Innovation Park Task Force to Reconvene as Community Undergoes Critical Discussions on Innovation and Economic Development

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innovation-parkThe Davis City Council has asked the Innovation Park Task Force to reconvene to initiate a community engagement process, providing opportunities for community dialogue about possible innovation center options and related issues.

The meeting, to take place on Tuesday night, will feature Rochelle Swanson and ostensibly Lucas Frerichs from the Davis City Council.  However, Councilmember Frerichs will be out of the country at this time.  It also will have Annaya Choudhuri and George Hague from the planning Commission and Steve Golemme and Brian Horsfield from what used to be the Business and Economic Development Commission.

The meeting is Tuesday from 5:30 to 6:30 at the Community Chambers Conference Room.

Back in November 2012, the city council approved the recommendations of the Innovation Park Task Force, in particular to pursue a “Dispersed Innovation Center Strategy” and initiate community engagement processes that would inform and solicit input on the findings and recommendations from the task force.

Since that time, at least three things have occurred.  First, the city hired Rob White as Chief Innovation Officer.  Second, the city has lost one of its principal innovation technology companies, Bayer CropScience, to West Sacramento.  And third, we had the June and now October discussions on the potential for a business park located east of the Mace Curve.

The “Dispersed Innovation Strategy” offers flexible space and could support the needs of both growing businesses and new startups.  This approach looked to maximize the existing inventory and review “existing land use, zoning and tax structure with objectives of supporting retention and growth of innovation businesses and maximizing revenue opportunities.”

In the near term it looked at the Gateway Project at Nishi as the option that offers the best proximity to the university as the city’s top innovation center priority.  In the midterm however, it focused on both east and west “edge” sites which would “offer viable options for location and size of larger innovation centers meeting needs of growing mid-sized companies, and should be continued to be explored as part of a mid-term Dispersed Innovation Strategy.”

As the staff report notes, the original task force reached three primary conclusions.  First, “Davis has competitive advantage of proximity to University research and quality of life not found in other adjacent communities. Davis can play an important role attracting entrepreneurs and businesses to the region, supporting UC Davis tech transfer objectives.”

Second, “Remaining existing city sites and a new mixed-use innovation district will not be sufficient to meet needs of growing businesses.”

Third, “To actively support transfer of University research to market applications, increased opportunities for local business growth are needed.”

The task force clarified its objective to “provide for the lifecycle space needs of growing businesses” and removed the terms business park and innovation park, in favor of “innovation center,” which would offer a blended integration and range of differently-sized flexible work spaces; business services; and recreational, entertainment and other lifestyle amenities.

Staff notes, “The Task Force solicited the assistance of UC Davis Extension Land Use and Natural Resources and Sustainability Programs Studio 30, a professional skills course, to help define what an innovation center might look like in the City of Davis, and assess the economic environmental and social impacts of that innovation center based on different sites.”

The conclusions of Studio 30 were then compiled into a “City of Davis Innovation Center Study” report.

According to staff, “This report concluded that Davis is in an excellent position to support an Innovation Center, and a combination of a close-in innovation hub combined with a larger less constrained edge site offers the right mix of University proximity and identity with expansion capability to address job growth and rapid business expansion that can occur with technology and knowledge companies. The study also concluded: 1) that the Nishi/Gateway site offered the best opportunity for a close-in innovation hub because of its proximity to the university; and the East and West sites evaluated offered viable options for edge expansion sites.”

These conclusions then informed the Innovation Park Task Force’s recommendations that council adopted last year.

As we know from the ongoing discussions about the Mace 391 proposal, Cannery and Nishi, the critical detail in Davis is where to put such business park locations and what will the community’s response to these locations be.

As we saw on Tuesday night, the council was supportive of reengaging on the issue of Mace 391.

This process seeks the type of community engagement many have been calling for.  The goals of this meeting will be and initiate a community engagement process to inform and solicit input on the task force findings and recommendations and then to advise the council on appropriate next steps.

The idea of community engagement is critical.  In June, questions about the process led to the denial of pausing the conservation easement on Mace 391/Leland Ranch.

“I want an open and honest discussion about the best use of this property for the community of Davis.  I’d like to see a wide variety of options presented to us, understanding that whatever we choose, sadly we’ve, at this decision point – either decision is not going to be ideal,” Councilmember Brett Lee stated on Tuesday night.  “If we would have had this discussion a year ago it could have been the ‘win-win’ but at this stage it’s going to be a ‘win-lose.’ “

“I would want that open and transparent discussion,” he said.  “The key here is transparent, I am extremely disappointed in the way this information trickled to us as council people.  I do not believe that staff upheld the high standards that we expect of them.  I’m not very pleased with the closed session information we received at the time and I’m not pleased with what was presented to us in June.”

Mayor Joe Krovoza was the lone dissenter for even discussing the possibility of re-opening this process.

“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.”

“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.

Now that Innovation Park Task Force process will reconvene concurrent with other discussions in the next few months.

—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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83 thoughts on “Innovation Park Task Force to Reconvene as Community Undergoes Critical Discussions on Innovation and Economic Development”

  1. Matt Williams

    The Innovation Park Task Force staff report notes the original task force reached three primary conclusions.

    [i]First, “Davis has competitive advantage of proximity to University research and quality of life not found in other adjacent communities. Davis can play an important role attracting entrepreneurs and businesses to the region, supporting UC Davis tech transfer objectives.”[/i]

    That first staff report conclusion is spot-on in my opinion. Because Davis is the home of a premier research university we are faced with an employment challenge that other cities in the United States don’t face, and which is not reflected in Davis’ unemployment numbers, specifically, the significant stream of PhD and Masters students who receive their degrees each year and currently have little or no opportunity to find a job in their field here in Davis. By the time those graduating research students are reflected in any employment statistics, they more often than not will have left Davis for employment elsewhere. That is a problem.

    The question that one has to ask about that problem is, “Is it in Davis’ best interests to address this problem?”

    My answer to that question is that if the graduating research students are coming from one of the fields of UCD’s core competencies, then yes we should be looking to leverage that community strength and make Davis not only a place where one can get the world’s best education in specific fields, but can also find productive, innovative employment in those world-class fields after one graduates. Doing that will result in an increase in Davis’ collective community intellectual capital.

    One can argue that that increase in intellectual capital will happen on the scale of one new job at a time rather than the scale of one new business at a time, but unless we have space where new businesses can create new jobs and where existing businesses can create additional jobs, then the growth in intellectual capital that UCD creates will continue to go to cities other than Davis.

  2. Frankly

    This just in.

    It is great they moved to the region. Too bad it was not Davis…
    [quote]West Sacramento, Calif., October 25, 2013 – Shinmei Co., Ltd. and Shinmei U.S.A. Corporation, the City of West Sacramento, Ridge Capital, Inc., and the Sacramento Area Commerce and Trade Organization (SACTO) announce the expansion of Shinmei’s global food production and distribution facilities in West Sacramento, California, the company’s first facility in the United States. Sacramento-based Potter-Taylor & Company together with the MacLaughlin Company and global management consultants, Victus Partners, will construct the 28,000-square-foot building on six acres in West Sacramento’s Southport Business Park.

    The new facility, which is expected to open its doors in June 2014, will produce the Rice Bun, a value-added rice product positioned as a gluten-free alternative burger bun. The product is firmly established and sold in many global markets, including Australia, China, Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and Indonesia. The debut of the Rice Bun in the United States’ retail and food service markets parallels the rapidly growing number of American consumers moving towards gluten-free diets. Shinmei is offering a healthy choice replacement for many gluten products. The Rice Bun is GMO-free, conveniently microwavable, and versatile-it can be made from brown or white rice, and organic/non-organic, with multiple flavors.
    [/quote]

  3. Frankly

    Spot on.

    [quote]One can argue that that increase in intellectual capital will happen on the scale of one new job at a time rather than the scale of one new business at a time, but unless we have space where new businesses can create new jobs and where existing businesses can create additional jobs, then the growth in intellectual capital that UCD creates will continue to go to cities other than Davis.[/quote]

  4. Don Shor

    It will be great to have this task force focus on [quote]maximize the existing inventory and review “existing land use, zoning and tax structure with objectives of supporting retention and growth of innovation businesses and maximizing revenue opportunities….”[/quote]
    as well as the business park sites other than Mace 391 that have been identified.

