City Council to Hear EIR on Tankhouse Project

Though it seems as though this issue has been on the table for a considerable amount of time, the city will finally hear and vote on the EIR for the Hunt-Boyer Tankhouse project.

The Final Environmental Impact Report evaluates the potential environmental impact of a proposal for Mishka’s Cafe that would be located on a portion of the historic Dresbach-Hunt-Boyer Mansion at 604 Second Street in downtown Davis. This project would demolish the existing tank house structure and orange grove at 604 Second Street to accommodate the construction of a new three-story commercial building between the varsity theater and the Mansion, according to the Davis city staff report.

The owner of the site Sinisa Novakovic and the staff report however now support Alternative 3 to the proposal. The third alternative would construct a two-story building in the location instead of three stories. It would remove the remaining orange trees “and disassemble, reassemble, and rehabilitate the Tank House on the west side of the Mansion for potential public use as a visitor information kiosk or private commercial use.”

This alternative was voted down by the Historic Resources Management Commission (HMRC) by a 3-1 with a number of commissioners either absent or recused.

Richard Berteux, a former member of the HMRC wrote a letter to the Davis Enterprise in yesterday’s paper pleading that the city not destroy the tank house.

“I believe it would be an indefensible proposition for the city to consider such a step. The General Plan makes it very clear the city should be a leader and example in historic preservation.

However, notwithstanding the value of the tank house, we are ignoring the longer-term view of what is best for the city and the community. This property belongs to the community, and our common benefit must remain the first priority, not private interests or financial gain. Certainly money is important, but should not be the most important consideration.

The most appealing cities have always provided wisely for open space. Here the mansion and tank house sit on a small but valuable patch of open space in the epicenter of the core area, which will only become much denser. Such a patch will be unaffordable in the future. This should be enough reason for preserving the site as it is.”

As current member Rich Rifkin described earlier this month, Mr. Berteux favors alternative 5.

“A-5 would reconstruct the tankhouse, but move it slightly closer to the street, where it would be more visible and slightly closer to the mansion. Along the Varsity wall, Richard proposes an enclosed glass structure for all-weather seating for 50 people. There would be a glass breezeway connecting the side structure to the tankhouse, which would be used for food service and preparation. And there would be seating in the plaza for around 50 people.”

Mr. Rifkin also described his interchange with Mr. Novakovic at the HMRC meeting:

“I asked Sinise a few questions. It was my question about his thoughts on the 2-story proposal which brought out the news that he now favors A-3 over the proposed project. I then asked him how he felt about Richard’s “greenhouse” idea. Sinise said that it wouldn’t work for him, because it has too little space for food preparation and storage.

However, I think the problems Sinise pointed out are resolvable. Because Richard is moving the tankhouse north somewhat, there is plenty of unused space on the property south of the tankhouse, which could be used for a larger food prep space and storage. I imagine it could connect with the tankhouse by yet another glass breezeway.

Sinise also told me that he didn’t think my idea — to use the mansion as a restaurant with outdoor seating on the plaza — was workable, the big problem being the way it is off the street and without front-window exposure. He thinks the mansion might work for a high-end restaurant, but only one with an established clientele.”

The illustration of Mr. Berteux alternative idea appears courtesy of Mr. Rifkin.

The Davis Historical Society has several notable critiques of the proposal including a lengthy response and critic of the EIR by Valerie Vann which is excerpted here.

Ms. Vann provides an analysis of the Alternative 5:

“Alternative 5 does, however, have some troubling aspects in terms of meeting the Secretary’s Standards as a re-use/rehab of the Tank House: the loss of the historic west side window; presenting a blank wall to the east bay window of the Mansion; being moved directly opposite to the bay window and much closer; the kitchen use, which will require plumbing, venting, probably fans and/or air conditioning equipment; a use that may produce steam and high humidity inside the structure. Previous occupancies of the Tank House with similar uses and interior alterations and utility requirements did not prove to be beneficial to the preservation of the historic structure and were probably overambitious considering the size, type of construction, and such characteristics as sloping sides of the structure. (Multiple opening in the siding compromised the structural soundness as well.)”

She concludes:

“Overall, however, it is difficult to see that Alternative 5 is less compatible with or has more impacts on the Tank House and Mansion than other Alternatives that propose moving the Tank House (which produces additional impacts in itself) and constructing a large modern building between the two Landmarks and unrelated to either one of them. The EIR seems to imply that it does.”

There is a general lamentation of “Historic resources” as an “endangered species” in general and “in Davis far more so than in most other places our size.”

She concludes with the following criticism of the project:

“All three of these EIRs evaluated proposed projects found to have Significant and Unavoidable Impacts (i.e. not possible to mitigate to insignificance) in multiple areas of concern, requiring that the City make findings of “overriding considerations”, that is, identify public interests that justify doing significant irreparable damage to the environment. Really good projects don’t have to have significant unavoidable impacts. Projects that do should be very few and justified by truly overwhelming long term public interests.

According to the General Plan (HIS 1.3-Actions), Davis is supposed be a leader in caring for historic and cultural resources. So why is Davis, of all places – where caring for all aspects of the environment is supposedly the city’s motto, not only allowing proposals for private projects with these kinds of unavoidable environmental impacts, but actually itself proposing such a damaging project for public property?”

To read several other critiques, please click here.

Once again, the City Council will meet tomorrow evening to discuss this issue and the city staff has recommended along with the property owner Alternative 3.

—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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64 thoughts on “City Council to Hear EIR on Tankhouse Project”

  1. Anonymous

    We haven’t had time to invent the wheel because we can’t decide what color it will be….

    This town takes public participation to a whole new level. Aren’t there bigger issues to deal with?

  2. Anonymous

    We haven’t had time to invent the wheel because we can’t decide what color it will be….

    This town takes public participation to a whole new level. Aren’t there bigger issues to deal with?

  3. Anonymous

    We haven’t had time to invent the wheel because we can’t decide what color it will be….

    This town takes public participation to a whole new level. Aren’t there bigger issues to deal with?

  4. Anonymous

    We haven’t had time to invent the wheel because we can’t decide what color it will be….

    This town takes public participation to a whole new level. Aren’t there bigger issues to deal with?

