Staff Recommends Planning Commission Approval of Hyatt Hotel Project

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Hyatt-House

City staff is recommending that the planning commission approve a proposed Hyatt House hotel project in South Davis, when it meets on Wednesday, August 24.  This is one of two extended stay hotel proposals undergoing development review, with the other a proposed Marriott Residence Inn on Mace and 2nd Street scheduled for review in September. Both applications require council action scheduled for October.

The extended stay hotel is proposed at 120 rooms, with four stories and a height of just under 48 feet, and 112 vehicle spaces in a parking lot.  There will be vehicular and bicycle access from Cowell Boulevard and bike and pedestrian access from the greenbelt along the south edge of the site.

Staff notes that the project site is located in South Davis on the south side of Cowell Boulevard, east of Playfields Park and directly west of the Davis Diamonds gymnastics center.  In a addition, a greenbelt with a multi-use trail lies directly south of the project site, with existing single-family residences on Albany Avenue beyond the greenbelt.

The city has prepared a negative declaration on the environmental impact.  A study “concluded that the project, with mitigation, would not have an adverse effect on the environment.”

Staff argues that the site, currently designated for business park use on the General Plan Land Use Map, is consistent with designated general plan usage.  While the hotel is four stories, it has a height of about 48 feet, which is lower than the height limitation of 50 feet but higher than the allowable number of stories.

Staff writes, “Staff finds that an extended stay hotel can be an appropriate addition to the mix of uses found in a Business Park / Light Industrial area. The neighborhood of the project site includes residential (single-family and multifamily), office, recreational facilities (Davis Diamonds and Playfields Park), and is proximate to the Interland office/tech center.”

Staff adds, “The hotel rooms can provide space visiting researchers and company officials from outside Davis, while the meeting rooms can support the needs of local businesses. In addition, more hotel rooms near the downtown and the UC Davis campus would support other economic development goals and activities, including the General Plan polices to ‘Increase attractions and amenities that bring people to the Core’ and ‘Promote Davis as a destination for visitors with interests in eco-tourism, university/academic events, culture and arts, and downtown shopping.’”

Staff adds, “A hotel use is similar to the restaurant and service station retail conditionally permitted under the Planned Development, and staff has concluded that the requested modification to the zoning is warranted.”

Staff does note that “the proposed project exceeds the intensity anticipated in the General Plan and Planned Development. The GP Business Park category has a maximum floor area ratio of 50 percent, with an additional 15 percent for the housing component of a mixed use project. The proposed project has a FAR [floor area ratio] of 85 percent. The tower component of the proposed project exceeds the Planned Development’s height limit of 50 feet by five feet (which can be approved as a Minor Modification), and the four-story structure exceeds the three story limitation in the Planned Development.”

Staff concludes on this that “the consistency with General Plan and Planned Development goals can be met, and recommends approval of the General Plan Amendment, South Davis Specific Plan Amendment, and Planned Development Amendment, along with conditions of approval for the Conditional Use Permit and Design Review to ensure proper integration into the community in areas such as sustainability, operation, and parking management.”

Staff later notes significant neighborhood opposition including:

  • Safety; i.e. adjacency to a neighborhood with a high density of very young children
  • Access via greenbelt is immediately next door to the hotel and multiple Albany entrances/parks
  • Lighting
  • Height of the hotel
  • Adjacency to the immediate neighbors. The hotel plans, even with their recent adjustments to the plans, still locate the hotel only feet away from the backyards of residences
  • 24/7 business being a nuisance to the neighborhoods
  • Transient nature of the business
  • Overall esthetics in terms of large scale building near one story homes. Note the nearby low income housing building that sticks out like a sore thumb
  • No investment into local community, large corporation w/no skin in the game in Davis vs. local business

Staff does not consider the last issue “to be germane to the land use applications.”  Staff does note that, with the hotel structure, it would have “a 42-58 foot setback from the south property line, the greenbelt is approximately sixty-five feet wide in this location, and there is a fence between the greenbelt and the residences.”

Therefore, staff concludes, “Because of the existing trees on the greenbelt, there would be minimal impacts,” and it notes that the applicant has offered to “plant additional screening trees in the greenbelt” where necessary.  Staff adds that the construction of the four-story buildings, “has the potential of providing a significant sound buffer from freeway noise,” actually reducing the amount of ambient noise for the greenbelt and neighborhood.

In addition, “The potential for a hotel bar has been specifically noted as a source of concern during earlier neighborhood discussions. The applicant has stated that alcohol sales will be limited to beer and wine (no hard alcohol). The Police Department has not expressed any concern with the bar operation, and will have the ability to review the necessary alcohol license.”

Staff concludes that “the project is not likely to become a nuisance to the neighborhood. Other permitted and conditionally-permitted uses in the Planned Development, including Davis Diamonds, also have the potential to attract visitors to Davis or operate during expanded business hours. The hotel will have staff to ensure that there are no noise or other impacts on the neighborhood.”

The report mentions market capacity but not the analysis from the city-generated reports, only noting the approval of Embassy Suites on Richards Blvd. with pending litigation, and the potential for the Residence Inn on 2nd and Mace.  Both of these projects require council action this October.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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115 thoughts on “Staff Recommends Planning Commission Approval of Hyatt Hotel Project”

  1. Barack Palin

    Note the nearby low income housing building that sticks out like a sore thumb

    Oh oh, those might be fightin’ words for some of our town’s over sensitive liberals.

        1. hpierce

          Might go as viral as “says who?”  By definition, almost, if you were an “under-sensitive” conservative, you wouldn’t even bother to pick up the spoon!

        2. hpierce

          Well I know of many folk, one of whom I called “Dad”, who were socially liberal, and financially conservative.  They are not diametrically opposed.  Dad opposed a lot of government welfare programs, but was financially extremely supportive of charities that were working to meet the same needs.

        3. Barack Palin

          LOL, it wasn’t any “under-sensitive conservatives” that stirred things up in the first place, it was the over-sensitive liberals who got their panties all in a twist over a “strangers” reference.

        4. Frankly

          I cry at sad movies, funerals and weddings and am a strong advocate to end all animal and child abuse so I might be just be a hyper-sensitive conservative.

        5. Ron

          Frankly:  “I cry at sad movies, funerals and weddings and am a strong advocate to end all animal and child abuse so I might be just be a hyper-sensitive conservative.”

          You “might” be Alan Alda. 🙂

  2. Barack Palin

     “Because of the existing trees on the greenbelt, there would be minimal impacts,” and notes that the applicant has offered to “plan additional screening trees in the greenbelt” where necessary.  Staff adds that the construction of the four-story buildings, “has the potential of providing a significant sound buffer from freeway noise,” actually reducing the amount of ambient noise for the greenbelt and neighborhood.

    Exactly, having the hotel there probably will enhance the area more than hurt it.  Also on the plus side the 48′ tall building will lessen the appearance of the low income housing sticking out like a sore thumb.

    1. Tia Will

      BP

      having the hotel there probably will enhance the area more than hurt it.”

      Your comment reminds me of Frankly telling me that in his opinion, I would like Davis even more if it were bigger.  This is a clear projection of his preferences and has absolutely nothing to do with what I would like more. While you might find the area “enhanced” by a hotel, can you at least accept that this might not be the opinion of the people living next to it ?

      1. Barack Palin

        Tia, it’s my opinion, just as you they are allowed their opinion too.  Who said that I do not accept their opinion?  I might not agree with their opinion but they’re allowed it.  So I’m not sure what point you’re trying to make here.

        1. Tia Will

          BP

          I perhaps should not have targeted my comment to this particular post of yours since I see it as a bigger planning problem.

          My point is that when we have these discussions about planning, there is frequently a polarization of views. Instead of truly considering the point of view of the other, there is often a first tendency to tell the other person that they are wrong rather than genuinely trying to view the issue from their perspective.

          In recent conversation this was made clear when a clearly well meaning project proponent said ( paraphrased) that the neighbors were just coming up with more and more objections which approaches the argument that we have seen here many times, “they are just throwing up a bunch of stuff to see what will stick”. This dismissive attitude fails to take into account that different individuals within the same neighborhood will almost certainly have different opinions about what the biggest issues are, and some may not come to light until there have been a number of meetings and discussions. This does not mean that the additional objections are not legitimate concerns.

