shooting incident and collision in the past couple of weeks, tells me that we should all thank the applicant for trying to make a better car wash and create a few well-paying jobs with good insurance benefits, but to do it in another location -- perhaps working with one of the current car washes not so far away to convert it to this more modern type.

 


Developers deploy paid operatives

SpaffordandLincolnNote: The following comments made at the City Council's Feb 1, 2022 meeting.  The City Council, as expected, decided to proceed with putting the project on the ballot for voters to decide. 

By Rik Keller

I have provided a graphic illustrative of the corrupt local political environment. [Mr. Keller requested that this graphic be displayed during his comments, but unlike a pro-DiSC comment, his graphic was not displayed].  It shows self-promotional information from the local lobbying firm Spafford & Lincoln. In the bottom right corner you can see that they claim credit for deploying and managing 1,000+ operatives. As some of you may be aware, most of their business is done for the biggest special interest in town: real estate developers.

Developers spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on campaigns to try to push their projects down our throats. This money flows through Spafford & Lincoln and then who knows where? There’s no regulation. It’s a dirty money slush fund.

One of their strategies is to pay operatives to call, and to organize other callers who often know nothing about the project, some of whom probably don't even live in Davis. It’s a classic “astroturf” maneuver. Ask yourself: how many times have you experienced these meetings being spammed and being played by these operatives reading from their scripts?

Continue reading "Developers deploy paid operatives" »


Why is DiSC back?

Note: The following comments made at the City Council's Feb 1, 2022 meeting.  The City Council, as expected, decided to proceed with putting the project on the ballot for voters to decide.

DISC overview shot

By Roberta Millstein

DiSC is back. But why is it back? Is it any better than the project that voters rejected just a little over a year ago?

It has no new features. Indeed, the developer initially deleted a bunch of features from the proposal and, after pushback from the Planning Commission and others, has now added some of them back in. But at best that only restores the status quo to the previously rejected project.

It is a reduced project, but half of huge is still huge. It’s the size of one Cannery instead of the size of two Canneries.

It’s still a freeway-oriented and car-oriented project that will massively impact traffic on Mace Blvd, I-80, and adjacent Mace Ranch surface streets. As a consequence, the greenhouse gases from the project will shred the City’s already weak carbon neutrality commitment. Nothing the developers can do on site can change that, since most of the climate change impact would be from commuters to and from the site. Vague promises of possible transportation improvements don’t change this climate killer either.

Continue reading "Why is DiSC back?" »


DiSC 2022: Same Old Choices

Im-with-herBy Larry D. Guenther

On Tuesday, the City Council will decide whether or not to put DiSC 2022 on the ballot again. DiSC 2022 is a new version of the project on the outside of the Mace Curve that was voted down in its last iteration. It is now about half the size of the previous project. One of the Council’s goals is economic development. Another of the Council’s goals is Carbon Neutrality by 2040. In our current development paradigm, these goals are contradictory. That’s because our current development paradigm is centered around the automobile and commuting workers.

Approximately three quarters of our community’s total Green House Gas Emissions (GHG’s) come from transportation (78% projected for DiSC) - and the lion's share of that is single-occupancy vehicles; i.e. commuters. Hence the problem. DiSC is designed for commuters - it is designed in the current paradigm. The EIR for the DiSC project says that this project alone will increase the City’s total GHG’s by 4%. The EIR also states that this project will not allow the City to reach its carbon neutrality goal. These are not statements from opponents, this is from the project’s EIR.

There is scientific consensus that if the average global temperature increases by 1.5°C, our environment (that is to say, ‘we’) will suffer extreme and irreversible negative consequences. There is also scientific consensus that the average global temperature has already increased by 1°C. Additionally global GHG’s - the primary cause of increased temperatures - are still rising. This project would continue that trend.

Continue reading "DiSC 2022: Same Old Choices" »


Letter from DISC developers to Davis Automobile Association

AutoCenter
It took some digging but I found a key letter from the DISC developers to the City of Davis Association of Private Motor Vehicle Sellers and Suppliers:

Dear CDAPMVSS,

Following are what we plan on the primary characteristics of DISC in regards to your organization’s mission:

1 – Most of the day a connection by private automobile to Downtown Davis, UC Davis and West Sacramento will be extremely convenient and fast.

2 – A private automobile will be required to conveniently and quickly travel to Pioneer Elementary, Nugget (on Mace) and surrounding stores, and of course to the Davis Auto Mall (identifiable by its bicycle logo from I-80).