  5. Matt Williams

    rmillstein said . . .

    [i]”I can’t help but note that the Open Space and Habitat Commission has not been informed about or included in this process.”[/i]

    Rebecca, I don’t know why that is the case, but I suspect that Sarah Worley’s e-mail went out to the people who were already on the Innovation Park Task Force e-mail list. I would be surprised if she didn’t also send an e-mail to Mitch Sears requesting the Open Space and Habitat Commission members’ e-mail addresses. If that is the case, I’m confident that the OSHC and its members will be receiving notices and a request to participate.

  6. Matt Williams

    Roberta, in our e-mail exchanges over the past 72 hours on point you made that fell a bit by the wayside in our conversation was what you said in about my references to “getting the community to the community farms” and “bicycle connectivity requirements” that those things are not part of the community farms proposal except at best as things that might be desirable down the road.

    Do you think that Greg or Coco or Henry or Helena could share with everyone what the parts of the community farms proposal are?

  7. rmillstein

    I repost my public comments to the Council here, since I think that they were not heard, particularly w/r to the OSHC’s official position:

    At its most recent meeting on October 7, 2013, the OSHC unanimously voted for me to deliver the following statement:

    [quote]The Open Space and Habitat Commission is aware of conversations that may lead to reconsideration of the June decision by the Council regarding the Mace 391/Leland Ranch property. The Commission reaffirms its support of that decision. If the Council chooses to reconsider, the Commission advises the Council to first use the Commission to evaluate any open space alternatives that arise in connection with this property.[/quote]

    With the rest of my time, I would like to remind the Council that the OSHC has a procedure that it uses to evaluate properties for acquisition under Measure O and that it would use to evaluate any future properties. Recommendations to acquire properties are made by analyzing the degree to which various desirable characteristics meet the goals of Measure O. The five desirable characteristics are: 1) urban fringe, 2) community separator, 3) agriculture, 4) scenic resources, and 5) biological/natural resources. Analysis includes a site visit.

    Leland Ranch was evaluated by the OSH Commission and its findings are summarized in a staff report from October 5, 2010.

    Consistency with the urban fringe category was ranked as High. Leland Ranch is located within and just beyond the immediate Urban Fringe area. Such properties are specifically mentioned by Measure O and do not become available often. In fact, this is first time in the last several decades that an opportunity like this has come available, and the price was reasonable due to the recession. Moreover, it was because of the open space program that Leland Ranch was researched and purchased by the city.

    Consistency with the agriculture category was ranked as High/Moderate. Leland Ranch has primarily Class I and II soils, with a small portion in Class III; the property is classified as Prime Farmland and Farmland of Statewide Importance by the Department of Conservation.

    Consistency with the scenic resources category was ranked Moderate/High. There are views to the Sierra and the Sacramento Skyline from the eastern edge of the City and along Mace Blvd.

    Consistency with the biological/natural resources category was ranked Low/Moderate. Leland Ranch likely supports Swainson’s hawk foraging habitat; the Swainson’s hawk is listed as a threatened species in the State of California. There are also opportunities for habitat enhancement along the existing City drainage channel.

    The vote to recommend the acquisition of Leland Ranch and to pursue an easement on it was unanimous.

    In short, Leland Ranch provides a rare opportunity for the City to preserve an important open space, agricultural property. Properties like this, which include so many things that Davisites value, are why we have Measure O. Putting an easement on Leland Ranch is still our bird in the hand.

  8. rmillstein

    [quote]Do you think that Greg or Coco or Henry or Helena could share with everyone what the parts of the community farms proposal are?[/quote]

    Matt, Coco and Henry have a lot of valuable input to add on these issues, but they are not members of the OSHC. Greg and Helena are, but I cannot speak for them. The rough idea is that of a farm that involves the community, rather than a farm that is farmed by the community. Thus, while it would be nice to have bicycle connectivity for people to visit the community farm, it isn’t strictly necessary because no one other than the farmer and his/her assistants will be doing the farming. So, the worries of the astronomical cost of a community farm are overstated, I believe.

  9. Matt Williams

    Thank you for that clarification Roberta. I suspect that the vast majority of Davisites are thinking that community farm means farmed by the community, that is why I think it would be very valuable for Helena and/or Greg to spend some time explaining what OSHC has in mind, and how the community farm concept will add value to the community.

    The Center for Land Based Learning (CLBL) presented their Urban Farm concept on Tuesday to the Council. It would be interesting to understand how OSHC’s concept is similar to and differs from CLBL’s. For those who didn’t see the CLBL presentation by Andrea Clark and jennifer Taylor, it can be viewed at [url]http://davis.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=2&clip_id=43[/url] by scrolling to the 02:58:15 point of the video.

  10. Growth Izzue

    [quote]Task Force 2 -coming to a theater near you. Or Groundhog Day- Innovation Style with Bill Murray. Place another study on the stack. [/quote]

    LOL, it’s starting to feel like they’ll do as many Task Force’s as it takes to get what they want.

  11. medwoman

    Matt

    [quote]By the time those graduating research students are reflected in any employment statistics, they more often than not will have left Davis for employment elsewhere. That is a problem.
    [/quote]

    Would you mind clarifying for me what you see about this as being a problem any more than it would be a problem for any small community that hosts a university or group of colleges. When these institutes are located near a small community, as opposed to in a large city, it is inevitable that the community will not be able to absorb all of the graduates. Do you feel that Davis is any different from any other university/small town arrangement ? Do you see this as a problem only because of our current financial difficulties ? Or do you see this as a problem for all such situations ?

  12. rmillstein

    [quote]I suspect that the vast majority of Davisites are thinking that community farm means farmed by the community,[/quote]

    Back when the OSHC recommended the Community Farm on Leland Ranch to the Council (maybe someone can dig up when that was — I don’t have time to look it up myself), we had hoped that it would be on the Council’s agenda and that it could be discussed then. But that never happened — although the OSHC had in the past had discussions with the Council about a community farm. It’s been years in the making.

  13. Don Shor

    [quote]By the time those graduating research students are reflected in any employment statistics, they more often than not will have left Davis for employment elsewhere. That is a problem. [/quote]
    It’s not a problem at all. That’s what colleges do. There are more than 4,000 graduate students at UC Davis every year, and that’s been the FTE enrollment count for over a decade. We couldn’t possibly absorb all or even most of those.
    We have 300 new faculty coming, and at least that number of new staff, to meet the Chancellor’s 2020 Initiative. We will add a business park somewhere. Meanwhile, we have a serious housing crunch, and even if Cannery gets approved (I’m not seeing the votes right now for that, but you never know) we’ll still have a serious housing crunch.
    The fact that people graduate and then move away doesn’t reflect some kind of ‘brain drain’.

  14. Frankly

    Don, with all due respect, I don’t get that you don’t get Matt’s point.

    One of the primary considerations for any student’s selection of a college to get his/her $150-250k degree are the employment opportunities that will follow. It makes a HUGE difference if there is a strong connection with the college and the local private economy.

    A good example is someone pursuing a music production or music business degree. A music production or music business degree at CSU Northridge is generally worth more than the same at UOP or Chico State just because the faculty at CSU Northridge is better connected with the music and film industry that hires many of the graduates. The students that move out of the area will likely have a better chance at employment because of the strong reputation that CSU Northridge has for cranking out better qualified new employees. This is both due to the fact that the private sector injects education value into the curriculum (e.g., real working professors, guest speakers, internships, practical application, more current practices and tools, etc.), the alum connection, and the reputation of the school.

    Davis needs more of these good ag, food and medical tech jobs to stay in the area because it directly feeds the economy that feeds city revenue, and because it increases the value of the UCD education.

