Tech and Business Leaders Urge Council to Reconsider Mace 391

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Morris-1It was a show of force during the public comment period and some of the top business and tech leaders in this community asked the council to at least further examine their decision to put the parcel east of Mace known as Mace 391 into permanent conservation easement.

While steadfastly maintaining they were not asking for a reconsideration – which was not possible anyway – Councilmembers Brett Lee and Lucas Frerichs pushed the council to put an information-only item on Mace 391 on the October 15 city council meeting agenda.  While they would not be able to act on any information, it does crack the door open slightly.

Davis Chamber of Commerce Chair Gregg Herrington reported that on September 26, the Davis Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors voted to “request that the City Council reconsider the June 11, 2013 vote regarding the city-owned Mace 391 property on the basis that the community has not had an adequate opportunity to fully explore and understand the full implications of the decision.”

They ask that the results of the June 11 vote be vacated and returned to staff for an “expedited but more complete presentation of the options and long term ramifications of this decision as regards to the planning for the long term agricultural easements together with the long-term needs to accommodate viable locations for desirable technology and employers within the community.”

The final date for the NRCS (Natural Resources Conservation Service) Grant Funding is March 2014, at which point the land would go into permanent agricultural easement and any opportunity to reconsider the use of the parcel would be permanently lost.

David Morris, who made the original proposal for a business park on Mace 391 and a land swap to put the conservation easement on the Shriner’s property, told council, as the managing director of TechDavis, “There is broad consensus among our group that the city’s on the wrong path on the Mace 391 conservation easement.”

“I would encourage the city council to re-agendize this item so that we can have a broad community debate, informed by the appropriate staff work about what’s best for the entire community, not simply what’s best for one segment of the community,” Mr. Morris told the council.

Tyler Schilling of Schilling Robotics spoke to council, as well.  “We’re going to approach 300 employees here shortly and we’re going to need a bigger facility probably within two years,” said Mr. Schilling.

He moved here at four years old in 1963 and said, “I really enjoy the quality of life here and it helps us attract and retain the kinds of employees that we really want in our business.  I must say that customers that visit us mainly from oversees really always comment on what a wonderful community it is that we have here.”

He wants to see Davis have options so that his company can stay in Davis and build a new and larger facility.

Robert Medearis told the council, “You all know what to do on this east side, you know that we badly need business parks to develop ideas that are generated with this fine university that we’ve had and allow incubators but more than just incubators, business to develop over in those areas.”

Mr. Medearis founded the $4 billion Silicon Valley Bank where he served as Chairman from 1983 to 1989, and is now Director Emeritus. He is a retired Consulting Professor for Stanford University’s School of Engineering and, at the University of California Davis, the School of Management.

“We have a unique opportunity, you know the details, you know the facts behind it, I encourage you to connect all of the dots and make the right decision,” Mr. Medearis added.

Kemble Pope, Executive Director of the Davis Chamber of Commerce, noted that “this community has not had a good conversation about the tradeoffs we are going to be making between protecting our ag heritage and preparing for a future that is economically sustainable.”

He noted he has a unique perspective as the past chair of the Open Space and Habitat Commission, he said he understands “the tradeoffs and importance that we have there.”

“No one likes how the decision went down at Mace 391, in retrospect,” he said.  “I think we can do better now.”

As Dennis Lindsey, Chief Financial Officer of the Nugget Market, noted, the council has not followed its own guidelines with respect to the east edge of the community in terms of reviewing “existing land use zoning and tax structure of objectives of supporting growth and retention of innovation businesses and maximizing revenue opportunities.”

“I think taking the east edge off the table, I can’t give you guys a very good grade with respect to how you’re performing with respect to the resolution there,” he said.  “In my opinion it is poor stewardship of our assets to agree to dispose of what is arguably one of our most valuable assets without considering alternative scenarios.”

Doby Fleeman, a board member of the Chamber and owner of Davis Ace, noted his concern that we have cut the city’s budget to the bone but argued, “What we have not done is talk about revenue generating opportunities.”

He spoke of “the value and significance of vibrant technology employment sector whether it be manufacturing, research and development, biotechnology, engineering in this community.”  He continued, “The loss of Bayer is an example from a company standpoint.”

