Report: Will the Proposed Innovation Centers Yield the Type of Return Anticipated?

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Proposed Mace Ranch Project
Proposed Mace Ranch Project

In May, the Economic & Planning Systems, Inc. (EPS), “prepared an Administrative Draft Report evaluating economic and fiscal assumptions and key success factors related to three proposed innovation center proposals in the City of Davis.”

The withdrawal of the Davis Innovation Center from their proposed 208-acre project drops “the total acreage by approximately 43 percent, total square footage by 56 percent, and total estimated employment by 59 percent. While this circumstance reduces the overall development footprint and employment outcome of the proposed Innovation Centers, the reduction should not be viewed as a complete net loss to the community because other opportunities ultimately could fill some of the void.”

For example, they cite that the “proposed Panattoni project could introduce up to 225,000 square feet of office/research and development (R&D) in the market that could be considered part of the Innovation Center ecosystem.”

Overall, without the Davis Innovation Center, we are looking at 276 acres, 3.1 million square foot of space, 7548 total employees and an estimated absorption of 9 to 27 years as opposed to 21 to 51 with the Davis Innovation Center.

In looking at the potential outlook for the Davis Innovation Centers, EPS looks at two factors. First the University-Related Factor. The proximity of the university is crucial, as “UC Davis brings in more than $700 million in research grants annually, more than UC Berkeley, MIT, or Harvard. It is a leading academic partner for innovative research in agriculture, biotechnology, clean energy, medicine, information technology, and engineering.”

EPS writes, “The research strengths of the university should align with the types of businesses the park targets, in terms of the space and resources provided, as well as the outreach campaigns devised. The cross section of industries prevalent in existing Davis tech concentrations are indicative of representative industries.”

Moreover, “Universities can serve as important catalysts of research parks that provide direction and leadership, as well as on-site services (incubators, accelerators) that otherwise would not be provided by the private market. The investment and commitment that universities demonstrate in the planning stages of a research park help determine the future role and presence they will have.”

They also look at regional factors.  EPS notes, “The Innovation Centers should provide space and resources for, as well as market to, businesses in innovative clusters that are strong points for the regional economy because there is substantial cross-over between regional and UC Davis strengths.”

The report identifies five areas: clean energy technology, agriculture and food production, life sciences and health services, information and communications technology, and advanced manufacturing and materials.

UC Davis is a key factor. It is a source of strong real estate demand in the city. “A change in policy reducing this support could be a factor limiting the amount of absorption,” they note. But add, “Overall, the relatively high assessed values associated with innovative companies and research activities in innovation centers partly are based on university proximity and interactions that are absent in more generic settings.”

They project that the absorption in Davis, provided that quality land is made available, is “likely to be modest at first and improve over time.” They write, “Perhaps the most valuable thing that could occur in Davis in the short term would be to have one or more new speculative multi-tenant projects come on line and succeed, demonstrating that risk is manageable and the market fundamentals are in place.”

They write that the competitive position relative to the region and the Bay Area may improve with the available of viable supply in Davis. They note, “Davis currently competes with communities throughout Northern California for business location and expansion projects.

“The Innovation Centers offer Davis the opportunity to improve its competitive position as a leader in the innovation economy in the region, potentially mitigate some of the pull of the Bay Area, and enhance the region’s standing in Northern California. As discussed throughout this report, Davis has several quality-of-life attributes (e.g., internal and external connections, exemplary schools, walkable downtown, recreation/civic/cultural assets) that are very attractive to the industries discussed in this report, providing a strong foundation for the innovation ecosystem concept in Davis.”

  • Nishi, with immediate proximity to the UC Davis campus and adjacency to housing and downtown amenities, will be a natural preference among firms seeking immediate university proximity. These likely are to be both large and small firms, but space limitations preclude major operations at the site. Because of campus proximity, Nishi would be in a strong position to accommodate any UC Davis off-campus space needs if available space can be provided. More university space implies possible lower average assessed values because of public ownership; however, the value of this university presence extends far beyond mere property tax, as the catalytic effect toward attracting specific targeted users is very important to the overall economic development of Davis.
  • MRIC effectively would serve as an extension of the east-west axis that encompasses the 2nd Street area. This area has been studied carefully and provides an excellent basis for further testing of assessed values, taxable sales, and employment density occurring in such a district. The MRIC proponents are steeped heavily in industrial development in Davis and other parts of the Sacramento Region and understand the development of major manufacturing and office/R&D facilities across a broad swath of industries. Reflecting this, ensuing fiscal and economic testing will consider an emphasis in advanced manufacturing and other appropriate larger scale office and R&D uses similar to those reflected by the 2nd Street Corridor.

The most critical analysis, however, takes place in the summary issues.

First, they warn to “consider housing.” They write, “This use may help reduce trips, lower burden on infrastructure, and provide a more complete innovation environment.” The projects are currently planned to be housing free and many believe the additional of a mixed-use component would spell doom in a Measure R vote.

However, the EIR considers a mixed-use option which would allow people to reside in close proximity for their work, greatly reducing the impact on roads and transportation systems. A housing component could help reduce impacts.

The other factor to consider may be even more fundamental. EPS warns, “Consider implications of imposing fiscal impact analysis mitigations.” The project is being sold to the public as a means by which the city can capture property tax and other revenue. But one of the ways that it is proposed to work is through a CFD (community facilities district).

EPS writes, “Given financial feasibility concerns, additional burdens on development, including annual special taxes, assessments, or other financing mechanism to cover potential net fiscal deficits or ongoing maintenance and operations requirements, may affect project feasibility.”

The flip side is that, without the special taxes, will the project be a fiscal asset to the city?

Overall, EPS finds, “The Innovation Centers have the potential to create benefits that generate economic value to the City and UC Davis alike.”

They write, “The proposed projects could support the goal of strengthening academic-industry partnerships in Davis and throughout the region, in support of the Next Economy initiative. In addition, the parks may help improve the jobs-housing balance and fiscal resources, allowing Davis to maintain its reputation as one of the best quality-of-life experiences attained in the region.”

But the city will have to proceed with some caution, particularly without the Davis Innovation Center in the mix.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

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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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47 thoughts on “Report: Will the Proposed Innovation Centers Yield the Type of Return Anticipated?”

