Hotel Developers Unveil Plan to Address Privacy; Planning Commission Hears More Concern From Neighbors

Planning Commission convenes public meeting in the Greenbelt on Wednesday morning
Planning Commission convenes public meeting in the greenbelt on Wednesday morning

A special meeting of the Davis Planning Commission at 8 am, out on the greenbelt near the site, served as an opportunity for the developers of the Hyatt House hotel, along Cowell Boulevard next to Davis Diamonds, to unveil a plan they hope will quell neighborhood concerns about privacy.  Meanwhile, a small contingent of neighbors continued to speak out against the hotel location.

It was an impressive demonstration, as the developers strung balloons decked out in red, white and blue – with red representing the third and fourth story windows in an effort to illustrate the level of privacy or lack thereof.  The developers then hired a professional drone pilot to traverse the extent of the hotel along the third and fourth story window levels to show the extent to which an individual can see into the homes and backyards of residents.

But the biggest part of the day was the unveiling of a new plan that will hopefully, at least partially, screen the homes of neighbors from the windows of the third and fourth story of the hotel.

Developer provided slide demonstrating the privacy screen
Developer-provided slide demonstrating the privacy screen
External view with privacy screen
External view with privacy screen

“We listened, we worked with the developer and we have some possible solutions to take care of what we heard as the primary concern is the privacy issue,” explained Rick Harper, one of the project architect.  They calculated the angle from the windows to the fence line in order “to block that view for complete privacy.”

“What we’ve come up with is a screen,” he said.  The simple screen looks like a balcony, without the ability for the hotel guests to walk onto it.  It looks like any hotel balcony but “what it is, is a screen floating out there that blocks both your views from here so you can’t see in the rooms and from the rooms you can’t see the neighbors’ yards or their windows.”

Demonstrates the concept around the privacy screen
Demonstrates the concept around the privacy screen

He explained, “We’re offering that as a way to help resolve or mitigate the visual privacy issue with or without trees.  I think trees are something nice that should be maintained, but this really gives you almost a 100 percent protection for your visual privacy.”

He reiterated, “We listened and we’re trying to respond to your concerns.”

Alan Pryor asks a question
Alan Pryor asks a question

The Commission during public comment heard from a number of the neighbors prior to the presentation by the developers.

Former Mayor Maynard Skinner, who is not a neighbor, spoke out against the project, noting that historically they always kept the hotels near the downtown.  Most of them are within walking distance of the downtown, but this one is far enough “that I just don’t think many people will walk to the downtown.  I don’t know why the DDBA and the Chamber of Commerce went for this because they are going to go to the shopping center to the west or Mace Blvd.”

Former Mayor Maynard Skinner
Former Mayor Maynard Skinner

He added that this is only going to add to congestion along Richards Boulevard.

Neil Nhanowa, who lives on nearby Donovan Court, speaking as one of the leaders of the neighborhood asked the Planning Commission to “really take a step back and look at this as a community not today, but at 10, 11, or 2 in the morning – think about the noise impacts of the parking lot immediately on the other side of this fence would do to you, if you were a neighbor.”

He noted, “One of the main concerns of some of our neighbors is long term, should this be the only privacy screen we have, should something happen to the trees that inkling of privacy is diminished.”

“We’ve heard in the Planning Commission last week that safety is an issue,” he said.  “I don’t think you can talk to one neighbor and they feel that this area is unsafe.  A building that fits within current zoning isn’t going to alter the safety – it’s actually going to have better impacts for us given that it’s not 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

Neal DeNowa makes a point during public comment
Neal Nhanowa makes a point during public comment

Alisa Burnett expressed concerns about the trees, noting that 9 of 23 trees show signs of trees under stress.  “That’s nearly half of these trees that are showing signs of problems,” she explained.  “The idea that we’re going to have a privacy screen that is based on living things that are impacted by many different diseases… it’s irresponsible to think that they’ll never die and what happens if they do die – we get a 15-gallon sapling – that takes the next twenty years to improve our privacy screen.”

She concluded these “trees are not healthy enough, we need something better to preserve our right to privacy.”

Later in the meeting, City Arborist Rob Cain told the neighbors that, like any living thing, the trees are eventually going to die.  He noted that “this area is an area that’s not maintained as meticulously as other places as it is a greenbelt area.”

He described the trees as being in “fair to good health.”  He added, “The structural problems are due mainly to planting large trees too close together.”  He noted, “Trees need light, they’re going to try to grow towards the light, so you’re going to have disfigured trees if you try to put a large canopy sized tree in.”

Bridgette Boyd discussed the noise issues.  She was concerned about the pool and parking lot’s effects on the neighbors.  She quoted the noise ordinance and argued, “I feel it’s a pretty strong argument that having parking stalls, and people hanging out on outdoor patios and a swimming pool right here in the back of these people’s homes is unreasonable noise for the neighborhood.”

The balloons with red representing the third and fourth story windows and blue representing the building peak
The balloons with red representing the third and fourth story windows and blue representing the building peak
The drone
The drone
The pilot readies the drone
The pilot readies the drone
The drone up at 37 feet
The drone up at 37 feet
The team watches the video from the drone
The team watches the video from the drone

Carlos Casillas noted that he lives in the most impacted home, where there are breaks in the tree line and only two deciduous trees with high foliage, leaving his property more open than many along the greenbelt.  He noted the ability to see into his bedroom and bathroom windows.

He said he likes the hotel but “it’s just a square trying to fit into a circle.”  He said, “great idea, just the wrong place.”

Mr. Casillas took the Vanguard along with Planning Commissioner Cheryl Essex into his home so we could see from his perspective.

Carlos Casillas points out where the hotel roof would be to Commissioner Cheryl Essex
Carlos Casillas points out to Commissioner Cheryl Essex where the hotel roof would be
The view from the back yard shows the balloon - note that wind was pushing the balloons a bit lower
The view from the back yard shows the balloon – note that wind was pushing the balloons a bit lower
View from Mr. Casillas' bedroom window clearly would see the hotel
View from Mr. Casillas’ bedroom window showing he clearly would see the hotel, as well as demonstrating the lack of cover he has from the trees

The Planning Commission listened and observed.  They will meet next week at their regular time and place to make determinations about this project.

—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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174 Comments

    1. Odin

      Quielo, drop it about Olive Drive.  We have a community over here, we are not the trailer trash you think we are, and we already have Lincoln 40 tearing down a lot of those homes you are referring to.  How about we put the hotel in your neighborhood?

      1. quielo

        “How about we put the hotel in your neighborhood?” Unfortunately my presence would be a significant deterrent to people staying here. Also a hotel in North Davis would not help the core entertainment district. 

        I have nothing against Olive and am a big fan of the the cork oaks there. However looking at a map there is no place that is more suitable than Olive. People can reach it without driving into the core and it has easy pedestrian access to both the core and the university. There are two freeway interchanges. BTW, who is the guy in the striped polo? He is not looking too happy.

        1. hpierce

          No… one interchange in vicinity, one off-ramp (that CalTrans keeps trying to get us to close).  All traffic (unless you illegally cross the UPRR tracks),  from Olive Drive has to go thru the intersection of Richards and Olive.

          You are entitled to your opinions, but not your own “facts”….

        2. South of Davis

          hpierce wrote:

          > one interchange in vicinity, one off-ramp (that CalTrans keeps

          > trying to get us to close).

          Is there some “reason” that CalTrans wants the “exit only” off ramp at the end of Olive closed?

          P.S. To anyone heading west on 80 that wants to go downtown the people that get off at Richards make it through the tunnel before the people that get off at Olive about 90% of the time…

        3. quielo

          From wikipedia “In the field of road transport, an interchange is a road junction that typically uses grade separation, and one or more ramps, to permit traffic on at least one highway to pass through the junction without directly crossing any other traffic stream. It differs from a standard intersection, at which roads cross at grade. Interchanges are almost always used when at least one of the roads is a controlled-access highway (freeway or motorway) or a limited-access divided highway (expressway), though they may occasionally be used at junctions between two surface streets.”

          So there two interchanges though both do not allow ingress/egress.

        4. hpierce

          Is there some “reason” that CalTrans wants the “exit only” off ramp at the end of Olive closed?

          Yes.

          The comment from CalTrans has appeared in all (or nearly all) comments made on environmental documents that they get a chance to review, since the early 90’s.  The comment is generally faxed to the city, literally less than 1 hour before the comment closing period.

          Jeffery Pulverman, @ CalTrans, would be the best one to explain the reason, but I assure you, it exists, at least according to JP.

        5. Matt Williams

          During the Nishi process, when the I-80 Richards Interchange tight diamond upgrades were being discussed, the question of the CalTrans desire to permanently close the Olive Drive interchange as a prerequisite to their approving (and partially funding) the project came up (particularly germane to the Nishi developer’s pledge of construction timing constraints).  Given my bias toward doing due diligence, I went through the various Olive Drive EIR documents accessible on the City website, and the historical pattern of the comments from Cal Trans was there for all to see.

          Mr. Braverman was not available to talk to directly, so I spoke to one of my other contacts who is intimately familiar with CalTrans’ past and current thoughts on the Olive Drive exit.  He confirmed that they absolutely do want to close it, mostly because the distance betwwen the Olive ramp and the Richards ramp is less than half a mile, which violates CalTrans’ minimum separation standards.

          My contact also said that the CalTrans comments in the past were filed in order “to be on the record” with a historical paper trail, so that when a time came where CalTrans had increased “leverage” because of their ability to hold back both State of California funding and Federal funding for a project that Davis wanted, they could “bring out the sledge hammer.”

      2. Delia .

        Odin, gentrification once again rears its ugly head. Olive drive residents referred to as “trash.” People at a different income level looking down their noses. Hotel that charges $250. per night, (seasonal rate), trying to sell itself to a community by ignoring the lower to mid income residents, who will get no benefit. Unless they want to apply for a low paid job. A job that won’t allow maids & desk clerks to live in the community where they work. One word. Gentrification.

        1. Alan Miller

          It only takes three votes to re-zone.

          Truer words . . . . . Just ask Maynard, who will soon have the Mission Monstrosity towering over his backyard due to the above stated F-y’all reality of Davis.

      1. Grok

        The developers are only tied to this lot because this is the lot they chose to purchase. It is not the cities fault if they bought a lot that is not zoned for the intended use.

        Strangely enough, there is no zoning change request here. Instead they are requesting to amend the general plan to allow for hotels at double the density for all like zoned properties in all of Davis.

        They are also requesting to Rewrite the South Davis Specific Plan to do away with the landscaping requirements around parking lots for South Davis.

        Either of these 2 requested changes on its own is a massive over reach to approve a single project.

        1. Matt Williams

          Grok said . . . “Instead they are requesting to amend the general plan to allow for hotels at double the density for all like zoned properties in all of Davis.

          They are also requesting to Rewrite the South Davis Specific Plan to do away with the landscaping requirements around parking lots for South Davis.

          Either of these 2 requested changes on its own is a massive over reach to approve a single project.”

          Grok, I agree with your final paragraph 100% these two General Plan changes, which are external to the hotel project application should be removed by Staff.

          With that said, you use the pronoun “They” three times in your comment (I have bolded two of them above).  “They” is frequently a non-specific reference.  Your use of “they” in your first paragraph clearly is referencing the developers.  Who are you referring to when you say “they” in the other two instances that I’ve copied and pasted above?

        2. Grok

          Your absolutely right Matt, my apologies for the ambiguity. I am not certain what the developers requested of staff regarding these, but both the changes to the General Plan and the Changes to the South Davis Specific plan were recommended by staff so it is fair to say “they” can be read as staff in these 2 cases.

        3. Matt Williams

          All the information I have is consistent with what Grok has said, the two General/Specific Plan changes were not requested by the applicants.  They were (to the best of my knowledge) formulated by Staff and tacked onto as appendages to the processing of the project-specific application.  As I have said before, if either of these two recommended changes to the General Plan and the South Davis Specific Plan have sufficient merit to be implemented, they need to be scheduled on a future Council Agenda as focused items of their own, with a Staff Report specific to them and an opportunity for the citizens/residents to make public comment that is focused.

          I have a further concern, which is my belief that tacking these two recommended changes onto the project evaluation opens the project up to a CEQA “failure of process” lawsuit.  The EIR does not address the issues associated with either of these two changes.  Do we really need another CEQA lawsuit? Staff should withdraw these two recommendations.  The applicant should insist on the withdrawal of these two recommendations.  The possibility that either the Planning Commission or City Council have to weigh in on these recommendations as part of the project deliberation process should be removed.

          I hope I have made my thoughts clear on this issue.

  1. Grok

    The more I look at this project the clearer it is it is just to large for the small lot. 

    Because the lot is so small they have to build the hotel directly perpendicular to the homes.

    Because the lot is so small they have put the parking lot all the way up to the property line next to the green belt.

