Much of the results coming out of Wednesday night’s meeting on the business parks has focused on the main council direction allowing for an advisory vote. But Mayor Pro Tem Robb Davis put a motion to help direct the process forward that was eventually passed 5-0 following the vote on Rochelle Swanson’s substitute motion on the advisory vote.
“I think the RFEI approach, while it gave general information, was a good place to start,” Mayor Pro Tem Robb Davis explained to his colleagues on Wednesday night. “I want to move it forward. I want to put a motion on the table which may be in some sense moot because we already have pre-application. But I want to do it because I want to signal to our community, the region, the respondents, that we are ready to do this.”
He saw this as a separate issue from the advisory vote. “No matter what happens with Schilling Robotics… we want to make sure that we have laid the foundation… in terms of building.”
He stated, “I move we affirm our commitment to working with Ramco Enterprises and Hines/SSK Developments to further refine their responses and encourage staff to work with them in their project pre-application or application.”
Second that “we form an ad hoc Council subcommittee charged with identifying overarching expectations (e.g. sustainability) for Innovation Center projects that represent community goals not otherwise included in standard development codes—such as those contained in various community plans. The subcommittee should also reach out to the business community and key City Commissions to assist with the development of expectations and advise on retaining and attracting new technology businesses. Complete assignment by 9/9 and the Subcommittee to report back to Council 9/16 to determine further steps.”
Rochelle Swanson seconded the motion for purposes of discussion.
Mayor Pro Tem Davis stated, “My intent in putting this motion on the floor is to send a clear signal that we are in fact open for business, that we are ready to process applications. We are ready to do it in a way that will really work best with us, which is to have council – a subcommittee of council – to work closely with things like the climate-action plan, transportation element, if its applicable, the bike plan, and other commissions that want to speak in that make sure that issues are brought forward at the beginning that important to the community so that we don’t get surprises at the end.”
Mayor Pro Tem Davis explained that he hadn’t included the third respondent because in his view they don’t have a response from an RFEI. “By their very admission, they’re early in the process, they are not prepared, whereas I hear clearly that the other two are,” he explained.
Rochelle Swanson stated, “My only hesitation is the ‘paralysis by analysis.’” She would lay out the history from DSIDE (Designing a Sustainable and Innovative Davis Economy) to Next Economy and a number of entities “which have all involved the same thing.” She stated that, while she respects where Robb Davis was coming from, from her perspective, “a lot of that has already been done.”
He clarified, “I don’t want a long process; it’s really about culling through what we already had in terms of standards. Some of the same stuff that we ran through as did the Cannery.” He added, “My intent here is to provide fairly punctual guidance to the applicants as they’re moving ahead.”
At that point, she made the substitute motion asking staff to come back on July 15 with language on an advisory vote.
Following council’s vote 5-0 to go forward with the advisory vote, he stated, “I voted for this (the advisory measure) for one reason, because I want to send the signal that we want to keep this company here. I question the wisdom of this approach.”
Robb Davis then brought back his motion. Rochelle Swanson made a friendly amendment to accept all three proposals (or four if the city comes forward with a fourth proposal on the 25 acres).
The council voted 5-0 to support Robb Davis’ motion.
—David M. Greenwald