Monday Morning Thoughts: Should Neighbors Dictate Time and Place Restrictions on Community Needs?

Location of Proposed Hyatt House
Location of Proposed Hyatt House

A group of neighbors have posted a Change.org petition asking the council not to approve zoning changes that would allow a proposed four-story, 120-room Hyatt House Hotel to be built along the I-80 frontage next to Davis Diamonds.

According to the petition, “Current zoning will not allow buildings taller than 3 stories and it will not allow a hotel. If this property is rezoned by the City Council, we believe there will be negative impacts on our neighborhood.”

Their main concerns:

  • Significant increase in “strangers” in and around our neighborhood (just because it’s a Hyatt doesn’t mean only good/well intentioned people stay there)
  • Significant increase in foot and car traffic (added to the 35 homes they are currently building on Cowell and the 69 units at New Harmony opened a few years ago = 104 new units PLUS 120 hotel rooms!!)
  • A business running 24 hours 7 days per week in our back yard (literally in the back yards of many ALBANY homes)

They also note:

  • Lack of restaurants and services for guests.
  • No easy freeway access to this location.
  • Hotel guests will be able to see directly into neighbors homes and yards – especially after the tree removal and trimming suggested by the tree study commissioned by the developers.  (suggests removal or  trimming of up to 35% of the foliage of 16 of the 23 trees)
  • It just doesn’t make sense to have a hotel here – that’s why its NOT zoned for a hotel.
  • There are other hotel proposals that won’t be so close to neighborhoods.

The petition has generated 148 supporters to date.

The council recently put a measure on the ballot that would increase the city’s TOT (Transient Occupancy Tax) rate.  As the city looks at revenue sources, some believe that the city is under-performing in terms of its total TOT and its TOT per capita.

The council has approved the Embassy project on Richards Boulevard, but that project remains in limbo, facing legal challenges despite rumors in July that a settlement agreement might be approaching which would allow the project to move forward.

In addition to the proposed Hyatt House, there is also a proposed Residence Inn across the street from Target, which could also be an extended stay hotel, but with MRIC (Mace Ranch Innovation Center) in limbo, it remains to be seen as to whether that project would be viable.

One of the key questions that the council will have to weigh is the concerns of the neighbors versus the needs of the community.

Davis last year took in just $1.27 million in TOT tax revenue, that’s a per capita TOT of $19.  By contrast, San Luis Obispo (with two-thirds the population) takes in a whopping $6.8 million in TOT.  Other university towns also fare better – Boulder with 97,000 in population takes in $6.5 million or $67 per capita, College Station, home to Texas A&M, takes in $5.5 million or $55 on its 100,000 population, and Chico takes in $2.3 million or $27 per capita.

Davis, meanwhile, is struggling to stay ahead of its neighboring communities – Woodland takes in $1.1 million, West Sacramento $1.1 million and Vacaville $1.3 million.

In a community starved for tax revenue, TOT is seen as one possible avenue to generate additional dollars.

But not everyone agrees on the proper approach.

In early December, the Vanguard ran a story, “Can Hotels Be the Short-Term Revenue Fix That the City Needs?” Citing projections from PKF Consulting, which was privately commissioned to do a study on the market demand analysis, it was believed that four new hotels could generate between $1.5 and $2 million in new revenue for the city just by themselves.

That led Councilmember Brett Lee to wonder why the city should take the risks of developing 200 acres for a research park, “when I can go and the city council can approve a hotel on two acres and get $500,000 a year pretty much guaranteed?”

But current hoteliers told the Vanguard in January that hotel rooms are boom or bust in terms of occupancy, and most of the year, during the week, there are excess rooms, leading them to believe that the actual leakage of hotel revenue is thin.

Basically, from Sunday through Thursday, hotels have trouble booking rooms, and it is only on the weekends, mainly Friday and Saturday, where hotels approach 70 to 80 percent capacity.

In November, the city contracted with HVS Consulting & Valuation to prepare an analysis of the Davis hotel market to provide an analytical and objective context to assist the city with the review of the applications for the Hyatt House and Residence Inn, two of the proposals for new hotels. The council last fall had already approved the Embassy Suites Hotel Conference Facility at the site of the existing University Park Inn & Suites and Caffé Italia restaurant. That site will include a six-story 132-room Embassy Suites hotel and 13,772 square feet of conference space.

In a staff report, “HVS analyzed scenarios for hotel development in Davis, with the existing room supply and the addition of Embassy Suites as the baseline. Impacts of adding additional hotels were projected. HVS concluded that the near-term development of a conference hotel facility with the addition of an extended stay hotel to be built shortly thereafter would be most beneficial to visitors, the City of Davis, other hotels in the market, and the overall community.”

However, HVS concluded that “the addition of another hotel, specifically another extended-stay facility, would not benefit the market for another four to five years after the initial extended-stay hotel has opened.”

Bottom line – there are plenty of questions about when and where  and how much we ought to build additional hotels. The city has limited locations for hotels within the existing boundaries of the city and the clear need for revenue – but they have to do it correctly.

The council needs to weigh these considerations very carefully, as the future of the entire community hinges upon getting this right.

—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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106 Comments

  1. quielo

    “A group of neighbors have posted a Change.org petition asking the council to approve zoning changes that would allow a proposed four story, 120 room, Hyatt House Hotel come in along the I-80 frontage next to Davis Diamonds.”

     

    Isn’t this the opposite of the intention?