  15. Don Shor

    There is a relatively small number of ag schools in the country. It simply isn’t reasonable to expect that the students who are flocking to UC Davis from all over the world are going to expect employment opportunities nearby. It is definitely not a reasonable basis for land-use planning to try to accommodate 4,000 graduate students every year into our jobs and housing stock.
    This is a pointless argument. They’re going to come here to go to school, and then go elsewhere. That’s how colleges work. It’s great if some settle in the area and find jobs. But it shouldn’t drive our planning decisions.

  16. Frankly

    Some students Don. Not all. Don’t be silly. And it is completely reasonable to include the need for jobs for students and graduates into our planning. Their money contributes to our great village lifestyle. We need to pay it forward in thanks helping more of them to find good jobs in the area.

  17. Don Shor

    We have a housing cap, no places for large housing tracts, hundreds of new campus jobs in the works, and now you want to factor in graduating students as well?
    Where exactly do you think all of these people are going to live?

  18. Matt Williams

    medwoman said . . .

    [i]”Would you mind clarifying for me what you see about this as being a problem any more than it would be a problem for any small community that hosts a university or group of colleges. When these institutes are located near a small community, as opposed to in a large city, it is inevitable that the community will not be able to absorb all of the graduates. Do you feel that Davis is any different from any other university/small town arrangement ? Do you see this as a problem only because of our current financial difficulties ? Or do you see this as a problem for all such situations?”[/i]

    Starting with your last question first, I see this as a problem in all such situations if Davis as a community is going to attempt to continually improve its inventory of intellectual capital.

    Our current financial difficulties have forced us to deal with this situation after years of sweeping it under the rug. One of the other factors that has forced us to deal with it is the fact that UCD has decided to come out of a long period of hibernation when it comes to focusing on technology transfer.

    Do I think Davis is any different from any other university/small town arrangement? Yes, I do, and that becomes very apparent when you look at the list of the top 14 Research Universities

    Johns Hopkins University = Baltimore, MD
    University of Wisconsin = Madison, WI
    University of Michigan = Ann Arbor, MI
    University of California = Los Angeles, CA
    University of California = San Diego, CA
    Duke University = Research Triangle, NC
    University of Washington = Seattle, WA
    University of Pennsylvania = Philadelphia, PA
    Ohio State University = Columbus
    Stanford University = Palo Alto, CA
    University of Minnesota = Minneapolis/St.Paul, MN
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology = Boston
    University of California = Davis, CA
    Pennsylvania State University = University Park, PA

    Davis sticks out like a sore thumb in that group. Stanford and Penn State are the closest in population, and as much as some people in Davis might want to be like Palo Alto, they are very, very different.

    Further, a huge proportion of UCD’s core competencies are in agriculture, and with the natural agricultural resources we have here in Davis, only Stanford is in a position to apply its research expertise on a local scale the way Davis is.

    So, yes I do see this as a problem in all situations if Davis as a community is going to attempt to continually improve its inventory of intellectual capital.

  19. Don Shor

    Where are they all going to live, Matt? Look at the other way Davis ‘sticks out like a sore thumb’ in that group. The others are all much higher population metropolitan areas.
    If in fact you and others are advocating for a high rate of residential growth to accommodate a high level of economic development, you probably should say so. Calling for jobs without calling for housing means you are just advocating that we make jobs so people living in Dixon, Woodland, and West Sacramento can work in Davis.
    The 1% housing growth cap is not a goal. It’s a cap. It’s at the high end, in my opinion, of what Davis residents would tolerate for a couple of years. It is very unlikely that Davis residents would accept a housing increase of 1% year after year. And nearly all the housing increase we need is in the rental category,
    Your goal of providing jobs for Davis graduates and high-paying tech jobs runs smack up against our more pressing planning issue: housing.
    So: where are they all going to live? Matt? Frankly? Let us know, please, where you think the housing should be built.
    An aggressive economic development agenda is a high-housing-growth agenda.

  20. Matt Williams

    rmillstein said . . .

    [i]”Back when the OSHC recommended the Community Farm on Leland Ranch to the Council (maybe someone can dig up when that was — I don’t have time to look it up myself), we had hoped that it would be on the Council’s agenda and that it could be discussed then. But that never happened — although the OSHC had in the past had discussions with the Council about a community farm. It’s been years in the making.”[/i]

    Roberta, I’m a huge supporter of the community farm concept . . . in all its many forms. I support the community farm we currently have on 5th Street. I support the Urban Farm that the Center for Land-Based Learning has as part of The cannery project. I support the community farm that currently exists at Village Homes. I support the concept of multiple small organic plots farmed by different farmers that Don Shor has advocated. And I support the the rough idea that you described in your earlier post of a farm that involves the community, rather than a farm that is farmed by the community.

    The reason I can comfortably support that whole array of of community farm options is that we have the very definite opportunity to have upwards of 3,000 acres of prime farmland in Davis’ Urban Fringe, with (in many cases) direct access for bicycles, public transit and automobiles already in place. That is one of the major win-win scenarios that has caused this citizen (some call me a “squeaky wheel” others call me a “besserwisser”) to work hard to get the Davis community and its governmental leaders to look at the bigger picture.

    I truly believe we can have our cake and eat it too.

  21. yeahmyam

    Attacking the community farms component as ill-conceived, unfunded, or redundant if Cannery is approved is a diversion (some posters are experts at this strategy) from the main issue of whether we should plan for 200 acre business park or an additional 391 acres or some combination. If we are considering all options maybe one should be elimination of the community farms as an unnecessary expense and poorly located, and sell the entire 391 with conservation easement in place. This debate; growth (innovation park!) vs. no-growth (save our dirt) is a classic Davis steel cage match.

  22. Don Shor

    [quote]The reason I can comfortably support that whole array of of community farm options is that we have the very definite opportunity to have upwards of 3,000 acres of prime farmland in Davis’ Urban Fringe, with (in many cases) direct access for bicycles, public transit and automobiles already in place. That is one of the major win-win scenarios that has caused this citizen (some call me a “squeaky wheel” others call me a “besserwisser”) to work hard to get the Davis community and its governmental leaders to look at the bigger picture.
    [/quote]
    Matt, seriously. You have never presented any evidence that the owners of those properties are even interested in ag conservation easements on their properties, much less in developing them into small allotments to be farmed by the community. Or to provide small portions of any of them for community farming.
    We have precisely one site confirmed for an easement, and planned for community farming: Mace 391. The rest is a fantasy, and you are using that fantasy to try to sell development on Mace 391. It might be a cool fantasy, and some parts of it may someday be realized. But you’ve never given us any evidence that it will, or even might, be realized. You’ve never given us a budget. You’ve never given us any indication of the actual interest by the owners of those properties. They’re just lines on a map so far.
    What we have on Fifth Street, by the way, is a community garden, not a community farm.

  23. Frankly

    Measure O does not call for ag easements, it calls for open space preservation. Any urban boundary should be an ongoing discussion about what is best for Davis.

    Ag easements are stupid. We are smart enough to decide when farming is the best use of the land.

    Correct me if I am wrong, but with the 1-2 development requirement, and the revenue generated from the sale of city-owned land combined with the measure O funds, it would seem that there is plenty of money to convince these other land owners to sell.

    Especially if the Cannery and Mace 391 get approved, these other land owners would see their ability to do the same evaporate.

    Now, if we get stupid and block one or more of these two developments, I would count on these other landowners to sit tight and wait for their big payday. And the city would still be broke and unable to push forward any other land-grab agenda.

  24. Matt Williams

    yeahmyam said . . .

    [i]”Attacking the community farms component as ill-conceived, unfunded, or redundant if Cannery is approved is a diversion (some posters are experts at this strategy) from the main issue of whether we should plan for 200 acre business park or an additional 391 acres or some combination. If we are considering all options maybe one should be elimination of the community farms as an unnecessary expense and poorly located, and sell the entire 391 with conservation easement in place. This debate; growth (innovation park!) vs. no-growth (save our dirt) is a classic Davis steel cage match.”[/i]

    I haven’t noticed anyone attacking the community farms concept.

  25. Matt Williams

    Don Shor said . . .

