Developer Backs Off Request For Expedited Measure R Process

The New Council Ponders Mace 200 Proposal for Measure R revisions on Tuesday night
The New Council ponders Mace 200 Proposal for Measure R revisions on Tuesday night

Recognizing that pushing for an expedited Measure R process would potentially derail the process, the Mace Innovation Center developers, led by Dan Ramos, sent a letter to council on Tuesday indicating, “The Mace Ranch Innovation Center team has listened carefully to the community response to our proposal to modify the Measure R voting process. That discussion, which has occurred in a variety of forms and places, has made clear to us that Davis residents treasure Measure R and do not wish to entertain changing it.”

Based on that, Mr. Ramos announced on Tuesday, “We are accordingly withdrawing the request.” He writes, “Our intent instead is to proceed with the processing of our project consistent with the existing provisions of Measure R. That means our proposal will be subject to a vote by the electorate only if and when it is approved by the City Council.”

However, they asked for an early check-in. “In order to allow that to occur, and to provide our team with early citizen feedback, we would now request that the Council place an advisory measure on the November ballot which would allow the electorate to express their level of support for our proposal,” he wrote.

The huge part of the driver here was Tyler Schilling. Early in the evening he told the council, “The trajectory of our particular business has us believing at the moment that we need to build a 200 thousand square foot facility with Ramcocontiguous expansion room to 400 thousand. Unfortunately, our timeframe may not coincide with the process that is going on at the moment.”

He was blunt, “I need to before we enter 2015 have a serious reduction in the degree of uncertainty about the likelihood in timing of a project like this, otherwise I would have to explore other alternatives as a purely practical matter.”

Later Mr. Schilling would clarify his position. He said that, in his nightmare scenario, he would go through a very elaborate and detailed process, the voters reject it two years down the line, and he doesn’t have a viable plan B in place.

“Some degree of comfort in the not too distant future is an essential part,” he said.

However, the advisory vote, while seemingly preferable to altering Measure R, does not have clear sailing just yet. The council will reconvene tonight to weigh the proposal.

They heard a mixture of thoughts from the public as well as council.

Former Mayor Ken Wagstaff said bluntly, “Don’t fast track Measure J.” He said, “The public in this town is proud of the fact that they can intelligently decide what they want their city to become. This whole idea of having an advisory vote, I think is strange because the whole idea of having Measure J is to put before the public a specific decision. An advisory vote doesn’t sound very specific to me.”

Jim Gray thanked Dan Ramos and his partners “for withdrawing this silly idea that they had.” “Challenge the competitors to file an application, a fully vetted application where they say what they’re going to do. They stand up to the CEQA review, you’re going to consider the alternatives, the public’s going to be informed, and they’re going to compare their projects and their values to what they’re trying to do and what this community wants.”

Elaine Roberts Musser stated, “I’m glad that the idea of messing with Measure R is withdrawn. I think that would have been trouble. I’m a little concerned about an advisory vote, my fear is that if you come to the community with a partial plan, they’re going to reject it just because it’s a partial plan. I think you really run into some dangers in having an advisory vote.”

She stated, “I think a citizen’s initiative makes more sense.”

John Hodgson, who is among the leaders of the Northwest Quadrant development team, had previously expressed apprehension about pushing the process to November, believing that it was neither “good public policy” nor “strategically wise.”

On Tuesday, he told council, “I’m not sure how we’re going to react as a group. I don’t think we think it’s a good idea.” He said that they had expressed previous concern about putting forward one project ahead of the other and he believes the same holds for an advisory vote.

Councilmember Rochelle Swanson lamented that we have talked our way, processed our way, and delayed our way into the prospect of losing a critical company. “I understand all of the different projects and we want parity and parity is important. But we don’t want to lose the forest through the trees,” she said. “We’re talking about a major employer… and if we lose, do we lose.”

“I just challenge everyone in this room… to really stop and think about the big picture here about what we’re looking at,” she said, reflecting back to Mace 391, and “here we are 13 months later with a business owner begging us to get our act back together. Now sounding like maybe, from a regulatory standpoint, we truly might be up against the wall.”

“This isn’t about picking a project,” she said. “This is about retaining a business. The number one rule in economic development is you retain the businesses you have, then you go to get more.”

Newly-installed Mayor Pro Tem Robb Davis said, “I’m a little concerned about an advisory measure at this time.” He noted that they would have to get something on the ballot by July 15. “This implies that enough specificity is going to be in place by November to enable people to actually provide advice.”

He said, “I’m okay with that because it sounds like the respondents are asking for the advice and they’re bearing the risk of interpreting that one way or another.”

Mayor Dan Wolk also was relieved that the developers pulled back on the Measure R front. He asked Dan Ramos whether this is the sort of thing where, if they do not get the advisory vote, they would not be able to do the project.

“It’s very critical,” Mr. Ramos explained. He said they need “some type of reading from the city that this is something they want to embark on in terms of our project. It’s very important – we’ve heard it loud and clear in discussions with our possible anchor tenant – that we really need to see some type of indication, this gives us one more level of comfort to move forward.”

He said they are contemplating starting the process now, but they need action by July 15 on the advisory vote.

The previous discussion focused on the RFEI process and the three projects that came forward.

Supervisor Jim Provenza said, “I am excited about the prospect of an innovation park as being an opportunity to address the Davis economy and economic sustainability going forward into the future.”

He he noted that this is on county land and there are issues of mitigation for loss of ag land and an agricultural buffer. He offered to work with the city to make the process “as seamless as possible.”

Mike Harrington, former Davis Councilmember, expressed concern about the lack of talk about mitigation. He indicated, in terms of the principles that were laid out in 2012, “the one I don’t see there is mitigation.” He noted that the 2000 city council was instrumental in implementing Measure J and the mitigation rules.

