Old East Davis Neighborhood Association Response to Trackside Center

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Trackside-1The following letter was sent to the Trackside Partner, Steve Greenfield, from the Old East Davis Neighborhood Association board of directors and was copied to the Vanguard as well as the Davis City Council, Planning Commission, and Davis Enterprise.

By Rhonda Reed, Mark Grote, Alan Miller, Cathy Forkas and Steve Kaltenbach

We received your email requesting to meet with the Old East Davis Neighborhood Association about the proposed Trackside project.  Your request comes well after the proposal was submitted to the City of Davis and announced in the local media.  By introducing the project in this way, rather than coming to the neighborhood association early in the process, you have strained the relationship with our neighborhood.

The OEDNA aims for a collaborative process.  Our neighborhood has been approached by developers many times in a truly collaborative manner.  Collaboration is the preferred standard of practice in the City of Davis.  This means involving the neighborhood — as a whole — early in the process, long before project submittal to the City.

Your liaison spoke to select neighbors and gave each of them differing and partial information.  The neighborhood’s trust in your selected liaison has been severely compromised by his lack of forthrightness about the project.  The Trackside partners have significant work to do, to demonstrate a collaborative intent and restore goodwill.  We suggest that your liaison to the neighborhood be someone that has the potential to gain our trust if indeed a collaborative process is your intention.

The existence of our neighborhood association is common knowledge:  contact information for key OEDNA representatives is on file with City staff.  The City of Davis Design Guidelines are common knowledge as well: they are current City documents.  The Design Guidelines were created by the hard work of representatives from the Old East, Old North and University Neighborhoods, as well as stakeholders from the Downtown Core.  Committee members spent many hours working on the guidelines, creating a document that specifies how infill will be handled as it comes to each defined sector.  The intent is to help increase density while protecting the character of the neighborhoods.  We exhort the Trackside developers to respect the Design Guidelines in any proposal for this site.  The Guidelines specifically address appropriate development in the Core Transition East.

We are open to meeting with you to collaborate on a project at this site.  The initial meeting between OEDNA and project representatives will focus on mass and scale and the Design Guidelines.  We do not intend to enter discussions about site use, mitigations, parking and exterior features until the height and mass of the building are discussed and dealt with.  We will leave it up to you to decide whether the project architect should be present.

The OEDNA appreciates the value of infill and increasing density in the Downtown Core and Core Transition districts, and at the same time we respect the Design Guidelines.  The site in question has a core transitional mixed use designation, and we would support appropriate development that is consistent with the Design Guidelines and carried out with meaningful input from, and respect for, Old East Davis neighbors.

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Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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4 thoughts on “Old East Davis Neighborhood Association Response to Trackside Center”

  1. Davis Progressive

    “Your request comes well after the proposal was submitted to the City of Davis and announced in the local media.  By introducing the project in this way, rather than coming to the neighborhood association early in the process, you have strained the relationship with our neighborhood.”

    there are kind of two thoughts on this.  one is that the media came to them after they filed the application.  it would have been better to meet with the neighborhood association prior to filing the application and i still haven’t heard an explanation for why that didn’t happen.

    The OEDNA aims for a collaborative process.  Our neighborhood has been approached by developers many times in a truly collaborative manner.  Collaboration is the preferred standard of practice in the City of Davis.  This means involving the neighborhood — as a whole — early in the process, long before project submittal to the City.
    Your liaison spoke to select neighbors and gave each of them differing and partial information.  The neighborhood’s trust in your selected liaison has been severely compromised by his lack of forthrightness about the project.  The Trackside partners have significant work to do, to demonstrate a collaborative intent and restore goodwill.  We suggest that your liaison to the neighborhood be someone that has the potential to gain our trust if indeed a collaborative process is your intention.

    these two paragraphs seem to be in tension.  they want a collaborative process and yet demand a different liaison as though the development investors have a lot of options on that.  i would be better for the neighbors to chalk this up as inexperience and try to work with the development team.

  2. Mark West

    If you are truly  interested in creating a collaborative relationship, you do not start out by dictating what the other side must do to get your involvement.

  3. Gunrocik

    As I stated about a week ago on this subject — as someone who has been a Planning Commissioner in multiple communities over multiple decades and reviewed countless infill projects– it is the proponent who needs to make the first move.

    In an ideal world, you would  hope the neighborhood would be reasonable, approachable and cooperative.  I can’t ever remember a situation where that was the case.  There is no rule that requires a neighborhood to embrace change.

    The proponent has to make the first move and do everything they can to find areas of agreement with the neighborhood.  It doesn’t require the proponent to meet every whim of the neighborhood — but a project is DOA if the proponent hasn’t gone overboard in attempting to work with the neighborhood.

    Process and Communication are critical.  Hiring a project manager who gets that is essential to the success of the  project.  In a town like Davis, you can’t have a rookie as your front man — we already have a weeks worth of reader comments to prove that.  And you can’t have a project manager with baggage — and you can’t have one that has already made moves to permanently damage his credibility with the neighbors.

    Infill is really hard to do–and you can lose a lot of money if you don’t hire the right people to process your project.

    If they don’t find a good front man, there is zero chance of this project making it through the Davis process.

     

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