  1. Tia Will

    “UC Davis brings in more than $700 million in research grants annually, more than UC Berkeley, MIT, or Harvard. It is a leading academic partner for innovative research in agriculture, biotechnology, clean energy, medicine, information technology, and engineering.”

    And this has been achieved without the presence of any of the large types of parks being discussed. I do not see Davis as having been an impediment to the advancing status of the university since I first arrived in 1979.

    “Perhaps the most valuable thing that could occur in Davis in the short term would be to have one or more new speculative multi-tenant projects come on line and succeed, demonstrating that risk is manageable and the market fundamentals are in place.”

    With this, I am in complete agreement. I would favor acceptance of Nishi with some form of automobile limitation which could serve as a car limited choice community as well as a local experiment in healthier transport and living,  and perhaps one other business development ( my favored of the other two major developments has been put on hold) followed by a thorough assessment of whether or not these projects have met their objectives of benefits to the revenue stream of the city which is their major stated goal since the university seems to be doing just fine on its own. It has located their larger projects where they should be located ( the medical school and hospital where the patients are), the proposed World Food Center presumably in Sacramento where there is space and access to the major political hub in the state. I continue to favor this strategy of small start ups located in Davis for their physical proximity to the campus with larger, more mature companies enriching the region.

    “Universities can serve as important catalysts of research parks that provide direction and leadership, as well as on-site services (incubators, accelerators) that otherwise would not be provided by the private market.”

    This is a clear exception to the belief that only private enterprise generates jobs. The public university UCD has generated all that the authors claim and more over the past decades. Clearly tax dollars allowed a great deal of advancement of knowledge and jobs through what at the time was predominantly a public institution although that is now being jeopardized by the current administrations desire to build a private dynasty funded by out of state and out of country students.

    “The Innovation Centers offer Davis the opportunity to improve its competitive position as a leader in the innovation economy in the region, potentially mitigate some of the pull of the Bay Area, and enhance the region’s standing in Northern California.”

    I think that we need to think long and hard as a community to decide if what we really want is to “improve its competitive position as a leader in the innovative economy of the region “.

    I also have a vision for change, but this is not it. I would much prefer to see Davis lead in a collaborative manner with the remainder of the region with each community contributing according to its own strengths rather than each trying to convert itself into a mini Silicon Valley or some other style of community that a given individual may prefer ( referencing Anons photos). My vision would be for Davis to continue as a community with ag roots in geographic proximity to a rising university. This is what we have been, and gradually expanded upon over time as the university became more diverse. I would urge that we proudly accept our place as a “small to medium” sized city ( with a nod to the information provided by both Frankly and Don), that we strive to remain a leader in environmental conservation, healthy life style choices, respect rather than mere tolerance for diverse lifestyles, engaged citizenry and transparency of governance. I believe that these are as much the true cores of a successful community as is economic development and that it is in the areas that we can and should shine as an example rather than a competitor.

    1. David Greenwald Post author

      “And this has been achieved without the presence of any of the large types of parks being discussed. I do not see Davis as having been an impediment to the advancing status of the university since I first arrived in 1979.”

      I do think you’re missing a key point here, the $700 million in research funding produces the need for turning research to marketable ideas – technology transfer, startups and space.

      1. Biddlin

        Tia states her position in a plain statement:

        “My vision would be for Davis to continue as a community with ag roots in geographic proximity to a rising university. This is what we have been, and gradually expanded upon over time as the university became more diverse. I would urge that we proudly accept our place as a “small to medium” sized city ( with a nod to the information provided by both Frankly and Don), that we strive to remain a leader in environmental conservation, healthy life style choices, respect rather than mere tolerance for diverse lifestyles, engaged citizenry and transparency of governance. I believe that these are as much the true cores of a successful community as is economic development and that it is in the areas that we can and should shine as an example rather than a competitor.”

        In other words,”She’s agin’ it!” Though, so far as I know, she has no direct interest, financially or otherwise with any farm(s), she recognizes their benefit to her life and lifestyle, mostly by the “moat” effect so often cited by critics of “no growth.” She wants everyone to embrace and be enriched by her idea of a perfect community, whether they share her sensibilities or not. Not quite sure how that fits “respect rather than mere tolerance for diverse lifestyles, “
        ;>)/

      2. Tia Will

        David

        I respectfully disagree that I am missing this. I just do not feel the need to “compete” with other communities that might benefit as much or more than Davis from a larger business park. Sharing the wealth generated by the university seems like  very good regional strategy to me. Davis has the university in close proximity. I do not see any sign that the university itself is going to get up and leave. Therefore I would prefer that Davis play to its strengths in the form of incubators and start ups locally with larger enterprises re locating as needed. Part of the downsides of this movement could be mitigated if we were to invest in a truly integrated, efficient transpiration system linking all of the communities of the region which would help those who live in a two career family with one worker local and the other employed in a surrounding community.

        I think some imagination beyond building a “big box” of industry might be called for…..but it seems that the predominant thought is that we either build a business park that would have been innovative 30 years ago or we stagnate. I simply do not believe that these are our only two choices.

        1. CalAg

          “I do not see Davis as having been an impediment to the advancing status of the university since I first arrived in 1979.”

          There are none so blind …

          A large majority of the administration see Davis as having been an impediment to the advancement of the status of the university for decades.  Faculty recruitment, technology transfer, local anti’s, general political dysfunction, etc.  The happy talk that one hears in public is just appropriate professionalism expected from representatives of a major institution. UCD is doing great in spite of Davis – but it could be doing much better.

  2. Frankly

    With this, I am in complete agreement. I would favor acceptance of Nishi with some form of automobile limitation which could serve as a car limited choice community as well as a local experiment in healthier transport and living,

    Except in her neighborhood.

    1. Tia Will

      Frankly

      So are you volunteering your neighborhood for one of these “innovation parks” ?  At least I do not pretend that I am not arguing for my own values and interests like those who claim that the only way to sustain a revenue stream for the city is to expand while claiming at every turn that they are already over taxed. I do not mind it being pointed out that I advocate for my  values and interests. I would find it refreshing if others would admit that they are doing the same.

