Commentary: B Street and 3rd Project Moves on Despite Concerns

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The proposed B and 3rd Street Visioning Project moved forward with approval from the Planning Commission on Wednesday night. This despite a number of concerns raised by residents in the neighborhood, some of which were altered, and by residents in the community concerned that such a massive and drastic project would alter the character of Davis.

The most serious concerns raised by the Commission were those of traffic and parking. While I agree that both of these are serious concerns, I think this is the beginning and not the end of the potential problems. The intersection of 2nd and B is of particular concern. That intersection is a disaster waiting to happen, not just because of the congestion on B Street, but also because of the somewhat obstructed visibility that a driver coming out of 2nd Street faces. The traffic planner says that is a light waiting to happen but it has not reached the outflow capacity needed to trigger such a change. What I think the city is missing is that many people simply avoid that intersection because of the difficulty particularly of making a left turn. That turns much of the traffic onto A Street, a street that will become even more congested if the density of that neighborhood increases.

It became apparent on Wednesday night that many of the residents in that neighborhood understood full well that this project is going forward. As I told several people this week, there is simply no way that this city council majority is going to vote against a development project. Moreover, with Sue Greenwald conflicted off this vote, it is basically going to be a 3-1 vote for approval on the council when it gets that far.

As such, the residents of that community seemed to strategically aim for compromise rather than outright opposition. Residents came forward with a list of recommended changes in the project itself. Resident John Hall basically came forward and said that the residents do not oppose a reasonable plan, but the current proposal is over-the-top.

The Planning Commission did make one recommendation to alter the proposal and that is to limit the buildings to 38 feet or three stories, which is certainly better than four stories, but still seems a bit much. The density is such that the trees are going to end up going.

As I suggested in my story on Tuesday, this is one of my favorite neighborhoods in all of Davis. This neighborhood is what originally drew me to UC Davis. I liked the atmosphere of the college town and this is really the neighborhood that has the college town feel with the older bungalows with both students and city residents living together. You go to many college towns in this country and you will get the same feel.

Driving through the neighborhood yesterday, it is clear that some of the homes are in disrepair. It is also clear that space could be better utilized. The solution however is not to raze the entire area, building up high density three story townhouses and other units. A more modest project could obtain much of what both the planners and residents desire.

There is one crucial mistake made by both the city, the planners, and the developers, and that is the Environmental Impact Report. The EIR looks only at the impact of the development area itself. Now that limited scope has been defended somewhat by city staff. Defended with some concerns about it clearly mentioned. But the lack of study of the impact of this project on the adjacent neighborhoods and streets may end up delaying this project by a considerable amount of time should the residents or adjacent neighbors wish to challenge the EIR in court. From the discussions it was never clear the rationale of why the council insisted on such a limited EIR.

The big question I keep coming back to in all of this has to do with part of the proposed reason for the project to bring the university and the city together. The idea here is to produce a number of owner occupied units rather than the current arrangement which has many of the units rented to UC Davis students. As many who live in the area have suggested, they enjoy living near and among UC Davis students. They do not have problems with noise from those students.

How in the world do you bring the community together with the university if the first thing you are going to do is get rid of the students? All of those students who live in our community will be forced to live elsewhere.

The problem here is not the students. The problem is that a number of the units currently are in poor condition, especially on third street between B and University. A number of the apartment units north of Second Street are also poorly designed and could use to either be torn down and rebuilt or redone. The culprits in both cases are the owners of the homes and buildings who have allowed their property to deteriorate considerably.

However, I think the model for redevelopment should not be to raze the neighborhood, destroying both the character and the historic nature of the area. Rather they should look no further than the so-called Turtle House on 2nd Street between University and A Street. This property was purchase by former Davis City Councilmember Mike Harrington, who pumped money in to restore it. It is now a mixed use home, housing not only the owner, but also a number of students who rent several of the other units. The house is no longer blight, no longer looks like a good wind storm will knock it over. And yet the historic nature of the home and the character of it are intact. Guess what, it is “high density” and yet the character has been preserved.

If people want to know what type of infill I support, what type of redevelopment projects we should be undertaking, we should look no further than this property. We can remake that neighborhood along those lines, preserve the historic nature of the area, preserve the college town feel, continue with the mixed use of business, owner occupancy, and rental units. That’s the type of vision I would like to see. And that is the type of vision I simply do not see with this project.

It remains very clear that this project will go forward. It remains less clear as to whether the residents will tie things up in court with a challenge to the EIR. However, what is crystal clear to me is that this is the wrong type of project for this area.

—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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48 thoughts on “Commentary: B Street and 3rd Project Moves on Despite Concerns”

  1. Anonymous

    Watching the Planning Commission address this issue a few days ago was an “eye-opener”. Developers and their lackeys now make up a voting majority on the Planning Commission. The current Council Majority will approve this first step in this developer-profit-driven plan. The actual FUTURE construction projects still require individual Planning Commission and Council approval. Our 2008 Council elections will determine if this neighborhood will be restored as infill on a “case by case” basis or razed.

  2. Anonymous

    Watching the Planning Commission address this issue a few days ago was an “eye-opener”. Developers and their lackeys now make up a voting majority on the Planning Commission. The current Council Majority will approve this first step in this developer-profit-driven plan. The actual FUTURE construction projects still require individual Planning Commission and Council approval. Our 2008 Council elections will determine if this neighborhood will be restored as infill on a “case by case” basis or razed.