“I’m listening to this tonight and I’m not hearing about that. I’m not seeing any proposals that have real mitigation,” he stated. “The developers for a 200 acre business park are going to make a fortune and where are all those people going to live who are filling up those 200 acres of very intensive business, where are they going to live?”

Rob White, the city’s Chief Innovation Officer, explained to council that mitigation “is an obvious that needs to be addressed.   Measure R speaks very clear to it, it’s a 2 to 1, I think there are opportunities to do not only those but (also) more sustainability measures, really reaching towards the 21st Century.”

He explained, “The RFEI was not meant to simply be ‘here’s what we expect, please respond to it.’ It was meant simply to say these are our goals, these are our DNA of Davis, how do you help address those things?”

He added that “LEED, while still important, isn’t the only thing that we’re going to judge projects and/ or buildings by.”

As he explained during his presentation, the RFEI does not “take the place of any more formal process, including application and the entitlement process.”

Rob White also addressed “the concern of all these new people and where are they going to live.” He argued that a lot of people in this community live in Davis, but work out of town. “If there were opportunities locally how many more might stay locally?”

Wouldn’t it be nice, he suggested, if people had more options to stay locally to work? He noted that a report showed that there is a 3000-job deficit in Davis.

The council tonight will have to make a decision on how to go forward on the revised proposal and setting forth a process for all three proposals to have the opportunity to outreach to the community.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

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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  1. Tia Will

    ““This isn’t about picking a project,” she said. “This is about retaining a business. The number one rule in economic development is you retain the businesses you have, then you go to get more.””

    I believe that this is about both picking a project and retaining a business. This is important because the community has not yet come to a conclusion about how many parks should be developed and their locations. If we were not having a community discussion with differing views about how much to build and where, this would not matter.

    I understand and share Mr. Schilling and Ms. Swanson’s desire to provide adequate space within our community for his business to remain here. However, I believe that keeping the big picture in mind means that both goals must be considered and should be considered during the current discussions.

    1. Mark West

      Rochelle got this completely right. We need to act quickly in order to retain a company as valuable to the City as Tyler Schilling’s. Tyler announced more than a year ago that he needed more space and yet all we have done since then is more talk. We should have started acting last year, and in my opinion the people with the loudest voices calling for more discussion and delay will never be convinced that the time is right to move forward. They are making the exact same arguments today that they were making a year ago and have shown no interest in learning, compromising or truly finding a solution since all they want is more delay.

      The CC needs to make a definitive statement to move forward aggressively with all three proposals so that we can have one or more projects to vote on as quickly as possible.

  2. Barack Palin

    I’m a slow growther but I realise the need to keep jobs in Davis. I wanted the Cannery to stay light industrial and now want us to put through all the business parks we can. Without jobs you have nothing and if we lose Schilling it will be a big blow to the community. We should be bending over backwards to keep Schilling and promote new business tenants.

  3. Tia Will

    “Rob White also addressed “the concern of all these new people and where are they going to live.” He argued that a lot of people in this community live in Davis, but work out of town. “If there were opportunities locally how many more might stay locally?”
    Wouldn’t it be nice, he suggested if people had more options to stay locally to work? He noted that a report showed that there is a 3000 job deficit in Davis.”

    It would be nice if everyone who worked in Davis were able to live here if they desired. It would also be environmentally friendlier. However, Rob’s comment is only addressing one side of the issue. There is no guarantee that these new jobs, whether high or low paying, are going to go to current Davis residents or graduates from UCD. What the rapid development proponents are not addressing ( at least yet, in fairness to Rob) are that building X number of innovation parks will create a need for an as of yet unspecified amount more housing which many of us do not consider desirable at this time. I feel that as we consider how much more revenue we are aspiring to with these new developments we must keep firmly in mind the additional demands such growth will place on our community, and that this must be thoroughly ascertained at the same time as decisions are being made, not as an afterthought.

    1. Mark West

      “What the rapid development proponents are not addressing…”

      There is nothing about this that can be described as ‘Rapid development.’ If we built all three projects tomorrow it still would not be rapid development. We are doing nothing today to develop our economy since we are spending all of our resources trying to satisfy those who are only interested in more discussion and delay.

      But you are absolutely right, there is no guarantee that the new jobs coming from economic development will go to current Davis residents. Why would you want that sort of guarantee? Do you favor a law stating that only Davis residents may work in Davis businesses? People get to choose where they live and work. What the 3000 job deficit should tell you is that the people who have already chosen to live in Davis do not have jobs available here from which to choose. They have no other option but to drive elsewhere to work. Life would be better for them if they had the option of staying in town to work. Why is that so difficult to understand?

    2. South of Davis

      Tia wrote:

      > There is no guarantee that these new jobs, whether high or low paying,
      > are going to go to current Davis residents

      True, but over time many of the people paying $4.00/gallon (or doing the hell ride across the crossway in the hot wind) to get to Davis every day will move here (and many of the Davis residents working in other counties will move so they have a better life without a long commute)..

    3. Frankly

      Tia – I agree with Mark here. There is nothing Rapid about anything Davis has developed or attempted to develop over the last 20 years.

      Your desired pace of change is quite a bit lower that that standard deviation for tolerance in my observations and estimations. I think if we were to meet with your expectations to check all the boxes to satiate any concerns or anxieties that would cause you to still not throw your hat into the ring of support, we might very well have already reached then end of our short time in this present dimension of existence.

    4. DavisBurns

      Absolutely! What revenue can we expect from innovation parks, what will it cost us in city services, what is the net income, where do we house the new employees, since many will commute, what are the traffic impacts. Housing developments do not pay for themselves in the long run, and those on the periphery are more expensive to the city. Would we be willing to annex more land for housing or are we built out at this point. Have we reached our limits of growth?