      1. Frankly

        So are you volunteering your neighborhood for one of these “innovation parks” ?

        Yes. The west Davis innovation park would be just a couple of blocks from my house.  I can understand and calculate my emotional response toward change and make a value judgement.  I don’t want the traffic.  I prefer the look of farmland rather than industrial.  But it would be selfish of me to make those demands given the greater need and the greater utility provided humanity and the City by this innovation park.

        I purchased a small mountain cabin about 10 years ago in a small mountain town with talk of a ski resort going in that would then cause the town to explode.  I would not work to block the ski resort because of all the utility it would provide to that area.  It would absolutely improve the human condition for many, and it would not be right for me to demand that my singular selfish interests prevail at the expense of that utility for many.  I would make the best of it.  If it ended up that I did not like all the additional traffic and noise and ???   I would sell and buy somewhere else.  But I also mike like the changes.   I might like the additional things to do… the increased number of restaurants and shopping options.   The increase in services that can be difficult to find up there.

        Your utopian vision for a car-less, less-material, isolated European village is admirable, but highly irrational in consideration of the real life-styles and life-challenges that the majority of families have and a city the growing size and complexity of Davis faces.

        1. Tia Will

          Frankly

          I do not doubt that your position is in alignment with what you perceive to be the greater good. You consistently maintain that you value material advancement over all else.

          I do not hold this as my core value. I do not believe that my vision of a less car dependent, healthier lifestyle is irrational. People are able to conceive of great changes an enact them. I do not think that we are forced to double down on the negatives of the system that we have created.

          If congestion is a negative, as you have said on many occasions, then surely doubling down on it by vastly increasing our population is not the most rationale approach to this problem. If the problem is too many cars in too small a space as you have characterized downtown, then the answer is not increasing their number.

          Would this mean that many people, not just a few, would need to adopt a less material centered lifestyle. Yes. I agree. But I do not see this as impossible or utopian. I see it as necessary if this planet is going to be able to support its current and increasing population. I believe that Davis has the beginnings of a mindset that could provide leadership in this realization and that this is where we should be focusing our efforts and our individual choices.

          1. Matt Williams

            I believe that Davis has the beginnings of a mindset that could provide leadership in this realization and that this is where we should be focusing our efforts and our individual choices.

            Tia, when I read your closing comment above, three thoughts went through my mind. The first thought was that if Davis (the city) does achieve the mindset you describe (or even commit to achieving it), it will be substantially out of alignment and out of step with UC Davis (the university). The second thought was of the proverb Good Fences Make Good Neighbors. The third thought was of Sydney Carton’s immortal words uttered (on paper) in 1859, “It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.”

        2. Anon

          You consistently maintain that you value material advancement over all else.  I do not hold this as my core value. I do not believe that my vision of a less car dependent, healthier lifestyle is irrational.

          Good grief Tia.  You certainly come off to me as “holier than thou”.  Just because someone believes the greater good might be served by well planned economic growth does not necessarily mean that person is more “materialistic” than you are.  And I don’t necessarily view being less car dependent as necessarily a “healthier” lifestyle.

        3. Frankly

          You consistently maintain that you value material advancement over all else.

          We no.  Not at all.  I value value.  I assess pros and cons and costs and benefits and risks and returns, and make a decision based on that.  I dig deep into my own biases, fears and selfish wants and put them in perspective with the big picture and the long-term.  And I recognize that as different people we will value different things and our value judgements will be different and we will not always agree.  But you provide the excellent contrast to one extreme, and so I contrast that value set against another view.

          If congestion is a negative, as you have said on many occasions, then surely doubling down on it by vastly increasing our population is not the most rationale approach to this problem.

          This is an example of a large dose of irrational thinking.  First, I am not doubling down on vastly increasing our population.  I am not advocating big housing development.  I am ONLY advocating to bring our local economy to parity after decades of the type of disconnected thinking you demonstrate… that adding business somehow adds to the population and destroys our way of life.  It does not.  It enhances our way of life.  It improves the human condition for many, with de minimis impacts to your Davis nirvana state.  I am advocating for partnering with and collaborating with the university.  Isn’t you that keep demanding an end to competition and for a more collaborative and compromising relationship with your fellow humans?  I would think you would be a bit embarrassed to make that strong utopian case and then turn into a fire-breathing competitor to oppose peripheral development and other economic development in your neighborhood.

          And your point about congestion is a hoot.  Have you not been paying attention?  Have you not been reading all the stats and details I have been providing you and others.  Davis IS ALREADY CONGESTED… especially downtown.  You would actually relieve some congestion by building other destinations for people to go to.

          I have friends that live in the core area and my assessment is that you and others living in the core area are spoiled brats to some degree. 
          [moderator] Please avoid insults.
          You have your large yards and trees and wide streets and mostly one-story homes.  You can walk and bike to downtown.  You have all those parks around you.  You have your own little paradise and you are damned if you are going to let anyone change it.

          Well, you are a minority.  The majority of the 72k people living here don’t have it so lucky.  They have to fight the traffic and congestion all the way into the small and congested downtown and then fight to find a place to park.  The live on small lots with neighbors around them… neighbors with mostly 2-story homes blocking sun and views… except those into backyards… because of the high price of land…
          [moderator] edited to remove generic insults. You have been asked to stop using these terms. Please follow the Vanguard Comment Policy.

          Would this mean that many people, not just a few, would need to adopt a less material centered lifestyle.

          I am really getting tired of this “I’m better because I don’t live a material live” BS.   Of course you live a material life.  You live a life that is orders of magnitude more material than 95% of the rest of the people on the planet.  You just value different things… like the materiality of having your high-priced village prevent others from living here.

          I am open for compromise.  You are not.  You are hyper competitive on this… reacting and responding in opposition to every significant proposal or idea to help grow our local economy and provide at least enough housing to meet the needs of UCD growth and to contribute just a bit to the regional housing growth needs.

  3. Anon

    “The withdrawal of the Davis Innovation Center from their proposed 208-acre project…”

    “But the city will have to proceed with some caution, particularly without the Davis Innovation Center in the mix.”