3 – Travel by cycling and walking to Harper Junior High and Korematsu Elementary will be significant until a crossing guard is killed and two students are injured at the intersection of Alhambra and Mace. In response we plan to place small posters at bus stops in the area to direct drivers to slow down. We were going to pretend to compromise and pretend to return to our spoken-only agreement the construction of a grade-separated crossing of Mace but in the end the Council didn’t ask for it.

4 – Travel by automobile to schools outside of east Davis will be the majority mode, especially to Davis High School, and drivers will threaten students crossing E. Covell to get to Birch Lane Elementary, crossing F and 14th to get to North Davis Elementary and the high school.

5 – The TDM plan will determine that carshare is not interesting for nearly all residents who have opted to rent a parking place near their home.

6 – Caltrans has confirmed that they have no interest in assisting in building a safe and dedicated bicycle and pedestrian facility across I-80 in the vicinity of Mace, similar to their same position on the I-80 Managed Lanes project.

7 – Some residents will ride cargo bikes to Target and surrounding shops until a user is killed at the corner of Mace and 2nd.

8 – The Chevron station at Mace and 2nd will gain business.

9 – Mode share of the fare-free shuttle to Davis Depot and Downtown will be insignificant due to duration and inability to match fluctuating schedule of Capitol Corridor trains due to problems outside of their control, such as shipping traffic on the Carquinez Strait that requires bridge interruption.

Thanks, the DISC development team.


DISC 2022 Transportation - Planning Commission falls for Developer's Trick

TrapBacThe trap was set likely shortly after "DISC  2020" was defeated by voters.  When the developers of this peripheral sprawl - or I'll be nice and call it West West Sacramento - were planning to re-introduce it last year for a vote this year - they realized that a key demand was a grade-separated crossing of Mace. So they removed it from the Baseline Features... fully-intending to agree to do it as a concession.

Back story

The City Council-approved Street Standards (2016) don't mention e-bikes at all. What this means is that the width, curvature, and proper siting of infrastructure that would optimize the use of e-bikes - in particular the Type 3 variant that has assistance up to 28 mph - is totally missing in Davis, or more immediately in concepts, plans as well as development agreements and baseline features in current and near-future projects.

To address this, over two-and-a-half years ago when I was on the Bicycling, Transportation and Street Commission (BTSSC) I got support for adding an item to the long range calendar which would address it; this first appeared on the LRC in September 2019, with a possible date of December 2019 for the agenda. (It is abbreviated somewhat erroneously as "intersection design guidelines / standards"). It has been pushed back repeatedly since then, and the BTSSC did not support forming a sub-committee about it during 2020.

What this means is that significant concepts and projects which could alleviate transportation problems, such as Reimagine Russell, the new-ish Class I multi-user path on the south side of Russell (chronically and clinically-referred to as a "bike path) or smaller projects all over the city are not future-proofed for the increase of modal share for cycling we desperately need to improve everything from climate impacts to conviviality to fitness to transportation crashes. Our city is simply too large now in size to have a significant modal share with "acoustic" bicycles. Not convinced? Look at the low bike modal share from peripheral areas of town in the UCD Campus Travel Survey, which shows low share even for people with campus destinations where car parking is not always convenient, and not fare-free. It's not hard to extrapolate - necessary, as the City has essentially refused to do its own counts for years - that almost no one regularly rides from Mace Ranch or some other peripheral areas to Downtown for a coffee or beer - sort of the most normal thing in the Universe in a bicycle-branded cycling city.

SurveyCycling
UCD Campus Travel Survey 2019-2020 (pg. 30) - By bike, DISC is just over four miles from ARC, a central point on campus when considering agricultural facilities. This distance has about a 10% modal share for cycling, and includes mostly students, many who don't have their own cars.



However, as we can see from the example above, the faster type of e-bikes are quite expensive. I've seen nothing lower than just over $3,000. Though important - or all - major arteries in Davis - should be optimized for this type of bike - the idea is not only to optimize for them but make safe for all users, including on acoustic bikes - it cannot mean that this type of bike should be essentially required to live here and enjoy the purported high quality of life. Infrastructure optimized for fast bikes is also a significant improvement for all bikes, as it's direct, requires a minimum of stops, is not shared with motor vehicles... or pedestrians and dogs.