           

        2. Frankly

          Tia, Tia, Tia… when one comes to a negotiation table with reasonable goals of better impact mitigation, then I agree with and support the admonition of anyone attacking or  being dismissive of the concerns of these people.  However, when out of the starting gate the goal is to clearly defeat the project, then it is THEY that have shot the first shot and started the war.  THEY are the ones that have attacked and dismissed those that have the opinion that Davis would benefit from the project.

          Yours is a classic passive-aggressive move…. to be the one doing the attacking and then settle back into a protective victim identity.

  3. ryankelly

    I think the staff report did a pretty good job of covering everything.  There is no way that the neighbors can halt all building on the site.  This is lower than what is permitted there and may actually reduce sound from the freeway impacting their homes.   It won’t reduce sunlight.  Similar to the hotel on campus, I think the neighbors will find that it will be a pretty quiet building.  Trees can screen the view of their homes. Even an office building would have windows.   I think the neighbors should start looking for ways to mitigate perceived negative impact, not stage a protest to stop the project.

    1. Tia Will

      ryankelly

      There is no way that the neighbors can halt all building on the site. “

      This is a clear red herring statement. I have read nothing put forth by anyone opposing the hotel that states that they want to “halt all building on the site”.

      1. ryankelly

        Tia, An office building will have Windows, bring strangers near their neighborhood, have 24 hour operation, etc. I feel that they are trying to delay the inevitable. What they really want is nothing to be built or more residential it seems.   The city needs revenue – manufacturing, big ticket sales, hotel taxes.  This is zoned for commercial.

        1. Tia Will

          ryankelly

          First, I truly appreciate your inclusion of the words ” I feel” and “it seems” in your post. It is very refreshing to not hear people who probably have some very genuine concerns being told how they feel and what their motives are. I would respectfully submit that your feelings may be right about some, but may not at all reflect the genuine and specific concerns of others.

          As to the accuracy of the remainder of your post, this depends on the design and types of businesses. There is certainly a possibility that an office building could be designed so as not to have windows facing the neighbors. I doubt a hotel could successfully offer rooms without windows. I do not know of many office based businesses that have the high volume of new patrons coming and going instead of repeat patrons that a hotel would have. Could you provide me with examples of businesses where this would apply ?  I also am unaware of many office based businesses that would be in 24/7 operation with the volume of in and out traffic that a hotel generates. Again, perhaps I just don’t know and you could provide me with examples ?

          I am neither for nor against this project at this time. I am merely attempting to gain insight into people’s views from both sides.

      1. hpierce

        Minor clarification… there are trees (volunteers) within the proposed site that will, indeed, be removed.  They have never been cared for, and I suspect the City arborist had little/no objection to their removal.

        As I recall a few of these were also removed as part of the Davis Diamond site.

    1. Matt Williams

      Delia, here are the pertinent sections of the Staff Report regarding trees

      Work on the site adjacent to the greenbelt, and construction of the storm drain connection to Albany Avenue (and bicycle path replacement) have the potential to affect trees on the public greenbelt and bicycle connection. The Arborist’s reports make recommendations that should prevent detrimental impacts to the majority of the trees. Five trees (four Canary Pines and a callery pear) are required to be protected as feasible. Because future health of these trees cannot be ensured, the applicant is also required to provide security for compensation to the City’s tree preservation fund if the trees are compromised.

      The majority of the neighborhood comments were provided before the applicant submitted the photosimulations showing the visibility of the proposed project from nearby residences. The hotel structure would have a 42-58 foot setback from the south property line, the greenbelt is approximately sixty-five feet wide in this location, and there is a fence between the greenbelt and the residences. The majority of the homes on this portion of Albany are single-story. Because of the existing trees on the greenbelt, there would be minimal impacts (see photosimulations, Exhibit A13 in application packet). The applicant has offered to plant additional screening trees in the greenbelt where necessary for increased screening which is included as a condition of approval. The ultimate placement of any proposed screening plantings will be subject to review by the City Arborist to ensure that new trees would not be detrimental to the trees that are already on the greenbelt.

      Greenbelt Trees Adjacent to Project Site

      Construction of the Project has the potential to affect trees on the greenbelt south of the site, through impacts to their root system from earthwork, or impacts to their canopy from clearance requirements for fire lane and parking uses. The Tree Preservation, City of Davis Greenbelt Trees, Hyatt House Project report concludes that none of the pruning will negatively impact the health or structure of all but one of the trees, with recommendations to minimize development impacts.

      The following mitigation measure would reduce potential impacts to greenbelt trees adjacent to the project site (with the exception of Tree #8) to a less than significant level.

      3.  Impact on Greenbelt Trees

      Revise parking lot detail to utilize drain rock rather than AB in between concrete strips.
      Specify on plans to excavate for curb installation with water or air under ISA Certified Arborist supervision. If roots greater than or equal to 2 inches in diameter are encountered, bridge curb over roots allowing space for roots to expand in girth.

      Conduct a meeting to discuss tree preservation guidelines with the Consulting Arborist and all contractors, subcontractors and project managers prior to the initiation of demolition and construction.

      Prior to any demolition activity on site, identify (tagged) trees to be preserved and install tree protection fencing in a circle centered at the tree trunk with a radius equal to the defined tree protection zone (see table) unless otherwise indicated in construction plans. Tree protection fences should be made of chain link with posts sunk into the ground. These fences should not be removed or moved until construction is complete. Avoid soil or above ground disturbances within the fenced area.

      Any pruning required for construction or recommended in this report should be performed by an ISA Certified Arborist or Tree Worker. Pruning for necessary clearance should be the minimum required to build the project and performed prior to demolition by an ISA Certified Arborist.

      Avoid grading, compaction, trenching, rototilling, vehicle traffic, material storage, spoil, waste or washout or any other disturbance within tree protection zones (TPZ’s) outside of drive and parking areas.

      Any work that is to occur within the protection zones of the trees should be monitored by the Consulting Arborist.

      If roots larger than 1 inch or limbs larger than 3 inches in diameter are cut or damaged during construction, contact Consulting Arborist as soon as possible to inspect and recommend appropriate remedial treatments.

      All trees to be preserved should be irrigated once every week during non-Winter months to uniformly wet the soil to a depth of at least 18 inches under and beyond their canopies.

      Tree #8, a callery pear, 8” Diameter at Breast Height, with fair health and poor structure, would have 50 percent of its foliage removed to provide clearance over the fire lane and parking areas and to correct its poor structure. The arborist report recommended this pruning but did not conclude that tree health would not be compromised. The following mitigation measure would reduce potential impacts to Tree #8 to a less than significant level.

      4. Impact on Tree #8

      Property owner shall comply with all provisions of Mitigation Measure #3 for Tree #8.

      Property owner shall post a bond or other security for the appraised value of Tree #8 prior to the issuance of building permits, which will be released if the trees are still healthy upon completion of the 18-month monitoring period. The value of any damage to the tree will be taken from the bond and deposited into the City’s tree preservation fund, as established in Section 37.030.070(b) of the Municipal Code.

      Bicycle Connection Trees (West of Project Site)

      The storm drain connection and bicycle path replacement requires construction of a 36-inch trench from Cowell Boulevard to Albany Avenue. Replacing the existing asphalt concrete path with a Portland cement path will bring the facility to City standard, and can be completed with no additional soil compaction beyond the trench required for the storm drain pipe. The storm drain connection and bicycle path replacement have the potential to affect two Chinese tallow trees and four Canary Island Pines. The Greenbelt Tree Preservation, Public Storm Drain, Hyatt House Project report concluded that impacts to the Chinese tallow trees would likely experience a low level of impact, given construction assumptions and compliance with preservation recommendations.

      The following mitigation measures would reduce potential impacts to the Chinese Tallow Trees to a less than significant level.

      5.  Impact on Chinese Tallow Trees

      Conduct a meeting to discuss tree preservation guidelines with the Consulting Arborist and all contractors, subcontractors and project managers prior to the initiation of demolition and construction.

      Prior to any demolition activity on site, identify trees to be preserved and install tree protection fencing in a circle centered at the tree trunk with a radius equal to one foot per inch trunk diameter (outside of paved areas). Tree protection fences should be made of chain link with posts sunk into the ground. These fences should not be removed or moved until construction is complete.

