Analysis: 7 Million Square Feet – Can Davis Support That Size of Development?

Davis Innovation Center is the latest formal proposal at a proposed 4 million square feet of space.
Davis Innovation Center is the latest formal proposal at a proposed 4 million square feet of space.

At last week’s Innovation Park Forum, one of the audience questions was “Is there enough of a market for space to support development of all three proposed innovation parks plus Nishi Gateway over the next 15 to 20 years? Should we try to pick ‘winners,’ or just say ‘the more the merrier?’ ”

Yesterday’s Sacramento Business Journal noted that Davis is now processing nearly 7 million square feet of development at the Davis Innovation Center and the Mace Ranch Innovation Center.

They write, “The Mace Ranch Innovation Center would add up to 2.6 million square feet of office, research, retail and hotel uses on 212 acres east of the city. The Davis Innovation Center would include up to 4 million square feet of building space on a T-shaped property of about 208 acres on the northeast side of the city.”

Not mentioned is about 110,000 square feet of innovation space at Nishi.

Doing the math, the city is projecting about a 350,000 square feet per year build out over 20 years. One of the big questions is can the city accommodate that rate of growth and, to answer that, the projects will hire a consultant to do a market absorption study. In the past, Rob White has cited similar rates of growth around Davis over the last five years during a bad economy.

The Studio 30 Study from 2012 recommended Nishi plus one of the peripheral spots either in the East or the West, with a slight lean toward the east.

Studio 30 wrote, “The current isolated and dispersed sites that are available and appropriately zoned are not adequate in terms of size, location, or configuration (and related constraints) to address the emerging market need of an Innovation Center.”

The study continues, “With available reasonably priced land and effective marketing to innovative high tech companies, Studio 30 estimates Davis could absorb up to 10 percent or around 100,000 square feet of the 1-1.5 million industrial/ office square footage absorbed annually in the Sacramento region. Because of this Studio 30 estimates Davis needs at least 200 acres for business development and expansion over a 20 +/- year time horizon.”

They continue, “A combination of one “close in” hub or incubator with one (or in some future time, two) larger, less constrained (and presumably less costly) edge site offers the right mix of University proximity and identity with the expansion capability to address job growth and rapid business expansion.”

“The Gateway or Nishi site offers the best opportunity for the close-in/incubator. The site will require University partnership and cooperation. Close proximity to UC Davis, downtown, regional transit and City amenities make this site best for implementing the desired attributes for start-ups, small firms, and University research-oriented businesses. Though not sufficient to meet needs of midsized businesses it could serve as a catalyst for establishment of early phase companies and promote downtown business development,” Studio 30 finds.

Nishi is currently undergoing its own planning process in conjunction with the university. For more information see –

In the meantime, Studio 30, just like the city, has avoided attempting to pick winners and losers in determining which Innovation Park is the better option.

“The East and West sites both offer larger scale “move-up” opportunities with excellent acreage, infrastructure, location, and car, bike and transit accessibility,” they write.

They did note, “The East site seems preferred at this time because it offers a readily available agricultural mitigation strategy, and may have less neighborhood development concern.”

This was actually before Mace 391 became a permanent agricultural easement. That easement strengthens the protection around Mace. At the same time, as we printed yesterday, Jim Provenza warned that an agricultural easement surrounded by urban development is likely not to remain in agriculture.

However, while Studio 30 might give a slight edge to the East, it was only slight. They write, “the West site has recently gone through additional land planning studies, and may also offer successful agricultural mitigation. The West site is slightly favorable in terms of University and downtown/ proximity. Both sites offer interesting opportunities for innovative agricultural related research, urban farming elements, and sustainable/green site and building design opportunities…”

Based on that they conclude, “both sites should be pursued for now.” They write, “Development on any of these sites will entail substantial entitlement challenges (such as agricultural mitigation); in particular, a community Measure R vote will present a major challenge for future development.”

That is a big political question – if we end up rolling out Nishi, Mace Ranch, and West Innovation Centers, with nearly 7 million square feet, does that present a political problem? While housing is not the same as a business-oriented development, one of the lessons we learned from Covell Village’s beating at the polls a decade ago was that, in their haste to develop the entire property, they went too big, too fast, and lost.

