Staff Report Recommends Against Davis Development Proposed by County General Plan Committee

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The County is doing its update to the County General Plan. Only in the last week has there begun to be attention to this very important process. Talking to a few of the County Supervisors they have expressed alarm and dismay that the public is not more involved in this process. However, Tuesday February 6, 2007 the County Supervisors will meet and receive the General Plan recommendations from their steering committee (much as in a year and a half, the Davis City Council will likewise receive their recommendations).

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

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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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76 thoughts on “Staff Report Recommends Against Davis Development Proposed by County General Plan Committee”

  1. davisite

    Will Steve Souza “sign in blood” that he will defend Davis’ right to control development on its periphery if he decides to run for Supervisor? Will even that be enough given his record on the Davis city council?

  2. davisite

    Will Steve Souza “sign in blood” that he will defend Davis’ right to control development on its periphery if he decides to run for Supervisor? Will even that be enough given his record on the Davis city council?

  3. davisite

    Will Steve Souza “sign in blood” that he will defend Davis’ right to control development on its periphery if he decides to run for Supervisor? Will even that be enough given his record on the Davis city council?

  4. davisite

    Will Steve Souza “sign in blood” that he will defend Davis’ right to control development on its periphery if he decides to run for Supervisor? Will even that be enough given his record on the Davis city council?

  5. Rich Rifkin

    “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.”

    I’d never heard of this senior housing proposal, before.

    One thing I do know about that land around the hospital is that the Binning family, long-time owners of that farmland, gave up on their idea — to sell it off in 20 acre parcels for ranchettes — and sold the whole property to a Southern California real estate company a couple of years ago. (I don’t think that has ever been reported in The Enterprise.) The new owners have subsequently submitted a proposal for development to the City of Davis, and I suppose it is “in the process.”

    While it makes sense to me to develop “senior housing” near the hospital and other medical facilities that seniors might need, I feel the same way about this idea as I do about the proposed Wild Horse Ranch: it’s unnecessary sprawl at this point. Why should we approve development that expands outwardly the urban footprint of Davis before we permit development on the Covell Village property, which is bounded by urban development on three sides, and on the fourth would not move our northern border beyond where it currently is?

    One other thing must be said about the county’s ability to prevent or push development on our periphery: it all depends on the zoning of the land. To my knowledge, the county land around Sutter Hospital is zoned for agriculture (probably A-1). It cannot be developed unless the Board of Supervisors changes its zoning to residential or commercial or industrial, etc., or the City of Davis annexes it (which takes a Measure J vote) and the county and city agree to that.

    However, that is not the case with the Covell Village property. It is not zoned for agriculture. It may appear bucolic, but it is zoned for light industry. That means that no one in Davis or in Yolo County could stop it, if the owners of the land wanted to build a major industrial park on that entire site. There would be no Measure J vote, no Board of Supervisors vote, no vote of any kind. All the developers would have to do is to negotiate some kind of an agreement for water and sewage and perhaps some infrastructural upgrades, such as stop lights, sidewalks, etc.

    For that reason, it is a good idea for the City of Davis to re-start the planning process for a Covell Village-like development there, rather than just waiting until a massive and burdensome industrial park is built there.

  6. Rich Rifkin

    “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.”

    I’d never heard of this senior housing proposal, before.

    One thing I do know about that land around the hospital is that the Binning family, long-time owners of that farmland, gave up on their idea — to sell it off in 20 acre parcels for ranchettes — and sold the whole property to a Southern California real estate company a couple of years ago. (I don’t think that has ever been reported in The Enterprise.) The new owners have subsequently submitted a proposal for development to the City of Davis, and I suppose it is “in the process.”

    While it makes sense to me to develop “senior housing” near the hospital and other medical facilities that seniors might need, I feel the same way about this idea as I do about the proposed Wild Horse Ranch: it’s unnecessary sprawl at this point. Why should we approve development that expands outwardly the urban footprint of Davis before we permit development on the Covell Village property, which is bounded by urban development on three sides, and on the fourth would not move our northern border beyond where it currently is?

    One other thing must be said about the county’s ability to prevent or push development on our periphery: it all depends on the zoning of the land. To my knowledge, the county land around Sutter Hospital is zoned for agriculture (probably A-1). It cannot be developed unless the Board of Supervisors changes its zoning to residential or commercial or industrial, etc., or the City of Davis annexes it (which takes a Measure J vote) and the county and city agree to that.

    However, that is not the case with the Covell Village property. It is not zoned for agriculture. It may appear bucolic, but it is zoned for light industry. That means that no one in Davis or in Yolo County could stop it, if the owners of the land wanted to build a major industrial park on that entire site. There would be no Measure J vote, no Board of Supervisors vote, no vote of any kind. All the developers would have to do is to negotiate some kind of an agreement for water and sewage and perhaps some infrastructural upgrades, such as stop lights, sidewalks, etc.

    For that reason, it is a good idea for the City of Davis to re-start the planning process for a Covell Village-like development there, rather than just waiting until a massive and burdensome industrial park is built there.

  7. Rich Rifkin

    “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.”

    I’d never heard of this senior housing proposal, before.

    One thing I do know about that land around the hospital is that the Binning family, long-time owners of that farmland, gave up on their idea — to sell it off in 20 acre parcels for ranchettes — and sold the whole property to a Southern California real estate company a couple of years ago. (I don’t think that has ever been reported in The Enterprise.) The new owners have subsequently submitted a proposal for development to the City of Davis, and I suppose it is “in the process.”

    While it makes sense to me to develop “senior housing” near the hospital and other medical facilities that seniors might need, I feel the same way about this idea as I do about the proposed Wild Horse Ranch: it’s unnecessary sprawl at this point. Why should we approve development that expands outwardly the urban footprint of Davis before we permit development on the Covell Village property, which is bounded by urban development on three sides, and on the fourth would not move our northern border beyond where it currently is?

