Vanguard Innovation Park Discussion Part One: Why is This Park Different From All Other Parks?

Chris Granger (left) moderates the forum with Matt Yancey (center) and Louis Stewart (right)
Chris Granger (left) moderates the forum with Matt Yancey (center) and Louis Stewart (right)

Last Thursday, the Vanguard hosted its Innovation Park Discussion Forum at DMG Mori in Davis. At least 50 people from the community came out to hear an early discussion on the innovation parks. The panel featured County Supervisor Jim Provenza, Louis Stewart the Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurship from the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (Go-Biz), Matt Yancey the new CEO of the Davis Chamber, Michael Bisch, the President of Davis Downtown and Tia Will from the Vanguard editorial board.

The forum was moderated by Chris Granger from Cool Davis and featured three questions from the moderator followed by some audience questions. The Vanguard has compiled all of the audience questions and will be breaking them out over the next weeks as points of discussion.

In his opening remarks, Supervisor Jim Provenza remarked on the strong turnout at the event. He noted that the county provides a lot of services, and needs to pay for these services. He said that because they have been good environmental stewards, “we have restricted most development to the cities. Because we’ve done that we operate on a very small tax base.”

The proposed Innovation Park is based on county land that would be annexed into the city. There are a number of issues of concern, but Mr. Provenza stated, “Our approach will be to work with the city and whatever the city decides, whether it be the Mace Innovation Park, the Davis Innovation Park out by the hospital, or the other proposal floating out there, whatever the city decides we’re nothing, we’ll help the city do that, but I don’t view it as a County decision as to whether the project goes forward or not.”

Louis Stewart explained that the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development “is in the business of trying to help business do business in California.” His role “is to foster an ecosystem throughout the state – that means helping entrepreneurs and helping innovators succeed.” He works with government-academia-industry to create an ecosystem that helps create long-term jobs. That works through the Innovation Hub program which has been around for four years.

Davis is part of the Sacramento iHub and there are 16 programs around the state. This one is focused around agriculture, clean-tech, and medical.

Michael Bisch (left) and Tia Will (center) about to respond to a question from moderator Chris Granger
Michael Bisch (left) listens as Tia Will (center) responds to a question from moderator Chris Granger

Matt Yancey explained that the Davis Chamber sees “the innovation parks as being very much in line with two of the key things that we are about. Which is cultivating economic prosperity and economic vitality here in the community in Davis and growing and maintaining a world class workforce. For us, pursuing this planning process for the Innovation Parks has the potential to, if developed in the manner that’s consistent with the needs and the values of the community and in keeping with the core tenants of what a university research is, hit a home run on both those things in a very very big way.”

Tia Will explained that she was not anticipating being here; she was a last minute fill in for one of the planned speakers. She explained that, while economic development is important, she has other interests. She is very supportive of a healthy environment for our city – both physical and social.

“I do not want these issues to be brushed aside as though they were not critical parts of the well-being of Davis,” she explained. “I am here to express concerns about these parks and how they might be rolled out, that might not be brought up otherwise.”

Michael Bisch noted he’s a commercial real estate broker by trade and passionate about the community sustainability.

The first question was a three part-question: What specific physical or operational features do you think should be included in an innovation park that make it substantively different than a traditional business park? What unique economic benefits are likely to accrue to our community? How can the city ensure that any innovation park will contain those desired business types and innovation activities?

Jim Provenza said he would look for sustainability in terms of energy, not adding to our carbon footprint. This makes it different than a traditional business park. At the same time, he said, he’d like to see it large enough to attract an array of different businesses.

“I’m particularly about the businesses that we have now that are looking for bigger facilities that we don’t want to lose,” he said, citing Schilling Robotics whose facility he recently visited. “I think how it’s marketed is significant. That it’s being marketed for innovative businesses, that there’s room for the various size businesses, and that it’s an environment that people would want to be in.” The companies that would move in are looking for “a nice place to live, but also a nice place to work.”

Jim Provenza delivers his opening remarks on Thursday night.
Jim Provenza delivers his opening remarks on Thursday night.