      1. Mark West

        “Housing developments do not pay for themselves”

        In Davis that is only true because of our uncontrolled growth in total compensation. If we controlled compensation costs for City employees, housing developments would have a net positive impact on the budget. That said, business developments such as the ones being proposed are almost always net positive once they have filled up with tenants since they require much fewer city services to operate. The real issue is timing of revenue growth, not whether or not it will happen.

  4. SODA

    Agree Tia. It appears we are on a path with Rob White to accomplish the goals an innovation park would provide, however, this new development (along with the Measure R dickering last week) feels like pressure to ‘just do it’. Frankly might call it Davis stalling but I think it is good planning NOT to be influenced into making decisions based on pressure like this.

  5. Mr. Toad

    Repeal measure R. I was against it and a lone voice of opposition. It might very well cost us having Schilling Robotics here. Its expensive and adds a level of risk to business development that lacks sustainability the exact opposite of what it was supposed to do. Anyone who watched the meeting last night and saw the frustration of Tyler Schilling when he laid out that he could build his new plant anywhere else without all this nonsense and might be forced to should recognize the morass we have created for ourselves. If Schilling, who grew up here had anybody else running the company they would be out of here and might well go anyway. If he goes it questionable if Ramos builds. We will then need a tech park just to break even. Meanwhile we can’t even get a vote out of the council for a $50 parcel tax to maintain our infrastructure. We can’t maintain our roads or pools or tennis courts. Flatland is going downhill and measure R is leading the way.

    1. David Greenwald

      There just no way that is going to happen. Measure R passed with 75 percent of the vote in 2010. I think there is going to be a way forward here, but not if we get people like you threatening Measure R to be quite frank.

      1. Mr. Toad

        There are two ways forward here and you haven’t advocated either of them. The first is an advisory vote in November. The second is Schilling moving to Dixon, Woodland or West Sac or someplace farther. If he goes farther then many of his employees will leave town taking friends and families away from here. I’m not threatening anyone or anything all I have is the power of persuasion. I’m laying out for you that measure R is strangling this community. I could tell last night that Schilling is ready to go. He obviously doesn’t want to go but he might have no choice. We are forcing his hand with our direct democracy. Measure R was supposed to make Davis sustainable. How is that working out for our infrastructure and our schools. Don’t blame me for calling bull**** on the Davis Nimby scene. If Schilling goes blame yourself for arguing against giving him the certainty he needs to keep his business here.

        1. David Greenwald

          The idea of an advisory vote was floated for the first time in November and I’m listening.

          “I’m laying out for you that measure R is strangling this community.”

          I’m laying out for you, Measure R is not going to change, and therefore we need to work through how to get what I think most agree we need with Measure R in place.

        2. Mark West

          While I agree with Toad that measure R has stifled development in Davis, I do not believe that we need to repeal it at this point, and in fact agree with David that any discussion of modifying or repealing Measure R will do nothing but give the opponents of economic development another talking point for their opposition and fear mongering.

          We need to move forward expeditiously with these three economic development projects within the confines of Measure R. The City should set aggressive timelines for planning, analysis, public consultation and education in order to get one or more on the ballot in 2015. We need to act with a real sense of urgency if we are to overcome the forces of delay and denial.

  6. Barack Palin

    Keep pussyfooting around and you can say goodbye to Schilling Robotics. Would others who currently work and live in Davis be so nonchalant if their employer was considering moving away?

    1. David Greenwald

      So let me ask you, in your view, did last night push us in the right direction? Because I know a debate on Measure R right now would probably doom the business park.

      1. Barack Palin

        I want to also keep Measure R in place so I think the idea of an advisory measure is a good way to go as long as the public is educated (gawd I hate to say that) prior to the vote.

        Terry Schilling is coming across as a very patient and caring business man that wants to stay in Davis and if we lose him then we get what we deserve.

      2. Mr. Toad

        Last night should have scared the s*** out of everyone but what I read this morning is support for status quo process. What will it take to wake up this town to the fact that we are on an unsustainable path of decline because of Measure R. Obviously the idea of putting the World Food Center in Sacramento didn’t do it. Will the loss of Schilling do it? If I’m director of economic development of anywhere nearby I already have a call into Schilling this morning. If I was the city manager, mayor or on the council of Dixon, West Sac, Woodland, Sacramento or Vacaville I’m calling Schilling today. Please move your hundred million dollar a year business to our town. We will help you through the process, we have land ready and available, we have reliable water in place. Your employees won’t need to move if you come to our nearby community. We are only minutes away. Meanwhile back home we want him to spend millions and pay for a vote before we give him any assurance we even want I’m here. Oh yeah its my fault for calling out the elephant in the room, measure R. By the way if it wasn’t for measure R the council would have voted to take next steps last night. Instead they will take it up again tonight. Measure R has already cost us another day.

        1. Frankly

          There are three types of people that came out in support of moving away from the Ramos proposal:

          1. The NIMBY, no-growth, farmland moat people.

          2. Those that are concerned that the former are strong enough in numbers to derail yet another Davis development if they get a little help.

          3. People that might support a business park, but would be made suspicious of a developer trying to do an end-around… something that Ramos has done before.

          I absolutely do not support the former… I think most of them are a bit whacked… or at least struggle with anxiety over change and having a tendency to see it as wrongly glass-half-empty.

          But I think the people in the #2 category are playing it safe preventing the people in category three from helping the folks in category 1 derail yet another project.

          I think Measure R was a giant mistake and clear proof that direct democracy is akin to allowing the inmates run the asylum. But we have it and so we have to deal with it.

          I think there might be an opportunity to put a future measure on the ballot to modify Measure J/R going forward. Also Measure O needs to be revisited since 90% of the open space acquired with out money is not accessible to the public, and another large percentage of it is far away from Davis… probably never under any development pressure.

