Commentary: On the Potential of a General Plan Amendment Supporting Hotels

Hyatt-House

A commenter on the Vanguard yesterday made an interesting observation that it appears that the staff is recommending a General Plan Amendment.

The commenter noted: “The most interesting thing that came out at the planning commission is not in this article. It came in the exchange between Commissioner Hanson and City staff after public comment. The staff is actually recommending changing the business park zoning to allow for hotels, rather than changing the zoning of the site to a zoning that already allows for hotels. That means the staff is actually recommending changing the General Plan in a way that allows for hotels to be built in several other places in Davis as well.”

The Vanguard checked in with Katherine Hess, the City’s Community Development Administrator.

She explained, “The recommendation includes amending the business park designation in the General Plan to conditionally allow hotels. This would potentially apply to other areas designated as business park, but any other new hotel would be subject to environmental review and zoning consistency. Other business park lands in the City include Interland, the Research Park Drive area, and the 15-acre parcel at Chiles and Cowell.”

She further explained, “The current General Plan allows motels as a conditionally permissible use in the General Commercial area. General Commercial properties are primarily adjacent to the freeway, like the parcels on Cowell Boulevard west of the subject site. Permitted uses include auto sales, building supplies, nurseries, equipment rental, repair services, wholesale and storage, office, and similar service oriented commercial uses. Conditionally allowable uses include service stations, motels, restaurants, commercial recreation, moderate size community retail stores, warehouses, and similar uses.”

Ms. Hess also explained that the General Plan is separate from the issue of zoning.  This refers to a General Plan Amendment.  She explained, “The zoning change for the project (to conditionally allow hotels, and make other changes) would apply to PD #2-12, which is this site and the Davis Diamonds parcel only. Other sites with the Business Park GP designation might potentially require rezoning if a hotel were to be considered.”

There are a number of ways to look at this.  Clearly, by doing a General Plan Amendment to conditionally allow hotels, it aligns current thinking with zoning.

Clearly, the city sees hotels as a necessary feature of innovation parks – especially an extended stay hotel that would allow an individual to come to Davis to work for periods of time without having to rent an apartment.

It also reflects some of the comments from the business community that they believe there is a shortage of current hotel space to accommodate things like conferences and to support innovation, startups and technology transfer from the university.

It is worth noting that Nishi had considered a hotel in its application to the city, and both the Mace Ranch Innovation Center and the Davis Innovation Center had hotel and conference centers as at least optional parts of the proposal.

The need for hotel space seems to be an important consideration, then, in the development of a research park with R&D space.

The city had lacked a hotel conference space (and still lacks one) – a place where larger scale conferences can be hosted and businesses and university related discussions can take place.  In addition to the need for space to hold the conference, there is a need for lodging space for the attendees as well.

As Matt Williams discussed last night, “Prior to the opening of the conference center, the closest thing Davis has had to a conference center is Veterans Memorial.  The UCD Conference Center has considerably more capacity to host visitors than the Hyatt Place has capacity to house visitors.”

As he sees it, the bottom line is that “the supply of convention/meeting/group gathering space is significantly greater than the supply of beds to house the attendees of those conventions/meetings/groups that are gathering in the available space.”

Indeed, it was pointed out that the Embassy Suites lacked the bedrooms to host a large-scale conference.  Those individuals right now would either end up at UC Davis – where Davis does not receive the revenue – or in Woodland or Dixon, where again the city does not receive the Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT).

Hotels, therefore, not only act as revenue generators for the city, they end up serving as support for business park activity, and therefore allowing hotels from that perspective makes sense.

At the same time, as we have seen with the Hyatt House proposal, there are complex land use decisions that impact neighbors and neighborhoods.  A natural question will be whether a General Plan change would reduce the ability of the neighbors to get a fair hearing and a continued public process.

The language shared by Ms. Hess suggests that  the recommendation is only to “conditionally allow hotels.”  Again, she said that “this would potentially apply to other areas designated as business park,” but clearly adds, “any other new hotel would be subject to environmental review and zoning consistency.”

Moreover, most of the business park lands, like Interland and Research Park Drive, are away from heavily residential areas.  However, the 15-acre parcel at Chiles and Cowell would clearly impact residents every bit as much as the current proposal.

It seems relatively clear that approval would still take commission and likely council action and, therefore, we might conclude that, while the change might impact expectations, it would not change the level of protection or lack thereof that a neighborhood has.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

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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207 Comments

  1. DTDavisite

    More Hotels would be good for Down Town Davis (all of Davis really), but it seems like a strange thing to amend the General Plan so broadly to pass just one project when the City has just begun the process of updating the General Plan. I would think such a broad amendment should be considered through that process.

    1. Matt Williams

      DTDavisite said . . . “it seems like a strange thing to amend the General Plan so broadly to pass just one project when the City has just begun the process of updating the General Plan. I would think such a broad amendment should be considered through that process.”

      The above comment by DTDavisite sums up my “position” as well.

  2. Delia .

    …where Davis does not share the revenue…
    Is there no possible way to build a conference center on campus? Could the Mondavi Cntr be modified to accommodate a conference?
    And why doesn’t the city of Davis share the profits of UCD?

    1. David Greenwald

      There is a conference center on campus. Davis would not get any revenue for that conference center or the people who stay at the UC Davis Hyatt Place. Why doesn’t Davis get the revenue on UCD? Because UCD is not in the city. It is in the county.

    2. quielo

      Conference centers need flat open space that can be configured to meet the needs of the organizers. Multiple small conference rooms are also required for breakout sessions. Mondavi may be useful for general sessions of a large conference but then there no place to put the rest of the meeting. Conversely conferences that fit in the UCD conference center would not use a facility as large (and presumably expensive) as the Mondavi.

    3. Barack Palin

      We’ve got an Embassy Suites conference center coming on Richards once we get past the litigation.

      A few days ago I ate at Cafe Italia and asked the waiter if he knew what their plans were once the hotel gets built.  He said he didn’t know but felt they might end up in Woodland.  I hope not, it would be terrible to lose them.

        1. Barack Palin

          You know Frankly, that’s something I’ve wondered about.  Why doesn’t Embassy Suites make a deal with Cafe Italia and make them part of the new hotel/convention center?  They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner and the food is great.  I think it would make for a nice partnership and keep Cafe Italia in Davis.

        2. Frankly

          A lot of reasons probably.

          Embassy suites has a business model that might not support an arrangement like that.

          Remember that Embassy suites includes free breakfast for their guests as part of their service offering differentiation.   If they contract with a separate service provider then this would be more costly for them as they would have to include a profit margin for the service provider instead of running the food service business themselves and doing it at cost.

          Also, Embassy suites has an employee customer service program that would be difficult to administer with a third-party contract that hires and manages their own employees… it can be done, it is just much more difficult.

          Cafe Italia would likely stay in Davis if there were space for it to move to.

          Don’t blame Embassy Suites for what is a problem caused by our resident NIMBYs.

        3. Delia .

          Good a.m., Frankly.
          Wondering-why don’t your out of town staff stay in that pretty hotel adjacent to Cafe Bernardo? My family / pals have stayed there before, and they loved it.

  3. SODA

    Mondavi has hosted a number of conferences and it does rent out the building to outsiders but at 1801 seats and its configuration it is not ideal.

    I did not watch the PC Wednesday night so this might have been covered but since it seems the commenter’s question opened up this topic, maybe not. Was it then not apparent or explained by staff that they were recommending a more broad based change that could impact future hotel proposals? If Hyatt is approved and Cowell/Chiles parcel is approved down the line, we in south Davs (SODA) can claim hotel row AND auto row……

  4. Marina Kalugin

    current thinking?  by whom, developers and their pals on the CC?

    and the most important question for me is will this require a vote by the populace?

    and, if not, why not?   it should   >>>>

    PS>   my friends who watch the DV and no longer post, I hope you are getting the word out to our lists….

  5. Marina Kalugin

    PS>   South Davis does not want to be hotel row either….and certainly not up and down the only street left where there is not gridlock to/from downtown…

     

     

      1. Marina Kalugin

        YAYYYY   – oddly enough, those who think they know me will be shocked when I show up on truly unexpected sides of the most odd of topics..   🙂

         

    1. Delia .

      There’s definitely extra traffic all around that neighborhood starting late Friday afternoons, when folks get off the freeway to go on the frontage road to the mountain for the weekend.

      Some of them like to stop at the old Nugget for snacks. Others like the fast food choices. Others are just innocently curious about your community, & drive around to look at the neighborhood. Nothing cynister but more traffic starting late Friday afternoons.

      1. quielo

        Not sure why. Hotels have good soundproofing and most do not have openable windows so the train tracks are not much of a problem. The restaurants and entertainment venues are right there so it’s good for the people and the businesses and the access is right off the freeway so there is no reason to drive into town. Park at the hotel and you may never need to drive again. Also people can arrive via train. Much better than the proposed location and there is just some old broken stuff there now that will need to be replaced in not too long anyway.

        1. quielo

          See below…….

           

          Are you referring to the ridiculous comments like “Let’s reduce traffic by making people drive from one dispersed location to another and then to another and eliminate any opportunity to use mass transit”  or were you referring to something else?

        2. Frankly

          I run a business with headquarters in Davis (asking myself why every day now) and about 30% of my staff in So Cal.  When we have corporate meetings and events my employees from down south stay in Davis hotels.  Most of them are next to the railroad tracks and everyone complains that their sleep is disrupted when the trains roll though.

          If you are next to the tracks and are not used to it, it is disruptive and no amount of hotel soundproofing will prevent you from hearing and feeling the trains.

        3. quielo

          “no amount of hotel soundproofing will prevent you from hearing and feeling the trains.” I am highly experienced in sleeping in hotels and have slept next to many airports, freeways, trains, etc. 

           

          I cannot comment on the current hotels but it is certainly possible to build a hotel proximate to a train that has quiet rooms.

  6. Marina Kalugin

    because Olive Drive serves a real purpose…and because the gridlock caused would also be in the worst spot….I would vote for the area on the Target side of the freeway….near the park and ride…..that area has a real interchange near it…..not houses nearby….etc..

    it is not overburdened like richards  and so on…

    but the issue is that developers buy land cheap and want to maximize it…they don’t look at the various issues…..

    Olive drive is not for sale….and so on…. until some developer shows up with bucks to convince those owners to move on…..

    1. Delia .

      Marina, some readers assume every low income person is crap and every rich person is not crap. No use arguing with those posters. Waste of time for sure.

    2. quielo

      Hotels should be proximate to entertainment and the ultimate destination. Are people going to stay there for a shopping weekend at Target? Where are the people going to eat and socialize?

      If you are here for an event at UCD staying by Target is idiocy. The hotels should reduce traffic by not forcing people to drive from hotel to restaurant to venue. If people want to arrive by train than how do they get to the hotel? By our fleet of cabs?

      1. Delia .

        The fleet of cabs, Lyft, Getaround. Uber, etc Any way you look at it, not convenient at all. And let’s hear how the hyatt desk clerk is going to give clear concise instructions to someone in a wheelchair on how to get to the campus on a beautiful day if that person elects not to get in a car.
        What if the spouse of an important person chooses to walk to campus with their baby stroller on a crisp autumn day?

        1. Marina Kalugin

          there is a FREE service Delia…it is called paratransit…they pick up and drop off to appointments etc…  it is for the elders and those who cannot drive…those with epilepsy who look normal, but need the assistance…

          there is such gridlock at Richards already that is it dangerous if an ambulance is required anywhere in that area…

          it used to be free…now it may be 1 or 2 dollars each way….unless the person is on medical of something

          unitrans is free – most buses are wheelchair eqiupped..

          and so on….my good friends who worked on campus – so bad with names now….used to ride her laying down wheelchair all over Davis and campus….using a straw to move it around..

          for decades she would maneuver without an aide through town…and around campus…anyone remember her?

          the resources are all around…people don’t know them…they post nonsense …

          developers are invited to build on campus land…they are not required to install elevators…UCD IS required…. that is why the dorms are so expensive to build…and can be taller..

    1. Frankly

      I live by there and would support a hotel there.  However it is certainly further away from the downtown and campus.   Also lacking I-80 visibility… something that helps with the business case for the hotel as they would get a percentage of just-in-time sleepy driver bookings.

      1. Don Shor

        A hotel was part of the Davis Innovation Center proposal for northwest Davis near the hospital, and the height of the hotel was one of the main objections of Binning Tract residents. Of course, that one would have been 150 feet tall.

          1. Don Shor

            There are bamboo species in the tropics that grow to 150′ tall, but they aren’t hardy here. They’re pretty incredible, though.Dendrocalamus

            For the record, I believe the view concerns of the Binning Tract residents could probably have been mitigated, except that a 9-story hotel presents a much greater issue than a 40′ one.

        1. Ron

          Don:  Glad that you didn’t take that comment seriously (and I like the photo), although I assume that Binning Tract residents were probably farther away from the actual hotel (compared to the residents adjacent to the Hyatt proposal).

  7. Ron

    From article:  “Those individuals right now would either end up at UC Davis – where Davis does not receive the revenue.”

    Just wondering – how might this affect the “competitiveness” (regarding rates – including TOT) of a hotel in the city (vs. one on campus)?  In other words, wouldn’t rates (including TOT) need to be higher for a hotel located in the city, to ensure the same level of profit for the owner of the hotel? (I’m assuming that there is no TOT for hotels located on campus.)

    Actually, the same type of question applies for housing (rental properties) on campus.  Since the University pays no property tax, wouldn’t that provide the University with a permanently lower cost of providing such housing?

    1. Ron

      I have a follow-up question, as well.

      I understand that (some?) government employees (such as federal workers on official assignment) are exempt from paying any hotel taxes.  Might this also apply to, say, a visiting professor on sabbatical assignment at UC Davis?

