Analysis: Does Size Matter? 200 Acres vs. 400 Acres for a Business Park

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innovation-park

In his dissent last Tuesday, Mayor Joe Krovoza pushed back against a 391-acre or larger business park that some have been pushing on the Leland Ranch property east of Mace Blvd.

“I will not support the motion on the floor,” he said.  “I am completely puzzled.  For the three years I have served on this council, we’ve been considering straight up in public forums the option of a wonderful open space easement that we’ve been using our open space funds to acquire.”

“We concurrently embarked upon the Innovation Park Task Force study to look for lands around the city that we can open up for economic development,” he noted.  “We constructed a process with city council members, planning commission members, and business and economic and economic development commission members to serve on that (task force).”

“Many of you in this audience attended those meetings,” he said.  “You participated in those meetings.  That process resulted in the identification of by my estimation of approximately 450 acres around Davis, California, that can be opened up for economic development and business park.  And for that entire process, this land use easement was considered to be surrounding one of the major parcels of that recommendation.”

“That’s one reason why we recommended the 200 acres outside the Mace Curve because it had this wonderful land conservation potential around it,” he added.

While the mayor was out-voted 4-1 on whether to have a full discussion of the Leland Ranch/Mace 391 property, it is important to look at the question of how large a business park needs to be – both to be viable and to achieve the city’s fiscal and economic development goals.

We start with the Studio 30 report from the UCD Extension land use program, which analyzed successful innovation centers and host cities.  They found, “Most innovation centers averaged around 200 acres in size, had a variety of different-sized parcels, and provided ownership opportunities allowing for successful companies to stay in the community as they grow. Many also provided a variety of flexible space size, types, and lease terms and physical and virtual business support service.”

They argued, “The City should include an incubator space, as well as larger spaces for expanding companies in its innovation center strategy.”

Later in their report, they noted, “The current isolated and dispersed sites that are available and appropriately zoned are not adequate in terms of size, location, or configuration (and related constraints) to address the emerging market need of an Innovation Center. With available reasonably priced land and effective marketing to innovative high tech companies, Studio 30 estimates Davis could absorb up to 10 percent or around 100,000 square feet of the 1-1.5 million industrial/office square footage absorbed annually in the Sacramento region.”

They conclude, “Because of this, Studio 30 estimates Davis needs at least 200 acres for business development and expansion over a 20 +/- year time horizon.”

The question then becomes where.  They note, “The Gateway or Nishi site offers the best opportunity for the close-in/incubator.”  That site will require university partnership and participation.

However, while it is the initial close-in site, making “this site best for implementing the desired attributes for start-ups, small firms, and University research-oriented businesses,” it is “not sufficient to meet needs of midsized businesses; it could serve as a catalyst for establishment of early phase companies and promote downtown business development.”

To get that you have to move to the west or the east.  They write, “The East site seems preferred at this time because it offers a readily available agricultural mitigation strategy, and may have less neighborhood development concern.”

However, “The West site has recently gone through additional land planning studies, and may also offer successful agricultural mitigation. The West site is slightly favorable in terms of University and downtown/ proximity. Both sites offer interesting opportunities for innovative agricultural related research, urban farming elements, and sustainable/green site and building design opportunities; both sites should be pursued for now.”

In 2012, the Innovation Park Task Force report had the objective “to make a recommendation on how, where and whether the City should pursue construction of a future business/innovation park able to primarily accommodate space needs of medium sized companies (150 +/- employees) on land peripheral to existing City boundaries”.

The key was “to provide a readily available supply of larger sites for purchase.  The task force identified two initial sites: “the Mace-I-80 site (85 acres), and the Parlin site west and northwest of Sutter Hospital (137 acre portion of site).”

The innovation park task force then revised the size of the east and west sites to 185 and 207 acres in part to take into account the Studio 30 analysis of 200 acres as the idealized size of the site.

The question is whether 200 acres is sufficient for the city’s needs.  At the time of the Studio 30 report, there were several issues that were not yet on the table.  We had not lost Bayer-AgraQuest to West Sacramento.  However, even the move by AgraQuest was to a 164,000 square foot facility with an additional 10 acres being acquired somewhere in the region for a greenhouse facility.

In other words, a 200-acre business park facility would easily have accommodated all of AgraQuest’s needs.  We have also seen pressure from Schilling Robotics for space to expand.

When the Mace 391 issue came up in June, city staff did not evaluate needs for a business park.  As they wrote in their staff report, “The decision before the City Council is whether or not to move forward with the NRCS grant. Moving forward would permit the Yolo Land Trust to secure agricultural conservation easements on the First Bank of NW Arkansas Property. Alternatively, declining the grant would retain opportunities to explore options to leverage the property for additional or alternative urban agriculture transition area acquisitions, and potential furtherance of local economic development strategies.”