          Measure O funds have been essentially ripped off by the open space extremists to fulfill their agenda. If you read the measure there was a clear expectation that the residents would have a better mix of space to enjoy.

  7. Mr. Toad

    I know some really great people who work at Schilling. One family with three young kids in our school system. A beautiful delightful family that will be welcomed with open arms by any other community if they are forced to move.

    1. Barack Palin

      I have a friend who works there too, a young couple who are probably going to be starting their family soon. It would be a shame if we lose them.

      1. South of Davis

        Quite a few people in town know Shilling employees (or went to Davis High with Tyler) , but sadly many would love to see the evil for profit company move (and replace it with a food bank or homeless shelter)…

  8. Don Shor

    I would like to see the Council state its intention to put Nishi on the November ballot, and the east Davis and NW Davis projects on a March 2015 ballot, with status updates scheduled for every council meeting. That would challenge city staff and the development teams to get detailed proposals done in a timely manner that the voters can make informed decisions. Hopefully that would give Schilling the confidence he needs to make business plans.

    1. Frankly

      Seems like you are turning a bit to a feeling of urgency. Too bad you didn’t have the foresight when the Mace 391 decision came up. We could have put a part of that into open space and designated the rest for a business park. That project could have been ready for the November ballot had we done the right things.

      Instead we did the wrong things again, and now we risk losing another great home-grown company.

      If we lose Schilling, I would hope to see the no-growth, NIMBY farmland moat people hang their head in shame. Else we should look for a bunch of flagpoles.

  9. Michael Harrington

    How would an advisory vote be framed, anyway? For just one — Ramos — or all three proposals? If all three, would the voter be presented with three Yes or No boxes to check? Or would an advisory vote be general, “Do you, the voters of Davis, wish to fully consider on an R vote on any specific proposals for a 200 acre tech park?” Not artfully drafted, but that’s the picture. There would be no details. Sort of like being asked to consider “Do you want to win the Lottery next week” or “Do you want to have a large business tech park that will pay for city government and your individual taxes will be reduced”? It means little or nothing concrete; just pie in the sky.

    I think the advisory vote is probably a bad idea, as the measure necessarily would lack details, and each proposal is so different that it would be difficult to use language that describes each in enough detail for a voter to decide how to vote.

    I would suggest that each group of developers spend some months filling out their plans, and present to the CC to see if any of them might work out for the City. Then staff can work with that one group, and bring an R vote sometime next year. That vote would be based on all specific data required by CEQA and R, and would be legally binding on the city and the project. Any significant changes to the voter approved plan would require a re-vote.

    One of my main concerns is the mitigation land required by R: placement, quality, and promotion of restricting further expansion of city limits. Staff have allowed in the past that the projects provide junk mitigation land out in the middle of nowhere, which does nothing to further the city policy of maintaining a compact city form and preserve ag and open space next to the city limits. Barry Binning got Ted Puntilo and I to endorse the Binning Tract Development with 3-1 on-site mitigation, surrounding and sealing off the new housing development, with the land donated in fee simple to the city. In order words, if a business park proponent wanted to moot opposition from many people I know, the proponent would do it with well-placed mitigation. Once you have land touching the city’s borders put into permanent ag and open space, that pretty much ends the political and envornmental fight in that quadrant, and allows the city to focus its energies on the current territory and residents, not going through the boom and bust cycle of fighting sprawl.

    1. David Greenwald

      My understanding is it would be framed, would you support in concept a business on Mace, of 200 acres, and some other details. If the voters support it, then the process would advance to typical Measure R process, if they vote no, then the developers have to decide the next move. From their standpoint, it gives them an early way to gauge feasibility. From our standpoint, it keeps Measure R intact. There would be nothing to stop them from putting their own advisory measure on the ballot, so I hardly see what we are losing if they are willing to bear the costs.

      “Barry Binning got Ted Puntilo and I to endorse the Binning Tract Development with 3-1 on-site mitigation, surrounding and sealing off the new housing development, with the land donated in fee simple to the city. ”

      Then those are discussions to have in advance of a Measure R vote.

    2. DavisBurns

      While I agree there are problems with an advisory vote on the ballot, on constant seems to be most of our citizens are not aware of what’s being planned by the city until they read their ballot material prior to voting. I put some of the blame on the Enterprise. It is nearly impossible to be aware of the issues by reading the local paper. I keep hearing the refrain, ‘educate the public’ and mount a grassroots campaign. An advisory vote might actually serve a purpose. “Hello Davis! The leadership of the city is seriously considering building commercial developments we call innovation parks, here is what we know now, are you supportive of the concept, you vote now does not circumvent Measure R.”

      I would appreciate, having come late to the game, a summary of what actual limits the general plan imposes on population growth if any. I keep hearing we are a slow growth community but how does that jibe with these numbers on population increase:

      1980 56%
      1990 26.1%
      2000 30.5%
      2010 8.8%

  10. Don Shor

    He argued that a lot of people in this community live in Davis, but work out of town. “If there were opportunities locally how many more might stay locally?”
    Wouldn’t it be nice, he suggested, if people had more options to stay locally to work? He noted that a report showed that there is a 3000-job deficit in Davis.

    It’s odd to suggest that these people would be attracted to local jobs. Given the high proportion of people who work in Sac in public jobs, and live in Davis because of the better schools and attractive community, I question the likelihood that this job “deficit” is real enough that those folks would move from their current jobs at the Capitol to work for Schilling.
    Building innovation/business parks would provide jobs for some local residents, but our unemployment rate in Davis is very low. The parks would also provide jobs for people currently living in Dixon, Woodland and West Sac, and even Vacaville, all communities with much higher unemployment. We’re part of the regional economy, and job seekers will be attracted by these new opportunities.
    Davis unemployment April 2014: 5.3%
    Sacramento unemployment April 2014: 8.4%

    1. Frankly

      It’s odd to suggest that these people would be attracted to local jobs.