      1. Matt Williams

        Ron, here is what I found.  It appears that under California Law the level of exemptions (if any) is determined by the local jurisdiction.

        REVENUE AND TAXATION CODE
        SECTION 7280
        (e) (1) (A) If the legislative body of a city, county, or city and
        county elects to exempt from a tax imposed pursuant to this section
        any of the following persons whose occupancy is for the official
        business of their employers, the legislative body shall create a
        standard form to claim this exemption and the officer or employee
        claiming the exemption shall sign the form under penalty of perjury:

        (i) An employee or officer of a government outside the United
        States.

        (ii) An employee or officer of the United States government.

        (iii) An employee or officer of the state government or of the
        government of a political subdivision of the state.

        (B) The standard form described in subparagraph (A) shall contain
        a requirement that the employee or officer claiming the exemption
        provide to the property owner one of the following, as determined by
        the legislative body of the city, county, or city and county imposing
        the tax, as conclusive evidence that his or her occupancy is for the
        official business of his or her employer:

        (i) Travel orders from his or her government employer.

        (ii) A government warrant issued by his or her employer to pay for
        the occupancy.

        (iii) A government credit card issued by his or her employer to
        pay for the occupancy.

        (C) The standard form described in subparagraph (A) shall contain
        a requirement that the officer or employee provide photo
        identification, proof of his or her governmental employment as an
        employee or officer as described in clause (i), (ii), or (iii) of
        subparagraph (A), and proof, consistent with the provisions of
        subparagraph (B), that his or her occupancy is for the official
        business of his or her governmental employer.

        (2) There shall be a rebuttable presumption that a property owner
        is not liable for the tax imposed pursuant to this section with
        respect to any government employee or officer described in clause
        (i), (ii), or (iii) of subparagraph (A) of paragraph (1) for whom the
        property owner retains a signed and dated copy of a standard form
        that complies with the provisions of subparagraphs (B) and (C) of
        paragraph (1).

        1. Ron

          Matt:

          Thanks for providing the information, but it still doesn’t really answer my questions.

          Here’s another thing I noticed, in the link I provided:  Anyone staying longer than 30 days does not pay the TOT for the first 30 days, if the traveler establishes a written agreement with the operator:

          https://ttc.lacounty.gov/Proptax/TOT_FAQs.htm

          Again, I’m wondering what impact the questions I’m asking have on the financial projections for the city. Seems like something that’s worth understanding (by your committee), in detail.

           

           

        2. Matt Williams

          Ron, if you subtract 8% from 12% you get 4%, which is the price competitive advantage that a hotel in the unincorporated County has over a hotel in the City if they have the exact same room rate. I didn’t do the math for you in my prior comments. I apologize that I assumed you could do that math.

          In this comment you are again citing a local Los Angeles TOT.  If you want to make controlling citations, use the California Law.  It is the only one that controls what the City of Davis may choose to do.  What Los Angeles has chosen to do only applies to Los Angeles.

          With that said, California Law, Section 7280 does address the 30 day stay situation.  It specifically says (bolded emphasis is mine):

          7280. (a) The legislative body of any city, county, or city and
          county may levy a tax on the privilege of occupying a room or rooms,
          or other living space, in a hotel, inn, tourist home or house, motel,
          or other lodging unless the occupancy is for a period of more than
          30 days
          . The tax, when levied by the legislative body of a county,
          applies only to the unincorporated areas of the county.

          Section 7281 addresses the 30 day situation withe slightly different language.

          7281. The legislative body of any city or county may levy a tax on
          the privilege of renting a mobilehome, as defined in Section 18008 of
          the Health and Safety Code, which is located outside a mobilehome
          park for occupancy on a transient basis unless such occupancy is for
          any period of more than 30 days.

          The 7281 language pretty clearly indicates that the first 30 days are taxable, but the 7280 language is much less clear.

          With that said, if you put the two expressions “Transient Occupancy Tax” and “30 Days” in Google you get some informative hits.  The Sonoma County Over 30 Day Claim Form has the following language that appears to make it very clear (in that specific jurisdiction) that the first 30 days are taxed

          COUNTY OF SONOMA TRANSIENT OCCUPANCY TAX
          TAX EXEMPTION CLAIM FOR OCCUPANCY OVER 30 DAYS

          NOTICE TO MOTEL/HOTEL OPERATORS:

          THIS FORM IS TO BE USED TO CLAIM TAX EXEMPTIONS FOR PERSONS OCCUPYING ROOMS MORE THAN 30 DAYS
          .
          THE TRANSIENT MUST PAY TAX FOR THE FIRST 30 DAYS OF OCCUPANCY UNLESS THERE IS AN AGREEMENT IN WRITING BETWEEN THE OPERATOR AND THE OCCUPANT PROVIDING FOR A LONGER PERIOD OF OCCUPANCY

          It also appears to indicate that stays over 30 days can be taxed as well . . . in Sonoma County.

    2. Matt Williams

      Ron, here is what the copy of the County Code I found on the Internet says:

      Chapter 7

      TRANSIENT OCCUPANCY TAXES

      c. 3-7.03. Tax Imposed

      For the privilege of occupancy in any hotel within the unincorporated area of the County, each transient shall be subject to and shall pay a tax in the amount of eight (8%) percent of the rent charged by the operator. Such tax shall constitute a debt owed by the transient to the County, which debt shall be extinguished only by payment to the operator or to the County. The transient shall pay the tax to the operator of the hotel at the time the rent is paid. If the rent is paid in installments, a proportionate share of the tax shall be paid with each installment. The unpaid tax shall be due upon the transient’s ceasing to occupy space in the hotel.

      It is possible that the 8% rate quoted therein is no longer current.

      1. Ron

        Thanks, Matt.  But, not sure why you provided this information.

        My question had to do with the difference between hotel taxes paid (on campus – if applicable), vs. taxes pad and received for hotels in the city).  (And, any competitive advantage that this might provide to the University, if they should choose to build additional hotels on campus, such as the existing Hyatt). In other words, do guests have less taxes to pay, if the hotel is on campus?

        My other question had to do with the effect of “exemptions” from having to pay any hotel tax, by federal and state employees on official business.  (I haven’t seen anything regarding whether or not this includes visiting professors, for example.)

        Here’s something that I (quickly) found on the Internet, which includes some information regarding the exemptions for federal and state workers:

        https://ttc.lacounty.gov/Proptax/TOT_FAQs.htm

        Is any of this of value to your committee, if/when analyzing the financial impacts of hotels?

        1. Matt Williams

          Ron, the reason I provided it is that UCD is in the unincorporated portion of Yolo County, and thus subject to Yolo County’s Transient Occupancy Tax provisions.

          Any competitive price advantage (for the TOT impact alone) can be calculated by subtracting the County TOT rate (presumably 8%) from the City TOT rate (12%).

          Your LA County information is specific to that jurisdiction only.  I posted the controlling California legal language in another comment.  Bottom-line, California law lets each jurisdiction determine what level of exemptions they wish to grant.

           

        2. Ron

          Thanks, Matt.

          Just saw this posting.  So, there’s (apparently) some advantage (regarding taxes paid) for a traveler staying at the campus’ hotel.

          How about the exemptions we discussed (by hotel guests in the city, vs. campus hotel guests)?  (Those staying longer than 30 days, government employees, etc.)

          Not paying TOT for the first 30 days (as in the LA case above) for example, would provide a significant competitive advantage for the University.

          I guess we don’t really know what all of the tax rules are, when comparing campus vs. off-campus hotels.  (I’m pretty sure that long-term guests would find out, even if your committee doesn’t examine this.)

          Perhaps the University will go (further) into the “hotel business”.

           

        3. Matt Williams

          Ron originally asked . . . “My question had to do with the difference between hotel taxes paid (on campus – if applicable), vs. taxes pad and received for hotels in the city).  (And, any competitive advantage that this might provide to the University, if they should choose to build additional hotels on campus, such as the existing Hyatt). In other words, do guests have less taxes to pay, if the hotel is on campus?

          My other question had to do with the effect of “exemptions” from having to pay any hotel tax, by federal and state employees on official business.  (I haven’t seen anything regarding whether or not this includes visiting professors, for example.)”

          Ron, so that you have all the information in response to your two questions above, the difference between hotel taxes paid is 4% (12% in the City vs. 8% in the unincorporated County). That would provide a competitive advantage to the Hyatt Place for room rates that are identical.

          Regarding exemptions, California Law lets each individual jurisdiction decide its exemptions.  The Davis Municipal Code TOT language reads as follows:

          15.05.030 Exemptions from imposition.

          (a)    No tax under this article shall be imposed upon:
          (1)    Any person as to whom, or any occupancy as to which, it is beyond the power of the city to impose the tax.
          (2)    Any officer or employee of a foreign government who is exempt by reason of express provision of federal law or international treaty.
          (b)    No exemption shall be granted except upon a claim therefor made at the time rent is collected and under penalty of perjury upon a form prescribed by the director of finance. (Code 1964 § 3-7.06; Ord. 367; Ord. 665 § 1)

          With that language Davis has clearly stated “We want to collect the maximum dollars possible, and as a result have made the exemptions as few as possible.”

          That same principle has guided the way Davis handles 30-day stays.  Section 15.05.010 of the Municipal Code, which contains the TOT Definitions, appears to be consistent with the way Sonoma County handles stays over 30 days . . . making them taxable for the first 30 days regardless, and possibly taxable for over 30 days if a prior agreement is in place.

          Transient. Any person who exercises occupancy or is entitled to occupancy by reason of concession, permit, right of access, license or other agreement for a period of thirty consecutive calendar days or less, counting portions of calendar days as full days. Any such person so occupying space in a hotel shall be deemed to be a transient until the period of thirty days has expired unless there is an agreement in writing between the operator and the occupant providing for a longer period of occupancy. (Ord. 2468 § 1, 2016; Code 1964 § 3-7.01; Ord. 367)

          Regarding whether the University will go (further) into the “hotel business” we can only speculate; however, my personal belief is that the University really hasn’t gotten into the hotel business.  What it has done is expand its already modest convention/meeting business.  Freeborn Hall has been for years UCD’s concert venue and convention/meeting space.  When the Mondavi opened Freeborn Hall no longer served as UCD’s concert venue, and because of earthquake/seismic risks Freeborn Hall could no longer serve UCD’s convention/meeting needs.  The chosen location of the new Convention Center posed housing challenges for the University, both with respect to capacity and location.  They addressed those housing, not by going into the hotel business, but rather by delegating the hotel activities to a third-party.  A University like my alma mater, Cornell, actually goes into the hotel business because it has a School of Hotel Administration, and its students take classes in the actual hotel on various hotel operations subjects. However, there are very few Hotel Schools at major Universities in the US, so very, very few Universities go into the hotel business.

          With that said, if UCD were contemplating your concern, the most logical place for expanded hotel presence would be adjacent to Hyatt Place, in the Solano Park portion of the campus, very close to the UCD Convention Center.  To date nothing in the LRDP indicates that Solano Park will be used for that purpose.

        4. Ron

          Thanks for providing this, Matt.

          I’m not sure if I agree with your analysis regarding Davis’ definition of “transient”, or, more importantly – its effect on the TOT.  In any case, it appears that “long-term residents” of such hotels might not have to pay any TOT.  Does that conclusion seem correct to you?

          Regarding California law, I’m not sure if it’s the “final word” (e.g., if federal laws override it – for federal employees for example).  However, the “more important” consideration might be the potential differences between Davis’ municipal code, vs. campus/county codes.  (For the purposes of this discussion, I’ll assume that you’re correct that the University adheres to county codes.)

          If, for example, the county and University allow the exemptions that are not allowed by Davis, it would create a situation where hotels on campus (or otherwise outside of Davis) would have a competitive advantage.  In addition to the 4% savings you mentioned, guests might potentially be entirely exempt from TOT by staying on campus/outside of the city.  Does this conclusion seem correct to you?

          I only brought this up as something to consider, especially when the finance and budget committee analyzes hotel proposals.  I’m not necessarily seeking information for my own sake.

        5. Matt Williams

          Ron, whether you or I agree with the Municipal Code’s definition of Transient is interesting, but legally meaningless.  That is their legal definition.

          The Municipal Code is also very clear that residents of hotels who stay over 30 days have to pay TOT for the first 30 days. Therefore I believe you conclusion at the end of your first paragraph is incorrect.

          In Yolo County’s laws they are explicit about the resident having to pay TOT during the first 30 days.

          Sec. 3-7.02. Definitions.

          For the purposes of this chapter, unless otherwise apparent from the context, certain words and phrases used in this chapter are defined as follows:

          (g) Any such person so occupying space in a hotel shall be deemed to be a transient until the period of thirty (30) days has expired, unless there is an agreement in writing between the operator and the occupant providing for a longer period of occupancy.

          Regarding your argument that the county (and therefore the University) allow the exemptions that are not allowed by Davis, the County Code exemptions from TOT are listed as follows:

          Sec. 3-7.04. Exemptions from provisions.

          No tax shall be imposed upon:

          (a) Any person as to whom, or any occupancy as to which, it is beyond the power of the County to impose the tax provided for in this chapter; or

          b) Any officer or employee of a foreign government, which officer or employee is exempt by reason of express provision of Federal law or international treaty.

          No exemption shall be granted except upon a claim therefor made at the time the rent is collected and under penalty of perjury upon a form prescribed by the Treasurer-Tax Collector.  (§ 4, Ord. 525, as amended by §§ 1 and 2, Ord. 807, eff. June 29, 1978)

          So, there does not appear to be any group of hotel guests who would have exemptions under the Yolo County provisions vs. the City of Davis provisions.