To be more precise, the goal should be the 15-Minute City. This is a relatively new standard or classification of a very, very old sometimes organic strategy to make key locations in a city within 15 min from anywhere else, for all means of transportation. This seems to also serve as a kind of proof of the bicycle modal share results in the Campus Travel Survey. It's definitely something that should be part of our new General Plan, or even worked on earlier by a joint Commission process (BTSSC, Planning... perhaps Natural Resources and Social Services...). I would argue that it should also be about effort, so a 5 or perhaps 7-minute walk is the equivalent of a 15 min bike ride. I've said that if kids can't walk unaccompanied 5-minutes from where they live to buy ice cream cones, it's a failure (and that's just one example, a single ice cream place or a truck at DISC doesn't make it sustainable.)

It's also quite important to be reminded that the City of Davis has for over four years not had a senior civil engineer with a transportation focus. Many projects have gone forward - sometimes to completion, often with significant flaws - without the benefit of this experienced and wise counsel.

 

Last Night

At the Planning Commission review of Disc 2022 last night - and early this morning - I was actually quite impressed by the comments from multiple Commissioners regarding negative transportation issues of the planned project, and even the general discussion about its unavoidable impacts and uncertainly of benefits from transportation demand management... well, at least earlier in the discussion. Commissioner Shandy was particularly right on with her criticism of planned widening of Mace - presented by the developer as a kind of unquestioned religious observance - contradicts claimed benefits for people cycling and walking. There were other positive and thoughtful comments by a majority of Commissioners.

I knew that the grade-separated crossing of Mace was a kind of sneakily-hidden prize and tried to point out in my sort of sloppy recorded comment that that a safer crossing of Mace would not on its own make DISC 2020 excellent for cycling (this is better than "cycle-friendly"), because of distance from Downtown and places further west, and besides that, safe crossings directly to the south along Mace across 80 would cost many millions and be very complicated (and at least in my head I know that Caltrans District 3 and the Yolo County Transportation District have withdrawn the earlier plan - it was supposed to be built first! - of a new bike and ped bridge across the Bypass as part of the I-80 Managed Lanes Project.)

Screenshot from 2022-01-13 02-14-21
Just an aside about the bandied about "globally-known sustainability of Davis": This was the air quality last night shortly after the meeting was over (via Purple Air)

 

 

The Trap is Sprung

Though it was fully-intended to be a positive thing and I will give credit to Commissioner Shandy, the discussion and lead-up to a vote turned sour when she proposed that a grade-separated crossing of Mace and a Class I trail across the undeveloped land south of Harper Junior High would make her feel better about the planned Mace widening and other traffic impacts. She suggested nothing about safe cycling and walking connections to other places, such as the Nugget and popular restaurants across 80. But the problem is that, for example, the area planned for housing at DISC 2022, on the north and eastern side of the project area, is more than 15 minutes away by bike from Downtown and at leat 20 to 25 minutes away from the UC Davis campus that is the raison d'être for DISC 2022! Moreover, the route has almost no optimized cycling infrastructure the whole way (varied from local streets to arteries, no protected bike paths, lack of priority at stops, etc... there is no proposal for any of this in any proposed development agreement or baseline features). But mainly it's too far by bike... never mind walking! Most of the time people - with free or with un-bundled parking - will take I-80 between campus and DISC, even more so to many facilities etc on the west side of campus related to agriculture. I-80 is such a fantastic route much of the day that nothing can compete with it, including shuttles and express buses, which I am sure will at best have a tiny modal share.  This creates huge challenges for any development more than 15 min away from key locations, and it means simply that they should not even be considered. (Oh, wouldn't it have been great if staff were directed to work on the General Plan and told the developers that there was no capacity to work on stuff that would very likely be in violation of a progressive outcome for it?)

So the Planning Commission has recommended the two elements mentioned above that are supposed to address problems on Mace to the City Council. My conclusion is that the developers will signal their intention to accept them - perhaps with a little drama - and the Council will praise them for doing so. But again, even with everything promised (e.g. shuttles, TDM) and not promised (e.g. e-bike-optimized infrastructure) there's still no place for DISC. Still no way to successfully do something better than I-80 via private vehicle for anything but a minority. There's really nowhere to walk to from DISC. Hopefully the voters will see through this ruse and others and reject DISC 2020.