  5. Historian

    Certainly bigger in the sense that there are more important topics that have and will arise. But in the sense that a lot of people have spent a lot of time and commitment to the preservation of historic resources and many of those historic remnants have been demolished in the last 30 years, then this is an important issue to a number of people.

  6. Historian

    Certainly bigger in the sense that there are more important topics that have and will arise. But in the sense that a lot of people have spent a lot of time and commitment to the preservation of historic resources and many of those historic remnants have been demolished in the last 30 years, then this is an important issue to a number of people.

  7. Historian

    Certainly bigger in the sense that there are more important topics that have and will arise. But in the sense that a lot of people have spent a lot of time and commitment to the preservation of historic resources and many of those historic remnants have been demolished in the last 30 years, then this is an important issue to a number of people.

  8. Historian

    Certainly bigger in the sense that there are more important topics that have and will arise. But in the sense that a lot of people have spent a lot of time and commitment to the preservation of historic resources and many of those historic remnants have been demolished in the last 30 years, then this is an important issue to a number of people.

  9. Anonymous

    I thought that the tankhouse’s structural integrity was in such a deteriorated condition that moving it
    could very well not be feasible. Has this question been answered?

  10. Anonymous

    I thought that the tankhouse’s structural integrity was in such a deteriorated condition that moving it
    could very well not be feasible. Has this question been answered?

  11. Anonymous

    I thought that the tankhouse’s structural integrity was in such a deteriorated condition that moving it
    could very well not be feasible. Has this question been answered?

  12. Anonymous

    I thought that the tankhouse’s structural integrity was in such a deteriorated condition that moving it
    could very well not be feasible. Has this question been answered?

  13. Gimmee a Break

    What to do with the tankhouse has been discussed as far back as when Ken Wagstaff was on the City Council, if not before. It is high time for the City Council to stop fence sitting, trying to please everyone, and make a decision and be done with it. What has happened with this issue is typical of how the City Council works all too often.

    Bring up the issue. See how many in the public are concerned. Make sure there is a nice big staff report of at least a hundred pages to offer cover for any decisions made by the City Council. If the matter proves too publicly controversial, it is yanked by some members of the City Council who do not want to go out on a limb when making their choice. Another staff report is generated for cover, and another and another, ad nauseum.

    Meanwhile if some consultant or developer friend of some members of the City Council can somehow benefit, that angle is played. Out comes another staff report to support that idea. On and on it goes. If the idea is too controversial a hot potato, then it will be withdrawn from discussion. Later it will be placed on the Consent Calendar of the City Council, and passed below the radar screen if no one is keeping track.

    Or much controversy is created to distract from the real issues, which is the case here in my opinion. Supposedly the city has a fiscal crisis, with a budget deficit, looming massive increases in water and sewer rates coming down the pike – a real mess. But oh no, the City Council has to once again dredge up “the Tankhouse issue” (nonissue in my opinion) – something that should have been decided long ago without much fuss.

    But give the City Council a chance, and they will find a way to make a small issue work to their advantage in unholy ways. Either it will be a distraction from real issues, represent a boondoggle for some City Council member’s friend or friend of a friend, or a hot potato passed around until a solution can be found that won’t offend.

    Gimmee a break!!! Decide already and be done with it. The continual cogitating over a virtual nonissue for years has gone on long enough. And for goodness sake, why is the next door business neighbor or a Davis Enterprise columnist making decisions on what is to be done with the tankhouse? What, the City Council can’t weigh in and make up its mind already???

  14. Gimmee a Break

    What to do with the tankhouse has been discussed as far back as when Ken Wagstaff was on the City Council, if not before. It is high time for the City Council to stop fence sitting, trying to please everyone, and make a decision and be done with it. What has happened with this issue is typical of how the City Council works all too often.

    Bring up the issue. See how many in the public are concerned. Make sure there is a nice big staff report of at least a hundred pages to offer cover for any decisions made by the City Council. If the matter proves too publicly controversial, it is yanked by some members of the City Council who do not want to go out on a limb when making their choice. Another staff report is generated for cover, and another and another, ad nauseum.

    Meanwhile if some consultant or developer friend of some members of the City Council can somehow benefit, that angle is played. Out comes another staff report to support that idea. On and on it goes. If the idea is too controversial a hot potato, then it will be withdrawn from discussion. Later it will be placed on the Consent Calendar of the City Council, and passed below the radar screen if no one is keeping track.

    Or much controversy is created to distract from the real issues, which is the case here in my opinion. Supposedly the city has a fiscal crisis, with a budget deficit, looming massive increases in water and sewer rates coming down the pike – a real mess. But oh no, the City Council has to once again dredge up “the Tankhouse issue” (nonissue in my opinion) – something that should have been decided long ago without much fuss.

    But give the City Council a chance, and they will find a way to make a small issue work to their advantage in unholy ways. Either it will be a distraction from real issues, represent a boondoggle for some City Council member’s friend or friend of a friend, or a hot potato passed around until a solution can be found that won’t offend.

    Gimmee a break!!! Decide already and be done with it. The continual cogitating over a virtual nonissue for years has gone on long enough. And for goodness sake, why is the next door business neighbor or a Davis Enterprise columnist making decisions on what is to be done with the tankhouse? What, the City Council can’t weigh in and make up its mind already???

  15. Gimmee a Break

    What to do with the tankhouse has been discussed as far back as when Ken Wagstaff was on the City Council, if not before. It is high time for the City Council to stop fence sitting, trying to please everyone, and make a decision and be done with it. What has happened with this issue is typical of how the City Council works all too often.

    Bring up the issue. See how many in the public are concerned. Make sure there is a nice big staff report of at least a hundred pages to offer cover for any decisions made by the City Council. If the matter proves too publicly controversial, it is yanked by some members of the City Council who do not want to go out on a limb when making their choice. Another staff report is generated for cover, and another and another, ad nauseum.

    Meanwhile if some consultant or developer friend of some members of the City Council can somehow benefit, that angle is played. Out comes another staff report to support that idea. On and on it goes. If the idea is too controversial a hot potato, then it will be withdrawn from discussion. Later it will be placed on the Consent Calendar of the City Council, and passed below the radar screen if no one is keeping track.

    Or much controversy is created to distract from the real issues, which is the case here in my opinion. Supposedly the city has a fiscal crisis, with a budget deficit, looming massive increases in water and sewer rates coming down the pike – a real mess. But oh no, the City Council has to once again dredge up “the Tankhouse issue” (nonissue in my opinion) – something that should have been decided long ago without much fuss.

