The City of Davis is asking the public to participate in a community based planning process for the Downtown University Gateway District. From August 1 to September 15, if you join the conversation, you will be entered in a drawing for a $25 Davis Downtown gift card accepted at more than 200 Downtown Davis retailers and restaurants.
The City of Davis would like your participation in this community-based planning process for the Davis Nishi Gateway plan. Early involvement by Davis residents can help instill our community’s values and goals as well as identify the opportunities and barriers to developing a neighborhood that fits within the context of the community. To begin the community dialogue, the City is interested in hearing your thoughts on four key elements to the plan:
There are 18 FAQs about the proposed development. These came out of two public workshops.We are publishing the final six of the 18 in this installment and this is the last of three installments.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is the city paying consultants for the public outreach process?
Community outreach efforts are essential to the success of the Nishi Gateway effort. Public outreach and consultation will continue throughout the planning, environmental review, decision-making, and public vote. After the vote, the public will have further opportunities for input through design review and other public processes. Community participation is necessary to ensure that the project that is presented to the voters through Measure J/R is one that reflects community goals and values.
The city has contracted with AIM Consulting, Inc., for this phase of the public outreach for the Nishi Gateway proposal, to provide guidance in reaching a broad selection of community members, designing outreach and presentation materials, and coordinating the interactive web-based participation tool.
How will the Nishi project affect traffic?
The Nishi Gateway project will be designed to encourage bicycling, walking, and public transit as alternatives to private vehicles. The site is very near downtown and the UC Davis core campus, as well as the alternative transportation corridors of the Arboretum and the Putah Creek Parkway. Jobs-housing balance is a key component of reducing traffic. Traffic and infill projects are always challenging and Richards Blvd. is the project’s biggest traffic challenge. One of the key components to sustainability is developing locations that reduce vehicles miles traveled. To encourage sustainable infill development, planners have focused more on mobility and less on vehicular levels of service. Nishi provides these mobility options. There has been recent legislation in this regard. The cost of not providing a jobs-housing balance and infill opportunities is more commuter traffic.
The City is evaluating operation of the Richards Boulevard and Olive Drive corridors to identify possible circulation improvements. Future projects could include better circulation on West Olive Drive, reconfiguration of Richards Blvd. on and off ramps, and bicycle/pedestrian crossings that would reduce congestion at the intersections. The proposed new connection to campus would allow drivers and buses to avoid the Richards Blvd. tunnel and use Old Davis Road to reach campus and I-80 at the Old Davis Road intersection.
The Environmental Impact Report will address all modes of transportation and recommend appropriate mitigation measures. Contributions from the Nishi development would be ratified and enforced through a Development Agreement and the baseline project features presented for voter approval.
Will affordable housing be included in the plan?
City policies anticipate a contribution toward affordable housing in new development areas. Type and cost of housing will need to be addressed as part of the economic analysis and evaluation of project feasibility. Providing smaller units, and housing that allows residents to avoid costs of commuting (or even owning) vehicles, are market-based approaches to housing affordability.
What will happen to Solano Park?
The Downtown/University Gateway District includes the Nishi property, campus land, and privately held land on West Olive Drive. The Solano Park neighborhood sits in this district between the Arboretum and the railroad tracks. As part of the Gateway collaboration, the university has been exploring strategies for redeveloping Orchard and Solano Parks and replacing them with new housing. Early studies presumed that Solano Park would be redeveloped in a way that could allow for the roadway/bikeway/pedestrian/open space connections between campus and the Nishi property. These scenarios are still under study. Residents of Orchard and Solano parks have expressed concerns that new housing would not be affordable enough to provide the same kind of benefit that has historically been available at these on-campus locations. The university also will study connection and open space alternatives that would not disrupt the current boundary of the Solano Park neighborhood. City and campus staff are working together to ensure that planning for the Gateway District can move forward as the campus continues to explore options for the East Village / Solano Park area.
Is agricultural mitigation required?
City ordinances require 2:1 mitigation for land converted from agricultural to non-agricultural uses. Mitigation may be located anywhere within the Davis planning area, subject to approval by the city council, with a credit factor based on location of the mitigation property. Mitigation sites for the Nishi property will be identified during the environmental review.
How sustainable would the project be?
The City, County, campus, and property owner have identified sustainability as one of the primary goals for Downtown University Gateway effort. The state Strategic Growth Council has approved a grant of nearly $600,000 for planning efforts for the Downtown University Gateway District Plan. This includes environmental analysis, water and wastewater plans, open space plans, and transportation plans. Specific sustainability components will be identified in the Environmental Impact Report and could become part of the Development Agreement or baseline project features.