Galadrieltempted
In the ALTERNATIVE timeline, Lady Galadriel was tempted by but in the end did not succumb to the Power of the Grade-Separation ring

 

Denethor
In the REAL timeline, Lord Denethor, Steward of Gondor, was consumed by the Grade Separation Ring and driven mad.

 

 

Question

Last night I was quite surprised when the developer said with much conviction that baseline features were not necessary to enforce the creation of certain designs and programs at DISC 2022, as these would be required by CEQA. Then why have baseline features as a solution for any of these things, in all the discussion for years up until now? If a reader could enlighten me I would truly appreciate it.

Afterword

I am all for more housing - for all income levels, but with a significant proportion below market and lower income - and workplace and related development in Davis. I have never said I was against these things in any local discussions, for example in the Davis Vanguard. But they have to be infill, they have to be on greyfields such as parking lots, industrial areas along 5th St - not only the PG&E yard - and in the eastern side of South Davis and other areas much closer to Downtown and especially for what DISC 2022 purports to be about much closer also to campus. With electric shuttles on fixed routes, optimized cycling infrastructure, a new connection across 80 around L St., mixed-use above (existing) parking lots and so on many if not close to all of the actual benefits of a project like DISC 2022 can be realized. It's not impossible, it's not rocket science, it simply requires conviction, creativity and less b.s. and false claims about sustainability. Hopefully Council, Commissions... local media... and organizations such as Bike Davis and Cool Davis re-direct the citizenry towards an alternative to DISC or a truly sustainable version of it... closer to and integrated with the City of Davis and the UC Davis campus.


No DiSC Baseline Features to Reduce Traffic and Related GHG Emissions will Produce even Greater Adverse Environmental Impacts than Those Projected in the EIR

The following email was sent to the Planning Commission this afternoon.

Dear Planning Commissioners:

Firstly, I sincerely apologize for the late hour at which these these comments are delivered to you.

I understand you have received a letter yesterday from Roberta Millstein discussing how the Baseline Features have been throttled back at DiSC 2022 relative to DISC 1.0. However, her communication only discussed the Baseline Features which were originally proposed for DISC 1.0 and then materially weakened or removed entirely in DiSC 2022.

There were a number of other important recommended Baseline Features proposed by various Commissions which never saw the light of day in either DISC 1.0 OR DiSC 2022. This communication focuses only on those unaccepted Baseline Features recommended by the Natural Resources Commission that could have profoundly beneficial impacts in terms of reducing expected traffic problems and reducing GHG emissions otherwise associated the project

According to the EIR, transportation represents 78% of the 55 million lbs of new GHGs projected to be produced by the DiSC project. In fulfilling their project review objectives, among many worthwhile suggestions, the NRC in particular recommended 3 very clearly identified Baseline Features for the project to reduce adverse traffic impacts and associated GHG emissions from the project. All were rejected by the Developer of the project.

We recommend that the approvals for this project not be granted until the Developer has agreed to the NRC-recommended Baseline Features identified below.

Respectfully submitted,

Alan Pryor

Continue reading "No DiSC Baseline Features to Reduce Traffic and Related GHG Emissions will Produce even Greater Adverse Environmental Impacts than Those Projected in the EIR" »


Dramatic reduction in Baseline Features in DiSC 2022

Screen Shot 2022-01-11 at 9.10.17 PM
The following email was sent to the Planning Commission in the evening of Jan 11, 2022.  (The agenda for the meeting can be found here):

Dear members of the Planning Commission,

I am writing concerning item 6A of your meeting tomorrow (Jan 12), the public hearing on the DiSC 2022 project.

As you may recall, for a project that will be facing a Measure J/R/D vote, the Baseline Features (BFs) are key.  The BFs are the only features that are guaranteed parts of the project.  In contrast, any features that are part of the Development Agreement can be changed by the City Council.  So, in terms of what the project is, and what the voters will be voting on, it is extremely important to know what the BFs are.

As it turns out, a number of BFs have changed or been eliminated in the change from the old DISC (rejected by voters in Nov 2020) and the current DiSC 2022 proposal.  Here is my count:

  • 19 BFs essentially unchanged
  • 2 features enhanced
  • 5 BFs changes due to reduction in the size of project (e.g, less housing)
  • 7 BFs that offer a weaker version of feature unrelated to changes in project size
  • 13 features eliminated altogether (appeared in old DISC but not in DiSC 2022).