    Because the lot is so small there is no room for any landscaping between the hotel and the green belt.

    Because the lot is to small they have to rely on the City owned trees in the city green belt as mitigation, leaving the city with future bills for Maintenance.

    Because the lot is to small the hotel can’t plant trees to provide  a green screen.

    Because the lot is to small there has been not attempt to mitigate the effects of the hotel on the green belt.

    Because the lot is to small the trees on the green belt have to be drastically trimmed to make room for the new parking lot.

    Because the lot is to small they are proposing to amend the general plan to allow for increased density for all similar lots in the city of Davis.

    Because the lot is to small they are asking to rewrite the South Davis Specific plan to get rid of landscape requirements around parking lots.

    One thing that would lessen almost everyone of these negative effects caused by the small lot is to put the parking under the hotel.

    1. Chamber Fan

      The lot really isn’t that small – it’s just long and thin.  Nevertheless the graphic demonstrates that the project fits alright in the lot.

      “Because the lot is to small they are proposing to amend the general plan to allow for increased density for all similar lots in the city of Davis.”

      That’s going to probably happen regardless because the city needs the density for whatever it decides to do as long as Measure R is the rule.

      1. Grok

        That’s going to probably happen regardless because the city needs the density for whatever it decides to do as long as Measure R is the rule. – Chamber Fan

        Clearly you have not read the proposal Chamber Fan. The proposed change to the general plan adds hotels at double the current allowable density to the business park designation but it does not change the density for any other project. So your argument is only valid if you are talking about building hotels.

      2. Grok

         it’s just long and thin.  . – Chamber Fan

        Yes the lot is thin and that is certainly part of the problem. As I have described above the small size of the lot causes a cascade of problem because the Hotel is just to big for the small thin lot.

    1. South of Davis

      David wrote:

      > Former Mayor Maynard Skinner who is not a

      > neighbor spoke out against the project

      Just a couple months ago the Enterprise wrote: “Shaskan first learned of Lincoln40’s plans when Bill Ritter and former Mayor Maynard Skinner — two locals representing HighBridge Properties — went door-to-door to talk to residents about the project.”

      Any idea if former Mayor Skinner is upset that he didn’t get hired by the Hayatt Developers to “go door-to-door to talk to residents about the project”?

       

       

  2. ryankelly

    I think that the developers have done a good job addressing the neighbos privacy concerns.  This will not impact them any more than an office building would, or in terms of noise, a residential neighborhood.  In fact, the noise from the highway should impact them less.

    1. Rosecreek Resident

      Ryan, I’d like to put something to bed hopefully once and for all, and please forgive the tone of this comment as it’s not meant to be direct towards you.

      NONE of us care, or at least 99% about the HWY noise. Anything that would be zoned there would have the same effect, its moot and concocted by the developer as something of value. That said, WE DON’T CARE ABOUT THE HWY NOISE. What we care about is the after hours and weekend noise cause by a 24/7 business that shouldn’t be there.

      Most of the comments that we have seen come on the Vanguard miss the larger point here. The city only needs one added hotel, ONE ADDED HOTEL, and currently there is a proposal by Marriott, a brand not represented in Davis located in a much more suitable place for a hotel. So the fact that the Hyatt has been such a huge point of contention here is beyond a lot of us. If the city is being advised that ONLY ONE HOTEL is necessary, why should we even consider the location that has less amenities, more impacts to neighbors, more traffic concern, and all around more debate is beyond a lot of us.

      We are yet to see an argument that compares the Hyatt vs. the Marriott on it’s overall merit vs. looking at the Hyatt in a bubble. David, perhaps this is a good next piece for you to write? Thoughts?

      Is it perhaps that the Hyatt project has direct financial and personal ties to a few member in the Davis community? Interesting perspective that we keep seeming to gloss over in the comments section here…

       

      1. Grok

        HWY noise and Hotel Parking lot noise are very different.

        HWY noise for the most part is a white noise that is mostly fairly even and easy to get used to. Hotel parking lot noise has much bigger peaks with car doors, radios, car engines, talking with the occasional car alarm, or raised voices. Add to that a commercial pool and there is a very different noise signature and a very different noise impact.

        Of course, much of this is doubly problematic because the lot is to small to have the hotel appropriately placed forward on the lot away from the neighbors and the green belt and still have the parking in front of the hotel. No, with the small lot the staff has actually asked the developer to move the hotel forward on the lot and move the parking behind the hotel, thus actually making the noise problem worse.

        1. Mark West

          “Hotel parking lot noise has much bigger peaks with car doors, radios, car engines, talking with the occasional car alarm, or raised voices.”

          Which is exactly like the noise from your neighbors immediately adjacent to your home, which at least in my neighborhood is a 24/7 situation. Are you concerned that hotel patrons will be setting up tailgating parties in the parking lot at all hours?  This complaint is really quite silly.

        2. Grok

          Which is exactly like the noise from your neighbors immediately adjacent to your home – mark West

          Except unlike your other neighbors, it is a parking lot serving 120 rooms.

          Mark, I get that you don’t agree with the RC neighbors, but belittling their concerns by calling them “silly” does nothing to advance the conversation.

        3. Chamber Fan

          But just because the neighbors have those concerns does not mean they are valid either.  Neighbors inherently focus on worst case scenario – mitigation measures are designed to prevent those scenarios.

        4. Mark West

          “Except unlike your other neighbors, it is a parking lot serving 120 rooms.”

          There are more than 120 ‘rooms’ in the immediate neighborhood with cars attached. The noise from the hotel will be no different than the noise from the neighbors, and for all but the small number of homes immediately adjacent to the project, those neighborhood cars will be closer and noisier.

          “but belittling their concerns by calling them “silly” does nothing to advance the conversation.”

          Sure it does, because it allows us to focus on the only serious concern that has been raised, which is privacy.

        5. Mark West

          “No mitigation has been offered to address the parking lot noise.”

          None is needed because it is not a legitimate concern. The noise will not be significantly different than what already exists in the neighborhood or what could be expected from a commercial building on the site.

        6. Mark West

          “Thankfully Mark West is not who decides what is and is not a real concern and worthy of mitigation.”

          You are right, it was members of the PC that focused on privacy as the one issue of concern.

        7. Grok

          There are more than 120 ‘rooms’ in the immediate neighborhood with cars attached.

          120 rooms spread across the entire neighborhood is very different than a 120 room hotel parking lot.

        8. Mark West

          Groc: “120 rooms spread across the entire neighborhood is very different than a 120 room hotel parking lot.”

          You are right, the ones in the neighborhood will likely be louder and impact more people, unless, of course, you are suggesting that the patrons will be holding parties in the parking lot at 2:00am with all their friends in the hotel.

          tudents with cars at the three mini-dorms near me will make more noise than the patrons at the hotel. It is a non-issue.

        9. Mark West

          Groc: “120 rooms spread across the entire neighborhood is very different than a 120 room hotel parking lot.”

          You are right, the ones in the neighborhood will likely be louder and impact more people, unless, of course, you are suggesting that the hotel patrons will be holding parties in the parking lot at 2:00am with all their friends.

          Students with cars attending late-night parties at the three mini-dorms near me make more noise than will the patrons at the hotel. It is a non-issue.

          Privacy is the only concern that registers above background and the applicants have addressed that problem.

        10. South of Davis

          Grok wrote:

          > Except unlike your other neighbors, it is a parking

          > lot serving 120 rooms.

          There are about 20 homes on Albany that back on to the vacant lot and about another 20 across the street.

          If you figure an average of 3.5 bedrooms per home that is 140 Bedrooms.

          Of the homes on Albany they probably average a 99% occupancy where few hotels average above 70%.

          So we have Albany with an average 138 occupied bedrooms per night and a hotel with an average of 84 occupied bedrooms per night.

          Kids tend to make more noise than average and I’m betting that Albany has a higher percentage of kids than the percentage of Davis hotel room nights with kids.

        11. Grok

          SOD and MW. Your just throwing stuff at the wall to see if it will stick. the difference between neighborhood parking and a hotel parking is obvious on the face of it.

        12. South of Davis

          Grok wrote:

          > The difference between neighborhood parking

          > and a hotel parking is obvious on the face of it.

          Do you play the car radio louder, slam the car door harder or make more noise getting out of the car when you are staying in a hotel than driving home after a night on the town?

        13. Barack Palin

          SOD and MW. Your just throwing stuff at the wall to see if it will stick. the difference between neighborhood parking and a hotel parking is obvious on the face of it.

          That’s funny coming from you.

        14. Mark West

          Groc: “Your just throwing stuff at the wall to see if it will stick.”

          Now that is funny!  I support the project, why would I need to ‘throw stuff at the wall?’ That is what your clients expect you to do (and what you have delivered).

          By the way, Groc, the correct word is ‘you’re’ which if you are having difficulty remembering, is a contraction of the words ‘you are.’  If you were a little younger, you might be able to get away with ‘u r’ but only if you are texting on an old phone sans a qwerty keyboard.

        15. Grok

          Thanks Mark – You’re absolutely right about the use of your and you’re. that might be the only thing your right about in all of your comments on this blog.

          Notable among the many things your wrong about is your asinine accusation that someone is paying me to post here. As far as I can tell the only person who has been paid to post about the Hyatt House story is your friend Pastor Habicht.

        16. Mark West

          Groc

          My reference to your ‘clients’ is based on my observation and assessment of your behavior at the PC meeting, where you appeared to be working in concert with some of the ‘leaders’ of the opposition. Whether or not you are being paid for your efforts is of no consequence.

           

           

        17. Grok

          I strongly disagree with your characterization, but your clarified characterization is inconsequential anyway.

          Interestingly though,  by your definition the Hotel Developer is your client.

        18. Matt Williams

          Grok said . . . “I don’t exactly agree with you, but by your definition your clients are the Hotel developers.”

          Grok, based on my reading of Mark’s comments in many, many threads (including this one), I would say his “clients” have consistently been the greatest good for the Davis community as a whole.  He has been very consistently clear in his message that the community’s fiscal well being (both the governmental entity of the City and the overall community economy) are what he is fighting for.  My understanding of what Mark has said many times over is that the narrow self interests of an individual project’s development team are inconsequential to the community’s decision process, which focuses on achieving the greatest good for the community as a whole without creating harm to any subset of the community.

        19. Grok

          Matt, I actually agree with you more than not as to Mark’s motives. I do think Mark believes he is doing good. I just disagree with him as to if he is actually doing good. His advocacy for disregarding the neighbors concerns is callus and unhelpful to finding ways to make this project work.

           

          On the other had, I have posted specific critiques of the project and even suggest how to mitigate for it.

        20. Mark West

          Groc –

          You will find that I will favor most any reasonable project that helps the City close the $30+ million annual budget shortfall that currently exists. My ‘client,’or for that matter, my sole purpose for posting here is to see that we stop allowing you and the rest of the ‘no-first’ crowd to control the City’s future so that we may finally start paying all of our bills.

          Given the choice between a parcel that has remained vacant for greater than 25 years and an up-market hotel that will add roughly $500,000 in annual revenues, it is a very easy choice. It would be the exact same choice if that hotel was next door or over my back fence. From what I know of it to date, I will likely support the Mariott project as well, for the exact same reasons.

          I support the mitigation of known issues that rise to the level of being a nuisance to the neighbors. I am not the one who determined which of the neighbor’s concerns needed to be addressed. It was the Planning Commissioners who expressed the opinion that the privacy issue was the only one that rose to that level of concern and the applicants have responded with a very reasonable accommodation to address it. It is time to approve this project and move on to the next step of meeting the City’s fiscal obligations.

        21. Matt Williams

          Grok said . . . “His advocacy for disregarding the neighbors concerns is callous and unhelpful to finding ways to make this project work.

          On the other had, I have posted specific critiques of the project and even suggest how to mitigate for it.”

          Grok, a couple of questions for you.  First, have you run your suggested mitigations by the neighbors to verify if they agree that those mitigations are acceptable to them, and that with those mitigations they are willing to give the project their blessing?

          With that question asked, let’s look at your specific critiques.

          Because the lot is so small they have to build the hotel directly perpendicular to the homes.  Actually, the building will be parallel to both Albany and the houses on Albany.  Perpendicular to Donovan and Christie, but that is semantics.  What mitigation do you propose for that fact?

          Because the lot is so small they have put the parking lot all the way up to the property line next to the green belt.  The original proposal had the parking in the front of the building, and it was moved to behind the building to accomodate the requests of the neighbors expressed in the outreach meetings.

          Because the lot is so small there is no room for any landscaping between the hotel and the green belt. The original proposal had the parking in the front of the building and landscaping behind, and the parking was moved to behind the building to accomodate the requests of the neighbors expressed in the outreach meetings.