  3. Anonymous

    Watching the Planning Commission address this issue a few days ago was an “eye-opener”. Developers and their lackeys now make up a voting majority on the Planning Commission. The current Council Majority will approve this first step in this developer-profit-driven plan. The actual FUTURE construction projects still require individual Planning Commission and Council approval. Our 2008 Council elections will determine if this neighborhood will be restored as infill on a “case by case” basis or razed.

  4. Anonymous

    Watching the Planning Commission address this issue a few days ago was an “eye-opener”. Developers and their lackeys now make up a voting majority on the Planning Commission. The current Council Majority will approve this first step in this developer-profit-driven plan. The actual FUTURE construction projects still require individual Planning Commission and Council approval. Our 2008 Council elections will determine if this neighborhood will be restored as infill on a “case by case” basis or razed.

  5. Don Shor

    I really like what Mike Harrington has done with the Turtle House. But remodeling a single-family home into a rental that houses 6 tenants isn’t going to appreciably increase the Davis housing stock. That isn’t really infill.

    “Developers and their lackeys…”

    Always nice to see reasoned discourse on this blog.
    But what would you expect from anonymous posters?

  6. Don Shor

    I really like what Mike Harrington has done with the Turtle House. But remodeling a single-family home into a rental that houses 6 tenants isn’t going to appreciably increase the Davis housing stock. That isn’t really infill.

    “Developers and their lackeys…”

    Always nice to see reasoned discourse on this blog.
    But what would you expect from anonymous posters?

  7. Don Shor

    I really like what Mike Harrington has done with the Turtle House. But remodeling a single-family home into a rental that houses 6 tenants isn’t going to appreciably increase the Davis housing stock. That isn’t really infill.

    “Developers and their lackeys…”

    Always nice to see reasoned discourse on this blog.
    But what would you expect from anonymous posters?

  8. Don Shor

    I really like what Mike Harrington has done with the Turtle House. But remodeling a single-family home into a rental that houses 6 tenants isn’t going to appreciably increase the Davis housing stock. That isn’t really infill.

    “Developers and their lackeys…”

    Always nice to see reasoned discourse on this blog.
    But what would you expect from anonymous posters?

  9. Doug Paul Davis

    Don:

    I understand your point there, my suggestion about the Turtle house speaks to a direction I would like to see it redevelopment go which works with rather than demolishes existing features of the neighborhood.

  10. Doug Paul Davis

    Don:

    I understand your point there, my suggestion about the Turtle house speaks to a direction I would like to see it redevelopment go which works with rather than demolishes existing features of the neighborhood.

  11. Doug Paul Davis

    Don:

    I understand your point there, my suggestion about the Turtle house speaks to a direction I would like to see it redevelopment go which works with rather than demolishes existing features of the neighborhood.

  12. Doug Paul Davis

    Don:

    I understand your point there, my suggestion about the Turtle house speaks to a direction I would like to see it redevelopment go which works with rather than demolishes existing features of the neighborhood.

  13. Rich Rifkin

    “Watching the Planning Commission address this issue a few days ago was an “eye-opener”. Developers and their lackeys now make up a voting majority on the Planning Commission. The current Council Majority will approve this first step in this developer-profit-driven plan.”

    This is the sort of comment that poisons political debate. You assert, without any evidence or even reason, that people who don’t come to the same conclusion as you are “lackeys” for people with selfish motives.

    I understand that in an election campaign it is important to inspire and rally your troops to come out and work for your cause. But defaming these volunteers — and believe me, the planning commissioners put in a tremendous amount of time for no personal benefit — is completely out of line. It cerainly won’t persuade anyone who is on the fence to join your side.

    Because of my own role in deliberating this 3rd & B question for about a year now (on Historic Resources), I can understand that reasonable people can disagree on what the best approach is to dealing with this neighborhood. No one on my commission is a lackey for anyone else — and that is true of the planning commissioners, I believe. While I did not vote in favor of certifying the EIR, I don’t think one has to be motivated by ill-will to have done so.

    I think a much more sensible approach moving forward — as D. Greenwald suggest the neighbors are doing — is to try to modify the plan, so that its most objectionable features are removed, and so the negative consequences of the densification are mitigated.

  14. Rich Rifkin

    “Watching the Planning Commission address this issue a few days ago was an “eye-opener”. Developers and their lackeys now make up a voting majority on the Planning Commission. The current Council Majority will approve this first step in this developer-profit-driven plan.”

    This is the sort of comment that poisons political debate. You assert, without any evidence or even reason, that people who don’t come to the same conclusion as you are “lackeys” for people with selfish motives.

    I understand that in an election campaign it is important to inspire and rally your troops to come out and work for your cause. But defaming these volunteers — and believe me, the planning commissioners put in a tremendous amount of time for no personal benefit — is completely out of line. It cerainly won’t persuade anyone who is on the fence to join your side.

    Because of my own role in deliberating this 3rd & B question for about a year now (on Historic Resources), I can understand that reasonable people can disagree on what the best approach is to dealing with this neighborhood. No one on my commission is a lackey for anyone else — and that is true of the planning commissioners, I believe. While I did not vote in favor of certifying the EIR, I don’t think one has to be motivated by ill-will to have done so.

    I think a much more sensible approach moving forward — as D. Greenwald suggest the neighbors are doing — is to try to modify the plan, so that its most objectionable features are removed, and so the negative consequences of the densification are mitigated.

