Commentary: Broader Community Representation Needed in Innovation Park Discussions

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innovation-parkIt was a good beginning to a conversation on Tuesday night, as the first Innovation Park Community Forum featured a very engaging discussion. Six sector experts in the business and technology fields gave presentations that were followed by a smaller community discussion.

There were certainly some strengths of the meeting, as listening to the voices within our community like Meg Arnold, Mary Kimball, Bob Medearis, John Buckel, Dushyant Pathak, and Mike Rizzo was worthwhile by itself.   For those who missed this event, later today, we will (hopefully) post YouTube videos of the six presenters.

From the city’s perspective, the inclusion of Sarah Worley from Economic Development, Davis Chief Innovation Officer Rob White, Mike Webb who heads up Community Development and Mitch Sears who heads up the city’s open space program, shows the clear need for the city to view these issues not as siloed issues for commissions and departments to examine in isolation, and to move the discussion more broadly.

One of the more interesting moments was when Mary Kimball, who is the Executive Director of the Center for Land Based Learning and a member of the Yolo Land Trust board, acknowledged the need for a business park to help develop ag-industrial needs.

At the same time, she defended Measure R.  But that leads me to my concern.  The meeting was heavily representative of business and tech interests.  However, at the same time, there seemed a strong sentiment pushing back against Measure R.

The meeting itself seemed notable for being one side of the room in Davis – that more pro-economic development, pro-development wing.

What was missing, for example, is that there was no one in the room who helped to work on either Measure J or Measure R.  We had Mitch Sears there, but no one from the Open Space and Habitat Commission.  Moreover, as people criticized Measure J and Measure R, missing were people like Mark Spencer, Pam Nieberg, and former Mayor Ken Wagstaff who had worked on and helped develop these land use policies.

If we are going to move forward as a community, these broader communities have to be included.  After all, it was just three and a half years ago that Measure R was approved, extending Measure J protections for another ten years.  76% of Davis residents supported Measure J’s renewal.

Measure J’s renewal came just months after the second Measure J vote resulted in about 75% of Davis residents opposing the development at Wild Horse Ranch.  Four years earlier, about 60% of residents opposed Covell Village.

Another community that was underrepresented in the room had some forceful advocacy by Chris Granger of Cool Davis.  She pushed the discussion to acknowledge the need for sustainability features in whatever future development that we did.

For the past several months, the Vanguard has been pushing for community discussion.  As Rob White noted early on in the discussion, this was not going to be a discussion about Mace 391.  As we have noted in previous discussions, the Innovation Park Task Force looked at Nishi as one early site that could focus on an innovation center, and areas to the west of Sutter-Davis Hospital and east of Mace Blvd. as potential medium range sites.

If this simply becomes a discussion by the more pro-development forces in town – including business people and real estate developers, then any Measure J/Measure R vote at the end will be unsuccessful.

The only way that the bulk of the town, the majority who opposed Covell Village and Wild Horse Ranch and the majority who overwhelmingly renewed Measure J through Measure R, will be able to support a business park is if they are included in the conversation, if their concerns are not only listened to but addressed in the discussion.

This cannot be window dressing and the attitude I heard on Tuesday night might have to change.  This cannot be about belittling the concerns of others, dismissing them as fears.  No one legitimately fears that Davis is going to extend to the levee or over to Dixon or to Woodland.

What people may legitimately fear is that the community that they have fought hard to preserve can be diminished by lack of smart planning.

On the other hand, I don’t disagree with the concerns raised by others in the room.  Concerns that the Davis City Government is facing an increased budget deficit over the next five years, that it has cut more than 100 positions, that the pension system continues to drain resources that could go to vital city services, and that the city continues to bleed money due to a lack of agreement with city bargaining units.

There are concerns that what we have is slipping away because of the lack of revenue and the lack of available jobs and housing.

That is the discussion we need to have, but we need more groups in the room to have that discussion.

I want to make it very clear that what I support is not an outcome, but a process.  Two of the recent proposals, that would open up some land for development, at the same time seek to lock down critical land for preservation and conservation.

That is the kind of discussion we need.

We may or may not like the proposal from David Morris, but in his latest iteration, he is proposing a sizable amount of land be locked into easement and open space in exchange for the business park land.

As Matt Williams wrote a month ago, “Including the efforts from the years before Measure O, Davis has protected, directly or through partnerships, over 4,900 acres of sensitive wildlife habitat and farmland.  Since Measure O’s passage in 2000, 2,513 of those 4,900 acres have been protected at a cost of $4,566,000 but none of the parcels (shown in green in the graphic above) fall into the Urban Fringe category.”

As noted in the legend, the speckled areas on the graphic are the FEMA 100-year flood plain.  Easements could be placed in those flood plain areas, but they are of a lower priority because there is less current threat of development there because of the higher infrastructure costs needed to eliminate the flood risk.

Conservation-Boundary-10-24-2013

I believe this is where the conversation has to start, but it needs to start in a room with more people from the group that helped develop Measure J and Measure O to begin with, and more people who helped to work on the City’s Climate Action plan, in addition to the business leaders and tech leaders, who were there on Tuesday.

Only when all groups meet and discuss things can we find common ground and shared goals that can help push this process forward.

Because I truly believe if we simply open the process for design and bidding that, by the end of the day, we will have another 60-40 vote against development and, really, that serves few people’s interests.

—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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163 thoughts on “Commentary: Broader Community Representation Needed in Innovation Park Discussions”

  1. SODA

    Thanks David. Could not attend and looked for it on TV. WHo is on the Task Force? Why not appoint some of the other stakeholders you mention to the TF for formal representation?

  2. medwoman

    SODA

    I also was unable to attend and will be watching for the videos.
    I agree with both you and David that it is necessary for a broader group of people to take part in this discussion. I am wondering if this should not be handled more like the WAC was with regard to the surface water project ? Is there a reason that this is not being pursued in the same manner ?

  3. JimmysDaughter

    “There are concerns that what we have is slipping away because of the lack of revenue and the lack of available jobs and housing.”

    Does lack of housing mean lack of affordable housing or lack of homes to purchase? Also, does anyone know for certain if 50% of the homes in Davis are rentals?

  4. Don Shor

    [quote]We may or may not like the proposal from David Morris, but in his latest iteration, he is proposing a sizable amount of land be locked into easement and open space in exchange for the business park land.
    [/quote]
    No, he is proposing that land the city already owns be used to count toward the 2:1 mitigation that would be required for his project. Does he have the resources to pay for conservation easements on those 774 acres? Or does he just want the city to do it out of revenues raised from development on Mace 391 — which seems to have morphed into Mace 421?
    You list six speakers. Who decided they were to be the invited experts?

  5. David M. Greenwald

    Don: Mace 391 is also owned by the city, so I’m not sure that your concern makes sense.

    “You list six speakers. Who decided they were to be the invited experts? “

    I would guess Rob White and Sarah Worley

  6. Don Shor

    [quote]Don: Mace 391 is also owned by the city, so I’m not sure that your concern makes sense.[/quote]
    But at the end of the CCV proposal, who would own Mace 391? Seriously, David, ag mitigation needs to be genuine. Howatt Ranch doesn’t count. The city could put an ag easement on that right now if it wanted to. Does David Morris have the resources to pay for ag easements on all that acreage, pay for a $3 – 4 million option on Shriners, pay for a Measure R vote?

    Here’s the June iteration:
    [img]http://davismerchants.org/vanguard/Mace391CCVproposalJune2013.png[/img]

    But what is actually being proposed now? As I said yesterday, the map you posted has changed, and it is not clear when it became acceptable to count ag easement on city-owned Howatt Ranch toward the mitigation needed for Mace 391/421. Or whose idea that was.

    [quote]there seemed a strong sentiment pushing back against Measure R.[/quote]
    I’ll watch the videos to see what exactly that means, but really the focus is going to need to be on what sites and what features could gain a majority Measure R vote.
    This frankly doesn’t sound like a promising start.

  7. David M. Greenwald

    Just want to let people know, it appears it will take awhile to upload the videos, so I’m not sure they will be ready until tomorrow. We’ll see.

  8. Rob White

    I might have a jaundice eye, or maybe I am overly wary about adverse reactions, but I think it should be said that I am concerned by where this discussion seems to be heading.

    The Community Forum last night was the beginning of a series of dialogues and sharing of ideas that I am hopeful will become the norm. The staff planned it at the direction of the Innovation Park Task Force to start creating other opportunities for the community to engage.

    The topic was obviously the Innovation Park concepts, and the program and format and invited speakers was selected by staff (namely me and Sarah). We attempted to get 6 people involved with the community that many of us don’t typically hear from. It wasn’t intended to be a voice in any one direction and we didn’t script what they should say, just ask them to come share their ideas. And we plan to invite others from other sectors for future discussions. We couldn’t get everyone or all aspects in one meeting. Thank you David for videoing the speakers, I look forward to seeing the YouTube segments.

    It should be noted that this was done all by staff… We didn’t hire an outside consultant, we didn’t get costly input from experts, we just decided to ‘start’ the conversation to explore ways to get to a shared and collaborative end point. No one was ‘left out’ of the conversation and we spend considerable efforts to get the word out.

    There are opportunities for improvement and suggestions are welcome on how to make it better. But I am surprised how quickly we are jumping to negativity and adverse assumptions instead of acknowledging that the City Council, the Innovation Park Task Force, and the City staff are doing exactly what was asked of us on this blog and in other forums… get more people engaged and start to share information more broadly.

    If vital representatives of the community were missing last night, I suspect it wasn’t because they were not aware. They may have had other plans, conflicts in schedule, or perhaps didn’t think it worth their time. I don’t know. I certainly hope they will engage. I committed last night and I will reiterate now, I am willing to spend as much time as it takes getting as much input and creating as much dialogue to answer important community questions and concerns. I am hopeful that the outcome will be stronger understanding amongst all stakeholders and the community and that we will be able to make well-researched, rational, and collaborative decisions on topics like the business park concept.

  9. DT Businessman

    Huh? Don’s comment absolutely makes sense, David. Imagine Morris approached a farmer to purchase 391 acres at market rate and then told the farmer he needed to agree to a no-cost conservation easement on the farmer’s adjacent 774 acre farm. The farmer would laugh him out of the room.

    But that’s just a small detail. The Morris proposal overall makes no sense from the community’s perspective and I don’t know why anyone is still talking about it. The Morris proposal is structured as if Morris owns Mace 391 and is offering concessions to have it rezoned. The exact opposite is the case. The city owns Mace 391 outright, owns the adjacent mitigation land outright, and controls the rezoning process. Why would the community simply hand a windfall over to Morris?

    Alternatives have been brought forth that result in far greater benefit accruing to the community. Using Morris’ numbers, one alternative would be to rezone and master plan 234 of the Mace 391 acres together with the Ramos and Bruner properties. Market rate for tech park land is $200k – $400k/acre. 234 acres x $200k/acre = $46.8M. 234 acres x $300k/acre = $70.2M. 234 x $400k/acre = $93.6M. Even allowing 20% for planning fees, commissions, etc., which I made up out of thin air, we’re talking big numbers here. The city could purchase the Shriner’s property outright with the proceeds, put a conservation easement on it, and sell it, acquire additional open space, pay down city debt, pay out of pocket for the roads and bike paths maintenance backlog instead of borrowing the money, fund critical city services, etc.

    But this all kind of analysis is all moot if the community has no desire to explore the options. And as Rob points out, this type of analysis is not within the current purview of the task force.