At the same time, picking winners and losers at this time makes little sense. By allowing the projects to move forward at their own market driven pace, to study the market and absorption, we can get a better sense.

What would happen if we picked “a loser” and the “winning” development lost investors or ran into problems?

At the same time, at some point the city and developers need to do additional polling to determine the viability of three Measure R votes, the timing, and how they should be rolled out.

350,000 square feet is about 3.5 times the recommendation by Studio 30, but it’s not clear that Studio 30’s analysis is the way to go. They simply looked at the annual square footage absorbed into the Sacramento region and estimated Davis could absorb up to 10 percent. The more robust analysis looked at a 15 mile radius on an annual basis and assumed Davis with land availability and an invigorated UC Davis could draw at least that much on its own.

Clearly playing a role in that analysis was the loss of Bayer in the summer of 2013, and the need to keep some of the larger and fast growing companies at home, in addition to attracting new companies and providing space for both startups and growing companies to succeed.

The economics will be worked out through studies and analyses, but the city, the council, and the developers need to be mindful of the political dynamics, as well.

—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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55 thoughts on “Analysis: 7 Million Square Feet – Can Davis Support That Size of Development?”

  1. Alan Miller

    “Not mentioned is about 110,000 square feet of innovation space at Nishi.”

    DTBM must be very irritated with the Sacramento Business Journal.  Didn’t they read the Diversified Geography Business Davis Dispersion All Over the Place Including Downtown and Other Places Plan before writing?

  2. Matt Williams

    Jim Provenza warned that an agricultural easement surrounded by urban development is likely not to remain in agriculture.

    While Supervisor Provenza’s concern does exist in theory, the on the ground realities make it very very unlikely.  As shown in the City of Davis graphic below, the 774 acre Howatt/Clayton Ranch land that is outside the Mace 391 conservation easement (along the north boundary of I-80 and the Union Pacific right of way) is owned by the City, the only way Supervisor Provenza’s concern could become reality would be for the City to sell that City owned land to a developer. For all practical purposes those 774 acres are in a de facto conservation easement as well.

    ospace4-13 full view

    1. Frankly

      I was very disappointment with the Supervisor’s comments that inferred that conservation easements can be overturned and developed.  They can, but not without a huge legal expense and battle.   So in practical terms they cannot.

      I absolutely detest this play from those that side with the slow and no-growth people… they get much of their farmland and open space moat around the city and they STILL use development fear tactics for that land.   They need to be called out each and every time they do this.

      1. Tia Will

        Matt and Frankly

        I am not sure why you both are so sure that this land would not ever be considered for sale to a developer. Until a few months ago, I would have considered it unthinkable that the city would consider selling a greenbelt ( or brown belt or any other name you like) to a developer when a different arrangement had been agreed upon. And yet, that has come under serious consideration. How do you two see this as being significantly different ?


        1. Frankly

          What part of “permanent” in the term permanent conservation easement, do you not understand?

          Sorry – ya’ll got your moat pieces now you have to stop using them for fear of sprawl arguments.

          You are perfectly justified in pointing to other parcels to bolster your fear campaign, but not those that have already been consumed by the open space brigade.

          1. Matt Williams

            Actually, Frankly I think you have your parcels confused. I don’t think Tia is talking about the Mace 391 acres that are already in permanent conservation easement, but rather the 744 acres of the Howatt/Clayton Ranch to the east of Mace 391, which is owned by the City in Fee Simple Title, but does not have any easement restrictions on its deed.

        2. Matt Williams

          Tia, let’s play out your concerns a bit. First, the parcel between Moore and Covell had reached the end of its useful life when it no longer served its original purpose of providing the Hauslers with a buffer between their homestead and the new Wildhorse homes that were being built on the portion of their property that they chose not to retain. In addition,as a human conveyance the ad hoc gravel path through one side of the Hausler Greenbelt was redundant of a formal paved greenbelt human conveyance 325 feet (108 yards) to the east, and another 760 feet (253 yards) to the East, and a third 500 feet (166 yards) to the West. Was there any practical reason why the residents of Wildhorse need four walkways between Moore and Covell in a half mile distance?