Louis Stewart stated, “If I was envisioning what an innovation park would look like in California… I think a research park in California, particularly Davis, would primarily focus on creating intentional collisions.” He talked about making “a space” where students, entrepreneurs, and businesses that want to expand “who can be in a place and go to a café and actually talk to each other.” He said in this way, “you can actually create an ecosystem where at any particular point in time, you’re running into incredibly smart, dynamic individuals that are actually here to make Davis a better place.”

He said creating that kind of environment is more important than worrying about the types of companies that one attracts. With these kinds of “collisions” you have “additional innovation that can happen at the park.” We need to look at an innovation park as a “demonstration facility.”

As far as the economic benefits, “if it’s done properly, you’ll see increased employment, higher salaries, attract more companies to the region, and additional revenues to the city.”

Matt Yancey emphasized, “A university research park, what we’re calling innovation parks within this context, a university research park is not a business park. It is not an industrial park.”

He explained that in an industrial park you would have hundreds of acres of low story buildings and crates waiting to get trucked out to the customer, “that’s not what we’re talking about here.” Instead, “We’re talking about relatively dense development where we’ve got really smart, cutting edge in their field individuals, working to solve the kinds of problems that are plaguing us today.”

They are designed with public and open spaces where these individuals bump into each and trade ideas, can share theories, and reinforce within the field.

The economic benefit from his perspective “is that you’ve got people who are making very good wages and you’ve got companies that are producing very good products. They are producing tax revenue – both property tax revenue (and) sales tax revenue over a very long term that supports the quality of life that communities are looking for these days.”

Tia Will said “it makes all of the sense in the world to me to leverage the competencies of our universities.” She said that smaller businesses and startup businesses “makes a lot of sense to me across a very large range of areas that the university has competencies.”

She said, “I am wondering if there may not be a point where the company gets to a point where they’re actually too big to fit well within the Davis community.” She thinks that perhaps a larger company might want to expand to Woodland, West Sacramento or Sacramento rather than stay in Davis. “There’s nothing that says that because we provide a space for a company now that looks attractive that they won’t outgrow that, so I think there’s some questions about what kind of – when we’re talking about a multi-year project, I think we’re talking about build outs of five to ten years – it would be nice if the community had some kind of reliability behind companies staying here as opposing to moving on.”

She said we need to look at location and what kind of impact people coming in and out of these sites would have on the residents that already here. About the Mace site, for example, she believes that the location means automobile traffic on the freeway, “this is going to have a major impact on the folks in that area.”

She noted the wording of the third part of the question, “desired business types and innovation activities,” and noted that people in the community will have different definitions of desirability. She is concerned “that we will be targeting too narrow a range.” She is concerned about the city picking “winners and losers.”

Michael Bisch stated that the answers to all of these questions are in the Studio 30 Report, commissioned by the city.

Reading from the report, he said that they identified the key attributes of an innovation park as: “A strong University partnership; An excellent location, close to downtown, housing and recreation; Accessibility to various transportation modes and major transportation hubs, well connected at global and local levels; Lifestyle amenities including a walkable, viable downtown, excellent public schools, and extensive recreation opportunities; Community support for innovative, knowledge-based businesses and activities of various types; An emphasis on green/sustainable design; opportunities for highly skilled innovators to connect, interact and share ideas; and, A strong emphasis on branding and marketing focused on the University research strengths, quality of life, innovative ideas and lifestyles.”

Michael Bisch read from Studio 30, as well, on community benefits. Studio 30 wrote, “The greatest community benefits of an Innovation Center derive from job creation.”

He read, “The relatively high caliber of firms attracted to the center; Enhanced growth in the total number of existing and new companies; The higher salaries of center employees relative to the average wage in the region; Enhanced employment growth in the community and region; Positive effect that the center has on the local tax base by providing high paying jobs and attracting other businesses; Businesses that provide services to center customers and employers generate additional revenue for the community.”

He said, “Pursuing this kind of strategy will result in the reduction in commuting and green house gas emissions because over 50 percent of our residents, according to Studio 30, drive to other communities to work. And over 50 percent of our workforce is driving from other communities to work here.” He noted on the periphery at 8 am during the work week we will see massive amounts of traffic going in all different directions.

We will have a series of these articles laying out the different responses.

