Guest Commentary: Trackside Developers Respond to Neighbors’ Concerns


Trackside-SEby Steve Greenfield and Kemble Pope

Two years ago, over 40 Davisites decided to invest in our community by purchasing and proposing privately funded redevelopment of the Trackside Center at 901-919 Third Street. We envisioned an aesthetically pleasing property with retail and residential uses mixed together and a focus on sustainability powered by close access to transit, bicycle, and pedestrian infrastructure.

Our vision is founded on the idea that new residential opportunities for empty nesters and urban professionals a mere 800 feet from the train station, within walking distance of every business in Downtown Davis and UC Davis, is a win for our Downtown and the entire community.  As we all struggle to help downtown Davis thrive, revitalizing a commercial center with new, sustainable retail opportunities and activating the adjacent unsafe, crumbling alleyway as a pedestrian and bike friendly corridor is also a win for the community.

Initially, in May 2015, we submitted an application to build a six-story mixed use building with underground parking and a spacious public plaza. Some of our neighbors in the Old East Davis (OED) neighborhood expressed serious concerns about the proposal, mainly focused on the relative size of the building and compliance with zoning and design guidelines. As local residents who intend to own and operate the redeveloped property for many years, we took these concerns to heart and made a clear and conscience decision to gather information and go back to the drafting table with a new architect.

During the last seven months we’ve had dozens of conversations, including a city-wide community workshop, a meeting with the neighborhood to explore the details of the Design Guidelines and Zoning Code, and multiple meetings with large and small groups representing the neighborhood, Downtown and other interested community groups. In September 2016, we submitted a new proposal informed by the conversations that we have had over the last year.

We appreciate all of the time, energy and effort that our neighbors and other community members have spent giving their input on the proposals. We want to be very clear that while we were unable to achieve consensus on the new design with some of our neighbors, we have made significant compromises on many features and components of the project based on what we heard in the past sixteen months.

The new Trackside Center proposal is still a mixed-use building with a plaza. The residential units remain rental units designed for empty nesters and professionals that want to live a more urban lifestyle.

The major changes from the original proposal to the current proposal include:

  • Reduction from 78 ft maximum height to 49 ft maximum height. On the OED side of the building, 38 ft maximum height, which is shorter than several historic buildings & many trees in the neighborhood
  • Reduction from 6-stories to 4-stories, with the 4th floor massed towards the Railroad and Third Street. On the OED side of the building, the building is 3-story with setbacks at the 2nd & 3rd The new building is the same height as the Chen Building and the McCormick Building and shorter than the nearby parking garage.
  • Reduction from 48 residential units to 27 residential units.
  • Elimination of 3 bedroom units; the new proposal is mainly 2 bedroom units with a few studios and 1 bedroom units.
  • 3rd and 4th floors are stepped back from the east (Alley & OED) for a minimum distance of 46 ft and 62 ft respectively between the proposed building and the adjacent neighbor’s property.
  • 3rd and 4th floors are stepped back from the north (ACE Rock Yard) 26 ft and 53 ft respectively to ensure that view corridors from OED to the west are maintained.
  • Elimination of underground parking (concerns about potential damage to structural integrity of nearby historic home were expressed; cost of underground parking is cost prohibitive without more residential units.) The new proposal contains 30 at-grade parking spaces, most tucked under the building, plus public and private bike parking.
  • Building has been narrowed to create an 8 ft wide, tree-lined sidewalk on our private property along the alley.
  • Public plaza, anchored by an existing cork oak tree, has been reduced from 6k SF to 4k SF to create surface parking.
  • “Farmhouse Modern” architecture (sloping roofs and traditional building materials) have been carefully crafted on the alley side of the building to be more responsive to the traditional architecture of OED.
  • Solid walls and louvered balconies maintain privacy for the neighbors and for the new building tenants.

We believe that the redesigned Trackside Center is in close compliance to City zoning and meets most of the design guidelines while furthering the City’s goals for higher density, sustainable infill and a vibrant downtown.