          Second, the Howatt/Clayton Ranch has no such end of its useful life considerations anywhere close on the horizon. To torture a metaphor, there isn’t a end of useful life light at the end of the tunnel signifying an oncoming train, and in addition the metaphorical tunnel has experienced a cave in and the metaphorical railroad tracks are blocked for at least a mile with a ten foot depth of cave-in debris.

          Now, if for some unforeseen non-metaphorical reason the City Council should contemplate clearing the metaphorical cave in debris, they would need to put the Davis citizenry on notice that they were funding and authorizing a metaphorical cleanup crew deployment, and the very non-metaphorical hue and cry that we saw in the Mace 391 event would be very actively and vociferously repeated.

          That is why and how I see this as being significantly different. You are a very wise woman, and I wouldn’t have expected you to trot out a Chicken Little argument.

          Further, if you are truly worried that the City could actually go down the scenario road that you have described, then it would seem that it would be wise to begin now a formal proactive process to put the 744 acres of Howatt/Clayton Ranch into a permanent agricultural conservation easement. That would permanently end the threat you fear.

        3. Don Shor

          Provenza’s comment could certainly apply to the properties to the east. It is entirely possible that development of Howatt Ranch could be proposed. Serious consideration of the site for a sports complex was under discussion for several years, and another possible idea was floated during the Mace 391 debate. For that reason, I hope that ag easements will be placed on some or all of that property at some point, perhaps as part of a mitigation deal for another site.

          But to undo the easement on the Mace 391 parcel is nearly impossible. And by nearly, I mean there is a vanishingly small possibility of it occurring. There are agricultural conservation easements that can, under some circumstances, be revisited in 25 years or so. But this easement is not one of that type. Yolo Land Trust doesn’t do those. The ag easement on Mace 391 is permanent.

        4. Alan Miller

          “To torture a metaphor, there isn’t a end of useful life light at the end of the tunnel signifying an oncoming train, and in addition the metaphorical tunnel has experienced a cave in and the metaphorical railroad tracks are blocked for at least a mile with a ten foot depth of cave-in debris. Now, if for some unforeseen non-metaphorical reason the City Council should contemplate clearing the metaphorical cave in debris, they would need to put the Davis citizenry on notice that they were funding and authorizing a metaphorical cleanup crew deployment, and the very non-metaphorical hue and cry that we saw in the Mace 391 event would be very actively and vociferously repeated.”

          That is actually the single most tortured metaphor I have ever encountered.  I am somewhere being being offended and thinking you deserve an award.

    2. Alan Miller

      Thanks for the map, Matt.  I was just about to ask if someone could post one.

      What I am not clear on is where the 391 property is.  North of I-80 between what and what and what?

      1. Don Shor

        Here is a map showing the parcels:
        Mace 391 is outlined in red; it is in a conservation easement. The current proposal involves the parcels labeled Bruner and Ramos. Property to the east labeled City of Davis/Howatt is owned by the city. That land is not in an easement. There have been various proposals for the site in the past, including a recreation complex as recently as 2006. So any statement about that property being in any kind of conservation simply because it is owned by the city is not true. However, Howatt Ranch could be used for mitigation of a development of other peripheral land by means of a conservation easement.

      2. Matt Williams

        Alan, here is a closeup graphic of the area from Mace Blvd to the Yolo Bypass.  The Ramos/Bruner properties are yellow, Mace 391 is red and the Howatt/Clayton Ranch property is in blue.  Note, approximately 20 acres of the Mace 391 property was not put into conservation easement and is owned by the City of Davis. Those 20 acres are just below the “70” label where the “acres” label is. The Mace Innovation Center as proposed will include that 20 acres.

        ospace4-13 closeup

        1. Alan Miller

          Wow, thanks, that’s great Matt!  Nothing like a map to explain what text can’t.  I was stumped when I saw the location of the business park, because, I had thought that was the 391 location discussed last year at Council meetings because everyone was talking about the Mace Curve, and I thought I’d got the location off a map.  If I’m confused, being a map-oriented person, I can only imagine what mistaken ideas  others have gotten about these locations.  Damn.  This map should be set aside with it’s own URL and have the link posted in all future articles on the proposed business parks, especially those to the east.