  15. Rich Rifkin

    “Watching the Planning Commission address this issue a few days ago was an “eye-opener”. Developers and their lackeys now make up a voting majority on the Planning Commission. The current Council Majority will approve this first step in this developer-profit-driven plan.”

    This is the sort of comment that poisons political debate. You assert, without any evidence or even reason, that people who don’t come to the same conclusion as you are “lackeys” for people with selfish motives.

    I understand that in an election campaign it is important to inspire and rally your troops to come out and work for your cause. But defaming these volunteers — and believe me, the planning commissioners put in a tremendous amount of time for no personal benefit — is completely out of line. It cerainly won’t persuade anyone who is on the fence to join your side.

    Because of my own role in deliberating this 3rd & B question for about a year now (on Historic Resources), I can understand that reasonable people can disagree on what the best approach is to dealing with this neighborhood. No one on my commission is a lackey for anyone else — and that is true of the planning commissioners, I believe. While I did not vote in favor of certifying the EIR, I don’t think one has to be motivated by ill-will to have done so.

    I think a much more sensible approach moving forward — as D. Greenwald suggest the neighbors are doing — is to try to modify the plan, so that its most objectionable features are removed, and so the negative consequences of the densification are mitigated.

  16. Rich Rifkin

    “Watching the Planning Commission address this issue a few days ago was an “eye-opener”. Developers and their lackeys now make up a voting majority on the Planning Commission. The current Council Majority will approve this first step in this developer-profit-driven plan.”

    This is the sort of comment that poisons political debate. You assert, without any evidence or even reason, that people who don’t come to the same conclusion as you are “lackeys” for people with selfish motives.

    I understand that in an election campaign it is important to inspire and rally your troops to come out and work for your cause. But defaming these volunteers — and believe me, the planning commissioners put in a tremendous amount of time for no personal benefit — is completely out of line. It cerainly won’t persuade anyone who is on the fence to join your side.

    Because of my own role in deliberating this 3rd & B question for about a year now (on Historic Resources), I can understand that reasonable people can disagree on what the best approach is to dealing with this neighborhood. No one on my commission is a lackey for anyone else — and that is true of the planning commissioners, I believe. While I did not vote in favor of certifying the EIR, I don’t think one has to be motivated by ill-will to have done so.

    I think a much more sensible approach moving forward — as D. Greenwald suggest the neighbors are doing — is to try to modify the plan, so that its most objectionable features are removed, and so the negative consequences of the densification are mitigated.

  17. Anonymous

    Why do developer-inspired plans always get to sounding like, as Mr. Rifkin would have it, done deals before they’re done, and the only response can be mitigation of the done deal? Why can’t the merits of whether this neighborhood should be re-developed be debated?
    As for the Planning Commission being comprised of volunteers, okay. But who knows what favors are given back and forth, if any, between and betwixt commissioners and developers? Now that would be an interesting investigative piece.
    Brian Kenyon

  18. Anonymous

    Why do developer-inspired plans always get to sounding like, as Mr. Rifkin would have it, done deals before they’re done, and the only response can be mitigation of the done deal? Why can’t the merits of whether this neighborhood should be re-developed be debated?
    As for the Planning Commission being comprised of volunteers, okay. But who knows what favors are given back and forth, if any, between and betwixt commissioners and developers? Now that would be an interesting investigative piece.
    Brian Kenyon

  19. Anonymous

    Why do developer-inspired plans always get to sounding like, as Mr. Rifkin would have it, done deals before they’re done, and the only response can be mitigation of the done deal? Why can’t the merits of whether this neighborhood should be re-developed be debated?
    As for the Planning Commission being comprised of volunteers, okay. But who knows what favors are given back and forth, if any, between and betwixt commissioners and developers? Now that would be an interesting investigative piece.
    Brian Kenyon

  20. Anonymous

    Why do developer-inspired plans always get to sounding like, as Mr. Rifkin would have it, done deals before they’re done, and the only response can be mitigation of the done deal? Why can’t the merits of whether this neighborhood should be re-developed be debated?
    As for the Planning Commission being comprised of volunteers, okay. But who knows what favors are given back and forth, if any, between and betwixt commissioners and developers? Now that would be an interesting investigative piece.
    Brian Kenyon

  21. Anonymous

    Sorry about the term “lackey”…
    … got carried away with literary
    hyperbole..substitute for “lackeys” Planning Commission members who, for whatever reason, have a mind-set that suits developer self-interests.

  22. Anonymous

    Sorry about the term “lackey”…
    … got carried away with literary
    hyperbole..substitute for “lackeys” Planning Commission members who, for whatever reason, have a mind-set that suits developer self-interests.

  23. Anonymous

    Sorry about the term “lackey”…
    … got carried away with literary
    hyperbole..substitute for “lackeys” Planning Commission members who, for whatever reason, have a mind-set that suits developer self-interests.

  24. Anonymous

    Sorry about the term “lackey”…
    … got carried away with literary
    hyperbole..substitute for “lackeys” Planning Commission members who, for whatever reason, have a mind-set that suits developer self-interests.

  25. Rich Rifkin

    “Why do developer-inspired plans always get to sounding like, as Mr. Rifkin would have it, done deals before they’re done, and the only response can be mitigation of the done deal?”

    I’m not sure if you are the same person — I suggest you have the courage to sign your name to your post — who said that this ultimately goes back to city council elections, but that aspect of that post I do agree with.

    It does come down to what the elected members of the city council believe is the right “vision.” And this particular project was the vision of the 2004 council, which will hopefully be modified by the 2007 council. But if you think it is the wrong direction entirely, then you should work to get different people who share your view onto the council.