Mr. Fleeman noted that the impact of that loss will be felt across the community.  Bayer was one of their largest customers.  “It has cost us the loss of a large employer like that and conversely the ability to attract – which we can – and bring in world class employers into the community.”

“The area on the Mace corridor is one of the most valuable pieces of property in the community that’s been reflected in findings by Studio 30 at UCD and also the business park study group,” he said urging the council “to reconsider or somehow take a pause on the decision regarding an ag easement which is irreversible.  I don’t know how many people appreciate that, but because of the nature of the funding, we would not have flexibility in future if it turned out we wished that we had an opportunity to have a larger business park.”

One entrepreneur, Ken Ouimet, Founder of Engage3, told the council that he started a Venture Capital backed company in the 1990s, and they had trouble getting funding in Sacramento County.  Ultimately, they went to Arizona and became successful with one of the fastest growing companies.

“We decided to come back and headquarter our company here in Davis – we see a lot of opportunity for growth.  We have already acquired a company in Sacramento and moved it here.  We’re going through explosive growth,” he said, but they are already crowded in their facilities.

To move forward, he said they need additional space.  “That’s one of the concerns we have,” he said.  “As I talk to Venture Capitalists, I’m seeing a lot of excitement about Davis being the Silicon Valley of Agriculture.  Looking forward, we’re going to need a lot of room for that growth and the technology companies that come out of that.”

David Chan, an 11-year resident of Davis who came from the Silicon Valley, told the council that after seeing the growth of the Silicon Valley, he sees similar opportunity in Davis “because I work with a lot of entrepreneurs, startups, UC Davis, and I’ve noticed how great the technology is, how great the people are here and I feel that this area of Davis has the same opportunity as the Silicon Valley has.”

Mr. Chan told council that the decision on Mace 391 was not taking Davis in the right direction.  He asked that the issue be put back on the agenda for everyone to consider.

Jeff Boone is the executive director of a 25-year-old company which works with the Small Business Administration to create jobs.  He said that they have created a lot of jobs in California over that time, however, at this time they are growing in size.  “I am having difficulty finding suitable real estate, commercial real estate in this town,” he said.  “There is a risk we might have to move.  We don’t want to move.”

“I urge the council to consider the supply of commercial real estate for existing businesses, to keep them here is really important,” he stated.

With regard to the Mace 391 project, he said, “It’s a good idea to pause and really look at this.  The other reason to consider it, for our city budget problems, and if we’re to generate revenue, there’s really only one way to do it other than raising taxes, and that’s business and economic development.”

Council will receive an update on the process; however, at this time, the item is not agendized to change policy, only to provide a chance for additional information to come out.

(Editor’s note, due to a technical problem with the city’s recording equipment, I was unable to go back and get some of the names of the speakers.  If anyone has a recording that they can get us of the full meeting, please email us).

—David M. Greenwald

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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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39 thoughts on “Tech and Business Leaders Urge Council to Reconsider Mace 391”

  1. Mr.Toad

    Silicon Valley Bank and Schilling Robotics, these are serious people trying to get this community to do what is in its best interest for the future. I hope the council listens.

    In fairness, the process was all screwed up last time and both the community and the council were not well informed. A do-over is a good idea with an honest discussion of the costs and benefits of the different options. Kudos to Brett and Lucas for asking to reexamine this issue.

  2. Mr.Toad

    Sure with no money or title to any land involved you offer some irrelevant idea out of the blue. How about engaging in an honest discussion of what is on the table. Medaris, Schilling and Morris are serious people willing to invest serious money to address serious issues. Your flippant and unserious response, whether or not you recognize how unserious it seems, is embarrassing.

  3. David M. Greenwald

    I received this too late to put in the article, but will post as an attachment:

    [quote]From: Julie Morris
    Sent: Tuesday, October 01, 2013 4:32 PM
    To: mayor@cityofdavis.org; dwolk@cityofdavis.org; rswanson@cityofdavis.org; lucasf@cityofdavis.org; blee@cityofdavis.org
    Cc: Pam Marrone
    Subject: Marrone Bio Innovations’ Support for Revisiting Mace Office Park Space

    Hello,

    We would like to express support for the concept of reopening dialogue on the proposed business park space at the intersection of Mace and 2nd streets. We believe that the City Council would serve the community in reconsidering the long term impact of a permanent conservation easement being placed on property that could limit the economic development prospects of Davis.