    -Michael Bisch

  10. SODA

    Thanks Rob. Is there a list of the Innovation Task Force members? Are they the original members? With all due respect and ‘erring on the positive’, the current discussions and flurries of comments since June may well point to an inclusion of others onto the TF….I like medwoman’s idea of a WAC type group, appointed by the CC members. Maybe that was done initially, but again think the discussion has expanded into needing other groups than tech and business as David has articulated. Comments?’

  11. David M. Greenwald

    “Huh? Don’s comment absolutely makes sense, David. Imagine Morris approached a farmer to purchase 391 acres at market rate and then told the farmer he needed to agree to a no-cost conservation easement on the farmer’s adjacent 774 acre farm. The farmer would laugh him out of the room.”

    Disagree on two points.

    First, you are transposing private and public interests which makes the analogy messy.

    Second, you are using the wrong analogy. The proper analogy would be proposing to the farmer 391 acres of development in exchange for an additional 800 acres being put into a conservation easement. Under those conditions, the farmer would get the increased value of part of his property and the city would gain additional land that is protected from development.

    BTW, I’m not advocating we do the Dave Morris proposal and not advocating that we don’t do your alternative. I just want to make sure that we are at least in agreement on the underlying facts and tradeoffs when we make a decision.

  12. Don Shor

    Rob: You might contact the Agricultural Issues Center; someone like Al Sokolow would give a useful perspective ([url]http://aic.ucdavis.edu[/url]). Greg House seems like an obvious candidate to discuss community farming, or would certainly know someone who could present on that topic.

  13. Don Shor

    [quote]BTW, I’m not advocating we do the Dave Morris proposal and not advocating that we don’t do your alternative. I just want to make sure that we are at least in agreement on the underlying facts and tradeoffs when we make a decision.[/quote]
    We aren’t because (among other things) we don’t know where the money is coming from.

  14. Frankly

    I attended and I think my valuable time was well spent. I do agree that the room and presenters were tilted toward the side of economic development, but even Mary Kimball was clear in her support for innovation park development, and even took a few soft jabs at measure R. She said she lives in Woodland and hears the outside perspectives for our Davis direct democracy growth-blocking tools.

    I think it is an indication of expected decisiveness making a case that there were not more open space people in the room or on the panel. Does the Open Space Commission routinely include a balanced representation of business development people? I don’t think so. Conversely, I think… as Rob White points out above… the economic development people are eager for the inclusive and collaborative effort to jointly design Davis’s land-use plan for today and tomorrow.

    I agree with Rob, but here is the problem with that desire for a collaborative approach. I think that many of those leading the open space side are not interested in a rational discussion at this point in time. They know they are in a difficult position with respect to the city’s finances and our current deficit of tax-revenue generating business activity. They know we are out of balance in terms of our city’s non-economic community and lifestyle attributes (which are at the top of the list for any comparable city) and our economic attributes (which are at the bottom of the list for any comparable city). So, what they are doing is to gin up emotive arguments against a business park or two. They are playing on the voter’s fears of:

    – Sprawl (without even caring that it does not apply)

    – Traffic (without admitting that we have it already)

    – Declining home values (actually false)

    – Destruction of farmland (As it was presented by Mitch Sears, Davis has already secured about 5000 acres of open space in and around the city… the same as the actual footprint of the city… and most of that is farmland. We are not at risk of destroying farmland as much as we are at risk of destroying our economic future with our extremism related to open space preservation.)

    I would like to see a collaborative approach. But unless and until the open space leaders admit to and respond to the significant economic deficits our city faces, and acknowledge the opportunities that are on the table as viable ideas worthy of direct consideration, I think the economic development people might be wasting time trying to engage with them.

    Bottom line is that we cannot work with extremists.

    And anybody on the open space preservation side using the above arguments should be labeled as such.

    The thing is… ALL of the economic development leaders I have talked to very much value open space preservation. So even if this group leads a charge to take the argument to the general population excluding those currently leading the open space agenda, I have 100% confidence that Davis’s future will include adequate open space.

    Conversely, it is clear to me that if the open space leaders get their way, we will continue to grow our portfolio of land that is locked up in ag easements while our city heads to a cliff of financial insolvency.

    I hope the openspacers see the light and come to the table, but at this point I remain unconvinced they will be cooperative partners.

  15. DT Businessman

    David, you’re confusing: 1) the acquisition price of the acreage and the mitigation land; with 2) the concessions/extractions a developer is required to provide to have property rezoned (bike tunnels, fire stations, community farms, ag easements, etc.).

    On Mace 391, the city is valuing the conservation easement at $3k/acre or so. Presumably, that’s backed up by an appraisal. Instead, Morris is offering zippo for an ag easement on the city-owned Howatt Ranch worth AT LEAST $2.322M (774 acres x $3k/acre = $2.322M). How does what Morris is offering stack up against $47M – $94M?

    -Michael Bisch

  16. DT Businessman

    I’d like to think I’m pro economic development. But that doesn’t mean I’m not concerned about sprawl or traffic (far less so about declining housing prices although I don’t minimize the concern of others). It makes no sense to me that these concerns would not be part of a vigorous debate or an analysis or that they would be minimized in any way. I don’t see how it’s productive to argue the opposite.

    I’d also like to point out that any peripheral development analysis should weigh the economic impact on the incentive to densify. These statements that Davis is a dense community is absurd and not supported by statistics or casual observation. The productive use of the land already developed is far, far too low to meet our sustainable community aspirations.

    -Michael Bisch

  17. Matt Williams

    Don,

    First, during the entire four hours of the meeting, David Morris’ proposal for Mace 391 was never discussed even once. It wasn’t on the agenda. The discussion was not about specific proposals.

    Second, the meeting was never intended to be an Innovation Park Task Force (IPTF) quorum-controlled meeting. It was the first of a series of Innovation Park Community Forums that will provide opportunitie for community members to come and engage the broad issues that were identified in the Studio 30 report and the November 13, 2012 Staff Report to Council.

    Third, as was robustly discussed in the October 29, 2013 IPTF meeting, that items 3 and 4 of the November 13, 2012 Resolution accepting the IPTF findings needed to be actively engaged, and last nights meeting was the first step in that. It is worth noting that Sarah Worley delivered last night’s four hour effort within seven days of getting the direction to do so from the IPTF on 10/29. That is incredibly responsive IMHO. Seven days . . . a community notice . . . six speakers . . . four City Staff presentations and community participation. We should be coming to praise Sarah, not to bury her.

    BTW, here is the language of items 3 and 4 of the November 13, 2012 Council Resolution:

    [quote]3. Initiate a community engagement process that incorporates the findings and recommendations of the Innovation Park Task Force and “City ofDavis Innovation Center Study” and is aligned with other economic development public outreach efforts, to inform the community and solicit input on:

    o Existing economic development efforts underway
    o Community benefits of local growth of knowledge based jobs
    o Innovation center options/components
    o Proposed creation of new close/in and edge innovation centers as part of disbursed innovation center strategy
    o Prioritizing implementation actions
    o Branding and Marketing

    4. Proactively partner with UC Davis, property owners, Yolo County, community business leaders and other regional partners to define opportunities and remove constraints to future innovation business growth, including:

    o Infrastructure needs
    o Financing
    o Investment interest
    o Increasing certainty in entitlement process
    o Maximizing net community benefits
    o Yolo County tax sharing agreements
    o Measure R process for agricultural land annexation
    o Opportunity costs of insufficientspace[/quote]

  18. Frankly

    [i]I’d like to think I’m pro economic development. But that doesn’t mean I’m not concerned about sprawl or traffic[/i]

    Me too, but not to use the latter to prevent the former.

    We are so far away from ANY consideration of sprawl that any using the argument should be chastised.

    Go here [url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cities_and_towns_in_California[/url]

    Note Davis’s population of 65,662 population and 9.89 square miles of city area. Then please come back to explain how you arrive at your “absurd” claim.

    Just note Palo Altos 23.88 square miles of land area with a smaller population.

    Davis appears to be one of the most population dense medium-sized college towns in the nation. And apparently the most dense in other ways too.

  19. Davis Progressive

    but you have to convince 50% of the davis voters that this isn’t going to lead to sprawl. one way you do that is putting 3:1 mitigation measures in there. i don’t see why howatt is inappropriate for that usage. dave morris isn’t going to develop the land himself.

  20. Matt Williams

    I see that Rob White in an earlier comment made the clarification that I made above. Started my comment before a meeting began and came back to it an hour and a half later. Lots happened in that time. I should have checked first.

  21. Don Shor

    We’ve debunked that statistic before. You are confusing the City of Davis with the “urbanized area” of Davis. The latter includes the dorms, and not much else. Yep, dorms are pretty dense. This creates a statistical fluke that puts Davis on some lists as high-density [url]http://www.governing.com/blogs/by-the-numbers/california-cenus-population-density-urbanized-areas-cities.html[/url], but the City of Davis isn’t even in the top 100. It isn’t even close:
    [url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_cities_by_population_density[/url]

  22. Frankly

    There is that word about. DP, please define sprawl in the context you are using it. I don’t even know what the hell it means with respect to Davis.

    The analogy is you being concerned about the Gates family heading toward poverty because they decide to invest in a couple of new medium-sized business ventures.

    How can a city with almost 6,600 people per square mile be concerned that a couple of business parks and new housing development result in sprawl?

    See, we are more dense than S.F.!

    [img]http://www.thesocialmisfit.com/popdense.jpg[/img]

  23. Robb Davis

    Frankly wrote:

    [quote]I would like to see a collaborative approach. But unless and until the open space leaders admit to and respond to the significant economic deficits our city faces, and acknowledge the opportunities that are on the table as viable ideas worthy of direct consideration, I think the economic development people might be wasting time trying to engage with them.

    Bottom line is that we cannot work with extremists. [/quote]

    I am puzzled by this Frankly. A year ago the Innovation Park Task Force presented their report and identified one “near term” and two “mid-term” sites as part of their “dispersed innovation strategy”. Mace 391 was not among them. I think it is perfectly reasonable to ask the question “what would the entitlement and development of those sites provide to the city in terms of revenue from all sources?”

    The Task Force also proposed the adoption of a new “fiscal model” that would be used to “accurately evaluate both the fiscal impacts and economic benefits of new innovation/research development for the community.”

    So my question is, why have we not applied the fiscal model to the sites the Task Force proposed? Perhaps you will say because there are no proposals for these sites. Fine, but can’t we use the model to at least do some back of the envelop calculations, examine the assumptions and assess to what extent the development of the proposed sites will help create jobs and enable the city to confront its fiscal challenges?

    Some who oppose abandoning the easement grant are writing here on Vanguard are showing a willingness to examine these other sites. Why then are we jumping beyond them? Why are we not following all of the recommendations of the task force? I understand that these community meetings are not about Mace 391 but I think anyone would admit that its development is a significant (if not the only ) force driving the discussions at this time.

    We must face the city deficits and do it now. On that point we you and I are in firm agreement. We have recommendations about developing three key sites around the city, that, presumably are a piece of the overall puzzle about how to deal with the deficits. Shouldn’t we be focusing on those? Is it “extreme” to suggest we put into place all the Innovation Park Task Force’s recommendations before moving on to other ideas?

  24. Don Shor

    [quote]How can a city with almost 6,600 people per square mile be concerned that a couple of business parks and new housing development result in sprawl?

    See, we are more dense than S.F.! [/quote]

    What your graphic really raises is the question of how a city with 5,157 population/sq.mile has a density of “almost 6,600 people per square mile.”