    One other thing must be said about the county’s ability to prevent or push development on our periphery: it all depends on the zoning of the land. To my knowledge, the county land around Sutter Hospital is zoned for agriculture (probably A-1). It cannot be developed unless the Board of Supervisors changes its zoning to residential or commercial or industrial, etc., or the City of Davis annexes it (which takes a Measure J vote) and the county and city agree to that.

    However, that is not the case with the Covell Village property. It is not zoned for agriculture. It may appear bucolic, but it is zoned for light industry. That means that no one in Davis or in Yolo County could stop it, if the owners of the land wanted to build a major industrial park on that entire site. There would be no Measure J vote, no Board of Supervisors vote, no vote of any kind. All the developers would have to do is to negotiate some kind of an agreement for water and sewage and perhaps some infrastructural upgrades, such as stop lights, sidewalks, etc.

    For that reason, it is a good idea for the City of Davis to re-start the planning process for a Covell Village-like development there, rather than just waiting until a massive and burdensome industrial park is built there.

  8. Rich Rifkin

    “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.”

    I’d never heard of this senior housing proposal, before.

    One thing I do know about that land around the hospital is that the Binning family, long-time owners of that farmland, gave up on their idea — to sell it off in 20 acre parcels for ranchettes — and sold the whole property to a Southern California real estate company a couple of years ago. (I don’t think that has ever been reported in The Enterprise.) The new owners have subsequently submitted a proposal for development to the City of Davis, and I suppose it is “in the process.”

    While it makes sense to me to develop “senior housing” near the hospital and other medical facilities that seniors might need, I feel the same way about this idea as I do about the proposed Wild Horse Ranch: it’s unnecessary sprawl at this point. Why should we approve development that expands outwardly the urban footprint of Davis before we permit development on the Covell Village property, which is bounded by urban development on three sides, and on the fourth would not move our northern border beyond where it currently is?

    One other thing must be said about the county’s ability to prevent or push development on our periphery: it all depends on the zoning of the land. To my knowledge, the county land around Sutter Hospital is zoned for agriculture (probably A-1). It cannot be developed unless the Board of Supervisors changes its zoning to residential or commercial or industrial, etc., or the City of Davis annexes it (which takes a Measure J vote) and the county and city agree to that.

    However, that is not the case with the Covell Village property. It is not zoned for agriculture. It may appear bucolic, but it is zoned for light industry. That means that no one in Davis or in Yolo County could stop it, if the owners of the land wanted to build a major industrial park on that entire site. There would be no Measure J vote, no Board of Supervisors vote, no vote of any kind. All the developers would have to do is to negotiate some kind of an agreement for water and sewage and perhaps some infrastructural upgrades, such as stop lights, sidewalks, etc.

    For that reason, it is a good idea for the City of Davis to re-start the planning process for a Covell Village-like development there, rather than just waiting until a massive and burdensome industrial park is built there.

  9. Doug Paul Davis

    Rich:

    It is more than just a matter of the zoning of the land. There are pass through agreements. There are also services that a development would need and that if the city council were opposed to that development they could deny that would make the development problematic.

  10. Doug Paul Davis

    Rich:

    It is more than just a matter of the zoning of the land. There are pass through agreements. There are also services that a development would need and that if the city council were opposed to that development they could deny that would make the development problematic.

  11. Doug Paul Davis

    Rich:

    It is more than just a matter of the zoning of the land. There are pass through agreements. There are also services that a development would need and that if the city council were opposed to that development they could deny that would make the development problematic.

  12. Doug Paul Davis

    Rich:

    It is more than just a matter of the zoning of the land. There are pass through agreements. There are also services that a development would need and that if the city council were opposed to that development they could deny that would make the development problematic.

  13. Rich Rifkin

    David,

    If the city of Davis and the owners of that land could not reach an agreement — on the hypothetical development I am referring to — that would not stop the development. A court would simpy serve as a mediator or final arbiter. In other words, the city and the county would have no way to stop (or really even slow down for long) such a development.

    As long as the owners of that land believe that there is a good chance that the voters of Davis will allow a Covell Village-like housing development to be built there, they will hold off on a light industrial park. However, I think the overwhelming vote against that (60:40) suggests that a ‘good chance’ is very unlikely.

  14. Rich Rifkin

    David,

    If the city of Davis and the owners of that land could not reach an agreement — on the hypothetical development I am referring to — that would not stop the development. A court would simpy serve as a mediator or final arbiter. In other words, the city and the county would have no way to stop (or really even slow down for long) such a development.

    As long as the owners of that land believe that there is a good chance that the voters of Davis will allow a Covell Village-like housing development to be built there, they will hold off on a light industrial park. However, I think the overwhelming vote against that (60:40) suggests that a ‘good chance’ is very unlikely.

  15. Rich Rifkin

    David,

    If the city of Davis and the owners of that land could not reach an agreement — on the hypothetical development I am referring to — that would not stop the development. A court would simpy serve as a mediator or final arbiter. In other words, the city and the county would have no way to stop (or really even slow down for long) such a development.

    As long as the owners of that land believe that there is a good chance that the voters of Davis will allow a Covell Village-like housing development to be built there, they will hold off on a light industrial park. However, I think the overwhelming vote against that (60:40) suggests that a ‘good chance’ is very unlikely.

  16. Rich Rifkin

    David,

    If the city of Davis and the owners of that land could not reach an agreement — on the hypothetical development I am referring to — that would not stop the development. A court would simpy serve as a mediator or final arbiter. In other words, the city and the county would have no way to stop (or really even slow down for long) such a development.