          Oh, and thanks to Don to for the photo map.

        2. Alan Miller

          And also, thanks Don for the photo map.

          I don’t have time to study them in detail, but at first glance there seem to be some conflicts between the two, or maybe they show different information, or maybe they are from two different years?

  3. Frankly

    There is some good stuff in the Studio 30 report, but I would not focus too much on it as the gospel of what is right and relevant with respect to Davis’s direction for innovation economic development.   It was a student project.  We got it for cheap.  And we pretty much got what we paid for.

    But, I think there are useful nuggets in that report that we can and should accept and include.

    1. Alan Miller

      It was a student project.  We got it for cheap.  And we pretty much got what we paid for.

      While I agree with you in principal, and have no opinion on this report as I haven’t read it (a collective #gasp# reverberates through the Vanguard Community), I recall a study done by a consultant that obviously was biased by the agency wishes that paid the consultant, and I read a report on the same issue done as an undergraduate thesis by one 22-year-old that was objective, forward-thinking and brilliant.  It was also soundly ignored.

    2. Davis Progressive

      while true, the guy in charge was planning director for the city of davis.  i don’t think he had a lot of experience with innovation parks, but to characterize it as you have, i don’t think is completely fair.

      1. Frankly

        My characterization is based on the content of the report.  It is a high-quality student project, but it is a student project.  There are gaps and holes and unqualified assumptions throughout the report.  There are inadequate references.  Much of it is unqualified opinion.

        But, like I said… there are good things in it.

        1. Gunrocik

          Pretty much agree with Frankly.  Jeff Loux led the class and knows his stuff, and the report is well done–and there were a lot of peer reviewers that are very sharp as well.  But it isn’t at a level that would convince a lender to put up tens of millions for improving the property –but I don’t think the report was meant to be the end all be all — but was meant to provoke thought and additional dialogue.  So it has definitely served its purpose.

          And for those of you who haven’t read the report, here is the link to the report that Michael Bisch can’t seem to stop talking about:



  4. Anon

    “Can Davis Support That Size of Development?”

    I think the more appropriate way to frame the question is “How Best Can Davis Support That Size of Development?”  It is a subtle difference, but the point is, let’s stay positive and assume it can be done.

    I am in favor of allowing all proposals to move forward, and see how it all filters out.  As the process moves along, certain things will start to shake out and have to be resolved.  But at this early stage, why limit ourselves?  I actually like the idea of looking at the idea of innovation using a holistic approach, as was suggested by Downtown Businessman.  How can we develop peripheral innovation parks in such a way as to integrate them into the entire fabric of the town?  I think it is what the community would prefer – that interconnectivity to the community as a whole.

    1. Davis Progressive

      isn’t the idea here to scrutinize issues, allow the community to weigh in, and provide a feedback mechanism to the developers before it gets to the point where it goes to the voters.

      the danger of course of being too ambitious is that if the voters gets spooked, they’ll vote them all down.  i think that’s the point behind the covell analogy.  instead of getting one-third of that land entitled, they got nothing.

      1. Anon

        I am all for “scrutinizing issues, don’t have a problem with that.  But let’s not presuppose that the problems cannot be overcome.  Let’s assume that problems can be overcome somehow, if we have the will and the creativity to work them out.

  5. Michael Harrington

    Anon said:  “I think the more appropriate way to frame the question is “How Best Can Davis Support That Size of Development?'”

    My suggestion to change that question:  ” I think the more appropriate way to frame the question is “How Best Can Davis Defeat That Size of Development?”

      1. Anon

        Harrington has made his agenda clear, regardless of the facts, the dire fiscal situation in the city, etc.  Fortunately I very much doubt he represents the majority of citizens, or even a sizable minority.