    [i]”Matt, seriously. You have never presented any evidence that the owners of those properties are even interested in ag conservation easements on their properties, much less in developing them into small allotments to be farmed by the community. Or to provide small portions of any of them for community farming.”[/i]

    Don, the time and the place for providing such evidence is in the process that the Council has just committed to. Up until now I have been simply a Don Quixote-esque citizen planner who has used a little bit of my Wharton training to “run the numbers” and see the upside potential in effectively deploying the community’s assets. With that said, I have good reason to believe that 8 different owners of the potential easement parcels are ready, willing and able to put an easement on their respective parcels.

    Don Shor said . . .

    [i]”We have precisely one site confirmed for an easement, and planned for community farming: Mace 391. The rest is a fantasy, and you are using that fantasy to try to sell development on Mace 391. It might be a cool fantasy, and some parts of it may someday be realized.” [/i]

    Yes it is a cool fantasy, and it also is a fantasy that can be and hopefully will be realized during calendar year 2014.

    Don Shor said . . .

    [i]”What we have on Fifth Street, by the way, is a community garden, not a community farm.”[/i]

    Interesting distinction Don. What is the difference between a community farm and a community garden?

  26. Don Shor

    [quote]Interesting distinction Don. What is the difference between a community farm and a community garden?[/quote]
    It’s actually an important distinction. Units at a community garden are small; I think they’re 20′ x 20′, but I’m not sure. It’s a large number of people intensively gardening small parcels, and a great many of them need to arrive by bicycle or on foot. Access is crucial. A community farm, as I’ve seen them described, is not nearly so intensive.

    By the way, to any urban planners out there, I consider the Fifth Street community garden sacrosanct. Should you even think about paving it over, I will lead the sit-in protests to block the bulldozers.

    [quote]Yes it is a cool fantasy, and it also is a fantasy that can be and hopefully will be realized during calendar year 2014.[/quote]
    As long as you can do that with Mace 391 in an ag conservation easement, great.

    Frankly: [quote]Ag easements are stupid. We are smart enough to decide when farming is the best use of the land. [/quote]
    It is extremely clear, based on the nature and direction of the discussions on the Vanguard in the last few weeks, that ag conservation easements are crucial, and are the only way ag land will be preserved against the ongoing threat of development. We are definitely not “smart enough” to resist the pressure for urbanization and development of prime farmland. Anyone who considers open space and ag land a ‘luxury’ illustrates that point perfectly.

  27. Don Shor

    [quote] With that said, I have good reason to believe that 8 different owners of the potential easement parcels are ready, willing and able to put an easement on their respective parcels. [/quote]
    Tell us which ones, give us the price of the ag easements, and we can assess whether Measure O funds over the next decade or so would, leveraged with grant funds, be sufficient to purchase easements on those eight properties.

  28. rmillstein

    [quote]Measure O does not call for ag easements, it calls for open space preservation.[/quote]

    This is just false. 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 [b][i]easements[/i][/b] for open space, habitat and agricultural uses and preservation in the areas surrounding the city.[/quote]

    [quote]Revenues collected under the provisions of this article shall be deposited in a special fund called the open space preservation special tax fund. The special tax fund shall be used only for the following purposes:

    (a) Acquisition in fee or [i][b]easement[/b][/i] of open space lands within the Davis planning area;
    (b) For the improvement, operation, maintenance and/or monitoring of open space lands currently owned by the city in fee or [i][b]easement[/b][/i] of acquired by the city in the future, including, but not limited to, the restoration, enhancement and preservation of habitat areas, maintenance of open space lands, and monitoring of habitat and agricultural conservation easements;

    (e) For the incidental expenses incurred in the administration of this tax, including, but not limited to, the cost of elections, and the cost of collection. Revenues may be used to operate, maintain and monitor properties owned in fee or [i][b]easement[/b][/i] jointly by the city and other public agencies and/or land trusts whose mission includes the preservation of open space lands within the Davis planning area.[/quote]

  29. Matt Williams

    Don Shor said . . .

    [i]”It’s actually an important distinction. Units at a community garden are small; I think they’re 20′ x 20′ on 5th St.,, but I’m not sure. It’s a large number of people intensively gardening small parcels, and a great many of them need to arrive by bicycle or on foot. Access is crucial. A community farm, as I’ve seen them described, is not nearly so intensive.”[/i]

    Don, one could argue that that is “a difference in name only,” but my fundamental problem is that thus far in any City of Davis literature/publications/reports/testimony I have yet to see “community farm” defined/described/budgeted for/et cetera. You say you have seen them described. Can you provide me a link to that description? Was that description provided to the Davis populace?

    I see this as a real educational/teaching/learning opportunity for the OSHC. They have a whole raft of very willing pupils just waiting to learn.

  30. Don Shor

    Amazingly, if you Google “community farm” or “community-supported agriculture” you will find numerous examples and definitions.
    From Wikipedia ([url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Community-supported_agriculture[/url]) comes this description of some of the organizational structures of a community farm:
    [quote] four main types of CSAs have been developed:
    Farmer managed: A farmer sets up and maintains a CSA, recruits subscribers, and controls management of the CSA.
    Shareholder/subscriber: Local residents set up a CSA and hire a farmer to grow crops, shareholders/subscribers control most management.
    Farmer cooperative: Multiple farmers develop a CSA program
    Farmer-shareholder cooperative: Farmers and local residents set up and cooperatively manage a CSA.[/quote]
    The main point is, a community farm is an actual farm. A community garden is a site with a bunch of garden plots.

  31. rmillstein

    [quote]I see this as a real educational/teaching/learning opportunity for the OSHC. They have a whole raft of very willing pupils just waiting to learn.[/quote]

    Ok, I found the appropriate minutes. Our unanimous recommendation to locate a community farm on Leland Ranch was made on [i]October 1, 2012[/i]. We then waited patiently for the Council to take it up, thinking that that would be the time to present the idea to the community. But we didn’t hear about the property again until June 2013, and, well, we all know what happened then.

    If I could find a document describing the vision of a community farm, I’d share it. But what Don says is right. It’s an actual, working farm.

  32. rmillstein

    To clarify my previous comment: the OSHC developed many such documents. But since I wasn’t on the working group, I am not sure where the latest one is.

  33. davehart

    Don is also right about community gardens. Everyone take a deep breath and understand that Don does knows the difference. Jeez, I got lost in the Cannery presentation that Matt gave us the link to. Ready to sell my house and move in over there. How do we move the discussion back to the Innovation Park? Do these Tech companies have to have their operation visible from the freeway to survive? Otherwise, why not put them out by the dump? Just sayin’.

  34. Matt Williams

    Don Shor said . . .

    [i]”There is a relatively small number of ag schools in the country. It simply isn’t reasonable to expect that the students who are flocking to UC Davis from all over the world are going to expect employment opportunities nearby. It is definitely not a reasonable basis for land-use planning to try to accommodate 4,000 graduate students every year into our jobs and housing stock. “[/i]

    Sometimes your hyperbole brings a huge smile to my face Don. Your comment above is definitely one of those times.

    Lets see how reasonable your 4,000 graduate students every year being added to the Davis housing stock is.

    In the 2011 academic year UCD had a total enrollment of 7,431 Graduate and Professional Students. Of those 3,666 were in Professional Programs (Law, Medicine, Vet Med, Education, Forensic Science), leaving 3,765 Graduate Students of which 965 are Masters students, 1,690 are pre-Dissertation Doctoral students, and 1,110 are Dissertation Doctoral students.

    Since the masters programs are two years only 480 Masters students will be finishing in any one year. Similarly the Dissertation students are on a multi-year track, so approximately 520 of them might be finishing in any one year. That gives us a pool of 1,000 to further slice and dice into technology/non-technology buckets.

    Social Sciences = 13%, Humanities, Arts and Culture = 9%, Math and Physical Sciences = 15% . . . there goes 360 of the 1,000. That leaves us 640 for Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (265), Biological Sciences (110) and Engineering (265). What percentage of those 640 do you expect to want to stay in Davis? Some will choose academic careers and UC Davis may not be hiring replacement faculty in their discipline. Some of the Engineers will want to stay in Davis but others will be comfortable dispersing to non-Davis locales. Lots of the 265 A&ES grads will disperse even if we add innovative Ag Tech jobs and businesses to the Davis economy. With UCD’s very good Med School and Med Center and ag bio tech companies, a substantial proportion of the Bio Sci 110 will seriously consider staying.