          Because the lot is to small they have to rely on the City owned trees in the city green belt as mitigation, leaving the city with future bills for Maintenance.  What is the impact on the neighbors of your factual statement?  is your proposed mitigation for your factual statement?  Second, what is your proposed mitigation for those impacts?

          Because the lot is to small the hotel can’t plant trees to provide a green screen.  The original proposal had the parking in the front of the building and landscaping with project-provided green trees behind.  As noted above, the parking was moved to behind the building to accomodate the requests of the neighbors expressed in the outreach meetings.

          Because the lot is to small there has been not attempt to mitigate the effects of the hotel on the green belt.  What are the effects of the hotel on the greenbelt? What is your proposed mitigation for those effects on the greenbelt?

          Because the lot is to small the trees on the green belt have to be drastically trimmed to make room for the new parking lot.  That isn’t my understanding from the documents I have read to date.  What is your source for that statement?  Please provide a link.  I may have missed that document.

          Because the lot is to small they are proposing to amend the general plan to allow for increased density for all similar lots in the city of Davis.  This is not a development recommendation.  THEY are not proposing to amend the general plan to allow for increased density for all similar lots in the city of Davis.

          Because the lot is to small they are asking to rewrite the South Davis Specific plan to get rid of landscape requirements around parking lots.  This is not a development recommendation.  THEY are not proposing to amend the general plan to allow for increased density for all similar lots in the city of Davis.

          One thing that would lessen almost everyone of these negative effects caused by the small lot is to put the parking under the hotel.  What effects/impacts would underground parking mitigate?

           

        22. Grok

          You will find that I will favor most any reasonable project that helps the City close the $30+ million annual budget shortfall that currently exists.

           

          Your definition of reasonable and mine are clearly different. I have also seen you repeatedly argue that the university should not be asked to build more housing. That does not in any way seem to fit with your self-described narrative.

           

          My ‘client,’or for that matter, my sole purpose for posting here is to see that we stop allowing you and the rest of the ‘no-first’ crowd to control the City’s future so that we may finally start paying all of our bills.

           

          You are greatly mistaken as to others motivations and would be better served trying to do something positive rather than attempting to maliciously argue down and intimidate others.

           

          Given the choice between a parcel that has remained vacant for greater than 25 years and an up-market hotel that will add roughly $500,000 in annual revenues, it is a very easy choice. It would be the exact same choice if that hotel was next door or over my back fence. From what I know of it to date, I will likely support the Mariott project as well, for the exact same reasons.

           

          “up-market” is a stretch. It is a mid-market hotel that is proposed. The developer chose a questionable site to purchase without consulting the city or the neighborhood and now they need massive zoning changes to build the project. Money is not the only consideration here, but even if it was the Marriott seems to be a much better project. The Marriott could probably even be bigger. Build the Marriott first, and if there is really a demand for another Hotel, then another hotel can be built at a better location. Or, if the neighbors’ concerns can be appropriately addressed, maybe it can be built here. Calling the neighbors silly is spiteful and counterproductive.

           

          I support the mitigation of known issues that rise to the level of being a nuisance to the neighbors.

           

          You do not get to decide what is and is not a nuisance to the neighbors. The neighbors have raised good points that you have callously disregarded and belittled.Your posting is offensive and counterproductive.

           

          I am not the one who determined which of the neighbor’s concerns needed to be addressed. It was the Planning Commissioners who expressed the opinion that the privacy issue was the only one that rose to that level of concern and the applicants have responded with a very reasonable accommodation to address it.

           

          The planning commission has not passed this yet, and some planning commissioners have raised other concerns that have yet to be addressed. Reasonable is in the eye of the beholder. I will agree that progress is being made. Personally I hope this can work out, but if the problems can’t be mitigated or the develoeprs are not willing to do what it takes to mitigate, then this project does not need to pass. This project will not make or break Davis.

           

          It is time to approve this project and move on to the next step of meeting the City’s fiscal obligations.

           

          I strongly disagree. For starters as Matt points out there is a major problem with the method the staff has taken to change the zoning to allow for this hotel. Going forward with this project as is will expose the City to lawsuits. This absolutely has to be addressed before it can be passed.

        23. Chamber Fan

          Grok-

          How do you know that they didn’t consult the city?  Almost every developer has meetings with city planners prior to application.  I’m sure they also met with the council.  And how do you know the Marriott is a better project?  Because you like the location better?

        24. Matt Williams

          Grok said . . . “I strongly disagree. For starters as Matt points out there is a major problem with the method the staff has taken to change the zoning to allow for this hotel. Going forward with this project as is will expose the City to lawsuits. This absolutely has to be addressed before it can be passed.”

          Grok, your bolded statement is not correct as written. While I definitely have a major problem with the method the staff has taken to recommend the changes to the General Plan and South Davis Specific Plan, I do not have any noteworthy problem with the method the staff has taken to change the zoning for this specific parcel. The zoning change process has been very open and transparent, and has not been rushed at all.  It began over 12 months ago and has given all the interested parties a considerable and recurring opportunity to voice their thoughts about the proposed zoning change.

          On the other hand, as I have said in prior posts the recent Staff recommendation of the General Plan and South Davis Specific Plan changes needs to be pulled back and if they are worthy of focused consideration, given their own specific consideration process and timeline.  That problem comes to a speedy end if Staff simply withdraws their recommendation on those specific last minute add-ons.

        25. Grok

          Matt, the current staff recommendation relies on a General Plan Amendment and change to the South Davis Specific plan to change the zoning. That is the method the staff has taken to bring the site in line with the zoning. If approved as recommended by staff, that is a problem as you have accurately identified.

        26. Grok

          Matt – Thanks for your clarifying questions

          Grok, a couple of questions for you.  First, have you run your suggested mitigations by the neighbors to verify if they agree that those mitigations are acceptable to them, and that with those mitigations they are willing to give the project their blessing?

          I have no authority to state the neighbor’s desires or point of view.

          With that question asked, let’s look at your specific critiques.
          Because the lot is so small they have to build the hotel directly perpendicular to the homes.  Actually, the building will be parallel to both Albany and the houses on Albany.  Perpendicular to Donovan and Christie, but that is semantics.  What mitigation do you propose for that fact?

          The fact that it is parallel to Albany (the closest street) increases the impact and privacy concerns. If it were on a larger site the building could be turned so there was not a direct line of site into the neighbor’s yards (I am not commenting on screens proposed yesterday not having seen the presentation or spoken to the neighbors). Putting the parking under the hotel frees space in the back and allows for additional landscaping to screen the hotel – far from perfect but better.

          Because the lot is so small they have put the parking lot all the way up to the property line next to the green belt.  The original proposal had the parking in the front of the building, and it was moved to behind the building to accomodate the requests of the neighbors expressed in the outreach meetings.
          Because the lot is so small there is no room for any landscaping between the hotel and the green belt. The original proposal had the parking in the front of the building and landscaping behind, and the parking was moved to behind the building to accommodate the requests of the neighbors expressed in the outreach meetings.

          The hotel was moved forward on the lot to move it further from the neighbors. Moving the parking behind the hotel is a side effect from that rather than a desired outcome. Moving the hotel forward necessitated putting the parking behind because there was nowhere else to put it because the lot is too small. Putting the parking behind creates new problems. Putting the parking below is a better option.

          Because the lot is too small they have to rely on the City owned trees in the city green belt as mitigation, leaving the city with future bills for Maintenance.  What is the impact on the neighbors of your factual statement?  is your proposed mitigation for your factual statement?  Second, what is your proposed mitigation for those impacts?

          The impact is both on the neighborhood and the City. The impact to the City is that the City will be left responsible for maintaining the green belt trees as a green screen which is cited in the staff report as mitigation for the hotel. The Hotel should be required to plant its own green screen on its own property. Putting the parking below the hotel would allow space to plant a green screen on the hotel property. With the hotel planting its own green screen it will work together with the Green belt and the age of the trees can be more diverse making it less likely for holes to open in the canopy exposing the views of the neighbors houses.

          Because the lot is too small the hotel can’t plant trees to provide a green screen.  The original proposal had the parking in the front of the building and landscaping with project-provided green trees behind.  As noted above, the parking was moved to behind the building to accomodate the requests of the neighbors expressed in the outreach meetings.

          I think you are mischaracterizing the “outreach meetings” the desire to have the hotel further forward on the lot is not the same as a desire to have parking behind the hotel. Moving the parking to the rear of the lot actually creates new noise and light pollution issues for both the neighbors and the green belt. I would also note that the best attended “outreach meeting” only had 16 participants. There was a real problem with the outreach effort.

          Because the lot is too small there has been not attempt to mitigate the effects of the hotel on the green belt.  What are the effects of the hotel on the greenbelt? What is your proposed mitigation for those effects on the greenbelt?

          The parking lot as proposed will come all the way to the very edge of the property. The building of the hotel is going to lead to extensive pruning of the greenbelt trees. Some of the pruning is extensive enough it could damage the trees. It would be more appropriate to have a landscape buffer between the hotel and the green. There are also Noise and light pollution concerns.

          Because the lot is to small the trees on the green belt have to be drastically trimmed to make room for the new parking lot.  That isn’t my understanding from the documents I have read to date.  What is your source for that statement?  Please provide a link.  I may have missed that document.

          I believe this is in the staff report. Green belt trees overhang the site where parking will be built.

          Because the lot is too small they are proposing to amend the general plan to allow for increased density for all similar lots in the city of Davis.  This is not a development recommendation.  THEY are not proposing to amend the general plan to allow for increased density for all similar lots in the city of Davis.

          As agreed earlier this is a staff proposal to amend the General Plan. The developers do need some sort of zoning accommodation in order to build on this site.

          Because the lot is to small they are asking to rewrite the South Davis Specific plan to get rid of landscape requirements around parking lots.  This is not a development recommendation.  THEY are not proposing to amend the general plan to allow for increased density for all similar lots in the city of Davis.

          As agreed earlier this is a staff proposal to amend the South Davis Specific Plan. The developers do need some sort of accommodation in order to build on this site because the current proposal is not compliant with the SDSP.
           
           

          One thing that would lessen almost everyone of these negative effects caused by the small lot is to put the parking under the hotel.  What effects/impacts would underground parking mitigate?

           
          Underground parking would allow for landscape and green screen planting in the back of the hotel and would reduce noise and light pollution coming from the parking lot. The increased landscape would provide a set back from the green belt and overall would improve the visual appeal of the project. An increased green screen would also help with neighborhood privacy concerns. I am not sure underground parking would answer all neighborhood concerns, but it would definitely allow for greater mitigation measures.

        27. Matt Williams

          Grok said . . . “The hotel was moved forward on the lot to move it further from the neighbors. Moving the parking behind the hotel is a side effect from that rather than a desired outcome. Moving the hotel forward necessitated putting the parking behind because there was nowhere else to put it because the lot is too small. Putting the parking behind creates new problems. Putting the parking below is a better option.”

          Everything you have said is true, but it is my understanding that moving the building on the lot was the neighbors’ stated preference.  It is also my understanding that the neighbors fully understood the impact that moving the building would cause.  Given that information the neighbors stated their preference, and the project proponents acted on that stated preference.

          How would you have wanted the project proponents to have responded?

        28. Matt Williams

          Grok said . . . “The impact is both on the neighborhood and the City. The impact to the City is that the City will be left responsible for maintaining the green belt trees as a green screen which is cited in the staff report as mitigation for the hotel. The Hotel should be required to plant its own green screen on its own property. Putting the parking below the hotel would allow space to plant a green screen on the hotel property. With the hotel planting its own green screen it will work together with the Green belt and the age of the trees can be more diverse making it less likely for holes to open in the canopy exposing the views of the neighbors houses.”

          First, the City is responsible for maintaining the green belt trees regardless of whether the project proceeds or doesn’t.  Are you arguing that the City should abrogate that responsibility to its citizens and taxpayers?

          Second, in the same vein as my response above, it is my understanding that the neighbors stated their preference for the revised building placement, which created the green screen challenges you describe.

          I believe it may have been Don Shor who suggested that screening trees planted in neighbors’ back yards might be a possibility if individual neighbors desire and the project proponent is willing to pay for such screening.  How do you feel about that possible mitigation?

           

        29. South of Davis

          Another busy 20+ post day for Grok, but he couldn’t be bothered to answer my question if he makes more noise when he is parking at a hotel than parking at home…

        30. Grok

          How do you know that they didn’t consult the city?  Almost every developer has meetings with city planners prior to application.

          First off are you suggesting they talked to the city before acquiring the land? That’s what is being discussed, not prior to application.

          Secondly if anyone from the City (and I highly doubt anyone did) made any promises about an easy change to zoning or update to the Davis General Plan should be disciplined, demoted or fired.

          The point is there should be no expectation on the part of the developer that zoning will change to allow for a new development. Any risk the developer has taken on by acquiring land zoned for something different than the developers intended use is the developers risk.

