Guest Commentary: Changing The Anderson Bank Building Not in the Public Interest

Tomorrow an item will appear on the Davis City Council Agenda that will first certify the Environmental Impact Report.

The City Staff Report is recommending that they take the council adopt the “no action alternative:”

“Determine that the “No Project Alternative” is the appropriate project based on the staff analysis and the findings of the Historical Resources Management Commission. This determination rejects both Design Options A or B and effectively precludes lowering the windows in question at the Anderson Bank Building.”

According to yesterday’s Davis Enterprise:

The City Council will make a final decision on whether the windows can be altered at its meeting Tuesday night, but a staff report advises the council against making any changes. The city’s Historical Resources Management Commission agreed.

Kidd said if the City Council won’t allow the changes, he’ll go to the voters by putting a measure on the ballot.

“It’ll cost me something like $75,000, but that’s what I’m willing to do,” he said.

Kidd has been lobbying the council to approve bigger windows, planting signs around the downtown area that read “Better Windows/Better Retail/Better Downtown. Lower the Anderson Building Windows. KEEP OUR DOWNTOWN VITAL.”

Signed “Citizens and Merchants who Care About Davis,” the sign is to let the City Council know that the high windows not only hurts retail inside the Anderson Bank building, but the downtown as a whole, Kidd said.

“An empty storefront or a lack of display windows discourages shoppers and has a negative ripple effect on surrounding merchants,” Kidd wrote.

Twenty-nine downtown business owners signed a petition to alter the windows, and Kidd forwarded the City Council a string of letters from retailers who expressed interest in locating at the bank building if it wasn’t for the high windows.

In all likelihood they will adopt staff recommendations, I can recall times when they have altered staff recommendations, but not a time when they have reversed them. However, it seems that regardless of what the city council determines tomorrow night, this issue will not go away.

What was interesting to me on Saturday being out at the Whole Earth Festival, was just how much this issue really crossed political lines that usually are rather clear in Davis. We will present both sides of the issue.

This piece is written by the Davis Historical Society, Friends of the Hattie Weber Museum of Davis, and Friends of Davis Historic Resources.

Please click here in order to read their article: Changing The Anderson Bank Building Not in the Public Interest

—Doug Paul Davis reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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32 thoughts on “Guest Commentary: Changing The Anderson Bank Building Not in the Public Interest”

  1. Anonymous

    Kidd’s threat to ‘take it to the voters’ is what bothers me the most and an exapmle of why the initiative process is out of hand. Seriously, something is wrong when someone who wants to get their way can simply pony up enough cash and have a referendum.

    And the concept of being asked to vote on windows is absurd to me. I hope others feel the same way and the the City Council will not react favorably to threats.

  2. Anonymous

    Kidd’s threat to ‘take it to the voters’ is what bothers me the most and an exapmle of why the initiative process is out of hand. Seriously, something is wrong when someone who wants to get their way can simply pony up enough cash and have a referendum.

    And the concept of being asked to vote on windows is absurd to me. I hope others feel the same way and the the City Council will not react favorably to threats.

  3. Anonymous

    Kidd’s threat to ‘take it to the voters’ is what bothers me the most and an exapmle of why the initiative process is out of hand. Seriously, something is wrong when someone who wants to get their way can simply pony up enough cash and have a referendum.

    And the concept of being asked to vote on windows is absurd to me. I hope others feel the same way and the the City Council will not react favorably to threats.

  4. Anonymous

    Kidd’s threat to ‘take it to the voters’ is what bothers me the most and an exapmle of why the initiative process is out of hand. Seriously, something is wrong when someone who wants to get their way can simply pony up enough cash and have a referendum.

    And the concept of being asked to vote on windows is absurd to me. I hope others feel the same way and the the City Council will not react favorably to threats.

  5. Anonymous

    Ultimately, this issue is about a lot more than just windows. If Kidd is willing to spend $75,000 to put the issue on a ballot, it seems clear to me that his ultimate plan is to raze the building. Change the windows, get the building taken off the local landmark list, and then request your demo permit.

    Before you know it downtown Davis will look like Emeryville, a bunch of trendy loftlike 3-4 story structures that will scream the 2000s. Of worse yet, we’ll have a bunch of weird ugly Natsoulas-like historic/modern hybrids that are just downright embarrassing.