—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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43 Comments

  1. Alan Miller

    “Pursuing this kind of strategy will result in the reduction in commuting and green house gas emissions”

    I would rewrite this as “Pursuing this kind of strategy MAY result in the SLIGHT reduction in commuting and green house gas emissions, AND COULD RESULT IN AN INCREASE IN GREEN HOUSE GAS EMISSIONS”.

    We are writing about an unknown future at a location that is peripheral in a town with at best fair public transit, and no evidence employers, who are not known at this time, will be Googles and Yahoos that can afford their own fleet of buses to transport their employees (and, oddly, in SF, get slammed for it).

    The main solutions considered at the forum were bike paths, electric cars and hydrogen fuel cells.  A small percentage may bike, but even then you need options and only a small fraction of fair weather bicycle commuters continue to commute in severe weather, or even rain or cold, so they need options (parking spaces and road capacity, or public transit).

    Both electric cars and hydrogen fuel cells are secondary users off the power grid (hydrogen must be created, just like electricity, and the sources are only as clean as the power grid), and greenhouse gases–unlike tailpipe exhaust which pollutes locally–accumulate globally so it doesn’t matter where they are produced.  Also, no matter the source these cars use road and parking capacity.  So mentioning these as solutions is either naivety or out and out greenwashing.

    If many Davis people keep their jobs and jobs are created, most people will be commuting to this location, and my bet is many or most will do so by car.

    As I said before, I am generally supportive of building a business park in Davis.  As a town we need to be real that you cannot greenwash your way to a green business park.  Davis needs to be real about what we are building and what all the costs and effects will be.

  2. DT Businessman

    “We are writing about an unknown future at a location that is peripheral in a town with at best fair public transit…”

    This statement is factually incorrect.  The CC-adopted strategy being pursued is a dispersed Innovation Center strategy with a peripheral research park providing a landing spot for larger employers being only one component and the Downtown/Gateway/Nishi component being the hub.  The dispersed Innovation Center is not at all peripheral; rather, it comprises the entire community (much like Boulder, CO).  And if the strategy is properly executed, the public transit is more than fair given the Davis Depot is at the center of it.  The challenge I see is that many detractors and champions of innovation are choosing to focus only on narrow aspects of the strategy instead of executing the strategy wholesale.  No strategy, no matter how sound, can hope to succeed with such poor execution.

    I encourage one and all to read the Studio 30 report.  What’s the point of researching something if the know how collected is simply ignored?

    -Michael Bisch

     

     

    1. Davis Progressive

      i talked to some people who feel that studio 30 was rather limited and very political in some of its recommendations.  moreover, you continually ignore that the reason for the focus on an innovation center on the periphery is driven by two considerations – space requirements for schilling (after the loss of bayer) and the necessities of a measure r vote which mean this is a two year process.

      “What’s the point of researching something if the know how collected is simply ignored?”

      is it ignored or simply incorporated into a broader framework?

  3. Miwok

    I am curious who from the UC and California State Colleges were there to present or attend? UC Davis has initiated several departments speaking directly to this for the benefit of the different industries they represent. Will they be moving those there? NO.

    Another observation of this article is that everyone thinks there will be be Sales Tax revenue from this, when presenters specifically point out that only highly paid research people will be there and no production facilities are in the works. The other observation is the location encourages commuting at the edge of town, and large employers they covet are not innovators. They BUY innovators.

    I am not against the concepts, but as one of the presenters notes, they want to make “collisions” which will not happen at the location mentioned, unless they all like the Fruit and Pies across the street.

  4. Alan Miller

    “We are writing about an unknown future at a location that is peripheral in a town with at best fair public transit…”
    “This statement is factually incorrect.”  

    How, exactly?  

    By peripheral I mean it’s on the edge of town, not that it is not part of town, as in “on the periphery”.

    By “unknown future”, I mean that we can have great intentions, and I support those intentions, of getting large, well-paying employers, but we don’t know who will actually come, what the wages will be, or what way the economy will go.

    “Fair” public transit is a judgement call; that is how I would characterize it.  Unitrans works well in what it does, transport students from dense to less dense housing areas to a single point:  campus.  The express buses to Sacramento for YoloBus do a  good job in limited commute times, but miss your bus and its a long ride home on Route 42.  Route 42 winds through several loops in town and torturously creeps through West Sac on the way to Sacramento.  I expressed potential improvements at SACOG input meetings decades ago, but today the service remains much the same, with little change.