One of the most effective solutions to creating a sustainable downtown is to provide housing that promotes a walkable and transit oriented lifestyle in the core. We have a lack of quality housing opportunities in the Downtown. Sustainable cities are dense in the core. This, as a clear Davis planning goal, is the bedrock of our answer to resisting urban sprawl.

We are committed to making this project a great addition to our community.

-Steve Greenfield and Kemble Pope are Davis residents and the Managing Members of Trackside Center, LLC.


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56 thoughts on “Guest Commentary: Trackside Developers Respond to Neighbors’ Concerns”

  1. Alan Miller

    The Trackside Partners LLC strategy presented here is straight out of Donald Trump’s “The Art of the Deal”.  Propose something completely outrageous in order to get what you want.  The bullet points are largely pointing out compromises that are set against a completely non-compliant building that they themselves proposed.  So then they are attempting, in this article, to appear to have compromised.

    The six story building was always a non-starter, and always a straw man.  I site that going above four stories would have required that the building go to more expensive steel framing.  In addition, the proposal for underground parking was ridiculous, in that the site is the center of a multi-source underground toxic plume.  I live atop the same plume and have been following it for years, having worked for many years as an environmental consultant.  Once you breach toxic soil like that, you open up a can of unknown worms that can delay a project years if not decades and break your budget.  “Capping” is often a legally acceptable and economical solution, i.e. seal the surface and build upon it.

    In addition, I and other OEDNA board members have spoken to several of the investors and former investors at Trackside, and of the four I spoke to, three said they had only been pitched a four-story building and never heard about the six-story building until they saw it in the paper along with the rest of us.  In addition, the OEDNA board saw several of the early drawings, all four-story proposals.

    Thus, I am saying this was always a “straw man” building for the purpose of the Trump-style strategy.  They always wanted four and they knew the community would be outraged by four.  So propose six and somehow they believe they can brainwash enough of the people of Davis to make it appear that four is now some sort of compromise.

    This would similar to if Old East Davis had proposed that the current buildings be razed and a demanded a duck pond in their place, in order to “compromise” at the upper limit of the Design Guidelines.  We did not play that game, however.  The Old East Davis Neighborhood Association has always stated exactly what is OK for that site:  a redevelopment in compliance with the Design Guidelines.

    1. Ron


      You are a powerful, well-informed commenter.  I do wish that you would point out some of these same types of concerns with other development proposals, throughout the city.  As mentioned yesterday, concerns regarding development are becoming a city-wide issue.

      As someone else once said to me, no neighborhood should get “thrown under the bus”.

      1. Mark West

        “no neighborhood should get “thrown under the bus.”

        That is not an unreasonable attitude, but it is incomplete. Just as no neighborhood should get thrown under the bus, the City should not be thrown under the bus just to benefit one neighborhood. Our reality is that we have $10’s of millions in annual unfunded obligations, and the City needs to start acting to address that basic problem. That means that every opportunity to increase revenues needs to be seriously considered, with nothing taken off the table just because someone doesn’t like the idea. The difficulty is to balance the needs of the City with the wants of the neighbors, which is where our elected representatives come into play. The big question is do we stick with outdated zoning regulations and design guidelines that have played a part in our current fiscal shortfall, or do we look beyond those limitations and consider new options and opportunities.

        In the case of Trackside, if we envision that the Downtown will evolve to have 4-6 story buildings over the next few decades (a change from current zoning), then it is reasonable to consider this development in that same light, and not be limited to the current conditions or the decades-old regulations and guidelines.  A compromise here would result in a project somewhere between the expectations of that near future Downtown and the visioning documents developed in that near past. I think the current design fits that role reasonably well.

        1. Ron


          I partially agree with you, in that the financial needs of the city as a whole should also be considered when making decisions.