    1. Doby Fleeman


      Based on your personal experience on the Council, it would seem you have some appreciation for the difficulty with managing “budget creep” (attached above is part of the City’s 2004 Annual report which includes expenditures for 2000-2002 years for your reference).

      Aside from current efforts to increase our base of well-paying employment opportunities through the addition of well-regarded employers engaged in development of products aligned with UCD research efforts, what are your thoughts for enhancing the community’s revenue model?

      Perhaps I’m wrong, but I get the distinct impression that you are not a big advocate for more new taxes as a long term solution for more revenue.

      With 20% staffing cuts over the past several years, how do you realistically foresee any Council having much more success in further reducing municipal operating expenses?

      Keeping in mind that the Innovation Centers envisage a long-term rollout, how would your proposal of small scale, and only very limited jobs creation help in resolving current and future budget shortfalls given the major imbalance we currently face?

      1. Gunrocik

        Excellent point Doby.  And I sure hope the newly minted City Manager contract doesn’t incite a new labor war that initiates another onset of “budget creep.”

    2. Gunrocik

      From Harrington:  My suggestion to change that question:  ” I think the more appropriate way to frame the question is “How Best Can Davis Defeat That Size of Development?”

      Translation:  Here is another great opportunity for me to extort hundreds of thousands of dollars out of the community–then I won’t have to travel the country tracking down defective airplanes.

  6. Alan Miller

    I’m not clear what the question is, as it seems self-answering.  Clearly, the market will drive the number of businesses that locate in available business parks.  The current key problem, as I understand it, is that there is not sufficient space for existing businesses to expand, and new businesses to locate.  With three developers showing interest, that to me says there is a perceived market.

    If the land is zoned and the market for businesses slows or the economy recedes, it will simply take longer for full build out.  I don’t believe anyone expects these business parks to fill out anytime soon after they are approved — the idea is to have a place to put businesses over time as there is growth in the business market, correct?

    In a way that should be a relief, as it means that we don’t have to be concerned immediately with severe traffic issues, but rather growth over a long period of time.  I would suggest that for transportation, the contract with the peripheral developers call for adding transportation improvements when the capacity of the business parks reaches certain thresholds.  Such as, when the park reaches 50% a stoplight will be put in at X intersection, when a park reaches 70% a bike crossing will be built, when a park reaches 80% a shuttle will be provided during commute hours to meet trains A,B and C in the morning and trains X, Y and Z in the evening.  That sort of thing.

    The City can’t demand every transportation need up front to support a full build out  (unlike housing–like Cannery–where there is so much pent-up demand it will fill up quickly), as the revenue won’t be there to support all improvements if in Year 3 the park is only 20% full.  On the other hand, the thresholds have to be spelled out and agreed to up front to mitigate traffic and mode-share impacts (and thus VMTs for the regional agencies).  Unless bound by contract in advance, the business park developers are unlikely to volunteer to mitigate future traffic impacts a decade after initial opening when the build out occurs and the impacts are reaching critical.

  7. Dan Carson

    I was the person who submitted the question under discussion today to the recent forum on innovation parks.  To be clear, as a member of the Finance and Budget Commission involved (in a limited role) in reviewing the proposals, I’m open to all of them, including all three innovation parks and Nishi-Gateway, so long as environmental issues like traffic and other impacts can be addressed, that they are demonstrated to be consistent with good public land-use planning policy, and so long as there is a specific payoff to the citizens of Davis in terms of a net increase in revenues and other amenities.  I think all of these things are possible, at least in theory, and it is impressive that city staff and the council were able to spark a process that is resulting in some very real and significant proposals being put into play. That’s no easy trick.

    So, my question was intended to help city government think about how to approach these multiple applications that are coming in.  Should our city application review process and perspective be one of picking the one or ones we believe are the best, or should we let them all move forward simultaneously as long as they do what we want them to do for this community?

    In his response to my question at the forum, panelist Louis Stewart, director of innovation and entrepreneurship for the Governor’s economic development entity, Go-Biz (Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development), was persuasive that we could move forward on all fronts.  He contends that the city’s ace in hole, its proximity to UC Davis, would be so attractive to the market that the demand would be there for all of the projects, should they materialize.