    As an example of transit issues on developments, look to the Cannery.  The Dutch company that studied Covell expressed it’s discomfort that there was “no back door” to the development and recommended a crossing over the tracks possibly to Faro.  To date, I am not aware the developer even left a landing for a bridge to connect to the other side, and once structures are in the way, a bridge is near impossible.  As well, the developer tried to convince Davis that an “up to the hump” solution for a SW corner along-the-tracks bikeway was a decent answer (much cheaper for the developer).  Luckily, no one in Davis bought it.  But the connection to H-Street tunnel is still very much a maybe, and that isn’t right.  As well, there is a transit stop on the inside, but it’s just a spot on the map, and Yolo Transit has not promised to serve it, as it would add time and more loops to their schedule.

    My point here is that alternative transit is usually an afterthought, and usually real solutions are expensive, suggested and not often followed through on.  Remember people, when “they” say something might happen is close to saying it won’t, as transit money is competitive takes fighting for.

  5. Gunrocik

    We have to be very careful not to  overstate the green aspects of any proposed project.  I’ve seen this backfire in some of the other college towns where I’ve been on the faculty.

    The most compelling argument, which I think was in Champaign, was not just the job creation but the fact that we were creating a research park in the most environmentally responsible community in the region.  In other words, there was

    a lot more land available down by the airport — but that wasn’t as close to the academics or the job base — thus creating more of a commute for everyone.  In addition, the county regulations weren’t nearly as stringent and so it would be built at a lower density and consume more land.  So overall, both from a traffic and building footprint, a far less sustainable project.

    Here in Davis, I think one can make the argument that we will demand a much smaller footprint than if it were built in West Sarcramento, Natomas, Dixon or Vacaville.  And in addition, it will be close to the university and we will have good transit and bike connections for those commuters.  As for the rest of the commuters who will be shut out of the Davis housing market, they were going to have to commute anyway.  And a lot of those knowledge-based workers will find a way into our housing market — since most of them aren’t going to want to live in West Sac, Natomas or Dixon anyway.

    Let’s face it, if the Harringtons of the world hadn’t put a moat around the City, we could probably accommodate the vast majority of the workers — but many will find their way — and the region’s carbon footprint is better served centrally locating the  park adjacent to campus and the Davis workforce.

    If people in Davis TRULY care about their carbon footprint, they would allow a jobs housing balance in this town — by building the moat, they are negatively impacting the environmental quality  of the entire region and forcing a generation of families to commute instead of seeing their children!

    And I’m sorry, Tia. I’m not buying any of your arguments — your generation, particularly in Davis, has declared war on the next generation’s attempt to live in the nicest communities.

     

  6. Alan Miller

    “Let’s face it, if the Harringtons of the world hadn’t put a moat around the City”

    Not to defend Harrington, but if a super-majority of Davis Voters passed Prop. R, this isn’t about Harrington, it’s about the people of Davis putting a moat around the City.

    If this business park has wages that are significantly higher than the City average, then there will be enough pressure on the town for housing that either stock will grow or prices will rise, or both, which again will benefit homeowners.  Therefore, just like why I believe there will never be a yes vote on a Measure J/R housing vote, I believe a business park, properly vetted and sold, will pass.  It supports the pocketbooks of Davis landowners, who are the most likely voters (as opposed to renting students who vote in much lower numbers on local issues, they being transient).

    If the business park ends up attracting lower-wage jobs than the Davis average, then there will be a much stronger component of commuters coming in from nearby, lower cost-of-living towns.

     

    1. South of Davis

      Alan wrote:

      > Not to defend Harrington, but if a super-majority of Davis

      > Voters passed Prop. R, this isn’t about Harrington, it’s about

      > the people of Davis putting a moat around the City.

      Since the majority of voters in Davis own homes why is anyone surprised that they voted to reduce supply and increase the value of their home (or multiple homes as is the case of some people that post here against development often) in Davis?