      1. hpierce

        Yes the video is very telling… can’t see into any of the back yards… yet, the video is used as ‘proof’ that that will happen…

        The tree trimming proposed is for the trees on-site, not the trees abutting (in the City greenbelt)… an “inconvenient truth” for the NIMBY’s.

        Yet, there was another hotel/motel along what is a “frontage road”… over by Ensenada… it failed, after about 10 years… the site has struggled since… the restaurant that was a part of it failed first.  Finally, a Denny’s moved in… it failed… then there was an Abe’s… it failed… Caffe Italia looked at the site, big time… then backed off.

        I just hope that the right decision is made for the right reasons.

        The fact the developer/applicant is pursuing this, implies that they don’t think they will fail… they are putting their money on the table for processing the application, etc.

        So far, the arguments against seem bogus/contrived.  The arguments for, are thin.

         

         

        1. Adam Smith

          hpierce –

          I think the case is compelling for at least 2 hotels, and probably all 3.     Regardless, the Embassy Suites project is in serious trouble because it doesn’t make sense economically and we don’t have any other approved hotel.   Lets get something built, then worry about whether we need more.

        2. Jim Frame

          Yet, there was another hotel/motel along what is a “frontage road”… over by Ensenada… it failed, after about 10 years… the site has struggled since… the restaurant that was a part of it failed first.  Finally, a Denny’s moved in… it failed… then there was an Abe’s… it failed… Caffe Italia looked at the site, big time… then backed off.

          That site is owned by a sleazebag who stiffed me on $5k worth of work.  I sued and won, so with interest the judgment is theoretically worth over $10k.  But last time I checked he was judgment proof.

           

        3. Tia Will

          hpierce

          So far, agree with you that the drone video does not seem to support major problems with direct line of sight into back yards and houses. It also seems that this was taken at a time when there had been significant leaf drop, so that aspect may improve once the trees are in full leaf and would at most be a cyclic issue. Perhaps Don could make some suggestions about fast growing plants as part of a denser green screen as a possible mitigation.

          Another concern however that I have not seen addressed is what impact the lighting from a 4 story hotel might have on the houses directly behind the hotel. Might be worth looking into to see is there would be substantial impact that could be mitigated.

          I am not sure that I understand the argument about the safety of children in the area. If there is any substantial data to suggest that children living in proximity to an upscale, extended hotel are at increased risk of anything, now would be the time to present that information.

        4. Matt Williams

          Tia, if Adam Smith’s information about the zoning is correct, then the allowable height of any proposed building is 50 feet.  Given that, how is the light shed by the (reportedly) 48 foot  building going to be any different than the light shed by a 50 foot building?

        5. Marina Kalugin

          in the late 70s/early 80s, that same hotel had a truly happening restaurant/night club…not sure why it closed or when exactly….before it was a Denny’s…it was always packed and the hotel was new at the time….

          stuff happens…and owners change…and so on…..

          but, I keep going back to – why even have a general plan  – home owners may depend on it being accurate when they purchase their homes, but developers just propose whatever  regardless of that …

          why does anyone need any other arguments ” against”….that in itself should be more than enough to bounce it out of the water…

           

      2. tj

        The question is whether people who buy property, or plan to rent long term, can depend on the zoning of the neighborhood.   If a city is unpredictable with its zoning, people will be cautious about buying property in that city.

  2. South of Davis

    David wrote:

    > A group of neighbors have posted a Change.org petition

    > asking the council to approve zoning changes

    An easy solution to the problem could be to take the estimated income from the hotel and divide it by the number of people that sign the petition and send them a bill.

    This would be a “win-win” since the neighbors would keep their vacant lot, freeway views over the fence and the smell of diesel smoke from trains and big rigs while the city would get more tax revenue.

    P.S. To David and Highbeam after reading the petition it sounds like the neighbors DON’T want the “council to approve zoning changes”…

  3. Marina Kalugin

    yep the wording is sure odd…

    but what really should happen is that the developers should be held to task for causing these problems…

    developers should not be allowed to buy up land that is cheaper due to the use it was in the plan for…and then try to get there way with a noncompliant project..

    the developers should be told to go away and bring a general plan compliant plan….. that is how it should be…

    again, blaming people who did nothing wrong…  except expect the city and council to do their jobs and hold the “developers” accountable   – fat chance with the bunch “in charge” these days…

     

     

      1. hpierce

        All the homes in Rosecreek were ‘planned’ by developers, and required a new General Plan and a South Davis Specific Plan to implement… your point?

      2. Tia Will

        You do realize that there is no General Plan compliant project – all planning right now is by General Plan exception?”

        Yes, and many of us see this in and of itself as a major problem. My position would be either change the General Plan, or build within its guidelines. This would avoid the obviously subjective and bias driven process of “counting to three” to influence enough CC votes regardless of whether that is done by a potential developer or by change averse property owners ( for whatever reason since we all obviously believe that our own perspective should prevail).

      3. Grok

        The site that the hotel is proposed for could have a general plan compliant project that is a 2 story revenue generating business. It is the developers that are asking for a change in zoning.

        1. David Greenwald

          Do we know that a two story would have generated revenue? How much would the tax difference be? It seems like we’re flying blind on these points.

        2. Grok

          Do we know that a two story would have generated revenue? How much would the tax difference be? It seems like we’re flying blind on these points.

          Agreed, because nothing specific has been proposed. The other side of the equation cannot be overlooked either. How would a business that complied with current zoning have impacted the neighborhood differently?