    But give the City Council a chance, and they will find a way to make a small issue work to their advantage in unholy ways. Either it will be a distraction from real issues, represent a boondoggle for some City Council member’s friend or friend of a friend, or a hot potato passed around until a solution can be found that won’t offend.

    Gimmee a break!!! Decide already and be done with it. The continual cogitating over a virtual nonissue for years has gone on long enough. And for goodness sake, why is the next door business neighbor or a Davis Enterprise columnist making decisions on what is to be done with the tankhouse? What, the City Council can’t weigh in and make up its mind already???

  16. Gimmee a Break

    What to do with the tankhouse has been discussed as far back as when Ken Wagstaff was on the City Council, if not before. It is high time for the City Council to stop fence sitting, trying to please everyone, and make a decision and be done with it. What has happened with this issue is typical of how the City Council works all too often.

    Bring up the issue. See how many in the public are concerned. Make sure there is a nice big staff report of at least a hundred pages to offer cover for any decisions made by the City Council. If the matter proves too publicly controversial, it is yanked by some members of the City Council who do not want to go out on a limb when making their choice. Another staff report is generated for cover, and another and another, ad nauseum.

    Meanwhile if some consultant or developer friend of some members of the City Council can somehow benefit, that angle is played. Out comes another staff report to support that idea. On and on it goes. If the idea is too controversial a hot potato, then it will be withdrawn from discussion. Later it will be placed on the Consent Calendar of the City Council, and passed below the radar screen if no one is keeping track.

    Or much controversy is created to distract from the real issues, which is the case here in my opinion. Supposedly the city has a fiscal crisis, with a budget deficit, looming massive increases in water and sewer rates coming down the pike – a real mess. But oh no, the City Council has to once again dredge up “the Tankhouse issue” (nonissue in my opinion) – something that should have been decided long ago without much fuss.

    But give the City Council a chance, and they will find a way to make a small issue work to their advantage in unholy ways. Either it will be a distraction from real issues, represent a boondoggle for some City Council member’s friend or friend of a friend, or a hot potato passed around until a solution can be found that won’t offend.

    Gimmee a break!!! Decide already and be done with it. The continual cogitating over a virtual nonissue for years has gone on long enough. And for goodness sake, why is the next door business neighbor or a Davis Enterprise columnist making decisions on what is to be done with the tankhouse? What, the City Council can’t weigh in and make up its mind already???

  17. campaign watcher

    This is a very important decision for many people in this city who have been around long enough to slowly see Davis change and landmarks disappear.

    The City Council does not control what development project come before it. If different people keep having ideas about a piece of property, then the City Council will have to listen and decide again and again. I don’t know what exactly the problem you have with that process. Isn’t that supposed to be how it works?

  18. campaign watcher

    This is a very important decision for many people in this city who have been around long enough to slowly see Davis change and landmarks disappear.

    The City Council does not control what development project come before it. If different people keep having ideas about a piece of property, then the City Council will have to listen and decide again and again. I don’t know what exactly the problem you have with that process. Isn’t that supposed to be how it works?

  19. campaign watcher

    This is a very important decision for many people in this city who have been around long enough to slowly see Davis change and landmarks disappear.

    The City Council does not control what development project come before it. If different people keep having ideas about a piece of property, then the City Council will have to listen and decide again and again. I don’t know what exactly the problem you have with that process. Isn’t that supposed to be how it works?

  20. campaign watcher

    This is a very important decision for many people in this city who have been around long enough to slowly see Davis change and landmarks disappear.

    The City Council does not control what development project come before it. If different people keep having ideas about a piece of property, then the City Council will have to listen and decide again and again. I don’t know what exactly the problem you have with that process. Isn’t that supposed to be how it works?

  21. Anonymous

    A Clarification: Sinisa would be the owner/developer of the Proposed Project (assuming the City would sell him the property), but currently and for decades the City of Davis – i.e. the PUBLIC – has been the owner of the property, for the express purpose of keeping it from being demolished.

    Moreover, the City itself has proposed this travesty of selling off a piece of one of our most important historic Landmarks for PRIVATE development. The City itself asked for proposals to do this and Sinisa’s was the selected project in response to that request for proposals. Only after this process was down to the final stages and the plans well advanced was the public and the city’s own historic commission consulted or involved in any meaningful way. The result has been this expensive drawn out Environmental Impact process over a project almost universally opposed by the local historic interest community, and most historic preservation professionals who have heard about it are appalled that such a project would even be considered, let alone for a publicly owned Landmark.

  22. Anonymous

    A Clarification: Sinisa would be the owner/developer of the Proposed Project (assuming the City would sell him the property), but currently and for decades the City of Davis – i.e. the PUBLIC – has been the owner of the property, for the express purpose of keeping it from being demolished.

    Moreover, the City itself has proposed this travesty of selling off a piece of one of our most important historic Landmarks for PRIVATE development. The City itself asked for proposals to do this and Sinisa’s was the selected project in response to that request for proposals. Only after this process was down to the final stages and the plans well advanced was the public and the city’s own historic commission consulted or involved in any meaningful way. The result has been this expensive drawn out Environmental Impact process over a project almost universally opposed by the local historic interest community, and most historic preservation professionals who have heard about it are appalled that such a project would even be considered, let alone for a publicly owned Landmark.

  23. Anonymous

    A Clarification: Sinisa would be the owner/developer of the Proposed Project (assuming the City would sell him the property), but currently and for decades the City of Davis – i.e. the PUBLIC – has been the owner of the property, for the express purpose of keeping it from being demolished.

    Moreover, the City itself has proposed this travesty of selling off a piece of one of our most important historic Landmarks for PRIVATE development. The City itself asked for proposals to do this and Sinisa’s was the selected project in response to that request for proposals. Only after this process was down to the final stages and the plans well advanced was the public and the city’s own historic commission consulted or involved in any meaningful way. The result has been this expensive drawn out Environmental Impact process over a project almost universally opposed by the local historic interest community, and most historic preservation professionals who have heard about it are appalled that such a project would even be considered, let alone for a publicly owned Landmark.