  6. Anonymous

    Ultimately, this issue is about a lot more than just windows. If Kidd is willing to spend $75,000 to put the issue on a ballot, it seems clear to me that his ultimate plan is to raze the building. Change the windows, get the building taken off the local landmark list, and then request your demo permit.

    Before you know it downtown Davis will look like Emeryville, a bunch of trendy loftlike 3-4 story structures that will scream the 2000s. Of worse yet, we’ll have a bunch of weird ugly Natsoulas-like historic/modern hybrids that are just downright embarrassing.

  7. Anonymous

    Ultimately, this issue is about a lot more than just windows. If Kidd is willing to spend $75,000 to put the issue on a ballot, it seems clear to me that his ultimate plan is to raze the building. Change the windows, get the building taken off the local landmark list, and then request your demo permit.

    Before you know it downtown Davis will look like Emeryville, a bunch of trendy loftlike 3-4 story structures that will scream the 2000s. Of worse yet, we’ll have a bunch of weird ugly Natsoulas-like historic/modern hybrids that are just downright embarrassing.

  8. Anonymous

    Ultimately, this issue is about a lot more than just windows. If Kidd is willing to spend $75,000 to put the issue on a ballot, it seems clear to me that his ultimate plan is to raze the building. Change the windows, get the building taken off the local landmark list, and then request your demo permit.

    Before you know it downtown Davis will look like Emeryville, a bunch of trendy loftlike 3-4 story structures that will scream the 2000s. Of worse yet, we’ll have a bunch of weird ugly Natsoulas-like historic/modern hybrids that are just downright embarrassing.

  9. 無名 - wu ming

    well, i’d be happy razing many of the the buildings downtown that date to the 60s and 70s and replacing them with higher-density stuff (although the loft style of architecture depresses me to no end; i’d rather build new stuff in the style of the old stuff if possible), but we ought to preserve those few buildings that actually have some attractive historical elements to them.

    this windows business is absurd, kidd should not have bought the place if he didn’t like the windows or the constraints of a historic building.

    in essence, kidd is threatening to pull a forbes. i will oppose it as i did forbes’ temper tantrum that left us with the historic traffic jam underpass.

  10. 無名 - wu ming

    well, i’d be happy razing many of the the buildings downtown that date to the 60s and 70s and replacing them with higher-density stuff (although the loft style of architecture depresses me to no end; i’d rather build new stuff in the style of the old stuff if possible), but we ought to preserve those few buildings that actually have some attractive historical elements to them.

    this windows business is absurd, kidd should not have bought the place if he didn’t like the windows or the constraints of a historic building.

    in essence, kidd is threatening to pull a forbes. i will oppose it as i did forbes’ temper tantrum that left us with the historic traffic jam underpass.

  11. 無名 - wu ming

    well, i’d be happy razing many of the the buildings downtown that date to the 60s and 70s and replacing them with higher-density stuff (although the loft style of architecture depresses me to no end; i’d rather build new stuff in the style of the old stuff if possible), but we ought to preserve those few buildings that actually have some attractive historical elements to them.

    this windows business is absurd, kidd should not have bought the place if he didn’t like the windows or the constraints of a historic building.

    in essence, kidd is threatening to pull a forbes. i will oppose it as i did forbes’ temper tantrum that left us with the historic traffic jam underpass.

  12. 無名 - wu ming

    well, i’d be happy razing many of the the buildings downtown that date to the 60s and 70s and replacing them with higher-density stuff (although the loft style of architecture depresses me to no end; i’d rather build new stuff in the style of the old stuff if possible), but we ought to preserve those few buildings that actually have some attractive historical elements to them.

    this windows business is absurd, kidd should not have bought the place if he didn’t like the windows or the constraints of a historic building.

    in essence, kidd is threatening to pull a forbes. i will oppose it as i did forbes’ temper tantrum that left us with the historic traffic jam underpass.

  13. Jessica

    The historic traffic jam underpass as you refer to it could be avoided with smarter city / street planning. Why is there only one entrance into Davis? The city planners could address this issue. Can you imagine how horrible downtown would be having a 3 or four lane exit leading right up to the Borders and Natsoulas intersection? I see it as just creating more congestion.