          1. David Greenwald

            My view at this point is that we don’t have enough information to make a decision one way or another. So I am staying neutral on the issue of whether we should build a hotel there and how big. That said, I’m not sure why three stories is the big issue.

        3. Grok

          I half agree with you David, I do think the fact that zoning is being changed to allow an extended  stay hotel is the larger  issue because it is a more intensive 24 hour operation that draws in many more “strangers” from out of town, and those strangers will have a view into the neighboring houses back yards and windows. Knowing that there is a similar proposal for a similar extended stay hotel by Target and the Mace off ramp makes it much easier for me to say it is not appropriate to change zoning to build something that impacts the Rosecreek neighborhood like this hotel would.

          Lets also not forget that this hotel is  being built next to the Davis Diamonds gym one of the premier kids facilities in Davis. I have questions as to the appropriateness of that placement and would like to hear what the owners and families from Davis Diamonds think of this.

        4. David Greenwald

          As a father of a Davis Diamods member who goes there about ten hours a week, I don’t see it as a big problem.  I do question the need for one out by Target unless there will be an innovation center.  But at this point, I’m agnostic on the location.

        5. Adam Smith

          Grok –

          The parcel is currently zoned for a 3 story, 50 foot tall building.  The hotel will be less than 50 feet tall, but they have requested 4 stories.    I posted the code yesterday which shows the myriad of uses that this parcel is zoned for, several of them would be more intrusive than a hotel ( office building, hazardous waste, gas stations,  manufacturing, potentially even “sex-oriented” businesses).     In the event that someone wanted to build one of those zoning compliant uses, the neighborhood would have no say in the matter.

           

      4. Marina Kalugin

        yes, that is also what the complaints are…why even pretend to have a general plan when the developers don’t honor it, and the CC and city planners/builder department don’t hold anyone accountable…

  4. PhillipColeman

    Taking the column title literally, the answer is no. No individual or community group can have dictatorial power to control public policy of any type. That authority rests (in this case) with the City Council. This Council decides by majority rule of publicly chosen representatives, not by dictatorship.

    Persuade three people on the City Council and you have, or don’t have, that hotel. The determination is very simple. The process–well, that’s another story, and another, and another. If these three people vote against your wishes, you call them a “gang” and nobody listened to your reasoned pleas.

    If your self-interest is in the shadow of the proposed hotel, your objectivity is also shadowed and suspect but you fail or refuse to recognize bias. If the hotel site is miles away, most local people don’t particularly care.

    Emotions conflict with data and facts. When facts are absent, speculation and “potential” is substituted–as shown in the petition wording. The potential for “strangers” to patronize the proposed Hyatt is doubtless true, as most visitors from another area stay at a hotel. But these unfamiliar people possessing some undefined negative connotation would imply that world-wide travel and tourism be abolished and everybody stay home.

    1. Adam Smith

      Good point Phil.  And why would any of us stay at a hotel when we are traveling, when we are apparently likely to be surrounded by “strangers”.    Most hotels have fences around the back of the parcel to protect THEIR guests and cars from the locals….   It seems more likely that the neighborhood would have trouble from people walking or biking the greenbelt than from a hotel guest.

  5. Grok

    Should Neighbors Dictate Time and Place Restrictions on Community Needs?

    This title is wrong. it should be written, Should developers be allowed to change zoning to allow for a hotel over neighbors concerns?

    1. Mark West

      “Should developers be allowed to change zoning…”

      Developers do not change zoning, only the City can do that. As I explained yesterday, requests for zoning changes are a normal part of doing business and the best way for cities to evolve to function in a changing environment. There is no way that all contingencies can be foreseen when writing zoning regulations, especially when they were written decades before.

      We don’t have two projects to compare for this site. The evaluation is between this project and no project, not this project and some idealized hypothetical.

        1. Mark West

          We will need both of those hotels 5 years out, and it will likely take that long before these two and the convention center are all operational.  We should not be choosing between the two options but looking to build both if they are well designed and have their financing in place.

        2. Grok

          If hotel developers decide there is value to them in building an additional extended stay hotel in Davis, then I am sure they will propose to build on another site if the Rosecreek neighborhood site doesn’t work out. Especially after they see the more appropriate Mace site for Marriott approved. Its just too bad they didn’t line up a better site to start with.

          1. David Greenwald

            I have a few disagreements with this…

            The developers can’t exactly jump from location to location. They have access to land at this location. Second, I’m not sure how many sites are available in the city that would accommodate a hotel. I still don’t agree that the Mace site is more appropriate if there is no innovation center across the street.

        3. Barack Palin

          I still don’t agree that the Mace site is more appropriate if there is no innovation center across the street.

          Where are you coming up with this?  How many hotels have innovation centers close by?  There’s no innovation center near the Rosecreek site either that I’m aware of.  If anything the Mace/2nd St. site is the better location because of freeway access.

          1. David Greenwald

            I am coming up with this based on conversations I had with a number of the hoteliers. The idea of the extended stay was to serve a specific clientele, people who were coming here for specific business whether it research or temporary work who are not doing to live here long enough to get an apartment. The other site is at least semi-close to the university and therefore would serve that clientele. But the Target site is way far out from the university, so why would you stay there unless there is a place that you would go to work?

        4. Grok

          The distance between the 2 locations is marginal. They are with in 1 freeway exit from each other and guests of either are likely to drive to their temporary work or research. this really is not an issue. if anything the mace site is better because it has easier freeway access.