      Pruning for necessary equipment clearance should be the minimum required to build the project and performed prior to demolition by an ISA Certified Arborist or Certified Tree Worker.

      Avoid grading, compaction, trenching, rototilling, vehicle traffic, material storage, spoil, waste or washout or any other disturbance within tree protection zones. Any work that is to occur within the protection zones of the trees should be monitored by the Consulting Arborist.

      If roots larger than 1 inch or limbs larger than 3 inches in diameter are cut or damaged during construction, contact Consulting Arborist as soon as possible to inspect and recommend appropriate remedial treatments.

      All trees to be preserved should be irrigated once every week during non-Winter months to uniformly wet the soil to a depth of at least 18 inches under and beyond their canopies.

      Four Canary Island Pines are located south of the Chinese tallow trees, between the City greenbelt and Albany Avenue. These trees are closer to the proposed storm drain trench and have a greater potential of impacts from the construction. The Greenbelt Tree Preservation, Public Storm Drain, Hyatt House Project report recommended either horizontal bore or preservation of all roots larger than two inches. Neither of these methods has been determined to be practical, due to the constraints of construction in the greenbelt, bike path, and Albany Avenue; the need for the storm drain line to be as straight as possible; and the necessary proximity of the trench to the existing Canary Island Pines.

      The City Arborist is recommending the following mitigation measure to reduce potential impacts to the Canary Island Pines to a less than significant level:

      6.  Impact on Canary Pine Trees

      Compliance with all measures identified in Mitigation Measure #5 for the Chinese tallow trees, above.

      Between November 1 and January 31, and no less than two weeks before trenching for the storm drain in the area of the Canary Island Pines, applicant shall remove the asphalt and prune the roots of the trees within the required three-foot trench area. The path may be closed as necessary with proper notice to the satisfaction of the Public Works Department.

      Consulting Arborist shall monitor health of the trees and provide monthly reports to the City of Davis Arborist and Department of Community Development and Sustainability, from the onset of construction in the area through 18 months from completion of construction near the trees.

      Property owner shall post a bond or other security for the appraised value of the Canary Island Pines prior to the approval of improvement drawings for the storm drain and bicycle path replacement, which will be released if the trees are still healthy upon completion of the 18-month monitoring period. The value of any damage to the trees will be taken from the bond and deposited into the City’s tree preservation fund, as established in Section 37.030.070(b) of the Municipal Code.

      Compliance with these mitigation measures will ensure that the impact to on-site, greenbelt, and bicycle path trees is less than significant.

  4. Tia Will

    Wonder what the salaries are for the hotel’s housekeeping staff, and wonder how on earth they’ll be able to afford to live in Davis””

    Can we at least get it built first before we wander off into this rabbit hole?”

    That would also not be a planning issue.”

    While I have not yet decided whether I would support or oppose this particular project, I do have a different perspective on Delia’s initial comment.

    I think that now, before a project is built, is precisely when we should be considering the potentially deleterious effects. This is called primary prevention in medicine. Heading off a potentially serious problem before it arises is always preferable to trying to resolve the problem that you have created through lack of attention to the possibility.

    I disagree that this would not be a planning issue. Numbers of car and truck trips in to a particular area of Davis whether those vehicles are carrying hotel guests or whether they are carrying employees or whether they are carrying items necessary to the running of a hotel is certainly relevant to planning on a number of levels. Traffic, parking, and environment will all be affected by whether or not the employees have to commute.

    This focus on the particular project instead of looking at the broader picture of overall community impact is one major problem that I see with our current planning strategies. The developers ( and here I am speaking of all developers not focusing on this group)understandably tend to want to focus narrowly on the benefits of a project. However, if the project brings in $700,000 annually but costs that much or more overall in ways that are not so easy to measure ( long term infrastructure support as in need for road repairs, loss of property value, need for additional housing and thus more projects, environmental degradation …) then little has been gained. However, I seldom see a balanced view that includes the forrest as well as the tree when these projects are put forward.

     

    1. hpierce

      “Possibilities” are one thing.  Likelihoods and probabilities are different.  There is a possibility that one of your patients will be struck by lightning this coming year.  Would your ‘preventative care’ include advising your patient not to be outside when it rains?  “Possibilities” have little, no place in the upcoming deliberations.

    2. ryankelly

      OK.  It is possible that the hotel will provide multiple part-time jobs for students at UCD to help with their expenses beyond what is covered by their financial aid.  It’s possible that someone needs these kinds of jobs.

      1. Tia Will

        ryankelly

        It is possible that the hotel will provide multiple part-time jobs for students at UCD”

        That is a valid point that I had not considered. This is precisely the kind of post that I value much more highly than an opinion on why someone else should not be taken seriously. It is also a point which could be researched to see what percentage of jobs at the Hyatt extended stay hotels are part time. This is a valid question for the proponents to investigate and present as it would have the potential to be a big plus for the project.

      2. South of Davis

        Ryan wrote:

        > It is possible that the hotel will provide multiple part-time jobs for students at UCD

        Years ago when my friend Beth was a Spanish major at SF State she managed the housekeeping department at a big SF hotel (and got to use her Spanish on the job every day).  I’m sure there are UCD enology and brewing program students that would be happy to get a little extra cash as they shared their knowledge of wine and beer with guests at the hotel bar.

  5. Tia Will

    hpierce

    Would your ‘preventative care’ include advising your patient not to be outside when it rains?  “Possibilities” have little, no place in the upcoming deliberations.”

    The answer to your question is “it depends”. If my patient is going to be here in Davis in the time frame relevant to my counseling, the answer is “no”. If she is going to be in the rural area of Arizona outside of Tucson, my answer might be “yes”. I completely disagree that we should not be considering “possibilities”. The key issue is how likely is a “possibility” to become a major factor. For example traffic issues should certainly be taken into account, and worker housing is directly involved in this issue.

    You have touched very well on my main point. I see it as a lack in our planning process not to address the larger pictures and those”possibilities” that we know we will be facing as future problems. You recently took exactly this approach in your opposition to Nishi when you addressed the “possibility” that it would worsen the traffic at the Richards/Olive drive area. Many people opposed the 5th st revision because of the “possibility” that it would worsen traffic when it fact most agree that it has improved. It is precisely the “possibilities” that we need to prioritize and address when we are considering major projects.

     

    1. hpierce

      Tia… I may be wrong, but I highly doubt that I used the term “possibility”, as you attribute to me,

       your opposition to Nishi when you addressed the “possibility” that it would worsen the traffic at the Richards/Olive drive area.

      I believe I likely used terms more along the lines of ‘virtual certainty’, ‘extremely likely’, or ‘surely’.  I probably didn’t, but “as sure as God made little green apples” would have captured my professional opinion.  When I discuss traffic studies, I do not use the term ‘possibility’, certainly not without heavy ‘qualification’ of that term.  Good dissembling, though…

  6. Tia Will

    hpierce

    I believe I likely used terms more along the lines of ‘virtual certainty’, ‘extremely likely’, or ‘surely’.”

    I do not dispute that those were the words that you used. However, there was not universal agreement with your assessment of the situation. In conversation with one of the Nishi proponents, the valid point was made that with the planned increase of students and the attendant increase in faculty and support staff, traffic was going to worsen at that intersection regardless of the presence or absence of the Nishi project. What you viewed as a “certainty” or “extremely likely” was seen by this individual as an inevitability with or without Nishi. The idea occurred to me that if Nishi were largely populated by UCD students there might even be less impact since the people living at Nishi would not be obligated to make daily car trips onto campus but could ride or walk to both the downtown and campus thereby potentially lessening the car trips through that intersection, not from the present amount, but from the amount that we will inevitably see whether or not Nishi was built.

    My point is that possibilities should be assessed on their likelihood of occurrence just as you are saying, but that each needs to actually be considered, not just pooh-poohed by those who are not facing the direct consequences.

    1. hpierce

      So…if someone having little/no training nor experience in the principles and practices of traffic engineering, expresses a “feeling” that traffic operations would likely improve, despite the data, I should “honor” their feelings and opinions, and respect those?  Sorry, I’m not wired that way.

      As to your Nishi proponent, I’d agree that traffic operations would degrade with or without Nishi, but there is the other matter as to the degree of degradation.  No little distinction.

      1. hpierce

        For the general audience… this is why environmental review of traffic/circulation generally has to consider impacts for scenarios:  project only; existing; existing plus project; future w/o project; future with project.