    As long as the owners of that land believe that there is a good chance that the voters of Davis will allow a Covell Village-like housing development to be built there, they will hold off on a light industrial park. However, I think the overwhelming vote against that (60:40) suggests that a ‘good chance’ is very unlikely.

  17. Rich Rifkin

    Keep in mind: once land is zoned for a certain usage, the owners of that land have constitutionally guaranteed rights to develop the land per the zoning (or to be fully compensated for being denied). That land is zoned for light industry. The local governments thus cannot prevent the owners from maximizing the value on their land as a light industrial park.

    When municipalities have tried to do that in the past — or even tried to change the zoning to a more restrictive covenant — the courts have ruled such actions a Taking, a violation of the owner’s 5th Amendment rights. So unless the city of Davis is prepared to pay millions of dollars in compensation, that land will be developed to its highest economical value.

  18. Rich Rifkin

    Keep in mind: once land is zoned for a certain usage, the owners of that land have constitutionally guaranteed rights to develop the land per the zoning (or to be fully compensated for being denied). That land is zoned for light industry. The local governments thus cannot prevent the owners from maximizing the value on their land as a light industrial park.

    When municipalities have tried to do that in the past — or even tried to change the zoning to a more restrictive covenant — the courts have ruled such actions a Taking, a violation of the owner’s 5th Amendment rights. So unless the city of Davis is prepared to pay millions of dollars in compensation, that land will be developed to its highest economical value.

  19. Rich Rifkin

    Keep in mind: once land is zoned for a certain usage, the owners of that land have constitutionally guaranteed rights to develop the land per the zoning (or to be fully compensated for being denied). That land is zoned for light industry. The local governments thus cannot prevent the owners from maximizing the value on their land as a light industrial park.

    When municipalities have tried to do that in the past — or even tried to change the zoning to a more restrictive covenant — the courts have ruled such actions a Taking, a violation of the owner’s 5th Amendment rights. So unless the city of Davis is prepared to pay millions of dollars in compensation, that land will be developed to its highest economical value.

  20. Rich Rifkin

    Keep in mind: once land is zoned for a certain usage, the owners of that land have constitutionally guaranteed rights to develop the land per the zoning (or to be fully compensated for being denied). That land is zoned for light industry. The local governments thus cannot prevent the owners from maximizing the value on their land as a light industrial park.

    When municipalities have tried to do that in the past — or even tried to change the zoning to a more restrictive covenant — the courts have ruled such actions a Taking, a violation of the owner’s 5th Amendment rights. So unless the city of Davis is prepared to pay millions of dollars in compensation, that land will be developed to its highest economical value.

  21. davisite

    We all knew that the citizen’s overwhelming No vote on Covell Village was just round one. There are multi,multi millions of developer profits at stake here and the pressures will be unceasing. Yes.. a reasonably small residential development abutting Covell Blvd with close attention to its traffic impacts as the massive Woodland housing developments up the road on Poleline come on-line and adds their traffic as well as proper timing of the development that fits in with the growth desires of the Davis voters is well within reason for this property. A
    showcase urban farm operation,protected from future development pressures, for the rest of the property north would add greatly to the probablility of a “go” measure J vote.

  22. davisite

    We all knew that the citizen’s overwhelming No vote on Covell Village was just round one. There are multi,multi millions of developer profits at stake here and the pressures will be unceasing. Yes.. a reasonably small residential development abutting Covell Blvd with close attention to its traffic impacts as the massive Woodland housing developments up the road on Poleline come on-line and adds their traffic as well as proper timing of the development that fits in with the growth desires of the Davis voters is well within reason for this property. A
    showcase urban farm operation,protected from future development pressures, for the rest of the property north would add greatly to the probablility of a “go” measure J vote.

  23. davisite

    We all knew that the citizen’s overwhelming No vote on Covell Village was just round one. There are multi,multi millions of developer profits at stake here and the pressures will be unceasing. Yes.. a reasonably small residential development abutting Covell Blvd with close attention to its traffic impacts as the massive Woodland housing developments up the road on Poleline come on-line and adds their traffic as well as proper timing of the development that fits in with the growth desires of the Davis voters is well within reason for this property. A
    showcase urban farm operation,protected from future development pressures, for the rest of the property north would add greatly to the probablility of a “go” measure J vote.

  24. davisite

    We all knew that the citizen’s overwhelming No vote on Covell Village was just round one. There are multi,multi millions of developer profits at stake here and the pressures will be unceasing. Yes.. a reasonably small residential development abutting Covell Blvd with close attention to its traffic impacts as the massive Woodland housing developments up the road on Poleline come on-line and adds their traffic as well as proper timing of the development that fits in with the growth desires of the Davis voters is well within reason for this property. A
    showcase urban farm operation,protected from future development pressures, for the rest of the property north would add greatly to the probablility of a “go” measure J vote.

  25. Anonymous

    I agree that it now appears unlikely that the Supervisors will adopt the Planning Commission’s preferred Land Use Alternative as proposed. Apparently, they are unlikely to take any action at the Feb. 6 hearing. However, this may be little consolation; the situation may be worse than before the release of the staff report.

    The danger of any proposed Preferred Land Use Alternative that treats specific parcels of land around Davis differently – whether as proposed by the Yolo Planning Commission or as modified by the staff recommendations – is that it represents an inappropriate intrusion of the County government into the planning activities of the cities of Yolo County.

    As reported in the Enterprise, the Vanguard and elsewhere, the City of Davis has recently begun the Housing Element update process. The design of that process is far from perfect, but at least it is being done at the city level. It will undoubtedly take well over a year to complete the Housing Element, and I suspect there will be no shortage of public debate over it.