          Trackside already has a commercial component.  I realize that this might be replaced with businesses that bring in more revenue (and property taxes), and that the commercial component is not being disputed by neighbors.  However, this would need to be compared to the increased costs of providing services for new residences and businesses.  (In other words, a complete and honest financial analysis.)  Even then, neighborhood concerns might still be significant enough to influence a decision.

          I have also not seen any analysis which concludes that the latest Trackside proposal would bring in any more revenue (over the long-term), vs. the alternative that would fit in with existing guidelines.

          On a related note, below is a link to a section of a book, which confirms that residential development is almost always a money-loser for cities.  As a result, communities often turn to commercial development to help offset the costs of residential development.  As noted, this eventually leads to a situation where even more housing is built, to meet new demand created by the commercial development.  (I understand that SACOG also examines the number of local jobs, when determining “fair share” residential growth requirements.)

          Perhaps the “solution” is not always as straightforward as it initially seems.


        2. Mark West

          Ron:  Your book is about the problems of urban sprawl. I’m not going to bother reading it right now (if ever), but am willing to bet that one of the proposed solutions to the problem is to build more projects that look a lot like Trackside, mixed-use, high-density, infill.

          That said, the stated justification in the book for the claim that residential development costs the City more than it brings in, is primarily due to the costs of education. In Davis, the cost of education is not a City expense, but one borne by the School District. Yes, the citizens pay the bill, but the two entities are funded by different tax sources using different budgets, so the cost of education is not included in the City’s budget. In Davis, the reason that residential development does not pay for itself long-term (as is also true with every other potential form in increased revenues) is due to our overly generous employee benefits, and our refusal to reign in the rate of growth of Total Compensation. That is why cost containment is such an important part of any fiscal solution.

        3. Ron


          We’ve had a similar conversation several times.  Services are needed for residential development.  There are permanent limitations (e.g., Proposition 13) regarding the amount that can be collected from residential development.  There is still no corresponding limitation in effect, regarding the amount that costs can increase.  If more residential development is built without (permanently) addressing the underlying discrepancy, the problem will continue to get worse.  That’s why residential development is generally a money-loser for cities (not just in Davis). It’s also the reason that Davis (and other cities in California) are facing financial challenges for their existing level of residential development.

          Regarding funding for schools, that’s an even bigger problem, in regard to apartment complexes. As you probably know, apartment complexes pay the same amount for school parcel taxes as a single-family dwelling, regardless of the number of units.

          And again, the book (which I believe was initially posted by a pro-development type commenter) describes the challenges when pursuing commercial development, as well.  (I’m not planning to comment further, regarding that.)

          Regarding Trackside, there is apparently no analysis which shows that the developers’ preferred alternative would provide a larger financial benefit for the city, vs. an alternative that would fit in with neighborhood guidelines.  (I understand that there would be no difference in the amount of commercial space, between these two alternatives.)  Therefore, I’m not sure why you seem to imply that the developer’s alternative is financially superior (for the city), vs. a design that fits in with existing guidelines.

        4. Mark West

          Ron: ” I’m not sure why you seem to imply that the developer’s alternative is financially superior (for the city), vs. a design that fits in with existing guidelines.”

          I’m not sure why anyone needs to explain this. Property taxes are based on the assessed value of the land and everything built upon that land. In addition, with commercial space, the assessed value of all the business equipment located inside the building. A larger project will end up with a greater assessed value which means greater tax receipts. It really is simple math.  I’m not claiming it is necessarily a better project overall, just fiscally superior for the City.

        5. Ron

          Mark:  “I’m not claiming it is necessarily a better project overall, just fiscally superior for the City.”

          Well, you’re apparently making this statement with no actual analysis.  There are increased service costs for additional residential units to consider.  I understand that the commercial space would remain the same, either way.  So, there should be no difference between the alternatives, regarding the assessed value of commercial equipment.