        5. Marina Kalugin

          many students live in apartment complexes near the target…and they take the unitrans to campus… or ride a bike …it is an easy straight shot to the campus…

          the location next to Davis Diamonds is not even served by a busline – at least I haven’t noticed a line taking that route down chiles…

          easier on and off from the freeway on that side, at lease for now still..

          also no need to cross over at the impacted Richards tunnels…… can head to downtown or campus and bypass that nightmare.

           

           

        6. davisresident

          Marina, I did a quick look over the Unitrans routes.  There seems to be at least two bus lines in close proximity, one driving directly by the proposed hotel location on Cowell.

        7. davisresident

          I wonder if Unitrans plans on adding an additional stop outside of Hyatt if the proposal is approved.  As the hotel would be providing rooms to visiting professors, I wouldn’t be surprised if they did.  Does anyone know if Unitrans works w/ the city on identifying bus stops?

      1. Grok

        As I explained yesterday, requests for zoning changes are a normal part of doing business and the best way for cities to evolve to function in a changing environment. 

        Fair enough Mark, but having these requests denied is a normal part of doing business too.

        Also true that there are not 2 projects to compare for this site. The request for rezoning has to be evaluated based on the impacts the new zoning would have on the neighborhood based on the proposed project alone. We can also consider that there is a very similar project being proposed simultaneously in a more appropriate location.

        1. Mark West

          “a very similar project being proposed simultaneously in a more appropriate location.”

          Not simultaneously. One project is ready to go in front of the Planning Commission, and one is still an idea on paper.

          As to the ‘more appropriate location’ part of your comment, that is open to debate. Your ‘concerns’ about one being located next to Davis Diamonds is a stretch at best, and probably more a sign of the degree of desperation in your opposition. I don’t have an issue with the site by Target and when that project is ready for the Planning Commission it should be considered as well.

          The City has no place deciding winners and losers, so there really should be no comparison between the two projects. They are separate projects and should be evaluated in turn, based on their location, design, the developer’s financing and their ability to complete the project.

        2. Grok

          OK, Mark, near simultaneous would be a better way to state it.

          If you cant see how an extended stay motel being built next to a facility that caters to kids has a possible long term negative outcome your not paying attention.

          First, once the zoning is changed, we have no reason to believe that the extended stay motel will always be the attractive Hyatt in the proposal, but even if it is the proposed brand and quality reasonable parent could have concerns.

        3. South of Davis

          Grok wrote:

          > If you cant see how an extended stay motel being built next to

          > a facility that caters to kids has a possible long term negative

          > outcome your not paying attention.

          The South Davis Days Inn is next to a gym with a children’s daycare (that lets people from Days Inn use the gym) and is located between a McDonalds (with a kids play area) and the Merryhill Preschool.

          I’ve been “paying attention” (for years even back when the gym had a kids tennis program next to the Days Inn) and have not seen or heard any “negative outcome”.

          P.S. Maybe Davis can let us know if any of the South Davis Motel 6 guests ever wander over to Pioneer and scare his kids…

        4. Barack Palin

          I am already talking with several other Davis Diamond parents. they are mostly not thrilled with the prospect of an SRO extended stay hotel next door.

          I’m having a hard time believing this.  Why would they care?  So are you saying they got their new building in that area but to Hell with another new business locating there?

        5. Marina Kalugin

          Motel 6 has been the armpit of this town for a long time… murders, drug deals gone wrong…gang activity….more than any other motel/hotel in this area….   I don’t know if the “residents” have ever gone over to harass students at pioneer or the day care center, but that was (is?) one of the roughest locations on this south side.

          If that is no longer the case, I would love to have someone share that it is cleaned up….

          Also, due to the  nearby freeway exit, there are way more breakins at homes and cars, stolen cars and vandalized vehicles from those who come from elsewhere and cause some trouble and exit quickly back to where they came from.

          again, if that is no longer a problem, please feel free to quote the “evidence”…but for many a year, those concerns were regular features in the local paper….

           

        6. Mark West

          Grok:  “I am already talking with several other Davis Diamond parents.”

          You are clearly working in the ‘throw everything at the wall and see what sticks’ mode of opposition, but in the hope that you still have room for rational analysis, why don’t you talk to the owners of the gym?  Who has the greater risk? The parents of little Jenny who were made uncomfortable by your description of the project, or the owners of the business who have their livelihood on the line, servicing the needs of 100’s of little Jenny’s. It is easy to stir up ‘concern’ among the uninformed, but much harder to sway the opinions of an existing business owner. What do the owners of Davis Diamonds think about the project Grok?  Let us know.

        7. South of Davis

          BP wrote:

          > I’m having a hard time believing this.

          > Why would they care?

          Since most parents in this town are shocked that I let my under 18 kids ride their bikes from “South of Davis” to “Downtown” I’m betting that the parents who worry that their kids will be kidnapped of they ever let them out of their sight (much less ride under I80) are the ones that are worried that visiting professors from UCLA or MIT staying in the hotel will be running in to the new Davis Diamonds building and grabbing 12 year old girls off the uneven bars and taking them back to their rooms.  Just because a Google search of “extended stay hotel guests kidnapping young gymnasts” has zero results does not mean that it can’t happen (or that junior high kids on their bikes can’t be kidnapped and sent to China and forced to work making iPhones)…

      2. Tia Will

        requests for zoning changes are a normal part of doing business and the best way for cities to evolve to function in a changing environment. There is no way that all contingencies can be foreseen when writing zoning regulations, especially when they were written decades before.”