      1. Davis Progressive

        first, it’s actually not true that the majority of voters in davis own homes.

        second, while you raise this point repeatedly i’ve not seen you substantiate the view that the slow growth motivation is home value.  if that were the case, why isn’t every community as slow growth as davis?

        1. Gunrocik

          Because you have a balance of power in other communities and the adults in the room don’t let that happen–since it isn’t in the best interest of the community as a whole.  Here you have an impotent business community that has never been able to take on the no on everything crowd–and is apparently suffering from Stockholm Syndrome as they embrace a City Manager choice owned by those hell bent on bringing fiscal ruin to the City.  Of course, this is the same business community that I believe supported Wolk and Frerichs as well –who have proven to be far more friendly to labor than to business.

        2. Alan Miller

          “first, it’s actually not true that the majority of voters in davis own homes.”

          The majority of the population are renters, but renters vote in far fewer numbers.  I do not have numbers, but I would seriously doubt the majority of voters are renters.  Happy to be proved wrong.

          “second, while you raise this point repeatedly i’ve not seen you substantiate the view that the slow growth motivation is home value.”  

          I cannot site this as scientific fact, as I cannot crawl into everyone’s soul and read the stacked weight of their voting motivations.  However, when into comes down to it on so many issues, people defend the value of their home because for many it is their largest single, or even overall, source of their total wealth.  Human nature being what it is, I believe this is the strongest motivator on an overall-weighted basis.

          “if that were the case, why isn’t every community as slow growth as davis?”

          Because few communities have our situation with abundant peripheral land that cannot be unlocked for development without a majority vote of the existing likely-to-voters.

    2. Frankly

      Not to defend Harrington, but if a super-majority of Davis Voters passed Prop. R, this isn’t about Harrington, it’s about the people of Davis putting a moat around the City.

      I think the voters envisioned more usable open space, not moat building.

  7. DT Businessman

    What I find weird about the discussion here is the forum was about Davis innovation parks (plural).  It not about the Mace project specifically.  Yet this article and the ensuing discussion is exclusively about the Mace project. The work of the Innovation Park Task Force was much broader and that’s why Studio 30 recommended a dispersed strategy.  So yes, Alan, you are factually incorrect when you say the Innovation Center is a peripheral site because the Downtown, which is part of the proposed Innovation Center, is most certainly not a peripheral site.  It has a train station within it and bus connections.  The innovation collisions, cafe’s, amenities etc. are going to happen in Gateway/Downtown/Nishi.  A peripheral site will be the landing pad for the larger companies.  This is all clearly spelled out in the Studio 30 study.

    An accurate statement for you to make is that one possible component (perhaps two) of the Innovation Center is a peripheral site, but certainly not all of the Center.  After all, the Center is DISPERSED. What is so hard to understand about this concept?

    -Michael Bisch

     

     

    1. Alan Miller

      “The work of the Innovation Park Task Force was much broader and that’s why Studio 30 recommended a dispersed strategy.  So yes, Alan, you are factually incorrect when you say the Innovation Center is a peripheral site because the Downtown, which is part of the proposed Innovation Center, is most certainly not a peripheral site.  It has a train station within it and bus connections.”

      Duh.

      Are you trying to be right about something just so you can say you I am wrong?   I was obviously discussing transportation at peripheral business parks, as in Not Nishi, which obviously is a completely different animal.

      I support Nishi as well as the peripheral parks.  The Gateway Project in conjunction with Nishi as outlined in the initial public presentation presents awesome alternative transportation connections and improvements.

      My beef at the peripherals is in regards to the greenwashing answers given by members of the panel.

  8. Gunrocik

    Both South of Davis and Citizen Miller are 100% accurate.  I will only slightly quibble with Citizen Miller’s discussion of wage levels.  Undoubtedly, the business park will attract a wide variety of wages — most of which will be well above the other non-governmental wages in town.  Some will opt to pay the premium to live in Davis, some will not.  Many of them will buy out fixed income seniors cashing out of Davis — many of  whom will go to places like Winters where they will no longer have to pay the home price premium for being closer to the university/capitol and over-rated schools.  And my friends in Winters will continue to lament the “Davis-ization” of their quaint little town.  But let’s face it, Winters is the community that Tia and the “stay off my grass” gang want Davis to be.