        31. Grok

          Matt W –
          Everything you have said is true, but it is my understanding that moving the building on the lot was the neighbors’ stated preference.

          I am curious who you are defining as neighbors and at where you think that feedback was given. if your referencing the “community outreach” meetings, there was never more than 16 people in attendance which was a failing on the part of the developers.

          It is also my understanding that the neighbors fully understood the impact that moving the building would cause.

          putting aside the fact that you have not defined who the neighbors you are talking about even are, I would like to know what methode you used to determine what the neighbors understanding was.

          Given that information the neighbors stated their preference, and the project proponents acted on that stated preference.

          My understanding is it was staff recommended, but that is a small point

          How would you have wanted the project proponents to have responded?

          As I have repeatedly suggest because the lot is really too small for this project there are very limited options. The best place to put the parking in order to minimize impact to the neighborhood and the green belt, is under the hotel

        32. Grok

          First, the City is responsible for maintaining the green belt trees regardless of whether the project proceeds or doesn’t.  Are you arguing that the City should abrogate that responsibility to its citizens and taxpayers?

          No, the city of course should maintain the green belt, but they currently have options as to how to plant it and maintain it. – If the Hotel is built with the green belt trees considered a mitigating green screen then the City will have an additional requirement to maintain them as a mitigating green screen. This can result in considerable additional expense.

          Second, in the same vein as my response above, it is my understanding that the neighbors stated their preference for the revised building placement, which created the green screen challenges you describe.

          You need to define who the neighbors who “asked for it” are and you have not shown that they asked for the parking to be moved to the rear of the building. My understanding is that this was a staff suggestion. See more detail above about your problematic assertion

          I believe it may have been Don Shor who suggested that screening trees planted in neighbors’ back yards might be a possibility if individual neighbors desire and the project proponent is willing to pay for such screening.  How do you feel about that possible mitigation?

           
          The hotel should be required to do appropriate mitigation – currently there is no proposed green screen landscaping on the Hotel property at all. That is completely unacceptable. How the neighbors plant there yards beyond that is up to them.

          1. Don Shor

            That is completely unacceptable.

            That pretty much defines your whole approach to this hotel project. Clearly you won’t compromise on any aspect. The only question is whether you in any way speak for the neighbors.

        33. Grok

          Don this is a very disingenuous post.

          “That is completely unacceptable.”
          That pretty much defines your whole approach to this hotel project. Clearly you won’t compromise on any aspect. The only question is whether you in any way speak for the neighbors. -DS

          You have taken a portion of my post and reposted it out of context. This type of behavior is completely out of character for you. What I actually posted is

          The hotel should be required to do appropriate mitigation – currently there is no proposed green screen landscaping on the Hotel property at all. That is completely unacceptable. How the neighbors plant there yards beyond that is up to them. – Grok

          Clearly I am saying that the hotel needs to be required to plant its own green screen. How about a positive dialog where you opine as to why you think the hotel should be exempted from the South Davis Specific Plan landscape requirements and why the hotel should not have to provide the green screen mitigation measures on their own land?

          Since 7 am I have advocated that further mitigation be considered. Specifically, I have advocate that the parking should be placed under the hotel. No one has even responded to that very proactive and positive mitigation suggestion. What problem do you have with the idea that putting the parking under the hotel is a better solution?

          To try to suggest that I am unwilling to compromise is absolutely the reverse of the situation. All day long others have refused to consider that any further mitigation is required, reasonable or even possible. That type of callousness towards our fellow Davisites is uncalled for. Meanwhile, I have taken a middle road pointing out problems and suggesting solutions.

          Finally I specifically stated above that I have no authority to speak for the neighbors. The better question is, can third party suggestions help bridge the divide between the neighbors and the hotel developers? One would hope so, that is part of why it is an open process.

          1. Don Shor

            Underground parking is substantially more expensive than a surface parking lot, and it is unnecessary because
            — the project developers have proposed reasonable mitigation for the views,
            — the greenbelt provides additional screening,
            — simple steps can be taken to make the greenbelt even more effective and provide long-lasting screening, and
            — the project developers can work with the small number of individual property owners who have the most direct view and privacy issues.
            I have suggested one option for that last proposal. You have declared all of that “completely unacceptable.” Fortunately, you don’t speak for the neighbors. In fact, you apparently don’t speak for anyone on this issue. But speak you do, in spades.

        34. Matt Williams

          Grok said . . . “I am curious who you are defining as neighbors and at where you think that feedback was given. if your referencing the “community outreach” meetings, there was never more than 16 people in attendance which was a failing on the part of the developers.”

          There is no “definition’ of neighbors, only those people who depict themselves as representative of their fellow  Rose Creek neighbors.  Those people include, but are not limited to, the organizers of the online petition.  One of them has posted here in the Vanguard as Rose Creek, with whom I have had e-mail dialogue, and two others met with me for lunch at Temple of Venus the day before the Planning Commission public hearing.

          You repeat the “failing on the part of the developers” statement frequently, and always as a Manechan reality where the responsibility falls solely on the shoulders of the developers.  In my role as the multi-year president of the El Macero Homeowners Association, and as Chair of the Yolo County General Plan Advisory Committee for South Davis and as a regular public participant in the City of Davis Housing Element Steering Committee process, I became acutely aware of the vagaries of meeting attendance.  People exercise their own prerogative when it comes to attending meetings . . . regardless of the amount of notice they are given.  No amount of noticing will incent a person to attend a function/meeting if they are not engaged.  For example, are you going to First Friday Art About tomorrow?  How about the Farmers Market on Saturday or next Wednesday.  One of the most powerful comments in the intense (and sometimes tense) Ghandi meeting last Tuesday was by one of the Ghandi detractors, who acknowledged that he and the people who saw Ghandi’s “warts” much more clearly than his “halo” did not pay close enough attention to the statue approval process when it took place.

          Bottom-line there are plenty of dirty fingerprints to go around with respect to the low attendance at the outreach meetings.

          With that said, after you made your underground parking recommendation to the Planning Commission, did you happen to look around the room to guess at the approximate number of Rose Creek neighbors in attendance.  My personal guess (and it is absolutely a guess) was that it was not substantially more than the number of neighbors who are reported to have attended the third outreach meeting at Davis Diamonds.

          JMHO

           

        35. Matt Williams

          Grok said . . .  “I would like to know what method you used to determine what the neighbors understanding was.”

          I used the eyes and ears method.  The first two exposures I had was from posts here in the Vanguard by Rose Creek and Bill Habicht.  I read those posts with my eyes.  The third exposure was during my lunch meeting at the Temple of Venus with two of the petition organizers.  We spent very little time talking about the outreach because they wanted to concentrate on fiscal issues associated with the project, especially Dan Carson’s fiscal impact memo.  So that third exposure was listening with my ears.  The night of the Planning Commission meeting I grilled the project proponents about the outreach meetings, and their answers to my questions provided my fourth exposure, which was actually a combination of both ears and eyes because the project proponents had some printed graphics that they showed me that depicted the outreach meeting notice areas.  They used that same graphic in their presentation, so you saw it with your eyes that night as well.

        36. Matt Williams

          Grok said . . . “No, the city of course should maintain the green belt, but they currently have options as to how to plant it and maintain it. – If the Hotel is built with the green belt trees considered a mitigating green screen then the City will have an additional requirement to maintain them as a mitigating green screen. This can result in considerable additional expense.”

          What are the components of that “considerable additional expense”?

        37. Adam Smith

          Fortunately, you don’t speak for the neighbors. In fact, you apparently don’t speak for anyone on this issue. But speak you do, in spades.

          Here’s something to consider.    Perhaps Grok represents the interests of the current hotel owners in Davis.  It is no secret that some of them have actively lobbied members of the  CC to deny this proposal.  Perhaps Grok is their hired gun?

        38. Grok

          First let me draw your attention to Rosecreek Resident’s post earlier today

          September 8, 2016 at 8:11 am
          Thanks Ryan. Please read the HVS financial impact studies. We understand the tax implications, and one hotel covers the need in conjunction with Embassy suites. That said, that tax revenue is not guaranteed, it’s merely speculation on the performance of the hotel and most of the stats showcase best case scenario vs. worst case.
          As for mitigation, how about proposing something that fits closer to current zoning? 3 stories vs. 4, and puts the parking underground? Havent seen that yet

           
          Now let me address the specifics of Don’s comments

          Underground parking is substantially more expensive than a surface parking lot,

          The hotel developers chose a lot that was not zoned for the type of project they want to build. They knew there was significant risk when they did that. If it is necessary to have more room on the property for mitigation, then putting the parking under the hotel, or making a smaller hotel are really the 2 options. If a parking garage is required as mitigation to make this outsized project fit on the small lot, then so be it. It is not a valid argument to say that it is too expensive to do the mitigation if it is deemed necessary; the developer can opt not to build at this site. Also, hotels like this regularly have parking under them. In fact I stayed a t a very similar hotel in Palo Alto that had parking under it just as suggest. Mid tear hotels can work financially even with the expense of building underground parking. If this hotel can not make it because of the expense of putting parking underneath it, then perhaps there is not strong enough demand for another hotel.

          and it is unnecessary because

          in your opinion, but others have other opinions. It is clear the neighbors are not satisfied with the currently proposed mitigations.

          — the project developers have proposed reasonable mitigation for the views,

          Again in your opinion. It remains to be seen what the Palnning commission thinks. It does not seem to have satisfied the neighbors and the neighbors have even posted here suggesting some things that might.

          — the greenbelt provides additional screening,

          As I have stated several other places on here, the city should not be responsible for the mitigation. The mitigation should be on the hotels property. There is also no mitigating screening for the green belt.

          — simple steps can be taken to make the greenbelt even more effective and provide long-lasting screening, and

           
          On this I agree. But none of those steps will be as effective as having both the green belt and landscape area with trees on the hotel property.

          — the project developers can work with the small number of individual property owners who have the most direct view and privacy issues.

          Sure, it would be great if they did. I would suggest however that it is very counterproductive to have the person from the development group responsible for community outreach make broad brush accusations in the comments section of the Vanguard that the neighbors are racists and classists. Hopefully they can find a way to get beyond that ugliness and work together.

          I have suggested one option for that last proposal.

          Are you referring to your suggestion that the hotel should be allowed to mitigate by providing trees on their own property? I know from talking to some neighbors that they found that proposal particularly offensive, because they believe the hotel should mitigate on the hotel’s own property not in the neighbors yards.

          You have declared all of that “completely unacceptable.”

          I do feel strongly that the hotel should mitigate on their own property. It is inappropriate for the hotel to expect the neighbors or the city to bear the cost or inconvenience of providing the mitigation for the hotel. It is the hotels responsibility to provide their own mitigation.

          Fortunately, you don’t speak for the neighbors.

          No need to be nasty.

           In fact, you apparently don’t speak for anyone on this issue.

          Your better than that

          But speak you do, in spades.

          David Pays me by the word.

        39. Grok

          Matt –

          You repeat the “failing on the part of the developers” statement frequently, and always as a Manechan reality where the responsibility falls solely on the shoulders of the developers. – MW

           

          Bottom-line there are plenty of dirty fingerprints to go around with respect to the low attendance at the outreach meetings. – MW

           
          Well, it certainly would have been in the developer’s interest to get more input on the project earlier. Not doing so generate some significant hostility with the neighbors. Once the neighbors did find out what was being proposed for their neighborhood the neighbors certainly have seemed to get involved. I don’t know most of the neighbors so I could not really count them at the Planning commission meeting, but it seed like more than 20.

        40. Grok

          Adam Smith

          September 8, 2016 at 11:00 pm

          Fortunately, you don’t speak for the neighbors. In fact, you apparently don’t speak for anyone on this issue. But speak you do, in spades.

           

          Here’s something to consider.    Perhaps Grok represents the interests of the current hotel owners in Davis.  It is no secret that some of them have actively lobbied members of the  CC to deny this proposal.  Perhaps Grok is their hired gun?

          Well if you cant refute the message, try to undermine the messenger.

        41. Matt Williams

          Grok said … “Well, it certainly would have been in the developer’s interest to get more input on the project earlier. Not doing so generate some significant hostility with the neighbors. Once the neighbors did find out what was being proposed for their neighborhood the neighbors certainly have seemed to get involved. I don’t know most of the neighbors so I could not really count them at the Planning commission meeting, but it seemed like more than 20.”

          I wholeheartedly agree that it would have been in the developer’s best interests to get higher turnout, but there are two tried and true accepted strategies for opponents and/or supporters of a proposed change in public policy. One is to pack the house during public meetings, which we saw play out very clearly in the Ghandi statue consideration.  The other is to undermine the validity of the public meeting by purposely not turning up.  The problem with both these strategies is that only 20% of the populace cares enough to pay attention to them.  The remaining 80% of the populace follows some variation of the “Don’t bother me, I’m too busy living my life” approach.