    In so far as I am aware, Davis Innovation Center was put on hold, not withdrawn.  If Mace and Nishi succeed, and the city reaches out appropriately, DIC could very well come back into the mix.

    The flip side is that, without the special taxes, will the project be a fiscal asset to the city?”

    IMO this is an inappropriate way to put the question.  If you listened carefully to the discussion by the consultants, they indicated the problem was not whether to ask for special taxes or not, but what the tipping point was for special taxes that would make them so unaffordable it would destroy or discourage business.  In other words, as Dan Carson put it, how much in the way of special taxes can the city ask and “not kill the golden goose”?

    1. Davis Progressive

      “In so far as I am aware, Davis Innovation Center was put on hold, not withdrawn.  If Mace and Nishi succeed, and the city reaches out appropriately, DIC could very well come back into the mix.”

      maybe, but i wouldn’t count on it.  from what i understand the local developers lost the investment backing from hines.  also they don’t own the land outright, they only hold an option.  so i’m not sure that they will do as you suggest.

      “IMO this is an inappropriate way to put the question.  If you listened carefully to the discussion by the consultants, they indicated the problem was not whether to ask for special taxes or not, but what the tipping point was for special taxes that would make them so unaffordable it would destroy or discourage business.  In other words, as Dan Carson put it, how much in the way of special taxes can the city ask and “not kill the golden goose”?”

      i think i would like to see more specifics.

      1. Anon

        DP: “so i’m not sure that they will do as you suggest.

        Couldn’t hurt to ask, right?

        DP: “i think i would like to see more specifics.”

        Be more specific!  (pun intended!)

        1. Davis Progressive

          that’s an interesting question (point) – have we asked them to reconsider?  what assurances have we given them to do so?

          in terms of specifics:

          a range of expected revenues at given levels of buildouts.  what that range looks like with special taxes and what levels.

        2. Anon

          DP: “that’s an interesting question (point) – have we asked them to reconsider?  what assurances have we given them to do so?”

          DIC developers have been asked what it would take for them to reconsider.  But unfortunately with the CIO Rob White fiasco, that hardly gave DIC developers any confidence in the city, no?

          DP: “a range of expected revenues at given levels of buildouts.  what that range looks like with special taxes and what levels.

          That information should be forthcoming in the Phase II reports.

        3. Davis Progressive

          “unfortunately with the CIO Rob White fiasco, that hardly gave DIC developers any confidence in the city, no?”

          the decision by davis to let go of rob white happened at one of the worst possible times.

  4. Tia Will

    CalAg

    A large majority of the administration see Davis as having been an impediment”

    I do not doubt the truth of your statement. I also do not doubt that this reflects a difference of perspective, not some objective truth on either side. What I see is a university that has made enormous strides over time in going from a small ag based university to a major player in many fields including my own.

    Of course, if you look at the world from a “more is always better” perspective, it will seem to you that “we could have done so much more”. If you see”better’ as achieving balance and harmony, living within your means and lightly on the face of the earth, then of course you will value the changes that have occurred and look forward to gradual change and improvement over time while minimizing the unintended consequences.

     

    1. Anon

      To Tia: Who in this blog has said “more is always better”?  How is wanting well planned economic development for the betterment of the community necessarily antithetical to achieving “balance and harmony”, “living within your means” or “living lightly on the face of the earth”?

    2. Frankly

      Nobody said that more is always better.  More is sometimes not better, as is less is sometimes not better.  “Less” vs. “more” are also very subjective.  Davis has more of a small town feel.  In fact you could make the argument that Davis is “wealthy” in small town charm.  Davis is really only fortunate in this wealth because of UCD… because without the soft money of the university (all the captive-customer students and employees, and all the people making a living working for UCD) we would have already had to develop more commercial properties and attract more business.  What is the expectation for those fortunate in wealth?  Don’t we expect them to give back to the society which provides that wealth?  True charity is identified by giving up something valued, not demanding others give up what they value while hoarding yours.

      The silliness here is debating more or less as absolutes.  Just like a billionaire that can afford to give away millions, Davis can afford to develop peripheral land to grow our local economy.  Just like the billionaire that gives away millions, Davis would not only fail to destroy its personality or charm, but it would greatly enhance its reputation as a cooperative team player.

      It is true that open farmland and natural habitat is pleasing to the senses.  I feel good living among it.  I just had lunch with two friends who’s families own a large percentage of the farmland around Dixon and Davis.  I have no desire to see the area get built up to the point that farming is materially diminished.  But even my farmer friends were complaining about the number of acres being put into permanent ag easements.  Their main concern is the lack of economic diversity for the growing region.

      The other thing that is pleasing to the senses is smart development.  We all like places and spaces that are attractive and well-designed.  As long as we are demanding attractive and well-designed development, we should not be so against using some peripheral land… especially with all the benefits provided the city and humanity.

      One interesting thing happening with farmland around here… much of it is being converted to nut orchards.  Nuts are the crop with positive futures.  The conversion will keep going until there is an over-supply of the commodity, and then it will crash and we will see other farming.  You can hardly blame the farmers though… nut trees are much, much less aggregate work to farm than are row crops.

      But it brings up a point.  Farmers are just business people.  They pursue the greatest returns for the land use.  They are not motivated to just farm the products that Tia likes.  They are not working together to insure a diversity of food production.   The world cannot live on nuts alone, and so it makes sense to value diversity in use of land and consider farming as just one business type use of land.

      1. Don Shor

        The silliness here is debating more or less as absolutes. Just like a billionaire that can afford to give away millions, Davis can afford to develop peripheral land to grow our local economy.

        Yes, we can annex 200 acres near Mace, we can annex Nishi and see how long it takes those to fill up. And somebody can try to get the other site back on track. That combination would apparently take at least a couple of decades to reach capacity. So, no absolutes needed. Some farmland sacrificed, some development on marginal land, some new business parks. Everybody happy?

      2. hpierce

        Frankly, Frankly, you made some excellent points without unnecessary nor inflammatory advectives/adverbs.  BRAVO!  You may want to consider that approach on other subjects.

        To the topic… “… value diversity in use of land and consider farming as just one business type use of land.”

