Technicality Sends Field & Pond Back to the BOS

Dahvie James with Phil Watt (right) gets animated during his presentation to the board on September 13
Dahvie James with Phil Watt (right) gets animated during his presentation to the board on September 13

Back in mid-September, following a long and contentious meeting, the Board of Supervisors agreed to a compromise, allowing Field & Pond to hold 20 events on their site.  The facility is a bed-and-breakfast and event center located on rural County Road 29. However, due to a staff error by the county, the item will have to be revisited.

An email on Friday, from Taro Echiburu, Director of the Department of Community services indicated, “I am writing to inform you that the Field & Pond use permit will need to be reheard by the Board of Supervisors due to an inadvertent error in the CEQA documents presented to the Board.”

He wrote, “The CEQA document in question was an earlier draft version of the Mitigated Negative Declaration (‘MND’), not the final version which was circulated to the public.  While the Conditions of Approval and the Mitigation Monitoring Plan approved by the Board were based on the final version of the MND, the MND itself had some differences.”

Mr. Echiburu writes, “The differences between the final MND and the 9/13 hearing version affect only a small amount of text, but the resulting inconsistencies support a rehearing. County Staff want to ensure that the Board’s decision is based on the same materials as those vetted by the public.”

The rehearing will be on October 11, 2016, at 1:00 p.m. in the Board Chambers at 625 Court Street in Woodland.

“Any public comment, testimony or other evidence already submitted as part of the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors’ hearings is part of the record, and members of the public are not required to resubmit them for the re-hearing.  Of course, any member of the public is free to offer additional comments or evidence in advance or at the hearing,” he writes.

He offered an apology for the error, “I want to personally apologize to everyone about this error.”

Amended FieldPond MND

At this point, it is not clear if the Board could simply approve the correction via the consent calendar, or if they would have to do it all again.  It would be hard to imagine that this would end up changing anything.

At the September 13 hearing, the approval got four votes, with only Supervisor Duane Chamberlain offering a vehement opposition.

After much discussion, Supervisor Matt Rexroad eventually put forth the motion with the assistance of County Counsel Phil Pogledich which, among other things, allowed for 20 events, four of them as large as 300 people. Shuttles would be required, the blackout dates from July 15 to September 15 would stand, the scheduling would be limited to Saturdays, they added an end time of 11 pm, with music cut at 10 pm, and security would be mandatory with the Yolo County Sheriff’s Office notified of the event.

Supervisor Jim Provenza would second the motion.

Supervisor Duane Chamberlain was the lone opponent of the project altogether, arguing that, without the spray buffer, “you can’t farm at all, that’s for damn sure.”  He said that the smell of the spray leads people to believe they have been exposed to toxic air even when they haven’t.  “Winds change, things change, it’s ridiculous to think that you can draw a line on a map.”

He added, “I don’t want to take any land out of the Williamson Act.”  He agreed with the opponents to the project that city people on the road are a problem waiting to happen.  And he finally argued that weddings and an event center “are not agritourism.”

Supervisor Rexroad noted that, looking at this as a bed and breakfast site, “Even if that is every night, I don’t think eight trips on a road is all that many, so when I look at that I would think that that would be the type of thing that we would encourage – certainly that is what I took from our general plan discussion many years ago in terms of the types of things we were looking for.”  He said that “we wanted people to come out and do that.”

“The only real question we have … is how these events fit in,” he said.  “At what point do they become a nuisance – I think that’s really the question we have before us today.”  He said, in terms of the B&B, even if they want to have it 365 days a year, “it’s hard for me to understand how that truly has a negative impact.”

Supervisor Oscar Villegas said that the “county owns some of this mess,” as they wanted to have the flexibility to see this type of business without seeing it too narrowly defined.  He noted that, after all he had heard, “I don’t think we are that far away to find a way to make it a win-win, co-existing, compromise.”

He said, “Really, it’s down to very few questions.  I would love to figure out a way to get to that point now.  I don’t think it’s a perfect situation.”

He added that he could understand the concerns of the neighbors, but also that of the applicants, who he felt they were led to believe they were playing one game, only to have the goalposts moved.

Most likely this is just a technicality, with the county opting to make sure it has all the legalities tied down in case the neighbors or other opponents wish to legally challenge it.

—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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  1. Delia .

    Wonder if the property was proposed for a conservative Christian church retreat, w/ occasional heterosexual wedding events, if the owners would be getting an equal amount of scrutiny.

    1. Biddlin

      “Wonder if the property was proposed for a conservative Christian church retreat, w/ occasional heterosexual wedding events, if the owners would be getting an equal amount of scrutiny.”


      1. Davis Progressive

        it is.  i think a lot of people believe that the owners were given more of a rough ride due to race and sexual orientation.

        a key question we should ask is whether this has happened before?  has the planning staff just flat screwed up.

        1. ryankelly

          i think a lot of people believe that the owners were given more of a rough ride due to race and sexual orientation.

          I think that is just ludicrous.  Shame on all of you for perpetuating this.  If this were true, Park Winters would have received the same treatment.  I think that because they changed their plans again and again and again, it increase the chances for an error.

        2. ryankelly

          To imply that the error by County staff was the result of homophobia and racism is outrageous.  You have no proof of this and it is out of line to perpetuate it.

        1. Frankly

          Many progressives would claim that they believe in “intersectionality”: that aspects of an individual cannot be separated out to highlight the oppression associated with that group. And so we cannot understand Muslims killing gays without first understanding the effect of Western colonial power on the peoples of Muslim lands. The embrace of insersectionality by progressives is ironic in that it has undermined one of the left’s greatest (and most fundamental) attributes—universalism—and replaced it with a myopia that obsesses over the minute concerns of ever-narrowingly defined minority groups, rather than those of broader segments of society, like, say, the American working class. Traditional liberals committed to addressing widespread disparities related to class, race, and gender (like, say, Patricia Arquette) become enemies of the intersectionalists because they fail to pay sufficient obeisance to the grievances of each and every imaginable minority amalgamation. (“Patricia Arquette’s Spectacular Intersectionality Fail” is how one feminist blog assessed the actress’s thought crime.)

          But while intersectionality goes some way to explaining the penchant for moral equivalence that has overcome much of the online left, even that’s just a cover. The truth is simpler, which is that there exists, in the progressive universe, a victim hierarchy. It used to be quite fashionable to root for the gays, but that was back in the 1980s when they were dying of AIDS and Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan were arrayed against them. Today, HIV is a manageable disease, gays can get married, and many of them are white, live in the suburbs, and sometimes even vote Republican. Same with Jews.

          The discussion of vital issues today has been reduced to a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors, in which the validity of one’s argument is determined not by the strength of your reasoning but by the relative worth of the immutable qualities you bring to the table, be it skin color, sexual orientation, or genitalia (or, in the case of pre-operative transsexuals, wished-for genitalia). In the game of Race, Gender, Sexuality, black beats white, woman beats man, trans beats cisgender, and gay (or, preferably, “queer”) beats straight.

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