          1. Don Shor

            It seems that the analysis you’re looking for is pretty simple in concept. I just wonder how readily anyone can find the numbers for it.
            Redeveloping the site:
            Increases the assessed value of the land (increases revenues to city and county and school district);
            Increases the assessed value of building improvements (increases revenues to city and county and school district);
            Increases the cost to provide public safety to the new units on the site. Commercial remains the same, I guess, so it’s the increased cost of police and fire protection to the residential units (increases costs to city).
            The more apartment units, the more the assessed value of the building improvements, and the higher the cost of providing public safety.

        6. Ron

          Don:  “It seems that the analysis you’re looking for is pretty simple in concept.”

          To be clear, I’m not “looking for an analysis”.  I understand that Mark made the statement that the developer’s alternative is financially superior (for the city), compared to an alternative that would fit in with existing guidelines.  I pointed out that an analysis has apparently not been done.

          Picking out the simple examples I described would not result in an accurate analysis.

          1. Don Shor

            I understand that Mark made the statement that the developer’s alternative is financially superior (for the city), compared to an alternative that would fit in with existing guidelines.

            It probably is because of the higher assessment for building improvements.

        7. South of Davis

          Don wrote:

          > The more apartment units, the more the assessed

          > value of the building improvements, and the higher

          > the cost of providing public safety.

          With many friends that work in public safety I can tell you that they don’t spend a lot of time at upscale apartments.  More often than not years go by before there is even a single call from an apartment like Trackside.  I just looked at the 42U mixed use Oakshade apartments (that pays over $200K every year in property taxes + even more in parcel taxes) and there was a single reported vehicle burglary in the last year.

          Does anyone know a way to search for police and fire calls by address (the link below is just police)?  I am betting that we don’t have a single upscale apartment in town where tax revenue is not MORE than covering the cost of public safety

          P.S. Even if the cops and firefighters go to Trackside once a month it won’t cost the city anything and will just cut in to the time the cops spend at Starbucks and Pink Donut and the firefighters will spend watching TV…

        8. Mark West

          Ron: “Well, you’re apparently making this statement with no actual analysis.”

          It doesn’t require analysis Ron, just a little common sense. Bigger buildings come with greater assessed values and consequently greater property tax assessments.

          “There are increased service costs for additional residential units to consider.”

          Why do you think that? There will likely be one water line connection going into the complex, one sewer connection coming out, one trash pickup point, and one bill for the complex. The connections will be bigger than for a single family home, but that cost difference is paid by the developer during construction. As far as City services are concerned, there will only be one customer, the landlord. The total amount of the bill will be greater for the complex, but the envelope used to mail it and the cost of the employee licking the stamp will be the same. Where do you see functionally greater expenses for the City with the larger complex?

        9. Ron


          Informal comments made on the Vanguard by you, me, or anyone else don’t comprise an accurate financial analysis.

          The city has a volunteer finance and budget committee to analyze such development proposals.  Outside experts are sometimes used, as well (e.g., with Nishi).  Even with such expertise, there’s sometimes disagreement (e.g., between members of the committee, and between the committee and outside experts).  Ultimately, it’s really just an estimate (based on particular assumptions).  However, in the case of Trackside, we don’t even have any such estimates to compare the options.  (For that matter, there isn’t even an option “on the table” to examine that would meet neighborhood guidelines, at this point.)

          If you want to believe and state that the Trackside proposal that’s being presented by the developers is more financially beneficial for the city compared to a theoretical version that fits neighborhood guidelines (presumably with a similar-sized commercial component), it’s certainly your prerogative to do so.  But, I’ll probably continue to point out that there isn’t an actual analysis to back up such statements.

        10. Chamber Fan

          “The city has a volunteer finance and budget committee to analyze such development proposals”

          True, but you don’t seem to defer to one of the members of that commission who posts here.

        11. Ron

          Chamber Fan:  “True, but you don’t seem to defer to one of the members of that commission who posts here.”