    2. Mark West

      “My point is that possibilities should be assessed on their likelihood of occurrence just as you are saying, but that each needs to actually be considered, not just pooh-poohed by those who are not facing the direct consequences.”

      I think this is a valid point that you make, yet…

      As to the accuracy of the remainder of your post, this depends on the design and types of businesses. There is certainly a possibility that an office building could be designed so as not to have windows facing the neighbors. I doubt a hotel could successfully offer rooms without windows. I do not know of many office based businesses that have the high volume of new patrons coming and going instead of repeat patrons that a hotel would have. Could you provide me with examples of businesses where this would apply ?  I also am unaware of many office based businesses that would be in 24/7 operation with the volume of in and out traffic that a hotel generates. Again, perhaps I just don’t know and you could provide me with examples ?

      Are you not Pooh-poohing the validity of ryankelly’s statement? There are no restrictions against what he described in the zoning regulations, so you cannot say that the situation is not an accurate assessment of what could happen. Yet, that is exactly what you do.

      The site is zoned commercial. As the staff report says, the hotel is not a dramatic change from the currently allowed situation for the site. The assessment is not the change from the current state (undeveloped) but from the developed state as allowed within the current zoning.

      1. Tia Will

        hpierce

        if someone having little/no training nor experience in the principles and practices of traffic engineering, expresses a “feeling” that traffic operations would likely improve, despite the data, I should “honor” their feelings and opinions, and respect those?  Sorry, I’m not wired that way.”

        Where this comment is lacking is that you have made the assumption that the individual I referenced was opining base on “feelings” not fact. In fact, the individual ( who shall remain nameless since they have not agreed to be quoted) was in a professional position to know exactly what they were talking about. The problem is not that you did not know who the person was, the problem was that you assumed that their opinion was not worthy of respect.

        This is what polarization of thought does. It leads us to automatically degrade the opinions of others that are not in alignment with our own without considering the merits of their statements. It works both ways. It is the same thought process that caused those who objected to Nishi on health concerns to “respect” only the opinion of one expert while disregard the counter balancing views of multiple experts in other areas such as public health and epidemiology.

         

        1. hpierce

          You (deliberately?) fail to note that I responded in two parts:

          First was regarding those who touted Nishi’s connection to W Olive was potentially (rather, “possibly” ,with no facts to support) a ‘panacea’, or at least a valid ‘mitigation’.

          Second, and separate, was acknowledging your ‘source’ who pointed out that things would likely (not “possibly”) degrade with or without Nishi.  I further said I agreed with that assessment, but challenged whether the degree of degradation would be the same with or without.  Or whether you even sought to understand that nuance.

          And I am the polarizing one?  Whatever…

      2. Tia Will

        Are you not Pooh-poohing the validity of ryankelly’s statement?”

        Absolutely not. I thought that I had made it clear that I was unaware of these situations and was asking him for examples. The fact that I acknowledged my lack of information and am seeking it from the individual who is making the assertion seems to me the antithesis of “pooh-poohing.

        For confirmation, please note that when ryankelly made a point that I had not considered previously but felt warranted further investigation, I acknowledged his point and suggested concrete action on the suggestion.

        the hotel is not a dramatic change from the currently allowed situation for the site. “

        The use of the word “dramatic” is subjective. It is clear that there is a change. Otherwise there would be no need for any change. Whether or not this is “dramatic” or even “significant” is in the eye of the beholder.

        1. Mark West

          “Whether or not this is “dramatic” or even “significant” is in the eye of the beholder.”

          No, it is in the ‘eye’ of the planning professional.

          “I thought that I had made it clear that I was unaware of these situations and was asking him for examples.”

          It isn’t an issue whether or not you are ‘unaware,’ but rather are they allowed or disallowed in the zoning regulations. If the building design, business type etc. fall into the category of ‘allowed’ under the current zoning, then the only review of the project is at the level of City staff. It is an approved use so it does not require a review by the Planning Commission or City Council. In terms of the regulations, unless a business practice is specifically disallowed, then it is by default allowed. It doesn’t matter if you cannot imagine a 24/7 office business,for example, if it is not restricted by zoning, it is allowed.

          I will give you an example. When we opened the winery in town we went to the planning department with our ideas for using an existing building. The Planner looked at the zoning for the building, which was ‘light industrial’ with one of the approved uses being ‘food production’ with the restriction against ‘vinegar production.’  Wine production was not listed at all. The Planner decided that wine was a type of food, and was not vinegar, so approved our plans. 15 minutes later I walked out with that determination with no restrictions whatsoever on our business operations. There was no public noticing, no hearings, etc. because all of that occurred when the zoning regulations were put in place as Staff had determined that our business was an ‘approved use’ of the site.

           

        2. Barack Palin

          approved our plans. 15 minutes later I walked out with that determination with no restrictions whatsoever on our business operations

          Ha ha, if you tried that today you might get pushback on whether you are going to pay your employees a living wage, where will your employees live in Davis, an online petition on denying your business with people signing it from out-of-town and even out-of-state, a traffic study, what traffic and infrastructure costs will your business incur on the city, best and worst case scenario for your business, local blog writing 7 stories regarding on whether your business should be allowed, etc…………………………

        3. Mark West

          Perhaps, BP, but my point was that if the Planning Department decided that the business or building fit with an approved use for the site in the zoning regulations, there really is no opportunity for the push-back or public handwringing. In the case of this site, a three-story, 49-foot tall building housing a 24/7 business office that regularly holds late night parties in its third-floor conference room would likely be able to open for business without the neighbors having any say in the matter.  It would have already been approved in the zoning.

  7. davisresident

    Tia, in your opinion, what do you see as the “direct consequences” at this point now that the report is out?

    The view into neighbors windows was certainly one that seemed a legit concern,  but that issue seems to be addressed with A13 of the report.

    What do you view as the unaddressed issues, or issues that could’ve used more investigation?

    1. Barack Palin

      Well I for one, that being BP, want to be assured that the carpenters that will build the hotel are supplied with ample porta potties during their work days.

    2. Tia Will

      What do you view as the unaddressed issues, or issues that could’ve used more investigation?”

      1. Increased traffic. Guests, employees, trucks and the hours of coming and going of same.

      2. Increased need for infrastructure maintenance and repairs in the future.

      3. Downside risk. The proponents have come up with an estimate of revenue generation for the city, but have not put forth any anticipated increased costs to the city, nor have they made any statement of downside costs in the event of a recession or other cause of suboptimal performance or failure.

      What I would ideally like to see for every proposed project is a “best case scenario”/”worst case scenario” put forward honestly by those who are in the best position to know, namely the developers. I am not saying this with regard to only this project, and I am not saying it behind anyone’s back. I have had this discussion directly with a number of developers in town. I know that this is not the traditional way that development has been done. However, I believe that it would be a better way to proceed at least in our community which is comprised of many individuals who care deeply about the entire community, not just the immediate neighborhood in which they live, and who are willing to become very active in promoting their own values regardless of which side of a proposal they are on.

      1. Ron

        Tia:  “What I would ideally like to see for every proposed project is a “best case scenario”/”worst case scenario” put forward honestly by those who are in the best position to know, namely the developers.”

        It is not in the “nature of the beast” to provide that type of information.  🙂

        1. hpierce

          Nor, is it rational or appropriate to judge a project on best/worst case scenarios.  That’s just silly.  And/or foolish. And definitely not good in the context of public policy.

          The only time that approach is rational is when one is facing a true ‘survival’ (as in mortality) situation.  There, the mantra is “prepare for the worst, expect the best”.

          The projects before us are not ‘life or death’, though some might like to frame it that way.

          I am beginning to despair that the upcoming deliberations will be rational.  In either an approval or a denial of the applications.

        2. Ron

          hpierce:  “Nor, is it rational or appropriate to judge a project on best/worst case scenarios.”

          It’s also not in the “nature of the beast” to analyze the likely positive/negative impact on the city, for any given development.  It is in their nature (interest) to analyze the impact on their own bottom-line, and to advocate developments that will benefit them.

          Not making a judgment, regarding this.  But, it’s foolish to rely on developers to objectively analyze and share the likely impact of a given development, from the point of view (interests) of a city and its residents. (In a sense, it’s not their “job” to do so, and there would always be an inherent conflict of interest.)

