Commentary: Development Winners and Losers – A Different Perspective

External view with privacy screen/ rendering by HRGA
External view with privacy screen/ rendering by HRGA

by Tia Will

Over the past 5 years, I have favored some development projects and opposed others based on their individual merits. What I am going to write now is an opinion piece based on my observations and perspective, not on facts and numbers. It should be taken as such.

I am writing this piece not with regard to any specific project as I am addressing process, not projects. I will however, use the most recent of David’s articles on the two hotel projects with its quotes from members of the City Council to illustrate my points.

First, from Will Arnold: [T]here is a lack of options being given from the neighborhood as to what might satisfy you.  The two that were mentioned specifically were going down to the three stories and underground parking. My understanding is that underground parking is a no go and that going down to three stories would result in sacrificing a lot of the things that we find very beneficial about this project, including many of its environmental attributes,” he explained.

There is a certain irony in the statement that a lack of options is being presented by the neighbors, when there were no options or alternatives whatsoever being given by the developers. There was no initial discussion with the neighbors about what use might be preferable to them. The Hyatt was presented as the only option with all mitigations being essentially minor tweaks to make an undesired project less unpalatable to those most directly affected.  Our current business practices make the assumption that whomever has enough wealth to acquire land and enough influence and/or persuasiveness to gain exceptions should be entitled to proceed with whatever project they want presumably for the greater good of the city.

This is our current model. I do not believe it is the only way that we could achieve thoughtful development. An alternative would be to develop a project that from its conceptual onset has the backing of the neighbors. One approach might be to choose a target amount of revenue generation first, decide on an unmet need in the city (of which there are many according to those who post about our city’s need for more business) discuss the goals of revenue generation and city need with the neighbors and present a number of options to see which would be the most highly desired for that location. This format would have the potential of being a win-win-win with profits for the developers, revenue for the city, and a project that had the backing of the neighbors from conception.

Before anyone decides to write this off as totally unrealistic and fanciful, I would like to point out that there is precedent for just such a business paradigm shift. When Henry Kaiser and Sydney Garfield decided on a completely different model for the provision of health care based on prepaid, non-fee for service, integrated care they were widely reviled as communists and their system was decried as doomed to failure. And yet, Kaiser is now one of the premier models for the delivery of prepaid health care in a fully integrated, collaborative model.

Also from Will: “My understanding is that underground parking is a no go and that going down to three stories would result in sacrificing a lot of the things that we find very beneficial about this project, including many of its environmental attributes,” he explained.”

David then wrote: “Without knowing the expected margins…”

This for me is the crux of the issue. We don’t ever really know “the expected margins”. We are provided with the statement “we can’t do it”.

This would seem to me to be the classic “doesn’t pencil out argument”. While it may be that the members of the City Council have been provided with numbers that demonstrate this to be factually true. I do not believe the neighbors, or the public have been provided with this information and therefore are left in the situation of just having to take the developers word for it. I cannot help but notice the discrepancy between the willingness to accept the developer’s word, versus the constant denying, degrading, minimizing, and trivialization of the neighbors when they state their objections to a project. I have to ask myself why the goals, projections, and conclusions of feasibility of one side are so readily accepted while those of the opposition are not.

Also, with regard to the concept of staying within guidelines as a “no go” this would, to me, argue against the feasibility of the particular project for the given site, not as a reason to change the site requirements to meet the project.

Next, Mayor Davis “made the argument that people are going to have to sacrifice.  And it will not just be these neighbors – all of us will be asked to do so, whether it is more traffic, more taxes, worse roads, fewer services, etc.”

I am not opposed to the concept of sacrifice for the greater good of the community. However, I am opposed to the concept of disproportionate sacrifice which is what I believe that we are seeing when we trivialize the concerns of those most directly affected. They are being asked to not only accept any overall adverse consequences such as decreases in service, congestion, more taxes, worse roads but are also being asked to absorb the direct adverse consequences on their neighborhood. And I would point out that it really does not matter whether the rest of us believe they should feel that way or not. That is their perception, their reality just exactly as “not making enough profit” or not “penciling out” is the perception of the developers and investors. So, I have to question the fundamental fairness of expecting that some will be forced to “sacrifice” far more than others for the purported good of all.