        Here, I tend to think of the value of the land, for farming, or other uses.  Some peripheral lands are marginal (soil ‘capability’) for farming, others are marginal as to being potentially in ‘flood zones’ which isn’t good for residential or commercial purposes (unless they have appropriate mitigations).  Balance (critically looking at pros/cons) is very important, and hopefully the tech/thinking folk will out-shout the “sloganeers”.

        1. Doby Fleeman

          hpierce,

          To the topic…..”…..value diversity in use of land and consider farming as just one type of use of land.”

          Here, you may wish also to consider the value of the land, for its taxable, revenue generating potential.

          It seems this is a major consideration by most communities when considering land use policies.  In large measure, it is this very value proposition that underlies the rationale and support for larger, magnet power retail centers.

          Even without consideration for the quality of jobs and compensation structures associated with different types of uses, as we move further to a “services based” economy and “internet based retail”, it begs the question as to the “next big thing” to help generate revenues for essential municipal services.

          Such a view really brings the discussion into sharp focus.  Most hospitals and medical centers, for example, pay no property tax nor ongoing personal property tax on equipment.   Similarly, agricultural uses – assuming they have not been completely removed from the tax rolls – pay only very minor property taxes in comparison with retail and commercial development.  Likewise, the products of the land also do not generate local sales tax.

          How should these realities and policies play into the larger discussion as we discuss who and how we are to pay for the roadways and safety services that we all enjoy and upon which we all depend in equal measure?

          Is the best option simply to propose increased property, utility, and sales taxes on local residents and that subset of “taxable-eligible” business models  – while simply excusing those businesses and land use options with current non-taxable uses?

          At least with respect to the local sales tax component, why not impose a local “sales tax” component on our local service providers, as example?   Do they and their customers use our streets and lighted sidewalks any less?  Do they and their clients require lesser protections from fire, fraud and theft?  Given the regressive nature of sales taxes, is it logical that legal services, accounting services, and beauty salons (as a few examples) should be exempt from charging their customers a modest “local use tax” component corresponding to the city’s local sales tax component?

          Should these “value” aspects associated with different types of property uses receive more prominent discussion and consideration when establishing future land use policies?

        2. hpierce

          Yeah, Doby… although I wasn’t explicit, “for its taxable, revenue generating potential.” definitely is ONE part of what I think is crucial to evaluating what I termed “pros @ cons”.  Not sure how I would rate the ‘weight’ of the various considerations, but the revenue potential is high, but not highest.

      3. Tia Will

        Frankly

        What is the expectation for those fortunate in wealth?  Don’t we expect them to give back to the society which provides that wealth?  True charity is identified by giving up something valued, not demanding others give up what they value while hoarding yours.”

        I certainly agree that giving back is an expectation for those who have acquired wealth. We seem to disagree on the best means for “giving back”. I am more than happy to give back in the form of increased taxes. I would be willing to pay much more than I do now, and to subsidize those who have accumulated less financially than I have throughout their lives and have said so many times.

        What I do not favor is claiming that I am giving back by recruiting others to pay for what I am not willing to pay for myself. I do not see it as any less “greedy” to not want to be taxed more if what you value is your money, than my preference for increased taxes over permanent loss of land and future opportunity for decisions making by the future inhabitants of our community. I do not believe that we should be locking down potential resources for future generations to pay for the choices that we have made in the past.

    3. CalAg

      TW: This can’t be dismissed with some pap about “perspective.” It is a fact that a large majority of the administration sees Davis as having been an impediment to the advancement of  UCD for decades. Many are profoundly critical.

      UCD gave you an education and a profession. And now, you seek to deprive UCD of the things it needs to prosper. Adequate housing for its faculty, staff, and students. Opportunities to retain more of its alumni. A fertile ecosystem for growth of a healthy technology sector to synergize with its research mission. A collegial and collaborative community worthy of hosting this world-class research university.

      UCD is the only reason Davis is such a nice place to live. The University Farm dates back to 1906, eleven years before the City of Davis was even formally incorporated (in 1917). Whether you like it or not, the facts are that UCD now has 35,000 students, brings in more than $850M per year in research funding and private support, generates approximately $7B in regional economic activity, and has a hugely positive impact on the quality of life in Davis (go hang out in Dixon if you disagree).

      Efforts by Davis activists to resist the inevitable change that UCD brings to the community, so that their lifestyle preferences are not impacted or inconvenienced, are both selfish and ultimately unsustainable (i.e. doomed to failure).

      1. Don Shor

        It is a fact that a large majority of the administration sees Davis as having been an impediment to the advancement of UCD for decades. Many are profoundly critical.

        Evidence, please?

        1. Don Shor

          And now, you seek to deprive UCD of the things it needs to prosper. Adequate housing for its faculty, staff, and students. Opportunities to retain more of its alumni.

          UC Davis has more land than any other UC campus, but houses one of the lowest percentages of its student body. Systemwide goal is to house 40% of the students; UCD houses, if I recall, 24%. In spite of promising to provide a higher percentage, UCD has added thousands in enrollment without adding significant housing. Over a fifteen year period UCD added several thousand students. Then they planned and built West Village for about 3000 students and faculty and staff — but immediately announced the 2020 Initiative, which adds 6000 students.

          When we opened our business Davis was the fastest growing city in Yolo County. It was adding housing at a rate that alarmed the citizens, who put on the brakes. Clearly the city needs to add some housing. But UCD admin’s who are critical of the city for failing to provide a suitable environment for their graduates and faculty and staff need to look in the mirror. Housing a major university is a shared responsibility.
          Their growth practices have led to severe dislocation in the local rental and resale housing markets, to the point that any UCD graduate who wants to settle here won’t find housing in part because single-family homes are occupied as student rentals. With a 0.3% apartment vacancy rate, any land that is available needs to be directed to provision of high-density rental housing.
          Until UCD builds dorms and starts planning with city officials, their criticisms and condescension are misplaced. Your notion seems to be that the city should grow at whatever rate the campus decides. That isn’t how a relationship works.

        2. hpierce

          “That isn’t how a relationship works.”  Actually, it does, all too often.  Sometimes called ‘dysfuntional’, sometimes ‘incest’, sometimes ‘date rape’.

