There have been several misconceptions about this process. First, all the County Supervisors are doing is receiving the report, they are not approving the General Plan.
Second, just because it is in the report, does not mean it will be approved. In fact, staff has a list of recommendations, many of them opposing items in the general plan. (Click here for the Staff Report)
There are two key issues of concern to Davis residents. First there is a proposal by the committee for a development of 2100 units, for senior housing, over 20 years to the Northwest Quadrant of Davis. This is the area west of Highway 113 and North of Sutter Hospital.
A summary of the report reads:
“The urban limit lines for each of the existing cities are respected as providing for a fair share of future growth, with the exception of the “northwest” quadrant at the edge of Davis where the Planning Commission felt additional growth would be appropriate if it could be shown to be to the county’s benefit.”
There is a perception that this is going to be approved by the Board of Supervisors. This seems highly unlikely.
The staff report strongly recommends against this development:
“For the most part the staff is in agreement with and fully supports the recommendations of the Planning Commission. However, the staff has made a few supplemental land use recommendations that differ from the actions of the Planning Commission.
On the residential side, staff is recommending against the addition of 2,100 residences within the unincorporated area near the northwest quadrant of Davis, as these units are not likely to have fiscal benefits for the county that would justify the growth given concerns regarding inconsistency with long-standing growth policies, provision of infrastructure and services, and effects on the city/county pass-through agreement.”
I spoke to Supervisor Matt Rexroad on the record about this. He also seemed to oppose this sort of development imposed on cities.
“My view of the [proposal] for development in the northwest quadrant of Davis is that for that area to be developed it belongs in the Davis General Plan — not the Yolo County General Plan. The people of Davis need to work that out. If they vote to do something there and the City Council wants to annex the land — then I will work toward a deal for annexation.”
While I often disagree with Mr. Rexroad, on this issue, we are in full agreement. It appears that the concern that this will be a done deal is misplaced given the staff report and probable opposition from key supervisors.
The other issue is a change in the pass-through agreements between the city and county. These control how much money the county receives from a given development. They also allow cities to determine where growth on their periphery occurs.
Staff recommends that both the Northwest Quadrant and Covell Village areas be jointly studied by the City and the County. This strongly suggests that in fact, the County has no intention of imposing growth on city’s peripheries without the consent of the cities themselves. This is an issue at the heart of Measure J and the fight against Measure X.
Supervisor Rexroad seems in support of this notion as well:
“The current pass through agreements between the cities and the counties are what has protected large tracts of agriculture land in Yolo County for decades.”
In summary, while it was concerning to hear that the County General Plan Committee had approved a recommendation for a large development in the Northwest Quadrant of Davis, it seems that fears that this was imminent or a done deal are misplaced. The process will continue for most of the calendar year of 2007 and only then will recommendations be approved. With the staff report on our side, it seems likely that these proposals will not see the light of day. That does not however mean we should not follow this process very closely over the next few months to monitor what our county government is doing.
—Doug Paul Davis reporting