Now this might be reasonable if it were the only option. I do not believe it is. We are not currently seeing any proposal forthcoming for increased taxes which would distribute the “sacrifice” over the entire community rather than limiting it to one neighborhood at a time. We also do not see any true compensation being offered to the neighbors to adjust for their extra burden. I have yet to see a development in which those most directly affected have been offered the opportunity to invest, either individually or as a group. Offering them the chance of a stake in the success of the development would certainly provide an incentive to collaborate on the best possible project and yet we seem content to follow a model that rewards only those who are already relatively affluent, well connected, or both.

A further point about sacrifice. If there is inevitable sacrifice, should not all involved parties have a share in the sacrifice as well as in the benefits?  Where in these developments by exception is the sacrifice being asked of the developers and investors?  Shouldn’t they also need to share in the “sacrifice” or are they to be let off the sacrificial hook because they are providing revenue for the city?  Are we willing to discount that the neighbors, whose lives will be changed as stated accurately by Mayor Davis, not be rewarded for their previous and ongoing contribution to the city in the form of their taxes, work, volunteerism and other contributions to our community?

It is no secret that I believe that collaboration will always be more productive than an adversarial approach. With this in mind I have some suggestions for those in favor of developments and those in opposition. I would make the following suggestions for change in process.

  • Sacrifices expected from individuals and neighborhoods should be matched by sacrifices distributed over the entire community in the form of taxes. This balanced approach has been discussed on multiple occasions, but does not seem to have been forthcoming, while the march of development by exception and litigation rolls on.
  • Developments within guidelines should not be opposed by the neighbors.
  • Developments that fall outside of guidelines might still be acceptable, but should be discussed with the neighbors for consideration before major investments of time and money are made with the expectation that exceptions will be made. This would of course require full transparency and good faith effort and flexibility on all sides.
  • Those most directly impacted by a project should be offered the opportunity to invest and thereby gain additional benefit from the project to offset their additional “sacrifice”.

I have seen these kinds of approaches work within the setting of a large medical group, both within one of the largest departments, and on the interdepartmental level. I have seen it from the perspective of a front line physician with no administrative role, from 20 years of experience as lead for various innovation projects, and from 10 years experience as assistant chief of a department of upwards of 70 providers.  I have zero experience with real estate, land development, or real estate investment or government.

What I would hope is that some of you who do have experience, or are just getting started in one of these areas might consider providing me with your thoughts as to how we might, within your area of expertise, move from our current adversarial process which is leaving our city tied up in an endless strategic battle in which everyone emerges bruised, to a collaborative process in which all who choose to can contribute to the development of a collaborative process. All constructive thoughts will be eagerly accepted and considered. All slings and arrows will be accepted with as much grace as I can muster at the time.

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Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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137 Comments

  1. Barack Palin

    Sacrifices expected from individuals and neighborhoods should be matched by sacrifices distributed over the entire community in the form of taxes. This balanced approach has been discussed on multiple occasions, but does not seem to have been forthcoming, while the march of development by exception and litigation rolls on

    Not understanding this or how it could even work. Something like this would definately put the last nail in the developer coffin, maybe that’s the idea.

    1. David Greenwald

      Think what she is saying is that if we plan to generate x-amount of revenue from development, that should be matched by x-amount of revenue from taxes. (Not saying I agree).

  2. Tia Will

    BP and David

    No. What I am promoting is not a quid pro quo saying that development must be directly matched to taxes. What I am suggesting is that there are many, many ways that we could develop more collaborative processes which would enable a fairer distribution of benefits and detriments across our community. What I was actually hoping for with this article is to spur thinking by those who are as familiar with development issues as I am with medicine as to what collaborative opportunities exist.

    I am not attempting to kill development. I am attempting to generate ideas about how development could be done in a way that benefits all in a more transparent and balanced matter. No conspiracy theory here please. It just seems to me that the way we are approaching development in our community right now is clearly not working well. I believe that it is time to think outside the box and try something different. I do not have enough expertise to know what that something different might be and am hoping that some of the more creative adventurous members of our development community might put their minds to a new approach.

    During the duration of my career, there has been a vast improvement in the process of the provision of medical care in moving from a “fee for service, curative model” to a pre paid preventative model. This transition was initially reviled as the end to quality medical care in our country, but has proven to be a breakthrough model.  Can we really not conceive of something better than development by exception and litigation ? Is this really the best we can imagine ?

    1. South of Davis

      Tia wrote:

      > During the duration of my career, there has been a vast improvement

      > in the process of the provision of medical care in moving from a “fee

      > for service, curative model” to a pre paid preventative model.

      I’m sure that MDs that make $250K+/year are happy with the current “pre paid preventative model” where a typical family (and/or the employers the family works for) pays tens of thousands of dollars EVERY YEAR even if they don’t go near a doctor even once.