          Your alerts of things to consider, especially when the Finance and Budget Commission analyzes the hotel proposals is very much appreciated.  You have caused me to dig into the underlying law and identify the controlling legal code.  Thank you for your continuing diligence.

        6. Ron

          Matt:  “Ron, whether you or I agree with the Municipal Code’s definition of Transient is interesting, but legally meaningless.”

          I’m not disputing what’s in print.  I was questioning your other statement:  “appears to be consistent with the way Sonoma County handles stays over 30 days . . . making them taxable for the first 30 days regardless, and possibly taxable for over 30 days if a prior agreement is in place.”

          Here is the code that you posted:  “Any such person so occupying space in a hotel shall be deemed to be a transient until the period of thirty days has expired unless there is an agreement in writing between the operator and the occupant providing for a longer period of occupancy.”

          Unless I’m misunderstanding this (which is certainly possible), it means that anyone who has a written agreement with an (extended-stay) hotel will not be subject to TOT, starting from the first day of occupancy.  (And, it appears that anyone staying over thirty days is not subject to TOT, regardless.)

          Matt:  “Your alerts of things to consider, especially when the Finance and Budget Commission analyzes the hotel proposals is very much appreciated.  You have caused me to dig into the underlying law and identify the controlling legal code.  Thank you for your continuing diligence.”

          Thank you, and I hope it’s helpful.  Not trying to derail the hotel proposal, but I suppose there’s only so much we can “stick it to visitors”, before they consider other alternatives.  (On a related note, I’m not sure when the Davis TOT was last raised.)

          Of course, I understand that hotel developers consider such things before submitting proposals.  However, they don’t necessarily analyze the impact on the city’s finances.

        7. Ron

          Matt:

          Also, assuming that I’m correct, what’s to prevent the University from essentially entering into something similar to “master lease agreements” with extended-stay hotels in the city for say, professors on extended visits (thereby denying the city any TOT)?

        8. Matt Williams

          Ron said . . . “what’s to prevent the University from essentially entering into something similar to “master lease agreements” with extended-stay hotels in the city for say, professors on extended visits (thereby denying the city any TOT)?”

          Ron, the simple answer to your question is that there is absolutely nothing the University from doing that.

          With that acknowledged, what possible business reason would the University have for doing that?  Further, what possible business reason would professors have for staying in an extended stay hotel for an academic year (or even for an academic semester)?

          Think of the economics.  The projected nightly room rate in the HVS study is $156.00.  Multiply that by 30 days and you get $4,680 per month before any applicable taxes.  Why would a single professor want to pay $4,680 per month rather than rent an apartment for half that much?  Why would a professor with a family subject spouse and kids to living in a hotel for a year rather than in a home or apartment?

          Your scenario is indeed a worst case . . .

        9. Ron

          Matt:

          Let’s start out by acknowledging that your initial interpretation of Davis’ municipal code was wrong.  (I don’t see that acknowledgement in your response.)

          Then, let’s analyze what that apparently means.  It means that anyone who enters into an agreement (to stay longer than 30 days) with an extended-stay hotel does not pay ANY TOT (transient occupancy tax) to the city, starting with the first day of their visit.

          Now, let’s deal with your other (new point), that this is an unlikely scenario given the price comparison (between staying at an extended-stay hotel, vs. an apartment).  For one thing, you’re already concluding that the price is fixed, non-negotiable, and higher than a furnished apartment (assuming one is available for the time frame needed).  You also assumed that a professor would have a family staying with them, and that he/she would be paying taxes.  (Didn’t we just address the fact that they wouldn’t be paying TOT?)  In any case, none of your assumptions are necessarily correct.

          What “business” would (say) a visiting professor have at the University, beyond 30 days?  I assume that they might be working at the University, for one thing.

          Direct University involvement (via something similar to a “master lease”) also seems to be a possibility.

          I don’t know how many guests typically stay at an extended-stay hotel beyond 30 days. However, it appears to be a distinct possibility, and perhaps more likely in hotels that are very close to the University – such as the proposed Embassy Suites.)

          In any case, I find your response rather dismissive, considering a) that you’re understanding of the code was incorrect, and b) that you’re on the finance and budget committee, which is supposed to analyze the funds expected via TOTs.

        10. Grok

          Anyone who enters into an agreement (to stay longer than 30 days) with an extended-stay hotel does not pay ANY TOT (transient occupancy tax) to the city, starting with the first day of their visit.

          This is a real issue. Having stayed at this type of hotel many times, I can tell you that I have seen very long term guests first hand. It is not uncommon, and longer term guests are able to negotiate better rates that make longer stays more attractive. I would expect with the housing shortage in town what it is, an extended stay hotel like this will be a viable option as a housing bridge often lasting more than 30 days.

        11. quielo

          Many places will not allow a person to stay past 28 or 30 days as they then become a tenant and would require formal eviction. The solution often is to check out and check back in. Local laws on this vary widely.

        12. Ron

          quielo:

          I don’t know enough to comment on that.  Not sure how difficult it is to “evict” a visiting professor, for example, who (for some reason) stays beyond the agreement ending date.

          In any case, the city provides this exemption (which no doubt would be quite appealing to guests, who wouldn’t have to pay TOT).  Hotel owners have no inherent interest in collecting this tax.

          Might be more of an issue if/when a hotel has trouble consistently filling all of its rooms.  At that point, it could essentially turn into a “de facto” apartment complex (bringing none of the promised TOT into city coffers).  (At least for those guests who have agreements.) If all three proposed hotels are built, this might be more of a factor (see other article today, regarding fiscal analysis/demand for all three hotels).

  8. Marina Kalugin

    it is not the university, my friend, it is the developers who build on the UCD land…see my many posts on that previously…..the dorms are pricey due to the living wages and  benefits paid to the food service workers and custodians….the “apartments” are built and run by local developers…they have to make a profit also…  all of those offtopic comments were on the Nishi pages and on the Katehi griper sites…

     

  9. HouseFlipper

    I am flattered that my comments yesterday have been somewhat investigated and flushed out as a larger story, but I am disappointed that you did not take the opportunity to address the 2 related questions I raised yesterday.

    2 other questions.

    What is the current density allowable at these sites? the resolution makes it a ratio of 1.0

    The resolution updating the general plan only mentions an EIR for the Hyatt location.
    “WHEREAS, Initial Study and Negative Declaration #4-15 adequately assesses the impacts of this General Plan Amendment and the proposed extended-stay hotel project at 2750 Cowell Boulevard; and”

    Wouldn’t they need a EIR that addresses all of the sites effected?

    You have also failed to address the question raised about the staff’s statement. Is this a comprehensive list of land designated as business park.

    Further, is it possible to be more specific about what lots staff is talking about? Maybe a map?

    1. Matt Williams

      Houseflipper, my understanding (and I could be wrong in that understanding) is that the EIR requirement will be satisfied on a site-by-site basis, when and if a proposal (whether hotel or other use) comes forward for any individual site.

  10. HouseFlipper

    The Vanguard seems to have missed another very similarly interesting issue. Just like the staff recommendation to update all Business Park uses for the entire City of Davis, the Staff is recommending amending the entire South Davis Specific Guidelines for Non-Residential Development.

    RESOLUTION NO. 16-___, SERIES 2016
    RESOLUTION APPROVING AMENDMENT TO THE CITY OF DAVIS SOUTH DAVIS SPECIFIC PLAN TO MODIFY GUIDELINES FOR NON-RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT ALONG CHILES ROAD / NORTHERLY COWELL BOULEVVARD

    This amendment allows the hotel to be built without the landscaping currently required for other Non-residential developments in South Davis, and allows other non-residential development to be built without the currently required landscaping. This may even lead to existing business ripping out their landscaping and putting in more parking or building more buildings.

  11. Frankly

    The VG debates on these development projects reminds me of self-serve out-patient surgery… people lacking sufficient training and experience in the surgery profession but nonetheless picking up a scalpel to repair what they think the problem is.

    But they never can make a cut because they get stuck in circular risk and impact arguments.

    Which is somewhat understandable because they are not sufficiently trained to know what the problem is nor how to solve it.

    So why do they keep foolishly picking up the scalpel?

    Measure R is one explanation.  It gives a decision power “scalpel” to people lacking the knowledge to use it responsibly.

    With respect to all of the things wrong with Davis (and yes folks, there are a lot of things wrong with Davis and the list is growing) the solutions require us TO START SOMEWHERE.

    Everything and anything will result in some real impacts (and in Davis, a number of fake impacts that are really just high anxiety over change of any kind).

    We can and should do everything we can to mitigate REAL impacts to existing residents, but doing nothing is also causing REAL impacts… BIG REAL impacts.

    Just drive around town and look at the streets.  Look at the landscaping either side of the streets.

    Read about the growing massive unfunded liability bill… and the fact that CALPERS will AGAIN increase the bill to the city for employee retirement benefits and put our annual city budget back into the red.

    A decision to do nothing is still a decision fraught with consequences.  People that cannot make decisions due to anxiety over resulting impacts tend to have things happen to them that are worse than the impacts that would have otherwise occurred.

    Afraid of the impacts over the cancer treatment?  Well the process of dying from the disease without the treatment is often much worse.

    We all also need to keep this in mind… any big property tax increase (the “solution” from the highly anxious change-averse NIMBY types) will decrease home equity equal to the property tax.

    Just ask anyone that lives where there is a big Mello Roos assessment on their property.  All things being equal with two properties, the one with the Mello Roos will sell for a lesser price equal to the financial impact of the Mello Roos.

    And a property tax increase hurts the most vulnerable residents the most.  Rich Doctors, lawyers and UCD retirees can afford it… most of the rest will be severely financially impacted by the size of a property tax required to calm the nerves of our highly anxious NOGROW people and benefit their landlord cohorts.

    This gets us to that principle that there is no free lunch.

    Put the scalpel down and seek some counseling for the change anxiety and let the professionals do the SMART design and plan for helping the city solve the city’s problems.

    Assess the REAL impacts and participate in the already cooperative and robust process to seek mitigation in the design.

        1. Frankly

          Again, the Palms could have just relocated if we had any supply of real estate.  The loss of the Palms was another result of Davis having too many NIMBYs.

        2. Frankly

          These were the only choices.  Again, not enough commercial real estate choices exist and businesses move out.

          Grok, that is not to difficult to understand unless you stick your fingers in your ears so you don’t have to hear it.

        3. Jim Frame

          Before anyone starts blaming evil developers for the eviction of the Palms, my recollection is that Linda McDonagh, the venue’s founder and owner of the property, decided to retire to Florida and sold the place.  It wouldn’t have mattered if she’d sold it to an organic juice bar or the Nature Conservancy, the fact is that Dave Fleming couldn’t afford to buy it and had to find another location.

        4. Frankly

          Lease a property and risk the owner selling and then the lessee needing to relocate.

          That is life.

          What isn’t life, is Davis’s lack of alternative locations.

    1. Tia Will

      Frankly

      I like much of your analogy about the surgeon as the best person to assess the need for and perform surgery. You unfortunately left out a number of considerations.

      1. Not all surgeons truly put the well being of the patient above their own economic interests. I have seem many surgeries performed for conditions that could have been managed perfectly well using less risky, less invasive….but alas….less lucrative means.

      2. Not all surgeons are equally proficient. Some will refer to others who are more skilled in a particular area. Others will just do the case themselves for the money despite the fact that they know that other available surgeons have a better track record.

      3. Some surgeons will not stop with the minimum surgery needed, but will go “above and beyond” even though the patient does need it in order to be able to bill for the additional procedures.

      I do not believe that as a group, developers and investors are any more or less likely than doctors to act ethically or to put the public interest ( or patient interest) ahead of their own.

      1. quielo

        I used to be shacked up (cohabitating) with a surgeon. Actual conversation:

        “Hi Honey, how was your day?”

        “Not great, I hit the dura and the patient boxed, what do you want for dinner?”

        Sorry David for the OT

         

      2. Frankly

        “Not all” and “some” can be used for every profession.

        This was a comparison to City planning and development officials and our local elected officials and not developers and investors.

        1. Tia Will

          But as in quielo’s example, one surgeon’s small mistake can be the patient’s catastrophe. There in lies the problem with always judging any given impact by your own standard, rather than the standard of the person who is actually affected.

  12. Eileen Samitz

    This proposed idea of amending the General Plan to conditionally allow a hotel anywhere there is business park is a terrible idea. The location of these hotels and the number of them that can co-exist financially needs to be carefully looked at every time one is proposed particularly since there are a number of these land use designated parcels near neighborhoods. So it is important to make sure that these proposals are carefully looked as before greasing the skids to allow them to slip through for the sake of good planning and protecting the quality of life in any potential neighborhoods affected.

    1. Frankly

      The location of these hotels and the number of them that can co-exist financially needs to be carefully looked at

      The change to the general plan does not negate that from happening.  Last I checked this is the responsibility of City planning professionals… something that neither you nor the residents of the neighborhoods are.

        1. Grok

          Interesting Frankly, I can appreciate how there could be a distinction. Can you define what you mean by planning process and post planning process and why citizens should be involved in one and not the other?

        2. Frankly

          It comes down to my experience in best-practices working in large corporations.  There are three types of change stakeholders: support, oppose and don’t care.  Critics are a dime-a-dozen because most people lack visioning capability and are made anxious by change… and so they gravitate to criticism.

          But there is some good stuff contained in the inputs from that anxiety and opposition.

          So you capture it in the discovery and planning process.

          Then there is a milestone where a go or no-go decision is required based on the discovery and plans.  Next step is execution of the plans.

          And any continuing critic that would be materially distributive to the execution of the plans would need to have their employment terminated… if possible… assuming they did not have too much power.  And if they had too much power, as the project manager I would quit the project because I would know that it would end up a failed project.

          After the plans are complete then people need to lead, follow or get the hell out of the way.