    I understand the urge to blame developers, because clearly their interests are not without the profit motive. But I don’t think stereotyping developers as negative influences or as bad actors is fair or reasonable. With the exception of Jim Kidd, who owns a couple of the parcels in the 3rd & B project area (and who has the least political influence and savvy of anyone involved in this project), I don’t believe any of the other property owners are “big developers” or big property owners in town. (In that I don’t know who all of the property owners are in the project area, I can’t say that for sure.)

  26. Rich Rifkin

    “Why do developer-inspired plans always get to sounding like, as Mr. Rifkin would have it, done deals before they’re done, and the only response can be mitigation of the done deal?”

    I’m not sure if you are the same person — I suggest you have the courage to sign your name to your post — who said that this ultimately goes back to city council elections, but that aspect of that post I do agree with.

    It does come down to what the elected members of the city council believe is the right “vision.” And this particular project was the vision of the 2004 council, which will hopefully be modified by the 2007 council. But if you think it is the wrong direction entirely, then you should work to get different people who share your view onto the council.

    I understand the urge to blame developers, because clearly their interests are not without the profit motive. But I don’t think stereotyping developers as negative influences or as bad actors is fair or reasonable. With the exception of Jim Kidd, who owns a couple of the parcels in the 3rd & B project area (and who has the least political influence and savvy of anyone involved in this project), I don’t believe any of the other property owners are “big developers” or big property owners in town. (In that I don’t know who all of the property owners are in the project area, I can’t say that for sure.)

  27. Rich Rifkin

    “Why do developer-inspired plans always get to sounding like, as Mr. Rifkin would have it, done deals before they’re done, and the only response can be mitigation of the done deal?”

    I’m not sure if you are the same person — I suggest you have the courage to sign your name to your post — who said that this ultimately goes back to city council elections, but that aspect of that post I do agree with.

    It does come down to what the elected members of the city council believe is the right “vision.” And this particular project was the vision of the 2004 council, which will hopefully be modified by the 2007 council. But if you think it is the wrong direction entirely, then you should work to get different people who share your view onto the council.

    I understand the urge to blame developers, because clearly their interests are not without the profit motive. But I don’t think stereotyping developers as negative influences or as bad actors is fair or reasonable. With the exception of Jim Kidd, who owns a couple of the parcels in the 3rd & B project area (and who has the least political influence and savvy of anyone involved in this project), I don’t believe any of the other property owners are “big developers” or big property owners in town. (In that I don’t know who all of the property owners are in the project area, I can’t say that for sure.)

  28. Rich Rifkin

    “Why do developer-inspired plans always get to sounding like, as Mr. Rifkin would have it, done deals before they’re done, and the only response can be mitigation of the done deal?”

    I’m not sure if you are the same person — I suggest you have the courage to sign your name to your post — who said that this ultimately goes back to city council elections, but that aspect of that post I do agree with.

    It does come down to what the elected members of the city council believe is the right “vision.” And this particular project was the vision of the 2004 council, which will hopefully be modified by the 2007 council. But if you think it is the wrong direction entirely, then you should work to get different people who share your view onto the council.

    I understand the urge to blame developers, because clearly their interests are not without the profit motive. But I don’t think stereotyping developers as negative influences or as bad actors is fair or reasonable. With the exception of Jim Kidd, who owns a couple of the parcels in the 3rd & B project area (and who has the least political influence and savvy of anyone involved in this project), I don’t believe any of the other property owners are “big developers” or big property owners in town. (In that I don’t know who all of the property owners are in the project area, I can’t say that for sure.)

  29. Bobby Harris

    If, as Rich Rifkin explains, this redevelopment project was the product of the ‘04 council, why is it only now properly coming to the attention of the broad community?

    Whether various ‘developers’ involved in this matter are actually “big” or not, the key issue is the overall design concept of the project, and why only its marginal “modification” (rather than its re-conceptualization / re-genesis) is politically / legally plausible.

    Of course, (at least) serious consideration of re-conceptualization of this project is likely the best political course.

    Don Shor said…
    I really like what Mike Harrington has done with the Turtle House. But remodeling a single-family home into a rental that houses 6 tenants isn’t going to appreciably increase the Davis housing stock. That isn’t really infill. [ ] 10:41 AM

    I disagree with this view on several levels worth briefly noting :

    Transforming / expanding a single-family dwelling into multiple units seems to me to qualify as one form of infill development.

    Also, as I noted in an earlier comment, state law has recently changed to make (- separate -) second dwellings on a parcel (‘granny / mother-in-law type of units,’ etc.) much more achieveable within the conventional planning process.

    Some properties would even be suitable for three units or perhaps more, many including two and a half story contours, without sacrificing the
    general character of this neighborhood.

    If this sort of re-development program was properly managed on a (congruent) case by case basis, a dramatic nature of infill development
    would occur.

    Let’s genuinely try to envision that reality.

    Mixed-use should in this case really be a secondary consideration, while expanding housing opportunities is the true goal. After all, downtown is just a few blocks away.

    It’s clear that doubling or tripling the number of dwellings within the neighborhood, through this approach, would represent a very successful, infill-oriented development program, while carefully preserving as much as possible of the original neighborhood’s character (like the trees).

    The huge scope of the present plan is unnecessary for obtaining the most important goal, satisfactorily increasing housing densities in this unique area.