    The adoption of any county land use policy that expresses a preference for development of specific areas adjacent to the Davis city boundary will necessarily corrupt our local planning process. Make no mistake – both the Planning Commission’s recommendation and the staff report express such a preference. The Commission’s recommendation was for development of the northwest quadrant only, while the staff recommendation recommends “studying” the development of both the northwest quadrant and the Covell Village site. Implicit in the recommendation to study only these two sites is the unstated opinion that these two sites are the best choices for peripheral development of Davis. It also clearly carries the message that Davis should grow on our periphery, but other Yolo County cities should not.

    One would hope that the Housing Element committee, and ultimately the City Council, would begin their deliberations over how, when and where Davis should grow with a “clean slate.” Who knows what the city might come up with if all options were on the table? That will not be the case, however, if the County expresses preference for specific peripheral development areas. What we will now hear from those favoring development of the northwest quadrant or the Covell Village site is “the Housing Element update should be ‘consistent’ with the County’s recommendations.”

    City planning should be done by cities, not the county or SACOG. There are plenty of bright minds in Davis; we are fully capable of plotting our own future. Unless the Supervisors strongly repudiate the idea of targeting specific areas around Davis for development or “study,” the possibility of at least starting our housing element update process with a clean slate will be gone.

    Pay close attention to what our City Council members say and do about this situation. Their words and actions – or lack thereof – will tell us much about where there allegiances lie.

    David Suder

  26. Anonymous

    I agree that it now appears unlikely that the Supervisors will adopt the Planning Commission’s preferred Land Use Alternative as proposed. Apparently, they are unlikely to take any action at the Feb. 6 hearing. However, this may be little consolation; the situation may be worse than before the release of the staff report.

    The danger of any proposed Preferred Land Use Alternative that treats specific parcels of land around Davis differently – whether as proposed by the Yolo Planning Commission or as modified by the staff recommendations – is that it represents an inappropriate intrusion of the County government into the planning activities of the cities of Yolo County.

    As reported in the Enterprise, the Vanguard and elsewhere, the City of Davis has recently begun the Housing Element update process. The design of that process is far from perfect, but at least it is being done at the city level. It will undoubtedly take well over a year to complete the Housing Element, and I suspect there will be no shortage of public debate over it.

    The adoption of any county land use policy that expresses a preference for development of specific areas adjacent to the Davis city boundary will necessarily corrupt our local planning process. Make no mistake – both the Planning Commission’s recommendation and the staff report express such a preference. The Commission’s recommendation was for development of the northwest quadrant only, while the staff recommendation recommends “studying” the development of both the northwest quadrant and the Covell Village site. Implicit in the recommendation to study only these two sites is the unstated opinion that these two sites are the best choices for peripheral development of Davis. It also clearly carries the message that Davis should grow on our periphery, but other Yolo County cities should not.

    One would hope that the Housing Element committee, and ultimately the City Council, would begin their deliberations over how, when and where Davis should grow with a “clean slate.” Who knows what the city might come up with if all options were on the table? That will not be the case, however, if the County expresses preference for specific peripheral development areas. What we will now hear from those favoring development of the northwest quadrant or the Covell Village site is “the Housing Element update should be ‘consistent’ with the County’s recommendations.”

    City planning should be done by cities, not the county or SACOG. There are plenty of bright minds in Davis; we are fully capable of plotting our own future. Unless the Supervisors strongly repudiate the idea of targeting specific areas around Davis for development or “study,” the possibility of at least starting our housing element update process with a clean slate will be gone.

    Pay close attention to what our City Council members say and do about this situation. Their words and actions – or lack thereof – will tell us much about where there allegiances lie.

    David Suder

  27. Anonymous

    I agree that it now appears unlikely that the Supervisors will adopt the Planning Commission’s preferred Land Use Alternative as proposed. Apparently, they are unlikely to take any action at the Feb. 6 hearing. However, this may be little consolation; the situation may be worse than before the release of the staff report.

    The danger of any proposed Preferred Land Use Alternative that treats specific parcels of land around Davis differently – whether as proposed by the Yolo Planning Commission or as modified by the staff recommendations – is that it represents an inappropriate intrusion of the County government into the planning activities of the cities of Yolo County.

    As reported in the Enterprise, the Vanguard and elsewhere, the City of Davis has recently begun the Housing Element update process. The design of that process is far from perfect, but at least it is being done at the city level. It will undoubtedly take well over a year to complete the Housing Element, and I suspect there will be no shortage of public debate over it.

    The adoption of any county land use policy that expresses a preference for development of specific areas adjacent to the Davis city boundary will necessarily corrupt our local planning process. Make no mistake – both the Planning Commission’s recommendation and the staff report express such a preference. The Commission’s recommendation was for development of the northwest quadrant only, while the staff recommendation recommends “studying” the development of both the northwest quadrant and the Covell Village site. Implicit in the recommendation to study only these two sites is the unstated opinion that these two sites are the best choices for peripheral development of Davis. It also clearly carries the message that Davis should grow on our periphery, but other Yolo County cities should not.

    One would hope that the Housing Element committee, and ultimately the City Council, would begin their deliberations over how, when and where Davis should grow with a “clean slate.” Who knows what the city might come up with if all options were on the table? That will not be the case, however, if the County expresses preference for specific peripheral development areas. What we will now hear from those favoring development of the northwest quadrant or the Covell Village site is “the Housing Element update should be ‘consistent’ with the County’s recommendations.”

    City planning should be done by cities, not the county or SACOG. There are plenty of bright minds in Davis; we are fully capable of plotting our own future. Unless the Supervisors strongly repudiate the idea of targeting specific areas around Davis for development or “study,” the possibility of at least starting our housing element update process with a clean slate will be gone.

    Pay close attention to what our City Council members say and do about this situation. Their words and actions – or lack thereof – will tell us much about where there allegiances lie.