  25. DT Businessman

    Frankly, now that Don has debunked your density assertion yet again, and your brain and eyeballs are no longer in conflict, are you going to back off from your density claims?

    -Michael Bisch

  26. Frankly

    [i]We’ve debunked that statistic before.[/i]

    Don the spin doctor.

    No you have not.

    And you know that you are just posting spin because our high population density is just an inconvenient truth that impacts your extreme views about farmland preservation.

    Your nuance is false.

    I wrote comparable cities.

    Simple take our population divided by the square miles of land that comprises our city boundary… that one that you want fixed with a hard urban boundary protected by ag easements.

    Then compare that result with any other city you want to identify as being comparable.

    Please do the math, otherwise it is clear that you are just trying to spin the argument.

  27. Don Shor

    Rob: an additional thought would be someone from the Ag Commissioner’s office to speak about the value of ag crops in Yolo County in general, and the distribution of farmland types in the county. They compile annual statistics about each crop, so someone on the staff there can quantify the impact of farmland conversion in real dollars. The ripple effect is also extrapolated, and I’m sure they could provide references for that.

  28. Frankly

    While I stop responding to Michael and Don while they learn how to use a calculator and accept their medicine for being largely materially wrong about Davis’s super high population density…

    [i]frankly: what i mean is one development built triggering the next development further onto farm land[/i]

    DP, that is the “slippery slope” argument. That is a fear-based argument. That is one where the concern is that we would not control our collective development destiny. I don’t buy that at all. Yes we will have some pressure to build housing with more business development. But we have all the tools and intelligence to do so with reservations and control. And when we do build, we will demand smart designs.

    We already have 5000 acres secured around our periphery. We will no doubt secure more.

    We are not at risk of sprawl.

    We should stop using that work if we want to continue to be taken seriously in the debate for what to do going forward.

  29. Robb Davis

    Adding to Don’s ideas Rob, what about having someone from the Farm Bureau? And I agree that having someone from the community who was involved in developing the language of Measures J and O would be great. The historical perspective on where these initiatives came from would be helpful. What about someone like Rob Thayer who has a broad perspective on he social/economic/environmental questions of land and place?

    Sad I could not attend last evening (apparently my time is more valuable than Frankly’s(!), who knew???) but looking forward to future meetings and the discussions

  30. Frankly

    [i]Not sure why, for density purposes, we would compare to similarly dense cities[/i]

    Come on Michael… are you serious?

    Compare Davis to any other comparable city. For example a college town with a similar population.

    Don’t compare it to Singapore or Indio.

  31. DT Businessman

    Not sure what a calculator has to do with this. Taking your number and comparing to the Wikipedia list, Davis is not dense at all. Which aligns with what your eyeballs should be telling you. How can a predominantly 1-story community be considered dense when there are many communities out there that are predominantly many-story and multi-family? Hello?

    Will you please start talking to me again? I’m feeling rejected.

    -Michael Bisch

  32. DT Businessman

    Frankly, have you looked at the Wikipedia list? Those are US cities, many of them in CA, not foreign cities. Stop being so damn lazy and click on the link Don provided.

    -Michael Bisch

  33. Frankly

    [i]fear serves a purpose of protecting from bad outcomes. in order to win my vote, you have to assuage my fear[/i]

    I have a author friend that wrote a bit about fear. He daughter at a young age was struggling with unsubstantiated fear. He asked her if she was afraid of being struck by lightening. She said, “no, not really.” He then asked her if it made sense to be afraid of bad things that could happen that had a probability less than being struck by lightening.

    There are rational fears, and there are irrational fears. I think the fear of sprawl for Davis is irrational.

    We can talk about the specifics, but the terms has not relevancy today in Davis. We would have to increase our area footprint by 3-times with the same population to be even considered as having sprawl.

  34. Don Shor

    UC Davis campus is 11.42 square miles.
    City of Davis is 9.919 square miles.
    Population data of “urbanized area” includes UCD population .
    Square miles of all other “comparable cities” include their campus acreage.
    Thus the true density of Davis “urbanized area” is
    72,794 people
    divided by 21.339 square miles (add the two numbers above).
    Equals 3,411 people per square mile.
    If you consider the campus population part of the statistic, then you have to consider the area of the campus part of the statistic.

    Of course, UCD is a big campus compared to others. Which makes my point: with regard to “urbanized area” your density number is a fluke. With regard to the actual density of the City of Davis, it isn’t very dense.

  35. Matt Williams

    Don Shor said . . .

    “We’ve debunked that statistic before. You are confusing the City of Davis with the “urbanized area” of Davis. The latter includes the dorms, and not much else outside the city limits, as part of the ‘urbanized area’. Yep, dorms are pretty dense. This creates a statistical fluke that puts Davis on some lists as high-density http://www.governing.com/blogs…ities.html, but the City of Davis isn’t even in the top 100. It isn’t even close:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L…on_density”

    Don, since your argument resonated with me . . . and also piqued my curiosity . . . I went to the City of Davis Wikipedia page [url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Davis,_California[/url] and the population listed there is 65,622, which we all know is the City’s population, excluding El Macero, Willowbank, Patwin, North Davis Meadows and UCD. With those added in, the urbanized area is somewhere between 75,000 and 80,000 population. Wikipedia lists the City’s footprint as 9.919 sq mi (25.690 km2) and in their footnote say that that is based on data from the US Census.

    Are either of those numbers provided by Wikipedia incorrect?

  36. Frankly

    [i]Frankly, have you looked at the Wikipedia list? Those are US cities, many of them in CA, not foreign cities. Stop being so damn lazy and click on the link Don provided.[/i]

    Holly crap you guys are thick-headed.

    Davis…

    65,663 population / 9.89 square miles = 6,639 people per square mile

    Palo Alto…

    64,403 population / 23.88 square miles = 2,696 people per square mile

    Santa Cruz…

    59,946 population / 12.74 square miles = 4,705 people per square mile

    Chico…

    86,187 population / 32.92 square miles = 2,618 people per square mile

    I don’t understand how you two don’t understand.

  37. DT Businessman

    Hello? Is anybody looking at the Wikipedia list? There are 127 US cities with population densities exceeding 10,000 residents per sq. mile. According to the list, Davis is nowhere near dense anyway you slice, dice or cut it, Willowbank here, campus there. San Francisco for example has over 17,000 residents per sq. mile. Why is anyone even arguing the point?

    -Michael Bisch

  38. Don Shor

    My hope is that the Innovation Task Force will provide the numbers Robb is asking for, and will also address the impacts of annexation and the costs in two regards:
    — impact on the agricultural economy of the county and region
    — possible infrastructure and city staffing costs, immediate and ongoing.
    Each site or area — Nishi, Northwest Quadrant, infill, Mace 391, Ramos/Bruner, inside Mace Curve, Shriners — has costs attached to development. Each creates some ongoing costs to the city in perpetuity. Each can readily be shown to have a range of economic yield per acre, and the revenues to the city and county can be quantified.
    It is harder to assess a value for things like open space, scenic vistas, etc., but I know research has been done on that. The Ag Issues Center would probably be the resource for research on those seemingly intangible assets as well as for quantifying the ripple effect of agricultural production. Others already identified can provide the similar data for the ripple effect of tech jobs etc.
    Those are the kinds of numbers I would like to see.

  39. DT Businessman

    Holly crap! I guess I am thick headed. Frankly, I don’t even know where you got the list or how they arrived at the statistics presented. It says SF has a population of 3,281,212 (doesn’t sound right,) whereas the wikipedia lists states 805,235.

    -Michael Bisch

  40. Robb Davis

    Don – I guess I am assuming that a “fiscal model” would allow for the modeling of costs directly to the city of the development (those are the “fiscal impacts”). I would be less certain it includes impact on the ag economy (that is more of an externality is it not–from the perspective of the city?). The intangibles are always harder to model. That is why having someone like Robert Thayer in the discussions would be useful (I said “Rob” Thayer earlier but I do not know if he goes by Rob).

  41. Frankly

    [i]Tell you what, Frankly, I’ll just use the term unnecessary farmland-to-urban conversion instead of sprawl.[/i]

    Fine then we can debate unnecessary versus necessary.

    You think it is necessary to add to our existing 5000 acres of preserved open space with future destroying ag easements, and I think it is a necessity to develop our economy to get more revenue into the city coffers.

  42. Frankly

    DTB – I think you are too lazy to have clicked on the link I provided and then got your calculator out.

    [url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cities_and_towns_in_California[/url]

    And please don’t use a large geographically land-locked city like S.F to compare.

  43. Robb Davis

    Help… Me… I am drowning in hyperbole!

    re: “future destroying ag easements”

    Frankly. Please back away from the apocalyptic ledge for a moment and give me some feedback on my 11:15 comment. I am trying to engage in the reasoned exchange you are calling for and it is because, like you, I am concerned about the City’s fiscal situation.

    Thanks

  44. Rob White

    Don, Robb and others – thanks for the suggestions. I have cut them into a doc of ideas that I am keeping for future meetings of the Task Force and community forums.

    The Task Force did recognize the need for additional inputs and asked staff to pursue a few ideas on how to engage with the Open Space & Habitat and Budget & Finance commissions more proactively. These included possible joint meetings and workshops. The Task Force was implemented by the City Council. The current members and documents and information can be found here:http://city-council.cityofdavis.org/on-going-committees/innovation-park-task-force

    Staff are updating the webpage frequently, so keep checking back.

    Ideas/suggestions on how to improve the process and who might be valuable to bring in to the discussion are welcome. I have a few ideas, but I prefer to hear from this group. And thanks for taking the time to make suggestions.

  45. Frankly

    With respect to moving this city to financial sustainability, my hope is that the Open Space Task Force will:

    1. Lead.

    -or-

    2. Follow.

    -or-

    3. Get the hell out of the way.

    And if they are going to lead, then they need to provide real math that calculates the opportunity value to the city that will be lost if we proceed with any ag easement on land that is otherwise in demand for an innovation park.

  46. Frankly

    [i]Help… Me… I am drowning in hyperbole!

    re: “future destroying ag easements” [/i]

    LOL. Rob, this is not hyperbole. If we create ag easements on peripheral land we prevent future Davisites from being able to decide for other land-uses to help generate revenue for the city.

    Absolute commitments have long-term consequences.

    Just like our absolute commitments to city employee pensions are having long-term consequences that appear to be quite future-destroying. Ag easements can do the same. This should not be some light-headed consideration.

    I will respond to your previous questions now.

  47. Don Shor

    [quote]Don – I guess I am assuming that a “fiscal model” would allow for the modeling of costs directly to the city of the development (those are the “fiscal impacts”). I would be less certain it includes impact on the ag economy (that is more of an externality is it not–from the perspective of the city?). The intangibles are always harder to model. That is why having someone like Robert Thayer in the discussions would be useful (I said “Rob” Thayer earlier but I do not know if he goes by Rob).[/quote]
    When I took landscape architecture from him, he went by Rob. I don’t use this term often, but Rob is brilliant.
    Impact on the ag economy as an externality is exactly a point I want to make: Davis isn’t an island. We’re part of the Yolo County and regional economies. That cuts both ways: with respect to the value added regionally of a tech park related to ag, and with respect to the impact of removing prime ag land from production.