        3. Frankly

          Ron just change the word “developer” with the word “NIMBY” and it works the same.

          The difference is that we can ABSOLUTELY calculate the net benefits of development.  That is done all the time.  What we fail to do, and have consistently failed to do, in this town is calculate the cost of the lost benefits from rejecting developments.

          Just look at Mace 391.  The CC pissed away what would have been a huge cash-infusion into city coffers… $100 million easily.  They let that opportunity benefit disappear because of the emotional tirades of the NIMBY, farmland-moat and FOS people.

        4. Ron

          Frankly: “Ron just change the word “developer” with the word “NIMBY” and it works the same.”

          That is a good point.  Those with proposed projects in their “backyard” may not be as focused on the potential benefits, compared to those who aren’t as impacted.

          At the same time, others (who don’t have the “misfortune” of having a particular proposal in their backyard) may impose their will to the detriment of a particular neighborhood.  (Partly to reduce the likelihood of a development in their own backyard.)  That’s another form of “NIMBYism”.

          Overall, it seems that nearby neighbors’ concerns (who would be disproportionately affected) should have a little more “weight” than someone who lives farther away.  How “much” more is subjective, and depends on the situation.  A judgement call.

        5. Frankly

          I certainly agree that an adjacent neighbor can suffer the most impacts.  However and adjacent neighbor might also realize benefits.   I know people that opposed the Target location that now say how nice it is to have it so close that they can bike to it, or how convenient it is when they need something sold there.

          But let’s assume that some of these concerns of the adjacent neighbors are real and not just manufactured from a position of simple change-aversion (fear of the unknown).

          I agree that they should be able to come to the table and ask for reasonable mitigation to any impacts they can legitimize.   However, they have gone WAY passed that… they are deep into NIMBYism and clearly attempting to block any and all development.

          I would put money on them being opposed to any development that benefits the city and the land-owner.

        6. Matt Williams

          Ron said . . . “Overall, it seems that nearby neighbors’ concerns (who would be disproportionately affected) should have a little more “weight” than someone who lives farther away.  How “much” more is subjective, and depends on the situation.  A judgement call.”

          There is a whole lot of substance in Ron’s comment.  Some of the substantial thoughts that come to my mind are as follows:

          — If you have the misfortune of being pulled over by a police officer for speeding, one argument that carries no weight when you are either speaking to the officer or the judge (if it gets to court) is the “I didn’t see the Speed Limit sign” argument.  When an individual (or group of individuals) enters into a real estate transaction, they have a responsibility to themselves to “look for the speed limit signs.”

          — With respect to the “denying light and space and night sky” impacts, they are a lot like vehicle speed in a neighborhood.  As long as the vehicles are proceeding at a rate that is below the posted speed limit, the concerns of parents about the risks to their children’s safety by moving vehicles falls on them, rather then the driver of the vehicle  (as long as the driver is not “reckless”).  As soon as the vehicles exceed the posted speed limit the responsibility shifts from the parents of the children to the driver of the speeding vehicle.

          — The posted “speed limit” on the 2750 Cowell Boulevard parcel for light and space and night sky impacts is 50 feet.

          — The posted “speed limit” on the 2750 Cowell Boulevard parcel for noise, and traffic and other impacts other than light and space and night sky is the number of floors and the allowed uses list of the PD 12-2 zoning code.

          — The 4th floor is pretty clearly above the posted “speed limit” in Ordinance No. 2396, which reads: “Height Regulations No structure shall exceed three stories or fifty feet in height, excepted as provided in Section 40.27, and as greater heights may be permitted for planned developments, subject to provisions of Section 40.32”  The
          question that exists, for the neighbors is what are the actual impacts associated with having 4 floors within the 48 feet versus 3 floors within the 48 feet.

        7. Ron

          Matt:

          I’m pleasantly surprised that you noticed my comment.  Ironically, I thought of you, as I wrote it.

          The reason I thought of you is because this type of analysis and decision is subjective, and “political” in nature.  And, I know that you don’t think of a city council position as “political”. (Actually, I should probably review the formal definitions of those words.)

          You’ve managed to analyze it in your own manner, regardless.  I’d probably have to “analyze your analysis” to really understand what you’re saying.

        8. Matt Williams

          Ron, I saw your comment when you posted it, and began a response that was interrupted by birthday activities, and completed when I got home after.

          I do agree with you that this type of analysis has a significant subjective component, but it isn’t wholly subjective.  The reason I believe the speeding parallel works so well is that when you are given a ticket for going 65 MPH in a 55 MPH zone, you aren’t fined for any of the first 55 MPH, only for the 10 MPH that exceed the speed limit.

          The neighbors are rightly raising concerns about aspects of the proposed project.  As you clearly and correctly pointed out, they (and the developers) need to determine what the impacts are of the aspects of the project that exceed the zoning regulations.  For example, for two 48 foot high buildings with the identical footprint, what is the impact difference of having 3 floors or 4 floors.  Arguably, for the neighbors to the south the difference is the number of windows that face their homes.  Each window represents light concerns/impacts and privacy concerns/impacts.  If the windows are able to be opened, then noise concerns/impacts can be added.  Are there other impacts?

        9. Ron

          Matt:  “Ron, I saw your comment when you posted it, and began a response that was interrupted by birthday activities, and completed when I got home after.”

          Hope the activities went well, and happy birthday to the “affected party” 🙂  (More important than commenting on the Vanguard, regardless.)

          Matt:  “I do agree with you that this type of analysis has a significant subjective component, but it isn’t wholly subjective.”

          Facts are “easy”, in most of these cases.  It’s the “subjective” part that’s difficult/challenging.  And, in the end, you’re certain to “piss someone off”.  (Ask Robb, who seems forever “surprised” at the lack of trust/anger, etc.)

          Updating the general plan is not going to eliminate tough decisions, either.  However, it might make it easier to “blame” those affected – who do not participate in the process, but are later “surprised” and unhappy with the result.

          In other words, some might not understand what’s at stake, and therefore fail to protest the effort to “raise the speed limit” (rezone to allow more development) in their neighborhood.

           

      2. hpierce

        “What do you view as the unaddressed issues, or issues that could’ve used more investigation?”
        1. Increased traffic. Guests, employees, trucks and the hours of coming and going of same.
        2. Increased need for infrastructure maintenance and repairs in the future.
        3. Downside risk. The proponents have come up with an estimate of revenue generation for the city, but have not put forth any anticipated increased costs to the city, nor have they made any statement of downside costs in the event of a recession or other cause of suboptimal performance or failure.

        Actually, item 1 is addressed as an issue… found to be “insignificant”
        Item 2:  no new roadways are proposed.  No new utilities that are the not the responsibility of the owner. For existing infrastructure, you have a new player who will be helping to pay for the costs for the existing infrastructure, without much or any new demands.
        Item 3, I leave to others, but they may want to know if you want a 2008, late 1970’s (inflation/gas prices), or 1929 thing analysed… worst case would be the 1929 thing.

      3. Frankly

        Sorry obvious non-economist Tia, you don’t get to use those “issues” as absolutes in a vacuum.

        1. Increased traffic will occur for any development of that parcel within zoning.

        2. Increased need for infrastructure maintenance repairs (seems like you just invented something here given your obvious difficulty coming up with real issues) would be there for any development of that parcel within zoning.

        3. Your revenue vs. costs demand is one of your standards.  Here is how it works.   Someone does the work and you just dig in your heals deeper challenging it.  But there is no need to do that.  We can just look at all other communities and note that hotels are one of the best net-positive city revenue developments because of the TOT.

        Here is something you might enjoy reading so you can start working on how you will reject the obvious evidence of net positive benefits to the city:

        In 1996, the city of Sonoma was in an economic slump. After austere cuts and adoption of bare bones budgets, a proposal to build a hotel at Four Corners, at the edge of the city limits surfaced.

        It was met with controversy at every stage of the process.

        Approved on appeal by the City Council with one abstention, the hotel was eventually built and the redevelopment agency encouraged the development by providing funds for some of the required infrastructure. The abstention was Larry Barnett, who owned a bed and breakfast inn at the time, and is now leader of Preserving Sonoma, the group that created and is supporting the Measure B initiative.