          There’s a difference between responding to someone who happens to be on that committee (and initiates frequent challenges that are not restricted to committee conclusions), vs. challenging the conclusions of that committee.

          Of course, conclusions of the committee are sometimes subject to internal and external disputes, as well (as noted above).

      2. Odin

        Thank you both Ron and Alan.  They are trying to do the same thing with Lincoln40.  They’re shooting to rezone Olive to high density, and build a 5 story complex housing some 700 students.   They completely ignored the Specific Plan for the area, including affordable housing, and are planning a resort complex that takes away from the character of our neighborhood.  They even want to place a copa cabana styled pool right adjacent to the street.

        The pro development folks, YIMBY’S, seem to think every developer comes to down with good intentions and that we shouldn’t stand in the way.  I call bs on that.  They have their own business interests in mind that does not reflect the Davis community in general.  It’s painfully obvious the DV has been coopted by business interests seeking to pad their own businesses.  I’ve grown tired of their “sky is falling” arguments.

        1. Ron

          Odin – Yeap.  No neighborhood thrown under the bus.

          In the case of Lincoln40, it seems somewhat ironic that the only proposed development that would actually displace affordable housing is apparently not planning to include it within the development.  (Not to mention the impact on Olive/Richards, etc.)

        2. quielo



          I have nothing against the people who live there. It’s the broken down buildings and wasted space I am against. I don’t believe I’ve ever commented one way or the other about the people since I only know a very few.

    2. Frankly

      Their “Trump style strategy” is contrasting nicely with your Clinton-DNC-style character assassination, divide and conquer strategy.  Are the Trackside project proponents an irredeemable basket of deplorables?  One thing for sure, if Trackside gets build the prospective tenants will already know that they will lack good neighbors.

  2. Grok

    The title of this letter from the Trackside developers claims the “Trackside Developers Respond to Neighbors Concerns,” but they never even answer the concerns raised in yesterdays article written by the neighbors. The neighbors were very clear about the problem with the current proposal, but what the developers have offered is a history of how they have change a truly outrageous proposal to a somewhat less outrageous proposal.

    Yesterday the neighbors stated:

    The proposal far exceeds the mass and scale envisioned in the Davis Downtown and Traditional Residential Neighborhoods Design Guidelines.

    The developers only response was this fragment of a sentence

    “We believe that the redesigned Trackside Center… meets most of the design guidelines “

    In this fraction of a sentence the developers admits the new Trackside proposal only meets some of the guidelines and does not meet all of the guidelines as the neighbors pointed out yesterday. So rather than responding to the concerns of the neighbors, they have confirmed the concerns of the neighbors.


    1. Davis Progressive

      often when you’re offered a response in a newspaper, you don’t get to see the original article first.  don’t know if that happened here, but you should probably check before criticizing

  3. Frankly

    It is time to put this to bed.  The Old East Davis residents have proven themselves incapable of reasonableness.  NIMBYism oozes from all their speaking and writing orifices.

    Design guidelines set over fifteen years ago are no longer worth their cost of the ink and paper.  Facebook did not exist then.  The first iPhone would not be seen for another five years.

    They make the claim that three homes adjacent to the proposed Trackside project, and one further away, are historical and that the project would “impact” their historical significance in some way.  Never mind that this claim of “impact” is too nebulous to mean anything:

    That the project has an indirect significant adverse impact on the three historic properties due to the changes in setting by the construction of the proposed project.

    And this was the opinion of the Histerical Resource Management Commission for the 77′ tall Trackside proposal, not the new design that is only 45′ tall… only 5′ taller than one of the historical houses claimed to be impacted.

    See yourself.

    Note that the historical perspective should be that the historical owners of these houses had accepted a 70′ tall manufacturing building in this location.  But our modern owners want to claim their right to extreme protection from weak and intangible “impacts” of looking in the direction of that proposed building and “oh the horror and travesty” actually see some structure there… a 45′ tall structure… again 5′ taller than one of the homes claiming such a travesty.