    Our company, like Bayer/Agraquest, has prospects of growing well beyond the current level of activity and employment that we represent today. We are fortunate in being able to move into the space that Bayer/AQ is vacating in Interland’s Drew Ave. office park next summer. But looking to the future we are unsure of where we would expand from there. There is nowhere currently in Davis that could house a company double or triple the size of today’s Marrone Bio Innovations. While we do not have plans to leave town, we would like to know that we have the ability to grow in the future within Davis and not just within Yolo County like Bayer/AQ decided to do by moving to West Sacramento.

    While we trust the Council and the city management to make the right decision for Davis, we want to make sure there is adequate time for all positions to be presented and that time is taken for the community to understand the proposals that have been developed for the Mace business park. And how the conservation easements would impact those proposals that could be so vital to Davis’ economic future. We do not see another location in or around Davis that would be as well suited for a business park at the Mace space at 2nd Street given its ease of access from the freeway and frontage road signage opportunity.

    Thank you for reconsidering this matter so vital to Davis’ economic future!

    Regards,

    Julie

    Julie I. Morris
    VP Corporate Development
    Marrone Bio Innovations, Inc.
    [/quote]

  4. David M. Greenwald

    Mr. Toad: While I understand your point in your second post, I would make a couple in response.

    First, everyone who spoke on Tuesday asked for a full community conversation, clearly Don’s suggest of an alternative location – in fact, a location identified by the Innovation Business Park Task Force as a possible location is within that spirit.

    Second, Mace 391 is a city owned parcel and the best use of that parcel needs to be discussed.

    However, from my perspective, whatever discussion we have becomes more difficult if deadlines pass and the 391 goes into permanent easement. I’d rather have options on the table that we dismiss because there are better options than have choices precluded.

  5. Mr.Toad

    “in fact, a location identified by the Innovation Business Park Task Force as a possible location is within that spirit.”

    It may be but without any underpinning it comes off as unserious and more like giving these people the finger than a desire for a serious conversation.

  6. Don Shor

    I figured my previous post was sufficient shorthand for the discussions we’ve already had on this project. But to summarize:
    — You don’t annex and develop prime agricultural land. That is a core tenet of our General Plan, and the county General Plan, and reflects the community’s values and consensus.
    — There is other land available. The map I posted showed some of it. There is other low-quality soil in that region that can be annexed and developed, with good freeway access.
    — If the business leaders and principals involved in the East Davis discussion are serious about the need for a business park, they can turn their attention and resources to those other, more suitable sites.
    It seems that won’t occur until Mace 391 is taken off the table and put into permanent ag conservation status.

    So the sooner that happens, apparently, the sooner we will move forward with planning for business sites that don’t violate sound land-use principles.

  7. Silent majority

    The NW quadrant is a non-starter.
    – in the floodplain
    – infrastructure problems (sewer, water, 113 interchange, etc)
    – lack of major end user interest
    – no I-80 visibility
    – etc

    The Mace quadrant is the only credible alternative in Yolo County. Serious people are now coming forward to make a compelling case. The region (and quite frankly the world) is watching to see if the community of Davis has the maturity and courage to step up and support the vision of Davis/UCD as a world-class innovation center anchored by the world’s top ranked ag school and a world-class university town.

  8. Don Shor

    [quote]The NW quadrant is a non-starter.
    – in the floodplain [/quote]
    So is most of Stonegate and the entire developed north part of Woodland including practically all of their retail and commercial developments.
    [url]http://www.yolocounty.org/Index.aspx?page=577[/url]

  9. Silent majority

    DP: I understand your point. My perspective is that it adds unnecessary costs. Why burn those dollars to bring online a site that the major end users aren’t interested in? Rob White has cited examples of business parks that are failing because location wasn’t given adequate weight.

  10. Frankly

    From the perspective of a Davis resident, I really do not care where we locate any tech business park. I get Don’s determination to preserve higher grade farmland. Again, I think that is myopic in that farming is just one of many economic uses for land, and California has plenty of quality farmland, just not enough water to farm it.