    David Suder

  28. Anonymous

    I agree that it now appears unlikely that the Supervisors will adopt the Planning Commission’s preferred Land Use Alternative as proposed. Apparently, they are unlikely to take any action at the Feb. 6 hearing. However, this may be little consolation; the situation may be worse than before the release of the staff report.

    The danger of any proposed Preferred Land Use Alternative that treats specific parcels of land around Davis differently – whether as proposed by the Yolo Planning Commission or as modified by the staff recommendations – is that it represents an inappropriate intrusion of the County government into the planning activities of the cities of Yolo County.

    As reported in the Enterprise, the Vanguard and elsewhere, the City of Davis has recently begun the Housing Element update process. The design of that process is far from perfect, but at least it is being done at the city level. It will undoubtedly take well over a year to complete the Housing Element, and I suspect there will be no shortage of public debate over it.

    The adoption of any county land use policy that expresses a preference for development of specific areas adjacent to the Davis city boundary will necessarily corrupt our local planning process. Make no mistake – both the Planning Commission’s recommendation and the staff report express such a preference. The Commission’s recommendation was for development of the northwest quadrant only, while the staff recommendation recommends “studying” the development of both the northwest quadrant and the Covell Village site. Implicit in the recommendation to study only these two sites is the unstated opinion that these two sites are the best choices for peripheral development of Davis. It also clearly carries the message that Davis should grow on our periphery, but other Yolo County cities should not.

    One would hope that the Housing Element committee, and ultimately the City Council, would begin their deliberations over how, when and where Davis should grow with a “clean slate.” Who knows what the city might come up with if all options were on the table? That will not be the case, however, if the County expresses preference for specific peripheral development areas. What we will now hear from those favoring development of the northwest quadrant or the Covell Village site is “the Housing Element update should be ‘consistent’ with the County’s recommendations.”

    City planning should be done by cities, not the county or SACOG. There are plenty of bright minds in Davis; we are fully capable of plotting our own future. Unless the Supervisors strongly repudiate the idea of targeting specific areas around Davis for development or “study,” the possibility of at least starting our housing element update process with a clean slate will be gone.

    Pay close attention to what our City Council members say and do about this situation. Their words and actions – or lack thereof – will tell us much about where there allegiances lie.

    David Suder

  29. Anonymous

    Of course, I meant “Their words and actions – or lack thereof – will tell us much about where their allegiances lie.”

    I saw that typo right after I hit “Publish.”

    David Suder

  30. Anonymous

    Of course, I meant “Their words and actions – or lack thereof – will tell us much about where their allegiances lie.”

    I saw that typo right after I hit “Publish.”

    David Suder

  31. Anonymous

    Of course, I meant “Their words and actions – or lack thereof – will tell us much about where their allegiances lie.”

    I saw that typo right after I hit “Publish.”

    David Suder

  32. Anonymous

    Of course, I meant “Their words and actions – or lack thereof – will tell us much about where their allegiances lie.”

    I saw that typo right after I hit “Publish.”

    David Suder

  33. Rich Rifkin

    “…a reasonably small residential development abutting Covell Blvd … fits in with the growth desires of the Davis voters is well within reason for this property.”

    This might be proposed, I suppose, if the land owners believed that the voters of Davis would approve it. (I doubt it, just due to the high costs of all new EIR’s, etc. and the price of running an election campaign.) But it doesn’t change the basic facts about the entirety of that land: it can be developed without any vote by the people of Davis or without any say-so of our local governments.

    If Davisite is right, that the people would vote in favor of ‘a reasonably small residential development’ there, the land owners might propose one abutting Covell, then later a second one abutting that, and later a third abutting that, and finally a fourth abutting that.

    So what would we end up with if all of those were approved? We’d have at best Covell Village, or more likely, a much less attractive version of it without all of the benefits that CV afforded, because the economies of scale would have been removed to pay for those benefits, and doing it in four votes with four EIRs and four campaigns would be a huge waste of money.

    However, if at some point down the road the voters rejected one of the later phases, the land owners could still build an industrial park, there. Voting no on residential does not change that one iota.

  34. Rich Rifkin

    “…a reasonably small residential development abutting Covell Blvd … fits in with the growth desires of the Davis voters is well within reason for this property.”

    This might be proposed, I suppose, if the land owners believed that the voters of Davis would approve it. (I doubt it, just due to the high costs of all new EIR’s, etc. and the price of running an election campaign.) But it doesn’t change the basic facts about the entirety of that land: it can be developed without any vote by the people of Davis or without any say-so of our local governments.

    If Davisite is right, that the people would vote in favor of ‘a reasonably small residential development’ there, the land owners might propose one abutting Covell, then later a second one abutting that, and later a third abutting that, and finally a fourth abutting that.

    So what would we end up with if all of those were approved? We’d have at best Covell Village, or more likely, a much less attractive version of it without all of the benefits that CV afforded, because the economies of scale would have been removed to pay for those benefits, and doing it in four votes with four EIRs and four campaigns would be a huge waste of money.

    However, if at some point down the road the voters rejected one of the later phases, the land owners could still build an industrial park, there. Voting no on residential does not change that one iota.

  35. Rich Rifkin

    “…a reasonably small residential development abutting Covell Blvd … fits in with the growth desires of the Davis voters is well within reason for this property.”

    This might be proposed, I suppose, if the land owners believed that the voters of Davis would approve it. (I doubt it, just due to the high costs of all new EIR’s, etc. and the price of running an election campaign.) But it doesn’t change the basic facts about the entirety of that land: it can be developed without any vote by the people of Davis or without any say-so of our local governments.

    If Davisite is right, that the people would vote in favor of ‘a reasonably small residential development’ there, the land owners might propose one abutting Covell, then later a second one abutting that, and later a third abutting that, and finally a fourth abutting that.