      It’s odd to think this is odd. Why wouldn’t someone commuting to Sacramento or the Bay Area be interested in having a job in Davis? This would have nothing to do with the unemployment rate since we are talking about Davis residents already employed.

      That is the thing about the disingenuous point that Davis has a low unemployment rate. It has a low unemployment rate because of two things: one – the university. two – the high percentage of people that live here and work elsewhere… basically exploiting the economic development success of every other community in the region because Davis does not come close to carrying its weight.

          1. Don Shor

            I don’t know. How many of the people you went to college with ended up settling in the community where they studied?

          2. South of Davis

            Don wrote:

            > How many of the people you went to
            > college with ended up settling in the
            > community where they studied?

            A large number of people end up settling near where they went to school. When I lived on the Peninsula I had many Stanford grads as neighbors in SF I lived in a condo where three other owners went to USF and in Davis about half the people I know (including the past mayor and the current mayor’s wife) went to UCD.

            P.S. I think I remember Don mentioning that he went to UCD…

          3. Don Shor

            P.S. I think I remember Don mentioning that he went to UCD…

            It was a trick question. Yes, I did.

        1. Frankly

          We would need a census, but I think you might be surprised how many engineers and technology people live in Davis and work in Sacramento and the Bay Area. I know we have a City Council member that commutes 3 hours a day to his private sector job in Oakland.

          1. Don Shor

            Interesting statistic from city-data:
            Daytime population change due to commuting: -488 (-0.7%)
            Workers who live and work in this city: 14,534 (49.0%)

            Read more:
            I wonder if Rob White can shed more light on these numbers. A net outflow of only 488 people seems low, but probably there is a high number of people commuting in for service jobs.

          2. Matt Williams

            From a report by Bay Area Economics

            Table 5: Davis Workers by Place of Residence, 2000
            Place of Residence _ Number _ Percent

            Yolo County __________ 14,750 _ 76.2%
            Davis _________________ 11,660 _ 60.2%
            Woodland _______________ 1,440 __ 7.4%
            Remainder of County ____ 1,060 __ 5.5%
            West Sacramento __________ 390 __ 2.0%
            Winters __________________ 200 __ 1.0%

            Sacramento County ________ 2,495 12.9%
            Sacramento _______________ 1,210 6.2%
            Remainder of County ______ 770 4.0%
            Arden-Arcade _____________ 185 1.0%
            Elk Grove ________________ 120 0.6%
            Carmichael _______________ 105 0.5%
            Rancho Cordova ___________ 105 0.5%

            Solano County ___________ 1,060 5.5%
            Vacaville _______________ 380 2.0%
            Dixon ___________________ 290 1.5%
            Remainder of County _____ 280 1.4%
            Fairfield _______________ 110 0.6%

            Placer County ___________ 268 1.4%
            Roseville _______________ 110 0.6%
            Remainder of County _____ 158 0.8%

            Contra Costa County _____ 140 0.7%

            Elsewhere in California _ 649 3.4%

            TOTAL: Davis Workers ____ 19,362 100.0%

            Workers Commuting into Davis = 7,702 39.8%

            Over and above those 7,702 workers in Davis who commuter to ther job from outside Davis, according to the UC Davis Office of Resource Management and Planning, the 2006-2007 on- campus faculty and staff population was nearly 11,500. This figure excludes student employees. An estimated 51 percent, or nearly 5,900 faculty and staff member, live in Davis.

            So adding 7,702 and 5,600m you have over 13,000 jobs in Davis and UCD that are filled by non-Davis residents each day.

  11. davisite4

    Last night Rochelle was bemoaning that we’ve wasted a year since the Mace 391 discussion. I think I even heard a derogatory remark to the effect of “you’ve got your moat now” (which I thought was disrespectful, but I digress). So, whose fault is it that a year has gone by and we’re only just now talking about moving forward on an innovation park? This is not a rhetorical question — I am genuinely curious as to who dropped the ball here.

    1. Don Shor

      So, whose fault is it that a year has gone by and we’re only just now talking about moving forward on an innovation park?

      The city council reestablished the Innovation Park Task Force to review sites. City staff put together a request for proposals and received the three current project outlines we’re discussing. That is what has been happening over the last year to move the process forward. Rob White, Sarah Worley, and others on city staff have been meeting with project developers on at least two of the proposals, based on what Rob has posted here.
      There have been discussions about innovation parks going on since at least 2010. DSIDE was one informal community forum process that was set up a few years ago, but which went nowhere when the originators moved on to other public offices or left office. The ITF made recommendations in 2012 in a report you can access from the city’s web site. That has all been leading up to what is before you today. Two of the sites (Mace 200 and the NWQ sites) have been under consideration the whole time.

      1. davisite4

        So, if that’s right, and we’ve spent the last year moving forward towards an innovation park (or three), what was Rochelle complaining about?

        1. Don Shor

          It could have happened faster. And I would note that Rochelle is on the ITF, which didn’t meet for a couple of months due to a lack of quorum, so her complaint is a little disingenuous.

          1. davisite4

            Right — that is what I was thinking, so I was wondering if I was missing something. She has met the enemy, and it is (in part) her.

          2. Mark West

            It didn’t move faster primarily because the CC failed to make it a priority. The fault for that lies primarily with the Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem who were both focused elsewhere.

            Rochelle could have done more individually to push the project forward, but she honestly wasn’t going to get very far without the support of the CC leadership. The end result is that we lost a year and have consequently made the situation worse.

          3. David Greenwald

            Mark: That’s not correct. I don’t know whether you are speculating or passing on bad information, but the delay had nothing to do with the city.

