(Editor’s note: This month, Dan Wolk writes, “For this week’s column, I’ve asked my friend and colleague, Councilmember Lucas Frerichs, to stand in. Enjoy! (And thanks, Lucas!)”)
By Lucas Frerichs
Well, 2015 is already off to a fast start, and spring is definitely on its way, especially with all the daffodils and fruit trees blooming around town. I appreciate Mayor Wolk allowing me to provide an update through his February “Mayor’s Corner” column.
In addition to some of the larger items the City Council has been working on — such as the hiring of a new city manager, the Woodland-Davis surface water project, numerous innovation park proposals and The Cannery infill community — I’m going to provide a brief update about several additional items that we’ve been working on at the City Council level, most of which you’ll be hearing more about in the coming year.
* Affordable housing: At our Jan. 13 meeting, the council voted to revise our municipal code to disallow the counting of accessory dwelling units (ADUs, or “granny flats”) toward satisfying affordable housing requirements.
In addition, on Jan. 20, the City Council awarded a one-acre city-owned affordable housing land dedication site on Hackberry Place in South Davis to the BerryBridge Partners team, led by former Davis Mayor Mike Corbett. It is expected that eight for-sale homes, marketed as workforce housing, will be built there.
The council also has received at least seven individual responses to our request for proposals for the city-owned affordable housing land dedication site on east Fifth Street. We are currently having a financial feasibility analysis performed on each of the proposals, and after that is complete, the full council will examine the proposals in detail and make a decision later in the spring.
* Arts Alliance: We recently heard an item at our Feb. 3 council meeting, where a council subcommittee of Rochelle Swanson and myself, in conjunction with city staff, brought forward an item for full council consideration: the potential creation of a local Arts Alliance.
While the council supported moving forward with staff doing more work on the feasibility of such an arrangement, there is quite a bit more of work to do, including continuing to engage with folks in the Davis arts community. The proposal evolved from several years’ worth of work:
— On May 15, 2012, the City Council stated our intent to establish downtown Davis as a Cultural Arts and Entertainment District. Cultural Arts and Entertainment Districts reflect the unique strengths of their cities and contribute to a creative and innovative environment, and are typically a collaboration of public, private and nonprofit entities.
— On Oct. 30, 2012, the City Council further prioritized the development of the Cultural Arts and Entertainment District with a short-term action item to implement a plan for an Arts and Entertainment District. The plan was to include priority projects/efforts, funding sources, management responsibilities and interaction with UC Davis.
— The city convened a one-day Arts Forum on Feb. 19, 2013, with objectives of establishing better communication and collaboration among the arts groups within the community/campus, and to develop a joint action plan for advancing the Arts and Entertainment District and related efforts.
The Arts Forum and subsequent meetings included people from arts, civic, business and cultural organizations within Davis and Yolo County. In addition to the meetings, city staff did outreach to individuals in community.
— On Sept. 24, 2014, council directed staff to explore funding options for the Alliance, as well as determine an appropriate governance structure, establish funding needs and draft a funding plan. Utilizing initial feedback from participants, staff created three scenarios for an Alliance. (The three scenarios were intended to provide a starting point for discussions.)
They are: 1. Incubate the Alliance through an existing organization. 2. Morph the Civic Arts Commission into an Alliance or 3. Contract with an individual to provide Alliance services. The options were circulated to generate additional feedback, commentary, questions and ideas.
Over time, city staff and members of the council subcommittee determined the best option would be to have the Arts Alliance function as a nonprofit 501(c)(3) and as a subset of an existing entity, i.e., the Yolo County Visitors Bureau.
Numerous priorities for the Arts Alliance were discussed, including:
* Determine parameters of the Cultural Arts and Entertainment District to encompass all parts of the community;
* Continue to enhance the arts presence and arts community in Davis;
* Provide the coordination and nurturing of the arts community;
* Promote and market Davis, including the university, as a must-see arts community;
* Seek funding opportunities;
* Create partnerships;
* Increase tourism and community awareness; and
* Be a point of contact for the City Council and city staff for issues relating to city activities.
We have now tasked staff with next steps for the Arts Alliance, including:
* Working through logistics with City Attorney;
* Subcommittee and community stakeholder conversations;
* Conversations with YCVB;
* Creation of by-laws;
* Creation of MOU with city/YCVB;
* Determine how executive board members and Alliance members are selected;
* Internal city determination as to how maximize potential staff resources; and
* Return to City Council with final articles of incorporation and MOU.
For more information regarding these, or any city-related items, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 530-219-6270.
— Lucas Frerichs is a member of the Davis City Council.