    The response from these neighbors after the Trackside project came back with a scaled down and attractive revised design makes it clear that NIMBYism is a sickness in this town and that neighbors will never be reasonable about new development anywhere within their bubble of feeling impacted.

    Let’s hope that the City Council does the right thing for the city and approves this project.  The “impacts” to these neighbors will be negligible.  In fact, with the new retail, the amenities in their neighborhood will improve.  And they might even make a new friend or two that takes up residence in the new building.

    1. hpierce

      A “writing orifice“?  Am aware that some quadriplegics paint, write, using their mouths to hold the device, but any other orifice used for speaking or writing is a bit disturbing…

    2. Alan Miller

      NIMBYism oozes from all their speaking and writing orifices.

      Damn, Frank Lee, you’ve been looking in my bathroom window.  I actually s–t, p–s, and b–f  NIMBY mucus.  Thanks for letting the whole town know.  And stop looking in my window.

    3. Alan Miller

      And this was the opinion of the Histerical Resource Management Commission for the 77′ tall Trackside proposal, not the new design that is only 45′ tall

      As I said, Trackside Partners LLC are arguing that they are “compromising” against their own wickedly-non-compliant project.

    4. Tia Will


      Well, I think that I have to give you today’s award for artistic expression if not accuracy. I cannot counter since I do not share your skills in online portrayal. But, as I pointed out yesterday this is a false portrayal. The Schmeiser manufacturing building no longer exists and therefore cannot be used to assess the appropriateness of transition. Your second depiction also conveniently omits the one story houses which do exist in our current reality next door to the ( also in current reality) one story buildings that currently comprise Trackside.

      I have been at many of the Trackside meetings in which the neighborhood concerns were discussed in detail with the development team. The one consistent concern that arose again and again is that what the OEDNA wanted was a development that conformed with the guidelines. To pretend that there has been “compromise” here, when the single objection was never even placed on the table for discussion is an inaccurate accounting of what actually has occurred. I do not choose to demonize anyone in this process. The developers and investors are acting in what they see as their best interests. The neighbors are doing the same. In this instance, I happen to see the cons out weigh the pros of going forward against the guidelines as the over riding concern, not only for our neighborhood, but for any neighborhood that is facing development by exception.

      I think that there are two reasonable ways forward for developers and investors. 1. Work within the current guidelines. Work in collaboration not opposition to the neighbors, and you will not be opposed. 2. Choose to take the long view, work with the city, and the citizens as concerned individuals and groups to build a new, agreed upon vision for the city and then work within the new guidelines and you will not be opposed. But if you continue to try to gain special exceptions for your projects by doing end runs around neighborhoods hoping for a “count to three” victory then do not be surprised and/or angered by the degree of opposition that you meet. After all, if you start with an adversarial stance, that is likely to be what you will have created in response.



      1. Frankly

        You , my friend, are a piece of work.  And don’t sell yourself short on your artistry.  I have never met anyone so gifted in the ballet of non-commitment.  You supported Nishi, reluctantly and with great pirouetting,  and so I see there is a small act of you dancing to a decision.  That is good.  Otherwise it is just modern gyrations that lack any model for interpretation except that non-committal thing.

        Design guidelines smidelines… let me provide you with a definition of guidelines:  “a general rule, principle, or piece of advice.”  They are not laws.  They are not regulations.  They are meant only to help guide us to a decision of optimization.

        So the neighbors have given us their ultimatum:  CONFORM TO THE GUIDELINES OR ELSE!

        You might get your way on this NOE demand as you and your cohort of NOE dancers have before because the town is a large troupe of similar dancers… and also weak-kneed pseudo leaders more interested in Kumbaya and staying below the controversy radar so as to not upset their dance to a higher political career.

        This project will result in no material negative impact to the neighborhood.  It is all in your and others’ fertile imagination.  I suggest a good talking to with a professional to help clear up those unfounded fears and get you focusing on the positive.  Time for a new dance my friend.  The old one is getting… well… old.