  24. Anonymous

    A Clarification: Sinisa would be the owner/developer of the Proposed Project (assuming the City would sell him the property), but currently and for decades the City of Davis – i.e. the PUBLIC – has been the owner of the property, for the express purpose of keeping it from being demolished.

    Moreover, the City itself has proposed this travesty of selling off a piece of one of our most important historic Landmarks for PRIVATE development. The City itself asked for proposals to do this and Sinisa’s was the selected project in response to that request for proposals. Only after this process was down to the final stages and the plans well advanced was the public and the city’s own historic commission consulted or involved in any meaningful way. The result has been this expensive drawn out Environmental Impact process over a project almost universally opposed by the local historic interest community, and most historic preservation professionals who have heard about it are appalled that such a project would even be considered, let alone for a publicly owned Landmark.

  25. Anonymous

    Anonymous said…
    “I thought that the tankhouse’s structural integrity was in such a deteriorated condition that moving it
    could very well not be feasible. Has this question been answered?”

    Yes: read the EIR. Two of the Alternatives would just demolish the Tank House; the other propose to disassemble it, save what historic material can be saved, and reconstruct it according to the applicable Standards for such operations. (Some would reconstruct it on the west side of the Mansion, a historically controversial idea.)
    Of course, had the City not totally neglected the Tank House for over a decade, reconstruction would be unnecessary or a whole lot less expensive.

  26. Anonymous

    Anonymous said…
    “I thought that the tankhouse’s structural integrity was in such a deteriorated condition that moving it
    could very well not be feasible. Has this question been answered?”

    Yes: read the EIR. Two of the Alternatives would just demolish the Tank House; the other propose to disassemble it, save what historic material can be saved, and reconstruct it according to the applicable Standards for such operations. (Some would reconstruct it on the west side of the Mansion, a historically controversial idea.)
    Of course, had the City not totally neglected the Tank House for over a decade, reconstruction would be unnecessary or a whole lot less expensive.

  27. Anonymous

    Anonymous said…
    “I thought that the tankhouse’s structural integrity was in such a deteriorated condition that moving it
    could very well not be feasible. Has this question been answered?”

    Yes: read the EIR. Two of the Alternatives would just demolish the Tank House; the other propose to disassemble it, save what historic material can be saved, and reconstruct it according to the applicable Standards for such operations. (Some would reconstruct it on the west side of the Mansion, a historically controversial idea.)
    Of course, had the City not totally neglected the Tank House for over a decade, reconstruction would be unnecessary or a whole lot less expensive.

  28. Anonymous

    Anonymous said…
    “I thought that the tankhouse’s structural integrity was in such a deteriorated condition that moving it
    could very well not be feasible. Has this question been answered?”

    Yes: read the EIR. Two of the Alternatives would just demolish the Tank House; the other propose to disassemble it, save what historic material can be saved, and reconstruct it according to the applicable Standards for such operations. (Some would reconstruct it on the west side of the Mansion, a historically controversial idea.)
    Of course, had the City not totally neglected the Tank House for over a decade, reconstruction would be unnecessary or a whole lot less expensive.

  29. Rich Rifkin

    “Gimmee a break!!! Decide already and be done with it. The continual cogitating over a virtual nonissue for years has gone on long enough.”

    The issue at hand is not simply about the tankhouse. It is a much larger question about 1) our two most important historic landmarks in the core area, the Varsity theater and the Dresbach-Hunt-Boyer mansion, 2) the redevelopment and aesthetics of downtown, 3) the economic vitality of an import block in the downtown and 4) the loss or preservation of open space in the form of a courtyard.

    I realize that none of those issues are important to some Davis residents. But most of us who have lived here a long time (and many who have lived here less time) care a lot about the health of the downtown and the preservation of our history. That is why so much thought goes into what gets done.

    “And for goodness sake, why is the next door business neighbor or a Davis Enterprise columnist making decisions on what is to be done with the tankhouse?”

    David Greenwald presumably quoted me, not because I write a column for The Enterprise, but rather because I am the vice-chair of the Historical Resources Management Commission. I have no authority in that capacity to decide what ought to be done. However, because I have been involved in the process, my opinion is an informed one.

    As far as the neighboring business goes, Mr. Novakovic (who also does not have the authority to decide this question) has every right to weigh in. He not only proposes to move Mishka’s Cafe to this location, but he operates (with Jon Fenske) the Varisty theater, which will benefit from improved vitality on that block.

    “What, the City Council can’t weigh in and make up its mind already???”

    That likely will happen tomorrow night. However, if A-3 is rejected, then this issue will not go away soon. The tankhouse, which should be seen as a part of the larger Mansion property, is in terrible shape. A decision will have to be made at some point to either tear it down (for safety) or reconstruct it. Incredibly, it will cost around $200,000 to reconstruct it. (I have no idea why it should be so much. I’ve seen modest homes built for less in recent years.)

  30. Rich Rifkin

    “Gimmee a break!!! Decide already and be done with it. The continual cogitating over a virtual nonissue for years has gone on long enough.”

    The issue at hand is not simply about the tankhouse. It is a much larger question about 1) our two most important historic landmarks in the core area, the Varsity theater and the Dresbach-Hunt-Boyer mansion, 2) the redevelopment and aesthetics of downtown, 3) the economic vitality of an import block in the downtown and 4) the loss or preservation of open space in the form of a courtyard.

    I realize that none of those issues are important to some Davis residents. But most of us who have lived here a long time (and many who have lived here less time) care a lot about the health of the downtown and the preservation of our history. That is why so much thought goes into what gets done.

    “And for goodness sake, why is the next door business neighbor or a Davis Enterprise columnist making decisions on what is to be done with the tankhouse?”

    David Greenwald presumably quoted me, not because I write a column for The Enterprise, but rather because I am the vice-chair of the Historical Resources Management Commission. I have no authority in that capacity to decide what ought to be done. However, because I have been involved in the process, my opinion is an informed one.

    As far as the neighboring business goes, Mr. Novakovic (who also does not have the authority to decide this question) has every right to weigh in. He not only proposes to move Mishka’s Cafe to this location, but he operates (with Jon Fenske) the Varisty theater, which will benefit from improved vitality on that block.

    “What, the City Council can’t weigh in and make up its mind already???”