        2. Mr. Toad

          Perhaps you didn’t catch the meeting last night. What Rochelle was complaining about was Schilling saying that he is almost out of here and going to take his payroll and his tax receipts with him. If he wasn’t dedicated to Davis he would be gone already. We are lucky to have a guy like him who is trying so hard to do the right thing by his home town but he doesn’t have the time for Davis to be Davis. Perhaps you might argue he was bluffing but I don’t think so. He seems sincere. He is a businessman and the thing that business needs to plan is certainty. So Davis and its process can’t give him the two things he needs the most, certainty and expediency. My guess is that if he doesn’t get a vote on the ballot of some kind in November he is out of here. For that to happen the CC must act before July 15. Davis has two weeks to decide.

          1. davisite4

            I heard the whole meeting. I agree that Schilling seemed sincere about leaving if he didn’t have room to grow. What did not seem sincere was Rochelle’s bemoaning how we’d fiddled away the last year and now look at the position we’re in, when I was pretty sure that she was part of the reason that not much happened in the last year. (But I wasn’t positive, which is why I asked). So, I don’t like to hear from her that now we’re in a rush-rush crisis mode. If we were in such a crisis mode then she should have made better use of the last year, or, at least own up to her own mistakes and don’t make remarks that insult those who were in favor of putting an easement on Mace 391 (which she herself voted for in the end, if I recall correctly).

            None of that changes what we ought to do, of course (except for making me skeptical about things that Rochelle says). I suppose if the Mace 200 folks want to pony up the money for an advisory vote I’m OK with that (it’s their right, anyway), although it leaves the other two proposals in a funny situation if they don’t want an advisory vote. The NW Quadrant folks didn’t sound keen on the idea.

          2. David Greenwald

            From my perspective, I would not put the blame on Rochelle Swanson. I think most of the factors were outside of her control. That said, I’m not sure any useful purpose was served by her raising that point.

          3. South of Davis

            Toad wrote:

            > Perhaps you might argue he was bluffing but I don’t think so.

            SF thought George Lucas was bluffing when he told his hometown city council that if they did not get their act together he would build his Star Wars museum somewhere else.

            Lucas Museum to be built in Chigago. “The decision was a stunning upset for San Francisco. Lucas has plenty of ties to the Bay Area. He’s from Modesto, California, and built his Skywalker ranch complex in Marin County north of the city. He started other ventures over the years also based in the Bay Area, including Lucasfilm Ltd.”


  12. SODA

    I know it is naive and will generate ‘not practical’ comments as before, but it is a shame that the business park idea for cannery did not fly……

    1. Frankly

      You are lamenting a problem when the developer owns the land and pushes toward what benefits him the most, and the city then is left having to negotiate and compromise. You don’t get everything you want unless you own it.

      There will certainly be compromises that come up with the NWQ and Mace 200 properties.

      That is why the Davis Ranch option should be seen as very attractive to the residents. We would own it and we would control it.

    2. South of Davis

      SODA wrote:

      > I know it is naive and will generate ‘not practical’ comments

      I don’t want to pretend to be a business park expert, but when I hear the “experts” say a big park needs to be near a big freeway it makes sense. I can’t think of a single successful big business park that far away from a freeway. Do you know of any?

  13. Mr. Toad

    Its a shame we didn’t plan a business park and housing development at Cannery together with Covell. People could live, work and shop in a low carbon foot print environment but we couldn’t go that way because of measure R. Because of measure R the demand for housing was too great, because of measure R Cannery successfully avoided an election by being in the city but if they had done the right thing and mastered planned it with Covell then a vote would have been needed and Cannery had too much at stake to take that chance. Cannery itself is too small for what shilling needs anyway.

    Mace 391 is where the city first tried to put the innovation park and the city tried to do it quietly but the open space people blew the whistle. One of their big cards that was in play was measure R. With measure R in the background 391 was dead once the open space people rallied the opposition.

    That brought the city and Schilling to the Ramos and Oates property but Oates passed away and their group seems gun shy of risking capital in Davis. They want to do a project and have Schilling as an anchor but there is lack of trust slowing things down and Schilling is saying he doesn’t have the time for Davis to go through a normal planning process and then a measure R vote. The problem for Davis is Schilling has options so instead of bringing in new business Davis might start out with one site losing its anchor and the city losing a big payroll. So we would then need the NW Quadrant just to dig out of an even deeper hole.

    1. davisite4

      That’s not a strictly accurate accounting of events. The original plan out of the innovation task force was to put the business park at the Mace 200, not the Mace 391, and that’s one of the things that Joe Krovoza objected to, the subversion of the process that had been in place for several years. The idea to put the business park on Mace 391 came later. And so now we’re back to the original plan.

      1. Frankly

        I think Mr. Toad is more than right here understanding what really happened.

        And it all comes down to politics. The politics of Measure J/R which is primarily the tool of the no-growthers and those no-growthers are supported by the protect-my-property-value people… who also like Measure J/R… but for less extreme reasons.

        It looks like some of the CC and staff tried to work out a deal with a land swap for Mace 391 but the open space people found out and exploded. They came up with new arguments against the potential of 391 as a business park like “leapfrog development” and then the lie from YLT and USDA NRCS people about harm… and those trying to get the deal done for Davis lost their political cover. Exposed and cold they switched to the warm comfort of the permanent ag easement… even though most of them knew they were blowing a big financial opportunity for the city.

        But if you fact-pattern this to the root cause, it is Measure J/R… something that no other city seems to have.

        The innovation task force had not considered Mace 391 before because it is more rational to focus on the adjacent peripheral land first. But when Mace 391 presented itself as an opportunity, if it was not for Measure J/R, I fully believe that the innovation task force would have gladly and openly began to entertain that option.

        1. davisite4

          Here is how I translate what you just said: “Let me rant again for the umpteenth time about an issue I can’t let go of and insult and misrepresent those who disagreed with me. Then at the end I’ll admit that what you said is right (about Mace 200 being under consideration for an innovation park before Mace 391) without seeming to do so.”