          Before the plans are finalized is where they should participate and make sure they do a good job listing all the REAL issues, concerns, risks and impacts they can think of.

  13. Eileen Samitz

    Frankly,

    Thanks for pointing out the obvious, but I was adding the point about the fiscal issue because it is equally relevant to be considered when hotels are being proposed as well as the location and impacts. Hotel proposals are now the new panacea apparently due to the TOT benefit, however the City has already been informed that their orignal study is overestimating how many hotels can be supported in this town. For instance, there was a Howard Johnson hotel at one time along Chiles in South Davis that did not survive.

    1. David Greenwald

      Eileen: Definitely not a panacea, but it is a way to generate a million or two. I agree with you on the danger of overbuilding and I think our analysis there has suggested that PKF is a little too optimistic and a more reasonable rate of growth might be 5% per year

      1. Mark West

        The main complainers about the degree of optimism of the consultant’s reports are the current owners of hotels in Davis (and their friends). They have a vested interest in maintaining the protection from competition that the City has functionally granted them in the past and consequently, their ‘analysis’ should be suspect.

        1. Eileen Samitz

          Mark,

          It would not be there first time that the City had reports that were  “off” in their analysis and frankly, the hotel owners have actual data they they can prove since they are obligated to pay the City the TOT per guest. So while the City’s analysis seems to be based on theoretical projections, the new analysis by the hotel owners is actual data which also seems to make more sense since Davis is not a tourist town, whether we want it to be or not. The last thing we need is another Howard Johnson’s going out of business in town due to overbuilding more hotel space than there is demand for.

          1. David Greenwald

            Didn’t I just read there’s like one or two Howard Johnson’s left in the world (Maine, I believe).

        2. Mark West

          Eileen: “The last thing we need is another Howard Johnson’s going out of business in town due to overbuilding more hotel space than there is demand for.”

          No, the last thing we need is to continue the policy of protecting existing businesses from competition, a policy which has destroyed the City’s fiscal sustainability. Our sales tax deficit came about from our attempts to protect downtown businesses and property owners from competition and look at the results. The City is going broke and the downtown is no longer a retail center, but the property owners are doing quite well.

          The two consultant reports both agree that what the City lacks are upscale, branded hotels (not motels).  The only land in town currently zoned for hotels is downtown and currently occupied.  If we want to add the type of hotels that the consultants agree we need, we can only do so by changing the zoning on land outside the downtown. Those opposing the zoning changes are also opposing the best outcome described by the consultants.

          The current hotel owners in town are just looking for protection from competition to the detriment of the City and the residents.

        3. Tia Will

           their ‘analysis’ should be suspect.”

          I think that it would be safe to say that the existing hotel proprietors want to maximize their profits and the developers and investors in proposed hotels would also like to maximize their profits. What I do not understand is why you would find the “analysis” of one side any more suspect than that of the other.

        4. Matt Williams

          The answer to your question is pretty straightforward Tia.  In any market where expansion of the number of competitors is being contemplated, showing lower market potential numbers makes a stronger argument for not changing the status quo and denying the entry of the additional competitor.  Showing higher potential numbers makes a stronger argument for adding the additional competitor to give the customers more choice and greater price competition.

          In Business School they categorize that existing competitor resistance effect under the term “Barriers To Entry.”

        5. Matt Williams

          Eileen Samitz said . . . “The last thing we need is another Howard Johnson’s going out of business in town due to overbuilding more hotel space than there is demand for.”

          Eileen, it is my understanding that the property and buildings on the HoJos/Days Inn property are owned by people who are different from the people who operated the hotel, and that the long standing and continuing operational problems experienced by both HoJos and Days Inn have been mostly landlord/tenant disputes.  The source who told me that drew a parallel to the recent dispute between Monticello Seasonal Cuisine (restaurateurs Rhonda and Tony Gruska) and their landlord.  The result was the closing of a very high quality, successful restaurant for reasons other than market demand or product/service quality.

          In the case of the proposed Hyatt House, the owners of the property and buildings will be the same as the operators of the hotel franchise.  That eliminates the possibility of the kind of fatal landlord/tenant disputes that killed Monticello, HoJos and Days Inn.  We need go no further than the current Brinley situation in Downtown to get a full appreciation of how much of an impact landlords have on businesses.

        6. Grok

          “In the case of the proposed Hyatt House, the owners of the property and buildings will be the same as the operators of the hotel franchise. “

          There is no grantee that situation will continue, for example, the same developer just sold the Hyatt on campus.

      2. Eileen Samitz

        David,

        I certainly appreciate the revenue that hotels would bring, but as you agree, they should not be overbuilt and they should be located where it makes sense and using good planning principals. They should not be built at the expense of imposing on existing neighborhoods, particularly where they were never zoned to be built.

      3. quielo

        David,

         

        I really don’t understand this whole discussion. In most places the city plan would encourage the hotels to be near the dining/entertainment venues as it would provide value to both as well as adding revenue for the city. Placing hotels in isolated spots will only generate more traffic and less value. I say less value as a hotel on Cowell may provide some proximity advantages over the Super 8 in Dixon but no qualitative advantages like being able to walk out of the hotel and go to dinner/movie/drinks. Hotels are large fixed structures that will be there for a long time. Why not spend a little more effort to encourage their building in a better location? I read about three hotels being built. Two or three hotels in the proximity of downtown would increase foot traffic and  encourage the building of additional retail. It seems to me incredibly foolish to disperse these.

        1. Mark West

          “Two or three hotels in the proximity of downtown would increase foot traffic and  encourage the building of additional retail. It seems to me incredibly foolish to disperse these.”

          Where do you see undeveloped land within the City that is near the downtown?

          Why would you want to increase the traffic coming into the downtown when it is already heavily impacted? Instead of trying to cram everything into a few square blocks, why not consider expanding our economy by dispersing the hotels, restaurants, and retail to other areas of town, particularly our neighborhood centers.

          According to Google Maps, the proposed Hyatt House location is just a 17 minute off-street walk away from the Oakshade Town Center (5 minutes using the hotel’s bikes), where shopping and dining are available. Adding the hotel will likely increase the demand for dining at that center and support the establishment of new options, benefiting the entire community.

           

        2. quielo

          “Where do you see undeveloped land within the City that is near the downtown?”

           

          On Olive of course. With the potential benefit of freeway connections at both ends. The East end with, I believe, only an off ramp from the 80W is not ideal I agree.

          17 minutes walk is way too far for most people and who wants to go to a mall for dinner? Far better is to have a visual and a destination place where you can walk around.

        3. Mark West

          “On Olive of course. With the potential benefit of freeway connections at both ends. The East end with, I believe, only an off ramp from the 80W is not ideal I agree.”

          Immediately adjacent to the UP mainline with multiple trains per day. Sounds like the perfect location for an upscale hotel.

        4. quielo

          “multiple trains per day” I’ve stayed next to trains in upscale places in both Chicago and NY Metro. Next to runways in more cities than I can remember. Still would rather be there than some nowhere place like rosecreek.

        5. Mark West

          “Still would rather be there than some nowhere place”

          That assumes that the existing neighborhood will not change. The site on Olive will likely always be surrounded by apartments and a trailer park with the railroad cutting it off from restaurants and shopping (unless you count Redrum and In-N-out). 10-15 minute walk to downtown through what we keep hearing is the worst intersection in town.

          There is undeveloped land available next to the Hyatt House site providing opportunities for the creation of new amenities in the future if so desired.

        6. quielo

          Based on BP’s mention of the Cafe italia i went down there to eat just now. I stayed at the University park Inn before and had n problems with the trains and it is as close to the tracks as any place on Olive would be. The Richards underpass is not bad for pedestrians.

    2. South of Davis

      Eileen wrote:

      > This proposed idea of amending the General Plan to

      > conditionally allow a hotel anywhere there is business

      > park is a terrible idea.

      Can you be more specific (I hope you are not one of the people worried that hotels might bring “strangers” to Davis)?  Can Eileen (or anyone else) tell me how their life will be different if a “office building” with 50 car trips a day is near their home vs. a “hotel” with 50 car trips a day is near their home?

      > For instance, there was a Howard Johnson hotel at one time

      > along Chiles in South Davis that did not survive.

      The former HoJo at 4100 Chiles is now a Days Inn (two names in 10 years vs. about 5 names in 10 years for the restaurant space at 217 E (Soga’s, Chaat Cafe’, Agave Cafe, Soga’s Again and de Vere’s).  It is interesting how the people of Davis that try and stop development “claim” to be worried about the success of any business that involves development in town yet never mention any worry about all the other business that don’t want to build in town…

      1. Barack Palin

        the people of Davis that try and stop development “claim” to be worried about the success of any business that involves development in town yet never mention any worry about all the other business that don’t want to build in town…

        Precisely the point I’ve been making.

        1. Ron

          BP:

          Perhaps that is something to consider.  However, in my (humble) opinion, people like Eileen are the reason that we don’t have irresponsible/harmful development (such as Covell Village), which likely would have made our financial situation worse.  (Not to mention other negative impacts of that sprawling proposal.)

          In any case, I don’t think that Eileen is against all development.

           

        2. South of Davis

          Ron wrote:

          > In any case, I don’t think that Eileen is against all development.

          Has Eileen told you about some development that she is not against?

          She has been asked and has not responded to a request to list the Davis developments she is in favor of.

          The way things are going with so little development the homeowners blocking development will probably all be able to get over a million for their homes in Davis before moving to Carmel…

           

        3. Matt Williams

          SoD, if my memory serves me correctly (and Eileen will correct me if I have it wrong), Eileen and Dave Morris were the two most consistently vocal supporters of development (specifically housing) on The Cannery.  She supported it during its Lewis Homes incarnation and she supported it in its current New Home Company incarnation.

        4. Grok

          As I understand it Matt is correct about Eileen’s support of Cannery.

          I believe she also supported Mace Ranch (she can correct me if I am wrong). Additional she is currently lobbying the University with great persistence to build extensive new student housing.

          I am sure there have been many other smaller projects Eileen has supported as well but, I take issue with the premise that Eileen needs to prove that she is not no on everything by supporting other projects. Eileen is not on City Council or any City commission. She is a private citizen who has literally dedicated years of her life working on planning issues in Davis. There should be no expectation that Eileen take a position on every project.

          Although I do not always agree with her, I appreciate how much she cares about the city and is willing to put herself on the line to keep Davis a great place to live.

        5. Matt Williams

          Grok’s is a fair assessment of Eileen.  She is true to her beliefs, and she truly believes they are good for the City.  There is no ambiguity with Eileen.  She comes straight at you.

        6. ryankelly

          Eileen signed the online petition with the comment that the project is too tall.  However, the project is slightly shorter than what the zoning allows.  This is not the first time she’s got it wrong.  Remember her aggressive opposition to Nugget Market, which has turned out to be a extremely popular and valuable asset to East Davis and the community at large.  Then there was her sky-is-falling opposition to the KDVS radio tower that was going to blind and disturb the residents of North and North East Davis at night with its blinking aviation warning light.  I would bet that most would find it difficult to even identify the tower from Davis.

          I’m afraid that with Eileen and others jumping on the bandwagon of opposition all constructive dialogue will now cease.  I wonder if the Vanguard has gone too far in its coverage and has just facilitated the building of a mountain out of a molehill.   Instead of just addressing the neighbors issues about privacy, etc., we have people fearing rapists and kidnappers pouring into their neighborhoods, strangers hurling verbal attacks over backyard fences toward children, crashing property values, vague what-ifs, and more.   Meanwhile, the City desparately needs revenue. Our schools are underfunded.

      2. Eileen Samitz

        South of Davis,

        I am willing to bet that you would have a different opinion if this 4 story hotel was being proposed adjacent to your home. One major difference between a hotel and an office building is that an office building is typically open during work hours, not 24/7.

        And on the failed Howard Johnson’s site, that closed business site was vacant for many years before Days Inn came in, and my understanding is that that business is not doing well.

        1. South of Davis

          Eileen wrote:

          > I am willing to bet that you would have a different opinion if

          > this 4 story hotel was being proposed adjacent to your home. 

          Do you live near this hotel (or the Nishi) site?  Why do you (almost) always want to stop development?

          > on the failed Howard Johnson’s site, that closed

          > business site was vacant for many years before

          > Days Inn came in

          Are you sure the “hotel” part of the property was vacant for “many years”.  The “restaurant” part of the property was vacant for “many years” and only recently a paint store opened in part of it (some is still vacant).

          >  my understanding is that that business is not doing well.

          Do you know “why” the business is not doing well?  Some business are just poorly run like the dumpy mall next to the C0-Op that has been mostly vacant for “many years” and the city owned Pacifico apartments that have been mostly vacant “many years” (actually OVER a DECADE in a town with a sub 1% vacancy rate)…

        2. Marina Kalugin

          ha ha….obviously folks don’t have a clue who Eileen is… all of her projects of helping in this town were never in her neighborhoods…

          way before the HJ and other failed hotels at that site, there was an upscale hotel and bar/restaurant that we used to drive across the freeway to…

          from my other low income areas in East Davis …

          of course, even that didn’t make it…even though they were always busy..

          the later incarnations all were dives comparatively ….for eons there was a Denny’s…really?  who needed a Denny’s it was not close enough to the interchanges and so on..

          when my kids were little, as a singly mom I frequented Dennys with the boys…but usually I didn’t choose those kinds of places…

        3. Marina Kalugin

          and some also point fingers at the “dumpy mall”….my friends on WAPF and faculty and others who spent money with seminar speakers and faculty recruitments tried to do everything we could to help Monticello survive despite the dumpy mall and the developer who didn’t give a whatever….

          and now someone else is bringing that up …when my posts on that were “offtopic” and scrubbed away….really…and yours still stand…

        4. Eileen Samitz

          Wow ryankelly, so much criticism from you but you have plenty of opinion mixed in your comments here. Let me clarify a few things you seem to have put quite a “spin” on.