    So what would we end up with if all of those were approved? We’d have at best Covell Village, or more likely, a much less attractive version of it without all of the benefits that CV afforded, because the economies of scale would have been removed to pay for those benefits, and doing it in four votes with four EIRs and four campaigns would be a huge waste of money.

    However, if at some point down the road the voters rejected one of the later phases, the land owners could still build an industrial park, there. Voting no on residential does not change that one iota.

  36. Rich Rifkin

    “…a reasonably small residential development abutting Covell Blvd … fits in with the growth desires of the Davis voters is well within reason for this property.”

    This might be proposed, I suppose, if the land owners believed that the voters of Davis would approve it. (I doubt it, just due to the high costs of all new EIR’s, etc. and the price of running an election campaign.) But it doesn’t change the basic facts about the entirety of that land: it can be developed without any vote by the people of Davis or without any say-so of our local governments.

    If Davisite is right, that the people would vote in favor of ‘a reasonably small residential development’ there, the land owners might propose one abutting Covell, then later a second one abutting that, and later a third abutting that, and finally a fourth abutting that.

    So what would we end up with if all of those were approved? We’d have at best Covell Village, or more likely, a much less attractive version of it without all of the benefits that CV afforded, because the economies of scale would have been removed to pay for those benefits, and doing it in four votes with four EIRs and four campaigns would be a huge waste of money.

    However, if at some point down the road the voters rejected one of the later phases, the land owners could still build an industrial park, there. Voting no on residential does not change that one iota.

  37. Davisite

    The owners of the Covell Village propery may very well decide that a small residential project in the future is more profitable than growing tomatoes there forever( which also brings in a pretty good annual profit, I would guess). The deal would have to have protections against creeping encroachment on the designated agricultural urban farm land. Promises by developers have to be taken with a large grain of salt.. you remember, when the promise was made to keep that beloved old, dead tree intact in a new Covell Village development park area(to assuage those “tree huggers”,I guess, was the Yes on X strategy).. the city considered it a hazard and would never have permitted it to stand anywhere other than in an empty field. It fell over of its own accord.

  38. Davisite

    The owners of the Covell Village propery may very well decide that a small residential project in the future is more profitable than growing tomatoes there forever( which also brings in a pretty good annual profit, I would guess). The deal would have to have protections against creeping encroachment on the designated agricultural urban farm land. Promises by developers have to be taken with a large grain of salt.. you remember, when the promise was made to keep that beloved old, dead tree intact in a new Covell Village development park area(to assuage those “tree huggers”,I guess, was the Yes on X strategy).. the city considered it a hazard and would never have permitted it to stand anywhere other than in an empty field. It fell over of its own accord.

  39. Davisite

    The owners of the Covell Village propery may very well decide that a small residential project in the future is more profitable than growing tomatoes there forever( which also brings in a pretty good annual profit, I would guess). The deal would have to have protections against creeping encroachment on the designated agricultural urban farm land. Promises by developers have to be taken with a large grain of salt.. you remember, when the promise was made to keep that beloved old, dead tree intact in a new Covell Village development park area(to assuage those “tree huggers”,I guess, was the Yes on X strategy).. the city considered it a hazard and would never have permitted it to stand anywhere other than in an empty field. It fell over of its own accord.

  40. Davisite

    The owners of the Covell Village propery may very well decide that a small residential project in the future is more profitable than growing tomatoes there forever( which also brings in a pretty good annual profit, I would guess). The deal would have to have protections against creeping encroachment on the designated agricultural urban farm land. Promises by developers have to be taken with a large grain of salt.. you remember, when the promise was made to keep that beloved old, dead tree intact in a new Covell Village development park area(to assuage those “tree huggers”,I guess, was the Yes on X strategy).. the city considered it a hazard and would never have permitted it to stand anywhere other than in an empty field. It fell over of its own accord.

  41. Anonymous

    Rich – I think you made your point, so please don’t keep hammering on it. Yes, they could try to build something else there. Or they could just propose building pieces of Covell Village over many years until they had the original plan in 20-30 years. Either way they would have to either get the County to give up their pass-through agreement and approve it as unincorporated development or get approval from the City/Davis citizens to develop the property. At least this is my understanding. I’m sure lawyers are researching ways around the constrictions to growth there. Each seems unlikely in the immediate future. There is no boogyman.

  42. Anonymous

    Rich – I think you made your point, so please don’t keep hammering on it. Yes, they could try to build something else there. Or they could just propose building pieces of Covell Village over many years until they had the original plan in 20-30 years. Either way they would have to either get the County to give up their pass-through agreement and approve it as unincorporated development or get approval from the City/Davis citizens to develop the property. At least this is my understanding. I’m sure lawyers are researching ways around the constrictions to growth there. Each seems unlikely in the immediate future. There is no boogyman.

  43. Anonymous

    Rich – I think you made your point, so please don’t keep hammering on it. Yes, they could try to build something else there. Or they could just propose building pieces of Covell Village over many years until they had the original plan in 20-30 years. Either way they would have to either get the County to give up their pass-through agreement and approve it as unincorporated development or get approval from the City/Davis citizens to develop the property. At least this is my understanding. I’m sure lawyers are researching ways around the constrictions to growth there. Each seems unlikely in the immediate future. There is no boogyman.

  44. Anonymous

    Rich – I think you made your point, so please don’t keep hammering on it. Yes, they could try to build something else there. Or they could just propose building pieces of Covell Village over many years until they had the original plan in 20-30 years. Either way they would have to either get the County to give up their pass-through agreement and approve it as unincorporated development or get approval from the City/Davis citizens to develop the property. At least this is my understanding. I’m sure lawyers are researching ways around the constrictions to growth there. Each seems unlikely in the immediate future. There is no boogyman.

  45. Rich Rifkin

    “Either way they would have to either get the County to give up their pass-through agreement and approve it as unincorporated development or get approval from the City/Davis citizens to develop the property.”