        1. Don Shor

          You might get your way on this NOE demand as you and your cohort of NOE dancers have before because the town is a large troupe of similar dancers…

          They might get their way because most people in Davis probably don’t care much about this tiny little redevelopment project in an obscure corner of the city that will have minimal impact on the city’s finances, traffic, retail, or anything else that affects their quality of life. So the council members will be facing a well-organized neighborhood group against a small group of developers. The argument can reasonably be made that a three story building will make money for the city, is better than nothing, and thus scaling the project back even more will probably not seem unreasonable. The only question then is whether the project developers can go forward and net a reasonable return on their investment, or whether that would scrap the project and yield zero net benefit to the city.
          What I can’t figure out is exactly what each group’s bottom line is.

        2. Frankly

          Four story multi-use buildings should be the standard minimum given the moratorium on peripheral development and the lack of available infill spaces… especially in  the downtown core area.   And this should be loudly supported by those that have expressed their opposition to peripheral development and keep saying that we need a car-less and more dense city.

          I am at least calling a few of these people on their hypocrisy, cognitive dissonance or their [edited] politicking where they just keep adjusting their position to hide their true ambition.


  4. C.Forkas

    I appreciate many of the design changes the Trackside partners integrated into this latest proposal, most notably the setbacks toward the neighborhood and design details to increase neighbor privacy.  But in the end, the proposed building lies far outside the Zoning and the Design Guidelines and this is not just an aesthetic problem– the mass and scale are totally inappropriate at this location.
    To think about what a development of this size means,  this alley would,be carrying 700 car trips per day– 100 per hour at peak times! (Trackside Traffic Study)
    This narrow little alley has zero-lot-line accessory dwellings and garages, bike traffic, parked cars. Add deliveries, more bikes, and a Trackside sidewalk that deadends into the Ace Rockyard wall. Throw in a train several times a day that backs up traffic down the block at 3rd and Fourth, blocking access in and out.

    The Design Guidelines address all these problems while giving us much increased density and mixed use retail/residential with a well-planned transition on the edge of the downtown.
    And all the work the Neighborhood and the Trackside Partners have done together is fully applicable to a compatible building.

    1. Frankly

      I think you are both moving the criticism goal posts while manufacturing an artificial list of impact concerns… much of which already exist.   You know, it does not take much to work yourself up into opposition for almost any change.  One should take a deep breath, recognize that  change acceptance is difficult, and then do a holistic and comprehensive effort of thinking about the change… not just focusing on every negative aspect.

      The neighbors in the area just seem to be grumpy and change averse.

      This project is high-quality, attractive and very good for Davis.   It will increase the value of the nearby properties.  It will add vitality to the neighborhood.  There is a big basket of positive attributes and the list of actual negative impacts are de minimis.

        1. Frankly

          By the way, I have a lot of experience adopting and managing organizational change.  As a teacher your probably don’t.  So you might consider what I wrote as food for though.

        2. Odin

          “This project is high-quality, attractive and very good for Davis.   It will increase the value of the nearby properties.  It will add vitality to the neighborhood.  There is a big basket of positive attributes and the list of actual negative impacts are de minimis.”

          This is ALL entirely your own opinion.  Stop trying to twist your opinions into fact.  [edited]

      1. Alan Miller

        The neighbors in the area just seem to be grumpy and change averse.

        Frank Lee, your criticism bullet points that you use for everyone opposed to any project is very limited in vocabulary and borders on dull.  #yawn#

        The Old East Davis Neighborhood Association is taking this one to the mat.   Your arguments are fine for you, but the vast majority of those in our neighborhood disagree with you.  The Old East Davis Neighborhood will do whatever it takes (short of violence), because this project is not appropriate for this site, sets a terrible precedent for planning “process” #cough#, and would erode our neighborhood character. 