          1) The Nugget was opposed by many, not just me so I guess you feel that the thousands of other Davis residents who signed the referendum also “had it wrong”. Since you did not explain the issue, allow me. It was all about trying to preserve the other anchor grocery stores in the various shopping centers to continue the viability of those shopping centers needed by the surrounding neighborhoods. So the idea was before taking an planning action, we were trying to get the City to understand the detrimental consequences to other shopping centers “going dark” for many years (like Oak Tree Plaza did and the 8th Street Shopping Center after losing their anchor grocery stores) and the loss of so many other businesses in those shopping centers. As it turned out we lost three grocery stores and those neighborhoods, shopping centers, and remaining businesses all suffered for years. So the issue was not about stopping Nugget as much as it was about trying to avoid the consequences of the grocery stores all going to larger sizes, which caused the demise of other grocery stores and shopping centers. In short, the issue was about neighborhood preservation citywide.

          2) The KDVS radio station tower was built right in path of the Pacific Flyway where millions of birds migrate annually and KDVS got a “free ride” by the company building it in exchange for advocating for it. So much for KDVS’  concern for the welfare of so many wild birds and habitat protection.

          Meanwhile, your condescension and lack of diplomacy and seem to know no bounds.

  14. skeptical

    Frankly,

    Throughout all of the development discussions, it has been proven that the City does not have any planners or engage in any competent planning.  Furthermore, we have seen vastly more competence from citizens… many of whom are planning and financial professionals.  Hence, I put more faith in citizens… and in our form of government, that is where our faith and our power belong.

    1. Don Shor

      it has been proven that the City does not have any planners

      I think there are 8 planners on the city staff, if you include 3 who are building techs. If you are claiming they are incompetent, perhaps you should provide your credentials.

    2. Frankly

      In general I can agree that there is a lot of talent in the general Davis population that in many cases exceeds the level of competency of City staff.

      However, two points:

      1. That the general population competency is applied almost exclusively to opposition.

      2. That the general population is not held accountable for the results.

      But I do agree that our City is lacking in planning and economic development sophistication… ironically though probably because the active citizens and their process-corrupting Measure R tool negate the need.

      Just give us half of our land preservation and feel-good environmental program competency and we would have enough.

      1. South of Davis

        Frankly wrote:

        > That the general population competency is applied

        > almost exclusively to opposition.

        Most homeowners in Davis have the majority of their net worth in home equity and when more homes in town (or a hotel behind their home) threatens to reduce the value of the home they own people with work hard to stop the construction of new homes (or a hotel behind their homes)…

        1. Frankly

          The hotel will not reduce their property values.  The improvements of that area will just as likely increase their property values.  Think of the people that live there having a nice place for their visiting friends and relatives to stay.  Tax increases resulting from too little retail and commercial tax revenue will reduce their property values.  Crumbling roads and poorly maintained parks will reduce property values.  A downtown that grows shabby and focused on student entertainment will reduce property values.  Schools that decline because there is not enough young families in town will reduce property values.  A growing population of puckered up retired old people will reduce property values.

    3. Eileen Samitz

      Ron and Marina,

      Thanks for the kind comments, because yes, I am not against all development, and bad planning and projects that impose significant impacts on any neighborhood really bothers me.

        1. Eileen Samitz

          Frankly and South of Davis,

          For the record I supported Wildhorse, Eleanor Roosevelt Place, Carlton House and Cannery.

          And Grok, thank you for the very kind and generous words you posted regarding me earlier in this thread, they are much appreciated. But just to clarify, Mace Ranch came a while was before I was involved in City planning issues. And yes, although you and I may not agree always, I appreciate your observant and analytical comments, which are always well thought through and diplomatic. They are productive since they add information and thoughts to consider to the discussion on the Vanguard.

  15. Tia Will

    Frankly

     I support citizen involvement in the planning process… just not the post planning process.”

    Interesting view point. Let’s take two examples. The current Hyatt extended stay proposal. The developers did make outreach to those most impacted in the planning process which you and I both seem to support.

    Yet, this was not done with Trackside when the neighbors were only informed through an article in the newspaper that the fully planned proposed project was going to start wending its way through the city approval process. And yet you criticized me and many other members of the Old East Neighborhood Association for expressing our concerns at the only time made available to us. How exactly can concerned community members be involved in the planning process rather than the post planning process, when they have not been made aware that planning is occurring ?

    Also how do you feel about the process put forth by Mark West that those who have objections should wait until the completed project is being proposed. That would seem to me to be the antithesis of your point of view. Can you clarify ?

    1. Frankly

      I can clarify.

      So in well managed large organizations (for which our city generally is as far as cities go) there should be bottom-up input into the general strategies and plans.

      Then projects are proposed that fit within and contribute to these strategies and plans (generally the plans roll-up to the strategy and the projects roll-up to the plans).  These projects go through a general feasibility analysis based on a preliminary design.  At this point it does not make sense to involve too many outside stakeholders because most outside stakeholders lack the skills to contribute much in terms of design.  Outside stakeholders can tell you what they don’t like.  And so they are largely useless at this point.

      Then the projects are proposed to the project sponsors and representative stakeholders.  The developer puts together a presentation that the vision-less critic needs to help them “get it”.  All the critiques and opposition and ideas are collected and plan changes are made and a new feasibility analysis is done.  If the project lacks feasibility at this point because of the demands, the project sponsors can seek negotiation to see if there is an acceptable middle ground that can be reached.

      In any case, one the “go” decision is made the critics are done and need to go away.

      One more point… during the time when stakeholders have a say, those making up stuff to stick to the wall need to be dismissed.

  16. Alan Miller

    “conditionally allow hotels.”

    As the City conditionally allows everything, to one extent or another, adding “conditionally” seems like difference without a difference.  I believe the current hotel, as proposed, will be built conditionally.

  17. Grok

    [Hess] explained, “The zoning change for the project (to conditionally allow hotels, and make other changes) would apply to PD #2-12, which is this site and the Davis Diamonds parcel only.”

     
    I wonder how much that increases the value of the Davis Diamonds property. Not that I think they are going to tear down their nice new gym and build a hotel anytime soon.

    1. Matt Williams

      I suspect the underlying land value at that site is close to identical regardless of whether there is a new gymnasium on it or a hotel on it.

      Clearly the value of the improvements on the land are greater for a hotel than for a gymnasium, but the debt incurred to build the hotel is significantly greater than the debt incurred to build a gymnasium, so the net value of the improvements (assets minus liabilities) is probably similar as well.

  18. Marina Kalugin

    interesting, citizens spent many an hour, day, week, month and even year to hammer out the general plans…. that is how those things came to  be…that was all very early on,,, and yet when developers and CC and now the planning department want to get rid of what is in the general plan…

    some here are saying that it is too late to bring up concerns after the fact….that citizens should have made concerns known before…and

    citizens did… early on..  as part of the general plan process …   and the only reason there are issues now is because the developers bought land cheaply and now want changes to suit their idea of maximizing profits…

    and, with those who say that the city lacks “real” planning staff…couldn’t agree with you more…

    any “plans” are developer driven now…. and certainly not what the citizens asked for

     

     

    1. Eileen Samitz

      Marina,

      I have many of the same concerns you have. Our General Plan is citizen-based where so much time, effort, and expense went into creating it by our community. It has been used as a model for general plans by many other communities. Recent issues emerging are not caused by the General Plan, but quite the contrary this document was designed and  written to protect the best interests of our community and the neighborhoods within it.

      In fact, the General Plan is our community’s first line of defense against projects like the Hyatt project and Trackside and who know how many more are waiting in the wings? This is why I am strongly opposing the proposal to add hotels as a CUP to business park designations, many of which sites are near neighborhoods which would be impacted like this Hyatt proposal which would impact the Rosecreek neighborhood.

      So I strongly encourage our community to get involved in the General Plan update process and any attempts to dismantle our citizen-based General Plan. Please feel free to contact me about this at citizens@dcn.org.

      1. Grok

        Very eloquent Eileen. 
         
        The general plan attached to the Hyatt proposal is completely inappropriate, and so is the Change to the South Davis Specific Plan. One project like this should not be cause to throw like zoning out the window for the rest of the city. Further bundling these resolutions into this project has denied them the proper attention they deserve.

        1. Matt Williams

          I agree with Grok and Eileen.  There is no compelling reason that I can see to graft a global General Plan change onto this single-site, specific project application.  Further, the zoning for this site currently is PD 12-02, which exists nowhere else in the City of Davis other than this 2-acre parcel.

          If there is a compelling reason for Staff’s recommendation to change the controlling Floor Area Ratio (FAR) parameters of the Business Park land use designation, then Staff should bring that recommendation forward to Council as an Item of its own.

          Similarly, if there is a compelling reason for Staff’s recommendation to change the controlling landscaping parameters of the South Davis Specific Plan, then Staff should bring that recommendation forward to Council as an Item of its own.

          Both those Staff recommended changes deserve their own focused attention . . . by the Council, by the public, and by Staff.

  19. Eileen Samitz

    Matt,

    Regarding your comment:

    In the case of the proposed Hyatt House, the owners of the property and buildings will be the same as the operators of the hotel franchise.

    The proposal is being made by the same business owner who built and then sold the Hyatt hotel on campus, so there is no reason to believe that he would not do the same with this proposed Hyatt project in the City. So if this new Hyatt fails as the Howard Johnson’s did, due to over-saturation of the market or the odd location, we would then have an enormous vacant hotel on Chiles right near all of these neighborhoods.

    1. Adam Smith

      And if we don’t do something to raise a significant amount of revenue as a municipality, then here is going to be serious reduction in city services and deteriorated  infrastructure, casting a blight on the entire city of Davis.  I’d prefer to take my chances with economic development, in this case, with some proven developers and hotel operators.  Besides, the Hyatt on campus seems none the worse after changing hands.

    2. Adam Smith

      The area is currently zoned for a 3 story office building and other assorted uses.  It is entirely possible for an office building or other use to fail, which would leave the neighbors in the same position as if the hotel fails.  The difference is that with the hotel, the city of Davis has a  reasonable opportunity to earn several hundred thousand dollars in TOT annually, while an office building will deliver much less tax revenue.   Additionally, the patrons of the hotel will easily spend several hundred thousand dollars per year in Davis restaurants and coffee shops, generating additional sales taxes for the city and revenues for the business owners in Davis.

      1. Grok

        Adam, you act as if a project built under under the current zoning rules wouldn’t have to go through it’s own approval process. It would have to, and it would have to mitigate for problems it would cause in the neighborhood too. That’s how the process works.

        Your also wrongly focused on just the number of floors allowable under the current zoning and ignoring that the current zoning and south Davis specific plan would require a very different project.

        A project built under current zoning would:

        Have 2o% of the site  landscaped. The Hyatt has comparatively little landscaping.
        75% of required parking would be completely screened by a landscape berm. This landscape berm would be parallel to I80 and help reduce noise pollution. The Hyatt project has no landscape berm.
        It would be half as dense with a 50% FAR. Instead The Hyatt is proposed with a 100% FAR.
        It would have 3 floors and a smaller foot print. The Hyatt has 4 floors and a bigger foot print.
        It would have room on the property for the developers to build their own green screen and not rely on the city owned green belt.
        There would be room on the property for the buildings to be built without having windows parallel to the houses on Albany. The building or buildings could be at an angle to Albany.

        If I lived on Albany, I would prefer a project built under the current rules.

        1. Adam Smith

          Grok and Eileen –

          As my final post of the evening, it’s clear that the  two of you approach this  differently than me.   We could spend a lot of time  debating a litany of  semantics of zoning code, but it’s more valuable  to focus on the substantive issues, which are fairly easily to digest .  These homes adjoin commercial real estate and are significantly impacted by the sounds, smell and pollution from the traffic on Cowell and  I-80 and the railroad tracks north of 80.  This is not a cocooned neighborhood, devoid of  disruptions.   In fact,  Tuesday night, I learned of vandalism at Davis Diamonds, arson on the greenbelt  and  occasional 18 wheeler trucks  parking on the vacant property.   I  learned that it is difficult for some of the residents of the greenbelt homes to sleep on the side of the houses facing I80.   A building/operation  that provides separation and activity here is much more likely to be a net benefit to the area, rather than an additional burden.

          So, I start with the premise that something is going to built on this parcel.     The parcel is zoned for various types commercial operations which have significant potential to be  more disruptive to the neighborhood  when compared to the hotel use that is under consideration (regardless of the changes to code requested by the developer).      In fact,  once the hotel is constructed, I believe that the Albany backdoor neighbors will ultimately view it as a positive.       Finally, I  come at this from the premise that no citizen – me,  the two of you or the few rose creek neighbors that will actually  live close enough to this property even know that it is there, is more important than the collective needs of the citizens of Davis.     When I combine  the   positive benefits that are likely to accrue to the “city” of Davis (TOT, sales tax and additional revenue to the Davis restaurants and shops),   to the lack of any clear marginal  negative impact (in absolute terms or when compared to other approved uses)  on the neighborhood,  this should be easy approval for the PC and the CC.

           

        2. Grok

          Mr. Smith,

          A building/operation that provides separation and activity here is much more likely to be a net benefit to the area, rather than an additional burden. – A smith

          That is true of a building that would be built under existing zoning and South Davis Specific Plan and under existing rules the development would have less negative impacts on the neighborhood.

          “the positive benefits that are likely to accrue to the “city” of Davis (TOT, sales tax and additional revenue to the Davis restaurants and shops),” (A.Smith)  are all positive benefits that can be realized by building in a hotel in a different location that does not impact a neighborhood as this location does.