          My guess about the neighbors attendance was only to put it in a ball park, to put the third neighbors meeting attendance into context.  The way I got my guess of 20 was that Council Chambers has a total of 104 seats, and for that item a bit less than half of the seats were filled.  My personal assessment was that one third of the filled seats was by neighbors, one third by the project proponents and their supporters, and one third by external parties like you and me and Eileen and David Greenwald, etc.  So I rounded up 52 (half of 104) to 60 and divided by 3 . . . which equals the ball park guess of 20.

      2. Mark West

        RR: “NONE of us care, or at least 99% about the HWY noise.”

        The noise from the highway was considerable during the public hearing on the greenbelt. The fact that it is a non-issue to the neighbors shows that they are already well buffered from it by the trees and existing buildings. I agree, it is a non-issue in the neighborhood, but a significant one along the greenbelt.

        “What we care about is the after hours and weekend noise cause by a 24/7 business that shouldn’t be there.”

        Nothing in the zoning prevents a commercial business on the site from operating 24/7. This is a non-issue as well.

        “We are yet to see an argument that compares the Hyatt vs. the Marriott on it’s overall merit vs. looking at the Hyatt in a bubble.”

        It is not the responsibility of the City to pick winners and losers in the marketplace. Each project should be evaluated on its own merits and if they are both judged to be good projects, they should both be approved. We need the hotel capacity and the tax revenues from both upscale projects.

         

        1. Eileen Samitz

          “What we care about is the after hours and weekend noise cause by a 24/7 business that shouldn’t be there.”

              Mark West
              September 8, 2016 at 8:39 am
                Nothing in the zoning prevents a commercial business on the site from      operating 24/7. This is a non-issue as well.

          Mark,

          This may be a”non-issue” to you because you don’t live near the Hyatt hotel proposal, so please, try not to be so dismissive when none of the consequences of this project would affect you.

          A  hotel is a 24/7 business, unlike other business park type businesses and the impacts are far different and far more intense on an adjacent neighborhood. So this is not at all a non-issue. There is a good reason why a hotel was not an allowed use at this site adjacent to a neighborhood, because it does not belong there for a number of reasons including the privacy problem.

           

           

           

        2. Mark West

          Eileen:

          There is nothing in the current zoning that precludes a 24/7 business operating on the site. There are many types of businesses other than hotels that operate 24/7. Consequently, it is a ‘non-issue’ regardless of how the neighbors view it. There is no need for mitigation as it is an ‘allowed use’ under current zoning.

          “when none of the consequences of this project would affect you.”

          I have stated multiple times that my position would be the same if the project was next door to my home or over my back fence. I already tolerate the excessively loud and run down mini-dorms with absentee landlords that your preferred housing policies are responsible for inflicting upon my neighborhood. This hotel would be a major improvement over that current situation, just as it will be an improvement over the vacant lot with vandalism problems that currently exist at the proposed site.

      3. Delia .

        I lived in that neighborhood for approx 8 yrs. My previous home on Cowell had way more st. noise. Hwy noise is a non issue to detract from the real issues. The train used to wake us up for about a week. Then we acclimated. Frwy & frontage road noise not an issue. Occasional mountain traffic when folks get lost trying to find the frontage rd on Fri. afternoons. Occasional parking issues on picnic day & earth day. (Visitors parked & caught the bus there. We never minded the out of town visitors. Always nice people.)

        Don’t be fooled by the developers bringing up how their wonderfully expensive hotel will mute hwy noise! Think about how nice it is for those Albany residents to have a view of a vacant lot. I always enjoyed the open space there. I believe a beautiful structure with plenty of beautiful landscaping would appease everyone.

  3. ryankelly

    OK.  I’m done here.  These people will never be happy with any attempt to mitigate the impact of commercial development on the property.  They don’t even consider the benefits that may come from it.  The City needs tax generated revenue that this site can provide.  The neighborhoods fears are unreasonable and now reaching the shrill stage.  This is not a biolab.  It is a hotel, a fairly nice one.

    1. Rosecreek Resident

      Thanks Ryan. Please read the HVS financial impact studies. We understand the tax implications, and one hotel covers the need in conjunction with Embassy suites. That said, that tax revenue is not guaranteed, it’s merely speculation on the performance of the hotel and most of the stats showcase best case scenario vs. worst case.

      As for mitigation, how about proposing something that fits closer to current zoning? 3 stories vs. 4, and puts the parking underground? Havent seen that yet

      1. hpierce

        RR… what is the most import issue between these two:  # of stories, or total height?

        The proposal has less height than what is permitted under the current zoning…

      2. Mark West

        “tax revenue is not guaranteed, it’s merely speculation on the performance of the hotel and most of the stats showcase best case scenario vs. worst case.”

        All projections are just estimates with no guarantees. That said, the most conservative estimate for this project puts annual net revenues for the City in the $0.5 million range, plus nearly $2 million in one-time fees. The applicants have a track record for their success building and operating upscale hotels.

        “As for mitigation, how about proposing something that fits closer to current zoning? 3 stories vs. 4, and puts the parking underground?”

        The only legitimate concern of the neighbors is privacy, and the applicant has addressed that concern directly with design changes. The building height is within the zoning requirements, and the number of floors issue is insignificant. You have your mitigation.

      3. Matt Williams

        Rosecreek Resident said . . . “that said, that tax revenue is not guaranteed, it’s merely speculation on the performance of the hotel and most of the stats showcase best case scenario vs. worst case.”
        I believe the uncertain revenues point that Rosecreek Resident is making is very import, and is an issue that the Finance and Budget Commission will be discussing at length at our Monday, September 12th meeting.  The certainty/uncertainty of revenues is an important issue in many different facets of our City’s finances.
        The FBC’s consideration of the fiscal impact of this hotel proposal will be guided by three of the four elements of the FBC’s Function Statement, approved by City Council (see LINK).   
         
        §   Providing transparency of City Finances to the citizens of Davis.

        §   Searching for and advising actions that could maximize city revenues and reduce governmental costs and help ensure municipal fiscal stability.

        §   Providing recommendations/special studies on financial and economic issues to the City Council.

        The FBC faced similar revenue uncertainty issues when evaluating the fiscal analysis of the Nishi proposal in January.  The initial EPS evaluation left significant amounts of revenue uncertain in its initial Baseline Scenario, which produced a negative bottom-line for the City of $-78,000.  FBC’s first recommendation converted uncertain open space revenues into a Parks & Open Space Responsibility Fee of $181,000 per year.  Our second recommendation converted converted uncertain property tax revenues into a Make Whole Provision Fee of $93,000 per year to offset the possibility of UC Davis tax-free rentals. Our third recommendation converted other uncertain revenues into a Community Services District Fee of $356,000 per year.

        I fully expect the FBC to come up with revenue certainty solutions for this project application when we discuss it on Monday.

      4. South of Davis

        RR wrote:

        > That said, that tax revenue is not guaranteed

        The developers can not guarantee the “exact” TOT tax, business tax and sales tax numbers, but unless you think the hotel will open and sit vacant for decades without a single person ever renting a room and paying TOT tax, buying a glass of wine or buying something from the gift shop these taxes are guaranteed.  Even if the hotel sits vacant (and it is not sold to the city or UCD) the city (and state) are also “guaranteed” to get a BIG increase in property tax after the site is improved…

      5. Matt Williams

        SouthofDavis said . . . “The developers can not guarantee the “exact” TOT tax, business tax and sales tax numbers, but unless you think the hotel will open and sit vacant for decades without a single person ever renting a room and paying TOT tax, buying a glass of wine or buying something from the gift shop these taxes are guaranteed.  Even if the hotel sits vacant (and it is not sold to the city or UCD) the city (and state) are also “guaranteed” to get a BIG increase in property tax after the site is improved…”

        SoD, the details are different, but the City faced the same kind of problem vis-a-vis property taxes for the commercial space at Nishi.  In that case if a non-profit or public institution rented some of the space the property tax would have gone away for that space.  The FBC solved that uncertainty problem by creating a “make whole” provision in the Development Agreement in which the developer (who was going to be the ongoing property owner of the commercial space) guaranteed the City a certain minimum amount of property tax.  The value of the make whole provision was $93,000 per year.

    2. Frankly

      Exactly.  No need to engage in reasonable conversation with such unreasonable people.

      They have worked themselves into a frothy frenzy of emotional opposition.  They don’t care so much on the facts, they just want to win… And to hell with the benefits to the city.

      Again, I am so disappointed in many of my fellow Davis residents.

  4. davisresident

    Truly, a moving target. The big issue used to be strangers, now it isn’t.  Then the big issue was whether hotel guests could see into neighbors’ homes… now it isn’t with the newly proposed mitigation. So, let’s shift again.  The REAL issue is noise, even though the noise study says otherwise. When does the real concern stop shifting?

        1. Mark West

          ““Stranger” was brought up by a planning commissioner and not by any public commenter during the public hearing.”

          I would not be surprised to hear that Groc or his clients have parsed the public comments and are ready to prove that no one but the Commissioners used the term ‘stranger’ during the meeting. If we assume, however, that the typical reader here has developed a level of understanding beyond that of an average first grader, then it is reasonable to interpret a parent’s emotional comments about their child’s safety as being directed towards those unknown patrons of the hotel and not a general fear of their known neighbors (as strange as they may be).

        2. Grok

          Mark – I saw you at the Planning meeting. I am surprised you didn’t notice this too because it really stuck out that this word “stranger,” that had been so hotly contested on the Vanguard just days before was only used by a planning commissioner. But maybe you weren’t paying very close attention since you already made up your mind before hearing anything from the neighborhood folks.

          This whole discussion of the word “stranger” is a real side show at this point. It is better to focus on the issues with putting the hotel on this specific site. I outlined what I see as the biggest problem above. Neighbors spoke to many other issues at the special planning meeting yesterday morning and at the recent public hearing.

           

        3. Mark West

           “I saw you at the Planning meeting.”

          Congratulations, I saw you as well.  It is rather easy to identify anonymous posters who read their posts at public comment.

          “I am surprised you didn’t notice this too because it really stuck out that this word “stranger,” that had been so hotly contested on the Vanguard just days before was only used by a planning commissioner.”

          There are words other than ‘stranger’ that may be used to relay the same basic meaning when you wish to express a fear of unknown people without using a specific word. More than one commenter made reference to their fears of the people coming into the neighborhood and the impact that might have on the safety of their children.

  5. Tia Will

    the developers are tied to a specific location.  They can’t just move to another spot randomly.”

    It only takes three votes to re-zone.”

    Which is a nice encapsulation of what I see as the largest problem with new projects in the city today. This is not “planning”. This is the antithesis of planning. What we have is someone who looks at a need ( or want), either their own, or perhaps a genuine belief that it will benefit the whole city, decides to go forward with it regardless of the zoning/design guidelines…. because they can, on the assumption that they will design a project for which they can get three votes on the city council to change the existing rules…either solely for their project of for an entire class of projects.

    I do not believe that this is the way that we should be approaching city planning. I think that what is needed is to stay within the current guidelines unless and until those are changed by an inclusive process. I know that this is not how things are done now. I believe it is how they should be done.

    1. quielo

      Tia,

       

      We are in total agreement. I read with disbelief posts that say “in order to reduce traffic let’s disperse hotels” or “it’s very convenient, only a 20 minute walk to a mall”. People who stay in hotels, even extended stay, want to be close to food/shopping/entertainment. Food/shopping/entertainment venues want hotels close. Some of the restaurants downtown are terrible and would value a transient clientele. Why not place hotels in proximity to the core and the train station?

        1. Jim Frame

          Yet the Hallmark Inn and the University Park Inn are both near the railroad, and both seem to do okay.  The proposed Marriott will be in the same situation.

          I spent a week at the Hallmark when our house was being painted in 2005.  I don’t remember the railroad noise being a problem.

    2. Adam Smith

      It only takes three votes to re-zone.”

      If this statement refers to the city council, it is the same three votes that it takes to zone a parcel period.   The General Plan and zoning are not subject to a popular vote.     So there is no difference in what is happening now vs a General Plan change in zoning.

       

  6. Tia Will

    Matt

    My understanding of what Mark has said many times over is that the narrow self interests of an individual project’s development team are inconsequential to the community’s decision process, which focuses on achieving the greatest good for the community as a whole without creating harm to any subset of the community.”

    I agree with the first part of your post about Mark’s comments. However, I have yet to see a post from Mark that states that he cares in any way about development “without creating harm to any subset of the community.”

    Mark has made it very clear repetitively that he sees growth as an unmitigated good and unless the property is owned by an individual or group, then the interests of that individual or group simply do not matter regardless of potential harm because all that matters is ownership. He is perfectly willing to see changes in zoning and or design guidelines for any proposed project of development regardless of collateral damage because he defines growth as “the greatest good for the community” without considering that those who are harmed are also members of the community.

