By Mark Spencer
If Davis wants to remain true to its vision of itself as a small city surrounded by ag and open space land, the few ag land parcels we choose to develop should reflect the very best in planning common sense and state-of-the-art environmental technology. The current Nishi proposal falls far short on both counts.
A review of the public record supports this conclusion.
For one, the city did not accept any of the Natural Resources Commission recommendations about increased energy-efficiency standards or greenhouse-gas mitigations.
The Bicycle Transportation and Traffic Safety Commission submitted detailed traffic and bike plans — none of them were incorporated into the baseline features or development agreement. The commission also recommended an independent traffic study; this was never done.
The Social Services Commission recommended that the project adhere to the same affordable-housing requirements mandated for other projects, but sadly, Nishi does not.
The fiscal analysis of the project remains woefully inadequate. The city-county tax-sharing agreement is in limbo. A year-by-year cash-flow analysis of infrastructure costs over and above developer contributions has not been done. An analysis of the net annual cash flow if the 325,000 square feet of research-and-development space and offices are never built, or do not fill at assumed rates, remains to be done.
Finally, long-proposed infrastructure changes to the Richards corridor and freeway interchange will be foolishly and effectively torpedoed if traffic is allowed to spew out of a newly urbanized Nishi development at Olive Drive — the height of irresponsible planning!
With Nishi, as with other projects voted down by citizens under Measure J/R, project-momentum and a rush to meet ballot-listing deadlines has trumped sensible, community-driven planning.
Patience and prudence is not obfuscation. We should insist on site-sensible projects — I say this as a long-standing participant in the planning process, a former planning commissioner and liaison to the Open Space Commission, a housing task force member and an activist involved in writing Measure J/R.
Truly good proposals will happen because we insist on the best, not because we don’t. Vote no on Nishi (Measure A).