The County General Plan update process is finally starting to generate needed attention (and frankly needed alarm by progressives and environmentalists and even some non-progressives and non-environmentalists who seek to protect pass through agreements and agricultural land).
The stakes here are high as the proposal for a 2,100 unit development in the northwest quadrant would be tantamount to circumventing the City of Davis’ voter-approved Measure J which allows the voters to determine and manage peripheral growth. This project is larger than Covell Village by 15%. Many in this city support the idea of senior housing and might be willing to look at renegotiating the pass-through agreement between the City and County, especially in light of the amount of services provided by the county to city residents and the lack of revenue to the county. However, I think most in Davis would be strongly opposed to any process that circumvents Measure J and the city’s elected governance.
Further as we look at the graphic, it is questionable how much value a senior development would be in the northwest quadrant, as it clearly illustrates the level of isolation that development would have in its distance from downtown and other core areas of Davis.
There have been several very important letters to the Davis Enterprise warning us about the dangers that the proposals contained in the proposed Yolo County General Plan present to our established principles of land use.
Marianne Muller Ferrendelli of Woodland writes:
Yolo County teeters on the edge of a precipice. Our agricultural heritage is being threatened, and an agrarian community is facing extinction.
Another proposal for a large-scale housing development leapfrogging onto agricultural lands is in the works; another proposal that will change the face of Yolo County, one that will make us eerily resemble the communities of Elk Grove, Galt, Roseville and Lodi. These communities once made up of open space and family farms now are crowded and facing crime and congestion problems.
Developers Lux Taylor and Mike Guttridge, well known for their shopping centers and massive housing developments throughout the once farm-covered regions surrounding Sacramento, have submitted pre-applications for a 1,200-home subdivision in the rolling vineyards of the Dunnigan Hills. [Their political consultant and chief spokesperson is former Yolo County Supervisor Betsy Marchand]
The narrow county roads and bridges surrounding their proposed plan will be overloaded with the commuter traffic such a development will require. Imagine the number of cars forced to use the three narrow roads leading to the development, combined with the tractors, harvesters and trucks hauling livestock, grain and tomatoes from the farms and ranches bordering their new community, larger in scale than Wildwings, the largest leap into previously rural lands in our county’s history.
Where are the environmental impact reports? How can the water demands be met, and how will the underwater aquifers handle such massive demands? How will the lives of farmers and ranchers in the region be affected? How will sewage and waste be safely handled in an area known to flood during our rainy seasons; are we to hope that farms downstream remain safe from possible contamination? What will be the impact to plant and animal habitats?
County residents, please be aware that the plans are in the works. Our county supervisors will be considering updating Yolo County’s General Plan to allow this development to proceed. Changing the county General Plan and allowing a development of this magnitude in an area so highly valued for agricultural production will open the door to development after development. Our county’s growth must be located in areas with existing infrastructure, away from prime agricultural land.
If this is the type of proposal to which you are opposed, please take a stand. Supervisor Duane Chamberlain and the Yolo County Farm Bureau have announced strong opposition to this development. Let your voice be heard. Contact your supervisor. Make a difference for our county.
David Suder of Davis wrote:
In December, the Yolo County Planning Commission voted to recommend a Preferred Land Use Alternative for the county’s general plan.
residents would be well advised to review the document (available at the url given below). Davis
The recommended alternative includes “city edge” residential development in only one community for the entire 25-year planning period. That community is
. The recommendation reads “Add 2,100 new units in the northwest quadrant, generally located west of State Route 113 and north of Davis Covell Boulevard.” For all other cities in , the recommendation is “no new development.” Yolo County
This recommendation, if adopted, would represent a significant change in direction for
planning. The December 19 Planning Commission Staff report mentions several residential development proposals “located at the edge of Davis or Woodland, which would place them into the city-edge growth model – a model the County has in the past generally sought to avoid.” Yolo County
City planning should be done at the city level.
has just begun the process of updating the Housing Element of our general plan, a process that is expected to take more than a year. That is how our city should decide how, when and where we should grow. Davis
The Yolo Planning Commission’s recommendation for “city edge” residential growth in one specific area of
– and nowhere else in the county – seems inappropriate. Would-be northwest quadrant developers (or their representatives) will undoubtedly cite the Planning Commission’s recommendation as they attempt to influence the Davis general plan update process. Davis
The Yolo County Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing on the Planning Commission’s recommendation on Tuesday, February 6 at 1:30. One would hope that we can count on Mariko Yamada and Helen Thomson to vigorously oppose the adoption of any County plan or policy that would attempt to direct the type and pattern of growth in or around
The Planning Commission’s recommendation is available here.
Gill owns property on the southwest and southeast quadrants of the intersection of State Route 113 and County Road 25A, about one mile south of Woodland.
In a letter to the Yolo County Board of Supervisors, Gill wrote that he is interested in building parcels on the land designated for commercial, as well as high density housing use.
“My intention for the development is to construct several ‘Big Box’ stores, a shopping center, restaurants, a gas station and high density housing,” he wrote.
—Doug Paul Davis reporting