    1. Frankly

      There is real, measurable and tangible harm.

      And there is the type that is just an individual’s inability to accommodate and accept change.

      The are not equal.  The former justifies public discourse and intervention in policy making.  The latter is just another example for why therapists and psychiatrists are needed.

      1. Tia Will

        Frankly

        There is real, measurable and tangible harm.”

        The problem is that you only count as “real, measurable and tangible harm” that which can be measured with money. But that is not what matters most to me. What matters more to me than money is the real and tangible harm that will be incurred by loss of neighborhood character and ambience. This does not make me in any way mentally deficient, it means that I have values that go beyond money. That may be hard for some of you to understand, but it is my truth and I suspect it is true for a number of people in Davis.

        1. Frankly

          It is a mental deficiency and/or a human capacity deficiency.  You frankly don’t really know what is good and what is bad.  Your definitions are so nebulous and void of detail that they demonstrate you are just change-averse.  “loss of neighborhood character and ambience”   What the hell is that?  How do you know?  You don’t.

          If Tia was the only resident in Davis at day one she would have said “NO MORE DEVELOPMENT” because she wants to preserve “the character and ambience.”

          Oh what, no?  You say more people would be required?  Well then, how many?  What is the magic number for Tia’s city utopia?  What size buildings are in Tia’s utopia?  What is the population density of Tia’s utopia?  What is the tax burden in Tia’s utopia?   Does your utopia have a rental vacancy rate?  Does it have a good mix of families and young professionals, or is is fine just having a bunch of retired and near-retired geriatric people.

          You want the downtown to be your retirement hamlet.  You really don’t want more people to upset your nirvana.

          I had jury duty recently and it was embarrassing.  Every one of the Davis resident prospective jurors except for three UCD students and me where either retired government, retired medical professionals, or soon to be retired government or medical professional.  I am not kidding.  Davis is turning into a freakin’ weird Sun City retirement village.

          How much is too much?  Is there such a thing as not enough?  What is just right?  What about trade-off analysis?  You want it your way, well what about the costs to others?  What about all this collaboration and compromise you so often plead for?  Or is it just a canard you throw out there knowing full well that you are the uncompromising sort?

          Can you list any city that you think has character and ambience?  Are they all the same size of Davis or smaller?  Name them so we can start figuring out what the actual criteria are that you would list under the headings of character and ambience.

          Again, “material” just means measurable.  Not monetary.  You like to use subjective terms because I think you know you cannot really explain it… because it is based on your irrational fear of change.

          You see, I think it is really “Tia likes her place and life the way it is and to hell with all the other needs the city has if any of them would threaten one little change to that place and life.”

          I’m sorry but you are all over the place.  Your positions are not consistent… in fact they are largely hypocritical.  Be dense and car-less.  But then not that there and not that dense.  Be inclusive and have more low income housing.  But not there, and not there either.  Oh, and raise taxed to pay for all the city services we need, but still have empathy for those with less income and again, be inclusive.

          I will give you this though… you are in good company in this town.   You do good blocking change, and you keep the jury pool well covered.

    2. Matt Williams

      I respectfully disagree Tia.  Mark has consistently challenged the neighborhood opponents to quantify the impacts they believe they will be subjected to.  That way a two-pan balance beam can be loaded on both sides with the respective impacts and the greatest good can be measured.  In addition, if the neighbors delineate the impacts they perceive they will suffer, then mitigation steps can be promulgated to address those impacts.

      Having observed you and Mark disagree on how OEDNA handled the public discussion of the Trackside proposal, I think it is easy for both Mark and you to confuse (A) differences of opinion about how the application consideration process should play out with (B) the method of quantifying the respective greatest good and the local neighborhood good of an individual project.

      Having seen the revised Trackside project proposal yesterday at a meeting of the Chamber Government Relations Committee, I personally believe that you and your fellow OEDNA neighbors handled the process the right way, and that the revised Trackside proposal is substantially improved over the original.

       

      1. Grok

        Mark has consistently challenged the neighborhood opponents to quantify the impacts they believe they will be subjected to.

        More like Mark has consistently belittled the neighborhoods concerns without offering a single positive suggestion to mitigate even one.

        1. Mark West

          There is nothing to mitigate Groc because none of the concerns that you are pushing, other than privacy, rise to the level of concern requiring mitigation according to the Planning Commission.  The privacy issue has been addressed by the applicant.

          Sorry if you don’t agree with the PC.

        2. Grok

          Sorry if you don’t agree with the PC.

          Marc, the PC has not made a decision yet so you have nothing to base your statement on.

          While we are talking about the planning commission meeting,

          It appears the meeting may have been held improperly. To be clear, it was held as the staff instructed, but what the staff instructed may have been improper. No notice was given that there would be a developer presentation. the developer presentation was not on the agenda. Public comment was also held before the developer presentation. As a result the public did not know there would be additional mitigation presented at this meeting and the public has had no opportunity to comment on the new design for the hotel windows.

           

      2. Tia Will

        Matt

        Equally respectfully with regard to Mark’s position, please show me even one instance ( documented with a post from Mark) in which he has supported the neighbors objections over a new project. I would accept even one as evidence that I am incorrect that he always places the projects ahead of neighborhood concerns.

        Mark has opined at various times that no neighbor concern is valid as long as the developers own the land and can get a change in zoning, that it is none of the neighbors business, that those who would block development “have no morals”. I am going to stand my ground on this one, not only as regards this project…..but as regards any project within my memory.

        You, Mark, and Frankly seem to agree that the only considerations should be those which are quantifiable so that they can be placed on a scale and weighed. Tell me Matt, how you would weigh having put one’s life savings into a small property which you have lovingly maintained over a period of many years, only to be told that some of your favorite aspects of the property will be subverted because the new owners of an adjacent property wish to build next door a building that will damage what you enjoy most about your home ?  How do you weigh having lived in the same spot for 40 years and then be told you will have to leave because someone wants to make a profit on the spot of your home ? How do you weigh ambience and a feeling of community ? I will be presumptuous enough to answer my own questions.   The answer is that you don’t. So all you can really do is to take the Frankly route and to say that unless there is “material” ( AKA money) harm, then your values do not count.

        I am sorry, but I simply cannot buy that my values are less important because they do not include a profit motive.

        1. Matt Williams

          Tia said . . .  “Tell me Matt, how you would weigh having put one’s life savings into a small property which you have lovingly maintained over a period of many years, only to be told that some of your favorite aspects of the property will be subverted because the new owners of an adjacent property wish to build next door a building that will damage what you enjoy most about your home?”

          What you are describing Tia is precisely why (A) zoning regulations exist and (B) processes exist for properly requesting a zoning variance.

          For me, the existence of those zoning regulations was why the call on the original Trackside proposal was so easy.  The maximum possible FAR (floor area ratio) for the Trackside parcel under the M-U zoning code is 2.0.  The original Trackside proposal included a 3.76 FAR, almost double the allowable amount.  It wasn’t even in the ball park.  If they had proposed a 2.0 FAR structure with underground parking, then they would have been compliant with the zoning regulations that the community assigned to the Trackside parcel in 2005 in an open, transparent process that included the following public review process prior to being approved by Council on July 12th 2005

          Review Process

          June 28, 2005:  As noted in the Planning Commission Staff Report the project involves a General Plan amendment and Specific Plan amendment to expand the boundaries of the Core Area Specific Plan to include four properties located between Third and Fifth Streets and to change their land use designations from General Commercial under the General Plan to Retail with Offices under the Core Area Specific Plan. The project also involves a rezoning application to rezone the project parcels from Commercial Service to Mixed Use (see map on next page). A zoning ordinance amendment is being processed concurrently to modify the provisions of the Mixed Use District (40.15) allowing Main Street scale setbacks and lot coverage to be applied to future development on the subject properties, rather than standard residential setbacks. The changes to the Core Area Specific Plan and zoning are being requested to accommodate future redevelopment of the parcels. No specific plans have been submitted at this time. Future projects would be subject to design review by the city and possibly a Planning Commission hearing for projects in that are taller than two stories (Tier #3)

          June 7, 2005:  The Government Relations Committee (GRC) of the Davis Chamber of Commerce reviewed the proposal at their regularly scheduled monthly Board meeting.  The GRC had no objections and determined they would take a more formal position at the time of a specific development application review.

          May 23, 2005:  Staff provided a description and analysis of the proposed project to the Business and Economic Development Commission (BEDC) at their regularly scheduled monthly meeting. The BEDC unanimously supported the redesignation of the project parcels to a mixed use designation. In their discussion the BEDC raised questions about the following issues which were responded to by staff and are addressed in this report: 1) timing of redevelopment, 2) potential noise impacts along the rail road, 3) possibility of including the remaining adjacent CS parcels within the Core Area Specific Plan at some future time and 4) was creation of a new General Plan Mixed Use designation considered?

          May 18, 2005: The Downtown Davis Business Association (DDBA) board reviewed the proposal at their regularly scheduled monthly Board meeting and unanimously recommended approval.

          May 17, 2005:  A Public Hearing Notice of the June 23rd Planning Commission Public Hearing was published in the Davis Enterprise and mailed to all property owners and tenants within 500 feet of the project site and emailed to the Old East and Old North Neighborhood Associations.

          April 7, 2005:  A neighborhood meeting was held for the proposed project attended by the two project property owners and five neighborhood residents who were all in support of the project.

          March 23, 2005: Notice of the Neighborhood Meeting on April 7, 2005 was mailed to all property owners and tenants within 500 feet of the project site, and emailed to the Old East and Old North Neighborhood Associations.

          When you describe your hypothetical scenario of “a small property which you have lovingly maintained over a period of many years, only to be told that some of your favorite aspects of the property will be subverted because the new owners of an adjacent property wish to build next door a building that will damage what you enjoy most about your home?” the first question I would ask is whether “a period of many years” took you back further than 2005.  If the answer to that question is yes, then the second question would be, “Did you participate in any of the publing meetings/hearings on the change of the Trackside zoning to M-U?

          As you know I personally faced in real life the scenario you described, and we accepted the fact that if (in the General Plan Update process) the Yolo County Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors chose to rezone the ag land next to our house, that we would be faced with the personal choice about whether to continue to live there in the diminished (in our opinion) circumstances, or sell the house and move to a new house that we would thinner make into our home. We also made sure that we did not miss a single meeting in the General Plan Update process as it unfolded. That was our commitment to ourselves and the community.

        2. Mark West

          Tia: “Mark has opined at various times that no neighbor concern is valid as long as the developers own the land and can get a change in zoning, that it is none of the neighbors business, that those who would block development “have no morals”. I am going to stand my ground on this one, not only as regards this project…..but as regards any project within my memory.”

          Wow! You really have your knickers in a twist tonight, Tia.

          For the record, I have stated repeatedly that the significant concerns of a project’s neighbors should be mitigated when possible, so your statement is false, but enjoy standing your ground (whatever the F*** that means). You are correct, though, that I don’t believe your unwarranted fears of change deserve any consideration, no matter how much you twist your knickers.

          Have a nice night.

           

        3. Alan Miller

          Did you participate in any of the publing meetings/hearings on the change of the Trackside zoning to M-U?

          MW,

          WTF?  Tia didn’t live in the neighborhood then.  I did, and I attended as did other OED residents.  We approved the re-zoning because it came in conjunction with long term plans by ACE to develop that strip along the tracks, the plans fell within the Design Guidelines, ACE met with us years in advance and we agreed both to the plans and the rezoning.  So anyone who says OED is anti-development can kiss my ass.  What OED never dreamed of is that someone else would come in and try to stuff in building beyond the mass called for in the Design Guidelines and pry for a “hail Mary” pass from the CC on a re-zoning.  That’s what OED got for participating and approving re-zoning and development – el-F—‘d.

        4. Matt Williams

          Alan, the “you” in my question was not Tia herself, but rather it was Tia’s hypothetical person, to whom I was asking my hypothetical question.

          With that said, your answer makes my point for me.  If the real life Tia were her hypothetical person, the zoning of the Trackside parcel was in place before she purchased her house/property and took the post purchase steps of “having put one’s life savings into a small property which you have lovingly maintained”  In Tia’s medical analogy terms, the zoning provisions of the adjacent property were/are a preexisting condition.

          Your comment to me also illustrates the other hypothetical scenario very well.  You personally participated in the 2005 rezoning process, and approved the zoning change to M-U.  Therefore, when Trackside’s initial proposal came in non-compliant with the zoning you had approved, you all raised holy hell, and the Trackside development team was rebuffed.  Until and unless they do come in with a design that is compliant with the zoning regulations that you and your neighbors approved, they should continue to be rebuffed.  To date you have not been F—‘d, you have been supported by the community.