    That’s wrong. I’m sorry that you think I am “hammering” this point. But your post makes me realize that you misunderstand the P-T agreement.

    This is the relevant portion of the Pass-Through Agreement:

    “The Pass-Through Agreement between the City, the County, and the Redevelopment Agency, provides the Redevelopment Agency with the ability to review project proposals in the unincorporated area surrounding Davis.”

    Review, not veto.

    “The Pass-Through Agreement states that development proposals shall be referred to the City of Davis for its recommendation on whether the use should be approved or denied.”

    Recommendation, not veto.

    Therefore, if the owner of the Covell Village property wanted to build an industrial park on the CV site tomorrow, the City of Davis could review it, and could even recommend that the county deny it, but neither the city nor the county would not have any power to stop it, unless one of them wanted to compensate the land owners for their loss.

  46. Rich Rifkin

    “Either way they would have to either get the County to give up their pass-through agreement and approve it as unincorporated development or get approval from the City/Davis citizens to develop the property.”

    That’s wrong. I’m sorry that you think I am “hammering” this point. But your post makes me realize that you misunderstand the P-T agreement.

    This is the relevant portion of the Pass-Through Agreement:

    “The Pass-Through Agreement between the City, the County, and the Redevelopment Agency, provides the Redevelopment Agency with the ability to review project proposals in the unincorporated area surrounding Davis.”

    Review, not veto.

    “The Pass-Through Agreement states that development proposals shall be referred to the City of Davis for its recommendation on whether the use should be approved or denied.”

    Recommendation, not veto.

    Therefore, if the owner of the Covell Village property wanted to build an industrial park on the CV site tomorrow, the City of Davis could review it, and could even recommend that the county deny it, but neither the city nor the county would not have any power to stop it, unless one of them wanted to compensate the land owners for their loss.

  47. Rich Rifkin

    “Either way they would have to either get the County to give up their pass-through agreement and approve it as unincorporated development or get approval from the City/Davis citizens to develop the property.”

    That’s wrong. I’m sorry that you think I am “hammering” this point. But your post makes me realize that you misunderstand the P-T agreement.

    This is the relevant portion of the Pass-Through Agreement:

    “The Pass-Through Agreement between the City, the County, and the Redevelopment Agency, provides the Redevelopment Agency with the ability to review project proposals in the unincorporated area surrounding Davis.”

    Review, not veto.

    “The Pass-Through Agreement states that development proposals shall be referred to the City of Davis for its recommendation on whether the use should be approved or denied.”

    Recommendation, not veto.

    Therefore, if the owner of the Covell Village property wanted to build an industrial park on the CV site tomorrow, the City of Davis could review it, and could even recommend that the county deny it, but neither the city nor the county would not have any power to stop it, unless one of them wanted to compensate the land owners for their loss.

  48. Rich Rifkin

    “Either way they would have to either get the County to give up their pass-through agreement and approve it as unincorporated development or get approval from the City/Davis citizens to develop the property.”

    That’s wrong. I’m sorry that you think I am “hammering” this point. But your post makes me realize that you misunderstand the P-T agreement.

    This is the relevant portion of the Pass-Through Agreement:

    “The Pass-Through Agreement between the City, the County, and the Redevelopment Agency, provides the Redevelopment Agency with the ability to review project proposals in the unincorporated area surrounding Davis.”

    Review, not veto.

    “The Pass-Through Agreement states that development proposals shall be referred to the City of Davis for its recommendation on whether the use should be approved or denied.”

    Recommendation, not veto.

    Therefore, if the owner of the Covell Village property wanted to build an industrial park on the CV site tomorrow, the City of Davis could review it, and could even recommend that the county deny it, but neither the city nor the county would not have any power to stop it, unless one of them wanted to compensate the land owners for their loss.

  49. Rich Rifkin

    “… neither the city nor the county would not have any power to stop it…”

    Typo. Make that: “… neither the city nor the county would have any power to stop it…”

  50. Rich Rifkin

    “… neither the city nor the county would not have any power to stop it…”

    Typo. Make that: “… neither the city nor the county would have any power to stop it…”

  51. Rich Rifkin

    “… neither the city nor the county would not have any power to stop it…”

    Typo. Make that: “… neither the city nor the county would have any power to stop it…”

  52. Rich Rifkin

    “… neither the city nor the county would not have any power to stop it…”

    Typo. Make that: “… neither the city nor the county would have any power to stop it…”

  53. Doug Paul Davis

    Rich:

    At a practical level they would have the power to deny it because if a developer proceeded against city recommendation, city would be under no obligation to provide services to the development. I don’t think you are going to see that happen.

  54. Doug Paul Davis

    Rich:

    At a practical level they would have the power to deny it because if a developer proceeded against city recommendation, city would be under no obligation to provide services to the development. I don’t think you are going to see that happen.

  55. Doug Paul Davis

    Rich:

    At a practical level they would have the power to deny it because if a developer proceeded against city recommendation, city would be under no obligation to provide services to the development. I don’t think you are going to see that happen.

  56. Doug Paul Davis

    Rich:

    At a practical level they would have the power to deny it because if a developer proceeded against city recommendation, city would be under no obligation to provide services to the development. I don’t think you are going to see that happen.

  57. Rich Rifkin

    “At a practical level they would have the power to deny it…

    David,

    I would put it just the opposite: at a practical level, the city would be forced to accept it.

    The only real “services” that the developer would need from the city would be sewage and fire protection. The sheriffs would be responsible for law enforcement. What other services does the city provide? I’m pretty sure that there already is plenty of water on that site (from the county water project).

    Without the city’s cooperation, the developer could build some kind of large scale septic system, I suppose. I have no idea what they would do without city fire services. West Plainfield, maybe? Is there a county fire department that now covers that region? If the project is big enough, maybe they could provide fire protection in-house.