  14. Jessica

    The historic traffic jam underpass as you refer to it could be avoided with smarter city / street planning. Why is there only one entrance into Davis? The city planners could address this issue. Can you imagine how horrible downtown would be having a 3 or four lane exit leading right up to the Borders and Natsoulas intersection? I see it as just creating more congestion.

  15. Jessica

    The historic traffic jam underpass as you refer to it could be avoided with smarter city / street planning. Why is there only one entrance into Davis? The city planners could address this issue. Can you imagine how horrible downtown would be having a 3 or four lane exit leading right up to the Borders and Natsoulas intersection? I see it as just creating more congestion.

  16. Jessica

    The historic traffic jam underpass as you refer to it could be avoided with smarter city / street planning. Why is there only one entrance into Davis? The city planners could address this issue. Can you imagine how horrible downtown would be having a 3 or four lane exit leading right up to the Borders and Natsoulas intersection? I see it as just creating more congestion.

  17. Anonymous

    Jessica is right. The underpass delivers all the traffic to downtown Davis that it can comfortably absorb. If the underpass were four or six lanes, traffic downtown would be awful. Traffic on downtown streets (especially on 1st St. and E St.) would also become markedly less safe. Traffic engineers used to refer to a “velocitization” effect on freeway drivers – they get used to high speeds and often drive far too fast on surface streets for some distance after exiting a freeway.

    In addition to being a Davis icon, the underpass is the ultimate traffic calming device.

    Regarding Jim Kidd’s threat to put his issue on the ballot, my opinion is that it is a bluff and he would lose that vote big time.

    His lawn signs are an embarrassment. A new low in Davis politics. This is not a big community issue – it’s one man’s campaign to increase the value of his building. Nothing more, nothing less.

  18. Anonymous

    Jessica is right. The underpass delivers all the traffic to downtown Davis that it can comfortably absorb. If the underpass were four or six lanes, traffic downtown would be awful. Traffic on downtown streets (especially on 1st St. and E St.) would also become markedly less safe. Traffic engineers used to refer to a “velocitization” effect on freeway drivers – they get used to high speeds and often drive far too fast on surface streets for some distance after exiting a freeway.

    In addition to being a Davis icon, the underpass is the ultimate traffic calming device.

    Regarding Jim Kidd’s threat to put his issue on the ballot, my opinion is that it is a bluff and he would lose that vote big time.

    His lawn signs are an embarrassment. A new low in Davis politics. This is not a big community issue – it’s one man’s campaign to increase the value of his building. Nothing more, nothing less.

  19. Anonymous

    Jessica is right. The underpass delivers all the traffic to downtown Davis that it can comfortably absorb. If the underpass were four or six lanes, traffic downtown would be awful. Traffic on downtown streets (especially on 1st St. and E St.) would also become markedly less safe. Traffic engineers used to refer to a “velocitization” effect on freeway drivers – they get used to high speeds and often drive far too fast on surface streets for some distance after exiting a freeway.

    In addition to being a Davis icon, the underpass is the ultimate traffic calming device.

    Regarding Jim Kidd’s threat to put his issue on the ballot, my opinion is that it is a bluff and he would lose that vote big time.

    His lawn signs are an embarrassment. A new low in Davis politics. This is not a big community issue – it’s one man’s campaign to increase the value of his building. Nothing more, nothing less.

  20. Anonymous

    Jessica is right. The underpass delivers all the traffic to downtown Davis that it can comfortably absorb. If the underpass were four or six lanes, traffic downtown would be awful. Traffic on downtown streets (especially on 1st St. and E St.) would also become markedly less safe. Traffic engineers used to refer to a “velocitization” effect on freeway drivers – they get used to high speeds and often drive far too fast on surface streets for some distance after exiting a freeway.

    In addition to being a Davis icon, the underpass is the ultimate traffic calming device.

    Regarding Jim Kidd’s threat to put his issue on the ballot, my opinion is that it is a bluff and he would lose that vote big time.

    His lawn signs are an embarrassment. A new low in Davis politics. This is not a big community issue – it’s one man’s campaign to increase the value of his building. Nothing more, nothing less.