Staff’s recommendation to decline the NRCS Grant and explore alternatives was mainly due to the fact that “placing an agricultural conservation easement on the property at this time would narrow the scope of potential opportunities to leverage this land for multiple long term City objectives, including larger and/or alternative urban agriculture transition areas that provide a better ‘lock’ adjacent to the City. Furthermore, leveraging the land could result in potential innovation park uses and related agricultural research facilities consistent with the City Council direction to pursue a Dispersed Innovation Strategy.”

But size of the needed business park was not analyzed by staff at that time.  We have seen proposals for up to 500 acres of land, but have not seen either fiscal or other analysis to back up the needs.

Others have suggested that the actual need is a lot smaller than these proposals.  We have seen the midrange figure of about 300 acres that would be needed to both retain existing facilities and provide the land for future startups and growth.

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The other point, and the one raised by Mayor Krovoza, is that the Innovation Park Task Force – which reconvenes this evening at the Davis Senior Center at 5:30, identified 33 acres at a potential site on 5th Street, 44 acres at Nishi, 207 acres in West Davis, and another 185 acres in East Davis.  None of that apparently would require Mace 391 and all of that would be sufficient for business park needs.

As this discussion advances, one of the key analyses that must be addressed is how much do we need, and whether it has to be all in one spot or whether the businesses could be dispersed east and west with a smaller amount in the infill sites.

—David M. Greenwald 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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63 thoughts on “Analysis: Does Size Matter? 200 Acres vs. 400 Acres for a Business Park”

  1. Mr.Toad

    Bigger is better so we only need to do this infrequently. UCD is going to spin out more and more ideas. i think it was Matt who put up a graphic recently showing how prolific the start ups are here. Compared to the rest of the area we have many more ideas being cultivated.

  2. B. Nice

    “I will not support he motion on the floor,” he said. “I am completely puzzled. For the three years I have served on this council, we’ve been considering straight up in public forums the option of a wonderful open space easement that we’ve been using our open space funds to acquire.”

    The words that stand out to me are 3 years and public forums. Some made the argument when commenting on the last article that the purchase of the land and the intent to put an easement on it were not so public.

  3. B. Nice

    “Staff’s recommendation to decline NRCS Grant and explore alternatives was mainly due to the fact that “placing an agricultural conservation easement on the property at this time would narrow the scope of potential opportunities to leverage this land for multiple long term City objectives,”.

    Was the intent of Measure O for the city to buy land so that they could turn around and leverage it? Is this legal? Do any profits from this leverage have to remain in Measure O funds, or can they go toward other “multiple long term City objectives”? What are these objectives? The word objective is a little vague.

  4. SouthofDavis

    Mr. Toad wrote:

    > Who is studio 30? Who funded the report and who wrote it?

    I would also like to know the answer to this question since almost every time people that want to develop a 400 acre tech park “pay” for a “study” they will get one that says a 400 acre tech park is a great idea (just like the people that “pay” for a “study” of making a 400 acre field a park will almost always get what they paid for and have a report that says a park is needed).

    Then B. Nice wrote:

    > Some made the argument when commenting on the last
    > article that the purchase of the land and the intent
    > to put an easement on it were not so public.

    I never heard about any of the “public” meetings on the Mace 391 site and neither did anyone else I know (including my super public policy geek friends that watch the a lot of the Davis City Council meetings on TV)…

    As I have said before I really don’t care if they build a business park at the Mace 391 site (so I’m not a booster), but I can’t see Davis and Yolo County filling 391 acre tech park with tenants in my lifetime. I’m hoping Michael Bisch will correct me if I am wrong, but I believe that Davis has had a fair amount of vacancy in the Buzz Oats space on 2nd and the park next to Interland in South Davis since they were built. I found a recent Colliers report on line that says Davis AND Woodland have 671K of R&D apace with 111K (16.5%) vacant. The report above says that a build out of LESS than 1/2 the site (185 acres) will give us an extra 1.13 MILLION sf of R&D space. This might give us as much as 3 MILLION sf of R&D space when all 391 acres are built out.

    Over 100 years Davis AND Woodland have ended up with (according to Colliers) 671K sf of R&D space with over 100K sf of the space currently sitting empty. I may be missing something, but unless we get some big credit tenants signing long term leases for build to suite property I don’t see how anyone expects to fill MILLIONS of sf of space at Mace and I80…

  5. Stephen Souza

    The link to the Sept. 20, 2012 Innovation Park Task Force meeting with presentation by Studio 30:

    [url]http://city-council.cityofdavis.org/on-going-committees/innovation-park-task-force/revised-agenda—september-20-2012[/url]

  6. Mr.Toad

    “Over 100 years Davis AND Woodland have ended up with (according to Colliers) 671K sf of R&D space with over 100K sf “

    But how much in Davis? Woodland has a lot of unused warehouse space.