    However, that does not necessarily mean we don’t have to pay attention to the timing issues here. Stewart was saying we could handle this demand for space over a 15 or 20 year timespan.  He wasn’t contending the demand would all be there immediately.  After the forum, in response to further questions about the issue, he told me we should pay attention to ensuring that there is a “staging” of the projects that makes sense.

    I worry a bit about a scenario where competing and well-vetted proposals all get their permits at nearly the same time and are locked in fierce competition, preventing any one of them from reaching critical mass that is necessary to move ahead.  The worst-case scenario is one in which we have all sorts of entitlements for parks but nothing being built on those entitlements.

    I am not arguing that we should deliberately and selectively slow up the processing of any 0f these applications, which will be a long and arduous slog as it is.  Nor am I suggesting we only allow one or two of them onto the ballot for a Measure R vote next year.  But we probably need to work with the proponents, and perhaps more importantly the proponents will probably need to work with each other, to maximize our opportunities here.  That point was made by the experts at the forum the other night.

    Some of this will work out quite on the natural, I suspect.  While Nishi-Gateway in some respects is the logical entity to go first given its “incubator” focus, the Olive Drive/traffic problems and internal circulation issues on the site with the railroad could take awhile to resolve.  Some proponents may line up the private sector financing they need sooner than competitors.  Plus, they will likely go after different “niches” in the market that could reduce the competition among them.

    I’m looking forward to hearing more about these “staging” issues from our city staff experts and from the proponents of these projects. If we are going to move ahead with such a large-scale effort, we should do it as effectively as possible.

    1. Alan Miller

      Hmmmmm . . . . . just throwing this out there for discussion without a preconceived “it’s good or it’s bad”.  Since the idea was thrown out that we don’t want the two peripheral parks competing, would it make sense (or even be doable) to combined them into a single vote?  Then, the parks could compete for customers once they are in existence, over the long-haul, rather than compete in advance to “win”, which could, I would think, bring down both parks (in terms of any chance of a measure R vote).  I would also think Nishi’s support could be harmed by such a competition.  On the other hand, one person on the panel said, I believe, that building both would be too much for Davis.

      1. Gunrocik

        These are huge investments and due diligence dollars are very expensive.  It is highly unlikely that either of these developers will move forward and spend millions of dollars upfront without some assurance that they are in the driver’s seat.

        During this beauty contest phase there is going to be a game of chicken and we will have to see which one blinks first.

  8. Frankly

    I don’t understand why the city does not require a contract with developers.

    I’m still frosted that we let Mace 391 slip away because we would have owned it and we would have controlled it.   The problem with developer-owned peripheral development is that the city lacks leverage to get what it wants, and to ensure that the developer sticks to commitments.

    I think having a development contract/agreement with the city… one that includes incentives and penalties for certain performance expectations, and phase timelines, etc..  would go a long way to help Davis voters get more comfortable about the projects.

    I am probably showing my ignorance on public-side development management, but it seems like a simple business move to wrap these projects into contractual agreements with the city.

    1. Don Shor

      I’m unaware of most development agreements having incentives or penalties. I mean, Target was supposed to get those extra pads filled within something like two years. And the main problem with development agreements is that they are changeable (as with Target, again). That is also, of course, an advantage in some ways.

      1. Frankly

        A well done agreement can accommodate a process for change.   By penalties and incentives, I would require the developer to post a bond or put money in escrow that would be returned having met the terms of the agreement.  Call it a very large security deposit.   The return of funds to the developer can be based on performance milestones.  For example, the filling of the Target pads could have resulted in a 25% penalty for every year later than the committed year.  The money that the city would retain as a result of Target’s failure to perform could be used for other future city capital improvements as a way to offset the loss of utility from the developers failure to perform.

        1. Anon

          Developer agreements have to be pretty flexible.  Remember the economic downturn didn’t help matters in failing to bring stores to locate around Target (no fault of Target), nor the fact that the square footage for the pads around Target were too small to attract stores.  Flexibility in a development agreement is necessary, because neither side can necessarily see into the future or determine what is best until it becomes clear what needs to be done to accommodate what happens on the ground.  This is the very difficult part of development – trying to foretell the foreseeable future to plan for what it is thought is necessary at the time.  Tricky business (pardon the pun)!