        You can make all the arguments you want to dispute that.  That will change nothing, most of all our stance. And you don’t win anyone else’s heart by insulting us for standing up for our neighborhood.

        1. Frankly

          because this project is not appropriate for this site

          It is more than appropriated.  And more importantly it is good for Davis.

          and would erode our neighborhood character.

          No it would not.  In fact it would bring in more nice people to live in that neighborhood and improve it greatly.

        2. Mark West

          According to the Core Specific Plan of the City’s General Plan, the Trackside parcel is part of the Downtown Core. Nothing that I can find in the Design guidelines changes that designation, nor is there any indication that either the Core Specific Plan or the General Plan have been amended to change the designation. If that is not correct, please cite the appropriate General Plan amendments that changed the designation.


    2. hpierce

      How many “new” trips? How does total compare to other alleys?

      Normal rule of thumb is 10% of ADT = peak hour = 70. But, using 100 trips @ peak, that’s one trip per 36 seconds… look at your watch… wait for 36 seconds between trips… de minimus.  What a horrible thing!  Get real.

      BTW, alleys are, in fact, public ‘streets’… 700 trips/day are well within reasonable capacity, unless you are one of those who feel that any trip except yours, is ‘horrendous traffic congestion” and/or a safety issue…

  5. Misanthrop

    “The Trackside Partners LLC strategy presented here is straight out of Donald Trump’s “The Art of the Deal”.  Propose something completely outrageous in order to get what you want.”

    Not really, its more like life in a banana republic. I have relatives who live on an estate in Panama that had an incredible view of Panama City for 70 years until someone came in and built a giant condo project that blocked the view. In my mind it is a violation of sound planning and mitigation of impacts on the neighbors that is most troubling. I believe that the neighbors aren’t moving the goal posts by pointing out ways that the project still does not conform to the guidelines. If its out of compliance its out of compliance.

    But for me the big issue is the height and its impact on the neighbors to the east and not the traffic or other issues. If the neighbors in the little houses to the east are still overshadowed I think its wrong.

  6. Tia Will


     In fact it would bring in more nice people to live in that neighborhood and improve it greatly.”

    Oh, please. Now you are aware of the individual characteristics of the hypothetical people who would be moving into the hypothetical building if it gets approved ?  I thought that you were in your own words “objective to a fault”. But now we see that you know the character of these fictitious folks well in advance.  How do you know that they wouldn’t just be more selfish, dried up grumpy old people who would oppose further change ( as you accuse many of us as being, despite the fact that many of those in the neighborhood who are in opposition to the project are younger than you) once they were comfortably situated ?


    1. Miwok

      The residential units remain rental units designed for empty nesters and professionals that want to live a more urban lifestyle.

      What’s the betting pool on this being filled with students before the first “professional”has a chance to get one?

      1. David Greenwald

        I was told that they have ways to make that difficult. One thing they told me is that they will require all residents to pass a credit check for instance.

  7. Marina Kalugin

    “claimed to be impacted”……huh?   shows bias in the tone of the OP.

    They WILL be impacted….their light, trees, noise level, “strangers”, congestion, more fighting over few parking spaces, and finally, it will be a magnet for more crime…and so much more…

    Statistics prove that the higher the density, the more likelyhood of a higher crime rate….

    And,  especially when low income is added in

  8. Marina Kalugin

    The REAL issue is this is not needed nor wanted…..and there are not that many homeless professionals hanging around Davis waiting for that monstrosity to be built.

    If only the developers would make it fit Design guidelines and build in phases….as a professional or two comes forward, then they build just enough for the demand.

    Supply and demand….dumb dumb econ 1A….

    What happened when the other large tenement like units were built on 5th, Valdora, and now several areas on Cowell, the supply then shifts suddenly and the developers do whatever they can to fill the space….and as quickly as possible…. that is how young DHS grads working minimum wage, and some may also be parttime students,  are pushed out….while lots of low income folks from elsewhere are brought in.




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