  7. David M. Greenwald

    Studio 30: “The Innovation Park Task Force commissioned UC Davis’ Studio 30 to provide research on what an innovation center might look like, where it could be located, and how it might benefit the community. Studio 30 is a unique partnership developed by UC Davis Extension that links working professionals in planning, design, policy and related fields with graduate and undergraduate students to complete community projects, plans and studies. Studio 30‘s research suggests a broad strategy to attract innovative, high tech businesses that support the community’s values and benefit its residents.”

  8. Rob White

    Studio 30 is a UC Davis Extension Course focused on community planning and design. They were engaged for the discussion of an innovation business park as an inexpensive option to get some quasi-professional input. The data collected and presented is informative and can be used as a guideline in discussing the desirable attributes of a business park. More info about the UCD Extension Studio 30 course can be found here:
    http://extension.ucdavis.edu/unit/environmental_management/course/description/index.asp?type=I&CourseID=38372

    Regarding the question of size of a business park, City staff are asking several locally prominent financial research advisors for their thoughts on the subject. At this point, staff have not formally engaged a firm as the question is somewhat chicken & egg… it is difficult to assess a project that doesn’t exist, but we need information to share with the Council and community for decision-making purposes. Unofficial input received so far includes two main points: 1) size of a business park (acreage) is mostly dependent on ability to finance the project (i.e. infrastructure, entitlement, and permit costs must balance with the revenue generated by the project) and 2) private property owners are typically interested in doing projects that make revenue and are not typically interested in losses. Note I said typically, as I am sure we all have an anecdotal example where this is not true. City staff are also working to assess what potential revenue might accrue to the City and the best way to ensure long-term and on-going City revenue.

    Regarding the potential business park land on the east end of Davis (often termed the Mace Curve area), there are several property owners that might be involved in a discussion. Currently, the City has noted the 100 acre Ramos/Oates parcel (northeast of Mace and I-80) and the 85 acres Bruner Trust parcel (north of Ramos/Oates) as the appropriate location for discussing an innovation park. These are privately held lands and to date, neither owner has officially submitted any plans for their parcels to be a business park. Some discussions have been held with staff and others in the community, but that is the summation of the effort to date.

    Wrapping around those two parcels is the Mace 391/Leland Ranch parcel that is designated for a USDA NRCS grant and subsequent conservation easement to be held by Yolo Land Trust. These lands are on track to be permanently conserved as agricultural lands under the federal Farm and Ranchland Protection Program of the USDA NRCS. These easements have some restrictions on what type of agricultural activities, but most certainly will be uses as farmland in perpetuity. The parcels are currently owned by the City, but would be sold to a third party in fee title with the conservation easement placed on the land. This is scheduled for closing/transfer/sale no later than March 31, 2014.

    Hope this helps.

  9. Mr.Toad

    “I never heard about any of the “public” meetings on the Mace 391 site and neither did anyone else I know”

    I think a lot of this has been hiding in plain sight with a lot of the council work going on in executive session, because it involved negotiating land deals, then possibly getting passed on the consent calendar. Perhaps that is why this latest deal that blew up was on the consent calendar.

    I recently asked some friends that are Davis home owners and pay the open space tax if they knew that these deals were happening without the people of Davis getting to use the land that is being bought? They had no idea and thought they were getting ripped off. I think the Open Space people who rang the bell because they were going to get control of the land if the easement went through woke a sleeping giant. Its my hope that the Grand Jury takes a look at these open space deals.

    While we are talking about right sizing things maybe we should include the easement deal for 391. With the need for sports fields, parks for people and their pets to recreate and community gardens why are we only going to get less than 30 acres, less than 10% of this land for public use, while 90% will be returned to private ownership at below market prices because of the easements? If we are going to not develop this land I would rather see a reconfiguration where we not recover the open space fund portion of the money and keep the land for use by the densely compacted people of Davis.

  10. Don Shor

    [quote]Most innovation centers averaged around 200 acres in size.

    Studio 30 estimates Davis could absorb up to 10 percent or around 100,000 square feet of the 1-1.5 million industrial/office square footage

    Studio 30 estimates Davis needs at least 200 acres for business development and expansion over a 20 +/- year time horizon.”

    a 200-acre business park facility would easily have accommodated all of AgraQuest’s needs.

    West Davis site: 207 acres.
    East Davis site (Ramos/Bruner): 185 acres.