  48. Frankly

    Robb Davis: [i]I am puzzled by this Frankly. A year ago the Innovation Park Task Force presented their report and identified one “near term” and two “mid-term” sites as part of their “dispersed innovation strategy”. Mace 391 was not among them.[/i]

    I am puzzled too Robb. I was/am not part of that task force. However, everyone I talk too in the business community seems to have held a long-term perspective that that land was perfect for eventual commercial development.

    My sense is that those on the side of economic development have been a bit busy and were slower to the table than were the open space activists that recognized the availability of Mace 391 / Leyland Ranch as an opportunity for open space preservation. From my perspective, the Open Space Task Force should be taken to task for doing such a poor job engaging the business community and the university on a cooperative land-use decision.

    Lastly, things have changed with respect to our economic outlook and the university. I know some of us more statist-oriented folk in Davis have a hard time understanding that the world is changing around us, but it still happens nonetheless. There is much more clarity to the awful state of our city finances and the awful state of our national and state economy.

    Personally, I think UCD is going to start having enrollment problems in 5-10 years unless it increases its value proposition. The challenge will be a boom in less-expensive, technology-driven, high-quality undergraduate degree programs. UCD and other traditional modeled businesses of higher learning are going to have to change to better compete on value. One thing they can do is to partner with the city to create an education-career ecosystem… where students coming out with a degree have a better chance to have real work experience in their career through a robust internship availability… and have a strong opportunity to even land a job in the area after graduating.

    Young people cannot find work.

    The list goes on.

    I absolutely agree that we need some financial models to help us vet opportunities. But, I don’t think we need to go too far with this. There is plenty of empirical evidence to support the premise that commercial development provides a city tax revenue.

    It was presented that Mori Seiki generates 1% of our property tax revenue and 1% of our sales tax revenue (I think I got that right). That is one company.

    And the university generates zero direct property and sales tax.

    So, if we are in need of long-term revenue, if not business development, then I am at a loss to understand what you and others are suggesting.

    As I have written, I don’t care about Mace 391 other than I believe it’s best use for the city is as a business park. If we build a business park elsewhere then I would prefer we lease it as farmland, but keep it as measure O open space and let future generations decide if an when it might be better used as another business park.

    My thinking here is that we screwed up using our road funds to purchase this land, and now we have to do something with it to get the money back. The ag easement idea should not be based on this need. If that is what is driving the Mayor’s position, then I say there is even more reason to turn it into a business park.

  49. Frankly

    Bob Medearis made a great point last night. I think he hit on the single most important shared goal we should adopt. He suggested that we all focus on improving “the human condition”. What comprises any improvement and how we go about achieving it should be the basis of the debate and the target goal for the solutions we adopt.

    Bob’s comment stuck a cord with me, because it is primarily what motivates me in my professional life. It is what motivates me to work for and advocate for the availability of more jobs and to get more people working. It is what drives me to want to get our city budget in shape and have sustainably finances with some discretionary reserve that we can use to help more people and help keep our city wonderful.

    It also motivates me to support open space preservation.

  50. DT Businessman

    Not sure what game you’re playing here today, Frankly. The statistics from the list you first posted do not correlate with the statistics from the link you provided. Indeed, they’re off by millions of people. Your list for instance states Los Angeles has a population of 12,150,996, whereas the link says LA has 3,792,621. Indeed, the stats in your link correlate to the stats in Don’s link, as they should, since they’re both wikipedia links. Don’s statement still stands. Davis with a pop density well under 10,000 per sq. mile is nowhere near dense in comparison with many US communities in the US and CA with population densities exceeding 10,000 per sq. mile. There are 31 CA cities with population densities exceeding 10,000 per sq. mile. Davis doesn’t even make the list because it’s nowhere near dense enough.

    -Michael Bisch

  51. Frankly

    Sorry DTB. I will just keep posting the facts. You can live in Don’s fantasy land if you prefer.
    [quote]
    Davis…

    65,663 population / 9.89 square miles = 6,639 people per square mile

    Palo Alto…

    64,403 population / 23.88 square miles = 2,696 people per square mile

    Santa Cruz…

    59,946 population / 12.74 square miles = 4,705 people per square mile

    Chico…

    86,187 population / 32.92 square miles = 2,618 people per square mile
    [/quote]
    Why are you having such a difficult time accepting this? Is it that you have just gone too far arguing against it and not your honor is at stake? You appear to be looking for technicalities between the list. I don’t care about LA or New York. They are not comparable. Just focus on this list of comparable cities. Davis is not LA or New York… you know, those cities you would hate to live in because of all the sprawl around them.

    Don applied some nuance with university land. Fine, then have him do the same with these other college towns so you and he are comparing apples to oranges.

    My hidden agenda detector is going off with every post you make arguing against this very clear and non debatable FACT that Davis is in-deed one of the most dense little cities in California and the US.

    And, when you filter the list removing all those little cities that are land-locked or lacking develop-able space, well we are an outlier by an order of magnitude.

  52. Don Shor

    University land is [i]”nuance?”[/i] LOL
    The other college towns, so far as I know, all include the universities within their boundaries.
    What is your point in all this, Frankly? Why does it matter so much to you to “prove” somehow that Davis is dense? Do you feel crowded? Are you arguing for expansion out onto farmland so that you can have more room to roam? You want bigger lot sizes? You want students living in single-family homes? Oh, wait, they already are. You want the Cannery Project resized with larger lot sizes? I don’t get your point in continuing to use the term, even while it’s of questionable statistical foundation.
    And what does it have to do with building a business park, anyway?

  53. DT Businessman

    I’m just focusing on your incorrect assertion about Davis being dense. It’s not, the stats prove otherwise. Then you start providing a number of reasons for why your assertion is incorrect. I agree with that part. There are many reasons why Davis is far from being a dense city compared to other CA cities, other US cities, and compared to cities around the globe. As you point out, one of the reasons Davis is not dense is because it has had the wherewithal to expand into surrounding ag land in recent decades, whereas some other cities have not. Which, Frankly, is precisely the point.

    -Michael Bisch

  54. Frankly

    [i]The other college towns, so far as I know, all include the universities within their boundaries[/i]

    “as far as you know”?

    Come on Don, you need to do better than that. Why would any California city having a state college tabulate their land area differently?

    It is extremely important that people in Davis understand this point when being accosted with open space activist arguments and fear-based claims of “sprawl”.

    People see the brown fields around them and have this incorrect sense that we are still some low-density small rural small town. But we are a hyper-dense medium sized city surrounded by open land. In fact, I think some of the fear of congestion that causes some people to vote against new development has to do with existing high stress levels caused by our already dense living situation. And since we cram all of our economic activity into a small little shabby downtown, they also cringe at the thought of more people crowding in taking up the limited space.

    The point is that we are ALREADY hyper-dense, and we need to start considering the impacts for this.

    There have been several studies that higher population density collaborates with higher stress.

    The bottom line is that we have already achieved a high level of density, and we can stop whining about the fear of sprawl and allow some development on surrounding land. And that development can and should include more useable open space to help relieve some of the stress-inducing hyper density we are plagued with.

  55. Frankly

    [i]I’m just focusing on your incorrect assertion about Davis being dense. It’s not, the stats prove otherwise[/i]

    You are a hoot DTB. Stubborn and prone to spin above the landscape of relevant facts… on this topic at least.

    We are not only dense, we are hyper-dense compared to COMPARABLE cities.

    Are you making a case that we should compare to LA, NY and SF?

    I certainly don’t.

  56. Don Shor

    [quote]People see the brown fields around them and have this incorrect sense that we are still some low-density small rural small town. But we are a hyper-dense medium sized city surrounded by open land.[/quote]
    Not even close. Not even by any stretch of the imagination are we ‘hyper-dense’. I’ll just file this into the folder of pointless arguments along with any of your associated hyperbolic rhetoric.

    So, once Mace 391/421 is off the table, how do you suggest we proceed with development of a business park?

  57. Frankly

    [i] I’ll just file this into the folder of pointless arguments along with any of your associated hyperbolic rhetoric[/i]

    Likewise.

    We are going to have to just disagree that we are a hyper-dense medium-sized city when compared to any other comparable city in California and most in the US.

    Saying it ain’t so does not make it not so, Don. Palo Alto has been used by you as the poster child for what Davis should not be, yet we are significantly more population dense.

    Sorry that the facts don’t line up with your views on this.

  58. Don Shor

    Santa Cruz: yep, university is in city limits.
    Santa Barbara: close to Isla Vista and Goleta, not actually in Santa Barbara.
    San Diego: north of La Jolla, which is part of San Diego.
    Irvine: in the city limits, part of the Santa Ana, Tustin, Irvine metroplex. Davis is denser than that?
    UCLA, UCB? You think Davis has higher density than those? How do they even remotely compare?

    Maybe I need to know what you think is a “comparable city.” I don’t know of one. Please tell me the ground rules for comparing Davis to other cities, so I will know how to check the facts. Davis is, in fact, unique in many ways.

    I don’t recall disrespecting Palo Alto, I just don’t think we aspire to be like a Bay Area city of that sort. It is part of a larger, boundary-free metropolitan area where one city merges into the next.

  59. Frankly

    In city limits does not mean that the university land is included. It is square miles. You are going to have to dig deeper to prove that Davis is also an out outlier in terms of the standards for how the city land area is calculated. Don’t you think your skilled government employee tabulators would apply some standards for comparison purposes?

  60. Frankly

    For those of you other than Don Shor and Michael Bisch who both, for some reason, cannot accept the truth about Davis’s hyper density as a small-medium-sized city, go here:

    [url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_cities_by_population[/url]

    Then sort by population density.

    You will see that Davis lands about where Anaheim is in terms of population density.

    That is right folks… based on the government-published footprint of our town, and the government-published number of people in our town that we are cramming into it that footprint, we have about the same density as the city home of Mickey Mouse. It really makes sense if you spend any time in the city where Mickey Mouse lives and note the people and traffic activity. We have about the same level of movement of both, but just on a smaller scale.

    What is interesting… Davis ranks #42 in this entire list of cities in terms of population density.

    That’s right folks. Our little rural city, with 6,639 people per square mile is the forty-second most dense city in the entire US!

    So I guess we are okay breathing down each others neck, crashing into one another, complaining about snoring, woodsmoke and other normal human functions/activities… just so we can have hyper-expensive real estate and we get to see lots of open brown fields when we hop in our cars to drive to Woodland to buy stuff.

    All of that might be fine if it wasn’t for the fact that we earn about 35% less sales and property tax than comparable cities and in five years our city finances will start hitting the point of no return to insolvency and ultimate bankruptcy.

  61. Jim Frame

    [quote]we are a hyper-dense medium-sized city[/quote]

    Hyper-dense? More like hyper-bole.

    [quote]we cram all of our economic activity into a small little shabby downtown[/quote]

    Add the definition of “shabby” to the list of our disagreements. I happen to love our downtown, and describing it as “shabby” wouldn’t ever occur to me.

    [quote]The point is that we are ALREADY hyper-dense, and we need to start considering the impacts for this. There have been several studies that higher population density collaborates with higher stress. [/quote]

    One of us would appear to be highly stressed. As for me, I think I’ll take a nap.

  62. Mr.Toad

    Too bad Davis doesn’t include UCD as part of the city like those other democratic places in California do.

    I think you guys are focusing on the wrong numbers. Don says ag land with a conservation easement is assessed at $3000/acre. Michael says business park land is assessed at $200,000 -$400,000/acre the difference in annual property taxes alone on 400 acres is somewhere around $800,000- $1,600,000. This doesn’t include other revenue generated by a business park.