        While this is certainly true as written, you have presented only one side. It is equally true here in Davis that requests to not make zoning changes are also a normal part of doing business, and of just living life in general. It is also true that not all contingencies can be seen by those who wish to develop as well as those who write zoning regulations. One contingency that seems to frequently be overlooked or inadequately accounted for is what happens to hotel occupancy if there is another major recession or depression. One thing that I would appreciate would be a “best case/worst case scenario”. I know it is more typical to present only the rosey picture, but I maintain what I have stated before, the developers are at an advantage since they are professionals in this area with specialized knowledge of the downside risks as well as the potential benefits. I would love to hear a balanced presentation of the pros and cons from them directly, rather than the sometimes less than realistic objections that are put forth by wary neighbors who are not experts in the field of community planning and do not have the advantage of the big picture and how to present it.

        Obviously these considerations are not arguments for or against this particular proposal, or additional hotels in general. This is simply an observation that these choices are not unilaterally good for the community or bad for the community, but a call to assess all the risks and benefits and to take the concerns of those on the opposing side seriously until they have either been demonstrated negligible, or have adequate mitigation.

        From my knowledge of the Hyatt proposal to date, it would seem like the developers are doing due diligence in communicating with the community and attempting to address issues as they arise rather than springing a completed proposal fully formed on the community and hoping for that magic three number on the City Council.

        1. davisresident

          Grok, can you elaborate?  What do you mean by “due diligence”?  Are you referring to the studies/research?  Outreach efforts?  Or something else?  Checking on their website, it looks like a lot of studies are posted.  Are certain studies missing? And, from their timeline section, it reads that they held 3 community outreach meetings.  Is that true from your knowledge?  Can you clarify a bit so I can understand?

        2. Grok

          Funny how Matt Williams isn’t posting on this matter.One would think as a perpetual candidate for City council he would want to take a position on something so important to a neighborhood.

        3. Marina Kalugin

          due diligence for a developer should start with acknowledging and respecting the general plan zoning…

          and not trying to shove their  idea of what could make the most money for them, above what the families were buying when they likely did their due diligence and chose to live near a “business park” rather than a 24/7 extended stay hotel.

           

           

        4. Matt Williams

          Not that funny/strange Grok.  I left at 6:30 this morning for a day trip to the Bay Area and just got settled back in here in Davis a few minutes ago at 7:30.  Catching up on the day’s postings now.

          My position is pretty straightforward.  We have a process for handling project applications.  We have a process for considering zoning variances.  There is some uncertainty about what the zoning regulations are that apply to the parcel.  The Enterprise published the information you quoted yesterday.  The public record of the City appears to indicate different information.

          I sent Debbie Davis and Felicia Alvarez an e-mail yesterday asking them to double check their information.  Debbie responded to me this morning as follows, “Thanks for your eagle eye. Felicia will look into this and respond.  Best, Debbie”

          There also appears to be some question about how robust/sufficient the neighborhood noticing of the three meetings the developer hosted for the neighbors, so homework about that noticing needs to be done.

          Bottom-line, there is a lot of evidence to gather about this project both from the immediate neighbors perspective and the community-as-a-whole perspective before taking any position.

        5. Bill

          For the sake of transparency and continued dialogue, the neighborhood engagement process involved three meetings:

          Meeting #1: July 16, 2015 (prior to project submittal to the City of Davis)
          Location: Bill Habicht’s home in Rosecreek
          Invitations Sent To: Neighbors living directly on the Davis greenbelt on Albany Avenue
          Method of Invitation: Invitations taped to neighbors’ front doors
          Number of Attendees: 1
          Action Taken: Incorporation of participant input into project submittal
           
          Meeting #2: July 28, 2015 (prior to project submittal to the City of Davis)
          Location: Southfield Greenbelt Play Area (directly behind Davis Diamonds Gymnastics)
          Invitations Sent To: Neighbors living within 500 ft of the project site
          Method of Invitation: Invitations taped to neighbors’ front doors
          Number of Attendees: 3
          Action Taken: Incorporation of participant input into project submittal
           
          Meeting #3: January 10, 2016
          Location: Davis Diamonds Gymnastics
          Invitations Sent To: Neighbors living in the Rosecreek Neighborhood as defined by Nextdoor.com
          Method of Invitation: Mailed invitations to neighbors within ~650 feet of the project site and public invitation on https://nextdoor.com/neighborhood/rosecreekca–davis–ca/
          Action Taken: Complete plan revision including reducing height of building, reducing height of tower element and moving building 15 ft. further north to reduce perception of height from neighbors perspective.  Creation of neighborhood engagement site, http://hyattdavis.wpengine.com (posted on Nextdoor.com), with all plans, studies, FAQs and other project documents as well as a mechanism for neighborhood input.

        6. Matt Williams

          Marina said . . . “due diligence for a developer should start with acknowledging and respecting the general plan zoning…

          and not trying to shove their  idea of what could make the most money for them, above what the families were buying when they likely did their due diligence and chose to live near a “business park” rather than a 24/7 extended stay hotel.”

          Marina, one minor correction to the specific wording of your point.  The second paragraph should read as follows:

          and not trying to shove their  idea of what could make the most money for them, above what the families were buying when they likely did their due diligence and chose to live near “an industrial administration and research (I-R) district providing an environment exclusively for and conducive to the development and protection of modern, large scale administrative facilities, research institutions and specialized manufacturing organizations” rather than a 24/7 extended stay hotel.”