    These new residents will help keep our schools full, and along with their growing families provide a boost to our struggling retail base, and since they paid a huge premium to live here — they will become the new guardians of our moat!

    Seems like a win-win to me.

     

    1. Alan Miller

      I don’t disagree with your quibble.  In all such shifts of demographics, it is the overall trend that describes the true movements.  When people with agendas (either side) say, “people will”, they ignore the balancing forces that don’t support their agenda.

      Some people will X and some won’t X, the overall balance is the issue.  Like, some will commute, some will settle in Davis, some will bicycle, some will take public transit.  These things can be modeled, but require assumptions that are as unbiased as possible.  Anyone can model using assumptions that support their agenda, but that ain’t science.

      So often in these pages people say “people will” X.  What’s important is how many will X, and how many will Y, and how many will Z.

      Me, I definitely won’t Z.

      Don’t even ask.

  9. DavisBurns

    Do we all agree innovation park revenue is at least 5 years down the road?  If so, when will this forum have a discussion (or three to five per week) about what we do in the near future. Some focus on the future is wise but should we not spend more time on how we are going to cover the current deficit?or is it just imminent?  When we begin to let people know they will have to pay more taxes, the fallout will provide some support for these parks.

    1. Matt Williams

      Do we all agree innovation park revenue is at least 5 years down the road?

      DavisBurns, I don’t agree. The principal reason that that model would be true is if there is no creativity in approaching the property taxing mechanisms the City uses. If they keep the taxes on the land and the improvements together (as one) the way it has (almost) always been done, then yes, it will be at least 5 years. However, if the taxes are bifurcated into a land tax component and an improvements tax component, the incremental land tax revenue stream can begin immediately after a successful Measure J/R vote.

      With that said, your second question is spot on. We really need to focus/spend more time on how we are going to cover the current deficit.

  10. Alan Miller

    “Probably five to ten years.”

    It is what the market will bear.  It will be built out in phases as there is demand.  The more parks, the less demand at each park, offset somewhat by increased flexibility for industries.

  11. DT Businessman

    “Do we all agree innovation park revenue is at least 5 years down the road?”

    No, I don’t agree at all.  Again, you are focusing on the peripheral sites only.  The dispersed Innovation Center is pumping out revenue this very second.

    -Michael Bisch

     

    1. Alan Miller

      Again, you are disagreeing with people by being specific, possibly correctly, about the definition of the business parks.  But obviously what we are discussing here is are the peripheral parks.  Yes, that isn’t the Dispersed concept, but that is so freaking obvious that it is much simpler to accept what everyone here is actually discussing that chastising them for using the wrong terminology to prove your point that doesn’t apply to what they are actually talking about.

  12. DT Businessman

    Jesus, this is painful.  The task force, the CC and Studio 30 all agreed that we should be pursuing a balanced innovation diet.  But instead of discussing a balanced diet, we have carnivores going on and on about a meat only diet and vegetarians going on and on about how eating flesh is gross.  Anybody talking about proteins, fruits/vegetables, dairy and grains draws blank stares as if they’re speaking Chinese. “Huh? What? Balance? Dispersed? Sustainable? What are you talking about?” That’s how it’s been on these VG threads these past many months. That’s how it was at the forum.  And that’s how it’s been on the VG today. The discussion is framed all wrong.  You’re talking past each other. The result is a bunch of noise. Very repetitive noise.

    PS: The anonymous posters citing anonymous sources is particularly pathetic.  “I know a guy, who knows a guy, who swears that…..” How does one even respond to such goofy assertions?

    -Michael Bisch

     

    1. Alan Miller

      “PS: The anonymous posters citing anonymous sources is particularly pathetic.  “I know a guy, who knows a guy, who swears that…..” How does one even respond to such goofy assertions?”

      And on that DTBM, we agree.

       

       

    2. Tia Will

      I found DTBs dietary analogy interesting but incomplete. While I agree that discussing a dietary balance including all elements is essential, there is some point at which one actually has to sit down and fill out the shopping list and plan the individual meals. Once one is at this more practical level of discussion the price of individual items, what flavors and textures go well together and the preferences of individual family members come in to play. Then there is always the preparation of the individual meal. If the fish that was so fresh on Monday didn’t get used until Thursday because of extenuating circumstances, one may have to rethink whether or not it is too far gone to use.