    That likely will happen tomorrow night. However, if A-3 is rejected, then this issue will not go away soon. The tankhouse, which should be seen as a part of the larger Mansion property, is in terrible shape. A decision will have to be made at some point to either tear it down (for safety) or reconstruct it. Incredibly, it will cost around $200,000 to reconstruct it. (I have no idea why it should be so much. I’ve seen modest homes built for less in recent years.)

  31. Rich Rifkin

    “Gimmee a break!!! Decide already and be done with it. The continual cogitating over a virtual nonissue for years has gone on long enough.”

    The issue at hand is not simply about the tankhouse. It is a much larger question about 1) our two most important historic landmarks in the core area, the Varsity theater and the Dresbach-Hunt-Boyer mansion, 2) the redevelopment and aesthetics of downtown, 3) the economic vitality of an import block in the downtown and 4) the loss or preservation of open space in the form of a courtyard.

    I realize that none of those issues are important to some Davis residents. But most of us who have lived here a long time (and many who have lived here less time) care a lot about the health of the downtown and the preservation of our history. That is why so much thought goes into what gets done.

    “And for goodness sake, why is the next door business neighbor or a Davis Enterprise columnist making decisions on what is to be done with the tankhouse?”

    David Greenwald presumably quoted me, not because I write a column for The Enterprise, but rather because I am the vice-chair of the Historical Resources Management Commission. I have no authority in that capacity to decide what ought to be done. However, because I have been involved in the process, my opinion is an informed one.

    As far as the neighboring business goes, Mr. Novakovic (who also does not have the authority to decide this question) has every right to weigh in. He not only proposes to move Mishka’s Cafe to this location, but he operates (with Jon Fenske) the Varisty theater, which will benefit from improved vitality on that block.

    “What, the City Council can’t weigh in and make up its mind already???”

    That likely will happen tomorrow night. However, if A-3 is rejected, then this issue will not go away soon. The tankhouse, which should be seen as a part of the larger Mansion property, is in terrible shape. A decision will have to be made at some point to either tear it down (for safety) or reconstruct it. Incredibly, it will cost around $200,000 to reconstruct it. (I have no idea why it should be so much. I’ve seen modest homes built for less in recent years.)

  32. Rich Rifkin

    “Gimmee a break!!! Decide already and be done with it. The continual cogitating over a virtual nonissue for years has gone on long enough.”

    The issue at hand is not simply about the tankhouse. It is a much larger question about 1) our two most important historic landmarks in the core area, the Varsity theater and the Dresbach-Hunt-Boyer mansion, 2) the redevelopment and aesthetics of downtown, 3) the economic vitality of an import block in the downtown and 4) the loss or preservation of open space in the form of a courtyard.

    I realize that none of those issues are important to some Davis residents. But most of us who have lived here a long time (and many who have lived here less time) care a lot about the health of the downtown and the preservation of our history. That is why so much thought goes into what gets done.

    “And for goodness sake, why is the next door business neighbor or a Davis Enterprise columnist making decisions on what is to be done with the tankhouse?”

    David Greenwald presumably quoted me, not because I write a column for The Enterprise, but rather because I am the vice-chair of the Historical Resources Management Commission. I have no authority in that capacity to decide what ought to be done. However, because I have been involved in the process, my opinion is an informed one.

    As far as the neighboring business goes, Mr. Novakovic (who also does not have the authority to decide this question) has every right to weigh in. He not only proposes to move Mishka’s Cafe to this location, but he operates (with Jon Fenske) the Varisty theater, which will benefit from improved vitality on that block.

    “What, the City Council can’t weigh in and make up its mind already???”

    That likely will happen tomorrow night. However, if A-3 is rejected, then this issue will not go away soon. The tankhouse, which should be seen as a part of the larger Mansion property, is in terrible shape. A decision will have to be made at some point to either tear it down (for safety) or reconstruct it. Incredibly, it will cost around $200,000 to reconstruct it. (I have no idea why it should be so much. I’ve seen modest homes built for less in recent years.)

  33. Rich Rifkin

    Don,

    This is the cost estimate included in Attachment 3 to the October 12 Staff Report for reconstructing the tankhouse on the west side:

    Arch/Engineering $20,000
    Lead Abatement $45,000
    Tankhouse Reconstr. $180,000
    Landscape Remodel $40,000
    Site Preparation $10,000
    Estimated Total $295,000

    In the same Attachment, there is a breakdown for Alternative 6, which would reconstruct the tankhouse in situ:

    Arch/Engineering $20,000
    Lead Abatement $45,000
    Tankhouse Reconstr. $180,000
    Patio Lndsc/Lighting $75,000
    Site Preparation $5,000
    Estimated Total $325,000

  34. Rich Rifkin

    Don,

    This is the cost estimate included in Attachment 3 to the October 12 Staff Report for reconstructing the tankhouse on the west side:

    Arch/Engineering $20,000
    Lead Abatement $45,000
    Tankhouse Reconstr. $180,000
    Landscape Remodel $40,000
    Site Preparation $10,000
    Estimated Total $295,000

    In the same Attachment, there is a breakdown for Alternative 6, which would reconstruct the tankhouse in situ:

    Arch/Engineering $20,000
    Lead Abatement $45,000
    Tankhouse Reconstr. $180,000
    Patio Lndsc/Lighting $75,000
    Site Preparation $5,000
    Estimated Total $325,000

  35. Rich Rifkin

    Don,

    This is the cost estimate included in Attachment 3 to the October 12 Staff Report for reconstructing the tankhouse on the west side:

    Arch/Engineering $20,000
    Lead Abatement $45,000
    Tankhouse Reconstr. $180,000
    Landscape Remodel $40,000
    Site Preparation $10,000
    Estimated Total $295,000

    In the same Attachment, there is a breakdown for Alternative 6, which would reconstruct the tankhouse in situ:

    Arch/Engineering $20,000
    Lead Abatement $45,000
    Tankhouse Reconstr. $180,000
    Patio Lndsc/Lighting $75,000
    Site Preparation $5,000
    Estimated Total $325,000

  36. Rich Rifkin

    Don,

    This is the cost estimate included in Attachment 3 to the October 12 Staff Report for reconstructing the tankhouse on the west side:

    Arch/Engineering $20,000
    Lead Abatement $45,000
    Tankhouse Reconstr. $180,000
    Landscape Remodel $40,000
    Site Preparation $10,000
    Estimated Total $295,000

    In the same Attachment, there is a breakdown for Alternative 6, which would reconstruct the tankhouse in situ:

    Arch/Engineering $20,000
    Lead Abatement $45,000
    Tankhouse Reconstr. $180,000
    Patio Lndsc/Lighting $75,000
    Site Preparation $5,000
    Estimated Total $325,000

  37. Gimme a Break

    But that’s just it – the process in deciding what to do is taking far too long – years and years for goodness sakes. In the meantime the building itself has fallen into terrible disrepair, and will ostensibly cost the taxpayer big bucks to fix!!! (What a surprise!!! Wonder which friend of a friend of someone on the City Council is going to get the contract for repair work???).