          Your projection of easy approval shows a very troubling lack of concern for the neighborhood. I doubt the City Council members would call this an easy vote no matter which side of the issue they are on.
           
          Have a good night.

    3. Matt Williams

      Eileen, there is one significant difference in the Hyatt Place scenario you have pointed out.  UC Davis is both the landowner and landlord at Hyatt Place.  Presidio was the owner of the hotel franchise. but not the underlying real estate.  What they sold was the franchise to operate the hotel.

      In the case of the proposed Hyatt House, Presidio would be both the land owner and the hotel franchise owner.

      With that said, since we are all forecasting future events, it is not unreasonable to present a whole range of scenarios from worst case to best case.  You have presented the worst case scenario.  it is important to acknowledge that worst case scenario . . . and I hereby do so acknowledge it.  It is also important to look at the parameters that might cause that worst case to happen.  One such parameter would be a very poor and contentious landowner/landlord, as in the case of Days Inn/HoJos.  That does not exist in this scenario.  Presidio’s long track record in the hotel marketplace shows evidence of consistent and very high quality hotel operations experience.  Another such parameter would be a poor choice for a brand of hotel.  While the posts earlier in this thread of only one Howard Johnson’s left are inconsistent with the Howard Johnson’s website, which shows  more than 500 hotels operating in more than 14 countries, neither Howard Johnson nor Days Inn have the market reputation of Hyatt, nor do they have the commitment to University towns that Hyatt has. Here is some of what Hyatt is saying about itself.

      “Hyatt utilized its strong balance sheet and industry expertise to launch the Hyatt Place and Hyatt House brands. We are now leveraging that brand equity to recycle capital while maintaining a long-term brand presence in multiple markets,” said Steve Haggerty, global head of capital strategy, franchising and select service for Hyatt. “We believe the renovations planned for the portfolio will help maintain the brands’ reputation as the leading brands in their segments.”

      Hyatt Place hotels continue to perform well in college towns, with the brand’s 24/7 amenities and services at guests’ fingertips. College campuses nearby open Hyatt Place locations include: Ohio State University, University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of California Davis, University of Chicago, and Indiana University. Future plans include executed contracts for Hyatt Place locations near Western Kentucky University, Michigan State University, University of Georgia, and University of South Carolina.

      Additionally, Hyatt Place hotels are well suited for mixed use developments, and current projects include Hyatt Place Baltimore/Inner Harbor, Hyatt Place Charleston/Historic District, and Hyatt Place Boulder.

      Additionally, the Hyatt House brand has been recognized by J.D. Power as “Highest in Guest Satisfaction among North American Upper Extended Stay Hotel Chains.” As a result of guest ratings in the recently released J.D. Power 2016 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index StudySM, the Hyatt House brand led the upper extended stay segment with 856 points, scoring 12 points higher than the segment average.

      Perhaps Presidio was following Hyatt’s example and selling its franchise here in Davis at top dollar in order to leverage brand equity and recycle capital into new projects like the proposed Hyatt House.

      With that said, how has the Hyatt Place performed since the leasehold sale of the newly expanded Hyatt Place in July 2014?  Has quality decreased since the new franchise owners took over, or have they protected their top of the market brand by continuing to deliver outstanding service?

      When thinking about the likelihood of the worst case scenario, those are relevant data points that indicate that worst case is very, very unlikely indeed.

      With that said, I believe there are some very significant fiscal questions that need to be addressed by the applicant at the September 12th public hearing of the Finance and Budget Commission.

       

      1. Grok

        Matt,
        There is no assurance to Presideo will be the long term owner of the property or the hotel franchise. They could sell one or both, just like they sold the franchise on the campus.
        It is a little hard to unearth what the Presideo’s track record is because they don’t even have a working website. http://www.PresidioCo.com

        “Perhaps Presidio was following Hyatt’s example and selling its franchise here in Davis at top dollar in order to leverage brand equity and recycle capital into new projects like the proposed Hyatt House.”

        Perhaps they will do it again by selling the Hyatt house.
         
        I look forward to your withering questioning at the FBC

        1. Eileen Samitz

          I agree with Grok as well on this point. Plus Matt, what about the point that Ron brought up earlier in this thread. Isn’t TOT waived for government-related occupants at the UC Hyatt, which would give it a price advantage and no TOT goes to the City or County for that matter?

          So the on-campus UCD Hyatt would have a lower price advantage to out-compete any of the other City hotels for government-related occupants and would deny any TOT going to our City or the County (since the UCD Hyatt is not in the City).

          These are issues which needed to be flushed out by the City Staff and the Finance and Budget Commission.

        2. Matt Williams

          Eileen Samitz said . . . “Plus Matt, what about the point that Ron brought up earlier in this thread. Isn’t TOT waived for government-related occupants at the UC Hyatt, which would give it a price advantage and no TOT goes to the City or County for that matter?”

          Both the City’s Municipal Code and the County Code are in alignment with respect to exemption of government-related occupants.  They only exempt foreign government employees on official government business.

          Here is the County Code language:

          Sec. 3-7.04. Exemptions from provisions.

          No tax shall be imposed upon:

          (a) Any person as to whom, or any occupancy as to which, it is beyond the power of the County to impose the tax provided for in this chapter; or

          b) Any officer or employee of a foreign government, which officer or employee is exempt by reason of express provision of Federal law or international treaty.

          No exemption shall be granted except upon a claim therefor made at the time the rent is collected and under penalty of perjury upon a form prescribed by the Treasurer-Tax Collector.  (§ 4, Ord. 525, as amended by §§ 1 and 2, Ord. 807, eff. June 29, 1978)

          Here is the City Municipal Code language.

          15.05.030 Exemptions from imposition.

          (a)    No tax under this article shall be imposed upon:

          (1)    Any person as to whom, or any occupancy as to which, it is beyond the power of the city to impose the tax.

          (2)    Any officer or employee of a foreign government who is exempt by reason of express provision of federal law or international treaty.

          (b)    No exemption shall be granted except upon a claim therefor made at the time rent is collected and under penalty of perjury upon a form prescribed by the director of finance. (Code 1964 § 3-7.06; Ord. 367; Ord. 665 § 1)

          Eileen Samitz said . . . “So the on-campus UCD Hyatt would have a lower price advantage to out-compete any of the other City hotels for government-related occupants and would deny any TOT going to our City or the County (since the UCD Hyatt is not in the City).”

          Because of the alignment of the City and County Municipal Code provisions, this statement of yours is incorrect.  There will be no such competitive advantage.

          I will personally ensure that the Finance and Budget Commission will include a comparative analysis of the City and County TOT provisions in its public hearing on September 12th.

        3. Ron

          Matt:  “Because of the alignment of the City and County Municipal Code provisions, this statement of yours is incorrect.  There will be no such competitive advantage.”

          You acknowledged (above) that the county (and presumably UCD) TOT is at least 4 percent lower than Davis’ TOT.  Therefore, someone staying at the campus Hyatt will pay at least 4 percent less TOT, compared to a hotel in the city.

          Perhaps more importantly, you never really acknowledged that you were wrong about the ability of long-term guests to avoid paying TOT to the city of Davis (starting on the first day of their stay), if they have an agreement to stay longer than 30 days.  You then made several (not necessarily correct) assumptions regarding the reason that such a scenario is unlikely.  I challenged you regarding this, but you never responded, other than what I’ve described here.

          I also mentioned the possibility of University involvement (something similar to “master leases”), for hotels.

          This issue can effectively transform extended-stay hotels into “de facto” apartment complexes, with none of the benefits from collecting TOT (at least for the affected units).

          The entire conversation is shown above.

          Are hotels (such as the Hyatt proposal) something that you have an “unstated position” on?  (I suspect it is, given your responses.)

           

        4. Matt Williams

          Ron, Eileen specifically referenced a differential due to differences in government employee exemptions, not a difference in TOT rate.

          Further, the 4% difference in TOT rate will only create a price competitive advantage if the hotels price their rooms at the exact same rate.  The minute that the hotels price their rooms at different levels the price competitive advantage effectively dissapears.

          Even further, virtually all room rates quoted by telephone and/or on the Internet are quoted at the base room rate, and the fully taxed rate is almost always only provided by the hotel reservationist if the caller requests it.

        5. Matt Williams

          Ron asked . . . “Are hotels (such as the Hyatt proposal) something that you have an “unstated position” on?  (I suspect it is, given your responses.)”

          Yes Ron I do have a very clear “position” on hotels, which I have very explicitly stated here in the Vanguard, and Eileen has acknowledged my statement of that “position.”  For your reading pleasure.  Here it is again.

          I agree with Grok and Eileen.  There is no compelling reason that I can see to graft a global General Plan change onto this single-site, specific project application.  Further, the zoning for this site currently is PD 12-02, which exists nowhere else in the City of Davis other than this 2-acre parcel.

          If there is a compelling reason for Staff’s recommendation to change the controlling Floor Area Ratio (FAR) parameters of the Business Park land use designation, then Staff should bring that recommendation forward to Council as an Item of its own.

          Similarly, if there is a compelling reason for Staff’s recommendation to change the controlling landscaping parameters of the South Davis Specific Plan, then Staff should bring that recommendation forward to Council as an Item of its own.

          Both those Staff recommended changes deserve their own focused attention . . . by the Council, by the public, and by Staff.

          There is absolutely no question in my mind that this recommended General Plan change is every bit as significant all by itself as the hotel application is.  It deserves an Item of its own so that the public can make focused comment on it.  procedurally, is the Planning Commission going to give each public commenter 3 minutes to comment on Hyatt House, and an additional 3 minutes to comment on the recommended General Plan change?

          Bottom-line, there is nothing to be gained by grafting a consideration this global General Plan recommendation (by Staff) onto the specific project application consideration.  Nothing  Nada 没有 何も Wala Nichts

        6. Ron

          Matt:

          Yes – I saw your position earlier, regarding changes to the general plan (to allow hotels within business park zoning).

          Do you have a position regarding the Hyatt proposal?

          Again, I sense that you’re reluctant to take a position on a controversial issue.  (Perhaps you really do think that more analysis is needed.)

           

        7. Matt Williams

          Ron said . . . “Do you have a position regarding the Hyatt proposal?  Again, I sense that you’re reluctant to take a position on a controversial issue.  (Perhaps you really do think that more analysis is needed.)”

          I’m not reluctant to take a position on a controversial issue.  What I am reluctant to do is make a prejudgment before all the analysis has been completed.  The Finance and Budget Commission (FBC) will hold a public hearing on the financial aspects of the project on September 12th.  Until that on-the-record public hearing takes place, we really do not have certainty with respect to the “greater good” benefits to the community at large.  I met with two of the neighbors for lunch on Tuesday and virtually all of our hour plus discussion was about the financials.  That was by their choice.  They raised very legitimate questions that I am in the process of ensuring that the FBC fully wrestles with.  Until that FBC hearing takes place any “position” is premature.

          If you have any question about my objectivity and due diligence, I suggest you contact the Rose Creek neighbors directly to get their assessment of my approach.

          BTW, when you sink to the level of ad hominem attacks it is a possible indicator that you aren’t confident in your positions on the issues.

        8. Matt Williams

          Ron said . . . “Perhaps more importantly, you never really acknowledged that you were wrong about the ability of long-term guests to avoid paying TOT to the city of Davis (starting on the first day of their stay), if they have an agreement to stay longer than 30 days.”

          Ron, your comment above show you are thinking with your heart again.  I took the time to seek out the concrete legal language from both the County and the City Municipal Codes . . . and then posted that factual information here for all Vanguard readers to read.  Those facts speak for themselves and spoke for themselves.  They made it crystal clear what the factual situation is here in Yolo County . . . not what it is in Los Angeles County.  It is becoming clearer and clearer that reading and understanding factual and/or legal language is not one of your preferred activities.  You appear to be much more comfortable speaking with your heart, based on gut feel.  I respect that in you, but that method of analysis isn’t one that works for me. I gravitate to the Joe Friday school of analysis, and share the facts I find openly and transparently and dispassionately.

        9. Ron

          Matt:  “I took the time to seek out the concrete legal language from both the County and the City Municipal Codes . . . and then posted that factual information here for all Vanguard readers to read.  Those facts speak for themselves and spoke for themselves.  They made it crystal clear what the factual situation is here in Yolo County . . .”

          Yes, you did.  And, you should be commended for doing so.  But, your conclusion was factually incorrect.  You haven’t disputed that, but you also haven’t (directly)acknowledged it, either.

          Matt:  “You appear to be much more comfortable speaking with your heart, based on gut feel.”

          Another incorrect conclusion.  I don’t have a strong, “gut feel” regarding the Hyatt proposal.  I was interested in pointing out some factors that might affect your committee’s analysis of the TOT.  I’m sorry that you’re not seeing this, and have concluded something entirely different.

          Oh, well.  Don’t know how to bring the potential issue to your attention, if all you see is an emotional response (which really isn’t there).

           

        10. Ron

          Matt:

          Just to clarify, here is a portion of what I wrote, above:

          “I was questioning your other statement:  “appears to be consistent with the way Sonoma County handles stays over 30 days . . . making them taxable for the first 30 days regardless, and possibly taxable for over 30 days if a prior agreement is in place.”

          Based on the code that you (also) provided, your conclusion above seems incorrect (and is the opposite of what’s stated in the code).

          When I challenged you (above), you didn’t dispute it.  However, you then disputed the likelihood of someone intending to stay beyond 30 days.  (I then disputed your assumptions, regarding this likelihood.)

          Not really seeing a lot of emotion, on my part at least.