        5. Grok

           

          For me, the existence of those zoning regulations was why the call on the original Trackside proposal was so easy.  The maximum possible FAR (floor area ratio) for the Trackside parcel under the M-U zoning code is 2.0.  The original Trackside proposal included a 3.76 FAR, almost double the allowable amount.  It wasn’t even in the ball park.  – MW

          Matt, by this logic you should oppose the Hyatt House Hotel because it also has a doubeling of the FAR

        6. Matt Williams

          Grok, if you go through (A) the length and breadth of the Zoning Code you will find that there are no FAR requirements for the I-R Zone, which was the zoning until 1987 when the parcel’s zoning went to PD 12-87, and (B) all the words of Ordinance #2396 that changed the PD 12-87 zone to PD 02-12 on August 12, 2012 you will also find that there is also no FAR requirement for that Planned Development Zone.

          I have put in a public records request for a copy of the PD 12-87 zoning regulations as well as a copy of the 1987 Ordinance creating the PD 12-87 zone.

           

    3. Mark West

      I don’t know why I have suddenly become the topic of conversation except, perhaps, because of my willingness to counter the one-sided pronouncements of the no-first crowd. That said, it is frequently entertaining, and sometimes even enlightening to hear how others interpret my writing. With all criticism, however, it is important to be aware of the biases the commentator brings to the fore.

      Tia: “Mark has made it very clear repetitively that he sees growth as an unmitigated good”

      I do not, and have never stated such. I do not advocate for uncontrolled growth, but I do recognize that the population of our region has continued to expand and that Davis has an obligation to take on our share of that expansion.  I don’t view growth as desirable in and of itself, but rather that it is a necessity given the current environment. Perhaps this is a nuance that some here are unable or unwilling to appreciate.

      “unless the property is owned by an individual or group, then the interests of that individual or group simply do not matter regardless of potential harm because all that matters is ownership.”

      Again, never have I stated such. What I have stated is that the neighbors do not deserve to dictate what happens on adjacent properties just because they want it so, but I do believe that their significant concerns should be mitigated when possible. Those ‘concerns’ that the Planning Commission decides are non-significant should be ignored, regardless of how often they are repeated on a public forum.

      “He is perfectly willing to see changes in zoning and or design guidelines for any proposed project of development…”

      I have stated that zoning and design guidelines are simply that, guidelines, that are expected to be altered as necessary to allow the City to evolve with the current environment. The developers are free to request a change, but the decision is, and should be, in the hands of the City. That is how the system is designed to work and the problem today is that some are ignorant of that process. Being willing to allow guidelines to change is not the same as saying they are meaningless and should be ignored. Perhaps another one of those pesky nuances that some are unable to appreciate.

      “regardless of collateral damage because he defines growth as “the greatest good for the community” without considering that those who are harmed are also members of the community.”

      Again, I have never stated anything close to this position. What I have stated, repeatedly, is that the needs of the community as a whole are more important than the wants of the few. What I mean by that is that if a project meets a particular community need, which in this case might include our need to meet our unfunded obligations, that benefit should be given greater weight than a neighbor’s unreasonable fear of incremental changes in noise or traffic, or that wonderfully nebulous ‘quality of life.’ As I stated above, mitigate the real impacts and ignore the rest.

      As I stated elsewhere to Eileen, you all must really be desperate if you are trying to make this a discussion about me.

      1. Tia Will

        Mark

        I do not believe that anyone is “attempting to make it about you”. I believe that your viewpoints as you have expressed them are representative of a certain point of view in our community and as such are worthy of consideration. I welcome your clarification of your positions and would have these responses.

         I do not advocate for uncontrolled growth,”

        It is true that you have never phrased it that way. And yet, I do not recall within the past 5 years a project ( either housing or business) that you have come out against because of your concern for the effect on the neighbors or the community. You write this on a thread in which the topic is not housing, but whether the best use of a piece of property is a hotel which will require a zoning change. I fail to see how this is about the town housing its share of the growing population.

         the neighbors do not deserve to dictate what happens on adjacent properties just because they want it “

        And the neighbors are not attempting to dictate “what happens”. In this case, as in many others, it is the developers who are attempting to change ( or dictate through city processes of exception) what they can do on a piece of land when the rules already precluded the use they are proposing. All the neighbors are trying to do is to stick with the original plan. I fail to see how this is dictatorial on either side. Both are petitioning, one for maintenance of the current rules, one side for change.

        Those ‘concerns’ that the Planning Commission decides are non-significant should be ignored, regardless of how often they are repeated on a public forum.”

        The Planning Commission members are not the final arbiters here. The City Council is. It is entirely possible for different groups of people to come to different opinions based on the same information. It may very well be that members of the CC may have different concerns from the Planning Commissioners. It would be remiss of the neighbors not to continue to espouse their concerns despite the fact that one Commission seems to have narrowed their concerns to just one with which you happen to agree.

         What I have stated, repeatedly, is that the needs of the community as a whole are more important than the wants of the few.”

        However, it would seem by the recent Nishi vote and outcomes of certain other proposals that the majority of the community have not seen these recent projects as being beneficial to the community overall. So who gets to be the final arbiter of what is “best for the community”. In cases where a vote of the people is needed, it is the direct vote of the people that determines the outcome whether you or I happen to like it. I have no problem with this.

        What I do have a problem with is that when there are conflicting views about “what is best for the entire community”, the idea that we should always default to the changes desired by the developers. Now it is true that you have never come out and said that the developers wishes should always be the side that prevails, but it is also true that within my memory, I have never seen you argue that the opponents of a project are correct and that the zoning or guidelines should not be changed to favor the developer. This leads me to believe that such a situation does not exist. If I am in correct, please show me the instance in which you have backed the opponents of a project and I will promptly apologize..

        1. South of Davis

          Tia wrote:

          > However, it would seem by the recent Nishi vote and outcomes

          > of certain other proposals that the majority of the community

          > have not seen these recent projects as being beneficial to the

          > community overall.

          If you polled the residents who voted against Nishi I bet few would say “they didn’t think it was beneficial to the community overall”.  They would say things like “I didn’t want more traffic in the tunnel under the tracks”, “I hate developers”, “I didn’t want Murder Burger to move”, “I don’t want more homes and condos to lower the value of my home and condo” or “I’m a millionaire apartment owner that wants to keep rents high, feel free to grab a No on A sign from the lawn of my office I have more in the trunk of my car since I’ve been putting them up at all my rental apartments around town”…

          P.S. The above are all real reasons I heard that people voted against Measure A (and the millionaire apartment owner that offered me a No on A sign didn’t actually say he is a “millionaire”, but his son has told me in the past that he actually is)…

        2. Mark West

          I repeat, Tia, it is not about me.

          The City has a $30+ million annual shortfall and you are worried about what one person thinks about development? For me, that is $30+ million annually of ‘I don’t care’ what you think about development. The City needs to start paying its bills, and the only way we are going to do that is by ignoring the wants of the selfish and creating revenues through business development and the construction of high-density housing (in the City).

          Thanks to the no-first crowd, our community has spent the better part of my lifetime neglecting the City’s fiscal health and the financial health of the community. This was done in the misguided attempt to ‘protect’ our small town ‘way of life.’ All we have accomplished, unfortunately, is to steal from the prosperity of future generations to pay for our own selfish wants. It is time we start correcting those past mistakes, which will mean significantly redeveloping both our town and its no-first mindset.

          The hotel project will bring in roughly a half million a year, which is a good start. We need 59 more equivalent projects to meet the community’s current needs (assuming the City learns to control the cost of employee compensation). When someone comes to town willing to invest $10’s of millions to create a new source of revenue for the City, our main questions should center around ‘how soon can you start,’ not your preferred ‘what’s in it for me.’ Mitigate the actual harm and ignore the fears of change, that is how we will repair the damage of decades of fiscal neglect. In the process, we will create good jobs and housing for our residents, space for our young families to prosper, and increase the overall wealth and health of the community. To me that how we invest in our community’s future; an approach that is completely contrary to your preferred method of stealing from the future to pay for your own selfish ‘way of life.’

           

  7. Don Shor

    Alisa Burnett expressed concerns about the trees, noting that 9 of 23 trees show signs of trees under stress.  “That’s nearly half of these trees that are showing signs of problems,” she explained.  “The idea that we’re going to have a privacy screen that is based on living things that are impacted by many different diseases… it’s irresponsible to think that they’ll never die and what happens if they do die – we get a 15-gallon sapling – that takes the next twenty years to improve our privacy screen.”

    She concluded these “trees are not healthy enough, we need something better to preserve our right to privacy.”

    Later in the meeting, City Arborist Rob Cain told the neighbors that, like any living thing, the trees are eventually going to die.  He noted that “this area is an area that’s not maintained as meticulously as other places as it is a greenbelt area.”

     This would be a good time to interplant some young trees to get established and growing as the older trees decline. Species that can tolerate the shade when young, but then form a canopy in later years, include bay laurel and live oaks.

    View from Mr. Casillas’ bedroom window showing he clearly would see the hotel, as well as demonstrating the lack of cover he has from the trees

    A fence extension in the yard planted with a vigorous vine such as Lady Banks’ rose would quickly screen that view. In fact, it would likely scramble up into the sycamore tree as well, providing further screening. The spring blooms are very showy.

    An evergreen tree planted past the sycamore could provide further privacy if needed. Which species to select would depend on how wide the area is for a tree canopy there. Probably a very upright species would be appropriate.

    1. Adam Smith

      View from Mr. Casillas’ bedroom window showing he clearly would see the hotel, as well as demonstrating the lack of cover he has from the trees

      And so what?  A 50 foot high office building or industrial facility could be built there under current zoning.  Mr Casillas could “see” that also.

      1. South of Davis

        Adam Smith wrote:

        > Mr Casillas could “see” that also.

        It would look better than the ugly cheap metal Davis Diamonds building next door.

        I can’t believe that Davis let them put up an ugly cheap metal building since in the 60’s and 70’s most cities only allowed metal buildings in industrial areas “on the other side of the tracks” and since the 80’s most cities in California won’t let you build a metal commercial building “anywhere” in town…

  8. Chamber Fan

    This whole discussion is plain weird.  How many people are going to be looking out the windows behind their hotel room?  How many are going to strain to look through the trees gaps to see the neighbors?  You can’t see through a window during daylight hours from upstairs.  So unless the neighbors are planning to have their windows and curtains open at night with their lights on, it’s a non-issue.

    1. hpierce

      And, the neighbors can look thru the windows of the proposed hotel!  Or any commercial building!

      The neighbors appear to have some responsibility to mitigate their potential behavior… including loud parties in their backyards…

      1. South of Davis

        hpierce wrote:

        > The neighbors appear to have some responsibility to mitigate their

        > potential behavior… including loud parties in their backyards…

        Maybe the developer can go on the offensive and protest noise from backyards and try to get them to stay inside after 10:00 pm when most hotel guests will be sleeping and make them “screen” their windows so they will not be looking at the new hotel…

  9. Eileen Samitz

     

    Grok
    September 8, 2016 at 8:22 am
    The developers are only tied to this lot because this is the lot they chose to purchase. It is not the cities fault if they bought a lot that is not zoned for the intended use.

    Strangely enough, there is no zoning change request here. Instead they are requesting to amend the general plan to allow for hotels at double the density for all like zoned properties in all of Davis.

    They are also requesting to Rewrite the South Davis Specific Plan to do away with the landscaping requirements around parking lots for South Davis.

    Either of these 2 requested changes on its own is a massive over reach to approve a single project.

    I just had a chance to get on my computer and read today’s Vanguard article and comments. Of all the posts I find this one by Grok the most interesting pointing out two of the most important issues. It is astonishing that City Staff would be proposing such over-the-top, counter-productive General Plan amendments, which should be completely taken off the table.

    I am hoping that the Planning Commission understands how over-reaching these recommendations  are and will eliminate them. This is not the first time seriously flawed planning recommendations have been made by a City staff member who is making these recommendations (i.e.such as placing cellular towers in the front yards of Davis residents). Un-doing that bad planning decision cost the City a lawsuit settlement that cost all Davis residents a lot of money. Similarly, these bad recommendations seem to be headed down that same trail.

      1. Matt Williams

        Chamber Fan, if Staff’s concern is (among other things) not costing the citizens money, then they shouldn’t volunteer for a lawsuit.  If you append important non-project issues to the project’s process after the project EIR has been completed, then it is arguable that there is a CEQA process failure . . . one that arguably can be challenged legally.

        The question that Staff has not answered thus far is what the net benefit to either the community, or the larger planning process, is.  Why unnecessarily hold the project hostage to that kind of legal threat . . . for no clear benefit to the community?

        As Yul Brynner once said, “It’s a puzzlement.”