    I can remember Ken Wagstaff weighing in on this at a City Council meeting recently. He too noted that this issue was being discussed when he was on the City Council.

    No one (including me) is arguing that this may have been an important issue in and of itself. But not an important enough issue to have taken up the inordinate amounts of time it has taken in place of other matters of far more concern to John Q. Public that are not getting a fair hearing.

    I sat through a recent City Council meeting, waiting for the water/sewer increase issue to come up. My efforts were in vain, because the City Council took almost two hours discussing the “tankhouse” to no purpose. The discussion was silly, and resolved absolutely nothing. The water/sewer issue was scheduled last on the agenda (surprise, surprise!!!). I left at midnight, and the City Council still had not reached the issue I came for.

    This scenario plays out far too often. The City Council will talk to death some issues, while figuring out ways to avoid the more important / controversial / difficult ones.

    I tell you what, let’s do nothing, wait long enough for the “tankhouse” to crumble altogether (which shouldn’t be too long from what I hear), and then we can get a group of school kids in there to pick up the pieces. They can hold a big fundraiser, and sell off chunks of the historic “tankhouse” to raise money to pay for a replica.

    That way the taxpayer will not have to pay a contractor to “reconstruct” the “tankhouse” for $200K. Save a small piece of the original building and incorparate it into a display in the Hunt-Boyer mansion, and get on with the business of the city – all of the business, not just mind-numbing purposeless discussions about the “tankhouse”.

    PS During the City Council meeting I attended in which the “tankhouse” was endlessly discussed, there was no mention of bigger issues of land use planning, preserving open space, etc. All the talk centered on was what to do with the “tankhouse”, because the business neighbor had decided he wanted to build a restaurant next to the Varsity Theater, so he could draw in more customers.

  38. Gimme a Break

    But that’s just it – the process in deciding what to do is taking far too long – years and years for goodness sakes. In the meantime the building itself has fallen into terrible disrepair, and will ostensibly cost the taxpayer big bucks to fix!!! (What a surprise!!! Wonder which friend of a friend of someone on the City Council is going to get the contract for repair work???).

    I can remember Ken Wagstaff weighing in on this at a City Council meeting recently. He too noted that this issue was being discussed when he was on the City Council.

    No one (including me) is arguing that this may have been an important issue in and of itself. But not an important enough issue to have taken up the inordinate amounts of time it has taken in place of other matters of far more concern to John Q. Public that are not getting a fair hearing.

    I sat through a recent City Council meeting, waiting for the water/sewer increase issue to come up. My efforts were in vain, because the City Council took almost two hours discussing the “tankhouse” to no purpose. The discussion was silly, and resolved absolutely nothing. The water/sewer issue was scheduled last on the agenda (surprise, surprise!!!). I left at midnight, and the City Council still had not reached the issue I came for.

    This scenario plays out far too often. The City Council will talk to death some issues, while figuring out ways to avoid the more important / controversial / difficult ones.

    I tell you what, let’s do nothing, wait long enough for the “tankhouse” to crumble altogether (which shouldn’t be too long from what I hear), and then we can get a group of school kids in there to pick up the pieces. They can hold a big fundraiser, and sell off chunks of the historic “tankhouse” to raise money to pay for a replica.

    That way the taxpayer will not have to pay a contractor to “reconstruct” the “tankhouse” for $200K. Save a small piece of the original building and incorparate it into a display in the Hunt-Boyer mansion, and get on with the business of the city – all of the business, not just mind-numbing purposeless discussions about the “tankhouse”.

    PS During the City Council meeting I attended in which the “tankhouse” was endlessly discussed, there was no mention of bigger issues of land use planning, preserving open space, etc. All the talk centered on was what to do with the “tankhouse”, because the business neighbor had decided he wanted to build a restaurant next to the Varsity Theater, so he could draw in more customers.

  39. Gimme a Break

    But that’s just it – the process in deciding what to do is taking far too long – years and years for goodness sakes. In the meantime the building itself has fallen into terrible disrepair, and will ostensibly cost the taxpayer big bucks to fix!!! (What a surprise!!! Wonder which friend of a friend of someone on the City Council is going to get the contract for repair work???).

    I can remember Ken Wagstaff weighing in on this at a City Council meeting recently. He too noted that this issue was being discussed when he was on the City Council.

    No one (including me) is arguing that this may have been an important issue in and of itself. But not an important enough issue to have taken up the inordinate amounts of time it has taken in place of other matters of far more concern to John Q. Public that are not getting a fair hearing.

    I sat through a recent City Council meeting, waiting for the water/sewer increase issue to come up. My efforts were in vain, because the City Council took almost two hours discussing the “tankhouse” to no purpose. The discussion was silly, and resolved absolutely nothing. The water/sewer issue was scheduled last on the agenda (surprise, surprise!!!). I left at midnight, and the City Council still had not reached the issue I came for.

    This scenario plays out far too often. The City Council will talk to death some issues, while figuring out ways to avoid the more important / controversial / difficult ones.

    I tell you what, let’s do nothing, wait long enough for the “tankhouse” to crumble altogether (which shouldn’t be too long from what I hear), and then we can get a group of school kids in there to pick up the pieces. They can hold a big fundraiser, and sell off chunks of the historic “tankhouse” to raise money to pay for a replica.

    That way the taxpayer will not have to pay a contractor to “reconstruct” the “tankhouse” for $200K. Save a small piece of the original building and incorparate it into a display in the Hunt-Boyer mansion, and get on with the business of the city – all of the business, not just mind-numbing purposeless discussions about the “tankhouse”.