    Think deeply about that point because it really does negate the altruistic claim about preserving farmland, and sheds light on probable ulterior motives to ultimately stop or slow the population growth of Davis, or to prevent the alteration of the political orientation of the voting majority.

    But there is a rational argument to be made to build on lower quality soil if that is an option.

    My problem is that I do not think it is an option.

    Any project starts with interest from the capable parties that can make it happen. There is currently no interest in the surrounding hospital land for building an innovation business park. I don’t know exactly why, but access and water drainage problems have been explained to me in the past.

    Conversely, there is tremendous interest in the Mace 391 property for an innovation park.

    Another thing to consider… if the interest is to create public farm resources on that Mace 391 property, there are huge transportation and logistics challenges. It would make much more sense to swap out that area with something closer to Mace Ranch and Wild Horse where there is better connectivity.

    As I understand the 2/3 easement requirement, giving in on Mace 391 would provide the open space and farmland preservation folks 700-800 acres of preservation chips. It seems so obvious a win-win for everyone to support this concept… especially considering the economic and tax revenue benefits that derive from the business that would locate here.

    It is win-win… unless you are no-change.

  11. Davis Progressive

    that’s a fair point, but what about the fact that the innovation business park task force found that land suitable and rob has been pushing the city to act on the task force?

  12. Don Shor

    [quote]California has plenty of quality farmland, just not enough water to farm it.

    Think deeply about that point because it really does negate the altruistic claim about preserving farmland, and sheds light on probable ulterior motives to ultimately stop or slow the population growth of Davis, or to prevent the alteration of the political orientation of the voting majority. [/quote]
    I have thought “deeply” about it and it is provably not true with respect to Yolo County, as has been pointed out to you several times now.
    Please don’t question my motives again.

  13. Davis Progressive

    this is from the innovation park task force…

    [quote]Two peripheral sites were identified for initial consideration: the Mace-I-80 site (85 acres), and the Parlin site west and northwest of Sutter Hospital (137 acre portion of site).

    The “external site” options evaluated included the “West Davis Site” and “East Davis Site”. The “West” site (now 207 acres) includes the Parlin/Binning Ranch properties located west and northwest of Sutter Hospital, on the western edge of the City.[/quote]

    Full report ([url]http://city-council.cityofdavis.org/Media/Default/Documents/PDF/CityCouncil/CouncilMeetings/Agendas/20121113/Packet/06-Innovation-Park-Task-Force-amended.pdf[/url])

  14. Silent majority

    DP: They also found the Mace site suitable. I think their task was to remain agnostic on the policy issue (i.e. preferred location) since there were only two council members at the table.

    It seems to me the market is speaking pretty clearly, and we should listen.

  15. Davis Progressive

    i don’t necessarily disagree i just don’t like to take options off the table and i don’t like to immediately discount don’s suggest or his concerns, some of which i share.

  16. Robb Davis

    Frankly wrote:

    [quote]Any project starts with interest from the capable parties that can make it happen. There is currently no interest in the surrounding hospital land for building an innovation business park. I don’t know exactly why, but access and water drainage problems have been explained to me in the past.
    [/quote]

    So, I would say, if those approaching the CC are truly interested in a community conversation then that should include a full vetting of the reasons why the NW quadrant is “off the table.” To claim those who put it forward are merely trying to stop everything is terribly unfair given that it is not clear what the opposition to the NW is. To say it is on floodplain is a red herring. It CAN be developed. I suppose I could ask: “Why are those approaching City Council being so obtuse about the prospects for the NW quadrant?”

    And while we are at it… let’s bring the north side of town into the equation as well–and Nishi. Let’s name all property owners or those with options on land. Let’s talk about land quality, access and conservation easements. Let’s work towards the “grand bargain” that clarifies our best options for homes, business parks, ag easements and, yes an urban limit line. Let’s do it all. Let’s do it transparently. Let’s build consensus and put it to a vote. Who is in?

    (By the way, that Jeff Boone quoted above sounds like a nice guy. Hope he does not have to move his business out of town, Davis would be poorer for his departure.)