  21. Doug Paul Davis

    This is a good point. It would be one thing if Richards were emptying onto Russell or Covell, which could readily absorb it without creating a huge back up. However expanding Richards to four lanes (two in each direction under the overpass) would simply bring the bottle neck to downtown rather than on Richards. This is actually a mark of European design where they have old city centers that are not built to handle traffic, the idea is to calm traffic away from the core downtown rather than feeding it into downtown.

  22. Doug Paul Davis

    This is a good point. It would be one thing if Richards were emptying onto Russell or Covell, which could readily absorb it without creating a huge back up. However expanding Richards to four lanes (two in each direction under the overpass) would simply bring the bottle neck to downtown rather than on Richards. This is actually a mark of European design where they have old city centers that are not built to handle traffic, the idea is to calm traffic away from the core downtown rather than feeding it into downtown.

  23. Doug Paul Davis

    This is a good point. It would be one thing if Richards were emptying onto Russell or Covell, which could readily absorb it without creating a huge back up. However expanding Richards to four lanes (two in each direction under the overpass) would simply bring the bottle neck to downtown rather than on Richards. This is actually a mark of European design where they have old city centers that are not built to handle traffic, the idea is to calm traffic away from the core downtown rather than feeding it into downtown.

  24. Doug Paul Davis

    This is a good point. It would be one thing if Richards were emptying onto Russell or Covell, which could readily absorb it without creating a huge back up. However expanding Richards to four lanes (two in each direction under the overpass) would simply bring the bottle neck to downtown rather than on Richards. This is actually a mark of European design where they have old city centers that are not built to handle traffic, the idea is to calm traffic away from the core downtown rather than feeding it into downtown.

  25. Anonymous

    “….would simply bring the bottle neck to downtown rather than on Richards.”

    Making it easier and faster to get into downtown Davis doesn’t make it any easier to get around once you get there. The surface streets would just clog up at 1st, 2nd, F, G, etc. The point was made during that campaign that widening Richards would likely increase the traffic there, as it would become the main entrance to town for many people who were not actually heading to the downtown.

    University traffic is best handled at the next offramp, where there is plenty of room. There is a very useful overpass on PoleLine for South Davis residents, and the Mace Blvd overpass is a breeze. Distribution of Davis traffic along three points of entry is actually a sensible planning solution.

  26. Anonymous

    “….would simply bring the bottle neck to downtown rather than on Richards.”

    Making it easier and faster to get into downtown Davis doesn’t make it any easier to get around once you get there. The surface streets would just clog up at 1st, 2nd, F, G, etc. The point was made during that campaign that widening Richards would likely increase the traffic there, as it would become the main entrance to town for many people who were not actually heading to the downtown.

    University traffic is best handled at the next offramp, where there is plenty of room. There is a very useful overpass on PoleLine for South Davis residents, and the Mace Blvd overpass is a breeze. Distribution of Davis traffic along three points of entry is actually a sensible planning solution.

  27. Anonymous

    “….would simply bring the bottle neck to downtown rather than on Richards.”

    Making it easier and faster to get into downtown Davis doesn’t make it any easier to get around once you get there. The surface streets would just clog up at 1st, 2nd, F, G, etc. The point was made during that campaign that widening Richards would likely increase the traffic there, as it would become the main entrance to town for many people who were not actually heading to the downtown.

    University traffic is best handled at the next offramp, where there is plenty of room. There is a very useful overpass on PoleLine for South Davis residents, and the Mace Blvd overpass is a breeze. Distribution of Davis traffic along three points of entry is actually a sensible planning solution.

  28. Anonymous

    “….would simply bring the bottle neck to downtown rather than on Richards.”

    Making it easier and faster to get into downtown Davis doesn’t make it any easier to get around once you get there. The surface streets would just clog up at 1st, 2nd, F, G, etc. The point was made during that campaign that widening Richards would likely increase the traffic there, as it would become the main entrance to town for many people who were not actually heading to the downtown.

    University traffic is best handled at the next offramp, where there is plenty of room. There is a very useful overpass on PoleLine for South Davis residents, and the Mace Blvd overpass is a breeze. Distribution of Davis traffic along three points of entry is actually a sensible planning solution.

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