    PS During the City Council meeting I attended in which the “tankhouse” was endlessly discussed, there was no mention of bigger issues of land use planning, preserving open space, etc. All the talk centered on was what to do with the “tankhouse”, because the business neighbor had decided he wanted to build a restaurant next to the Varsity Theater, so he could draw in more customers.

  40. Gimme a Break

    But that’s just it – the process in deciding what to do is taking far too long – years and years for goodness sakes. In the meantime the building itself has fallen into terrible disrepair, and will ostensibly cost the taxpayer big bucks to fix!!! (What a surprise!!! Wonder which friend of a friend of someone on the City Council is going to get the contract for repair work???).

    I can remember Ken Wagstaff weighing in on this at a City Council meeting recently. He too noted that this issue was being discussed when he was on the City Council.

    No one (including me) is arguing that this may have been an important issue in and of itself. But not an important enough issue to have taken up the inordinate amounts of time it has taken in place of other matters of far more concern to John Q. Public that are not getting a fair hearing.

    I sat through a recent City Council meeting, waiting for the water/sewer increase issue to come up. My efforts were in vain, because the City Council took almost two hours discussing the “tankhouse” to no purpose. The discussion was silly, and resolved absolutely nothing. The water/sewer issue was scheduled last on the agenda (surprise, surprise!!!). I left at midnight, and the City Council still had not reached the issue I came for.

    This scenario plays out far too often. The City Council will talk to death some issues, while figuring out ways to avoid the more important / controversial / difficult ones.

    I tell you what, let’s do nothing, wait long enough for the “tankhouse” to crumble altogether (which shouldn’t be too long from what I hear), and then we can get a group of school kids in there to pick up the pieces. They can hold a big fundraiser, and sell off chunks of the historic “tankhouse” to raise money to pay for a replica.

    That way the taxpayer will not have to pay a contractor to “reconstruct” the “tankhouse” for $200K. Save a small piece of the original building and incorparate it into a display in the Hunt-Boyer mansion, and get on with the business of the city – all of the business, not just mind-numbing purposeless discussions about the “tankhouse”.

    PS During the City Council meeting I attended in which the “tankhouse” was endlessly discussed, there was no mention of bigger issues of land use planning, preserving open space, etc. All the talk centered on was what to do with the “tankhouse”, because the business neighbor had decided he wanted to build a restaurant next to the Varsity Theater, so he could draw in more customers.

  41. Anonymous

    The Mansion is wonderful piece of historical architecture, a beautiful structure and a useful addition to the economic life of modern downtown Davis. The Tankhouse has NONE of these attributes. Outhouses are also a historically endangered species but hardly worth the cost of salvaging reusable material to reconstruct a la Disneyland.

  42. Anonymous

    The Mansion is wonderful piece of historical architecture, a beautiful structure and a useful addition to the economic life of modern downtown Davis. The Tankhouse has NONE of these attributes. Outhouses are also a historically endangered species but hardly worth the cost of salvaging reusable material to reconstruct a la Disneyland.

  43. Anonymous

    The Mansion is wonderful piece of historical architecture, a beautiful structure and a useful addition to the economic life of modern downtown Davis. The Tankhouse has NONE of these attributes. Outhouses are also a historically endangered species but hardly worth the cost of salvaging reusable material to reconstruct a la Disneyland.

  44. Anonymous

    The Mansion is wonderful piece of historical architecture, a beautiful structure and a useful addition to the economic life of modern downtown Davis. The Tankhouse has NONE of these attributes. Outhouses are also a historically endangered species but hardly worth the cost of salvaging reusable material to reconstruct a la Disneyland.

  45. Anonymous

    “…. in which the “tankhouse” was endlessly discussed, there was no mention of bigger issues of land use planning, preserving open space, etc.”

    Watch how the candidates Souza and Saylor attempt to work this issue.. hoping to reinvent themselves as populists, defenders of Davis “values” as opposed to what their public record in office reveals.

  46. Anonymous

    “…. in which the “tankhouse” was endlessly discussed, there was no mention of bigger issues of land use planning, preserving open space, etc.”

    Watch how the candidates Souza and Saylor attempt to work this issue.. hoping to reinvent themselves as populists, defenders of Davis “values” as opposed to what their public record in office reveals.

  47. Anonymous

    “…. in which the “tankhouse” was endlessly discussed, there was no mention of bigger issues of land use planning, preserving open space, etc.”

    Watch how the candidates Souza and Saylor attempt to work this issue.. hoping to reinvent themselves as populists, defenders of Davis “values” as opposed to what their public record in office reveals.

  48. Anonymous

    “…. in which the “tankhouse” was endlessly discussed, there was no mention of bigger issues of land use planning, preserving open space, etc.”

    Watch how the candidates Souza and Saylor attempt to work this issue.. hoping to reinvent themselves as populists, defenders of Davis “values” as opposed to what their public record in office reveals.

  49. Rich Rifkin

    “The Mansion is wonderful piece of historical architecture, a beautiful structure and a useful addition to the economic life of modern downtown Davis. The Tankhouse has NONE of these attributes.”

    The tankhouse is a part of the Mansion property. It contributes to our history. The Mansion could not have historically existed without a tankhouse. Further, the tankhouse itself was a very handsome structure. It was not at all ugly. Yes, it is in terrible shape and needs to be rebuilt. But once that is done, it will be apparent how nice it can look.

    Also, the tankhouse could be an economic positive for the downtown. It depends on how it is used.

    As it happens, the Mansion is not currently an economic asset to downtown. Using it as city office space, which is what it has been used for 25 years makes it an economic black hole. That is why I have proposed we convert the Mansion into a restaurant, much like Old City Hall was converted into Bistro 33.

  50. Rich Rifkin

    “The Mansion is wonderful piece of historical architecture, a beautiful structure and a useful addition to the economic life of modern downtown Davis. The Tankhouse has NONE of these attributes.”

    The tankhouse is a part of the Mansion property. It contributes to our history. The Mansion could not have historically existed without a tankhouse. Further, the tankhouse itself was a very handsome structure. It was not at all ugly. Yes, it is in terrible shape and needs to be rebuilt. But once that is done, it will be apparent how nice it can look.

    Also, the tankhouse could be an economic positive for the downtown. It depends on how it is used.

    As it happens, the Mansion is not currently an economic asset to downtown. Using it as city office space, which is what it has been used for 25 years makes it an economic black hole. That is why I have proposed we convert the Mansion into a restaurant, much like Old City Hall was converted into Bistro 33.