      I don’t think that any of these levels of consideration should arbitrarily be eliminated from the conversation as all have validity.

  13. DT Businessman

    “While I agree that discussing a dietary balance including all elements is essential…”

    So, where/when is this essential discussion going to take place?  It sure as heck is NOT happening on the Vanguard.

    -Michael Bisch

     

     

    1. Alan Miller

      “So, where/when is this essential discussion going to take place?  It sure as heck is NOT happening on the Vanguard.”

      That’s because no one here has any idea what they are talking about.  I will now dig a hole and crawl into it.  I will emerge when the business parks have all been completed, and genuflect to their glory.  Most especially that upon this emergence, I will find that Davis’ traffic has decreased, and its budgetary problems  have been solved.  I wish to thank all the people who used to talk on the Vanguard for crawling into this hole with me for 20 years to allow this process to move forward without our input.  Bless us, for we know not what we say.

  14. Davis Progressive

    “So, where/when is this essential discussion going to take place?  It sure as heck is NOT happening on the Vanguard.”

    why not make it happen on the vanguard?  it’s not going to happen anywhere else.

    1. Matt Williams

      I disagree DP. Michael Bisch is 100% able to make what he believes is the essential discussion happen anywhere he wants it to take place. All he has to do is start the ball rolling by sharing his thoughts about those essential discussion points with his fellow Davis residents/citizens/businessowners. To date he hasn’t chosen to do so, whether here on the Vanguard or in other venues (either live or electronic).

      1. Frankly

        I agree with this.  I respect Micheal’s ideas and intellect on this general topic, but this dispersed innovation community concept, although compelling to me, is way too nebulous.  At this point it seems like a demand to redirect spend time and effort spent on the peripheral parks in developing (redeveloping) the core area.

        I need something more that I can sink my teeth into.   Can someone explain to me their vision for what changes we would need in the core, and how we would go about getting them done?

        1. Don Shor

          I think perhaps the connection to the Core Area planning has to do with whether the peripheral projects, as proposed, would weaken the core area. That would relate to the percentage of retail and the type of retail in each one, to the presence of hotels/conference centers (where I believe the goal is a downtown hub for that), and so on. It’s more to do with the details and components of each peripheral proposal and how it relates to the city’s overall goal of healthy, successful centers together with a strong downtown/Nishi innovation center.

        2. Aggie

          Meaning take it with a grain of salt.

          We’re talking about a 20-plus year economic development strategy for a city hosting a world-class research university, not to mention maybe a couple of billion dollars in capital investment. No disrespect to the hard work and excellent work product from the Studio 30 team.

          Hopefully the City Council will now pick up the ball and take the visioning process to the next level. As an example, the McDonough proposal that was championed by Doby Fleeman would have the necessary gravitas.

        3. Frankly

          Ok.  I speed-read the report.  And there is nothing in there that really defines the material components and approach to realize a dispersed innovation strategy.  The report talks about Boulder as an example, and it mentions things Davis has in common… including “a mix of infill sites”  Really?   Where are they?

          I completely disagree with Don about the concern that the park would “weaken the downtown”.  On the contrary, the added captive customers would provide all Davis retail much more opportunity for sales.

          I am all for this concept of spreading the good creative class mojo throughout the town… but let’s say I have a startup or an existing business that needs space… how exactly am I going to be accommodated if not new peripheral development?

          1. Don Shor

            I completely disagree with Don about the concern that the park would “weaken the downtown”.

            I don’t know that it would. I was just explaining how I think the planning process encompasses the whole with respect to the particular project. What I think Michael is saying — and he can certainly expand on this, or correct me if I’m wrong — is that the planning process should be looking at how these proposals will all work together to create a dispersed innovation center. We are tending to look at them individually, rather than as part of a citywide planning process.

            As an example, I don’t know why or if we need a hotel in each of the two projects that has come forward so far, nor do I know whether those hotels would adversely affect the success (and thus the economic impact) of the major project that has been discussed near the entrance to town.

