On the agenda for Tuesday’s meeting, after considerable discussion and concern, is the item showing the city has reached agreement with a process “that would lead to the securing the easements for the Bicycle/Pedestrian Path to the H Street Tunnel through the Cranbrook Apartments and the City’s commitment to a bicycle/pedestrian undercrossing of Covell Boulevard to the east of the Cannery project.”
If approved and the parties agree, “the City will commit to the construction of a bicycle undercrossing across Covell Boulevard located to the east of the Cannery development.”
Staff notes, “Prior to making the commitment to construct, the Council would have preliminary engineering and cost estimates. Construction funding is anticipated to come from impact fees and other fees paid by the Cannery development.”
The Davis City Council by a 3-2 vote back in November approved the Cannery Project, which included a plan for an easement to the south with the project applicants also agreeing to contribute to funding though the Covell Blvd. Corridor Plan that might lead to a second grade-separated crossing between J and L Street.
In early April, Robb Davis had expressed concern about agreements with Cranbrook that at that point were not in place yet.
He said, “If they do not obtain them from the owners of the Cranbrook Apartments then it comes back to the city to decide what to do. Thus, we still have no guarantees that the easements will be obtained.”
“If the applicant does not obtain them there it is unclear what the City Council will do. Even though the BAC [Bicycle Advisory Commission] rejected the applicant’s preferred route of connecting the community to the existing Covell over crossing because it is inappropriate for many bicyclists, if the easement cannot be obtained then the city may be pushed to accept this option,” Robb Davis said.
That appears to have been resolved now. Staff notes, as part of the approvals for the Cannery Project, the council determined that the preferred route for the bicycle pedestrian path to the H Street Tunnel was through the Cranbrook Apartment and Pinecrest Apartment properties.
Staff reports, “City staff and the Cranbrook owners and NDLC [North Davis Land Company] have met several times to discuss this alignment and the proposed Cranbrook agreement. Cranbrook and NDLC indicated that they would cooperate with the Cannery and the City regarding the Cranbrook easement and sell the easement for this project at a negotiated price if the City committed to build a bike undercrossing to the east of the Cannery Project.”
NDLC indicated that it would dedicate the necessary easements for this east crossing.
According to staff, “This proposed agreement provides for a process to develop the information and set up the decisions necessary to implement the bike path through the Cranbrook Apartments and construction of an east bicycle undercrossing. The Cannery developers are not parties to this agreement, but have been kept fully apprised on, and have had input into, the terms of this proposed agreement.”
Staff, though, adds that while they have been in contact with Pinecrest Apartment owners, and that an easement would require their approval as well, that to date, “the Pinecrest owners have indicated that they are not interested in voluntarily selling the necessary easement to the City. However, staff intends to contact the owners to have further discussions with them.”
If council approves, the city and Cannery would work together to determine the exact alignment, fair market value, and agreement on purchase price. “The City would prepare the preliminary engineering for the East Undercrossing to determine whether the undercrossing is feasible, including technical issues, such as relocation of utilities, and the estimated cost of construction. This engineering report would be complete by September 2014.”
In September, “assuming that the Cannery developers and the Cranbrook owners and NDLC have reached agreement on the Cranbrook easement alignment and the purchase price of the Cranbrook easement, the preliminary engineers report and feasibility of the East Crossing would be considered by the City Council.”
At that point, assuming agreements were made, “the parties would proceed to complete the acquisition of the Cranbrook easement and NDLC would dedicate the right of way necessary for the east crossing landing spot on its property and any connection right of way from the southeast corner of the Cannery Property to the East Crossing and along the NDLC frontage to Pole Line Road.”
If council declines to proceed with this east crossing, the entire agreement would terminate.
The city staff further notes, “So long as the parties are working together, the City would not commence a condemnation action to acquire the Cranbrook easement. If the agreement terminates, then the City could pursue acquisition through condemnation, if at that time, it determined to do so.”
Council is considering this item on Tuesday night at the same time they will look at the larger issue of the East Covell Blvd. Corridor Plan.
—David M. Greenwald