        2. Frankly

          I agree to some degree.  But the point is to protect the city to the extent possible.  Well done agreements work to perpetuate a partnership by balancing interests and leverage for both parties.  Without this a deveoper owns the most leverage once the project is underway and will generally use it to futher his interests.

  9. Tia Will


    First, the parcel between Moore and Covell had reached the end of its useful life when it no longer served its original purpose of providing the Hauslers with a buffer between their homestead and the new Wildhorse homes”

    We disagree fundamentally right off the bat. I do not believe that a piece of land reaches the “end of its useful life when it no longer” serves its original purpose. If that were true then we are all living on land that is no longer serving its original purpose and arguably should be  giving it back to the First Nations people since it has “outlived its original purpose. I believe that what you really mean is that it has outlived what you and others believe that its purpose should be, which is apparently set by whatever outcome is now desired. The land is just what it is. It exists as it was created. It is we who arbitrarily decide what piece belongs to whom and then draw up justifications for our chosen distribution in terms of legal documents. These are subject to change and the whims of the humans currently in power. This is not an immutable right, it is what we decide it is and shape our laws accordingly. Those laws are in one form now, but may well change in the future.

    1. Gunrocik

      If the city is to survive fiscally, a well planned and financially viable innovation park is going to be needed in the near future.  If we were able to sit down individually with every registered voter in the community and objectively explain the need for the innovation park, I’m guessing we would get 90% concurrence–as that is what I get when I talk to folks at Farmers Market, Nugget, Kids Birthday Parties and while I wait in line at Starbucks.

      Obviously, having an objective, fact-based discussion with every voter  is no more realistic than the minimalist growth policies espoused on this site.  However, I do appreciate the forum that is provided for the small but vocal group of empty nesters who pretend to be objective, but I strongly believe would fight any attempt to any change in the current way of life here in Davis.

      It gives the rest of us the opportunity to compile their laundry list of “objections” so that they can be thoroughly vetted and disproved well in advance of what will likely be the most contentious campaign since Covell Village.

      1. Anon

        I’m not certain this campaign is going to be as contentious (I was opposed to Covell Village but am very much in favor of a well planned innovation park) as Covell Village – mainly because the city is in a fiscal crisis.  If citizens have to pick between tolerating an innovation park that solves the city’s budget woes or pay higher taxes/cut services, I suspect almost all citizens will come down on the side of an innovation park or two rather than instituting new taxes or increasing existing ones.

    2. Matt Williams

      Tia, I anticipated your answer in posing the question. Now let’s apply that answer to the Howatt/Clayton Ranch. If your standards are the ones that apply, then the existing purpose of that 774 acres will remain in perpetuity agriculture. Said, another way, you have provided the answer to your own question posed to Frankly and me.

  10. DT Businessman

    “–but I don’t think the report was meant to be the end all be all — but was meant to provoke thought and additional dialogue.  So it has definitely served its purpose.”

    NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the City Council of the City of Davis hereby resolves to:
    1.      Adopt a new fiscal model that accurately evaluates both the fiscal impacts and economic benefits of new innovation/research development for the community.
    2.      Pursue a “Dispersed Innovation Strategy” offering flexible space (scalability) supporting needs of growing and new businesses.  A combined approach of near- term close-in hub with mid-term, larger less constrained edge sites offer the best mix of University proximity and expansion capability for the City:
    There you have it.  Until the CC decides to go in a different direction, “Dispersed Innovation Center Strategy” with an “Innovation Center” comprising the entire community is the law of the land.  This was the culmination of a multi-year public process, extending back to, and including the work of the Businesses Land Park Study, which included input from many stakeholders.
    It’s not clear to me why some champions of a peripheral innovation park are running away from the Dispersed Innovation Strategy.  After all, it’s gotten us this close to the end zone, why fumble now? 
    -Michael Bisch

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