    As for the remark of why 391 when it wasn’t part of earlier discussion is as Rochelle said “Shriners being in play.”

    You could invite all the nimby’s mentioned. It would be interesting to see if they would give an inch. I would rather see some young people included. This seems to be a debate between old people many of whom are resistant to change no matter what the consequences.

  63. Robb Davis

    Frankly

    [quote]I absolutely agree that we need some financial models to help us vet opportunities. But, I don’t think we need to go too far with this. There is plenty of empirical evidence to support the premise that commercial development provides a city tax revenue. [/quote]

    I just want to see it AND, I want to understand how long from concept to build out it will take to realize the benefits. We have fiscal challenges now and the benefits of an innovation park will not appear the moment we decide to build one (or more).

    Toad: I don’t get it. Either 391 was a good site then and a good site now or it wasn’t then but is now. After all, the City owned it since 2011 (if I am not mistaken). Why would the introduction of Shriner matter since the City owned the land and, presumably could do anything with it. I am not clear on this.

    Help me out… who are all the “nimby’s”? I honestly have no idea what you are talking about.

    These are honest questions.

  64. Mr.Toad

    David listed some of the most no growth people in town and said they should be included. It would be interesting to see if they are willing to participate or if they only wish to continue to block everything.

    Shriners is a much better piece of land for the community to have for open space, community farm or other community uses. It is located near schools and houses and can add to the bike path and trail system long planned to surround the town. 391 is past the edge of town and adjacent to the freeway. It is in a much better place for a business park with better freeway access that doesn’t go through town.

  65. Rob White

    I am retelling this as I heard it stated to me, so forgive me if it is a little muddled:

    As I understand it (and as described by Sarah Worley last night), the reason the Biz Park task force was only considering the 185 acres for the east site is because the original discussion centered first on the 100 acres of Ramos (about 2011), then grew to add the 85 acres above it due to many long conversations by the task force (Bruner property, in early 2012), and it was presented as the 185 at Council in Nov 2012. At the time the task force was considering the amount, it was apparent in the meetings that even that much was a significant step for the community. It wasn’t until late 2012 and early 2013 that the idea of more than 185 acres started to be floated, in parallel with the discussion with NRCS of swapping the Bruner 85 acres down to the I-80 frontage in trade for lands on the Mace 391/Leland Ranch.

    I don’t think anyone was ‘avoiding’ the dialogue, but it was a long way for the community to come in a short period to accept the idea that it needed to plan for a biz park, where it might be, and to grow from 100 acres to 185 acres. Mace was an easement but not part of the general discussion until late Spring 2013.

    In June, we asked the Council if they wanted to look at other options and they voted 3-2 that they did not want to do anything other than complete the easement. In accordance with their direction, staff continue to process that easement.

  66. Frankly

    At the presentation last night, Rob White appeared in command of the general and some specific economic metrics.

    The problem with getting too specific is that different businesses provide different revenue. For example, the business of the university does not directly contribute property or sales tax. The business of farming does not either.

    Mori Seiki contributes a significantly higher level of sales and property tax per square foot than average business because all of the expensive manufacturing equipment that they pay property tax on. And Mori Seiki routinely updates that equipment as part of their business to stay technologically advanced. Tech companies in general have that benefit to a city… constant churn of technology acquisition that generates sales and property tax revenue to the city.

    So, the model needs to be a range.

    We also heard from UCD on their Venture Catalyst organization and mission. Pretty exciting stuff if you ask me. So with respect to the question about “why Mace 391 now and not then”, other than the point that we had insufficient business and economic development participation in the initial decision process to raid the road fund and try to stick the residents with a permanent ag easement that would prevent them from ever benefiting from the land other than seeing it as they drive out of town to buy stuff, the other point is that we have more synergy built up with this UCD effort and because we understand our fiscal problems better.

    The world is not standing still and Davis should not rely on nostalgia and previous sunk costs as a basis for decisions.

  67. Jim Frame

    [quote] the difference in annual property taxes alone on 400 acres is somewhere around $800,000- $1,600,000[/quote]

    Note that these are gross tax amounts. The portion flowing to the city would be in the range $160,000 – $320,000.

  68. Robb Davis

    Toad – Okay. I was thinking of the names Don and I were putting out in various posts and could not make the connection. As for the names that David put forward, I think the history of growth in Davis in the 80s-90s demonstrates why they championed Measures J/R and O. I would not call them nimby’s or no-growthers, just people who were tired of unkept promises. But… you are the Toad and the Toad abides so your view of local history may be different than mine (a relative newcomer).

    Rob so the Shriner swap idea was predated by the Bruner swap idea? So put an easement on Bruner/Ramos in exchange for some 391 land to the east?

  69. Rob White

    Robb – Yes, I have been told that Ken Hiatt was at least having very preliminary discussions about a swap of the 85 acres of Bruner down to the I-80 edge (in what is now Mace 391). As we found out from discussions with NRCS in Spring, this kind of swap was possible only in the first 12 months of the grant award (which expired as an option in early 2012). Then the choices came down to abandoning the grant or continue with the easement. And that was the June discussion by Council.

  70. Don Shor

    [quote]As I understand it (and as described by Sarah Worley last night), the reason the Biz Park task force was only considering the 185 acres for the east site is because the original discussion centered first on the 100 acres of Ramos (about 2011), then grew to add the 85 acres above it due to many long conversations by the task force (Bruner property, in early 2012), and it was presented as the 185 at Council in Nov 2012. At the time the task force was considering the amount, it was apparent in the meetings that even that much was a significant step for the community[/quote]
    And that would be an extremely logical direction for this discussion, and for the IP Task Force, to go.

  71. David M. Greenwald

    “Too bad Davis doesn’t include UCD as part of the city like those other democratic places in California do.”

    Which places count the university as part of the city? I know Cal Poly isn’t part of SLO, UC Santa Cruz is separate, UCSB isn’t part of the city, neither is UCSD, don’t think Berkeley is, Stanford isn’t.

  72. David M. Greenwald

    “David listed some of the most no growth people in town and said they should be included. It would be interesting to see if they are willing to participate or if they only wish to continue to block everything.”

    The most “no growth” people as you called them got a 76% vote for Measure R in 2010. I think they need to be at the table.

  73. Jim Frame

    [quote]Mori Seiki contributes a significantly higher level of sales and property tax [/quote]

    There have been repeated references to sales tax in connection with a business park, but my understanding is that sales taxes pertain only to retail sales. I would expect pretty much every business leasing space in a business park to deal almost exclusively in wholesale transactions and/or nontaxable services, not retail. It’s a minor point, but one that we need to keep straight in the spreadsheets, when they get developed.

    Unless I’m wrong, of course. 🙂

  74. Frankly

    [i]the difference in annual property taxes alone on 400 acres is somewhere around $800,000- $1,600,000[/i]

    Again – hi-tech manufacturing and research companies generally have expensive equipment that also gets a property tax hit. I think this number is low if we have a high percentage of high-tech business… the type that is very attracted to Davis because of UCD.

    But want to bring in $1 million+ in tax revenue per year to the city, build a power retail center on 113.

    Rob White made the point last night that the IKEA shopping center brings in $4-5 million to West Sac every year.

    Don’t like these things?

    Then you better start working to support the building of one or two good-sized innovation parks.

  75. Don Shor

    [quote]Which places count the university as part of the city? I know Cal Poly isn’t part of SLO, UC Santa Cruz is separate, UCSB isn’t part of the city, neither is UCSD, don’t think Berkeley is, Stanford isn’t.[/quote]
    The point Frankly is making is based on this statistical anomaly that is the “urbanized area” vs. an actual city.
    In the case of Davis, it makes a big difference as to density. Of our town of 66,000, there are 4,000+ more not counted in the city’s population because they are campus residents. They appear to be counted in the “urbanized area” number. The total area of UC Davis is greater than the total area of the City of Davis — UCD is huge.

    Davis is a small city with a very large university. The campus provides 40%+ of the total population and also has a very large land mass. How you count the ones in the dorms, and how much of the campus you include in your definition of “urbanized area” makes a big difference. Because the City of Davis isn’t very high-density.

    I can’t remember what the term is for an anomalous data point like Davis in this situation.

    Jim: [quote]I would expect pretty much every business leasing space in a business park to deal almost exclusively in wholesale transactions and/or nontaxable services, not retail.[/quote]
    Correct. And that can be controlled by zoning.

  76. Don Shor

    [quote]Again – hi-tech manufacturing and research companies generally have expensive equipment that also gets a property tax hit.[/quote]
    It would be interesting to know what kind of unsecured property tax assessment Schilling pays, if they would divulge that information.

  77. Frankly

    UCD central campus is not much larger than Santa Cruz’s campus. I hope you are not counting all the university ag land and other structures spread out into the county. That would make your point a bit disingenuous.

    And you are bouncing around quite a bit making invalid points without cleaning up after yourself. You originally made the calculation of city density including the campus. Then Mr. DTB jumped on your bandwagon on that. Now David comes up with a post to refute than, and now you head to a new nuanced argument that Davis’s campus is bigger.

    I think you should just give up and concede the facts here. Davis is a hyper-dense little city. Even ultra liberal Santa Cruz allows more development on surrounding land.

    And another point about this bogus campus land argument… how many UC students and employees that call themselves Davisites actually live on the campus compared to comparable college towns? And where do those people bank, and shop and go to eat? You keep bringing up the deficit of beds to support the university, so apparently a lot of those students are not living on campus. They are cramming themselves into our tiny 9.5 square miles of city land that you and other want to build an ag easement moat around.

    Here is the thing… density is not all bad. It helps our downtown and city be more vibrant. Go out and see all the people moving about doing their business. It is cool. It does set us apart from other cities to some degree. But it is not all good either. In fact, it starts to be real bad if we grow insolvent lacking commercial space to grow business that feeds revenue to the city.

    That is where we are.

    We take in about 35% less tax revenue from business activity and property tax than the average CA city.

    We need to change that.

    But we have people that believe adding more to our already plentiful portfolio of 5000 acres of open space is a greater priority.

    It is frankly a reckless attitude.

    The way I look at it… the open space activists have had their decade toiling in the sun and have done tremendous things. Now take a holiday and let the economic development folks play some catch-up.

  78. Mr.Toad

    Humboldt State is in Arcata. UCLA is in Los Angeles. Berkeley isn’t in Berkeley? I’m surprised to know that. What is it in? UCSD and UCSB aren’t in those cities because they are far away from those localities. The question is if they are in Isle Vista or La Jolla Do students at Stanford vote in Palo Alto elections? Do students at Cal Poly vote in SLO? Do students at UCSC vote in Santa Cruz city elections?

    As for the no growth people being involved I don’t have a problem. I doubt they would be a constructive element but i would be happy to be proved wrong.

  79. DT Businessman

    “For those of you other than Don Shor and Michael Bisch who both, for some reason, cannot accept the truth about Davis’s hyper density as a small-medium-sized city, go here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L…population”

    So Frankly, this latest list you provided, the 3rd list, ranks cities based on TOTAL POPULATION, not on density.

    On the 2nd list you provided, hyper-dense Davis doesn’t even make the list because it’s well under 10,000 per sq. mile. It’s not my calculator malfunctioning, I’m going off the lists you are providing. Just saying.

    -Michael Bisch

  80. DT Businessman

    Frankly, I’d happily accept your contention that Davis is a hyper-dense city as soon as you can show me the list proving your contention.