    … the Innovation Park Task Force … identified 33 acres at a potential site on 5th Street, 44 acres at Nishi, 207 acres in West Davis, and another 185 acres in East Davis. None of that apparently would require Mace 391 and all of that would be sufficient for business park needs.[/quote]

    Mace 391 is not needed for a business park.

  11. rmillstein

    [quote]if they knew that these deals were happening without the people of Davis getting to use the land that is being bought[/quote]

    This is from the text of Measure O:

    [quote]The special tax levied in this article, if approved by two-thirds of the voters voting on the special tax will provide revenue for the acquisition, operation, and maintenance of lands and easements for open space, habitat and [b]agricultural uses and preservation in the areas surrounding the city[/b].[/quote]

    Davis voters passed Measure O with agricultural uses being among the approved uses for the taxes. You’re confusing open space preservation with parks and recreation. I believe we also have a special tax for parks (someone please correct me if I am wrong about that).

  12. Adam Smith

    [i]The words that stand out to me are 3 years and public forums. Some made the argument when commenting on the last article that the purchase of the land and the intent to put an easement on it were not so public. [/i]

    So, B. Nice – were you well aware of the city’s work on Mace 391 two or 3 years ago?

    [i]Davis voters passed Measure O with agricultural uses being among the approved uses for the taxes. You’re confusing open space preservation with parks and recreation. I believe we also have a special tax for parks (someone please correct me if I am wrong about that). [/i]

    I think it is time to put Measure O back on the ballot, and let the voters review the what the program has accomplished and where it has been accomplished. Most citizens do not know that a substantial portion of the conserved lands resulting from Measure O surround the Kidwell overpass in Solano County. I doubt that most of them understand that the taxpayers have no right of access to them, regardless of what Measure O stated.

  13. Davis Progressive

    i really don’t think we need measure on the ballot so much as an understanding of what we are doing with the money. it seems that a lot of this is ad hoc rather than a concerted plan. we do not need to accept matt williams’ exact plan, but something like it would at least inform future uses.

  14. B. Nice

    “So, B. Nice – were you well aware of the city’s work on Mace 391 two or 3 years ago?”

    No, but to put that answer in context I wasn’t even aware where or when council meetings were held 3 years much less what was happening at them.

  15. Mr.Toad

    “Davis voters passed Measure O with agricultural uses being among the approved uses for the taxes. You’re confusing open space preservation with parks and recreation.”

    I’m not confusing anything and my guess is that Measured O is silent on the topic of access. What I’m saying is that buying up frontier property and locking it up in perpetuity while planning for the public to only have access to a small portion of the land is not in the best interest of the people of Davis.

    I am also concerned about conflicts of interest that can occur when the people who are involved with the acquisition and planning for these properties are also the people who end up with the newly encumbered titles. That is the part I think that the GJ needs to look at, is there any self dealing going on?

  16. Don Shor

    [quote]Most citizens do not know that a substantial portion of the conserved lands resulting from Measure O surround the Kidwell overpass in Solano County. [/quote]
    All they have to do is look at the map in the Measure O report to know exactly where the conserved lands are. And it doesn’t take a degree in rocket science to figure out why the City of Davis would want to conserve the land around the Kidwell overpass.

  17. rmillstein

    [quote]I am also concerned about conflicts of interest that can occur when the people who are involved with the acquisition and planning for these properties are also the people who end up with the newly encumbered titles. [/quote]

    Name one member of the OSHC, past or present, who has purchased lands that the city acquired through Measure O. I’m pretty insulted by this baseless accusation. Look all you want; I doubt you’ll find anything. In the meantime, please don’t accuse citizen volunteers of shady dealings. I would have thought that such accusations would not be permitted on this blog. I guess I was wrong.

  18. Don Shor

    This is now the third time Mr. Toad has made these vague and unsubstantiated accusations. Each time they get more specific, but still have no substance.
    At this point, Mr. Toad, you should forward any specifics you have to the Yolo County Grand Jury if you feel they merit followup. If not, what you are doing on the Vanguard is impugning the character and reputation of a lot of individuals without providing any evidence. Doing so under the cover of anonymity is cowardly, and doing it at all without providing any basis for your charges is unethical at least.
    You can contact David Greenwald if you want to discuss this further.

  19. Mr.Toad

    I have no such knowledge. What I said is that I think the Grand Jury should take a look at all these land deals. I have been careful not to name any names because I don’t know all the facts and I don’t know all the people. What I do know is that there are rumors of impropriety and I will say the same thing here that I told the person I spoke with, they should take it to the GJ. It seems that the Open Space Commission would welcome such an investigation so they could be dispel any rumors that are floating around.