        1. Chamber Fan

          First of all, Eileen has made a veiled threat that if she doesn’t get her way, there will be a lawsuit.

          Second, Matt Williams, the focus should be on the merits of the proposal, not some secondary issue.

          Third, I don’t see why the city’s proposal is such a threat to begin with.

          1. Don Shor

            First of all, Eileen has made a veiled threat that if she doesn’t get her way, there will be a lawsuit.

            Um, no she hasn’t made any kind of threat. But given past history, it’s a reasonable expectation. Might as well remove that issue from the discussion. I also don’t understand why it’s in the staff proposal, and suggest that maybe council should just get that removed so they won’t have to do it from the dais.

        2. Matt Williams

          I concur with Don 100%.  Any threat of a lawsuit doesn’t come from Eileen.  Don’s suggestion “Might as well remove that issue from the discussion. I also don’t understand why it’s in the staff proposal, and suggest that maybe council should just get that removed so they won’t have to do it from the dais.” is right on the money.

        3. Matt Williams

          Chamber Fan said . . . “What is the basis of the lawsuit?”

          My personal opinion (which could be wrong) is that the project EIR was formulated and completed without any contemplation or reference to either the broad, sweeping, unilateral General Plan revision or the broad, sweeping, unilateral South Davis Specific Plan revision.  As a result it is arguable under CEQA regulations/provisions that the EIR is fatally deficient if those two last minute additions are allowed to continue as part of the project decision.

          I’m not a lawyer by training, so all the above is my untrained, but moderately informed opinion.

    1. Matt Williams

      Eileen Samitz said . . . “It is astonishing that City Staff would be proposing such over-the-top, counter-productive General Plan amendments, which should be completely taken off the table.”

      I agree with the bolded words 100%.  I might have chosen a bit less hyperbolic language in the non-bolded part, but only a bit less.  Why the Staff would intentionally invite a CEQA lawsuit is a mystery.

      1. Eileen Samitz

        Chamber Fan,

        First of all, your comment is accusatory and inappropriate since I am pointing out very bad policy recommendations from the City that lead down a counter-productive path in the past.

        Second, how is my comment any different than Matt’s which is saying the same thing, yet you don’t seem to want to make the same inappropriate accusation of him?

         

        1. Chamber Fan

          Yes, my comment was accusatory but given how many suits we have seen, hardly inappropriate.  I didn’t level it at Matt because I don’t think Matt’s likely to sue the city.

    1. Chamber Fan

      How is it inappropriate to suggest that the point about the lawsuit is a veiled threat?  I could be wrong on the matter.  But what’s inappropriate about it?  How many suits have been filed on land use projects in the last year?

  10. Frankly

    http://thesocialmisfit.com/images/Antelope.jpg

    In the 1980s John Ott built this small residential neighborhood off of Antelope Ave.  At the time we owned the picture-centered house with the pool.  Before we put a deposit on the lot, we checked the city records for what was the currently undeveloped large parcels that fronted Alvarado.  They were owned by Elmer McNeece and he had city-approved plans for Covell Garden senior center, and the Pepperwood apartment complex.  There were large setbacks and the buildings were 2-story.

    Later after the residential neighborhood was built someone got wind of design changes that Mr. McNeece had submitted to the city for approval.  This was before the days of more rigorous neighborhood notice.   The neighbors organized and we went to what I would call a friendly war with Mr. McNeece and the City.

    The issue was that the large setbacks had disappeared and the buildings went to three stories.

    The neighbors never once thought that we had any right to totally block development or try to dictate what type of use we would accept.  The neighbors that would be adjacent to the apartment knew that there was an apartment planned.  They bought knowing that.  Their lots were a bit less expensive because of it.

    But they did not expect 3-stories and a 15-ft (minimal) setback because that wasn’t in the plans when they bought.

    In the end the apartments went back to 2-stories and the setback was increased… but not as far as it had been in the original plans.  The senior center had the first row of buildings put at 2-stories and the setback was increased (although again not as far as the original plans had showed).  But the developer had to add a bunch of specimen-sized trees and build view screens on the buildings to mitigate views into the neighbor’s yards and houses.

    The neighbors where all satisfied with the compromise.

    We all knew the city needed more apartments and senior living facilities.

    The issue was privacy and the solutions mitigated those privacy concerns.

    But that was apparently a different time where people were rational and reasonable and not militantly opposed to everything that might be built adjacent to them.  It was also before Measure J/R… a mechanism that seems to have corrupted some Davis residents with a sense of entitlement for dictating what property owners can do and what the City should allow them to do… even when what is proposed is materially the same as what was zoned when the neighbors purchased their property.   Even when the proposal is high quality.  Even when the proposal significantly benefits the city, fills real needs and improves the overall human condition.  Now instead of working toward an agreeable compromise, the neighbors will not be satisfied unless the entire proposal is defeated  and they prevail over the needs of everyone else.

    It is so disappointing to see my fellow Davisites behave this way.

    During our Planning Commission meetings one senior stood up and made everyone laugh saying that he was only interested in the senior center if it was three stories and he could hang out on his balcony all day and leer at all of us in our back yards.  Of course he was being sarcastic.  I remember this because even though we all had competing interests, everyone was still neighborly and friendly.  It wasn’t some doomsday thing.  Nobody was going to die not getting their complete way.  The world was not going to end.

    But here today that is the standard campaign of those against development.  The sky is going to fall.  They are angry and militant about it.  They DEMAND that the development be killed.  They are a different breed of people and I am sad to say that I don’t really like them in my community of 40 years.  I wish they would change back to reasonable or move away.

    1. Eileen Samitz

      Frankly,

      I am sorry, but this situation is not the same. The impacts from a hotel are completely different from a senior housing project. For instance, would you and your neighborhood have preferred a four story hotel over a senior housing project?

      1. Frankly

        IT IS ZONED FOR A 50 FT TALL COMMERCIAL BUILDING!

        I needed to shout that since you are so hard of hearing apparently.

        But you are correct that this is different.  As I wrote it is the difference of people that were good neighbors and now are just selfish NIMBYs.

        1. Frankly

          That is bull hpierce and I think you know it.

          The point of my post was that people were more neighborly back then.

          Eileen’s response was crap and I think you know that too.

          It was zoned for a 50ft tall building.  The people that bought their houses there should have known that.  They got all the notices and the meeting requests.  And now this?  It is BS accepting the disingenuous BS argument that the hotel is the problem. You should absolutely admit that it would not have mattered what commercial building was proposed that Eileen and her pod of no-growth sharks would be opposing it too.

          What the hell happened to Davisites?  The are a bunch of self-centered and mean people.

          It is like Ann Coulter body snatchers took over the town.

  11. Eileen Samitz

     

    Mark West
    September 8, 2016 at 5:00 pm
    Eileen:

    There is nothing in the current zoning that precludes a 24/7 business operating on the site. There are many types of businesses other than hotels that operate 24/7. Consequently, it is a ‘non-issue’ regardless of how the neighbors view it. There is no need for mitigation as it is an ‘allowed use’ under current zoning.

    “when none of the consequences of this project would affect you.”

    I have stated multiple times that my position would be the same if the project was next door to my home or over my back fence. I already tolerate the excessively loud and run down mini-dorms with absentee landlords that your preferred housing policies are responsible for inflicting upon my neighborhood. This hotel would be a major improvement over that current situation, just as it will be an improvement over the vacant lot with vandalism problems that currently exist at the proposed site.

     

    Mark,

    Seriously, do you believe that making a theoretical statement that “if this Hyatt hotel was proposed in my neighborhood it would be ok” resonates? I understand that apparently it is “ok” with you since it would never happen. But in order for your statement to resonate, I would challenge you to draft a petition to get signatures from your neighbors stating “I support a four story hotel adjacent to our neighborhood”.

    You could qualify it (theoretically) by saying that some adjacent homes could sell to the developers to allow the space for it. How about we try this approach to see what your neighborhood thinks and then to revisit your thoughts on this? We would see how they feel about if a 23/7 hotel business is “no different” and is a “non-issue”.

    1. Mark West

      I don’t care if my statement ‘resonates’ with you or not, Eileen, this isn’t about me. The topic, if you have forgotten, is the excellent proposal for a hotel that will add $0.5 million in annual revenues to the City’s budget and help us close our $30+ million annual deficit. I will remind you also that the proposal comes from a local group of investors who have actively engaged with the neighbors and have responded to their concerns by altering the project designs. Isn’t that exactly how we want developers would act? By listening and responding?

      Now I understand that you might want to divert attention away from the real issue tonight, that is standard practice among the no-first crowd whenever you are losing an argument, but I tell you, you must really be desperate if you are trying to make this about me.

  12. Eileen Samitz

    Mark,

    Whoops, I would not want you to think this hotel was closed one hour a day. Pardon my typo. I meant to type:

    “We would see how they feel about if a 24/7 hotel business is “no different” and is a “non-issue”

     

  13. Adam Smith

    Eileen –

    ‘Your hypothetical question to Mark is inappropriately framed.    The appropriate framing is:  If this Hyatt hotel was proposed instead of a 50 foot tall office building or light industrial/food manufacturing business, which would you prefer?”    Your point regarding the size of the building doesn’t matter in this instance — a 50 foot tall building could currently be built under current zoning.

  14. Eileen Samitz

    Adam Smith,

    The size of the building is not the issue, it is the use which is proposing a hotel, rather than a business park use. These two uses are very different with very different impacts.

    1. Adam Smith

      Well you’re right Eileen.  The hotel is preferable in many respects. Less traffic at rush hour, less traffic period, 24 hour security for an area with crime and arson problems, the list goes on.

      However, to follow your point, why do you consistently refer to the size of the hotel?  If your primary point is that the change in use is the issue,  you should just refer to that.

  15. Eileen Samitz

    Adam Smith,

    The hotel use next to the neighborhood versus a business park use is the primary issue. The fact that it is four stories of a use which does not belong next to this neighborhood exacerbates the situation. Four stories of a hotel use definitely just multiplies out the privacy problem.

    1. hpierce

      Uhhh… Eileen (respectfully), the number of stories is irrelevant, compared to height… at least in this case… privacy or otherwise… the hotel would have less height (even with more stories) than a commercial project that is ‘entitled’.

      The “use” thing… if I was a neighbor (which I am not)… if the right conditions as to ACTUAL nuisance issues (a standard condition) was imposed, a hotel use would have a single owner to deal with… a commercial use might well have many owners.

      Perhaps, we should abandon the hotel consideration, and focus on the most intense use possible under the current GP & SDSP designations, with a focus on highest revenue… those are all covered under previous CEQA approvals,  so… “take this project and shove it” down the throats of those who would oppose it…

      That would be consistent with the status quo… neighbors would have no legal say… but they would still have their first amendment rights to speak up…

       

  16. Tia Will

    Frankly

    What the hell happened to Davisites?  The are a bunch of self-centered and mean people.”

    Within the confines of this post, you have not specified exactly who you mean by this. I believe that I know from previous posts, but in the interests of not making assumptions, I will point out a few groups to whom it might apply depending upon ones point of view :

    1. People who perceive an impact as adversely affecting them directly such as homeowners in close proximity.

    2. People who believe that a proposal’s impact may harm them financially as in the case of a business owner who feels that his business will decline if the proposed change is made.

    3. Local investors who want a money making project for themselves and do not consider the potential impacts on the adjacent areas prior to making their project public.

    3. Local investors who prefer a project in which there is no demonstrated “need” such as “luxury apartments” when there are clearly other very well defined housing needs in the city ( such as students and “little a” affordable housing).

    4. Investors/developers who want to trivialize or invalidate what others see as legitimate concerns because these changes would cost them more money ( aka would not “pencil out”) although of course the public never knows what that would mean in actual dollars …. the public while being told that their concerns are not quantifiable, never are allowed to see what acceptable profit means to the developer.

    5. People who are not willing to pay more in taxes for what we all agree would make our city better.

    Take your pick, any of these groups could be labelled as selfish, or self-centered, or mean. Or we could just be fair minded and admit that each of these groups are acting in what they perceive to be their own best interests. I see no need at all for the name calling and disparagement just because your interests align more closely with some of these self promotional groups than with others.

    1. South of Davis

      Tia wrote:

      > Local investors who prefer a project in which there is no

      > demonstrated “need” such as “luxury apartments”

      I’m wondering if Tia can list the location of the “luxury apartments” in town that are sitting vacant since we don’t “need” them.

      Driving around town (in my $2,000 25 year old) car I’m amazed at the number of “luxury” cars (Porsche, BMW, Lexus and even an increasing number of Maseratis) I see students driving so maybe the developers have figured out that a kid driving a $75K “luxury” car wants a “luxury” apartment (and does not want to rent a converted one car garage in Old East Davis from one of the retired Davis residents trying to stop all development that would cut in to their rental income)…

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