On the long range calendar, the Davis City Council by a 4-1 vote agreed to agendize a discussion of Measure R. At last night’s meeting, Dan Ramos was representing the Ramco company and other interests in a 238-acre proposed business park that he once again emphasized will not contain any proposed housing.
At the meeting last night, Mr. Ramos read from a June 17 letter to Interim City Manager Gene Rogers. Mr. Ramos read, “One issue which has emerged as we have proceeded is how to comply with Measure R which, as you know, currently requires a vote of approval by the electorate following City Council approval for a project such as the one we are contemplating.”
He added, “We certainly support Measure R.” He added, “I want to emphasize that.”
Mr. Ramos continued, “However, we would like the mandated vote to occur earlier in the process. Why? Because it waits until too late in the process for us, the landowner, to ascertain whether the community supports our proposal.”
He added, “The same is true for local innovation companies which are currently seeking expansion opportunities.”
To this end, he stated, “We would like to request that the City Council place on the November 2014 ballot a slight modification to Measure R which would allow the mandated vote to occur prior to City Council action as opposed to after that action. In addition, we would further request that the modification measure actually act as a means of allowing the electorate to vote on our proposal.”
The letter continued, “These actions together will facilitate citizen input while allowing us to learn early in the process whether there is communitywide support for our proposal. They will also help assure the timely and efficient review of the proposed project.”
While Councilmember Brett Lee objected, the other four councilmembers agreed to place the item on for discussion.
During public comment, Tyler Schilling of Schilling Robotics spoke as to the urgency of the issue.
“I am very interested, based on the rapid growth of our business, in seeing a Measure R vote as early as practical because of the time pressure our business happens to be under,” Mr. Schilling stated. “I’ve always considered myself a futurist, but unfortunately I’m only able to see 15 to 30 minutes into the future and didn’t anticipate our business growing as rapidly as it has.”
He continued, “We’re going to need a sizable parcel to build a new facility and I would dearly love to be able to do it here in Davis.”
Mr. Ramos is proposing the following ballot question: “Shall Ordinance no. 2530, commonly known as Measure R, be amended, as set forth in Ordinance no. _ , to allow for voter approval for a innovation, research and business park not to exceed 230 acres in size and to be located east of Mace Blvd and north of Interstate 80, and which involves no residential development, and shall this measure be deemed to constitute that vote?”
The Mace Innovation Center, the developers write in their RFEI [Request for Expressions of Interest] proposal, “is intended to be an area where leading-edge anchor institutions and local to international companies cluster and connect with start-ups, businesses incubators, and accelerators as well as the University of California at Davis. It will incorporate sustainable design features including LEED [Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design] building standards and will be walkable, bike and transit-accessible, and technically-wired. The Park will offer a mix of building types and uses including office, light manufacturing, research and development, flex space and support retail. It will also include support uses such as recreation facilities and may include uses such as lodging and a conference center.”
They add, “It is intended that a ‘Business Park’ be functionally and aesthetically integrated into the community and not provide commercial uses that are encouraged in the downtown and neighborhood centers.”
“Phasing the project over time will allow for a strong initial first phase that may be at a lower FAR [floor area ratio], but then provide higher density in later phases to create the desired FAR,” they write. “In later phases the plan will look to create opportunities to densify existing built areas, including utilizing parking structures to free up land for additional development.”
“The Project is to deliver office/corporate spaces that are highly flexible and technologically advanced. They will include new collaborative spaces/flex spaces/dry and wet labs,” the Mace developers note. “There will be space developed for Research/Incubators start-ups who may be subsidiaries of larger and more established companies in Davis, Sacramento, or even the Bay Area. Programs envisioned in the Project are scientific, technical and research focused. UC Davis spin-off research/internships are potential and targeted programs.”
They continue, “The site, given its size and location, is suitable for research programs for green technology and sustainable agricultural research. The Project intends to include potential hotel/conference center, associated retail, and other amenities for employees and visitors to the site.”
The council will take up the issue of the Measure R revision on July 1 with newly-elected Mayor Pro Tem Dan Wolk seated in place of outgoing Mayor Joe Krovoza.
—David M. Greenwald reporting