    All in all, my guesstimate is that retaining 30% of the 640 might be reasonable, which works out to 200 per year . . . not 4,000 per year.

    But that 200 doesn’t translate to 200 houses. I was talking to a young middle manager of one of Davis’ 58 Technology companies at the Graduate on Sunday. He and his wife have owned a home here in Davis for four years. She is a PhD Nutrition/Food Safety student, soon to graduate. Both of them want to stay. They are afraid though that the only jobs for her after graduation are going to be at the very closest in the Bay Area, and that will leave them no option other than to leave Davis when she graduates with her PhD. If UCD’s core competency in Food Safety were leveraged and food safety R&D jobs added to Davis, she could stay, but since they already have a house, there would be no incremental housing demand generated by her filling that incremental job.

    If one third of the 200 are in that same situation, now the housing need per year is only 130, and last time I checked 1% of the current (2012) 25,869 housing units in Davis was 260 units.

  35. Don Shor

    I didn’t bother with most of your numbers, Matt, because they weren’t really relevant to my question.
    You want Davis to add 260 housing units per year? For how many years? Where?

  36. Matt Williams

    Don Shor said . . .

    [i]”Amazingly, if you Google “community farm” or “community-supported agriculture” you will find numerous examples and definitions.”[/i]

    Don, I realize that one can Google lots of different terms and concepts, but does a bunch of individual Davis citizens Googling in their own homes translate into “community dialogue” or “full vetting”?

    Further, you haven’t addressed the heart of my question. Where in the vast array of City of Davis documentation is there any record of, or access to, any material for davis citizens to read about the game plan for establishing a Community Farm in Davis? Or even what that Community Farm is likely to be?

  37. Rob White

    All – The agenda for the Innovation Park Task Force meeting on Tuesday, Oct 29th at 5:30 pm to 6:30 pm at the City Hall Community Chamber’s Conference Room is posted on the City’s Innovation Park Task Force webpage, and can be found here: http://city-council.cityofdavis.org/on-going-committees/innovation-park-task-force. Future information about meetings, etc will be on this page as well.

    The agenda posted today at 3 pm and is here: http://city-council.cityofdavis.org/Media/CityCouncil/Documents/PDF/CityCouncil/Innovation-Park-Task-Force-Committee/Agendas/AGD 10 29 2013 Final.pdf

    We are experiencing IT difficulties with loading the rest of the packet (which was direct emailed to some of you) and updating the info on the page, but I am assured by IT it will be posted by tomorrow’s deadline of 5:30 pm, within the 72 hour Brown Act deadline.

    My apologies for the difficulties. We hope to have a new website in a few months that will address some of these challenges. If you would like the packet emailed to you prior to posting, please send me an email to rwhite@cityofdavis.org with the request.

    Thanks

  38. Matt Williams

    rmillstein said . . .

    [i]”Ok, I found the appropriate minutes. Our unanimous recommendation to locate a community farm on Leland Ranch was made on October 1, 2012. [b]We then waited patiently for the Council to take it up, thinking that that would be the time to present the idea to the community. But we didn’t hear about the property again until June 2013, and, well, we all know what happened then. [/b]

    If I could find a document describing the vision of a community farm, I’d share it. But what Don says is right. It’s an actual, working farm.”[/i]

    Roberta, I think you have shot an absolute bullseye with your comment above. The Open Space and Habitat Commission did their part in this drama very well. The problem is that this drama isn’t Julie Haris in “The Belle of Amherst.” There are lots of other characters in the drama. You have pointed out City Council as one, but there are a whole lot more that certainly could have/should have taken their turn on the stage in 2011 and 2012. For instance,

    — Wouldn’t it have made sense for the Business and Economic Development Commission (BEDC) to talk about the impact of the easement application on business and economic development?

    — Wouldn’t it have made sense for the Innovation Park Task Force to talk about the impact of the easement application on the city’s innovation park opportunities?

    — Wouldn’t it have made sense for the Finance and Budget Commission to schedule a joint meeting with the OSHC to talk about the fiscal impact of the easement on the City’s General Plan?

    — Wouldn’t it have made sense for the Safety and Parking Advisory Commission to schedule a joint meeting with the OSHC ato discuss the transportation and safety requirements associated with getting the community to the Community Farm?

    — Wouldn’t it have made sense for the Bicycle Advisory Commission to schedule a joint meeting with the OSHC to discuss any bicycle connectivity requirements associated with getting community farmers who bicycle to their farm plot in the Community Farm?

    But when you get right down to it, all the above questions a moot at this time because we can not turn back the hands of time and change history. I believe we have to accept the fact that no amount of wailing over the past failures to communicate is going to change the fiscal reality we currently face. We can only go forward . . . ideally with all our arms locked together in pursuit of the best possible outcome for the greater good of the City and its residents.

    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 (possible) 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 also strongly believe that once we get 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 . . . and we will have the reality of a Community Farm much sooner and much less expensively than if we try and do it on the upper part of the Mace 391 property.

  39. Don Shor

    Hi Rob,
    There’s a chronic problem with pdf’s from the city website: the URL’s get truncated and won’t open. See what happened in your post above. So I routinely find I have to upload the pdf to my server to provide the link. Here’s the link for the agenda (1.9 MB): [url]http://davismerchants.org/vanguard/InnovationTaskForceagendaOct292013.pdf[/url]

  40. Don Shor

    Matt, you continue to insist on linking your greenbelt proposal to development of Mace 391. It isn’t necessary, so it’s a false choice you’re presenting. The mayor noted +/- 475 acres available for business park development. There is land immediately south of Mace 391. There is land further up Mace curve. There is land near the hospital.
    It is not necessary to develop Mace 391 in order to conserve other sites.

  41. Matt Williams

    davehart said . . .

    [i]”Don is also right about community gardens. Everyone take a deep breath and understand that Don does knows the difference. Jeez, I got lost in the Cannery presentation that Matt gave us the link to. Ready to sell my house and move in over there. How do we move the discussion back to the Innovation Park? Do these Tech companies have to have their operation visible from the freeway to survive? Otherwise, why not put them out by the dump? Just sayin’.”[/i]

    Of course Don is right about the community gardens. But having Don commenting in an October 2013 blog thread does not rise to the level of community dialogue about the concept in the last half of 2011 or all 12 months of 2012. The simple fact is that until now Davis hasn’t had the foggiest idea about what the Davis plan for a community farm is, or how much that community farm will cost each taxpayer each year.

  42. rmillstein

    [quote]Wouldn’t it have made sense…[/quote]

    Matt, you’ve changed the subject. We were talking about the community farms and you were wondering where the community dialogue was about them. And I was saying that we had hoped that the dialogue would happen after we recommended the community farms. But the Council never took up our recommendation.

    The other issues you are raising aren’t relevant to what we are discussing. They are drums you are trying to beat, I get that, but they are different drums, and I don’t have time to be drawn into discussing them.

    So, if we want to talk about what happens going forward, it would [i]still[/i] be nice if the Council would have a dialogue about the community farm, and give the OSHC a chance to present on it. We’re still here, still waiting.

  43. Rob White

    Thanks Don! Staff are all pretty tired of the website malfunctions and we are very much looking forward to the new one with current features and ability to administrate at the department level. Thanks again!

  44. Rob White

    The Agenda and packet was emailed to the OSHC today. I am hopeful they all received it, but if anyone is aware that someone was left off the list, please let me know.

    Point of clarification: The Task Force meeting on Oct 29th at 5:30 pm is very short and is meant to align a framework to conduct a larger community dialogue. It was recommended by staff that the Task Force set a process, establish some short-term goals, and direct which topics to discuss.

    They would then direct staff to hold a Community Forum on Tuesday, Nov 5th at 5:30 pm in City Hall Community Chambers. The Task Force would not be officially meeting again until December to take the Council’s direction and begin creating an action plan for that decision. The Community Forum on Nov 5th will be a longer meeting (expected to be about 3 hours) with some brief presentations of info by staff and major stakeholder groups, and then an opportunity for the community members to make their ideas known. This info will be used for the Council discussion in mid-November.