        7. Grok

          Rev. Bill,

          how many attendees at meeting 3?

          As to meetings 1&2, did the fact that you had so little attendance, basically no attendance, worry you at all that you had given effective notice to the neighborhood?

        8. South of Davis

          Grok wrote:

          > Funny how Matt Williams isn’t posting on this matter.

          > One would think as a perpetual candidate for City council

          Does running for city council once now make you a “perpetual candidate” (Matt lived “East of Davis” for years and couldn’t run for a council seat)…

        9. Matt Williams

          Bill, thank you for sharing that information.  It is helpful as far as it goes, but it also prompts the following questions:

          (1) for the July 16, 2015 meeting, how many homes were the invitations delivered to?

          (2) for the July 16, 2015 meeting, did any of the deliveries of the invitations to the homes include a face to face discussion?

          (3) for the July 28, 2015 meeting, how many homes were the invitations delivered to?

          (4) for the July 28, 2015 meeting, did any of the deliveries of the invitations to the homes include a face to face discussion?

          (5) for the January 10, 2016 meeting, how many homes were the invitations delivered to?

          (6) for the January 10, 2016 meeting, how many neighbors attended?

      3. Matt Williams

        BP said . . . “There’s no innovation center near the Rosecreek site either that I’m aware of.  If anything the Mace/2nd St. site is the better location because of freeway access.”

        For the record BP, the last time I checked the Interland business park is “near the Rosecreek site.”

  6. Barack Palin

    Seems to me that the neighbors could do a lot worse than having a hotel behind them. The hotel will be buffered by a “greenbelt” with many trees plus hotels tend to be quiet.  They could end up with a lot worse neighbors than a hotel.

  7. Barack Palin

    rumors in July that a settlement agreement might be approaching which would allow the project to move forward.

    I hope the city isn’t considering paying any money to the litigants.  I know I will be highly pissed off if they do.

    1. hpierce

      Pretty sure that would be covered under the applicant’s agreement with the city, for processing… but am  not 100% sure… if City actions/inactions were primarily at cause, it gets “muddy…

  8. Frankly

    Hey Davis NIMBY idiots (and you know who you are), this is what happens when you block all peripheral development.  Look in the mirror for why all those taller building are being proposed.

    Let me help you understand where you earn the “idiot” identifier.

    Davis is growing.

    The region is growing.

    You don’t live in a small rural town.

    You live in a small urban city that is experiencing REAL growth needs.

    This isn’t a developer pursuing “if I build it they will come” projects (I would be on-board to oppose those types of developments), this is development filling a pent up demand.

    The city of Davis has failed to build enough commercial property.  Our local economy is about half of what it should be.

    And those that block peripheral development better get ready for tall buildings next door despite their idiot failure to contemplate the consequences of their active opposition to everything.

    [moderator] Please read and follow the Vanguard Comment Policy. Any further generic insults will be edited or removed without notice. http://www.davisvanguard.org/about-us/comment-policy/

    1. hpierce

      Frankly… get a clue… using the word “idiot” has been ‘copyrighted’ by another poster… why would you go down to his/her/its level, and diminish any credibility you have?  Not logical…

      1. Frankly

        hpierce, here is the definition I am relying on:

        someone who acts in a self-defeating or significantly counterproductive way

        There is a need to make people accept their own medicine.  They block peripheral development and then cry a river when the height of the infill increases.

        Failing to recognize that this is a logical consequence of their previous actions is a clear indication of idiocy.

        If they don’t like having taller buildings close to their precious residential lifestyle, then agree to allow them to be built on the periphery.

      2. hpierce

        Frankly… you hear, but do not listen… get a clue… I have refuted the opponents of the project… I have also pointed out the possible downsides of the project for the proponent…

        By your definition, you are a true “idiot” in responding to my post the way you did.  Deal with it.

        [moderator] No more name-calling, please.

  9. Marina Kalugin

    I see as I am toning down, that the others are using many of my choice phrases….and yet, the real issue is still being missed.

    Developers have it all figured out….that parcel languished for many years…it was not valuable enough as a business park…no one wanted it…the price went down.and the developers sprung into action

    Did they care about the zoning?   no they assumed because of the decades of precedents that they would get their ways.. and their way is how could they eke out the most bang for their bucks?

    Of course, they may not have bought it if they expected the city to honor the many months of city and citizen input on creating a  logical general plan…

    And, of course, looking at the current council and what they give away, overlook and finally approve whatever a developer comes forward with….well… that is the real issue.

    There is no -one protecting the hen house from the wolves these days…

    that is the true side of this story….

    sure, that may be a nice complex…why not put it where it belongs, next to the other such hotel on the campus?

    it is rarely about the “project” …it is because of the impacts that the developers don’t truly care about…it is because the project doesn’t belong there..

    how do I know that?

    because it is not already zoned for that…  duh…

     

  10. Tia Will

    Grok

    The distance between the 2 locations is marginal. They are with in 1 freeway exit from each other and guests of either are likely to drive to their temporary work or research. this really is not an issue. if anything the mace site is better because it has easier freeway access.”

    This is only relevant if the people staying at the hotel are going to be using a car. While most might initially, if easy access to shuttle service or rental bikes were available, then the closer site becomes the more desirable. Increasingly, the university and start ups will be using the services of millennials who are not as wedded to the mandate of having a personal vehicle available at all times as the boomers were. Zip car, uber  and other such services may also provide an increasing share over standard rentals or company provided cars over the next five years which is the time frame we seem to be referencing.