Of course, whether these changes are important or not is for you and others to determine, but some of them are arguably important.  Indeed, there are changed or eliminated features in each of the main categories, reducing the sustainability, housing, transit, etc., features of the project.

I urge you as Planning Commissioners to query the developer about all of these changes in order to determine if they are justified.

Attached please find a spreadsheet that shows these changes.

The BFs for old DISC can be found online in the following document: http://documents.cityofdavis.org/Media/CommunityDevelopment/Documents/PDF/CDD/Aggie%20Research%20Campus/20-111%20-%20DISC%20Project%20Ballot%20Measure.pdf

Sincerely,

Roberta Millstein
Davis citizen
Former chair, Open Space & Habitat Commission

**** Download Baseline feature comparison *****


Sign the Petition: PRESS PAUSE on the Teichert Shifler Mining and Reclamation Project

This is a summary of our longer Petition that can be found and signed at https://chng.it/fJWfym9Gx6

We are Yolo residents concerned about the potential adverse impacts of the Teichert Shifler Mining and Reclamation Project. On Tuesday, 11 January at 1:00 pm the Yolo Board of Supervisors will discuss and vote on the application. We urge the Supervisors to vote NO.

Here we emphasize Risk of Water Contamination, Loss of Prime Farmland, and Liability.

Continue reading "Sign the Petition: PRESS PAUSE on the Teichert Shifler Mining and Reclamation Project " »


Mercury Contamination in Cache Creek: We Need More Answers

By Charles B. Salocks, PhD

 Teichert Construction is applying for a Yolo County permit to mine gravel on more than 250 acres of land in lower Cache Creek west of Woodland that is now being used for agriculture.

This proposal is problematic because the Cache Creek watershed naturally contains substantial deposits of mercury ore. It includes a US EPA Superfund site, Sulphur Bank Mercury Mine, located at the east end of Clear Lake.

According to the Environmental Impact Report (EIR), at the end of 30 years the mined property will be reclaimed: approximately two-thirds of the land area will be converted back to agricultural use and one-third will become a permanent water impoundment (or ‘pond’) and turned over to the County. The property will not be restored to its original state, at least not in the foreseeable future.  

A toxic compound called methylmercury is produced by certain types of bacteria that live in water and sediment where the concentration of dissolved oxygen is very low. This condition can occur at the bottom of ponds or lakes, such as the reclaimed water impoundments in lower Cache Creek where open pit mining has already occurred.

Continue reading "Mercury Contamination in Cache Creek: We Need More Answers" »


Restoring the Roots of Life in a New Era

Existing-gravel-mining
Existing gravel mining along Cache Creek. Photo credit: Charles Salocks

 

By Nancy Price and Don Price

Recently the Yolo County Planning Commission held two public hearings on the proposal submitted by Teichert Materials to carve a new open-pit gravel mine on the 319-acre Shifler farm, three miles west of Woodland along lower Cache Creek. If approved, the proposed gravel mine would operate six days per week for 30 years.

Climate advocates, the Yolo County Farm Bureau, neighboring residents of the Wild Wings community and others concerned about the project’s many environmental impacts spoke and submitted letters to the Planning Commissioners. After more than ten hours of discussion, the Commission voted 4-2 this month to recommend dramatically scaling back the project to protect prime farmland.  

Citizens raised concerns about formation of toxic methylmercury sediment in the wet pits already lining lower Cache Creek, risk of contaminated fish, and the potential that such deep mining could puncture holes in the groundwater table and contaminate  the water supply.

“This decision signals we are in a new era of planning for resilience and cannot ignore irreversible impacts to land, water and public health. Land that can be used to grow tomatoes and wheat to feed people should be used as if our lives depended on it – because they do,” observed Alessa Johns, a concerned citizen and retired UC Davis professor.

Many readers may not realize that gravel mining in Yolo Country goes way back to the 1870s. By the 1970s, concerns arose over the impact of open-pit mining in the main Cache Creek channel. It took until the mid-1990s for the county, the mining industry including Teichert, and a group of concerned citizens to restrict mining to outside of the main channel, create the Cache Creek Conservancy, and begin a program of remediation and restoration.

Continue reading "Restoring the Roots of Life in a New Era" »


Regarding the overturning of the Yolo Superior Court's decision on Trackside

Tside-3-3rdst-house-sml

A statement from the Old East Davis Neighborhood Association (OEDNA)

Residents concerned about the unique feel of Davis should be troubled by this ruling. By overturning the trial court, the appeals court implies that the City does not have to keep its own commitments as implemented in the ordinances and planning documents. The appeals court grants the City license to take any provisions agreed upon by the community to protect neighborhoods or specific resources and then interpret them in a way that best serves the interests of developers or other special interests.