        While not in the downtown, the Lodge at Sonoma originally promised 154 rooms, a spa, restaurant, shops and office space. When it opened in 2001, transient occupancy tax (TOT) – the so-called “bed” tax (and the only tax that remains locally collected and locally spent) – was about $630,000.And by year three, the TOT had jumped to $1.9 million. Thereafter, other hotels were built or expanded –MacArthur Place, Inn at Sonoma, Sonoma Valley Inn – all receiving minor assistance for infrastructure from the now defunct redevelopment agency. By 2007-08, the TOT had jumped to $2.6 million and the city’s finances were in good shape.

        1. Tia Will

          Increased need for infrastructure maintenance repairs (seems like you just invented something here given your obvious difficulty coming up with real issues) would be there for any development of that parcel within zoning.

          Not so since I specifically wrote that one with hpierce in mind. On a post long ago and far away, I had mentioned my preference for minimizing car trips and mentioned the reduction in car trips provided by on line shopping. hpierce then rightfully pointed out to me that the trucks carrying these goods to the houses caused more damage to the roadways than do cars. It was a point I had clearly not considered.

          And that is what you seem to be missing about my comment. What I was addressing was the question what items did I think needed to be considered. I was not pointing this out as an objection, I was pointing it out as an item for consideration. As a number of you have pointed out, I have no expertise in this area. That does not mean that I should not pay attention or voice concerns. Some of those concerns may be completely unwarranted. But others may not. And since it is not our practice to have developers do complete presentations of the pros and cons ( although we certainly expect surgeons to do so) how would someone uneducated in the area of city planning know unless they asked someone more knowledgeable ?

          It is interesting to me that there are many here who seem willing to disparage people for bringing up concerns, while I have found most of the actual developers to be very forth coming and willing to discuss issues when asked in person.  It is just that they feel no obligation to bring up the subject of downsides themselves although that is exactly what is required of a surgeon. No one expects that a patient will be able to predict an accurately assign importance to the various risks they may encounter with a surgery, so why do we expect this ability from those whose job is not city planning ?

           

           

        2. Mark West

           “so why do we expect this ability from those whose job is not city planning ?”

          We don’t. That is why the City has planning professionals on staff to make those determinations for us. Your ‘concerns’ are superfluous in that regard.

      4. Matt Williams

        Tia, when you are looking at “Increased Traffic” are you comparing the proposed project to the existing unbuilt status or to a comparable built-out status compliant with the 50 foot height and other Industrial-Research (I-R) zoning?

        Same question vis-a-vis “Increased need for infrastructure maintenance and repairs in the future.”

        The 2015 and 2016 deliberations of the Finance and Budget Commission on the Nishi project focused quite heavily on the need and cost of infrastructure maintenance and repairs, with the result being the addition of incremental annual taxes.  In the case of hotels, in order to address those costs, the City has implemented an incremental tax, the TOT (Transient Occupancy Tax).  Do you have reason to believe that incremental infrastructure maintenance and repairs tax is inadequate in this case?

        1. Tia Will

          Hi Matt

          I hadn’t really sorted that out in my mind when I answered the question. I think that both are appropriate comparisons. I have no reason to believe there is any inadequacy of the tax, however, the TOT is a recuperative measure for the city, but does not directly help with any problems that may be incurred specifically by the immediate neighbors.

  8. Tia Will

    hpierce

    And I am the polarizing one?  Whatever…”

    My point about polarization includes anyone, including myself who displays this type of thinking. When you feel I am displaying this behavior, please feel free to point it out. I will be happy to modify my comments when I agree, or explain why I believe you are in correct if I don’t agree.

    1. hpierce

      And yet, even though you chose to take me to task, on a comment I clarified (and which bordered more on objectivity), you have done neither.  So, must assume you neither agree nor disagree with my previous comments.

  9. Tia Will

    Ron

    t is not in the “nature of the beast” to provide that type of information.”

    I agree. But just because we do not do things that way now, does not mean that we could not. I recently walked into one “lair” to see if I could not at least plant the seeds of a different approach. We currently have a few developers in town who are moving in this general direction of greater collaboration with the neighbors in advance although we have yet to see anyone make a truly balanced presentation rather than a strictly advocacy position as I have suggested.

    1. hpierce

      Well, that might work (but have serious doubts), if the ‘neighbors’ were inclined to provide ‘balanced responses’.  Happens, but very rarely.

      The developers are not out to “piss off the neighbors” nor harm them.  That said, think how difficult to present your proposal, pointing out the less advantageous aspects, when you can pretty much expect the other folk to capitalize on that, and ignore the advantages.  That’s reality.

      The really good developers (many) anticipate problems, and modify their proposal to address those… yet, reality is that becomes the new “baseline” for the ‘neighbors’, and they want far more concessions, including, in the proximate applications, “go away”.

      1. Tia Will

        That’s reality.”

        I believe that we make our own reality. We can chose to accept the status quo with its inevitable oppositional approach and predictable results of unnecessary animosity, name calling, obstructionism, and legal challenges or we could attempt to create a new reality with collaboration as the baseline, anticipated behavior.

        When we have one side accusing the other of only caring about the money, and being countered with the charge of NIMBY…..why do we think that we could not possibly do better.

  10. Frankly

    The upsides for Davis building this hotel…

    – Hotel project pays development fees, improves the local infrastructure and once built it pays greater property taxes.

    – Hotel business buys products and services from local business… thus helping those businesses earn revenue and generating more jobs that in tern help local residents and the city.

    – Hotel provides jobs for young people and other people that need a job.

    – Hotel business buys products and services from local business… thus helping those businesses earn revenue, creates more jobs and generates more tax revenue for Davis.

    – Provides rooms for people visiting Davis that need a place to stay.  Encourages more people to stay in Davis and become customers of Davis retail and entertainment thus helping local business owners earn more revenue that can be taxed so Davis gets a share.

    – Provides hotel room block capacity for UCD and the city to host conferences.  See above.

    – Provides meeting room space for businesses that need it.  See above.

    – Makes good and reasonable use of land that meets the spirit of existing zoning.

    – Is infill and meets with the demand of the Davis farmland moat and FOS people.

    The downsides…

    … cannot think of any.

    Oh yeah… it upsets some NIMBYs.

      1. Frankly

        Nope.  If I purchased a home next to a vacant lot I would have done my homework first and expected that it would be developed eventually and know that I would have to accept it because it is not my land and the landowner has a right to develop it and the city has a right to allow it to be developed for the greater good of the community.

        That is not to say that I would be happy with any and every type of use that the landowner might petition for; and that is not to say that I would not petition for reasonable impact mitigation.

        But I would not at all feel entitled to weigh my overblown emotional resistance to change over the rights and benefits of others.

        It takes effort to fight back the human weakness that is NIMBYism.

    1. South of Davis

      Frankly wrote:

      > The downsides… … cannot think of any.

      You forgot about all of these:

      It will be harder to hear the traffic on 80 (making it harder to teach kids how an air cooled 911 sounds different than the new water cooled 911s and how to recognize the scream of a V8 with a flat-plane crank vs. the rumble of a V8 with a cross-plane crank).

      Kids won’t be able to stand on a chair to look over the fence and count the cars on trains passing by on the other side of the freeway (or admire the “artwork” on most of the boxcars).

      The Hyatt will probably call the cops on the many people that park in that block and sleep in their RVs and big rigs at night (making Davis even more expensive for poor people passing through).

      Davis residents will not be able to dump old couches, Christmas trees and other stuff in the vacant lot (forcing people to find another lot to dump things in)

    2. Tia Will

      “The downsides”

      … cannot think of any.”

      For someone of your intelligence, what this tells me is that you got too tired at the end of your list of positives to think any further, or that you are simply in denial about anything that does not fit into your predetermined preference for projects, or that you decided to have a little bit of Saturday fun.

  11. Tia Will

    hpierce

    Nor, is it rational or appropriate to judge a project on best/worst case scenarios”

    That would be true if it were all you were judging by. However, I think it is irrational not to include best case and worst case scenarios in your overall assessment. We do this regularly in medicine. On every elective procedure ( and all of the developments we consider are “elective”) we consider not only the  potential benefits and anticipated potential harms, but also the best and worst case scenarios up to and including death. And I have presented this scenario to every patient, every time before I have performed a major surgery.

      1. Tia Will

        hpierce

        Land use planning and medical care are not even close to being analogous.”