          1. Frankly

            I don’t know what your post made me smile, but it did. Probably because the truth is somewhere smack dab in the middle.

  14. Mr. Toad

    Yes but a master plan of Cannery and Covell with a mixture of housing and businesses might have been sellable except for measure R keeping Cannery from doing a deal with Covell. But popular politics aside master planning the two properties together would have been in the best interest of the community as even Sur Greenwald tried to get an EIR done for both. You forget that the world changed significantly between when measure X failed and when Cannery was approved.

    1. Barack Palin

      Thank gawd for Davis that Covell was voted down. Those 2000 units would’ve come online right about the time of the housing depression. I can only imagine what harm it would’ve done to the Davis housing market.

  15. davisite4

    David Greenwald
    July 2, 2014 at 12:11 pm
    From my perspective, I would not put the blame on Rochelle Swanson. I think most of the factors were outside of her control. That said, I’m not sure any useful purpose was served by her raising that point.

    Who would you say is responsible for the delay in moving forward on business parks in the last year? This isn’t a delay that can be pinned on “the open space people” or “the Measure R people.”

    1. Don Shor

      They could have been talking about and agendizing these sites a year ago, except for the long and acrimonious detour to debate a site that wasn’t under active consideration for development, hadn’t been considered, and whose discussion sucked all the air out of the room. Until that was off the table, there wasn’t going to be any forward progress on the sites that had previously been identified by the ITF. And then the election put everything on hold.

        1. David Greenwald

          They did the RFEI process I think in part because they wanted interested parties to step forward and they were not. Why not sooner? I couldn’t tell you.

          1. davisite4

            Hmm, ok. Thanks. I just found the sense of urgency at last night’s meeting very odd in contrast to the months of delay, so I am trying to sort it out. Don Shor’s suggestion that the election got in the way sounds like a likely candidate for at least part of the explanation.

      1. Mr. Toad

        Even when they meet its measure R’s shadow is on every decision. I don’t know what happened but I do know nobody bothered to come up with a development plan until the city solicited plans. Then people put together ideas but nothing concrete while waiting for further direction from the council. Contrast this to a world without measure R. Without it plans would be put forward as needed. With measure R plans become front loaded with expenses and backloaded with risk. Our current structure is likely to cost us a major employer who is likely going to go to a town near you that isn’t going to be called Davis.

        1. David Greenwald

          So they presented this timeline last night, comparing the Davis Standard Process to a Typical City Process.

          So earlier you made the point that Measure R drags the process out, but if you look at a typical city and the standard process up until the election, they are similar. How much time does the Measure R process tack on? Well in 2009, it was mid-September when they finished the process. The election took place two months later. That’s not a lot of extra time. Cannery went on for years and there was no Measure R process. Measure R certainly adds uncertainty, but I’m not sure it really adds time.

  16. Frankly

    The months of delays have to do primarily with three out of five CC members being anti-growth and two of those working to take out our city manager, and a city staff oriented toward land preservation and not development.

    And the only reason it has moved as far as it has at this point is because of the same private party that routinely gets trashed over the attempt to help the city leverage a valuable asset (Mace 391) 50% funded the compensation required to bring on Rob White. And without Rob White we would not even be this far.

    And the last contributor to the delays is the fact that the city financial hole was not well enough known by the population that would vote on the citizen’s initiative or Measure J/R approval of a park.

    Lastly, there was the surface water project and the plastic bag ban and the woodsmoke near ban and the fluoride debacle and the sale tax increase.

    Add it all up and it is amazing that anything is getting done.

    Again, the reason it is getting done is Rob White and some related leadership… and we own him, Rochelle, Brett and Dave Morris a debt of gratitude for moving this far. We also owe some thanks to the outgoing city manager.

    1. David Greenwald

      “The months of delays have to do primarily with three out of five CC members being anti-growth and two of those working to take out our city manager, and a city staff oriented toward land preservation and not development.”


      1. Frankly

        Well you say. Since you are at the table most nights, I trust your opinions on this. But I’m taking my opinion from some direct conversations with certain people that would be directly involved.

        So what exactly is “no” about?

        3 out of 5 being anti growth?

        2 working to take out the city manager?

        Staff oriented toward land preservation and not development?

        All of this, or some of this, or is it missing the bigger answer? And if there is a bigger answer please share.

        And also, what about the rest of my post? Do you agree or disagree that Rob White is a big reason we are moving forward at all?

        1. David Greenwald

          I believe that Rob White is a big reason we moved forward, but in my opinion the problem here was simply that the developers were slow moving forward with aproposal.

          1. Frankly

            Got it. I am going back further in time. The RFI didn’t go out until pretty recently.

            And with Measure J/R, without very strong and consistent leadership from the city staff and CC, most developers would not spend a dime on any plan or design because it would just be lost.

          2. David Greenwald

            As I understand it, the RFEI went out because they weren’t getting applicants coming forward.

          3. Frankly

            That was my point, why do it in this anti-development town unless you are asked?

            We debate this stuff every day, and even we cannot predict how a measure J/R vote will play out. The chatter from the outside looking in at Davis is that we are a bunch of reactionary change-averse people that don’t like developers and developments and we like to run both out on a rail when we get the chance. The Cannery property was a breath of fresh air, and maybe that should have been enough to change this mindset, but I talk to people outside of Davis and the perceptions of it being solidly no-growth and very strong. The city leadership is going to have to take the initiative to get that ball rolling. Most land owners would not have the stomach for it anyway.

            And one more thing… money drives developers, but they are human and thus are also driven by ego. And the risk of a wounded ego from a failed proposal is a pretty big disincentive for them. Nobody likes to be rejected. A developer has a sense of being capable of great and lasting community goodness, and being shot down is frankly intolerable to many. But they still circle the wagon looking for the next clear path opportunity.