    -Michael Bisch

  81. Frankly

    Michael, There is a column that lists the density… simply the total population divided by the land area. If you click on the heading at top, it will sort the list by that column. Then you can simply count the number of lines until you get to the number above and below Davis’s 6,696 people per square mile. And you will see that we are very high on list… and only lower than other hype-dense big cities, and LA and Bay Area cities. All of those cities are well over 100,000 people except one that is in the 90k area.

    There is no disputing this fact that we are hyper-dense for a college town of our population.

    Don brings up a point that we are not counting campus land.

    David pointed out that other state college towns also do not count campus land.

    Couple more related questions.

    Are the students living in campus dorms counted in our population? I think the answer is no, and if so, then our population density is even more hyper-dense as these students spend a lot of time in our 9.6 square miles… and there is a lot of them and they are growing in numbers.

    Are the employees of university that don’t live in town, but do business in town, counted as part of our population. I think the answer is no, but they still are people driving and walking around town.

  82. DT Businessman

    Christ! Matt, you can’t sleep and you love this tedious statistical bullshit. The 2nd link that Frankly provided has many hundreds of CA cities listed including their populations and area in sq. miles. Unfortunately, the list does not provide the density, i.e. population divided by sq. miles. Would you mind creating a spreadsheet with the density calculation so that we know once and for all where Davis ranks among the CA cities? It would be good to know whether Davis is hyper-dense or low density as our eyeballs would suggest.

    -Michael Bisch

  83. Don Shor

    [quote]But we have people that believe adding more to our already plentiful portfolio of 5000 acres of open space is a greater priority.

    It is frankly a reckless attitude. [/quote]
    I support a balanced approach of land conservation and economic development. Several sites have been identified that could be developed for business purposes. I also believe the current proposal for the Cannery site is a missed opportunity to provide housing and business.
    You apparently feel that my objection to one particular site being developed, while supporting the review of several other sites and taking a balanced approach, makes me reckless.

  84. Don Shor

    [quote]It appears students at UCSC who live on campus can vote in Santa Cruz city elections so UCSC must be in Santa Cruz.[/quote]
    At least on the map I looked at, UCSC appears to be in the city limits.
    I actually can’t see much comparison between the different cities that host UC campuses. They’re quite a wide range of situations.

  85. Frankly

    Okay, I do have to correct myself. This list is only those cities over 100,000 people. So, I cannot count Davis as being on this list because there might be some other smaller cities as dense or denser than Davis.

    I was looking at another list of ALL cities in CA, and got them confused.

    The list of ALL cities is an excel that list population but not land area. So, I will need to enter all the data to find out exactly where Davis ranks with all cities in the state.

    I don’t have time for that.

    Here is what I do know, when comparing Davis to other comparable cities in CA, and many in other parts of the county (similar population college town) Davis stands out like a sore thumb as being extremely population-dense.

    That was my original point and I’m sticking with it… because it is true.

  86. Mr.Toad

    U.C. Berkeley is in District 7 represented on the city council by Kris Worthington. It seems you are incorrect, students in these other places are enfranchised to vote in city elections if they live on campus. Davis is the shameful undemocratic exception.

  87. Don Shor

    [quote]when comparing Davis to other comparable cities in CA, and many in other parts of the county (similar population college town) Davis stands out like a sore thumb as being extremely population-dense. [/quote]
    I don’t know of any “similar population college towns” to use for comparison.
    The point is, you seem to be making this ‘density’ argument in furtherance of the proposition that we can annex land and build on it. Is that your point?

  88. Frankly

    [i]You apparently feel that my objection to one particular site being developed, while supporting the review of several other sites and taking a balanced approach, makes me reckless.[/i]

    No. Sorry that is the message I am conveying. It is the demand that we lock it up in ag easement that I consider reckless because it eliminates it for other land-use decisions that could generate needed revenue for the city.

    I need to acknowledge that you are not anti-business park development. You are just particular about where you would allow them.

    I don’t have a problem vetting locations, but until we have vetted all locations, I think it is reckless to lock up Mace 391.

    And, in general, I do not agree with ag easements for a city like ours. I think they are reckless in general, and also insulting. It is a statement that says we are all too stupid to prevent too much development, so a few smarter people need to lock up a bunch of land to keep us from doing just that.

  89. Frankly

    [i]The point is, you seem to be making this ‘density’ argument in furtherance of the proposition that we can annex land and build on it. Is that your point?[/i]

    I listed three comparable cities.

    – Palo Alto
    – Santa Cruz
    – Chico

    Two points:

    1. To demonstrate the absurdity of the “sprawl” fear argument. We would have to about double our footprint at our same population before sprawl should be uttered.

    2. Yes.

  90. Frankly

    So why is UCD outside of city limits and other state universities considered in city limits? Can we annex UCD and force the university to pay sales tax and get those idealistic young people to vote? How does Berkeley handle this?

  91. DT Businessman

    Ah, Frankly, not only does the 3rd list only have cities larger than 100,000, it is ranking them by total population. The list has zero to do with density. So far you haven’t shown any evidence at all that Davis is hyper-dense, let along dense. Then again, neither have I. The only evidence I have is what my eyeballs tell me, which is Davis is low-density. Now if someone would simply take the data in your 2nd list, we would know where Davis ranks in CA, but not where it ranks in the US. The challenge is on!

    A comparison to “similar population college towns” is useless. Why don’t we restrict the list to similar population college towns that begin with the letter “D”? Or similar population college towns with I80 bisecting them? Or similar population college towns with winter Tule fog? Either Davis is dense or it’s not dense. Why all the caveats?

    -Michael Bisch

  92. Frankly

    [i]In a shabby sort of way, of course.[/i]

    I think parts of downtown are absolutely shabby. Parts of G street. parts of 2nd street. And other areas. There has been some revitalization, but not enough in my opinion.

    Of course “shabby” is a subjective term. When I had hair and played in a rock band in the 70s and 80s, my parents said my appearance was shabby. I thought I looked great!

  93. B. Nice

    [quote]And, in general, I do not agree with ag easements for a city like ours. I think they are reckless in general, and also insulting. It is a statement that says we are all too stupid to prevent too much development, so a few smarter people need to lock up a bunch of land to keep us from doing just that.[/quote]

    If we aren’t going to develop the land anyway why is it a big deal to put a land easement on it? The reason you don’t want us to, because it “eliminates it for other land-use decisions that could generate needed revenue for the city.” is the very reason, some would argue, that we need to.

  94. Frankly

    [i]Ah, Frankly, not only does the 3rd list only have cities larger than 100,000, it is ranking them by total population. [/i]

    Mike, Mike, Mike, Mike, Mike, Mike (as the Geico camel says)

    What I am going to do with you?

    [img]http://www.thesocialmisfit.com/hesdense.jpg[/img]

    Do I need to come over there and show you how to use the mouse?

  95. Mr.Toad

    ‘So why is UCD outside of city limits and other state universities considered in city limits? Can we annex UCD and force the university to pay sales tax and get those idealistic young people to vote? How does Berkeley handle this?’

    I think when the University grew up in the 60’s students under 21 couldn’t vote so it didn’t really matter, but now there isn’t the political will to fix it. One of the problems is that the university is a major source of sales tax for the county. In my mind however, all that is secondary and fixable. After all we already have the pass through so these things can be worked out. The sad thing is that the student vote is split and the students become apathetic about city politics as a result.

  96. Matt Williams

    Don Shor

    [i]”Santa Cruz: yep, university is in city limits.
    Santa Barbara: close to Isla Vista and Goleta, not actually in Santa Barbara.
    San Diego: north of La Jolla, which is part of San Diego.
    Irvine: in the city limits, part of the Santa Ana, Tustin, Irvine metroplex. Davis is denser than that?
    UCLA, UCB? You think Davis has higher density than those? How do they even remotely compare?

    Maybe I need to know what you think is a “comparable city.” I don’t know of one. Please tell me the ground rules for comparing Davis to other cities, so I will know how to check the facts. Davis is, in fact, unique in many ways.

    I don’t recall disrespecting Palo Alto, I just don’t think we aspire to be like a Bay Area city of that sort. It is part of a larger, boundary-free metropolitan area where one city merges into the next. “[/i]

    Santa Cruz — 15.828 sq mi (of which less than 20% is the UCSC campus) and 4,705.3/sq mi density

    Santa Barbara — 41.968 sq mi and 4,541/sq mi

    San Diego — 372.40 sq mi (of which less than 1% is the UCSD campus) and 4,003/sq mi density

    Irvine — look at the amount of land that UCI adds to Irvine in this graphic [url]http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/9e/Map_of_planning_areas_Irvine_CA.svg[/url] Planning Areas 50 and 29 have 1,526 acres (2.4 square miles) which is only 3.5% of Irvine’s total 66.454 sq mi, which has a density of 3,200/sq mi.

    So Davis with UCD having an area that is 54% of the combined City/University land area of 21.339 sq mile is clearly an outlier in every sense of the word.

  97. Frankly

    [i]The reason you don’t want us to, because it “eliminates it for other land-use decisions that could generate needed revenue for the city.” is the very reason, some would argue, that we need to[/i]

    Well yes, but then you and I will gone one day and it is our kids having to make that decision. And us adults have a very bad track record making selfish decisions that has screwed up things for the kids.

    Ag easements are good for other cities that don’t have such thoughtful and caring people with direct democracy tools like Measure R.

    They are weapons in our city… wielded by the open space crusaders that will stop at nothing to prevent all options to use land in ways that secures our economic future.

    Do you know that we already have as many acres of open space preserved as the city footprint? Can’t we just calm down a bit now and allow some growth?

  98. B. Nice

    [quote]When I had hair and played in a rock band in the 70s and 80s, my parents said my appearance was shabby. I thought I looked great![/quote]

    Please say you have a home movie of this and that you will post it for our consideration of your “shabbiness”.

  99. Rob White

    Though sales tax can be a tricky thing to nail down (many rules and exceptions), in general, if you are the end user and it is taxable, it records where the use happens. If you buy a car, it is recorded to the place the car is registered (except that in the case of Davis, we add an extra 0.5% that records to Davis through our tax measure voted in a few years back). In the case of machinery or materials, if it is ‘used’ at the end point, it is taxed accordingly. If it is a raw material that goes into a product that will be resold, it is not usually taxed. So in the case of machinery at a high tech manufacturing plant, if that is the last place it will be ‘used’, it is taxed (if taxable).

    And some of the largest sales tax generators in California are business to business transactions, which can be in the millions of dollars per business per year. In some cases, more than an entire large retail shopping center. We had a medical device company in Livermore that was over $2 million per year. And cities like Ontario, CA and Lathrop get many millions per year from distribution warehouses for business to business transactions.

    I know, it’s enough to give us all a headache. But such is the nature of tax law when you have special interest. We have an entire bureaucracy dedicated to trying to figure this out in California (the Board of Equalization). Hope I could clarify (and confuse) some of the discussion.

  100. Matt Williams

    Robb Davis said . . .

    [i]”Toad: I don’t get it. Either 391 was a good site then and a good site now or it wasn’t then but is now. After all, the City owned it since 2011 (if I am not mistaken). [b]Why would the introduction of Shriner matter since the City owned the land and, presumably could do anything with it. [/b]I am not clear on this.

    Help me out… who are all the “nimby’s”? I honestly have no idea what you are talking about.