        Honest question. With regard to the specific issue of pros and cons….why not ? Every decision we make whether in our individual health care decision making and our choice of where to live and our choices of what to build have specific and identifiable pros and cons. What do you see as so different that the pros and cons of each should not be thoroughly laid out by those with the most expertise and then considered from as many viewpoints as possible ?

  12. Tia Will

    Frankly, Frankly, Frankly

    Yours is a classic passive-aggressive move…. to be the one doing the attacking and then settle back into a protective victim identity.”

    Mine is a classic passive-aggressive move ?????  How so since I am neither attacking nor claiming “protective victim identity” what ever that means !  I have clearly stated that I have taken no position on this project. I have asked for clarification on points made by both sides. I asked for clarification of specific concerns of the opponents at the time of David’s first article on this topic. I have asked for further clarification of his post with examples from ryankelly. Since I am neither a proponent nor opponent on this issue, I fail to see how this description applies unless of course, as is commonly the case, you have simply decided what I must be thinking.

    1. Frankly

      This is what you wrote:

      In recent conversation this was made clear when a clearly well meaning project proponent said ( paraphrased) that the neighbors were just coming up with more and more objections which approaches the argument that we have seen here many times, “they are just throwing up a bunch of stuff to see what will stick”. This dismissive attitude fails to take into account that different individuals within the same neighborhood will almost certainly have different opinions about what the biggest issues are, and some may not come to light until there have been a number of meetings and discussions. This does not mean that the additional objections are not legitimate concerns.

      Just because they spouted off fears does not mean that they are legitimate concerns.

      You are all one-sided on this.  That the fearful can just spout off crap… sort of that crybully approach… and that anybody that challenges it as being crap are guilty of being “dismissive”.

      This is classic passive-aggressive.

      I feel bad so I should be able to vent.  But then when I am called on the crap in my venting, I can claim I am being attacked and my concerns are being dismissed.

      Note to Tia – there are a lot of words stemming from strong emotions that are absolutely justified in being challenged.  The ONLY benchmark should be facts, truth and relevancy.  If the words are not factual, not truthful and/or lack relevancy, then it is justified to call them out and dismiss them as at least being irrelevant, but maybe even toxic, with the debate.

      Sorry but you are not a qualified victim living next to an undeveloped infill parcel within a growing city.

      1. Odin

        “Sorry but you are not a qualified victim living next to an undeveloped infill parcel within a growing city.”

        Well, neither are you, so why are you telling others how they should think?

      2. Tia Will

        Sorry but you are not a qualified victim living next to an undeveloped infill parcel within a growing city.”

        Since I have never, never claimed to have been victimized by anything ( please post the quote if you disagree) I honestly cannot see why you are doubling down on my supposed claim to victimhood.

         

  13. Tia Will

    No, it is in the ‘eye’ of the planning professional.”

    No, in our system, it is ultimately in the eye of three members of the city council. Hopefully these individuals due their complete due diligence and consider all of the facts brought to them weighing the opinions of the various experts more highly, but also with a compassionate ear to the concerns of those who have real concerns but may not be adept in expressing them in public forums or in professionally prepared manners.

    1. hpierce

      Ultimately, you are incorrect.  

      If enough people disagree with a CC action, they can line up support for their position, put it on a referendum, and overturn it.  Even short of that, if the CC fails to ‘reasonably’ consider impacts when making their decision, it can be brought to Court (actually, even if it turns out to be reasonable, it can still be brought to Court, as we have seen).

      And that works both ways… if a developer is denied, they may also pursue referendum and/or Court proceedings.

      1. Tia Will

        Sorry but you are not a qualified victim living next to an undeveloped infill parcel within a growing city.”

        Since I have never, never claimed to have been victimized by anything ( please post the quote if you disagree) I honestly cannot see why you are doubling down on my supposed claim to victimhood.

         

      2. Tia Will

        hpierce

        I stand corrected. Of course there is always the possibility of recourse in the courts regardless of my feelings about the use of that venue to achieve one’s goals.

  14. Tia Will

    We don’t. That is why the City has planning professionals on staff to make those determinations for us. Your ‘concerns’ are superfluous in that regard.”

    I think that your “we” does not include everyone with an interest in this topic. I am crystal clear that “my concerns” are superfluous. I do not live near the site, do not have any reason yet to suppose that the benefits will not outweigh the opponents concerns, and have taken no position on the proposal.

    My response was made in response to a direct question about what issues that I would like to see addressed. Nothing more and nothing less. I was only truthfully answering a direct question. I am having a very difficult time seeing why this simple response to a direct question has brought down such a rash of negative comments from you, Frankly and hpierce. One would think that I had made at least one negative comment about the project, but I have not. I have expressed multiple areas of concern, or lack of knowledge, and that would seem to be enough for some of you to start the usual branding process, exactly as I was pointing out would be the case. If this is enough,  I can only imagine what the actual opponents are looking forward to.

     

    1. hpierce

      My response to your 3 concerns was ~ 90% factual/objective, except to having some fun with what your definition of an economic downturn was. To portray my response as “negative” seems a tad defensive.

    2. hpierce

      And, should we understand that you do not trust City staff to ‘represent’ the community as a whole?  Do you think they are professionals, or ‘minions’? [not as ‘advocates’ but as knowledgeable folk who serve in the best interest of the community]

      Seems like the staff report addressed all your and the broader community’s concerns expressed timely… even if in addressing them, they came to separate conclusions/recommendations.

      1. Tia Will

        hpierce

        I would count  the attempt to put words of “distrust” that I have never spoken into my mouth in the category of “negative” which you can count as addressing two of your posts at the same time. As for the characterization of staff as professionals vs  minions, that is yours and yours alone.

         

  15. RobertP

    Just out of curiosity … does anyone know if there is a single building (hotel or not) outside of the CBD of Davis (IMO I include the Embassy Suites/1111 Richards as part of the CBD) that has zoning/entitlements or has built a 100% FAR building?

    That type of FAR belongs in a urban environment, not in a suburban business park sandwiched between I80 and a single-family residential neighborhood. I think the City of Davis planners really need to go back to the drawing board on this or maybe open up a book about good planning.

    Also, I’ve seen some people argue the point that the height of this building is actually lower than the current 50′ zoning and so the neighbors should be happy with this. That is completely false. The wording on development standards is actually “3 stories / 50′ maximum” – this wording is used so that an office building would be inclined to put a nice hip roof element on a 3 story building and not have to ask for a variance – not for an (imo) ugly box hotel that has no articulation to put a 4th story on it. The planners of Davis know this as well.. I really can’t believe they’re recommending the 4th story because of the 50′ max wording.. smh

    The neighbors of this property ( I am not one) should be able to stand-up to this type of rezoning and recommendations from the City. They bought their homes against this parcel – thinking an office building half this size would be allowed there. Rezoning to allow hotel use is one thing.. but rezoning to allow this level of development standards is unheard-of in an area like this. Can someone honestly say the homes behind this proposed hotel will not drop in property value due to this hotel?

    I also believe the use of the parcel is also a little iffy for a hotel (that’s a whole another can of worms)- hotels are typically located in the CBD, Freeway entrance/exit or near a demand generator. This hotel is clearly near none of these.. and actually backs-up into a neighborhood?!

    Some of the worst planning I’ve seen in a long time. I just hope the city does not get sued again.

    1. hpierce

      OK…another primer for folk that actually want to learn (all 3 of you)… if a building has a footprint of 25% of the site, and is 4 stories tall, it has ~ 100% FAR.  Not like a CBD use that has a 100% footprint, regardless of number of stories…

      1. RobertP

        Fair enough Matt.

        8th and Wake probably breaks all the development standards that the proposed hotel is seeking. Only difference is, 8th and Wake was more of a redevelopment of that old, just-as-huge, dorm complex they had there. So I bet its neighbors were happy to see a new building.

        But you’re right, the bulk and mass of 8th and Wake does not fit there “on paper” but it looks pretty darn good in-person (imo).

        Still don’t think the Hyatt needs to be that big though lol – and especially think the neighbors have the right to be angry about it.

      2. Matt Williams

        Robert, just to make things a bit more interesting, looking at Ordinance 2396, which created the PD 12-02 Planned Development and its zoning regulations, there is no listed FAR.  I went to the Municipal Code and for the I-R zoning designation there isn’t a FAR listed either.  Where is the controlling FAR for this site coming from?