    Various convenants and caveats, as well as public land trusts, could be used to manifest significant affordablility within such a newly envisioned plan, without losing a distinctive element of Davis’ identity.

    One important facet of such a re-conceptualized project might be to recirculate some county revenue by obtaining at least some of these second / third dwelling units from one of the major builders of such modular housing in the state, which is located in Woodland.

    Silvercrest / Western Homes Corp. produces quality, well-designed dwellings from 600 to 1200 square feet, dimensions which would foster
    affordability, which should be a key feature of any such project.

    Smaller dwellings will soon no longer be largely used as second units, they will be incorporated into primary development designs, in conjunction with land trusts and other vehicles to make housing more affordable, and home ownership more accessible.

    Davis would be wise to begin an aspect of its redevelopment policy / action, using this new housing format, and then convey it to other
    suitable locations in the community.

  30. Bobby Harris

    If, as Rich Rifkin explains, this redevelopment project was the product of the ‘04 council, why is it only now properly coming to the attention of the broad community?

    Whether various ‘developers’ involved in this matter are actually “big” or not, the key issue is the overall design concept of the project, and why only its marginal “modification” (rather than its re-conceptualization / re-genesis) is politically / legally plausible.

    Of course, (at least) serious consideration of re-conceptualization of this project is likely the best political course.

    Don Shor said…
    I really like what Mike Harrington has done with the Turtle House. But remodeling a single-family home into a rental that houses 6 tenants isn’t going to appreciably increase the Davis housing stock. That isn’t really infill. [ ] 10:41 AM

    I disagree with this view on several levels worth briefly noting :

    Transforming / expanding a single-family dwelling into multiple units seems to me to qualify as one form of infill development.

    Also, as I noted in an earlier comment, state law has recently changed to make (- separate -) second dwellings on a parcel (‘granny / mother-in-law type of units,’ etc.) much more achieveable within the conventional planning process.

    Some properties would even be suitable for three units or perhaps more, many including two and a half story contours, without sacrificing the
    general character of this neighborhood.

    If this sort of re-development program was properly managed on a (congruent) case by case basis, a dramatic nature of infill development
    would occur.

    Let’s genuinely try to envision that reality.

    Mixed-use should in this case really be a secondary consideration, while expanding housing opportunities is the true goal. After all, downtown is just a few blocks away.

    It’s clear that doubling or tripling the number of dwellings within the neighborhood, through this approach, would represent a very successful, infill-oriented development program, while carefully preserving as much as possible of the original neighborhood’s character (like the trees).

    The huge scope of the present plan is unnecessary for obtaining the most important goal, satisfactorily increasing housing densities in this unique area.

    Various convenants and caveats, as well as public land trusts, could be used to manifest significant affordablility within such a newly envisioned plan, without losing a distinctive element of Davis’ identity.

    One important facet of such a re-conceptualized project might be to recirculate some county revenue by obtaining at least some of these second / third dwelling units from one of the major builders of such modular housing in the state, which is located in Woodland.

    Silvercrest / Western Homes Corp. produces quality, well-designed dwellings from 600 to 1200 square feet, dimensions which would foster
    affordability, which should be a key feature of any such project.

    Smaller dwellings will soon no longer be largely used as second units, they will be incorporated into primary development designs, in conjunction with land trusts and other vehicles to make housing more affordable, and home ownership more accessible.

    Davis would be wise to begin an aspect of its redevelopment policy / action, using this new housing format, and then convey it to other
    suitable locations in the community.

  31. Bobby Harris

    If, as Rich Rifkin explains, this redevelopment project was the product of the ‘04 council, why is it only now properly coming to the attention of the broad community?

    Whether various ‘developers’ involved in this matter are actually “big” or not, the key issue is the overall design concept of the project, and why only its marginal “modification” (rather than its re-conceptualization / re-genesis) is politically / legally plausible.

    Of course, (at least) serious consideration of re-conceptualization of this project is likely the best political course.

    Don Shor said…
    I really like what Mike Harrington has done with the Turtle House. But remodeling a single-family home into a rental that houses 6 tenants isn’t going to appreciably increase the Davis housing stock. That isn’t really infill. [ ] 10:41 AM

    I disagree with this view on several levels worth briefly noting :

    Transforming / expanding a single-family dwelling into multiple units seems to me to qualify as one form of infill development.

    Also, as I noted in an earlier comment, state law has recently changed to make (- separate -) second dwellings on a parcel (‘granny / mother-in-law type of units,’ etc.) much more achieveable within the conventional planning process.

    Some properties would even be suitable for three units or perhaps more, many including two and a half story contours, without sacrificing the
    general character of this neighborhood.

    If this sort of re-development program was properly managed on a (congruent) case by case basis, a dramatic nature of infill development
    would occur.

    Let’s genuinely try to envision that reality.

    Mixed-use should in this case really be a secondary consideration, while expanding housing opportunities is the true goal. After all, downtown is just a few blocks away.

    It’s clear that doubling or tripling the number of dwellings within the neighborhood, through this approach, would represent a very successful, infill-oriented development program, while carefully preserving as much as possible of the original neighborhood’s character (like the trees).

    The huge scope of the present plan is unnecessary for obtaining the most important goal, satisfactorily increasing housing densities in this unique area.

    Various convenants and caveats, as well as public land trusts, could be used to manifest significant affordablility within such a newly envisioned plan, without losing a distinctive element of Davis’ identity.