            There are people who can do that analysis. Maybe it’s part of the EIR for each project; maybe it would save time and effort if it was all analyzed together. That’s just one example.

            I don’t know what’s in the retail component of these plans. I assume the businesses are just primarily to serve the other businesses and the employees of the centers, not intended to draw people from other parts of town. If there is some bigger plan with regard to retail, I’m sure Davis Downtown and others will weigh in quickly.

          2. Matt Williams

            What I think Michael is saying — and he can certainly expand on this, or correct me if I’m wrong — is that the planning process should be looking at how these proposals will all work together to create a dispersed innovation center. We are tending to look at them individually, rather than as part of a citywide planning process.

            The lion’s share of the reason that we are looking at them individually is that Page 91 of our General Plan calls for a maximum population of 64,000 (I’ve double checked that number at http://community-development.cityofdavis.org/city-of-davis-general-plan-december-2007 )

            Create and maintain an effective growth management system designed to keep the population of the City below 64,000 and the number of single-family dwellings below 15,500 in 2010, which corresponds to a sustained 1.81 percent annually- compounded growth rate from January 1, 1988 to January 1, 2010 and a sustained 1.4331 percent annually-compounded growth rate from January 1, 1996 to January 1, 2010 due to “front loading”.

            and our current population is well over 65,000. Therefore, every proposal that comes before the City that requires entitlements that would have a size or population impact must be dealt with as a specific General Plan Amendment. Since the applications come in individually, they get planned individually.

            That is the most compelling reason for undertaking a General Plan Amendment. The core principals of the existing General Plan are very good. Don has said that many times, and I agree with him. We just are tripping over certain specific details.

        4. Mark West

          Frankly:  “how exactly am I going to be accommodated if not new peripheral development?”

          Perhaps if you did more than speed read, you would understand that in addition to changes downtown, they are also advocating for the peripheral developments to provide the space for growing companies.  The basic premise however (that Michael has tried unsuccessfully to highlight) is that this is a City wide initiative, not just a peripheral development.  This is not an either / or situation between downtown and the periphery, but rather an ‘and’ opportunity.  We need to do both, which is why the tunnel vision that is so apparent in the discussion on the Vanguard is so unsatisfying.  You would think that with so many advanced degrees per capita, we would be able to handle this concept and consequently, the conversation.  Alas…

  15. Frankly

    What I think Michael is saying — and he can certainly expand on this, or correct me if I’m wrong — is that the planning process should be looking at how these proposals will all work together to create a dispersed innovation center. We are tending to look at them individually, rather than as part of a citywide planning process.

    I don’t think we have the talent and resources in this town to pull off something like this.  Everyone is standing around waiting for Superman to lead us to the promised land.  And striving for perfection will absolutely be the enemy of the good.  We can talk and talk and talk… and have talked and talked and talked… about core development needs and desires… but then what gets done?  Existing property owners don’t seem too motivated to change.  Core area residents don’t seem to accept much change.  The city will need more champions of this type of change if we are to factor the interior as a key component of the initial charge to grow our innovation economy.

    If you read up on Boulder, it was the creative class business leaders that lead the charge for the city-wide business innovation dispersion.  If we build a park or two there will be new outstanding people with the resources and energy to help us achieve greater things.  So, I see the dispersed innovation strategy as being two-steps… build peripheral park(s) ad then return focus to the interior.  In the meantime, the added workers will only help existing business increase sales.

    in addition to changes downtown, they are also advocating for the peripheral developments to provide the space for growing companies.

    Still too nebulous.  What does this mean?  Some of the properties in the new parks should be business incubator space?  I’m down with that.  I don’t think there is anything in any of the proposed plans that would prevent that from happening.

    I make loans to small businesses throughout the state.   Business starts and growth are dependent on facility.  And facilities are dependent on land availability and use.   If we want to jump start a citywide transformation so that we inject more creative-class business throughout the city, it will come down to a land-use plan to make facilities available.  And in the core area, that is going to be mostly a redevelopment plan… because there is no vacancy.

    I am all in favor of a comprehensive, citywide mindset as we move forward with economic growth but I believe that one or two peripheral innovation parks are a prerequisite to the next step of core redevelopment.

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