        P.S.  DaVinci Apartments in South Davis meets your criteria as well.

        http://medialibrarycdn.entrata.com/media_library/2748/53f6702c923b7254.jpg

        1. RobertP

          Matt, from my understanding.. DaVinci was rezoned RHD allowing a FAR for up to 200% without a variance.

          In any case it didn’t need that type of FAR.. it was built to a FAR of .54 – very similar to what it was zoned for before the rezoning to allow RHD  .. imo the building does not look out of place in that area.. it’s in the corner of a cul-de-sac and hidden by landscaping, use might be out-of-place but that’s another story … The building also is 43.5 feet at it’s highest point.

        2. Matt Williams

          Robert, thank you for sharing that info.  Based on your input I went back to the February 17, 2004 Staff Report for DaVinci Court Apartments (see http://city-council.cityofdavis.org/Media/Default/Documents/PDF/CityCouncil/CouncilMeetings/Agendas/20040217/Packet/06-Da-Vinci-Court.pdf).  It makes very interesting reading . . .

          — The proposed project involves changing the General Plan land use designation for two existing parcels, totaling approximately 2.491 acres, from Business Park designation to High Density Residential designation.

          — In its most simple form, it is a proposal for 51-unit apartment complex on two parcels totaling approximately 2.5 acres in size.

          — The 51-unit project contains 160 bedrooms on four buildings that will be four stories in height.

          — Its bedroom density is 64.23 bedrooms per acre.

          — For comparison purposes, the Olive Drive Apartments bedroom density is 61.01 bedrooms per acre, and the Cantrill Apartments is 71.28 bedrooms per acre.

          — Staff is aware of the concerns of the residents of Royal Oak Mobile Home Park regarding the height of buildings. Building “D” is within 20 feet of the property line, and at four stories high, it is reasonable for these residents to complain . However, staff does not believe that reducing the height of the buildings to two or three stories will have less impact.  Also, the site could be developed now with two, three or four stories high building(s) based on the existing zoning. Given the city’s policies regarding densification and intensification, staff believes that the height is appropriate at this location.

          — The southern portion of the site is an easement that includes Putah Creek bike path and its riparian area.

          — Existing Easement. The existing open space, bicycle and pedestrian and incidental purposes easement shall be preserved.

          — Floor Area Ratio 53.72 percent, or 0:54

          — Floor Area Ratio shall not exceed two times the area of the lot; or 217,016 sf (i.e., ratio of 2:0)

          The graphic below cropped from the Yolo County Assessors Map shows the portion of the lot devoted to the Putah Creek bike path easement in green and the remaining portion of the 2.491 acre parcel in yellow.  It is easy to see that the yellow is smaller than the green, which means that the legal FAR for DaVinci Court is 0:54, the functional FAR is more than double that (more than 1:00).  Further, usig the full legal lot size, the bedroom density of DaVinci Court Apartments is 64.23 bedrooms per acre, while the bedroom density is 59.08 bedrooms per acre for Hyatt House.  If you use the functional lot size (excluding the greenbelt easement) the bedroom density jumps up to over 130 bedrooms per acre. Further, with student “double ups” so prevalent now, each of the 160 bedrooms in DaVinci has a good chance of housing two students, making the “impact” of DaVinci in the vicinity of 300 persons each day.  At the projected 70-80% occupancy, the Hyatt House is going to have an “impact” of half that many people on the typical day.

          All that amounts to food for thought.

          https://www.davisvanguard.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/06-color-coded.jpg

      3. RobertP

        Matt, also wanted to point out the very important fact that the 8th and Wake site is University-owned. I don’t believe the project is subject to zoning and building ordinances of Davis, CA. So, theoretically the project didn’t really break any zoning development standards…

         

         

         

         

         

        1. Matt Williams

          Fair enough Robert, but DaVinci isn’t University-owned.

          With that said, wasn’t the pre-renovation 8th and Wake four stories as well, and wasn’t it built prior to the University’s acquisition of it?

        2. Marina Kalugin

          ahh yes, Castilian, one of the original, and only “off-campus” dorms….I had no idea what 8th and Wake was ….but I am very familiar with Castilian….it was fully renovated once before it became 8th and Wake…the latest iteration was to make it appealing to upperclassmen….does it still have a food service?

          once the huge effort to exponentially increase on campus door rooms, that site was not as desirable for freshman…

          and was one of the earliest examples of  “suite” living with individual bedrooms and a common living/kitchen area….

  16. RobertP

    … Okay, I guess I have to dumb-down my question (don’t mean any offense to you personally hpierce) … so I guess my question to you would be.. what building in the City of Davis besides the CBD has a 25% foot print and is 4 stories tall? Oh and that back-ups to an established neighborhood?

    The point is… I am not referring to the footprint/site coverage of the building (If I was, I would have said that), I am referring to the intensity of the building (typically what a FAR refers-to and tries to limit in suburbia) – it is about the general massing/character of the building among its environment. Does the massing of this building belong where it’s being proposed? I personally believe a GOOD planner would say no to that question. A 45,000-50,000 square foot building that is 3 stories tall with a hip roof would look a lot more in-place at this location. Instead, we have a hotel that is LARGER than New Harmony (in terms of  building square footage) that is on ~1.5 acres LESS land than New Harmony? Does not make any sense.

    But, this is all besides the point-in-any-case. My point here is..  is it fair for any of the homes in the neighborhood of this proposed hotel to have a development that is 1 story taller and 30-40% larger than they would’ve ever expected? Absolutely not fair.

    Changing the use of the parcel is one thing but changing the entire development standards of the parcel is just totally nuts. The burden of rezoning shouldn’t be on the existing neighborhood it should be on the developer.

    A hotel does not belong there. And an overly massive one especially, does not belong there.

    1. davisresident

      Curious if your thoughts also apply to a 3-story, 50 foot industrial factory with the same massing as the hotel. The parcel is already zoned for something like that. I guess I don’t see a demonstrable difference.

      1. RobertP

        Couple of things davisresident:

        You’re forgetting the main point here.. the current zoning DOES NOT ALLOW for the massing this proposed hotel is seeking.

        The current zoning of the parcel allows for: 3 stories, 50 foot high, 50% FAR (this equates to ~45,000 square foot building) and whatever the permitted uses are under I-R – which yes, probably includes manufacturing facilities (if that’s what you mean by an “industrial factory”, I get it, industrial factory just seems way more daunting).

        The proposed hotel is seeking zoning for: 4 stories, 55 foot at the peak, 100% FAR (actual building will be ~69,000 square foot building though)

        So if you are asking me is there a demonstrable difference between a 3 story, 45k square foot building and a 4 story 69k square foot building – yes I can see a HUGE difference.

        Like I said before, the use of the site is one thing but the development standards the developers are seeking is a whole different thing.

        I believe if the hotel was being proposed as a 3 story, 45k square foot building.. a lot more of their neighbors would be receptive to it – something I was hoping the planners would’ve pushed on the developers. But clearly, that didn’t happen.

        1. Marina Kalugin

          the current crop of planners appears not to be pushing on the developers at all, and certainly not doing their true diligence in presenting the differing sides to the planning commission…also not sure if the current planning commission has anyone on it that is interested in viewing all the sides before weighing in to a council that has never seen a development they weren’t going to support…unless I missed something…feel free to let me know, if I missed anything…was there a development they didn’t support???

  17. Marina Kalugin

    after I return from the first real vacation I have had in several years- in fact today was the first day in a couple of decades where I didn’t start the day by checking my UCD email…. I will start looking for old documents… back some decades ago, the city staff recommended against Woodbridge, and so did the planning commission…or rather the first proposal by a Sac no-name developer…he wanted to put over 220 houses on that 26 acres…

    and we also had 3-2 against on the council….then that Sac developer sold his option to some local boys who were all pals with the council members….lesssee  their was Chuck Cunningham, not only the engineering firm principal on the project aka he was also one of the developer partners, Blaine Juchau (sp) and two others whose names elude me for now..

    after the next election, there were 3-2 for the development…and lots more to share…regardless, this off topic ancient history lesson shows to what lengths spin and more spin can be used to show that “there is not much” difference…

    Many of us beg to differ with that spin….some will likely be at the planning commission meeting…

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