When the City decided not to create a historical district for the 2001 General Plan, they opted instead for a conservation overlay district, having protections codified in the Design Guidelines and enforced in the zoning codes. Many community members and businesses, including OEDNA, worked to complete these documents, trusting that future City Councils would honor their intent.

A Mixed-Use Mass and Scale guideline states: "A building shall appear to be in scale with traditional single-family houses along the street front." And a zoning code states: "Wherever the guidelines for the DTRN conflict with the existing zoning standards including planned development, the more restrictive standard shall prevail." The Trackside Project as approved by the City clearly does not follow this directive. However, the appeals court decision ruled that the City has almost complete discretion in how it interprets and/or reinterprets its planning documents.

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Comments on DiSC 2022 Technical Memorandum

DiSC2022-conceptualmapBy Matt Williams

What follows are the public comments that I submitted to the Finance and Budget Commission (FBC) this morning regarding the Economic & Planning Systems, Inc. (EPS) Fiscal Analysis of DiSC 2022. The Technical Memorandum prepared by EPS can be found here. The 27 items included are not exhaustive.

Continue reading "Comments on DiSC 2022 Technical Memorandum" »


Diverse Group Opposes Teichert Shifler Gravel Mining Project at Dec. 9 Yolo County Planning Commission Hearing

I would like to alert you to the rapidly growing opposition to a 30-year deep pit gravel mining project proposed by Teichert, Inc. alongside lower Cache Creek in Yolo County, just three miles west of the City of Woodland.

The Yolo County Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on this project as Item #12: consider a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors regarding certification of the Environmental Impact Report and approval of the Teichert Shifler Mining and Reclamation Project on a site west of Woodland, CA, including certification of the General Plan Amendment, Rezone, and other associated approvals.  The public hearing, via zoom or telephone,  will take place on December 9, beginning at 8:30 AM.

Nearby homeowners of the WildWings community, defenders of a unique Patwin-Wintun Tending and Gathering Garden, toxicologists, climate advocates and an Episcopal minister are among a diverse group urging the Yolo County Planning Commission to reject the Final EIR and oppose the rezoning of prime farmland to allow the gravel to be mined. 

Attached is a Comment Letter submitted on December 8, 2021 to the Planning Commission and signed by over 100 opponents of this ecologically destructive mining project.

Please contact the following individuals for further information and interviews:

Charles Salocks, Toxicologist, Retired, California Environmental Protection Agency, cbsalocks@gmail.com
Ann Liu, Retired CTA, UCCE Master Gardener, skip2mylew@gmail.com
Alessa Johns, Professor Emerita, University of California, Davis, alessajohns@gmail.com

Thank you,

Nancy Price

Download Memo to Commissioners and Supervisors on Teichert Shifler Issues Final

Continue reading "Diverse Group Opposes Teichert Shifler Gravel Mining Project at Dec. 9 Yolo County Planning Commission Hearing" »


Russell Sprouts Little Imagination

ReimagineInvertedDoes imagination require or at least benefit by transparency and a truly robust public process?

For a year or so the City of Davis, UC Davis and Yolo County have been working with the private consultancy Toole Design and the public to "Reimagine Russell Boulevard".  City of Davis staff plan to update the City Council at this Tuesday's Council meeting.

Following are comments I made on the survey which was planned to close on November 12th but is open as of this moment...

My comments are split into two parts: First I focus on the process, next on the design. Process, today. Design, tomorrow (or Tuesday morning).

*****

1 - The project inexplicably has two websites, one for "administrative" reasons. There's never been an explanation for this.

2 - On the admin. website there is a list of representatives of some sort from the city, the Community Steering Committee.  Two of them told me that they were not happy that it was only a sounding board and not really official - and there's no way specific way indicated to reach them. Additionally I was informed by a Committee member that they were not provided access to raw data from the first survey earlier this year. My impression is that the City learnt its lesson from the Downtown Plan process and decided to formally reduce democracy in the project. If no one visits the admin. website they won't even know about these people. At the very least the budget of nearly half a million dollars (!) didn't allow the consultants and so on to do more than a few public sessions over a year's time.