  51. Rich Rifkin

    “The Mansion is wonderful piece of historical architecture, a beautiful structure and a useful addition to the economic life of modern downtown Davis. The Tankhouse has NONE of these attributes.”

    The tankhouse is a part of the Mansion property. It contributes to our history. The Mansion could not have historically existed without a tankhouse. Further, the tankhouse itself was a very handsome structure. It was not at all ugly. Yes, it is in terrible shape and needs to be rebuilt. But once that is done, it will be apparent how nice it can look.

    Also, the tankhouse could be an economic positive for the downtown. It depends on how it is used.

    As it happens, the Mansion is not currently an economic asset to downtown. Using it as city office space, which is what it has been used for 25 years makes it an economic black hole. That is why I have proposed we convert the Mansion into a restaurant, much like Old City Hall was converted into Bistro 33.

  52. Rich Rifkin

    “The Mansion is wonderful piece of historical architecture, a beautiful structure and a useful addition to the economic life of modern downtown Davis. The Tankhouse has NONE of these attributes.”

    The tankhouse is a part of the Mansion property. It contributes to our history. The Mansion could not have historically existed without a tankhouse. Further, the tankhouse itself was a very handsome structure. It was not at all ugly. Yes, it is in terrible shape and needs to be rebuilt. But once that is done, it will be apparent how nice it can look.

    Also, the tankhouse could be an economic positive for the downtown. It depends on how it is used.

    As it happens, the Mansion is not currently an economic asset to downtown. Using it as city office space, which is what it has been used for 25 years makes it an economic black hole. That is why I have proposed we convert the Mansion into a restaurant, much like Old City Hall was converted into Bistro 33.

  53. Anonymous

    The Mansion is wonderful piece of historical architecture, a beautiful structure and a useful addition to the economic life of modern downtown Davis. The Tankhouse has NONE of these attributes. Outhouses are a historically endangered species but hardly worth the cost of salvaging reusable material to reconstruct a la Disneyland.
    Anonymous
    11/26/07 1:55 PM

    Anonymous:
    The entire brick-floored space shaded with orange trees beside the Varsity Theatre–a calm oasis in midst of the increasingly money-frantic business district–includes the Tank House, which was not built as a recepticle for human waste, but, rather, as a water storage tank, hence the name “Tank House.”
    The “Tank House” stood origially on the grounds of the the Mansion, about where the Mansion Shopping Center now stands; its architecture, in miniature, with its planks and coloring, humbly echoes the grander, more elegant structure.

  54. Anonymous

    The Mansion is wonderful piece of historical architecture, a beautiful structure and a useful addition to the economic life of modern downtown Davis. The Tankhouse has NONE of these attributes. Outhouses are a historically endangered species but hardly worth the cost of salvaging reusable material to reconstruct a la Disneyland.
    Anonymous
    11/26/07 1:55 PM

    Anonymous:
    The entire brick-floored space shaded with orange trees beside the Varsity Theatre–a calm oasis in midst of the increasingly money-frantic business district–includes the Tank House, which was not built as a recepticle for human waste, but, rather, as a water storage tank, hence the name “Tank House.”
    The “Tank House” stood origially on the grounds of the the Mansion, about where the Mansion Shopping Center now stands; its architecture, in miniature, with its planks and coloring, humbly echoes the grander, more elegant structure.

  55. Anonymous

    The Mansion is wonderful piece of historical architecture, a beautiful structure and a useful addition to the economic life of modern downtown Davis. The Tankhouse has NONE of these attributes. Outhouses are a historically endangered species but hardly worth the cost of salvaging reusable material to reconstruct a la Disneyland.
    Anonymous
    11/26/07 1:55 PM

    Anonymous:
    The entire brick-floored space shaded with orange trees beside the Varsity Theatre–a calm oasis in midst of the increasingly money-frantic business district–includes the Tank House, which was not built as a recepticle for human waste, but, rather, as a water storage tank, hence the name “Tank House.”
    The “Tank House” stood origially on the grounds of the the Mansion, about where the Mansion Shopping Center now stands; its architecture, in miniature, with its planks and coloring, humbly echoes the grander, more elegant structure.

  56. Anonymous

    The Mansion is wonderful piece of historical architecture, a beautiful structure and a useful addition to the economic life of modern downtown Davis. The Tankhouse has NONE of these attributes. Outhouses are a historically endangered species but hardly worth the cost of salvaging reusable material to reconstruct a la Disneyland.
    Anonymous
    11/26/07 1:55 PM

    Anonymous:
    The entire brick-floored space shaded with orange trees beside the Varsity Theatre–a calm oasis in midst of the increasingly money-frantic business district–includes the Tank House, which was not built as a recepticle for human waste, but, rather, as a water storage tank, hence the name “Tank House.”
    The “Tank House” stood origially on the grounds of the the Mansion, about where the Mansion Shopping Center now stands; its architecture, in miniature, with its planks and coloring, humbly echoes the grander, more elegant structure.

  57. View from Darkside

    Excuse me, but there are more important things to consider in this city than the preservation of an ugly building that is a drain on the budget.

    $180,000 to refurbish it? Excuse me Rich, but I could round up a couple of friends and do it for 1/8 that much or less.

    Or do what someone else suggested: auction off the pieces and use the money to rebuild it.

  58. View from Darkside

    Excuse me, but there are more important things to consider in this city than the preservation of an ugly building that is a drain on the budget.

    $180,000 to refurbish it? Excuse me Rich, but I could round up a couple of friends and do it for 1/8 that much or less.

    Or do what someone else suggested: auction off the pieces and use the money to rebuild it.

  59. View from Darkside

    Excuse me, but there are more important things to consider in this city than the preservation of an ugly building that is a drain on the budget.

    $180,000 to refurbish it? Excuse me Rich, but I could round up a couple of friends and do it for 1/8 that much or less.

    Or do what someone else suggested: auction off the pieces and use the money to rebuild it.

  60. View from Darkside

    Excuse me, but there are more important things to consider in this city than the preservation of an ugly building that is a drain on the budget.

    $180,000 to refurbish it? Excuse me Rich, but I could round up a couple of friends and do it for 1/8 that much or less.

    Or do what someone else suggested: auction off the pieces and use the money to rebuild it.

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