    I am hopeful that we can come together as a community at that meeting and start to identify pros and cons of each of the options. Don listed a few in a previous post a few days ago that I hadn’t even thought about, including vineyards. The Forum is meant to be an idea generator. I hope we can all come to the meeting with that in mind so we can get some really interesting work done. This will help the council weigh the options and make better decisions. Staff will then implement the Council’s decision.

  45. rmillstein

    [quote]The Agenda and packet was emailed to the OSHC today.[/quote]

    Yes, at Matt Williams’ request, thank you.

    [quote]Point of clarification: The Task Force meeting on Oct 29th at 5:30 pm is very short and is meant to align a framework to conduct a larger community dialogue. It was recommended by staff that the Task Force set a process, establish some short-term goals, and direct which topics to discuss. [/quote]

    Thank you, I understand that now. When I wrote earlier that the OSHC was not involved, I was under the mistaken impression, which I had inferred from the article above, that the meeting on the 29th would discuss Leland Ranch specifically.

    It is still the case, however, that the OSHC is not being included in this deliberation process as a Commission. Showing up as citizens is not the same thing. This is not meant to be a criticism of you or the Task Force, Rob, I am simply stating a fact. As I commented earlier in this thread, the OSHC explicitly asked to be consulted on decisions that would involve other properties to be considered for open space acquisition. So far we have not been taken up on that request. I hope that that changes soon.

  46. rmillstein

    [quote]Wouldn’t it have made sense for the Bicycle Advisory Commission to schedule a joint meeting with the OSHC to discuss any bicycle connectivity requirements associated with getting community farmers who bicycle to their farm plot in the Community Farm? [/quote]

    Why on earth are you still saying this when you’ve been told that it’s not relevant? It’s hard for me to take you as an earnest discussant if you repeat things that you know to be irrelevant.

  47. rmillstein

    [quote]Of course Don is right about the community gardens. But having Don commenting in an October 2013 blog thread does not rise to the level of community dialogue about the concept in the last half of 2011 or all 12 months of 2012. The simple fact is that until now Davis hasn’t had the foggiest idea about what the Davis plan for a community farm is, or how much that community farm will cost each taxpayer each year.[/quote]

    And I have already explained why there was no dialogue. But when I did, you accusing me of playing a part in a drama and went off on a completely different tangent.

  48. Matt Williams

    rmillstein said . . .

    [i]”Matt, you’ve changed the subject. We were talking about the community farms and you were wondering where the community dialogue was about them. And I was saying that we had hoped that the dialogue would happen after we recommended the community farms. But the Council never took up our recommendation.

    The other issues you are raising aren’t relevant to what we are discussing. They are drums you are trying to beat, I get that, but they are different drums, and I don’t have time to be drawn into discussing them.”[/i]

    I understand your point Roberta, but I see your example of the failure to communicate about the community farm to be the same drum as the failure to communicate on BEDC issues and the failure to communicate on Innovation Park Task Force issues, etc. The common theme is a failure to communicate, and every failure to communicate is relevant. OSHC did its job and stood ready to communicate whenever and wherever that communication might take place. It was the support systems around you where the failure took place.

    rmillstein said . . .

    [i]”So, if we want to talk about what happens going forward, it would still be nice if the Council would have a dialogue about the community farm, and give the OSHC a chance to present on it. We’re still here, still waiting.”[/i]

    You have my full support that such a presentation should come very early in the “going forward” process. The earlier the better. I’m particularly interested in hearing how the community farm and the CLBL Urban Farm synergize.

  49. Don Shor

    [quote]Don listed a few in a previous post a few days ago that I hadn’t even thought about, including vineyards. [/quote]
    More? Here are some other ideas…
    (1 – 4 were listed on the Chamber op ed, 5 – 8 were on my last post on this topic.)

    5) Break up the 391 acres into 20 20-acre parcels and lease them to organic and sustainable farmers. Use flexible terms that allow profit-sharing instead of a standard lease.

    6) Develop a public park on the site, with community gardens, public paths and greenbelts, a botanical garden, and small leased areas for farm production, and a small campus area for studies of sustainable agriculture.

    7) Re-establish native Valley Grassland habitat on the site. Develop an interpretive center for public education.

    8) Lease the whole property to a commercial vineyard to develop a Davis appellation wine label featuring the varietal grapes developed by UC Davis and Dr. Olmo. Share the profits with the vintner.

    9) Develop best-management practices for organic, sustainable production of strawberries, to help the (predominantly Hmong) local berry farmers transition their fields from methyl bromide usage.

    10) Establish a germplasm repository, growing seed stock for farmers, of important open-pollinated vegetable crops. Test heirloom seed strains for local adaptability, develop regional OP strains suitable for the Sacramento Valley. Sell the produce. Sell the seed to farmers, wholesale nurseries, and the gardening public.

    11) Partner with UCD to expand the UCD germplasm repository of important woody fruit varieties, notably figs and pomegranates. Purchase budwood from UCD and grow it out for sale to growers.

    12) Contract out or team with UCD to establish a testing and evaluation site for minor grain crops and grains of historic and special genetic value. Develop OP selections for sale to growers worldwide. Identify and develop production techniques for rains of possible agricultural importance.

    13) Lease land for production of fresh cut flowers.

    14) Partner with the UC Citrus Experiment Station (UC Riverside) to develop a Northern California site for testing and evaluation of mandarin orange varieties that extend the ripening season. Build an on-site consumer evaluation facility. Sell the oranges and juice to passing motorists. Maintain a virus indexing site; sell the budwood (very valuable) to growers.

    15) Develop blends of grain crops for poultry feed, and develop best-management practices for organic production of feed. Contract with farmers to grow out and sell the seed blends.

  50. Matt Williams

    rmillstein said . . .

    [i]”Why on earth are you still saying this when you’ve been told that it’s not relevant? It’s hard for me to take you as an earnest discussant if you repeat things that you know to be irrelevant.”[/i]

    I understand that you have told me what you have told me, but at the last OSHC meeting I detected some palpable difference of opinion between Greg and Helena about how the community farm concept would be discussed in the joint Council-OSHC meeting. Greg also wand very direct in stating that an agenda item of “How will the community farm be funded?” be on the joint Council-OSHC agenda. Bottom-line, it isn’t really clear what the “community” part of the community farm is.

    Two words that my wife says no human being should say to another human being are “Trust me.” I’m confident that with respect to the community farm “there is a there there” but at this stage of the dialogue, what that “there” is just a wee bit fuzzy. I can be patient until OSHC gets a chance to present its concept to the going forward process . . . as long as you can be patient with my ignorance about just how much “community” there is going to be in the community farm. I much prefer sins of commission to sins of omission, so I’m regularly guilty of over thinking things.

  51. Matt Williams

    I’m also a “more is more” person as opposed to a “less is more” person. Therefore I regularly keep open possibilities long after a less is more person will have discarded them.

  52. Matt Williams

    Don Shor said . . .

    [i]”I didn’t bother with most of your numbers, Matt, because they weren’t really relevant to my question.
    You want Davis to add 260 housing units per year? For how many years? Where?”[/i]

    Let me answer your last question first. Where = Nishi and Solano Park.

    The for how many years answer depends on how successful the leveraging of technology transfer is out of UCD into the innovation parks.

    No, 260 houses is the 1% Growth Cap threshold currently. I referenced it to put the 130 number into context. Bottom-line we could accommodate the graduate students who would want to stay and add to Davis’ intellectual capital, and only generate one half of one percent growth . . . 50% of the Growth Cap.

  53. Matt Williams

    Growth Izzue said . . .

    [i]”You want Davis to add 260 housing units per year? For how many years? Where?

    How about El Macero?”[/i]

    GI, it is interesting that you brought that up. The El Macero community is in the process of submitting a proposal to increase the total number of units by 5%, which will be spread over the next few years. So good old El Macero is doing its part to densify and accept its fair share of any housing growth that happens in Davis as a whole.