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Mining project needs to comform to Yolo County's climate goals

By Nancy Price

On Wednesday, November 10, the Yolo County Planning Commission holds a public hearing on the Teichert Shifler Mining and Reclamation Project to make recommendations to the Board of Supervisors on the proposed 30-year Off-Channel Surface Mining Permit for industrial mining on the agricultural Shifler property. On December 14, the Board of Supervisors meets to consider final approval of the Permit.

At the time the Draft EIR was being prepared, on September 29, 2020, the Yolo County Supervisors passed Resolution 20-114 – A Resolution Declaring a Climate Crisis Requiring an Urgent and Inclusive Mobilization in Yolo County (“2030 Climate Emergency Mobilization Resolution”). This goal is stated in Yolo County’s 2011 Climate Action Plan and elements of the County’s General Plan.

A 6/31/2021 Press Release elaborates, the Supervisors “passed a resolution declaring a climate crisis requiring an urgent and inclusive mobilization of countrywide resources to initiate a just transition to an inclusive, equitable, sustainable and resilient local economy while also supporting and advocating for regional, national and international efforts necessary to reverse the climate, social justice, and economic crises. As an immediate goal, the Board voted to create a new Climate Action Plan for the County with the intent of reaching a carbon negative status by 2030.”

Given the magnitude of Teichert’s 277 acre industrial mining and reclamation project, the Supervisor’s must direct the new Yolo County Climate Action Commission to report on Teichert’s application and EIR documents, and that the ecological assessment called for in the “Climate Emergency Mobilization Resolution” be adopted and implemented.

Teichert must prioritize and commit to how they will achieve the county’s 2030 reduction goals such as solar-power generation at the Woodland Plant, conversion of vehicle fleets and other measures. The proposed carbon absorption capacity of reclaimed agricultural land on the Shifler property needs further study before this mitigation measure is considered viable. The proposed purchase of carbon credits to mitigate or offset Teichert’s GHG emissions is fraught with challenges in monitoring, reporting, and guaranteeing actual, quantifiable carbon reduction.

To conclude, the magnitude and scale of industrial mining for 30 years to 2052 runs counter to the County’s publicly stated climate actions goals and the process they have established to attain those goals by 2030.


DISC Traffic Problems and Associated Vehicular Emissions will not be Solved by the Proposed I-80 HOV Lane Expansion nor Near Term Adoption of Electric Vehicles as Proponents Claim

Myths and Facts about Impacts of Freeway Lane Expansions on Traffic Congestion and Adoption Rates of Electric Vehicles

By Alan Pryor

Executive Summary

Proponents of the proposed DISC project claim that the projected traffic congestion associated with the project will be solved soon in the future by the hoped-for I-80 freeway HOV lane expansion easing roadway congestion. The proposed freeway expansion project envisions the addition of one HOV lane on each side of the I-80 freeway freeway from from Hwy 113 on the west to the I-5/I-50 interchange in Scaramento and the I-80/Reed Ave interchange to the east.

Proponents also claim that the associated vehicular greenhouse gas (GHG) emission from the increased traffic to and from the DISC site will be substantially eliminated by the mass adoption of electric vehicles reducing tailpipe GHG emissions

Unfortunately, science shows us that the proposed addition of the two HOV lanes on the 20.8 mile stretch of the I-80 freeway expansion (one HOV lane on each side of the freeway) will actually induce further traffic and Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) on this stretch of the freeway. Methodology developed by the UC Davis National Institute of Sustainable Transportation (NIST) shows this phenomena is due to both short and long-term driver behavioral changes including taking longer and more frequent automobile trips, route shifts, and transportation mode shifts away from public transportation. The cumulative impacts will result in no relief from the current plague of I-80 freeway congestion.

Further, mass adoption of electric vehicles will take decades to substantially replace existing aging fossil fuel-powered vehicles resulting in no near term decreases of the additional GHG emissions resulting from new traffic associated with the DISC project. These emissions directly threaten the Davis goal of carbon neutrality by 2040 and Yolo County's goal of net negative carbon emissions by 2030.

Myth #1 – The Proposed I-80 Expansion will Greatly Reduce Freeway Congestion for DISC Commuters Leading to Decreased Congestion for Local Drivers on Mace and Covell Blvd.