          1. Matt Williams

            Don, when was the last time that UCD and the City of Davis had a healthy relationship? I moved to Davis in 1998 and quickly found that the relationship was dysfunctional, and had been that way for probably a decade. I learned that that was the case from up close and personal meetings with UC Davis Connect, the UC Davis program that from 1999 to 2007 nominally “facilitated” the development of new business ventures.

        3. CalAg

          “UC Davis has more land than any other UC campus …”

          Most of UCD’s land has been under the management of the university for 65-110 years, and they have historical records of it’s use. Some of it has never seen modern pesticides or herbicides. Understandably, from an ag R&D perspective, UCD ag land is viewed by many as a much more valuable resource than the ag land on the periphery of Davis.

          Is it logical to build on the very limited R&D acreage of the world’s best ag school because Davis anti-growth activists demand that we preserve the tomato fields on the edge of town?

          I’m sure it was a painful decision for UCD to proceed with West Village.

          With respect to the main campus, land use is plotted out years in advance. It can take a decade or more from policy decision, to plan, to construction of a building or other facility. They have the same challenges as the city in finding opportunities to densify. Even when they do have opportunities, there are significant regulatory challenges related to building student housing on campus (I think Gunroick outlined this in a thread a couple of months ago).

          Why spend lots of of extra money (financed on the backs of the state taxpayers and students) to build on the UCD’s precious ag land resources when Davis has copious peripheral land and a long line of developers ready, able, and willing to fix the housing and tech park problems?

          To me, this whole debate is crazy. And while we stare each other down to see who will blink first, the problems that are obvious to everyone continue to fester year after year.

          1. Don Shor

            Is it logical to build on the very limited R&D acreage of the world’s best ag school because Davis anti-growth activists demand that we preserve the tomato fields on the edge of town?

            The university could build dormitories five to six stories tall in any of about 5 – 10 different locations along Russell Blvd, La Rue, or Hutchison right now without sacrificing a single square foot of prime ag land or research soils, first and foremost at Toomey Field, and then proceeding west and south on open areas that anybody can see as you drive along the periphery of the existing campus core.
            The university made a commitment to build more housing and increase the percentage of students housed. They have failed to keep that commitment.

            Why spend lots of of extra money (financed on the backs of the state taxpayers and students) to build on the UCD’s precious ag land resources

            The university went on a building binge under Hullar that replaced and added buildings everywhere “on the backs of the state taxpayers and students” without adding the beds needed for their enrollment increases.

            I’m sure it was a painful decision for UCD to proceed with West Village.

            Especially when they could have built at least an equal number of beds on existing campus lands? No, I doubt it was painful in the least. Dorms don’t make as much money for UCD as apartments at West Village do.
            UCD builds whatever it damn well wants to, and makes completely insufficient provision for the impact of its own enrollment increases. They have plenty of non-ag land available for housing units. They could have significantly increased the housing densities of the replacement projects they’ve done over the last decade.
            So if the administration officials you evidently talk to privately criticize the city for failing to plan and build to meet local needs, then those officials are hypocrites. Davis grew at an astounding rate for over a decade while UCD added very little housing. The Davis voters had enough.
            housing growth

        4. CalAg

          DS: You should apply for a job with the UCD facilities and management division. I’ll repeat my bottom line:

          while we stare each other down to see who will blink first, the problems that are obvious to everyone continue to fester year after year

          As you and like-minded folks continue to waste time on your Sisyphean quest, just remember … 0.3%

          The students and the young professional demographic we need the most are suffering.

          1. Don Shor

            As you and like-minded folks continue to waste time on your Sisyphean quest, just remember … 0.3%

            I have repeated that 0.3% figure dozens of times on the Vanguard. I believe higher-density housing should be the city’s top priority. That’s why I supported higher density on the Cannery site, why I support housing on the Nishi site, and why I support the apartment proposal on Fifth Street. And it’s why I think UC needs to build some dorms ASAP.

            The last five people that I’ve discussed housing issues with have all said the same thing: the university needs to build more housing. Some firmly believe that needs to happen before any more housing is approved in town, because they believe that UC is shirking its responsibilities and breaking its promises. The housing issue is a legitimate crisis at this point, overriding any other development considerations. If it weren’t for lack of UC housing, we wouldn’t have to have ANY housing at Nishi and could gain more economic benefit from it.

          1. Don Shor

            Duh. Can you possibly see why Davis voters feel the same way? The Chancellor announces plans to increase enrollment by 6,000 students, but doesn’t announce plans for how to house them or the previous 8,000 that were added without housing?

      2. hpierce

        CalAg… so much for cooperation… with all the money UCD brings in for its 35k+ students, you’d think that they wouldn’t need to buy apartment complexes, commercial properties in the city, and have those properties come off the tax rolls while increasing the impact to City and County services (and financial impact).  Yet they have done this over the last 25-30 years.  Should the city “offer free fries with that”?

        1. CalAg

          I agree. UCD should stay within it’s borders or pay taxes like everyone else. This seems like a legislative problem. Maybe Wolk could sponsor a bill.

      3. Tia Will

        CalAg

        It is a fact that a large majority of the administration sees Davis as having been an impediment to the advancement of  UCD for decades. Many are profoundly critical.”

        I have already stated that I agree with this statement. And that is their perspective. I do not share that perspective. This does not dismiss their view. I respect it. I simply do not agree.

        UCD gave you an education and a profession. And now, you seek to deprive UCD of the things it needs to prosper.”

        I would phrase this differently. I earned my education and profession at a public university which I still fully support. I do not seek to deprive UCD of anything at all. We have numerous examples of companies that began in the minds of UCD students, faculty and staff. Just one example is the success of AgraQuest and Pam Morrone’s company as featured in Friday’s Enterprise. I see accompany outgrowing Davis as a success, not a loss. And yes, that also is a matter of perspective.

        Efforts by Davis activists to resist the inevitable change that UCD brings to the community,”

        I am not resisting change as some posters on the Vanguard like to maintain. I am completely in agreement with the premise that change is inevitable and should be embraced. What seems to be drawing so much ire is that my vision for the future of Davis is not not in alignment with a grow as rapidly as possible mind set, and that my vision is one of regional health and prosperity as opposed to seeing Davis as growing in its role as a competitor for companies and wealth.