    After re-reading my previous post I would rephrase it as follows:

    I am also concerned about conflicts of interest that can occur [s]when[/s] if the people who are involved with the acquisition and planning for these properties are also the people who end up with the newly encumbered titles.

  20. Don Shor

    Thanks. “When” to “if” makes a big difference. If there is substance to any of the rumors, then perhaps we will learn about it. Please (everyone) use care when posting rumors.

  21. rmillstein

    This one was even worse, “Mr. Toad”:

    [quote]I think the Open Space people who rang the bell because they were going to get control of the land if the easement went through woke a sleeping giant. [/quote]

    That is a direct accusation.

    Those who are spreading “rumors” should bring things into the light or keep it to themselves.

  22. Mr.Toad

    “Those who are spreading “rumors” should bring things into the light or keep it to themselves.”

    I agree which is why I suggested that the person who told me this stuff should take it to the Grand Jury and also why I haven’t used any names instead trying to keep things vague. If I failed to keep them vague enough I am sorry.

  23. rmillstein

    Well, I don’t know what you meant by “made the fuss.” A lot of people got up to speak at the June City Council meeting in support of going forward with the easement. I was one of them, and there were two others from the OSHC who spoke as well. Certainly we were not a collection of people who will control the land. Speaking personally, I will not be doing any farming on that land or bidding to buy that land. To put this another way, I have no idea what you’re talking about.

  24. rmillstein

    [quote]In that case perhaps I was vague enough.[/quote]

    On the contrary, you’re so vague that it seems as though you’re accusing members of the OSHC (“people who are involved with the acquisition and planning for these properties”), among others, of shady dealings.

  25. davisite2

    Killing the easement is the first step. You can be sure that this property will be brought up in the future for residential development,like the Cannery property, when a good part of it sits idle for commercial development.

  26. B. Nice

    “Killing the easement is the first step. You can be sure that this property will be brought up in the future for residential development,like the Cannery property, when a good part of it sits idle for commercial development.”

    So if C.C decides to go the commercial development route a Measure J/R vote would be required? If passed does that mean the land be annexed? If annexed and commercial development doesn’t “develop” could the land then be used for residential purposes without additional voter approval?

  27. Mr.Toad

    “You can be sure that this property will be brought up in the future for residential development,like the Cannery property, when a good part of it sits idle for commercial development.”

    Now this is weird. Its the housing cabal trying to get our precious ag land and poison our precious bodily fluids with Fluoride. How did you know it was part of an international banking conspiracy of the tri-lateral commission to, horror of horrors, put roofs over peoples heads.

  28. Matt Williams

    B. Nice said . . .

    [i]”The words that stand out to me are 3 years and public forums. Some made the argument when commenting on the last article that the purchase of the land and the intent to put an easement on it were not so public.”[/i]

    Actually B. Nice it was Staff in the Staff Report to Council last Tuesday that clearly showed the almost complete absence of any public meetings. On OSHC meeting on 10/10/2010. One Council meeting on 11/16/2010. Then nothing at all until 6/11/2013. The record stands for itself.

  29. Frankly

    So, we have open space people galore. They have dominated the peripheral land-use agenda for decades. No conspiracy. Kudos to them for putting so much energy into passing Measure O, and for securing 2500 acres in and around Davis. We all owe them a debt of thanks.

    But now they need to go on holiday for a while. Take a chill pill. Settle down. Don’t worry, be happy.

    Another higher priority need has developed. It will necessitate a slight detour in the quest to surround Davis with a complete moat of permanent farmland. The need is easy to understand, it is simple math. We have too many expenses and not enough income. We have cut expenses, but there is still a big gap. So, we need more income coming in.

    Now we can increase sales tax. But that is not going to bring in enough money. And there are a couple ethical challenges. One – sales tax increases hurt our most vulnerable. Two – we would be essentially taxing ourselves to supplement farmers…paying for land that we cannot even use.

    Given these facts and considerations, I think it is more than reasonable to ask that those heroes of open space shift their attention to helping us build a fantastic business park or two so that we get the city back to long-term fiscal sustainability. To continue to block, prevent, undermine…or otherwise destroy attempts to build a needed business park…is frankly irresponsible.

  30. B. Nice

    “Actually B. Nice it was Staff in the Staff Report to Council last Tuesday that clearly showed the almost complete absence of any public meetings. On OSHC meeting on 10/10/2010. One Council meeting on 11/16/2010. Then nothing at all until 6/11/2013. The record stands for itself.”

    I guess I’m wondering what Joe was referring to when he made this statement: “For the three years I have served on this council, we’ve been considering straight up in public forums the option of a wonderful open space easement that we’ve been using our open space funds to acquire.”