  17. Steve Hayes

    [i]Don Shor:10/03/13 – 09:21 AM “…..move forward with planning for business sites that don’t violate sound land-use principles.” [/i]

    Thank you Don for this comment, and the perspective it represents.

  18. Frankly

    [i]I have thought “deeply” about it and it is provably not true with respect to Yolo County, as has been pointed out to you several times now.
    Please don’t question my motives again[/i]

    Please don’t assume everything is about you.

    But since you are opening yourself up to this point about thinking deeply…

    1. You care about preserving quality farmland

    2. You care so much that you would reject business development that would
    a. Solve much of the city’s budget problems
    b. Provide good jobs for young people and other people in the region.

    Now, do you REALLY just care about preserving quality farmland, or is it that you care about preserving farmland around Davis?

    Because they are two completely different things.

    One is globally altruistic, and one is, frankly, selfish. Either that or it is lacking in any comprehensive analysis or admission of what are the exact attributes/benefits to the city you are accounting for.

    What are those benefits Don?

    Just “preserving farmland” is too obtuse and too abstract to be of any real use.

    I know you keep pointing back to our previous planning documents, but preservation of farmland was a target goal derived from a collection of benefit objectives… and those benefit objections are stale, and probably obsolete, considering the fiscal and economic realities of Davis and the region.

    So, you will keep be challenged when you fall back on them as your defense.

    You need to be more detailed in explanation of your cost-benefit assessment supporting your insistence that there are sacred parcels that we cannot develop on.

    Don, are you a descendant of the Patwin Indian tribe and have relatives buried on the Mace 391 land?

  19. Mark West

    Why the rush to preclude options? What is wrong with having two or even more possible sites for future development and then pick the projects that makes the most sense for the community. Taking one site off the table without fully vetting the options is an example of poor policy.

    The Mace 391 site has the potential for providing a billion dollars of value to our economy over time. Throwing that opportunity away in exchange for a few million dollars, without a fully open public discussion of the options is beyond stupid.

  20. Adam Smith

    [i]I figured my previous post was sufficient shorthand for the discussions we’ve already had on this project. But to summarize:
    — You don’t annex and develop prime agricultural land. That is a core tenet of our General Plan, and the county General Plan, and reflects the community’s values and consensus.
    — There is other land available. The map I posted showed some of it. There is other low-quality soil in that region that can be annexed and developed, with good freeway access.
    — If the business leaders and principals involved in the East Davis discussion are serious about the need for a business park, they can turn their attention and resources to those other, more suitable sites.
    It seems that won’t occur until Mace 391 is taken off the table and put into permanent ag conservation status.

    So the sooner that happens, apparently, the sooner we will move forward with planning for business sites that don’t violate sound land-use principles. [/i]

    I think Don raises a good point that all the options should be considered. But I don’t understand why stopping the conservation easement on the Mace 391 precludes a fully considered review as to the best choice for development now. Ultimately, even if the NW Quadrant is the right choice for today, our next Business Park that will be needed 20 or 30 years from now, may well be best suited for the Mace 391, unless of course, our sometimes myopic CC eliminates that parcel from future consideration by placing a conservation easement on it.

  21. Mr.Toad

    I’m not opposed to a discussion about all the possible sites but remember we are up against a clock on 391. So unless it happens fast it won’t happen at all. Personally, I believe, the farmland issue should not be an impediment because the value added to the community from 391 is so huge it dwarfs the usual economics of development. The value added is so great that the proponents can offer for preservation 2 to 1 mitigation on land that would also be of even greater value to the community. The only reason to say no is to keep it all from being developed but in total victory for the ag land preservationists lies the seeds of economic stagnation and decline for the rest of the community.

  22. Mark West

    Who benefits the most from a conservation easement at Mace 391? Obviously, the land owners of Nishi and the Northwest quadrant, as their properties would become the only remaining options for economic development. Wouldn’t the citizens of Davis come out better in this process if we were able to choose between competing projects, rather than having to accept or reject the only option remaining?

    If we prematurely remove competition by limiting our options, we also remove the driving force for innovation and a creative vision for Davis’ future.

  23. Don Shor

    [quote]Now, do you REALLY just care about preserving quality farmland, or is it that you care about preserving farmland around Davis? 