    One important facet of such a re-conceptualized project might be to recirculate some county revenue by obtaining at least some of these second / third dwelling units from one of the major builders of such modular housing in the state, which is located in Woodland.

    Silvercrest / Western Homes Corp. produces quality, well-designed dwellings from 600 to 1200 square feet, dimensions which would foster
    affordability, which should be a key feature of any such project.

    Smaller dwellings will soon no longer be largely used as second units, they will be incorporated into primary development designs, in conjunction with land trusts and other vehicles to make housing more affordable, and home ownership more accessible.

    Davis would be wise to begin an aspect of its redevelopment policy / action, using this new housing format, and then convey it to other
    suitable locations in the community.

  32. Bobby Harris

    If, as Rich Rifkin explains, this redevelopment project was the product of the ‘04 council, why is it only now properly coming to the attention of the broad community?

    Whether various ‘developers’ involved in this matter are actually “big” or not, the key issue is the overall design concept of the project, and why only its marginal “modification” (rather than its re-conceptualization / re-genesis) is politically / legally plausible.

    Of course, (at least) serious consideration of re-conceptualization of this project is likely the best political course.

    Don Shor said…
    I really like what Mike Harrington has done with the Turtle House. But remodeling a single-family home into a rental that houses 6 tenants isn’t going to appreciably increase the Davis housing stock. That isn’t really infill. [ ] 10:41 AM

    I disagree with this view on several levels worth briefly noting :

    Transforming / expanding a single-family dwelling into multiple units seems to me to qualify as one form of infill development.

    Also, as I noted in an earlier comment, state law has recently changed to make (- separate -) second dwellings on a parcel (‘granny / mother-in-law type of units,’ etc.) much more achieveable within the conventional planning process.

    Some properties would even be suitable for three units or perhaps more, many including two and a half story contours, without sacrificing the
    general character of this neighborhood.

    If this sort of re-development program was properly managed on a (congruent) case by case basis, a dramatic nature of infill development
    would occur.

    Let’s genuinely try to envision that reality.

    Mixed-use should in this case really be a secondary consideration, while expanding housing opportunities is the true goal. After all, downtown is just a few blocks away.

    It’s clear that doubling or tripling the number of dwellings within the neighborhood, through this approach, would represent a very successful, infill-oriented development program, while carefully preserving as much as possible of the original neighborhood’s character (like the trees).

    The huge scope of the present plan is unnecessary for obtaining the most important goal, satisfactorily increasing housing densities in this unique area.

    Various convenants and caveats, as well as public land trusts, could be used to manifest significant affordablility within such a newly envisioned plan, without losing a distinctive element of Davis’ identity.

    One important facet of such a re-conceptualized project might be to recirculate some county revenue by obtaining at least some of these second / third dwelling units from one of the major builders of such modular housing in the state, which is located in Woodland.

    Silvercrest / Western Homes Corp. produces quality, well-designed dwellings from 600 to 1200 square feet, dimensions which would foster
    affordability, which should be a key feature of any such project.

    Smaller dwellings will soon no longer be largely used as second units, they will be incorporated into primary development designs, in conjunction with land trusts and other vehicles to make housing more affordable, and home ownership more accessible.

    Davis would be wise to begin an aspect of its redevelopment policy / action, using this new housing format, and then convey it to other
    suitable locations in the community.

  33. Rich Rifkin

    “Why is it only now properly coming to the attention of the broad community?”

    It’s been in the news for 3 years. Longer than that if you go back to the original proposals which got the ball rolling. However, 99.27% of people in Davis (including you in Woodland, Bobby) will not be directly affected by this rezoning, and thus most people were not paying close attention heretofore.

    “Of course, (at least) serious consideration of re-conceptualization of this project is likely the best political course.”

    Why?

    And who cares about what the best ‘political’ course is? The sensible question is what is the best ‘policy’ course.

    Unless one’s position with regard to this neighborhood is that the non-contributor homes along B Street are so valuable to the larger community that we cannot afford to allow those properties to be redeveloped — which is a position some reasonable people hold — or if one believes that rezoning is always a bad idea — which, in some circumstances, is a defensible position — then the question for 3rd & B becomes a marginal one with regard to which changes one feels are beneficial, which are detrimental, and at what level (height, depth, breadth, etc.) are new projects too burdensome on their neighbors, and how to deal with parking, traffic, etc. In other words, short of the first two “no project” positions, this is a policy debate and we are addressing this question in a reasonable manner, in contradistinction to your reconceptualization assertion.

  34. Rich Rifkin

    “Why is it only now properly coming to the attention of the broad community?”

    It’s been in the news for 3 years. Longer than that if you go back to the original proposals which got the ball rolling. However, 99.27% of people in Davis (including you in Woodland, Bobby) will not be directly affected by this rezoning, and thus most people were not paying close attention heretofore.

    “Of course, (at least) serious consideration of re-conceptualization of this project is likely the best political course.”

    Why?

    And who cares about what the best ‘political’ course is? The sensible question is what is the best ‘policy’ course.

    Unless one’s position with regard to this neighborhood is that the non-contributor homes along B Street are so valuable to the larger community that we cannot afford to allow those properties to be redeveloped — which is a position some reasonable people hold — or if one believes that rezoning is always a bad idea — which, in some circumstances, is a defensible position — then the question for 3rd & B becomes a marginal one with regard to which changes one feels are beneficial, which are detrimental, and at what level (height, depth, breadth, etc.) are new projects too burdensome on their neighbors, and how to deal with parking, traffic, etc. In other words, short of the first two “no project” positions, this is a policy debate and we are addressing this question in a reasonable manner, in contradistinction to your reconceptualization assertion.