  31. B. Nice

    “So, we have open space people galore. They have dominated the peripheral land-use agenda for decades. No conspiracy. Kudos to them for putting so much energy into passing Measure O, and for securing 2500 acres in and around Davis. We all owe them a debt of thanks.”

    Is there some new information regarding this issue?

  32. Don Shor

    [quote]Given these facts and considerations, I think it is more than reasonable to ask that those heroes of open space shift their attention to helping us build a fantastic business park or two so that we get the city back to long-term fiscal sustainability. To continue to block, prevent, undermine…or otherwise destroy attempts to build a needed business park…is frankly irresponsible. [/quote]
    Go for it. You’ve got 400 – 500 acres for business development. Just not Mace 391. It isn’t the proponents of open space who need to “shift their attention.”

  33. Matt Williams

    B. Nice said . . .

    [i]I guess I’m wondering what Joe was referring to when he made this statement: “For the three years I have served on this council, we’ve been considering straight up in public forums the option of a wonderful open space easement that we’ve been using our open space funds to acquire.”[/i]

    I could be wrong, but the way I heard Joe’s comments he was restricting his comments to the Innovation Park Task Force process. That is only one forum, and my suspicion is that his use of the plural “forums” may have referred to multiple Innovation Park Task Force meetings. The problem is that in all the time that the Innovation Park Task Force met over multiple meetings, never was the easement ever included as input to any individual agenda item and therefore the easement was never actually discussed.

  34. B. Nice

    “Go for it. You’ve got 400 – 500 acres for business development. Just not Mace 391. It isn’t the proponents of open space who need to “shift their attention.”

    So is it a done deal?

  35. Frankly

    [i]Go for it. You’ve got 400 – 500 acres for business development. Just not Mace 391.”[/]

    I’ve got? I’ve got nothin…we’ve got nothin’ but Mace 391. Until and unless someone comes forward with a deal to purchase these other phantom acres, we still only have Mace 391. And any land owner sees that we want it for a business park is going to up his price.

    Take a chill pill. Develop Mace 391 as a business park and help your community. Use the windfall to fix the budget and put more money in the hopper to go purchase MORE than 391 acres of farmland. You open space heroes like more don’t you?

  36. Don Shor

    [quote]we’ve got nothin’ but Mace 391[/quote]
    Several sites have been identified for possible business park development. Nobody needs to “purchase those phantom acres.” They’re owned by private landowners who can develop them. Why on earth do you, a conservative, want the city to go into the land development business when there are private landowners who could do that? Why would you have the city purchase land for that purpose? Do you really prefer that the taxpayers become land speculators and that the city become a real estate developer? Look at the map.
    What is so bizarre about your whole line of argument is that you act as though there is no other possible land available for annexation and development, other than Mace 391.
    If Mace 391 goes into ag conservation as planned, are you seriously saying that there will never be a business park developed anywhere else?

  37. Don Shor

    [quote]So is it a done deal?[/quote]
    The default outcome is a conservation easement on Mace 391. All this other stuff you’re hearing is a desperate attempt to prevent that. It’s all an attempt to get 3 votes on the council to rescind the conservation easement. But it would take a majority vote of the council to overturn the process that is underway.

  38. Mr.Toad

    Frankly makes a good point that if a business park were to be built on the other sites acquisition should be made before a decision on 391, where it can be used as a stalking horse for competitive advantage. Deciding one before the city disposes of the other will in fact raise the price of the land dramatically.

  39. Mr.Toad

    Interesting framing of the question how much business park is enough. A better question would be how much business park versus how much open space is enough. With 2500 acres already preserved, much of it without access for the public we need a larger debate about land use than the one posed in this article. We also need to look at the use of measure O funds for acquisition of habitat versus farmland. How much has been acquired for farmland and how much for habitat? The plan to preserve most of 391 as non-accessable farmland instead of for habitat restoration might generate a second look if we consider how much land has been dedicated to the each of the various mandates under measure O.

  40. Matt Williams

    Don Shor said . . .

    [i]”The default outcome is a conservation easement on Mace 391. All this other stuff you’re hearing is a desperate attempt to prevent that. It’s all an attempt to get 3 votes on the council to rescind the conservation easement.”[/i]

    Don, I agree that the default outcome should be proceeding with the easement; however, since an alternative outcome that is on the table results in upwards of eight times as many prime ag farmland acres on the Urban Fringe in conservation easement, is your default outcome the only one that you believe should be considered?

    Said another way, what is it in your opinion that makes the Mace 391 acres eight times more valuable than the other prime farmland acres in the Urban Fringe?

  41. Matt Williams

    I know I have said this before, but it bears repeating. My personal view is that if any of the capital dollars realized from the leveraging of any portion of Mace 391 are not 100% plowed back into achieving the maximum possible Measure O protection of Davis’ Urban Fringe, then I will 100% support moving forward with the easement in March 2014.