Because they are two completely different things.[/quote]
    I believe that cities that are in agricultural areas should develop, to the greatest extent possible, without annexing and building on prime agricultural land. That means they should develop first within their existing urban limits, and they should create and enforce urban limits that conserve agricultural soil (and habitat, watersheds, etc.). And it is regardless of their prior history of having developed prime farmland.

    You need a plan in place that identifies vulnerable sites and protects them. You need a regional guide (such as the county General Plan) that places a high value on protecting these areas. It’s not just about Davis. Fortunately, some counties such as Solano County have specific, voter-approved plans in place that prevent urbanization. Yolo does not, but has a strong element in its General Plan, a right-to-farm provision, and a strong ethic and history of protecting farmland. One of the best in the state in that regard. But some of the old tools, such as the Williamson Act, have weakened.

    Development pressure is always there, so it’s important for cities and counties to set the ground rules via urban limits, easements, greenbelts, zoning, and specific development policies.

    
[quote]One is globally altruistic, and one is, frankly, selfish. Either that or it is lacking in any comprehensive analysis or admission of what are the exact attributes/benefits to the city you are accounting for. 

What are those benefits Don? 

Just “preserving farmland” is too obtuse and too abstract to be of any real use.[/quote]
    Obtuse? Selfish? I’ll go with globally altruistic.

    [quote] 

I know you keep pointing back to our previous planning documents, but preservation of farmland was a target goal derived from a collection of benefit objectives… and those benefit objections are stale, and probably obsolete, considering the fiscal and economic realities of Davis and the region. 

So, you will keep be challenged when you fall back on them as your defense.[/quote]
    Ok, then we need to update the General Plan before we allow [i]any[/i] development. Is that what you want? It may take awhile. Until then: the current General Plan prevails as our guiding document.

    [quote] 

You need to be more detailed in explanation of your cost-benefit assessment supporting your insistence that there are sacred parcels that we cannot develop on. 

Don, are you a descendant of the Patwin Indian tribe and have relatives buried on the Mace 391 land?[/quote]
    I am not applying a cost-benefit to farmland preservation, any more than I would to wildlife habitat or open space or watershed. They have intrinsic value that is hard to quantify, although you will find some research on that topic. But as I’ve said before: almost any use has greater economic value, especially in the short run, than agriculture, wildlife habitat, open space, or watershed. Farmland will always lose when you try to compare it to developed uses. That’s why we lose farmland to development. And that’s why the way to protect farmland is to put the most development-vulnerable sites into protected status.

    No native Americans in my lineage.

  24. Matt Williams

    I posted the following in the Relativity thread, but it applies to the discussion here as well.

    Rob White said . . .

    [i]”As we discuss the economic health and sustainability of Davis over the coming weeks, months and years, we will each observe the dialogue from a different viewpoint. And though we can all do our best to stick to the facts and figures of the topic, each of us will be influenced by our own experiences.” [/i]

    The logical next step to Rob’s perspective above is that “Reasonable People can agree to differ reasonably.”

    I like to think that Davis has more than its fair share of reasonable people, but given the passionate level of community debate in Davis . . . passion that often produces dialogue that to the outsider appears unreasonable . . . I believe we need to heed Rob’s words above even more strongly and more diligently. Taking time to “walk in the other person’s shoes” is a good place to start. Looking for solutions that provide broad benefit. Trying to balance the many competing “What’s In It For Me” (WIFM) drivers of the diverse audiences that make up Davis.

    Over the past few weeks I’ve been spending a lot of time working on transforming Davis’ dream of a permanently conserved Ag Farmland Boundary as envisioned by Measure O into a reality of upwards of 3,000 acres of prime ag land conserved, two riparian corridors rehabilitated, and the restoration of salmon spawning habitat in the Putah Creek complex enhanced and expanded.

    Depending on your own personal views, that effort could be simply a single perspective, or as many as three perspectives.

    Another way to look at the same activities is as a series of discussions with the various parties who have an interest in an Integrated Ag Farmland Preservation/Innovation Park Creation Strategy.

    Yet another way to look at it is an effort to focus on “Yes” rather than “No” with all the core constituencies getting positive answers to their individual “What’s In It For Me” questions.