           

        11. Matt Williams

          Ron, you need to go back and reread my 2:14pm comment (here is the link to that comment  http://www.davisvanguard.org/2016/08/commentary-potential-general-plan-amendment-supporting-hotels/comment-page-1/#comment-332243 )  I have bolded the portions of the legal language that very directly answered your question.  The language “unless there is an agreement in writing between the operator and the occupant providing for a longer period of occupancy” pertains to the days after 30 not the days before 30.  I think you may need to brush up on you business law course material.

          Regarding exemptions, California Law lets each individual jurisdiction decide its exemptions.  The Davis Municipal Code TOT language reads as follows:

          15.05.030 Exemptions from imposition.

          (a)    No tax under this article shall be imposed upon:
          (1)    Any person as to whom, or any occupancy as to which, it is beyond the power of the city to impose the tax.
          (2)    Any officer or employee of a foreign government who is exempt by reason of express provision of federal law or international treaty.
          (b)    No exemption shall be granted except upon a claim therefor made at the time rent is collected and under penalty of perjury upon a form prescribed by the director of finance. (Code 1964 § 3-7.06; Ord. 367; Ord. 665 § 1)

          With that language Davis has clearly stated “We want to collect the maximum dollars possible, and as a result have made the exemptions as few as possible.”

          That same principle has guided the way Davis handles 30-day stays.  Section 15.05.010 of the Municipal Code, which contains the TOT Definitions, appears to be consistent with the way Sonoma County handles stays over 30 days . . . making them taxable for the first 30 days regardless, and possibly taxable for over 30 days if a prior agreement is in place.

          Transient. Any person who exercises occupancy or is entitled to occupancy by reason of concession, permit, right of access, license or other agreement for a period of thirty consecutive calendar days or less, counting portions of calendar days as full days. Any such person so occupying space in a hotel shall be deemed to be a transient until the period of thirty days has expired unless there is an agreement in writing between the operator and the occupant providing for a longer period of occupancy. (Ord. 2468 § 1, 2016; Code 1964 § 3-7.01; Ord. 367)

           

           

        12. Ron

          Matt:

          I’m still coming to the opposite conclusion from you:

          “Any such person so occupying space in a hotel shall be deemed to be a transient until the period of thirty days has expired unless there is an agreement in writing between the operator and the occupant providing for a longer period of occupancy.”

          This states that the first 30 days are NOT subject to TOT (starting from the first day), if there is a written agreement in place to stay longer than 30 days.  And, anything beyond 30 days is also NOT subject to TOT.

          In other words, guests are not considered “transients” – starting from the first day of occupancy, if there is a written agreement in place to stay longer than 30 days.

          Jury (Vanguard Commenters)?

           

           

        13. Matt Williams

          “Any such person so occupying space in a hotel shall be deemed to be a transient until the period of thirty days.”

          Jaime Escalante would approach this understanding by saying “We will go step by step, inch by inch. Calculus was not made to be easy. It already is.”

          So, for a resident who will be staying for 45 days in total, on Day 1 of that 45-day stay, do they fit the definition of Transient?  The simple answer is “yes, they do.” So, since they are a Transient on Day 1, they have to pay TOT like any other Transient.

          On Day 2 of that 45-day stay, do they fit the definition of Transient?  The simple answer is “yes, they do.” So, since they are a Transient on Day 2, they have to pay TOT like any other Transient.

          On Day 3 of that 45-day stay, do they fit the definition of Transient?  The simple answer is “yes, they do.” So, since they are a Transient on Day 3, they have to pay TOT like any other Transient.

          On Day 4 of that 45-day stay, do they fit the definition of Transient?  The simple answer is “yes, they do.” So, since they are a Transient on Day 4, they have to pay TOT like any other Transient.

          On Day 5 of that 45-day stay, do they fit the definition of Transient?  The simple answer is “yes, they do.” So, since they are a Transient on Day 5, they have to pay TOT like any other Transient.

          On Day 6 of that 45-day stay, do they fit the definition of Transient?  The simple answer is “yes, they do.” So, since they are a Transient on Day 6, they have to pay TOT like any other Transient.

          On Day 7 of that 45-day stay, do they fit the definition of Transient?  The simple answer is “yes, they do.” So, since they are a Transient on Day 7, they have to pay TOT like any other Transient.

          On Day 8 of that 45-day stay, do they fit the definition of Transient?  The simple answer is “yes, they do.” So, since they are a Transient on Day 8, they have to pay TOT like any other Transient.

          On Day 9 of that 45-day stay, do they fit the definition of Transient?  The simple answer is “yes, they do.” So, since they are a Transient on Day 9, they have to pay TOT like any other Transient.

          Skipping forward to Day 28 …

          On Day 28 of that 45-day stay, do they fit the definition of Transient?  The simple answer is “yes, they do.” So, since they are a Transient on Day 28, they have to pay TOT like any other Transient.

          On Day 29 of that 45-day stay, do they fit the definition of Transient?  The simple answer is “yes, they do.” So, since they are a Transient on Day 29, they have to pay TOT like any other Transient.

          On Day 30 of that 45-day stay, do they fit the definition of Transient?  The simple answer is “no, they do not.” So, unless they have an agreement in writing between the operator and the occupant providing for a longer period of occupancy as a Transient, they do not have to pay TOT for Day 30.

          On Day 31 of that 45-day stay, do they fit the definition of Transient?  The simple answer is “no, they do not.” So, unless they have an agreement in writing between the operator and the occupant providing for a longer period of occupancy as a Transient, they do not have to pay TOT for Day 31.

        14. Ron

          Matt:

          I’m not sure why you’re posting this long-winded nonsense.  If you look at the disputed text, everything that you posted is meaningless (and only serves to reinforce your incorrect conclusion).

          So far, no one else has weighed in.

           

        15. Matt Williams

          Ron:

           

          It is pretty clear why I took you through the step-by-step approach.  Until a resident reaches 30 days, each individual day of their stay qualifies as Transient, and under the provisions of the Davis TOT, a Transient day of stay is subject to TOT.  What I posted is a day by day proof statement for that individual day’s room charges.

          If you look at the undisputable text, everything that you posted is meaningless (and only serves to reinforce your incorrect conclusion).

        16. Ron

          Matt:

          “Step-by-step” approaches don’t work, if your first step is incorrect.

          I’m pretty sure that my reading comprehension skills are at least as good as yours.  And, those skills are telling me that you’re wrong.

          Still waiting for others to “weigh in”.

          1. Don Shor

            Still waiting for others to “weigh in”.

            This all just seems like a very, very long ‘what-if’ that has very slight chance of happening on any regular basis. But if the council is concerned about it, they can write “no master leases” into the development agreement so that, at the very least, the hotel owner has to come back for a council vote to change it.
            I think the planning commission is on the right track, that the main concern is the privacy of the neighbors and efforts should be made to mitigate that. I see no point in any amendment to the General Plan as proposed by staff.

        17. quielo

          Here is the wording from LA County which may not be relevant:

          What if I stay longer than thirty (30) days?

          “Any person who has a written agreement with the operator, entered into within the first thirty (30) days of the person’s occupancy, which states the person will stay for more than thirty (30) consecutive calendar days is exempt from the TOT, for the first 30 days of the person’s stay. Only in this instance is the first thirty (30) days of this person’s stay not taxable. To be entitled to the exemption, anyone who meets the above eligibility requirement is required to submit the completed Transient Occupancy Tax Over Thirty Day Stay Exemption Application Form to the operator. The Transient Occupancy Tax Over Thirty Day Stay Exemption Application Form is then kept on file by the operator.”

           

          Could Davis prohibit hotels from renting rooms for more than 30 days?

          Some jurisdictions do not exempt state employees. From Orange
          “Q. Are certain guests exempt from paying the Transient Occupancy Tax?

          A. Yes. In general, Foreign Dignitaries, all on-duty employees for the American Red Cross, Federal Credit Union employees on official business, and Federal Government employees on official business are exempt. The guest must complete the City of Orange Certificate of Tax Exemption form, which must be kept by the hotel operator (O.M.C. 5.16.040). Note: State Government, County, and local government employees are not exempt. Contractors hired by government agencies are not exempt. Non-profit groups are not exempt.”

        18. Matt Williams

          Actually quielo, the first half of that FAQ is very helpful, and if that is the intention of the Davis language then Ron is right.  The second half of the FAQ doesn’t apply to Davis because the only exemption that either the City or Yolo County offer is for the foreign dignitaries on official business for their foreign country.

        19. Ron

          Thanks for your responses quiello, Don, and Eileen. 

          Matt:  “Actually quielo, the first half of that FAQ is very helpful, and if that is the intention of the Davis language then Ron is right.”

          So now you’re acknowledging this possibility (at least), after repeatedly stating that my statements were incorrect and based on emotion, and that I needed to “brush up” on business law, etc.?  And (without acknowledging or addressing the possibility that you were wrong), engaging in lengthy arguments regarding the probability that some guests do, in fact, intend to stay beyond 30 days at extended-stay hotels?

          You’re right about one thing, though.  I finally became thoroughly irritated (“emotional”), regarding your responses.  I find your responses condescending, at times.

          It appears that Eileen had the same understanding of the law as I did (below).

           

           

        20. Matt Williams

          Ron, you and I approach due diligence in very different ways.  I accept that.  You more often than not start with a preconceived outcome and then diligently work toward accumulating evidence that supports your preconceived outcome.  This dialogue is an excellent case in point.  You (rightly and correctly) achieved confirmation that some Extended Stay residents will stay more than 30-days.

          I have no preconceived outcome in mind, only to accumulate relevant facts in preparation for ultimately making a fully informed decision.  You and Eileen and quiello have done an excellent job of teasing out the intended meaning of the over 30-day provision.  Having reset my misunderstanding of that provision, I’ll translate that into a projection of dollars and cents impact on the City’s revenue stream.  Thank you for helping me do that.  It will be good input into the FBC deliberations about revenue certainty on September 12th.

          One thing I don’t understand is why you approach dialogue as a competition.  I suspect I never will understand that.

        21. Ron

          Matt:   “You more often than not start with a preconceived outcome and then diligently work toward accumulating evidence that supports your preconceived outcome.”

          Nope.  I looked at the code, and understood what it meant.

          Matt:  “I have no preconceived outcome in mind, only to accumulate relevant facts in preparation for ultimately making a fully informed decision.”

          Nope.  You looked at the code, and misunderstood what it meant.  And then, went on and on to defend your misunderstanding.

          “Having reset my misunderstanding of that provision, I’ll translate that into a projection of dollars and cents impact on the City’s revenue stream”

          I guess that “reset my understanding” is another way of saying that you have now realized that you were wrong.

          Matt:  “It will be good input into the FBC deliberations about revenue certainty on September 12th.”

          I hope so.  Due to the effect on TOT, that was my intention.

          Matt:  “One thing I don’t understand is why you approach dialogue as a competition.  I suspect I never will understand that.”

          Not a competition.  But, when a member of the finance and budget committee (and candidate for council) is incorrect about an issue that affects finances (and a proposed hotel development), and goes on and on to defend the incorrect position (while implying that my response is driven by emotion, ignorance and competitiveness), it’s something to point out.

          Perhaps a better response from you might be more along the lines of, “I was incorrect, and I apologize for incorrectly implying that your response was driven by emotion, ignorance, and competitiveness.  (But, it seems that it’s difficult for you to acknowledge when you’re wrong.)

        22. quielo

          Ron: “Nope.  I looked at the code, and understood what it meant.”

           

          You could be a little more gracious. I feel somewhat embarrassed in supporting your position. Matt often posts valuable content and freely acknowledged that another interpretation may be correct.

        23. Ron

          quiello:  “You could be a little more gracious.”

          I apologize to you, for making you feel uncomfortable in supporting my position.

          With Matt, it’s a different story.  Take a look at the entire thread, and you’ll see that he stated that my response was driven by emotion, ignorance, and competition.  His final response continued along those lines, without directly acknowledging his misunderstanding.

          When someone is wrong about something, there’s no shame in directly acknowledging it, and apologizing for disparaging remarks made along the way.  I find a lot of Matt’s responses to be unnecessarily long, deflecting, condescending, and (frankly) self-promoting.

          I stand by my response to Matt.  (And yet, I realize and acknowledge his good points, as well.  He provides a wealth of information, for example.)  I don’t view him as a bad person, and I have no doubt that he’s a smart guy (and generally polite).

          Since Matt is on the finance and budget committee, and is a candidate for council, I probably do hold him to a different standard, compared to other commenters.  (I hope that everyone would.)

           

        24. Matt Williams

          Ron, you may want look at my 10:10 pm comment.

          Actually quielo, the first half of that FAQ is very helpful, and if that is the intention of the Davis language then Ron is right.

          With that acknowledgement out of the way, let’s address the point you made last night “I find your responses condescending, at times.”  What you are “hearing” in my responses to you is not condescension, but rather frustration.  That frustration stems from your pattern of making the points you make in a free standing format, and rarely put those points into the larger context.  The point you have made about TOT exceptions for stays longer than 30 days is a perfect example.  The larger context for those exceptions is the economic impact of those TOT exceptions on the total TOT collections.  Do you expect those exceptions to be 50% of the total stay days?  40%?  30%? 20%? 10%? 5%? 1%? Less than 1%?  Said another way, what is the quantitative impact of the point you are making?  You rarely ever translate your qualitative points into quantitative terms.

          When I said “You appear to be much more comfortable speaking with your heart, based on gut feel” that was a reflection of the fact that you almost always limit your arguments to qualitative measurements that have to be assessed subjectively rather than translating them into quantitative measurements that can be weighed objectively.

          When I parroted back your own words to you “everything that you posted is meaningless (and only serves to reinforce your incorrect conclusion).” that was a failure on my part to practice intellectual discipline, and I apologize to you for that failure, and the personal insult it contained.  My choice of the word “emotion” was also unfortunate.  As noted above “qualitative” would have been a much better word choice  to describe the pattern I was observing.