    1. Grok

      Tia, I think that is an idealized view of how the hotel will be used, but the practical reality is people who travel for work and use hotels like this tend to be pretty focused on work, and will generally be from places that have more of a car based culture (because almost everywhere has more of a care based culture). Being located closer is is obviously easier to bike, but the number of people who will be opting to bike from a place like that is very minimal.

      1. Tia Will

        Grok

        I like to think of my view as aspirational rather than idealized. There was a time when Davis was very remarkable for its bike culture. I think that here, we have the opportunity to reclaim a leadership role in clean transportation. I also think that the timing is great for this. For those in their 40’s, 50’s and above, I believe that many are so entrenched in the use of the privately owned automobile that there will be no influencing them. However, for those in their 30’s and younger, I think that there is a clear trend away from the use of the private automobiles in cities. And on this point, Frankly is correct. Davis is a small city. We should be providing and promoting, in all of our new developments, excellent public and non polluting means of transportation. We can serve as a model that those who come, and see alternative transportation in action can take back to their own communities to share in ways that best fit that community. If we are going to lead in research and in educational excellence, should we not also lead in healthy living and environmental excellence ?

        This is a choice that we are making as a community. As Frankly is fond of pointing out, change is inevitable and should be embraced. But that is the antithesis of modeling the behaviors of 50 years ago no matter how entrenched they have become. We should be planning for a better, healthier future, not embracing an unhealthy and destructive past because that is the norm.

        1. Grok

          Hi Tia, I agree with about the bike culture here, and I am a big fan. I am also a realist that short term extended stay guests are not the most likely participants in the bike culture.

          more generally, I would like to see all Davis hotels have rental or loaner bikes available, or a larger bike share share program introduced in the city. I just think core area hotels are more likely to have them widely used.

  11. davisresident

    I spoke with one of the owners of Davis Diamonds Gymnastics.  They fully support the Hyatt House proposal and hope that the project is approved.

      1. Marina Kalugin

        and, we all love redrum…they even have stuff which I can eat…not that easy to find in Davis…

        of course, the proposed new location of the proposed new Hyatt will bring in more people and since it is not going to adversely affect their location, as a business man more new people is always better …

        usually, right? so that is interesting that the owner of redrum opposes….

        I would bet there is more to the story…what is it…please elucidate….

         

    1. Marina Kalugin

      one of the owners?  how nice…of course, they may like the hotel next door….families of participants of “meets” would “live” next door while their beloved children are participating in activities….so lovely

      then the owners can leave to their own quiet neighborhoods at any time…any wild parties at night will not be within earshot….and will not be their problem…

      those who invested their life savings will not be able to do that….

      and, is that the same Bill who is one of the developers,  who is posting about having invited residents to a couple of meetings, and hardly anyone showed?

      one of the tactics which developers love to use, is to “invite” too late so no-one can possibly attend, then point out that “there is no opposition” since no-one attended or little, if only a few attended…

  12. Tia Will

    Grok

    even if it is the proposed brand and quality reasonable parent could have concerns.”

    I can assure you that I have been paying attention. And although, I have heard it repeated that parents have concerns, I have not heard it stated explicitly what those concerns are and how the parents came to feel that this would be a problem. For example, is there evidence of problems with such proximity in the past in other locations ?  Have there been instances of problems with proximity of extended stay hotels to other sporting or other child oriented venues ?  If this is just a theoretical concern, then I think it is incumbent upon the concerned parents to state as much rather than just anticipate that their unfocused angst is going to be enough to persuade others to oppose this proposal.

    1. Ron

      Tia:  “I do have a strong interest in improving the process by which developers choose to engage the communities that are most likely to be impacted by their proposals from a combative to a collaborative process.”

      Not intending to pick on this particular statement, but I’ve seen this thought expressed a number of times by others (including Matt).

      The thought I had was that (depending on the particular development), neighbors might be flat-out opposed to any given development/change in zoning, regardless of any “outreach” efforts.  Developers and neighbors often have two entirely different sets of goals.  Therefore, I doubt that a collaborative approach will consistently work (although it doesn’t hurt to try, I suppose).

      I suspect that (more often than not), developers and supportive city officials will use/schedule “outreach meetings” as an excuse to proceed with a given development (even if neighbors clearly state their opposition).  (Hey, at least we had XX number of meetings to “inform” the community of our plans.)

      Of course, it’s possible that neighborhood concerns will have an impact on design (which will satisfy the majority of concerns), but I kind of doubt it (in this case). Seems like there’s quite a few who signed the petition to oppose it.

      I guess we’ll see, regarding other proposed developments in Davis.

       

      1. Matt Williams

        That’s a very legitimate concern Ron.  If a proposal has impacts on the City as a whole, then I would expect that the members of the community who are “impacted” would/should step up and share their thoughts about those impacts.  If the only people who speak up are the neighbors (in your scenario saying “not in our neighborhood”) then the decision by the Commission and the Council (if appealed) would in my opinion be a pretty straightforward rejection of the zoning variance request.

        Bottom-line, what I believe both Tia and I are looking for is a very active public engagement process with the Planning Commission and Council getting both high quantity and high quality input.

      2. Tia Will

        Ron

        I doubt that a collaborative approach will consistently work (although it doesn’t hurt to try, I suppose).”