        I defer to Don’s excellent comments about the responsibility of the university to house it expanding number of students. I do not see this as exclusively a city responsibility although it is an area for possible collaboration, but again can only be addressed through affordable housing, such as apartments, not through luxury homes and apartment buildings.

  5. Tia Will

    Anon

    Good grief Tia.  You certainly come off to me as “holier than thou”.  Just because someone believes the greater good might be served by well planned economic growth does not necessarily mean that person is more “materialistic” than you are.  And I don’t necessarily view being less car dependent as necessarily a “healthier” lifestyle.”

    So let’s take these points one by one.

    “Holier than thou”

    This is clearly a matter of tone and perspective rather than substance. I feel exactly the same about you when you are making statements about how much a given individual should be allowed to post on the Vanguard, or stating that you feel that “Village Homes is looking shabby” when house purchasing is highly competitive there, or calling ideas ludicrous or preposterous when they are not in alignment with your own. I have not mentioned any of this until now since it is clearly based on sentiment, not substance as is your current comment.

    “Well planned economic growth”

    I have no objection to “well planned” economic growth. We simply do not appear to agree on what constitutes “well planned”. I do not perceive multiple projects based on models of 25-30 years ago as “well planned”. That is what I saw as the model for what was being proposed at the forums I attended. I know that others saw this differently, but that was my honest assessment of what was being offered with the exceptions of a little “green” window dressing which other posters were quick to point out also is not new. I have no objection to “well planned” growth such as that addressed in today’s Vanguard article on “out of the box” thinking. I simply have not seen that in the proposals to date with the exception of Nishi.

    I don’t necessarily view being less car dependent as necessarily a “healthier” lifestyle.”

    On this point, you are factually incorrect. Dependence on the private automobile is less healthy both on the societal and individual levels. The amount of smog generated by private automobiles, while having improved over the years is still well documented to be associated with increased rates of asthma. The use of private automobiles is well established to be associated with increased rates of obesity, which in turn are associated with increased rates of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. These are facts, not speculation. I would prefer not to have to go on an article search to demonstrate what is accepted medical knowledge, however, I will if you see that as necessary.

    1. Anon

      Tia Will:
      Holier than thou”
      This is clearly a matter of tone and perspective rather than substance. I feel exactly the same about you when you are making statements about how much a given individual should be allowed to post on the Vanguard, or stating that you feel that “Village Homes is looking shabby” when house purchasing is highly competitive there, or calling ideas ludicrous or preposterous when they are not in alignment with your own. I have not mentioned any of this until now since it is clearly based on sentiment, not substance as is your current comment.

      Tia, your words about another poster: “You consistently maintain that you value material advancement over all else.  I do not hold this as my core value.”  IMO your words sound very judgmental, and ASSUME that the person you are referring to somehow only cares about material wealth just because they are in favor of well planned economic development that will create more jobs and greater tax revenue to pay for city services, whereas because you prefer higher taxes, you are somehow “more giving” and less materialistic.  I could certainly argue you are more materialistic because you as a doctor can better afford to pay higher taxes than most to keep Davis small, which will cause those less fortunate to move out – in other words your model gets rid of the “riff raff” and favors only the wealthy.  I’m perfectly fine with your right to express your vision, but I am not okay with ascribing impure motives to those who disagree with you.

      I won’t even bother to address your other accusations toward me since there are little to no specifics or context for me to even defend myself.

      Tia Will: “I have no objection to “well planned” economic growth. We simply do not appear to agree on what constitutes “well planned”. I do not perceive multiple projects based on models of 25-30 years ago as “well planned”. That is what I saw as the model for what was being proposed at the forums I attended. I know that others saw this differently, but that was my honest assessment of what was being offered with the exceptions of a little “green” window dressing which other posters were quick to point out also is not new. I have no objection to “well planned” growth such as that addressed in today’s Vanguard article on “out of the box” thinking. I simply have not seen that in the proposals to date with the exception of Nishi.

      Well planned, to me and to a lot of folks in the city, means an innovation park that creates substantial tax revenue, but also 1) provides many community amenities to be shared by the community; 2) has ample transportation connectivity to the rest of the city (car, bike, ped); 3) is aesthetically pleasing, so that it looks like as asset rather than a huge industrial park; 4) is energy efficient (hopefully incorporating the latest technology); 5) will garner support from the majority of the community, and preferably most of the community.  So how the h_ll is that a model of 25-30 years ago?  The developers are still open to suggestions from the public, by the way.

      Tia Will: ““I don’t necessarily view being less car dependent as necessarily a “healthier” lifestyle.”
      On this point, you are factually incorrect. Dependence on the private automobile is less healthy both on the societal and individual levels. The amount of smog generated by private automobiles, while having improved over the years is still well documented to be associated with increased rates of asthma. The use of private automobiles is well established to be associated with increased rates of obesity, which in turn are associated with increased rates of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. These are facts, not speculation. I would prefer not to have to go on an article search to demonstrate what is accepted medical knowledge, however, I will if you see that as necessary.”

      If a person is disabled and unable to walk or bike but can drive a car, how the heck do they get around without a car?  Is it healthier to sit at home and go nowhere?  Public transit can be very difficult for a disabled person to negotiate, and very limiting depending on where they live.  In outlying rural areas, no public transit is available, so how do folks get to the grocery store without a car?  To say that I am “factually incorrect” is beyond arrogant – it is ignorant of many of the very real world issues surrounding transportation.  Being less car dependent will take massive infusions of $$$ to create public transit options into the very hinterlands, which may not be cost effective/practical in many areas of the country.

      Obviously you hit a nerve with your comment. My response was not intended to be hurtful, but more to get you to think carefully before you speak. I try to, but don’t always succeed, so I am not perfect either.

  6. Tia Will

    Anon

    We seem to be striking each others nerves today.

    If a person is disabled and unable to walk or bike but can drive a car, how the heck do they get around without a car? “

    Now I guess it is my turn to say “good grief” ! Where in any of my writings have you ever seen even the suggestion that I would deny the use of a private vehicle to a handicapped individual ?