          In your post above you have labeled my use of the terms “emotion” and “competition” as insulting to you.  If those terms insulted you, please accept my apology for the insult.

          I don’t think you can find anywhere where I either called you ignorant or even implied that you were ignorant, but perception is reality, and since your perception is that I called you ignorant, please accept my apology for having created that qualitative perception.  It was never my intention to do so.  I responded to your calling my efforts at quantifying my interpretation as “meaningless nonsense” and that was a failure of discipline on my part.  If you had simply responded to my laid out logical assessment with an explanation of how your logical assessment differed we could have compared the logical divergence and resolved the difference amicably, and then proceeded on to putting the lost TOT amount into the context of the total TOT collections.

        25. Ron

          Matt:  “That frustration stems from your pattern of making the points you make in a free standing format, and rarely put those points into the larger context.”

          One has to start off by understanding the code, before moving on to context.  Now that you understand the code, perhaps you and your committee can move on to the potential impact.

          Alternatively, perhaps the city could essentially eliminate the impact/risk, by implementing a suggestion such as quielo’s?

          Matt:  “If you had simply responded to my laid out logical assessment with an explanation of how your logical assessment differed we could have compared the logical divergence and resolved the difference amicably, and then proceeded on to putting the lost TOT amount into the context of the total TOT collections.”

          I tried to do that, by repeatedly pointing out your misunderstanding of the code (including the key word which I believe that I put in bold text – “unless”).  It seemed that you were more focused on what you perceive to be my personality traits and motivations, and perhaps couldn’t see beyond that.

          Matt:  “In your post above you have labeled my use of the terms “emotion” and “competition” as insulting to you.  If those terms insulted you, please accept my apology for the insult.”

          Thank you.  And I apologize if you have labeled my earlier use of the term “long-winded nonsense” as insulting to you.  If that term insulted you, please accept my apology for the insult.  (Just copying the text of your apology.) 

           

           

           

  20. Eileen Samitz

    Adam,

    I am willing to bet that if this enormous 4-story Hyatt hotel was proposed in your neighborhood, you would feel differently. It is not ok to cause such significant impacts to an existing neighborhood in the name of hoping to bring in ore revenue which is likely to not happen because the market would be over-saturated.

    There are better locations for an extended stay hotel than next to this neighborhood and between the 1) expansion of the one hotel being proposed, 2) the ability for the City to support only one more hotel which can be better located just off the I-80 ramp at Mace, plus 3) the Embassy Suites Hotel proposed, this additional Hyatt with all of its impacts, makes no sense to be approved next to the Rosecreek neighborhood.

    1. Adam Smith

      Well, I’d like to take your bet, because if my neighborhood adjoined that parcel, I’d welcome a high end hotel as opposed to the other potential uses.     The land is currently zoned for a 50 foot tall office building or other assorted uses.     In my view, this hotel is preferable to an office building or industrial use.   The office building would bring more traffic and the industrial use could bring manufacturing sounds, 18 wheeler  trucks or  smells that would be much damaging to the ambiance of the neighborhood.  Finally, the hotel will block a significant amount of I-80 noise (and pollution) from the houses on Albany.  As we know from one of the Albany neighbors who testified at the PC, it is nearly impossible to sleep in the bedrooms on the backside of the houses that back up to the greenbelt.

      Finally, I’d be willing to bet that you and the neighbors would be putting up a similar fight if there was a 3 story office or industrial building being built there.  I’d be willing to bet this is more about “something” being built, as opposed to a hotel being built.   It’s just that the change in zoning is the easiest, cleanest argument that can be made now.

      1. Grok

        Adam, As stated above, you are completely over looking many of the key difference there would be between a project built under existing zoning and South Davis specific plan. I think your right, if there were a big office building looming over the Albany houses the neighbors would object too, but under the existing zoning the site would have half the density and there would be more options to change the design to make it fit in with the neighborhood. The building smaller density would result in a smaller footprint giving more room on the site to mitigate for the neighborhood concerns.

      2. Eileen Samitz

        Adam Smith,

        Wow, this is pretty tough talk regarding you welcoming a four-story hotel in your neighborhood. Well why don’t we take a poll on your neighborhood and see what your neighbors think? Where is your neighborhood and I think we can arrange that? Also, we can explain what your position is so they can discuss it with you. Just let us have your contact information so your neighbors can know who is advocating for a hotel in their neighborhood and so that they can get in touch with you to discuss this further.

        What the Rosecreek neighbors are interested in, and I would agree, is a use that is compatible with their neighborhood period… just like any neighborhood would.

  21. Marina Kalugin

    the HRC is disbanded?

    GATE is no longer Special Ed??

    wow, and I even skimmed the DE religiously ..though there were some weeks that they would pile up and I would finally give up….

     

  22. Eileen Samitz

    Adam Smith,

        Finally, I  come at this from the premise that no citizen – me,  the two of you or the few rose creek neighbors that will actually  live close enough to this property even know that it is there, is more important than the collective needs of the citizens of Davis.

    So Adam this is where we do really disagree.  The General Plan designations and the zoning that was in place when these home owners purchased their was what agreed to accepting when the vacant parcels nearby were developed. Those uses for business park type facilities were acceptable uses which would not have caused the negative impacts that a hotel would bring. So no, the City should not change the General Plan to allow hotels in this or other business park designations, many of which are near other neighborhoods as well. And the City should not impose this hotel on the Rosecreek neighborhood or any other neighborhood unless the neighborhood was in full support of it.

    So from my perspective, it is not ok to impose this hotel use or any other major change of zoning on any neighborhood that would be detrimental to it for the sake of the City as a whole. The major point of having a General Plan is to have good planning, not selling out one or more neighborhoods for the sake of the rest of the City, otherwise why even have a General Plan?

    1. Tia Will

      The major point of having a General Plan is to have good planning, not selling out one or more neighborhoods for the sake of the rest of the City, otherwise why even have a General Plan?”

      Conceptually, I believe that Eileen has this right. Another way of approaching this could be to offer to buy out the most impacted neighbors at current market price ( either the City or the developer could make such an offer , since one of the concerns stated was decreased market value) if they really believed the project held enough economic benefit to the community  or the investors/developers. I have not heard this even mentioned as a potential option. The houses then on the market could be held or sold to individuals who are fully aware of the enterprise that will be located directly behind their homes and welcome it.

       

      1. Matt Williams

        Tia, another possible solution could be to have the neighbors make the rest of the City whole for the lost revenue in exchange for prioritizing the neighborhood’s specific wellbeing over the perceived “greater good” the community would realize from the increased revenues.

        1. rosecreek

          Matt Williams

          as a member of the budget and finance committee is it appropriate for you to be advocating for the Hotel prior to the committee hearing it?

        2. Matt Williams

          rosecreek, can you point to a single statement that has been an advocacy for the hotel?  You can’t.  I have very judiciously focused on not advocating either for or against the hotel.

          With that said, I am open minded, and would very much like to understand what statement of mine you perceive is advocacy.

        3. Tia Will

          Matt

          another possible solution could be to have the neighbors make the rest of the City”

          Except for the fact that the first is possible, while the second is not. I can buy the “greater good” argument when there truly are not other options. I cannot buy it when other alternatives exist as I believe they do. I am still not ready to take a position one way or the other on this project, but I do not believe that just because some citizens have more money ( and thus can acquire land) or are better connected, that the most impacted citizens should also be left with the “mitigations” felt appropriate by others with no compensation for their own perceived losses.

        4. Matt Williams

          Tia, when I say the rest of the City, I am referring to the taxpayers across the length and breadth of the City.  For instance if we assume a rounded off number of 16,000 parcel tax taxpayers, a fiscal decision made by the City leaders that adds $1.6 million to the City’s annual revenues “saves” each of the 16,000 taxpayers $100 per year.  Similarly, a decision to abandon a $1.6 million of annual revenues “costs” each of the 16,000 taxpayers $100 per year.

          Thus in the above, wholly theoretical “greatest good” scenario the impacts of making a decision that mitigates the “impacts” for a few, creates “impacts” for the whole . . . and vice versa.

    1. Matt Williams

      Grok said . . . “It is not just that the amendment to the general plan allows hotels.  It allows hotels and doubles the density.”

      Eileen Samitz said . . . “So the impacts would be even greater. Thanks for adding this info.”

      There is absolutely no question in my mind that this recommended General Plan change is every bit as significant all by itself as the hotel application is.  It deserves an Item of its own so that the public can make focused comment on it.  procedurally, is the Planning Commission going to give each public commenter 3 minutes to comment on Hyatt House, and an additional 3 minutes to comment on the recommended General Plan change?

      Bottom-line, there is nothing to be gained by grafting a consideration this global General Plan recommendation (by Staff) onto the specific project application consideration.  Nothing  Nada 没有 何も Wala Nichts

  23. Eileen Samitz

    Matt,

    I am a little confused on your 8:59 pm post interpretation of the Municipal code language on TOT:

    “Any such person so occupying space in a hotel shall be deemed to be a transient until the period of thirty days has expired unless there is an agreement in writing between the operator and the occupant providing for a longer period of occupancy.”

    The operative word is “unless” which is saying that any impending TOT which is normally applied, is not applied if there is an agreement from the beginning that the person will be there longer than 30 days. So I came to the same conclusion as Ron in that there would be no TOT collected from day 1, as long as there was an agreement from the start that the person will stay beyond 30 days.

    1. Matt Williams

      Fair enough Eileen.  There would be less ambiguity (that quielo’s very helpful post cleared up) if the sentence read “Unless there is an agreement in writing between the operator and the occupant providing for a longer period of occupancy, any such person so occupying space in a hotel shall be deemed to be a transient until the period of thirty days has expired.”

      I agree with your statement, “there would be no TOT collected from day 1, as long as there was an agreement from the start that the person will stay beyond 30 days.”

      1. quielo

        It seems that this issue could be cleared up by statute. Since there is an initiative around rentals as has been thoroughly discussed in TV would it not be possible to have two different licenses, one that allows one to enter into agreements of 30 or more days and one that allows for only agreements of 29 or less days. As the FAQ above states it does not matter how long someone stays, only whether an agreement to rent for more than 30 days is entered into. For an extreded stay hotel people can stay as long as the want by renewing their agreement every 28 days. It may be that the hotel can enter into an agreement for longer than 28 days as long as it is not a particular unit though I am not an attorney.

        1. Ron

          quielo:

          Your suggestions above (basically to ensure that hotels cannot allow stays longer than 30 days) might address the concern, and ensure that the city receives TOT from all guests.  Perhaps something for the city to consider.  If so, perhaps the city could propose something which states that no guest can stay at a given hotel longer than 30 days (out of some particular period of time).

          1. Don Shor

            The city has no reason to care how long someone stays. They just want the tax. That is what any statute or agreement should focus on.

        2. quielo

          According to the LA FAQ people can stay as long as they like. They can’t sign an agreement to do so at the beginning of they stay however. Again this is often the case where the facility or the municipality wants to avoid people from converting from transient occupancy to tenancy. Often SRO hotels do not want people to become tenants as they they have to go through formal eviction so they just require a new agreement every 28 days or make the people move to a different unit every month.

  24. Tia Will

    Matt

    In Business School they categorize that existing competitor resistance effect under the term “Barriers To Entry.”

    I think that this point of view overlooks the effect of  “barriers to successful coexistence”. Our society has almost unquestioningly chosen to idolize the idea of competition. From my 30 years in medicine within the Kaiser system I have seen that collaborative practice can lead to improvements in systems and improved outcomes. Competition is  not always necessary for success.

    1. Matt Williams

      Well said Tia.  In an ideal world that would indeed be true, but in this particular situation I think we are far removed from that ideal, and the players are acting in their own interests.

    2. quielo

      Kaiser as a whole has competed against other healthcare options, including “do nothing”, for those entire 30 years. In the world of competition “do nothing” is the undisputed heavy hitter BTW.

  25. Adam Smith

    Those uses for business park type facilities were acceptable uses which would not have caused the negative impacts that a hotel would bring.

    This is also a major point of disagreement.    Why is it that you think a hotel is a more negative impact than an office building (a couple of hundred employees coming and going morning, noon and late afternoon – some of them coming or going 4 days/day)  or light manufacturing/office space that would likely have distribution capabilities – thereby bringing 18 wheeler trucks into the area?  My perspective on this is that the only “real” issue here is potential loss of privacy for 3 or 4 homes (and not very different at all from the same privacy issues as a office building would bring) – and I  believe that the Applicant can and will mitigate the privacy issues.

  26. Tia Will

    Adam Smith

    “Why is it that you think a hotel is a more negative impact than an office building (a couple of hundred employees coming and going morning, noon and late afternoon – some of them coming or going 4 days/day)”

    I am neither for nor against this hotel proposal at this point in time. However, I do have a couple of responses to your question.

    1. If one’s concern is about the number of times that their children will be exposed to individuals with whom they are not acquainted on a regular basis, the hotel has an obvious disadvantage. People who frequent an office building are usually stable employees who will frequent the business on a daily predictable basis or perhaps regular customers of that business. What they will not encounter with these businesses is a steady stream of new comers with no permanent ties to the community as will occur with a hotel.

    2. Exactly what you said in your post with regard to timing. With an office building or manufacturing plant, you will have people coming and going morning, noon, and late afternoon, but typically not in the evening, night, and on weekends…..prime time for kids to be playing on the greenbelt or walking back and forth to Davis Diamonds.

    1. Adam Smith

      Tia – I’d like to reply, but  I’m not sure I follow your argument – is it that the hotel brings in guests and that those guests pose a greater threat to children at Davis Diamonds or who live in the neighborhood than do employees who may work in an office building?

       

       

       

       

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