    But the city would have a great incentive to cooperate, because this kind of a development would impose a heavy impace on the city’s infrastructure and on the people of Davis: long-term traffic problems; street wear and tear; possibly noise and air pollution from the construction; etc.

  58. Rich Rifkin

    “At a practical level they would have the power to deny it…

    David,

    I would put it just the opposite: at a practical level, the city would be forced to accept it.

    The only real “services” that the developer would need from the city would be sewage and fire protection. The sheriffs would be responsible for law enforcement. What other services does the city provide? I’m pretty sure that there already is plenty of water on that site (from the county water project).

    Without the city’s cooperation, the developer could build some kind of large scale septic system, I suppose. I have no idea what they would do without city fire services. West Plainfield, maybe? Is there a county fire department that now covers that region? If the project is big enough, maybe they could provide fire protection in-house.

    But the city would have a great incentive to cooperate, because this kind of a development would impose a heavy impace on the city’s infrastructure and on the people of Davis: long-term traffic problems; street wear and tear; possibly noise and air pollution from the construction; etc.

  59. Rich Rifkin

    “At a practical level they would have the power to deny it…

    David,

    I would put it just the opposite: at a practical level, the city would be forced to accept it.

    The only real “services” that the developer would need from the city would be sewage and fire protection. The sheriffs would be responsible for law enforcement. What other services does the city provide? I’m pretty sure that there already is plenty of water on that site (from the county water project).

    Without the city’s cooperation, the developer could build some kind of large scale septic system, I suppose. I have no idea what they would do without city fire services. West Plainfield, maybe? Is there a county fire department that now covers that region? If the project is big enough, maybe they could provide fire protection in-house.

    But the city would have a great incentive to cooperate, because this kind of a development would impose a heavy impace on the city’s infrastructure and on the people of Davis: long-term traffic problems; street wear and tear; possibly noise and air pollution from the construction; etc.

  60. Rich Rifkin

    “At a practical level they would have the power to deny it…

    David,

    I would put it just the opposite: at a practical level, the city would be forced to accept it.

    The only real “services” that the developer would need from the city would be sewage and fire protection. The sheriffs would be responsible for law enforcement. What other services does the city provide? I’m pretty sure that there already is plenty of water on that site (from the county water project).

    Without the city’s cooperation, the developer could build some kind of large scale septic system, I suppose. I have no idea what they would do without city fire services. West Plainfield, maybe? Is there a county fire department that now covers that region? If the project is big enough, maybe they could provide fire protection in-house.

    But the city would have a great incentive to cooperate, because this kind of a development would impose a heavy impace on the city’s infrastructure and on the people of Davis: long-term traffic problems; street wear and tear; possibly noise and air pollution from the construction; etc.

  61. Davisite

    In addition to the issues that Doug raised,I believe that the city of Davis may also be able to demand “compensation” for the adverse effects on the city. This was successfully won by an East Bay community,not too long ago, for the adverse traffic and community safety effects(and increased costs) of an entertainment project that was adjacent to its borders. This is potentially yet another financial hurdle for such a project.

  62. Davisite

    In addition to the issues that Doug raised,I believe that the city of Davis may also be able to demand “compensation” for the adverse effects on the city. This was successfully won by an East Bay community,not too long ago, for the adverse traffic and community safety effects(and increased costs) of an entertainment project that was adjacent to its borders. This is potentially yet another financial hurdle for such a project.

  63. Davisite

    In addition to the issues that Doug raised,I believe that the city of Davis may also be able to demand “compensation” for the adverse effects on the city. This was successfully won by an East Bay community,not too long ago, for the adverse traffic and community safety effects(and increased costs) of an entertainment project that was adjacent to its borders. This is potentially yet another financial hurdle for such a project.

  64. Davisite

    In addition to the issues that Doug raised,I believe that the city of Davis may also be able to demand “compensation” for the adverse effects on the city. This was successfully won by an East Bay community,not too long ago, for the adverse traffic and community safety effects(and increased costs) of an entertainment project that was adjacent to its borders. This is potentially yet another financial hurdle for such a project.

  65. Rich Rifkin

    Davisite,

    That is probably right. However, if the city refused to negotiate in good faith with the land owners, its claim for compensation would be impaired, if not completely eviscerated.

  66. Rich Rifkin

    Davisite,

    That is probably right. However, if the city refused to negotiate in good faith with the land owners, its claim for compensation would be impaired, if not completely eviscerated.

  67. Rich Rifkin

    Davisite,

    That is probably right. However, if the city refused to negotiate in good faith with the land owners, its claim for compensation would be impaired, if not completely eviscerated.

  68. Rich Rifkin

    Davisite,

    That is probably right. However, if the city refused to negotiate in good faith with the land owners, its claim for compensation would be impaired, if not completely eviscerated.

  69. Davisite

    The question being discussed is the liklihood that a light industry project would be launched without the city of Davis’ concurrence. The list of potential infrastructure, fiscal,political and legal hurdles making this idea too risky is long enough to reassure us of its improbability.

  70. Davisite

    The question being discussed is the liklihood that a light industry project would be launched without the city of Davis’ concurrence. The list of potential infrastructure, fiscal,political and legal hurdles making this idea too risky is long enough to reassure us of its improbability.

  71. Davisite

    The question being discussed is the liklihood that a light industry project would be launched without the city of Davis’ concurrence. The list of potential infrastructure, fiscal,political and legal hurdles making this idea too risky is long enough to reassure us of its improbability.

  72. Davisite

    The question being discussed is the liklihood that a light industry project would be launched without the city of Davis’ concurrence. The list of potential infrastructure, fiscal,political and legal hurdles making this idea too risky is long enough to reassure us of its improbability.

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