    To say that I am “factually incorrect” is beyond arrogant “

    I do not believe that this is arrogant. I believe it is a statement of truth that you do not like. What you chose not to address is that the vast majority of us who use our private vehicles as I will still  do until my retirement , are not handicapped. Most of us could very well avail ourselves of public transportation, either that which is currently existing, or that in which we could invest in  if we were willing to. We don’t because we do not see it as convenient. Nor did you choose to acknowledge in any way the truth of my statement about the diseases directly and indirectly related to the use of automobiles which are actually responsible for many of the disabilities that people have. People with respiratory problems are one large component of the disabled population and their conditions are aggravated if not caused by automobile emissions. People with joint problems limiting mobility are frequently also obese with the obesity frequently preceding the joint problem. Our youth and children are increasingly obese. Our current problems are to a large degree of our own making with fast foods, sugary beverages, lack of physical activity, and yes, our automobiles as contributing factors.

    With regard to the poster who frequently makes the statement that only material harm or benefit is of importance to him or her….I have made no assumptions whatsoever. This particular poster has made this statement about their own values repetitively. I do not denigrate those values, I just acknowledge and point out how my values differ and you do not seem to like the way I chose to do so, just as I did not like your comments about a member of the Vanguard editorial board  posting “too much” without being willing to make any statement about how you were deriving your version of what the “right amount ” would be.

     in other words your model gets rid of the “riff raff” and favors only the wealthy”

    It is my opinion that it is the business as usual, only much more of it, point of view that favors only the wealthy and is an attempt to rid us of the supposedly less desirable. I have stated my preference for city aide for small businesses ( theLaundromat)  as one example, low cost housing ( apartments or other low cost housing), a housing first approach to the problem of homelessness. I have also stated my preference for more taxation, and made clear that I would be very happy to pay additional tax dollars to prevent anyone from being forced out of town. This is much more change than many of you who believe that trickle down from a business park would tolerate.

    Again, I am not change averse. I am averse to the idea that more of the same is the answer to our problems. I am very much in favor of David’s “out of the box ” suggestions none of which involve stagnation or defense of the status quo, which is not my goal regardless of any “quacks like a duck” comments which I do not hear you decrying even though they are not an accurate representation of my position.

  7. Anon

    Tia Will: “Most of us could very well avail ourselves of public transportation, either that which is currently existing, or that in which we could invest in  if we were willing to. We don’t because we do not see it as convenient.”

    MOST OF US??? Really???  Most of the country cannot necessarily avail itself of public transit, now or in the future.  For instance, I used to live in a large metropolitan area.  The subway only went out to certain areas.  Bus service was not necessarily available to get from one’s house to the nearest subway stop.  I had to drive my car to the subway station, because there was no bus service from my house to the subway station.  And this is in a huge city with tons of $$$ for transportation.  Rural areas are in even more of a pickle.  There often is no public transit.  Yes, it would be nice if the entire country had accessible public transit for everyone, but that is a utopian dream that is impractical/unaffordable, if you understand anything about public transit, how it is constructed and how much it costs.  There is a push to build housing around transportation hubs, to improve public transit accessibility.  But what does the country do about the truck driver, who’s family lives out in the middle of nowhere because that is all that family can afford?  The country cannot afford to run a bus line for one family way far out.

    Tia Will: “Nor did you choose to acknowledge in any way the truth of my statement about the diseases directly and indirectly related to the use of automobiles which are actually responsible for many of the disabilities that people have.”

    Public transit pollutes the air as well as cars, especially if we have public transit for “everyone” as you seem to be advocating for.  Secondly, there is a move towards all electric or hydrogen fuel cell cars to reduce pollution from automobiles.  There is more pollution from cattle than is generated from cars, by the way.

    Tia Will: “People with joint problems limiting mobility are frequently also obese with the obesity frequently preceding the joint problem.”

    Assuming cars are THE REASON causing people to be obese ignores a lot of other crucial factors, such as fast food consumption, computers, video games, smart televisions, long work hours at a desk, etc.  Secondly, a car can get a person/children to an athletic club or swimming pool or soccer game that otherwise might be inaccessible if there wasn’t a car available, especially in rural areas w/o public transit.

    Tia Will: “This particular poster has made this statement about their own values repetitively. I do not denigrate those values…

    Your words: “You consistently maintain that you value material advancement over all else…”  

    Please point to one statement this person made as evidence of your claim this person values “material advancement over all else”.  That very statement denigrates the person – it assumes materialism is their primary goal in life – not nice.  I’m really not trying to be difficult here, but I find such a statement extremely offensive.  I have read this person’s posts, and I do not believe for one second that your opinion of him is accurate.  He probably is rolling his eyes at my defense of him ;-), probably feeling he does not need me to defend him, but it is the principle involved for me.

    Tia Will: ” …I did not like your comments about a member of the Vanguard editorial board  posting “too much” without being willing to make any statement about how you were deriving your version of what the “right amount ” would be.

    Now this is an interesting statement.  You didn’t like a comment that IMO I thought too many on the editorial board were posting overly frequently.  It was expressed as my personal opinion, I did not ascribe any motives or “values” to the editorial board, did not name any particular board member, and was responding to an inquiry by the Vanguard itself as to how it could improve.  And you want to criticize me with this as an “example” of my “wrongdoing” as a poster?  Really?  LOL

    Tia Will: “I have also stated my preference for more taxation, and made clear that I would be very happy to pay additional tax dollars to prevent anyone from being forced out of town.

    How nice of you to be willing to pay more taxes – but then you can afford to.  Many in town cannot.  You may think you and other wealthy folks can pony up enough to create a little utopia, but somehow I doubt it would be enough.  Affordable housing is extremely expensive.   Remember, the state use to pay for affordable housing through Redevelopment Funds.  Just how much are you willing to give – until it truly hurts?  To the point where it severely impacts your lifestyle, so that you have difficulty paying your bills?  And frankly, it sounds like what you are advocating for is some form of wealth redistribution.  Be careful what you wish for.

     

  8. Anon

    Tia Will: “which is not my goal regardless of any “quacks like a duck” comments which I do not hear you decrying even though they are not an accurate representation of my position.”

    I am opposed to posters speaking for someone else, period.  No one can know what is someone else’s head.

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