    These are honest questions.”[/i]

    In the comment above it is hard to know where Robb starts and Toad ends, but with respect to the bolded words, my own sense is that it is a lot like sex education in a Catholic Parochial School in the 1960’s wherein the nuns felt that if they didn’t talk about sex then their students would never discover that sex existed. Said another way one part of City Staff wasn’t talking to other parts of City Staff about Mace 391 and the impact it would have on the planning process that those other parts of City Staff were in the midst of rolling out.

    JMHO

  101. B. Nice

    [quote]And us adults have a very bad track record making selfish decisions that has screwed up things for the kids. [/quote]

    I agree. Including warming up the globe a few degrees:-)

    [quote]Do you know that we already have as many acres of open space preserved as the city footprint? Can’t we just calm down a bit now and allow some growth?[/quote]

    What do you mean by growth? I’ve lived in Davis since 1991 and it has done nothing but grow. Are you taking about growth outside the current city limits? (I don’t think any new land has been annexed since the 1990’s. Don posted a link with that information on a different thread)

    My defense of agricultural easements is more of a theoretical one (not specific to any particular site in Davis), and honestly I’m playing a little bit of devil’s advocate with you in order to flesh out my feelings, I mean my thoughts, on the subject.

    Just like other types of legally permanent protection placed on lands (national park, state parks, forest service, etc) I do think agricultural easements are important tools in preserving land and protecting it from it’s present or future economic value, especially during economic hard times when this land becomes more vulnerable to developmental pressures, and when honestly the best land use decisions are not often made, and often regretted by the children of the people who made them.

    That being said I think they should be used sparingly and with a good amount of foresight and planning. Not just the city buying up available land and sticking easements on them (which I’m NOT arguing the is the case with Mace curve). This is what makes Matt’s vision appealing. Just like I’m grateful that some in previous generations had the foresight to permanently protect land, I’m sure that those who come after us will feel the same.

  102. Matt Williams

    Don Shor said . . .

    [i]”[b]I support a balanced approach of land conservation and economic development.[/b] Several sites have been identified that could be developed for business purposes. I also believe the current proposal for the Cannery site is a missed opportunity to provide housing and business.
    You apparently feel that my objection to one particular site being developed, while supporting the review of several other sites and taking a balanced approach, makes me reckless.”[/i]

    Don, that is exactly what the second graphic in the article illustrates . . . a balancing of over 3,000 acres of land conservation with a bit less than 1,000 acres of location for economic development. What is it about that more than 3 to 1 ratio that you consider to be “unbalanced.”

    In addition, the purple areas define a “de jure” urban limit line that stretches from Russell around the City all the way to I-80. Our future is secured for all time. We plan with a 50 year time horizon and become the stewards of a limited resource (innovation park land) that we have to make last forever.

    That to me is the epitome of balance.

  103. Don Shor

    In the most recent report (2006-8) of the California Farmland Conservancy, which produces biennial reports on conversion of farmland to other uses, about 73,000 acres was urbanized. Of that, about 20,000 acres was irrigated farmland — 10,000 acres per year. That is a relatively low figure, reflecting the slowing of the economy. In the prior two-year report, urbanization of irrigated farmland was running about 15,000 acres per year statewide. In the rapid urban expansion of the late 1980’s, the rate ranged up to 25,000 acres of irrigated farmland per year. Larger amounts of grazing land were urbanized.
    Since the reporting began in 1984 1.3 million acres have been taken out of agricultural use in California. That includes both grazing land and farmland.
    The pattern of the 1950’s to the 1980’s was rapid loss of farmland to urbanization in the coastal areas, as farmland expanded in the Central Valley due to the development of water supplies. That won’t happen again. The greatest urbanization and loss of prime agricultural land now is around the cities of the Central Valley, including the Sacramento Valley.

  104. Don Shor

    We do not need to develop Mace 391 to achieve land conservation around Davis. That is an unnecessary linkage. We do not need to develop Mace 391 to balance the city’s finances. That is an unnecessary linkage. The attempt to link these unrelated things is merely being done to block the conservation easement and allow the development of Mace 391. Or 421, or whatever is actually on the table now.

  105. Frankly

    [i]We do not need to develop Mace 391 to achieve land conservation around Davis. That is an unnecessary linkage. We do not need to develop Mace 391 to balance the city’s finances. That is an unnecessary linkage. The attempt to link these unrelated things is merely being done to block the conservation easement and allow the development of Mace 391. Or 421, or whatever is actually on the table now.[/i]

    Ag easements are unnecessary for open space and are harmful to future generations that might have different land-use needs.

    We do not need to preserve another acre of land at this point when that preservation causes a risk that we fail to develop our economy well enough to ensure long-term financial sustainability for the city and all its residents.

    We have 5000 acres preserved in and around Davis. How much do you insist we need? We have a budget problem that will send us to bankruptcy in a decade or less unless we develop to increase our long-term revenue stream. The only way to do that is to grow our business sector.

    An ag easement on Mace 391 at this point is unnecessary. It would be irresponsible given our financial difficulties.

    Don, your bit on the loss of farmland in California is moving, but Davis cannot be responsible for saving enough to make up for the problems of the past… especially when we don’t have the money to do so.

  106. Mr.Toad

    “We do not need to develop Mace 391 to achieve land conservation around Davis. That is an unnecessary linkage. We do not need to develop Mace 391 to balance the city’s finances. That is an unnecessary linkage. The attempt to link these unrelated things is merely being done to block the conservation easement and allow the development of Mace 391. Or 421, or whatever is actually on the table now.”

    Maybe not but that isn’t the question. The question is what is the best way to proceed and on that question developing 391 is a very good answer.

  107. B. Nice

    “Maybe not but that isn’t the question. The question is what is the best way to proceed and on that question developing 391 is a very good answer.”

    Except we have to give up the grant money, and potentially hurt our chances of receiving futre funds. It may not be legal and may not pass aMeasure R vote. Not convinced this is the best answer.

  108. Frankly

    [i]Except we have to give up the grant money,[/i]

    De minimis concern. The land value has already appreciated to make up most if not all of that $1.2 million. We can lease the farm land and earn that amount in a few years. If we develop it as a business park we earn several times that amount.

    [i]and potentially hurt our chances of receiving futre funds.[/i]

    Nope. False argument meant to cause fear. That is not the way federal government grant programs work. There are too few candidates for this USDA NRCS grant money. That is why the program exists… to entice communities to give up developing on farmland. Not many communities think that is a good idea right now. Especially when their economic circumstances are so crappy. USDA LOVES Davis. We have a west regional office right downtown. They will look at each future grant proposal on its own merit, and not have any hurt feelings that we had to let this one go.

    [i]It may not be legal[/i]

    I may have not been legal to raid the road fund to acquire land for Measure O purposes… especially when that road fund is already inadequate and our roads are not being repaired as they should. But returning the money to the Measure O account after selling it to a developer or if the city develops it and returns revenue generated from the sale of parcels to the Measure O will negate any legality claims. The money is returned, then all is good.

    [i]and may not pass aMeasure R vote.[/i]

    True. But times have changed. I think voters care about the economy and jobs much more than they did even when measure R was passed. All that hope and change giddiness has about evaporated.

    [i]Not convinced this is the best answer[/i]

    I don’t think you have every moved from your initial opinions. Maybe you are not even open to being convinced.

  109. Mr.Toad

    Because you would get Shriners for use by the community and advance the completion of the greenbelt while at the same time getting the infrastructure and tax base Davis needs to move forward. Also the transportation access at 391 doesn’t go through town. With the 391 easement the community doesn’t get access or use of the property.

  110. Mr.Toad

    “Except we have to give up the grant money, and potentially hurt our chances of receiving futre funds. It may not be legal and may not pass aMeasure R vote. Not convinced this is the best answer.”

    These are all technical or logistic problems they have nothing to do with what is in the best interest of the community.

  111. B. Nice

    [quote]Because you would get Shriners for use by the community and advance the completion of the greenbelt while at the same time getting the infrastructure and tax base Davis needs to move forward.[/quote]

    Is a land swap the only way to get Shriners?

    I’m still not understanding the claim that the development of Mace 391 is the answer to the to the city’s infrastructure needs. I am not convinced that other options are sufficiently less superior enough to warrant the loss of the grant funding (and potentially jeopardize our ability to obtain future grants). This is where I am stuck on this issue.

  112. B. Nice

    [quote]These are all technical or logistic problems they have nothing to do with what is in the best interest of the community.[/quote]

    If it was all as simple as switching the land, I’d have far fewer, if any reservations, and I’d be okay with sacrificing the grant money. But there are many obstacles in place. (to recap: wether it’s legal to swap or sell land purchased with Measure O money, would profits generated be put back into Measure O funds, the future grant implications, the Measure R vote, and the fact that I’m not convinced this is the only viable spot for a business park…

    It’s a tough call, I guess thats why our council members make the big bucks.

  113. B. Nice

    [quote] Also the transportation access at 391 doesn’t go through town. With the 391 easement the community doesn’t get access or use of the property.[/quote]

    My perception of what Measure O funds are to be spent on are clearly different from yours. I’ve always thought of it as a farmland conservation fund, so access isn’t that big of a concern to me. Not sure what the general consensus on this is though.

  114. Mr.Toad

    “I’ve always thought of it as a farmland conservation fund, so access isn’t that big of a concern to me. Not sure what the general consensus on this is though.”

    This is how the Open Space people are spinning the fact that they have put easements on 2000 thousand acres using taxes paid by the citizens of Davis yet those citizens do not have access to any of those acres. However the reality in how this was and continues to be sold to the residents is different with the idea of access for recreation and education woven throughout the supporting documents. The reality is that the Open Space advocates have sold the citizens of Davis a bill of goods receiving nothing for their money and far less than they were promised.

  115. Don Shor

    Here are the sites purchased prior to Measure O (1st and 2nd images) and then with Measure O funds. Some have public access. Some are ag easements. Some are “protected riparian corridors” and wildlife habitat where one would not expect public access.
    [img]OpenSpace1preMsrO.png[/img]
    [url]OpenSpace1preMsrO.png[/url]
    [img]OpenSpace2PreMsrO.png[/img]
    [url]OpenSpace2PreMsrO.png[/url]
    [img]OpenSpace3MsrO.png[/img]
    [url]OpenSpace3MsrO.png[/url]
    [img]OpenSpace4MsrO.png[/img]
    [url]OpenSpace4MsrO.png[/url]
    It is an open space tax, not a parks tax. It is used to protect and conserve land, not to make areas for the public to use. It is not for recreation.
    [quote]receiving nothing for their money and far less than they were promised.[/quote]
    They receive plenty for their money in the form of land protection. And as to what “they were promised” I think you’d have to find old campaign literature to prove that, but I seriously think you’re conflating the parks tax campaign with the open space tax campaign.

  116. Frankly

    I think this lack of access is a smoking gun to some degree. The more people I talk to about it, the more they go negative on the use of Measure O funds. And when I tell them that Davis has already secured as much surrounding open space as the footprint of the town… and that 95% of they cannot touch… it is clearly a BIG surprise to them.

    I asked Mitch Sears if accessible recreation land was included as define as open space in Measure O language. The answer is no. Said another way, if New York City had Measure O, they could not use it to acquire Central Park. That is not “open space” to the architects of the measure.

    The more you get into this, the more it is clear that environmental and no-growth zealots won a big win at the expense of all of us duped citizens. We are taxing ourselves to keep us locked into a hyper-dense living arrangement with our own money. And with this we are being surrounded by a sort of wall of impenetrable unavailable land that we can only look at as we drive out of town to shop.