    I strongly believe that once Bruce Boyd the City’s GIS system guru produces the Land Evaluation and Site Assessment (LESA) reports on each of the parcels of the Urban Fringe that have the potential to be conserved in calendar year 2014, then the conservation value of Mace 3,000 will dwarf the conservation value of Mace 391.

  42. rmillstein

    [quote]an alternative outcome that is on the table results in upwards of eight times as many prime ag farmland acres on the Urban Fringe in conservation easement[/quote]

    There is no such thing on the table. No landowners have come forward to say that they are interested in selling to the city, or that there is any connection between the easement on Leland Ranch and their possible interest in selling.

  43. Frankly

    [i]There is no such thing on the table. No landowners have come forward to say that they are interested in selling to the city, or that there is any connection between the easement on Leland Ranch and their possible interest in selling. [/i]

    Likewise, no landowners have been identified as coming forward to say they are interested in selling or developing their land as a business park, and there has been no vote by the citizens to allow it, and we don’t know what that price per acre would be, but we can guess it will be significantly inflated due to the supply and demand factors of this city that refuses to admit that it is drastically out of balance with respect to open space and commercial space… with open space dominating by several orders of magnitude.

    The difference between the open space activists and the average Davis resident, is that the activists are open space zealots that don’t give a crap about city finances nor the financial circumstances of anyone but themselves, and the average Davis resident wants more balance and to stop kicking the economic can farther and farther down the road in a selfish and narrow pursuit of a selfish lifestyle pursuit.

  44. Frankly

    [i]I know I have said this before, but it bears repeating. My personal view is that if any of the capital dollars realized from the leveraging of any portion of Mace 391 are not 100% plowed back into achieving the maximum possible Measure O protection of Davis’ Urban Fringe, then I will 100% support moving forward with the easement in March 2014[/i]

    First we have to pay back the pilfered road funds [b]with interest.[/b]

    Then we need to consider that the business park itself should include a percentage of usable open space… and hence be a target for use of some of that capital.

    Beyond that I agree with you.

    However, none of the ongoing tax revenue should be used for any more open space preservation.

    In fact, we should not have used the road fund monies for acquisition of Mace 391 given that our roads are in such disrepair and we lack the funds. That was a huge misuse of funds. But since we used those funds were used, the citizens then become equity stake holders beyond the narrow focus of Measure O. And the people deserve a return on that investment for future road repairs.

  45. Frankly

    [i]However, none of the ongoing tax revenue should be used for any more open space preservation. [/i]

    However, none of the ongoing tax revenue [b]derived from the business park[/b] should be used for any more open space preservation.

  46. Don Shor

    [quote]however, since an alternative outcome that is on the table results in upwards of eight times as many prime ag farmland acres on the Urban Fringe in conservation easement, is your default outcome the only one that you believe should be considered? [/quote]
    It doesn’t “result” in that.

  47. Don Shor

    [quote]The difference between the open space activists and the average Davis resident, is that the activists are open space zealots that don’t give a crap about city finances nor the financial circumstances of anyone but themselves, and the average Davis resident wants more balance and to stop kicking the economic can farther and farther down the road in a selfish and narrow pursuit of a selfish lifestyle pursuit.[/quote]
    Proponents of open space and ag conservation have a specific fund that is dedicated to that: Measure O funds. The proponents of open space and ag conservation that I am aware of are not seeking to use other funds for that purpose, nor do they support using Measure O funds for purposes other than open space. Measure O will generate $14 million over then next couple of decades, which can be leveraged for additional grant funds for the purpose of open space acquisition and farmland conservation. The OSH commission identifies sites and makes recommendations to the City Council regarding which sites to prioritize. I am unaware of any OSH members who “don’t give a crap about city finances.”
    It is Matt Williams who has repeatedly tried to link development revenues to open space acquisition. He’s not a member of OSH. He has presented his views to them, but I don’t believe OSH has taken any position on his proposal. His repeated comments about “plowing back” 100% of the dollars into open space acquisition have no foundation, would not become policy, and very likely simply wouldn’t happen. So it doesn’t matter how emphatically he states it, it isn’t a realistic position.

  48. Matt Williams

    rmillstein said . . .

    “There is no such thing on the table. No landowners have come forward to say that they are interested in selling to the city, or that there is any connection between the easement on Leland Ranch and their possible interest in selling.”