  35. Rich Rifkin

    “Why is it only now properly coming to the attention of the broad community?”

    It’s been in the news for 3 years. Longer than that if you go back to the original proposals which got the ball rolling. However, 99.27% of people in Davis (including you in Woodland, Bobby) will not be directly affected by this rezoning, and thus most people were not paying close attention heretofore.

    “Of course, (at least) serious consideration of re-conceptualization of this project is likely the best political course.”

    Why?

    And who cares about what the best ‘political’ course is? The sensible question is what is the best ‘policy’ course.

    Unless one’s position with regard to this neighborhood is that the non-contributor homes along B Street are so valuable to the larger community that we cannot afford to allow those properties to be redeveloped — which is a position some reasonable people hold — or if one believes that rezoning is always a bad idea — which, in some circumstances, is a defensible position — then the question for 3rd & B becomes a marginal one with regard to which changes one feels are beneficial, which are detrimental, and at what level (height, depth, breadth, etc.) are new projects too burdensome on their neighbors, and how to deal with parking, traffic, etc. In other words, short of the first two “no project” positions, this is a policy debate and we are addressing this question in a reasonable manner, in contradistinction to your reconceptualization assertion.

  36. Rich Rifkin

    “Why is it only now properly coming to the attention of the broad community?”

    It’s been in the news for 3 years. Longer than that if you go back to the original proposals which got the ball rolling. However, 99.27% of people in Davis (including you in Woodland, Bobby) will not be directly affected by this rezoning, and thus most people were not paying close attention heretofore.

    “Of course, (at least) serious consideration of re-conceptualization of this project is likely the best political course.”

    Why?

    And who cares about what the best ‘political’ course is? The sensible question is what is the best ‘policy’ course.

    Unless one’s position with regard to this neighborhood is that the non-contributor homes along B Street are so valuable to the larger community that we cannot afford to allow those properties to be redeveloped — which is a position some reasonable people hold — or if one believes that rezoning is always a bad idea — which, in some circumstances, is a defensible position — then the question for 3rd & B becomes a marginal one with regard to which changes one feels are beneficial, which are detrimental, and at what level (height, depth, breadth, etc.) are new projects too burdensome on their neighbors, and how to deal with parking, traffic, etc. In other words, short of the first two “no project” positions, this is a policy debate and we are addressing this question in a reasonable manner, in contradistinction to your reconceptualization assertion.

  37. 無名 - wu ming

    as someone who spends a lot of time in this neighborhood (but who is not a resident), i tend to agree with both rifkin and greenwald, at least on the basics. there is no reason why the city shouldn’t talk this out a bit longer with the neighbors until a reasonable compromise is reached. tweaking a plan here and there so that people are ok with it – if the disagreements can be bridged – is usually the best way to make major changes in anything.

    i was walking around 3rd street just today, and i can see the arguments for both poles of the discussion. it would be pretty lively with higher density, and if it doesn’t manage to gentrify student renters out of the neigborhood, could do a good joib at connecting dowjntown and campus better than they are today. on the other hand, the trees and old houses are pretty nice, and i’d be sad to see them go.

    i do think that the city council ought to just give the go-ahead to scrap and rebuild any of the nondescript stucco box buildings downtown, at higher density and with adequate rental units, though. cute old houses are one thing, but noone would miss a lot of those buildings. even rifkin, i’d wager.

    as for the turtle house, i kind of liked the blighted overgrown look better, truth be told, especially the wild front yard. i’m not sure how well it works for an infill-but-not-infill model, though; there aren’t many big old houses left, save perhaps the hunt-boyer mansion (which, to be fair, would be a fantastic place to live in, were it possible to do so, you’ve gotta admit).

  38. 無名 - wu ming

    as someone who spends a lot of time in this neighborhood (but who is not a resident), i tend to agree with both rifkin and greenwald, at least on the basics. there is no reason why the city shouldn’t talk this out a bit longer with the neighbors until a reasonable compromise is reached. tweaking a plan here and there so that people are ok with it – if the disagreements can be bridged – is usually the best way to make major changes in anything.

    i was walking around 3rd street just today, and i can see the arguments for both poles of the discussion. it would be pretty lively with higher density, and if it doesn’t manage to gentrify student renters out of the neigborhood, could do a good joib at connecting dowjntown and campus better than they are today. on the other hand, the trees and old houses are pretty nice, and i’d be sad to see them go.

    i do think that the city council ought to just give the go-ahead to scrap and rebuild any of the nondescript stucco box buildings downtown, at higher density and with adequate rental units, though. cute old houses are one thing, but noone would miss a lot of those buildings. even rifkin, i’d wager.

    as for the turtle house, i kind of liked the blighted overgrown look better, truth be told, especially the wild front yard. i’m not sure how well it works for an infill-but-not-infill model, though; there aren’t many big old houses left, save perhaps the hunt-boyer mansion (which, to be fair, would be a fantastic place to live in, were it possible to do so, you’ve gotta admit).