  117. Davis Progressive

    “The more people I talk to about it, the more they go negative on the use of Measure O funds. “

    the question is who or should i say, what type of people are you talking to.

  118. Frankly

    Generally somewhat uninformed neighbors… and there are a lot of them.

    I say…

    “Did you know that every household in the city is paying $2 per month for as long as we live here to give the city money to purchase open space? Did you know that the city has already acquired about 5000 acres of land in and around Davis that they are making it permanently off-limits to development, and that Davis itself is about 5000 acres and was built on the same farm land that the city is trying to prevent from being built on? And, did you know that 95% of that 5000 acres of city-acquired open space land is inaccessible to residents, and most of it is existing farmland that we are only paying farmers for to accept a permanent agriculture easement that means it can never be anything other than farmland? And that the open space activists are most interested in locking up the land immediately adjacent to the developed boundary of the city? And that Davis is already one of the most dense little cities in the United States and certainly denser that any like-sized college town in California? That basically there is a determined minority of people in this town that think we should all be packed in like sardines and without any viable options to develop our economy so that we can keep from going insolvent and heading toward bankruptcy?”

    For most of the people I talk to, there are quite surprised and not really happy about the situation.

  119. Don Shor

    [quote] And that the open space activists are most interested in locking up the land immediately adjacent to the developed boundary of the city? And that Davis is already one of the most dense little cities in the United States and certainly denser that any like-sized college town in California? That basically there is a determined minority of people in this town that think we should all be packed in like sardines and without any viable options to develop our economy so that we can keep from going insolvent and heading toward bankruptcy?” [/quote]
    And that every one of these three sentences is factually incorrect? And that the person asking the question thinks open space is a luxury? And are you just nodding and slowly backing away, because you’ve had these conversations with this guy before?

  120. Frankly

    LOL!

    [i]And that every one of these three sentences is factually incorrect?[/i]

    Not

    [i]And that the person asking the question thinks open space is a luxury?[/i]

    Yes, and one that they want if they can use it.

    [i]And are you just nodding and slowly backing away, because you’ve had these conversations with this guy before?[/i]

    Have not noticed this with my neighbors. I can see the light-bulb click on that they have been duped.

    My assessment is that they voted for measure O because they felt cramped, and because they wanted to protect their home values that they paid an arm and a leg to acquire.

    When I tell them that the Measure they voted for is going to make them more cramped, and it is being used to block business development that would bring in jobs and revenue to the city and probably increase the demand for their house… then they are really not happy.

  121. B. Nice

    [quote]This is how the Open Space people are spinning the fact that they have put easements on 2000 thousand acres using taxes paid by the citizens of Davis yet those citizens do not have access to any of those acres. However the reality in how this was and continues to be sold to the residents is different with the idea of access for recreation and education woven throughout the supporting documents. The reality is that the Open Space advocates have sold the citizens of Davis a bill of goods receiving nothing for their money and far less than they were promised.[/quote]

    So they are spinning that Measure O money is supposed to be used for farmland AND at the same time spinning that land was supposed to be for recreation and educations not farmland? Which is it?

  122. B. Nice

    [quote]“Did you know that every household in the city is paying $2 per month for as long as we live here to give the city money to purchase open space? Did you know that the city has already acquired about 5000 acres of land in and around Davis that they are making it permanently off-limits to development, and that Davis itself is about 5000 acres and was built on the same farm land that the city is trying to prevent from being built on? And, did you know that 95% of that 5000 acres of city-acquired open space land is inaccessible to residents, and most of it is existing farmland that we are only paying farmers for to accept a permanent agriculture easement that means it can never be anything other than farmland? And that the open space activists are most interested in locking up the land immediately adjacent to the developed boundary of the city? [/quote]

    You could write the Measure O brochure. I bet your description sounds really appealing to, I don’t know, say 70% of people who live in Davis.

  123. B. Nice

    [quote]Said another way, if New York City had Measure O, they could not use it to acquire Central Park. That is not “open space” to the architects of the measure[/quote]

    Why is this surprising to you? It was never the intent for Measure O funds to go towards parks.

  124. Mr.Toad

    Don i’ve read the report you posted the link to that includes the Data posted above. By simply posting the data, which, by the way, shows that all the land and easements acquired since the passage of measure O is not accessible to the public, you miss the parts of the same report that would lead an unwitting person to believe that public access is a priority of the use of measure O funds. The language is deceptive but read it yourself and you will see it with references to parks, education, signage and maps.

  125. Don Shor

    From Davis Wiki:
    [quote]From Davis Municipal Code 27.01.01c,
    “Open space area” means a natural, open space area owned, used or maintained by the city, and devoted to habitat, agriculture or passive recreation and not designated a park by the city.[/quote]

  126. Frankly

    Here is a list of Sonoma’s open space locations. Note that it includes:

    – Farms and Ranches
    – Natural Areas
    – Recreation
    – Greenbelts

    And all but the Farms and Ranches are accessible to the public.

    That is about 75% locations accessible to the public versus 25% inaccessible farm and ranch land.

    Let’s see how this difference is spun.

  127. B. Nice

    [quote]Here is a list of Sonoma’s open space locations. Note that it includes:

    – Farms and Ranches
    – Natural Areas
    – Recreation
    – Greenbelts
    [/quote]

    There is no spin. Measure O money was never intended to pay for parks. We have a separate tax to pay for these. Measure D, The tax — a $49 per year levy — among other services, has funded the maintenance of parks, street trees, green belts, bike paths, medians, public landscaping, urban wildlife and habitat, swimming pools and recreational facilities in Davis.

  128. B. Nice

    [quote]Generally somewhat uninformed neighbors… and there are a lot of them. [/quote]

    The key here is that they are starting uninformed. If I went to my uninformed neighbors and spun this story a different way, “Sneaky activist developers are trying to secretly derail a 1.2 million federal grant so they can build on land purchased by the city with money designated for farmland preservation, and said developers accepted a 2 million dollar donation from the Cannery developers to keep them from throwing a wrench in their plans.” my guess is they wouldn’t be very happy with the situation either, but for very different reasons.

  129. Frankly

    LOL!

    B. Nice… I am A LOT nicer and more balanced talking to my neighbor face to face than I am fighting this army of blogging soldiers of all things left and irrelevant.

    And I while I am talking to them I admit that I like open space… including farm fields… except when the wind blows all the top soil goes into the air and causes my wife to have breathing problems (maybe we should ban dust in the air along with woodsmoke)… except when the strong smell of natural poop fertilizer fills my house… and except when large farm equipment on the road causes me to take longer driving out of town to buy stuff I can’t get in Davis. But otherwise I like it too.

    Basically, I just inform them… and they figure it out on their own.

  130. Don Shor

    I think a very unfortunate side effect of the misguided proposal to link economic development to open space acquisition is this developing opposition to Measure O. Measure O is working well. There is a process in place by which land acquisitions are vetted in public. The small parcel tax, combined with the parks tax, has helped create a combination of open spaces, protected farmland, wildlife habitat, important riparian sites, as well as areas the public uses for recreation.
    But unfortunately, now it has become politicized. People who are against developing one particular site — Mace 391 — are now a “determined minority” (based on what? certainly not the election results) with some radical agenda. Actions and motivations of citizens who serve on the commission are being called, unfairly, into question.
    We need to de-couple the concept of open space from the concept of economic development. The open space tax is working well and should be left alone. Mace 391 will stand or fall on its own merits.

  131. Mr.Toad

    “I think a very unfortunate side effect of the misguided proposal to link economic development to open space acquisition is this developing opposition to Measure O. “

    Sort of but there is plenty of blame to go around. Another way of looking at it is that the controversy over the disposition of 391 has caused the actions of the Open Space Commission to come into focus and, as a result, the lack of access to the citizens of Davis has raised questions about how the Open Space Commission has been implementing its objectives.

  132. Mr.Toad

    “From Davis Municipal Code 27.01.01c,
    “Open space area” means a natural, open space area owned, used or maintained by the city, and devoted to habitat, agriculture or passive recreation and not designated a park by the city.”

    You see even here the term passive recreation is deceptive. What does that mean and how does one engage in it without access. Like I said, read the report you posted before, its riddled with such references. By the way, although you want to try to paint me as out of the mainstream my posts here are causing others to start asking the same sort of questions about access. Someone told me Mitch Sears was asked about it the other night and he gave the standard line that its not what Measure O is about. That might work for a while but the cat is now out of the bag and I expect more and more people to start pushing back on why their tax dollars are being used in this manner. I think you open space guys are going to be facing some music that is going to get louder even though you don’t want to hear it. I hope to go from band leader to member of the choir passing out the sheet music from their own report.

  133. B. Nice

    [quote] the lack of access to the citizens of Davis has raised questions about how the Open Space Commission has been implementing its objectives.[/quote]

    I don’t understand what you mean by lack of access. As Don stated, “there is a process in place by which land acquisitions are vetted in public”. What access has the public been denied?

  134. B. Nice

    [quote]B. Nice… I am A LOT nicer and more balanced talking to my neighbor face to face than I am fighting this army of blogging soldiers of all things left and irrelevant. [/quote]

    Oh good, I’m glad you are not telling your neighbors that the things they care about are irrelevant, that might not go over to well at the neighborhood potluck.

  135. Mr.Toad

    From page 3 of the draft report: “In the context of this special fund, open space is defined as “land in a predominantly natural state or altered for natural resources based uses (i.e. farming,parks), and may include, but is not limited to riparian areas, agricultural lands, watersheds, forests, floodplains, and habitat areas” (City of Davis 2000).”

    So where are the parks? This is but one example of the deception I’m describing. The use of the term parks is pretty clear and empirically false.

  136. Frankly

    [i]From page 3 of the draft report: “In the context of this special fund, open space is defined as “land in a predominantly natural state or altered for natural resources based uses (i.e. farming,parks), and may include, but is not limited to riparian areas, agricultural lands, watersheds, forests, floodplains, and habitat areas” (City of Davis 2000).”

    So where are the parks? This is but one example of the deception I’m describing. The use of the term parks is pretty clear and empirically false.[/i]

    Maybe “parks” means business parks?

  137. B. Nice

    And maybe forest could refer to the 111 Valley Oaks in the Cannery Site. If the housing development falls through maybe we could buy the site with Measure O funds and finally get our forest.

  138. Mr.Toad

    “I don’t understand what you mean by lack of access.”

    Access means being able to be on a property without trespassing.

    Its bad enough when we are not talking about frontier property but in the case of 391 its land quite close to the existing city limit. If we don’t go with a business park we would be better off not recovering the measure O money or the conservation money and have the city preserve the land for habitat restoration and open space for “passive recreation” by the citizens of Davis than the current plan to sell the land off to a private party who will be able to put up keep out signs facing the city limit.

  139. B. Nice

    Misunderstood, thought you meant access to the process regarding the purchase of the land.

    I thought this land was bought with the intention of keeping it as farm land. I’ve been thinking it going to be actively farmed. Is that wrong?

  140. Don Shor

    [quote]I thought this land was bought with the intention of keeping it as farm land. I’ve been thinking it going to be actively farmed. Is that wrong?[/quote]
    That is correct. It is on the market right now. [url]http://www.landandfarm.com/property/LELAND_RANCH-1069896/[/url]

  141. B. Nice

    Again, When I voted for Measure O in 2000 I didn’t equate it with access, but instead with land and especially farm preservation, at least this is my 13 year old recollection. I assumed that’s what everyone thought. Maybe I’ll follow Frankly’s lead and conduct an informal neighborhood poll.

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