Continue reading "DISC Traffic Problems and Associated Vehicular Emissions will not be Solved by the Proposed I-80 HOV Lane Expansion nor Near Term Adoption of Electric Vehicles as Proponents Claim" »


Comments for the Natural Resources Commission review of DiSC 2022

TrafficThe following comments were shared with the Natural Resources Commission at its meeting last night and are reposted here with permission of the author.

This is Alan Pryor speaking as a former 12-year NRC Commissioner. I think it's telling to review a comment made by a Planning Commissioner at a hearing on this project last year.

"You want this to be the most sustainable, innovative tech campus in the United States. But you have come to us with a car-dominated, auto-centric proposal on the edge of town, far from the capitol corridor station, not linked to good transit, with huge parking lots and parking structures. Widening Mace to accommodate more traffic is not the answer. It's going to induce more traffic."

Nothing has functionally changed with this project since then except its size is been reduced by less than half but the applicant is now proposing transportation features that are even less conducive to non- automotive forms of transportation.

For instance the applicant is now refusing to construct the previously agreed upon off-grade crossing to allow arriving pedestrians and bicyclists to safely cross six lanes of Mace Boulevard during rush-hour traffic. How is that possibly welcoming to bicyclists and pedestrian employees arriving on the west side of the street or to school kids living at the project trying to get to school and back each day without a parent driving them.

Also, the original proposal was an environmental nightmare in that it projected over 83,000,000 lbs of CO2 equivalent emitted each year. The new estimate is about  45,000,000 lbs of CO2 equivalent per year - or about 4.5% of the City's current carbon footprint for this one project alone. All of these emissions would have to be later eliminated for the City to reach carbon neutrality by 2040 but the developer has not proposed how they will do this.

Continue reading "Comments for the Natural Resources Commission review of DiSC 2022" »


Comments to the Tree Commission concerning DiSC 2022

Screen Shot 2021-10-19 at 9.55.57 AMThe following was emailed to members of the Tree Commission this morning.  The Tree Commission is scheduled to discuss the revised MRIC/ARC/DISC project, now dubbed DiSC 2022, at its meeting this Thursday, Oct 21.  If you wish to comment on the project yourself, see instructions on the agenda for the meeting, located here.

Dear members of the Tree Commission,

I am writing to you as a former commissioner (10+ years) and Chair of the Open Space and Habitat Commission (OSHC), having completed my term last December. I was involved in analyzing what is now being called the DiSC 2022 project in all of its iterations, so I hope you find my comments helpful in your discussions.

I think it's great that you appointed a subcommittee to review all the materials, given that the changes are more extensive than the City has stated – this is not just a project that has been cut in half, as your subcommittee's analysis shows. I endorse your subcommittee's recommendations and encourage you to adopt them as a body in the strongest possible language, remembering that the only way to guarantee that a promised feature will be in the actual project is for it to be designated as a "baseline feature." A cautious route would have you even recommend that the relevant ordinances be satisfied (this was something that the OSHC did last time), since there is a history of the City Council bending its ordinances, including ordinances concerning trees (it is my belief that they did this in the recent Sutter parking lot decision).

Continue reading "Comments to the Tree Commission concerning DiSC 2022" »


Yocha Dehe Joins The Sierra Club, Yolo County Farm Bureau, And Residents, To Demand Sensible Cannabis Land Use Policy

Tribe joins suit calling for changes to flawed Cannabis Land Use Ordinance

(From press release) In an effort to hold Yolo County accountable for developing fair and sound cannabis land use policy, the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation has partnered with the Sierra Club, Yolo County Farm Bureau, and local residents in a lawsuit to do precisely that.

The lawsuit does not seek to stop cannabis cultivation and related businesses in Yolo County, or to prevent County residents from profiting from the cannabis industry.  Rather, it would simply require the County to comply with California environmental law by evaluating the full and real impacts of cannabis cultivation, and mitigate those impacts, before adopting an ordinance regulating it.  Adhering to this process is what the California Environmental Quality Act requires, and indeed, these same requirements apply to every other regulated land use.

“The cannabis industry has a place in Yolo County, just as cannabis has a place in the medicine cabinets of many people in California,” noted the Tribal Council of the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation. “But sensible cannabis permitting can’t happen until the County is clear-eyed about the problems overconcentration creates, especially in sensitive areas around schools, near cultural heritage sites, and in smaller communities like those in the Capay Valley.”

Continue reading "Yocha Dehe Joins The Sierra Club, Yolo County Farm Bureau, And Residents, To Demand Sensible Cannabis Land Use Policy " »