  17. Mr. Toad

    And after all of that in 2009 the proposal failed and that is the difference. Nobody wants to do all that work and then have their project fail. So in essence it took an infinite amount of time.

  18. Frankly

    Interesting article in the WSJ today about rents going up across the nation… but mostly in urban areas.

    Apartment landlords continued to push through hefty rent hikes in the second quarter, squeezing U.S. households that already are struggling financially after four years of steady increases.

    The average monthly rent for an apartment rose to $1,099 in the second quarter, up 0.8% from the first quarter, according to data to be released Wednesday by real-estate research firm Reis Inc. REIS +0.96% That was the 18th consecutive quarter of rent increases. For the 12-month period ended in June, rents rose 3.4%.

    Effective rents—which tend to be lower than asking rents—were up in all 79 U.S. metro areas tracked in the Reis report. West Coast cities that have been the model of recovery continued to top the list of highest rent growth for the quarter and over the past 12 months.

    In my business, commercial property throughout CA is in relative short supply.

    And when we look at new residential and commercial starts, the trends are pretty dismal. Down significantly since 2009 and has not really improved much.

    And the reason they are dismal…?

    1. Cycles of boom and bust… the housing and financial market crash… the destruction of the fortunes of many developers and property speculators… the over supply of REOs… That will all correct… is correcting.

    2. Lack of certainty in the economy brought to us in part by the politicians in charge. That will hopefully correct in the next elections (at a national level.. California is hopeless).

    3. Rampant anti-growth and extreme environmentalism. That seems to be growing like the Blob that Ate New York… but may be helped at a national level by the correction to #2 above.

    But again, California and Davis looks like it will continue to build less than the demand… and therefore it will keep getting more and more expensive. And we will be more and more economically polarized with wealthy and poor. And wealthy liberals will demand higher and higher taxes to take care of the poor… chasing out more business and more wealth and needing to keep raising taxes again and again.

    And at some point the liberals will run out of other people’s money and the whole thing will collapse and the Federal government will not be able to bail them out.

    But the good weather will probably prop up the state for another 20-30 years… enough people willing to suffer the abuse to live here.

    The only thing that might hasten California’s demise is a big earthquake in S.F. or L.A.

    But the good news then is that rents will probably fall to reasonable levels.

  19. Jim Frame

    My thoughts regarding the business parks matter in general and the comments posted thus far:

    1. Measure R is a net good and isn’t going away anytime soon. Any efforts to circumvent it will further delay business park development.

    2. The city has done a good job of bringing broad-brush concept proposals forward via the RFEI. Now we need to see a step-by-step plan (with timeline) for getting those proposals fleshed out to the point that a Measure R vote will accurately reflect the electorate’s desire (or lack of same) to get one or more of them built. To me this is a big source of confusion at the moment — I pay a fair amount of attention to the issue, and I don’t see a clear path to approval yet. One thing is certain in my mind: if the plan doesn’t include an effective way to get the electorate’s attention on this, any Measure R vote will fail. And by “effective way” I don’t mean threats of financial disaster; doom-and-gloom isn’t going to sell any of these projects. People have to have a basic understanding of the financial picture, but more importantly they have to believe that the proposed projects will enhance the community without imposing undue burdens. As David has often pointed out, this means convincing the rational middle that the projects make sense to them on a personal level.

    3. Rushing the timeline will ensure failure — the plan has to embody a full public process as well as comply with legal requirements. Any attempt to “Mace 391” this will backfire. And panicking in the face of bad news won’t help; I’d hate to lose Schilling, but his timeline may not mesh with ours. The city has to drive the process, not the developers, not their tenants. The same timeline issue may pertain to Davis Ranch, as the 24-month fuse to rezone and entitlement may not be long enough to adequately answer all the questions.

    4. It ain’t going to be easy, but I think it can be done.

    1. Jim Frame

      Regarding mitigation: any reason not to focus mitigation purchases on the city’s Howatt Ranch property? Most of it is in an flood zone and has poor road access. If the business parks were to mitigate via city-owned land, the city would get a one-time cash infusion along with the business park.

  20. Tia Will

    Jim Frame

    ” they have to believe that the proposed projects will enhance the community without imposing undue burdens.”

    So far this is one of the most concise and cogent statements I have heard on this subject yet.

    1. Mark West

      And it concisely points out what is wrong with the current attitude in Davis. Those who want to keep Davis ‘just the way it is’ should have to demonstrate to everyone else how their selfish desire doesn’t create an undo tax burden on everyone else.

      1. Jim Frame

        Those who want to keep Davis ‘just the way it is’ should have to demonstrate to everyone else how their selfish desire doesn’t create an undo tax burden on everyone else.

        California law — especially the changes wrought by Prop 13 — provides ample protection against unreasonable taxation. Local tax increases require at least a majority vote, in some cases a supermajority vote, so the electorate has to actively support a local tax increase in order to impose it on “everyone else.”

        Measure J/R was Davis’ version of Prop 13. An electorate tired of getting unwanted developments imposed upon it by City Councils dazzled by the prospect of developer-funded amenities and the thrill of “building a legacy” rose up and said “Stop!” Like Prop 13, it’s a hatchet even when a scalpel might be better, but too many dull scalpels wielded by too many wanna-be surgeons broke the camel’s back. (I tried to mix in a few more metaphors, but ran out.) It’s here, it’s real, you can bemoan it until the cows come home (there’s another!), but we have to work with it.

        1. Mark West

          Jim: I am not so much bemoaning Measure R as I am the people who use it as a cudgel to prevent even the most logical form of growth. I bemoan the me first attitude, not the law that arose from it.

          1. Davis Progressive

            the community feels like it’s starting to recognize this. i kind of sense a sea change here.

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