        I agree that this is a legitimate concern that in any given neighborhood there will be those that will possibly be opposed to any development proposal. However, there will also be some who just don’t care and a larger number who would probably be amenable to change if it were either within the previous zoning and/or design guidelines or if they had some input to the variances if the project cannot be adjusted to be within guidelines.

        So while it is true that not everyone will be willing to collaborate, I believe that in most cases the majority of those somewhere in the middle will be willing to work in good faith with the developer to achieve a win-win ( or at least a win-can live with)solution. But from personal experience and observation of other situations, nothing brings a community together in opposition faster than the feeling that they are being lied to and/or railroaded whether the perception is true or just based on poor and belated communication.

        1. South of Davis

          Tia wrote:

          > I agree that this is a legitimate concern that in any

          > given neighborhood there will be those that will

          > possibly be opposed to any development proposal.

          > However, there will also be some who just don’t care

          Just like the 80-20 rule (Pareto Principle) of inputs and outputs is almost always true, the 33-33-33 rule is almost always true when it comes to change where about 1/3 of the people don’t want the change, 1/3 of the people want the change and 1/3 of the people don’t care…

        2. Marina Kalugin

          ah yes… the 80/20 rule…and now it appears to truly be more like the 95 and 5 rule…from my observation on campus and on many of these threads….

          and the 33-33-33?   wtf thought that one up?

          most sheeple in the US belong to the silent majority…and guess what…it is the silent majority…not 33 %…

          and they read this nonsense here and they vote with their dollars and their feet.. sometimes or at least much more than one gives credit to….

          .and that is why measure J/R won and Nishi lost….pay attention class….jeez

        3. Matt Williams

          Marina, the 33-33-33 rule really resonates for me, based on personal experience.  When I was president of the El Macero Homeowners Association the issue of child safety due to speeding cars/trucks was a hot topic.  Several ideas were floated as possible remedies.  One was to add Stop signs at some of the intersections.  Another was to install speed bumps.  After lots of community discussion a poll was taken and 1/3 voted for Stop signs, 1/3 for speed bumps, and 1/3 said there was not a speeding problem and nothing should be done.

  13. Tia Will

    Grok

     the people I have talked to that do criticized the outreach efforts and meetings.”

    Can you share what those criticisms were and what they felt could have been done differently to make a better process ? I ask because, while I have no personal or financial interest in this project, and at this point do not even know whether or not I support it, I do have a strong interest in improving the process by which developers choose to engage the communities that are most likely to be impacted by their proposals from a combative to a collaborative process. This can only occur if both sides are willing to share their ideas on how processes could be improved.

     

    1. Bill

      As a community leader interested in making Davis more amazing than it already is, I would also be interested in hearing ideas on how process could be improved.

      1. Frankly

        I suggest rounding up about 100 or so people that live here and ship them overseas.  That would very much improve the process.   If not that, then get rid of Measure R.

        Actually both would be preferable to Make Davis Great Again!

        1. Marina Kalugin

          there are some others on this thread who could also be shipped out and that would improve many things on this thread and others….

          of course, we may agree to disagree on who should be shipped overseas, and who should stay……of course, right?

  14. Marina Kalugin

    PS>   I will second Grok’s nomination for that award for Frankly….if only I knew his real name otherwise how can one even submit  or second a nomination?

  15. Tia Will

    Matt

     how is the light shed by the (reportedly) 48 foot  building going to be any different than the light shed by a 50 foot building?”

    It wouldn’t be. But there could be a major difference based on the type of business. For instance, if you had a building which was typically operating mainly during the daytime, you would not have as much problem with lights shining into the windows of the rooms in which you and your children were trying to sleep which from the drone video a number of back rooms of these houses could be impacted.

    This is an issue that I think illustrates a potential area for collaboration between neighbor and developer. If a major concern were to be the angle and/or type of lighting ( as it was for a number of folks when the street lights in town were being changed) the neighbors expression of  this concern early in the process could allow for mitigation on the part of the developer for a problem they might not have foreseen, but which might have a design fix.

    1. South of Davis

      Tia wrote:

      > you would not have as much problem with lights shining

      > into the windows of the rooms in which you and your children

      > were trying to sleep

      If you don’t want light in a bedroom why not just get some light canceling blinds?

      http://www.selectblinds.com/cellular-shades.html?productId=378&gclid=Cj0KEQjw88q9BRDB5qLcwLXr7_sBEiQAZsGjawrkr3VtFYWU3tGE0z9LPnk9V5TPkiXXdQW1q-IGrrcaAtp08P8HAQ

      P.S. This may come as a shock to Tia but most hotel guests are also sleeping at night (not shining lights out window trying to see inside homes on the other side of a bike trail).

      P.P.S. If you don’t believe me ask the night clean up crew at the Davis Kaiser if they are bothered by bright lights shining out of the Holiday Inn Express or any of the other hotels that can look down on the Kaiser facility…

  16. Marina Kalugin

    come visit me in El Macero Vista and I will walk my back yard and wood bridge with you and you may understand a few more things…and why and why not and so on.

    the people already spoke in the form of a general plan..

    some moved into their single story houses..

    they had certain expectations..

    and now, those expectations can be “overturned by exceptions”..

    that is the model in Davis now.

    If anyone has copies of all of the general plans going back a few decades, one may understand more..

    I have them all, in boxes in my garage…anyone want to help me look?

    It’ll have to wait until I am done with some deadlines first though…

    and many other reasons why not today or this week…

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