  54. Don Shor

    We’re going to need almost ALL of the ‘growth cap’ amount to accommodate student renters. There’s nothing left for your graduate students, and nothing left for the professors and UCD staff. Nishi and Solano Park are going to be student housing predominantly. You haven’t solved the puzzle of where the people who come here for jobs at the tech park are going to live when you answer ‘Nishi and Solano Park’.

    What’s 5% of the housing in El Macero? There’s only about 700 people there total.

    The community farm doesn’t seem to me to merit this amount of dissection. It’s an interesting concept, but hardly central to the idea of putting an ag conservation easement on Mace 391. I think you’re over-analyzing it, and I wonder why.

  55. Matt Williams

    The reason why is that it is one of the “canaries in the coal mine” that clearly illustrates how robust the failure to communicate was in the period from July 2011 through early 2013. OSHC did their job and then the ball was dropped . . . badly.

  56. Don Shor

    [quote]“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.[/quote] — Mayor Joe Krovoza.

    There really is no basis for your continued assertion that there was a massive failure to communicate about the easement or the planning regarding a business park. What came out of left field was the land swap proposal, which had all the appearance of a last-minute backroom deal. The other part, the legitimate, ongoing discussion of an easement and open space for Mace 391, was fully discussed. Agendized, brought before various commissions, discussed with public comment. Discussions about the details of something like the community farm do not prove some grand failure of communication.
    This is an ongoing misdirection of the topic, simply put forth to support the principle that we need some wide-ranging community discussion about Mace 391. Those who are promoting that “discussion” are those who want to block the easement and develop a business park there. That’s the purpose of pushing the idea that there was insufficient analysis or insufficient “communication.” It’s a means to an end: block the easement, and build on Mace 391.

  57. Matt Williams

    Don Shor said . . .

    [i]”There really is no basis for your continued assertion that there was a massive failure to communicate about the easement or the planning regarding a business park. What came out of left field was the land swap proposal.”[/i]

    Don, when someone comes to your nursery and they say to you, “I want you to tell me about everything you have” do you ignore the plants in your nursery which are four times as valuable, and which you have four times as much of?

    Said another way, when you get your retirement savings report in the mail, do you spend massively more time and effort and thoroughness reviewing an asset/investment that is worth one quarter of another one of your assets?

    That is what the City did during the 18 months beginning July 2011. It stopped paying attention to an asset (Mace 391) in its portfolio of assets that was worth at least four times as much to the City than another asset (the Cannery). Further, it made a decision to dispose of the asset at a fraction of its monetary value without reviewing that decision with the Finance and Budget Commission.

    Monetary value is not the only way of valuing an asset of the City’s. Look at the amount of time and effort and thoroughness that we spent on reviewing the decision about what to do with the Tank House prior to approving the building of Mishka’s. Clearly the Tank House had value beyond money. The same was true of the Pena House. Mace 391 has value beyond its monetary value, but that only adds to the mystery of why the 18-month cone of silence existed in 2011 and 2012.

    Don Shor said . . .

    [i]”The other part, the legitimate, ongoing move toward an easement for Mace 391, was fully discussed. Agendized, brought before various commissions, discussed with public comment.”[/i]

    Fully discussed? Various commissions? Discussed with public comment?

    The minutes of the one Commission that I know discussed the acquisition, OSHC on October 10, 2010, reflect that not a single public comment was heard.[quote]. Easement Acquisition – First State Bank of NW Arkansas Property

    Staff presented background information. Acquisition Sub-committee members provided a recommendation to the Commission to proceed with the acquisition. Eileen Samitz, member of the public, provided input in opposition of the acquisition. One of the primary points of discussion was the location and the agricultural resource value of the property. As detailed in the Commission background report, the property ranks highly in two acquisition priority categories established by the City: (1) Urban Fringe and (2) Agricultural Resources.

    Following discussion, the Commission took the following action:

    On a motion by Commissioner Davis, seconded by Commissioner Chung, the Commission recommended:

    That the City Council approve the acquisition of the property in fee for the purpose of sale to another party in fee with retention of an agricultural conservation easement by the City.

    The motion was approved 7-0[/quote]
    The minutes of the November 16, 2010 Council meeting aren’t on the City website, and Zoe is trying to rectify that, so we don’t have any way of confirming whether there was any public comment on the purchase.

    As Tuesday’s Staff Report shows, after the November 16, 2010 Council meeting there were no other public meetings about the property or the easement until the June 3, 2013 OSHC meeting.

  58. Don Shor

    Mayor Krovoza answered your assertions. The easement has been a three year process. Building a business park on Mace 391 wasn’t vetted because the site was on track for ag preservation. The Innovation Task Force identified other business sites. And it would be really great if you and the other proponents of Mace 391 as a business park would now spend even 1/10th of your energy discussing how to move forward with those, instead of trying to sabotage the conservation of the land on Mace 391. 475 acres should be plenty, I’d think.

  59. Matt Williams

    Don, Mayor Krovoza’s assessment of the robustness and sufficiency of the past communication was restricted to the activities of [u]one body[/u], the Innovation Park Task Force. It will come as no surprise to you that I firmly believe that the picture is much broader than that, and that the communication during 2011 and 2012 should have reflected the breadth of the issue.

    The fact is that the Mayor’s comments did not address any of the communication [u]input failures[/u] to the Innovation Park Task Force process. His comments only related to the Innovation Park Task Force’s [u]output[/u]. The IT industry has an acronym for that . . . GIGO.

  60. rmillstein

    [quote]I understand that you have told me what you have told me, but at the last OSHC meeting I detected some palpable difference of opinion between Greg and Helena about how the community farm concept would be discussed in the joint Council-OSHC meeting.[/quote]

    Whatever difference of opinion you thought you detected, the plan has always been for a community farm and never for community gardens. Not that the OSHC is opposed to community gardens, of course, but rather, they thought that the community would benefit from something new.

    [quote]I’m confident that with respect to the community farm “there is a there there” but at this stage of the dialogue, what that “there” is just a wee bit fuzzy. I can be patient until OSHC gets a chance to present its concept to the going forward process . . . as long as you can be patient with my ignorance about just how much “community” there is going to be in the community farm. I much prefer sins of commission to sins of omission, so I’m regularly guilty of over thinking things. [/quote]

    You say you don’t understand what a community farm is. Fine. But what you’ve done on this thread isn’t expressing your confusion; instead, you keep highlighting the possible cost of bicycle renovations that are in fact not part a required part of the proposal — which is exactly what critics of the project try to do. So, instead of it looking like you want dialogue, it looks like you just want to tank the project. But as others have said (as was said at the Council meeting), the easment is one thing and the community farm is another. The OSHC recommended the easment on Leland Ranch in late 2010; it recommended the community farm on Leland Ranch in late 2012. Both are important but they are not tied together.

    I am amused by your implication you don’t trust my word, after publicly chastising the OSHC for not participating on the Vanguard. So, then, we agree on one thing. There should be a public disucssion of the community farms proposal and no more chastising about a lack of Vanguard participation.

    I repeat again that the community farm proposal does not have bicycle modifications as a required element.

  61. Matt Williams

    Roberta, first, where have I ever said I don’t trust your word? Where have I even implied that I don’t trust your word? The more that the community farm concept gets talked about here, the more confusing it gets. I’m not trying to kill it at all. I’m trying to understand it. As I pointed out in an earlier post, the Center for Land-Based Learning (CLBL) did a superb job Tuesday night presenting their community farm concept. They called it an Urban Farm rather than a community farm, but it seemed to me with my dearth of knowledge that CLBL was describing a community farm, or at the very least a farm that can/will benefit the community.

    You say that the community farm proposal does not have bicycle modifications. Does that mean there will be no bicycle access?