    By walking in the other persons’ shoes the effort ends up with the following multi-perspective components:

    — The Farmland Preservation portion of the Davis community would see the dream of a conserved agricultural border transformed into reality, with upwards of 3,000 acres of prime ag land conserved.

    — The Riparian Habitat portion of the Davis community would see two riparian corridors rehabilitated.

    — The Fish Spawning Habitat portion of the Davis community would see the efforts to restore salmon spawning habitat in the Putah Creek complex enhanced and expanded.

    — The economic vitality community in Davis would see upwards of 950 acres of Innovation Park identified that would put Davis in a position to be proactive about keeping good companies in Davis rather than losing them to other cities/states.

    — The Ag Technology Research community spinning out of UCD would see well over 1,000 acres of permanently conserved ag land made available for field research adjacent to the Innovation Parks (as in the current Harris Moran model on south Mace and the Bayer/AgraQuest model just committed to in West Sacramento).

    — The taxpayers in Davis would see additional revenues generated by the increase in economic vitality that comes with retained/added jobs that match the UCD/Davis core competencies profile. As a result further tax increases should be forestalled.

    — Thousands of individual Davis residents would see their homes that are currently in the FEMA floodplains removed from the risk of flooding, saving them whatever annual FEMA flood insurance premiums they are paying.

    I’m sure there are other perspectives that the seven bullet points above don’t capture, and I’m equally sure that as the open, transparent community dialogue continues, those perspectives will step up and be heard. That dialogue is what the public commenters were asking for on Tuesday . . . open, transparent, well-informed community dialogue. We owe that to ourselves.

    FULL DISCLOSURE: I was one of the public commenters on Tuesday.

  25. Matt Williams

    To tie that discussion back to the comments in this thread:

    — 450 acres of those 1,000 Innovation Park acres are the lands identified in Don’s graphic.

    — 187 acres are those acres identified in the Innovation park Task Force as the east side innovation park area.

    — 48 acres (approximately) are from Nishi

    — 315 acres would be the acres in Mace 391 that would not go into permanent Ag Conservation Easement in exchange for the “upwards of 3,000 acres of prime ag land conserved, the two riparian corridors rehabilitated and the efforts to restore salmon spawning habitat in the Putah Creek complex enhanced and expanded.”

    Robb Davis in a discussion with me about the open, transparent conversations I had been having throughout the community referred to that last bullet as “The Grand Bargain.” That is indeed what it is . . . and before any bargain is struck, I believe our community needs to know what the bargain is.

  26. Don Shor

    I’m sure we will get the opportunity to discuss your overall proposal in much more detail on a thread of its own. But I want to respond to this:
    [quote]the acres in Mace 391 that would not go into permanent Ag Conservation Easement in exchange for the “upwards of 3,000 acres of prime ag land conserved, the two riparian corridors rehabilitated and the efforts to restore salmon spawning habitat in the Putah Creek complex enhanced and expanded.” [/quote]
    You have just linked Mace 391 to your overall proposal. Your conservation proposal does not require that Mace 391 become a business park, but that is what you appear to be saying when you use the words
    [quote]in exchange for [/quote]
    I doubt you intend this larger proposal or yours to hinge on canceling the easement on Mace 391.

  27. Mr.Toad

    I believe that cities that are in agricultural areas should develop, to the greatest extent possible, without annexing and building on prime agricultural land. That means they should develop first within their existing urban limits, and they should create and enforce urban limits that conserve agricultural soil (and habitat, watersheds, etc.).

    How you determine what “To the greatest extent possible” means is an open question and your second sentence may represent your personal view but may not be in the best interest of the Davis community.

  28. Matt Williams

    Excellent observation and question Don. To clarify, what I have laid out isn’t a proposal so much as it is a scenario analysis. The example laid out is just one single possible scenario in a suite of multiple possible scenarios.