    I close my eyes / Only for a moment and the moment’s gone / All my dreams / Pass before my eyes with curiosity / Dust in the wind / All they are is dust in the wind. Kansas (c) 2004

    Roberta, there absolutely is such a thing on the table. I presented the concept to the Open Space and Habitat Commission in public comment on September 9th. You were there. I have written two detailed articles here in the Vanguard on October 4th and October 5th. Are you rejecting that idea as detrimental to the greater good of the citizens of davis? Is that idea consistent with the goals and objectives of Measure O? Do you reject the idea that eight different parcel owners have expressed an interest in participating?

  49. Matt Williams

    Don Shor said . . .

    [i]”It doesn’t “result” in that.”[/i]

    That is an interesting statement Don. You said it for a reason. Care to elaborate on the reason?

    While you are at it you can answer the question I have asked you multiple times, but you have yet to answer, specifically, [i]”What is it in your opinion that makes the Mace 391 acres eight times more valuable than the other prime farmland acres in the Urban Fringe?”[/i]

  50. rmillstein

    [quote]Do you reject the idea that eight different parcel owners have expressed an interest in participating?[/quote]

    I have seen no evidence of this.

  51. Don Shor

    [quote]What is it in your opinion that makes the Mace 391 acres eight times more valuable than the other prime farmland acres in the Urban Fringe?”[/quote]
    Since I disagree with the premise of the question, I have chosen repeatedly not to answer it.

  52. Mr.Toad

    We also need to look at the use of measure O funds for acquisition of habitat versus farmland. How much has been acquired for farmland and how much for habitat?

    I’d still like an answer to my previous question restated above. Does anyone know?

  53. Don Shor

    Mr. Toad: here is the current Measure O report — [url]http://davismerchants.org/vanguard/DraftMeasureOReport20130524.pdf[/url]
    You’ll find a list of properties there.

  54. Matt Williams

    rmillstein said . . .

    [i]”Do you reject the idea that eight different parcel owners have expressed an interest in participating?

    I have seen no evidence of this.”[/i]

    Have you made any attempt to see any evidence of this? I came to the OSHC and presented the concept at the September 9th meeting and thane was present for the October 7th meeting. None of the OSHC members have made any effort to try and understand how this concept will advance the goals and objectives of Measure O further in calendar year 2014 than the current efforts are likely to advance before 2024 or 2034. It is almost as if you don’t want to acknowledge that the concept I have laid out exists. See no evil. Hear no evil. Speak no evil. As Don has said in his 9:40 AM post above, “Since I disagree with the premise of the question, I have chosen repeatedly not to answer it.” In an intellectually advanced city like Davis, that is a curious approach to achieving the greater good.

  55. rmillstein

    No evidence was presented to the OSHC showing eight owners interested in selling. No evidence was presented to the OSHC for the claim that an easement on Leland Ranch would be required for the acquisition of other properties.

  56. rmillstein

    Sorry, that last sentence should have read, “No evidence was presented to the OSHC for the claim that [i]foregoing[/i] an easement on Leland Ranch would be required for the acquisition of other properties.”

  57. Matt Williams

    Roberta, I formally asked both the OSHC Chair and Mitch Sears, the Staff Liaison who supports the OSHC, to agendize an open, transparent and robust discussion of this initiative and its specifics, but after an initial expression of interest by the OSHC Chair, any interest in such a discussion was summarily terminated.

    [quote]From: Mitch Sears
    To: Tom Callinan ; “‘mattwill@pacbell.net'”
    Sent: Tuesday, August 27, 2013 2:34 PM
    Subject: RE: Proposed Agenda Item

    Thanks Tom.

    Matt, I heard from Marc on the idea of the agenda item.

    I’ll follow up with you later this week.

    mitch[/quote]

    which was then followed by

    [quote]From: Mitch Sears
    To: ‘Matthews Williams’
    Cc: Steve Pinkerton ; Rob White ; Mike Webb ; Michele Clark ; ‘Rachel Lopez’ ; “Hoshovsky, Marc@DWR (Marc.Hoshovsky@water.ca.gov)”
    Sent: Thursday, August 29, 2013 8:08 AM
    Subject: RE: Appointment Request

    Matt,

    There has been no direction from the City Council to reconsider. The City is beginning to market the property as permanently protected farmland.

    To my knowledge, based on my internal discussions on the matter beginning last Friday when I first heard about your idea, City staff have not met with you or given any indication that the City will pursue anything other than the conservation project as reaffirmed by the City Council in June. I am also not aware of a community dialog on the issue as you described in your earlier e-mail.

    Please let me know if there is a need for additional clarification of the City’s position.

    (I have cc’d Marc Hoshovsky, Chair of the Open Space and Habitat Commission)

    Thank you,

    mitch[/quote]

    So the opportunity to present evidence to the OSHC was explicitly and forcefully denied to me. I think it is pretty clear that that was a conscious decision on Mitch’s part.

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