On Thursday the Vanguard met with four members of an eight-person group selected to represent the Binning neighborhood. They expressed concerns with plans to develop the roughly 218-acre innovation park within about 150 feet of the backyards of the southern-most residents of the development that was built way back in the late 1950s/early 1960s.
“We have lived in this neighborhood, some of us for over 45, 47 years and we have studied all of these proposals and went to the various meetings of the city council chambers and the scoping meeting at Emerson (Junior High School) and from what we see we have some grave concerns about the way this proposal is being shown to us in terms of size, its scope, and the way in which it will impact us,” Sherrie Venezia explained.
Among these concerns were flooding issues, a 150-foot buffer, a 10-story hotel, and traffic and circulation problems.
The whole neighborhood is also concerned about the potential plan to put in a hotel that would rise 150 feet. Ms. Venezia explained that this hotel would look down upon the neighbors “who have lived in relative rural tranquility looking at an empty field.”
As another resident put it, “This is our home… It’s sort of peculiar that someone wants to come within 200 feet of your home and build a thirteen story hotel and a large industrial park.”
A survey was conducted by the neighbors. Forty-nine of 55 respondents were opposed to the planned innovation park, with only three in support. Fifty of 55 opposed a Measure R vote to annex the land in the Binning Tract into the city.
Friday’s article was designed to express the concerns of the residents who live in Binning about the proposed innovation park. At this point, the Vanguard will provide additional information that we were able to track down in response to those concerns.
Details are still being worked out and, as such, the current proposal is a work in progress. In the project description, the applicants note, “The Project is envisioned as a new technology hub for Davis, intended to serve an array of research and technology companies interested in locating and growing in Davis.”
“The Project plans for a unique business environment, supporting research and development, technology, and science- and engineering-based companies, eager to expand their products and services,” they continue. “The Project will support an environment of innovation in flexible formats: incubation spaces for small start-up firms, facilities for established mid-size or large size companies; to large floor-plate, flexible building spaces for high-tech research and light manufacturing; and potentially corporate headquarters. Employee-support services and retail will create an active landscape for collaboration and innovation.”
The project proposed “an innovation research and office campus on approximately 208 acres of land adjacent the northwest boundary of Davis City Limits.” It will include up to 4 million square feet of building space.
The innovation center proposes: “200-room hotel with convention center; 2-6 stories of tech offices, R&D work spaces, incubation spaces for start-ups, large floor plate flex spaces, and other ancillary employee-oriented retail/supporting services, such as, restaurants, investment firms, paralegal services, day care.”
There will be 52 acres of open space including public areas, plazas, gathering areas, and drainage areas and another 17 acres of roads and circulation.
They note, “The Project assumes approximately 200,000 square feet of hotel uses to be located near the entrance of the site, from John Jones Road and along Highway 113. It is anticipated that the Project would include a 200-room hotel with convention and meeting spaces, food service facilities, and exhibition areas. “
Contrary to the understanding by the neighbors, the nearest structure will not be 200 feet from their homes, but rather 400 feet from Binning Tract. In addition, there will be no 13 story buildings.
However, the project description does note a “maximum building height of 140 feet.”
Furthermore, the campus/innovation center will not attract heavy industrial users.
The developer has provided the Vanguard with proposed site lines and maintains that the residents will not be able to see the structures from their homes.
The proposal notes, “Phase 1 will also include portion of the open space directly south of the Binning Farms community.” The plan currently calls for the developers to build trees that would act as screens on the northern area of the site nearest to Binning.
“Phase 3 (approximately 56 acres) will include development of the R&D/Flex space land use parcels, and the open space areas directly adjoining these parcels. Phase 4 (approximately 27 acres) will include the remaining portion of the site,” they write.
That area would be the final phased to be built – at least 15 to 20 years out at a point in time when the trees will be mature.
—David M. Greenwald reporting