  39. 無名 - wu ming

    as someone who spends a lot of time in this neighborhood (but who is not a resident), i tend to agree with both rifkin and greenwald, at least on the basics. there is no reason why the city shouldn’t talk this out a bit longer with the neighbors until a reasonable compromise is reached. tweaking a plan here and there so that people are ok with it – if the disagreements can be bridged – is usually the best way to make major changes in anything.

    i was walking around 3rd street just today, and i can see the arguments for both poles of the discussion. it would be pretty lively with higher density, and if it doesn’t manage to gentrify student renters out of the neigborhood, could do a good joib at connecting dowjntown and campus better than they are today. on the other hand, the trees and old houses are pretty nice, and i’d be sad to see them go.

    i do think that the city council ought to just give the go-ahead to scrap and rebuild any of the nondescript stucco box buildings downtown, at higher density and with adequate rental units, though. cute old houses are one thing, but noone would miss a lot of those buildings. even rifkin, i’d wager.

    as for the turtle house, i kind of liked the blighted overgrown look better, truth be told, especially the wild front yard. i’m not sure how well it works for an infill-but-not-infill model, though; there aren’t many big old houses left, save perhaps the hunt-boyer mansion (which, to be fair, would be a fantastic place to live in, were it possible to do so, you’ve gotta admit).

  40. 無名 - wu ming

    as someone who spends a lot of time in this neighborhood (but who is not a resident), i tend to agree with both rifkin and greenwald, at least on the basics. there is no reason why the city shouldn’t talk this out a bit longer with the neighbors until a reasonable compromise is reached. tweaking a plan here and there so that people are ok with it – if the disagreements can be bridged – is usually the best way to make major changes in anything.

    i was walking around 3rd street just today, and i can see the arguments for both poles of the discussion. it would be pretty lively with higher density, and if it doesn’t manage to gentrify student renters out of the neigborhood, could do a good joib at connecting dowjntown and campus better than they are today. on the other hand, the trees and old houses are pretty nice, and i’d be sad to see them go.

    i do think that the city council ought to just give the go-ahead to scrap and rebuild any of the nondescript stucco box buildings downtown, at higher density and with adequate rental units, though. cute old houses are one thing, but noone would miss a lot of those buildings. even rifkin, i’d wager.

    as for the turtle house, i kind of liked the blighted overgrown look better, truth be told, especially the wild front yard. i’m not sure how well it works for an infill-but-not-infill model, though; there aren’t many big old houses left, save perhaps the hunt-boyer mansion (which, to be fair, would be a fantastic place to live in, were it possible to do so, you’ve gotta admit).

  41. Don Shor

    “Mixed-use should in this case really be a secondary consideration, while expanding housing opportunities is the true goal. After all, downtown is just a few blocks away.”

    Why? Increased commercial opportunities in that district have benefits to the city, to the residents, and (obviously) to the property owners. I don’t see why that is less or more important a consideration than increasing the housing stock.
    I also don’t think those goals are mutually exclusive.
    I agree with the many comments that parking is a real concern, that it would be desirable to lose as few trees as possible, and that neighbors have real valid concerns about the height of some buildings. It seems those concerns can be addressed through the modifications Rich and others have mentioned.

  42. Don Shor

    “Mixed-use should in this case really be a secondary consideration, while expanding housing opportunities is the true goal. After all, downtown is just a few blocks away.”

    Why? Increased commercial opportunities in that district have benefits to the city, to the residents, and (obviously) to the property owners. I don’t see why that is less or more important a consideration than increasing the housing stock.
    I also don’t think those goals are mutually exclusive.
    I agree with the many comments that parking is a real concern, that it would be desirable to lose as few trees as possible, and that neighbors have real valid concerns about the height of some buildings. It seems those concerns can be addressed through the modifications Rich and others have mentioned.

  43. Don Shor

    “Mixed-use should in this case really be a secondary consideration, while expanding housing opportunities is the true goal. After all, downtown is just a few blocks away.”

    Why? Increased commercial opportunities in that district have benefits to the city, to the residents, and (obviously) to the property owners. I don’t see why that is less or more important a consideration than increasing the housing stock.
    I also don’t think those goals are mutually exclusive.
    I agree with the many comments that parking is a real concern, that it would be desirable to lose as few trees as possible, and that neighbors have real valid concerns about the height of some buildings. It seems those concerns can be addressed through the modifications Rich and others have mentioned.

  44. Don Shor

    “Mixed-use should in this case really be a secondary consideration, while expanding housing opportunities is the true goal. After all, downtown is just a few blocks away.”

    Why? Increased commercial opportunities in that district have benefits to the city, to the residents, and (obviously) to the property owners. I don’t see why that is less or more important a consideration than increasing the housing stock.
    I also don’t think those goals are mutually exclusive.
    I agree with the many comments that parking is a real concern, that it would be desirable to lose as few trees as possible, and that neighbors have real valid concerns about the height of some buildings. It seems those concerns can be addressed through the modifications Rich and others have mentioned.

  45. 無名 - wu ming

    i would say that, done right, those two goals are near-inseparable, don. you can’t get denser infill housing without mixed use, by and large. and the denser housing creates a bigger pedestrian customer base.

  46. 無名 - wu ming

    i would say that, done right, those two goals are near-inseparable, don. you can’t get denser infill housing without mixed use, by and large. and the denser housing creates a bigger pedestrian customer base.

  47. 無名 - wu ming

    i would say that, done right, those two goals are near-inseparable, don. you can’t get denser infill housing without mixed use, by and large. and the denser housing creates a bigger pedestrian customer base.

  48. 無名 - wu ming

    i would say that, done right, those two goals are near-inseparable, don. you can’t get denser infill housing without mixed use, by and large. and the denser housing creates a bigger pedestrian customer base.

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