    Therefore when you say [i]”You have just linked Mace 391 to your overall proposal”[/i] that is only partially accurate. What is more accurate is to say “You have just linked Mace 391 to one of the scenarios in your suite of multi-variant scenario analyses. Further, scenario analyses are a lot like games of chess where each game starts with all the pieces on the board, and the three parcels that make up Mace 391 are like three chess pieces. Each game of chess begins with those three pieces on the board, but how they individually and collectively move throughout the game varies from game to game. In some games the game reaches its conclusion with them still on the board. In other games the game reaches its conclusion with them off the board, or in some cases (where those pieces start as pawns) transformed from their original configuration as a pawn into another very different piece.

    So, again you are right when you say that [i]”Your conservation proposal does not require that Mace 391 become a business park, but that is what you appear to be saying when you use the words.”[/i] The realities of life are that land doesn’t simply magically have an Agricultural Conservation Easement placed on it. What happens is that the owner of the property targeted for the Conservation Easement is sacrificing economic value when their property is transformed from an unencumbered state to a conservation eased state. Except in rare altruistic situations, the owner wants to be “made whole.” What “made whole” means is that they receive some other “value” in exchange for the “value” that they are foresaking. More often than not thet ‘value” ends up being hard cold cash.

    What that means is that in order to see “upwards of 3,000 acres of prime ag land conserved” we need to generate enough cold hard cash to reimburse the owners of those 3,000 acres for the “value” they are forsaking. The more cash that is generated, the greater the number of acres that will be conserved. The less cash that is generated, the fewer the number of acres that will be conserved.

    The numerous different scenarios in the scenario analysis conserve different numbers of acres. Some include two riparian corridor restorations. Some include only one. Some include none. Some include expanded and expanded salmon spawning habitat restoration in the Putah Creek complex. Some do not.

    Each scenario analysis starts with the simple question, [i]”What can we afford?”[/i] or if you will, “[i]What do we want to afford?”[/i]

    All of the above was why Robb Davis’ expression “the grand bargain” resonated so clearly for me.

    Hope that answers your question and addresses your observation.

  29. Don Shor

    Um, no, Matt, it doesn’t.
    There is zero guarantee that, even if you developed Mace 391 under this scenario, the owners of the other parcels would be willing to participate in your plan.
    What Is nearly 100% guaranteed is that Mace 391 would be developed into a business park. Unless you are going to act as agent and guarantor of all those other transactions, this is a pipedream grafted onto a development deal, acting as yet another Hail Mary to prevent the conservation easement.
    Your suggestion has many interesting components. Get the conservation easement on Mace 391 and then we can take it seriously. And unfortunately, by making the whole thing conditional on the business park at Mace 391, you may well have doomed that discussion from the start.

  30. Matt Williams

    Don, you don’t seem to be grasping the concept of a multi-variant scenario analysis.

    All the things you have described (guarantees, willingness to participate, etc.) are variant components that the analyst considers in the analysis of any scenario compared to all the other scenarios.

    If one plays out several of the scenarios that the public commenters suggested on Tuesday, City staff would be proceeding on two parallel and independent tracks. The first track is the easement processing track that they currently are on, which has an end point (according to Mitch Sears explanation to the Habitat and Open Space Commission on September 9th) on or before March 31, 2014. The second track would be to bring an increased level of certainty to the areas of uncertainty that you have illuminated above.

    There is no reason that those two tracks can’t proceed simultaneously. If the activity devoted to the second track doesn’t generate sufficient certainty by February 2014 then all the pre work done up to that point would be finalized. If the second track does generate significant certainty, then there would need to be a decision process that dermines which scenario generates the greatest quality of life value for the citizens of Davis.

  31. Don Shor

    I am going to disagree with you about the value of proceeding along the second track, and will be quite interested in seeing the community discuss your proposal in April of 2014 when the conservation easement is in place.

  32. Matt Williams

    Fair enough Don. I respect your opinion on that.

    The simple economic question that that scenario faces in the scenario analysis is, [i]”Where will the money come from to purchase the Conservation Easements on the other 2,700 acres of prime farmland parcels?”[/i]

  33. Davis Progressive

    “I believe that cities that are in agricultural areas should develop, to the greatest extent possible, without annexing and building on prime agricultural land.”

    i agree with that for the most part, but i also think that we have the opportunity to develop economically and that will take some land. so i think we need to be willing to consider it.

  34. Pingback: My View: Speaking to All of Davis on Business Park Development | .:Davis Vanguard:.

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