    I sent you the following as an e-mail in the last hour, but I think it is worth repeating here. [i]The community farm proposal is connected to a proposed innovation park because of the opportunity to forge a public-private partnership that can leverage both private and public assets in order to accomplish much more together than we possibly could accomplish separately. That public-private partnership could result in a situation where OSHC has a community farm that has 10 times as many acres as it currently is envisioned as having. Of course, since it is becoming increasingly clear to me that I don’t really know what the OSHC vision is for a community farm, it is hard to know whether having it 10 times larger is a good thing or a neutral thing or a bad thing. Clarifying for everyone up front what the community farm is and isn’t will help a whole lot in determining whether it is a “leverageable” concept. [/i]

  62. Don Shor

    There is no linkage between a community farm proposal and an innovation park proposal.
    There is no linkage between a community farm proposal and the ag conservation easement on Leland Ranch/Mace 391.
    There is no linkage between a community farm proposal and Matt’s greenbelt proposal.
    There is no need whatsoever to clarify anything more about the community farm proposal at this time.

  63. Matt Williams

    Okay Don, at the last Open Space and Habitat Commission Greg House (during a discussion of the proposed agenda of a joint OSHC / City Council meeting insisted that “How do we fund the Community Farm?” be added to the proposed agenda.

    If you want to be able to afford the community farm proposal you need to identify sources of funds. A puplic-private partnership provides those funds. Similarly the public-private partnership has the potential to fund the leveraging of the 391 acres of ag farmland conservation into upwards of 3,000 acres of ag farmland conservation. The simple truth is that you grossly underestimate the power of public-private partnerships.

  64. Don Shor

    [quote]Similarly the public-private partnership has the potential to fund the leveraging of the 391 acres of ag farmland conservation into upwards of 3,000 acres of ag farmland conservation.[/quote]
    You want to sell and develop Mace 391 and try to use the funds to buy easements on other lands. We all know that. But that isn’t necessary, and it would be a lost opportunity to protect that farmland and establish a firm urban limit line. The only highly likely outcome of your current endeavor is that Mace 391 would be developed.

  65. Frankly

    Let’s analyze this….

    [i]You want to sell and develop Mace 391 and try to use the funds to buy easements on other lands. We all know that.[/I]

    Good to hear this acknowledged.

    [I]But that isn’t necessary, and it would be a lost opportunity to protect that farmland and establish a firm urban limit line.[/I]

    This is completely back asswards. It isn’t necessary to protect this parcel of farmland and it isn’t necessary to establish a firm urban limit line there. However, it IS necessary to pursue any and every opportunity to bring in revenue to the city.

    [I]The only highly likely outcome of your current endeavor is that Mace 391 would be developed. [/i]

    Come on Don. Matt is proposing a win-win. The open-space people get open space and the business park people get a business park.

    I think you are obsessed with Mace being some boundary that you cannot envision Davis ever expanding beyond. That is just a failure of imagination.

    This urban line limit is an invention of statist to help them deal with their fear of change. Growth is not bad. Growth is not sprawl. Davis is already the most population-dense little city in California. We already have more preserved open space than any other comparable city. I think you should stop looking at the glass half empty, rejoice, calm down, and let in some economic development. I swear you will not regret it. It will be good for you and all the residents of Davis.

  66. Don Shor

    I am not opposed to, nor afraid of, growth. I have made that abundantly clear in numerous posts on the Vanguard over several years. I support “letting in some economic development,” as you well know. I have specified where I believe the city can develop and where it would be less desirable. I have done that in detail, over and over.
    The only thing I don’t know is where [i]you[/i] would [i]not [/i]develop.

  67. Don Shor

    [quote]However, it IS necessary to pursue any and every opportunity to bring in revenue to the city. [/quote]
    We need to establish what the revenue and spending issues are, how much money is needed, and develop a balanced plan for dealing with those. That involves cutting spending, increasing revenues via appropriate economic development, renewing existing taxes for specific purposes, and increasing taxes for some purposes. I have not opposed economic development as part of a budget strategy. I have said over and over where I think economic development can occur.
    Your continued use of the term “obsession” and your projection of “fear” is an unnecessary denigration. I value farmland, open space, and wildlife habitat, and support measures to protect those things. I believe we should take action to protect the parcels that are most vulnerable to development as a first priority when selecting sites for the use of Measure O funds. Mace 391 is clearly a site vulnerable to such development, and developing it puts the properties east and northeast of it at risk of development pressure. That is very, very obvious to anyone who has been reading here for any amount of time. It’s not an obsession. You and I have different values.

  68. Frankly

    Don – Sorry, I wasn’t referring specifically to you with my comments. But I appreciate your response and points. I see now that you are worried about some slippery slope with Mace 391 starting to involve other adjacent land. I think that might be a fundamental difference with our two views. I would prefer that the city explore each land use opportunity as it develops within a sustainability planning framework. I don’t believe in urban boundaries for a town the size of Davis… especially given our preexisting hyper density. I can support some open space boundary between Woodland and Dixon… but we are not anywhere close to having to worry about the contiguous city problem. And we are already lucky with our eastern side causeway border. We are also not at risk of sprawl. And we are just at risk of growing some. I can’t help but sound denigrating to those that don’t want Davis to grow. I think you support some growth, although you have been somewhat nebulous in that position given many of your comments about business growth causing demands for housing growth.

    I cannot envision a better use for Mace 391 than a business park all things considered. When I drive by that bit of land, it resonates as being a perfect location for a business park. No other site has the access. Add accessible open space, and it is a win, win. Capture the revenue maximizing its value and it is a win, win, win.

  69. Don Shor

    Let me be very specific here. I would support a business park on the property owned by Ramos and Bruner. That is 200 acres with even better access. As with the Nishi site, it’s too bad to lose that great farming soil, but being freeway frontage and directly across from existing development — it’s kind of inevitable. And once there is a conservation easement on Mace 391, the development pressures that would otherwise result from developing those parcels diminishes. There is additional land inside the Mace curve that could be developed. Along with sites near the hospital, there are 400 – 500 acres available for economic development.

    At Mace 391 we have a unique opportunity to preserve very good farmland and establish an urban limit line. Urban limit lines are [i]not[/i] an adverse thing, they are a standard and very useful tool: they provide clear guidance to land speculators and developers about what is available and what is off limits. They don’t mean no-growth, or even slow-growth. Woodland has an urban limit line, and cannot be construed as slow-growth. Some cities do use them as a tool to restrict growth. A better use is to direct growth to the sites where it is appropriate. And the word appropriate, when we are talking about any city in the Central Valley that is in the midst of prime farmland, means developing on poorer soils.

    I cannot envision a better use for Mace 391 than farming it. And farming is changing. It doesn’t have to mean monoculture with conventional management. I can imagine a mix of great uses on Mace 391, either directed by the city or contracted out to others to manage. I could list, off the top of my head, a dozen outstanding, forward-looking, research-focused agricultural uses that would fit on an ag-conserved property. Things that would tie in with the unique agricultural strengths of UC Davis — the premier agricultural science institution in the United States.
    You can build a tech park or business park anywhere, on any soil. You can only have a great agricultural showcase on good agricultural soil. And once you pave over it, it’s gone forever.
    Win, win, to me, means conserving and developing, with wise use of the resources. 475 acres for business development, 391 acres for agriculture. Seems fair to me.

    As for Matt’s greenbelt, I would personally prefer to see the Open Space and Habitat Commission be deciding which sites are priorities for the use of our Measure O funds. My guess is their list would look a lot like his.

    [i]Conservative[/i] and [i]conservation[/i] come from the same word root. Once upon a time, Republicans were proud to be known for conserving land and resources. They started our National Park system. I respect those values and wish they were more strongly held today. Developing land, to me, is a short-sighted use of a valuable resource.

  70. Don Shor

    Looks like Woodland is going to solve our housing problem.
    [url]http://woodlandrecord.com/petition-for-city-council-choose-homes-not-p3337-1.htm[/url]
    “On October 15, 2013, the Woodland City Council voted to allow the addition of 10,000 more houses and apartments over the next 20 years. Woodland currently has approximately 20,000 housing units.”

  71. Mr.Toad

    “On October 15, 2013, the Woodland City Council voted to allow the addition of 10,000 more houses and apartments over the next 20 years. Woodland currently has approximately 20,000 housing units.”

    Sadly, more leapfrog development for Davis. How many is Davis with better economic opportunity potential going to build in the same time frame?

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