      Saying that the nightmare that is the current healthcare system that is responsible for (literally) bankrupting more Americans each year than anything else and is on track to bankrupt a large number of municipalities is what we should strive for shows a lack of connection with reality…

      http://www.thebubblebubble.com/healthcare-bubble/

       

      1. Barack Palin

        I agree, I don’t think we should be holding up medical care as some beacon of how things should be done.  Just look at the implosion of Obamacare as an example.

        1. Tia Will

          BP

           I don’t think we should be holding up medical care as some beacon of how things should be done.”

          And I could not agree more if we look at how things are currently done across our country where we effectively have no health care “system” at all. But that is not what I am suggesting. I am suggesting that we consider the more collaborative, integrated, service directed model of Kaiser ( which even Frankly has stated is a good model for the provision of care) as an example of what started as a radical, much vilified idea and has ended up being a national leader in care provision.

      2. Tia Will

        South of Davis

        shows a lack of connection with reality…”

        I would describe “reality” from a different angle. I believe that we value different aspects of the same reality differently. You see  ( or at least are commenting ) only on  the increased cost. I see the saving of lives by earlier diagnosis and treatment of those who could not previously afford preventative health care, but could only obtain the very limited health care provided in an ER visit. I see the money saved by not doing resuscitate and rescue care as the only means of access to care by millions of people who now are able to obtain preventive and early diagnostic care and treatment which cost

        The reality that I see is that many industrialized nations manage to obtain higher levels of care and better outcomes for their entire population while spending much less comparatively than we are spending now….and….much less than we did prior to the implementation of ObamaCare.

  3. Biddlin

    Moot discussion as long as the NOEs and NIMBYs control the gameboard. Tia poses this in the typical “individuals and neighbors versus development” terms,  then pleads for “collaboration.”

    I do not have enough expertise to know what that something different might be and am hoping that some of the more creative adventurous members of our development community might put their minds to a new approach.”

    Several creative, and since they had the fortitude to try it in Davis, adventurous developers have just spent a great deal of time, money and energy on a number of projects that have been thoroughly trashed by outright  lies, innuendo and old fashioned rumor mongering. You are wiling to admit you know nothing about the game, but think you should get a free education and a place on the team. Those with skin in the game may well find that presumptuous on your part.

    1. Ron

      Biddlin:  “Those with skin in the game may well find that presumptuous on your part.”

      Impacted neighbors don’t already have (financial, and non-financial) “skin in the game”? (With primarily the non-financial at risk, for the most part.)

    2. South of Davis

      Biddlin wrote:

      > projects that have been thoroughly trashed by outright 

      > lies, innuendo and old fashioned rumor mongering. 

      At least the people who voted No on A don’t have to lie awake at night worried that the “toxic soup” in the “death bowl” that is the Nishi site between I80 and the RR tracks would result in dozens of dead kids every year…

    3. Tia Will

      Biddlin

      Those with skin in the game may well find that presumptuous on your part.”

      I highly doubt it since at their invitation, I have discussed some of my concerns and thoughts with a number of the recent proposers of new projects and met with a very positive reception from three groups and a negative reception from only one. Part of what I am suggesting is that if there were a more inclusive process with more people having “skin in the game” instead of this being essentially a closed club, the developers just might find that they have far less opposition than they now encounter.

  4. SODA

    Hi Tia!

    Your article made an important point with me. Several of the newer development projects (Hyatt and Trackside as 2) seem to depend on neighbor angst to get better or at least refined.

    Without the angst (like Marriott)they would fly through… or that isn’t true either in that several citizens have criticized Marriott for not being more sustainable.

    I think your collaboration ideas would turn the process upside down and engage citizens earlier thereby buy into the process.

    My question during the last several angst developments is the role of city staff. How can they be a useful liaison between citizens and developers?

    1. hpierce

       How can they (City staff) be a useful liaison between citizens and developers?

      By being professional, analytical, fact oriented, instead of being pressured by developers/CC/neighbors to divine how everyone can come out of the process singing “Kum Ba Ya”.

      Used to be that way, despite the denigrations hurled by those who felt that a rational/factual process “was rigged”, when they didn’t get their way… it appears to have morphed…

    2. South of Davis

      SODA wrote:

      > I think your collaboration ideas would turn the process upside

      > down and engage citizens earlier thereby buy into the process.

      I am more interested in development than 99% of the people out there, but I would never dream of wasting my time going to a meeting to “engage citizens earlier thereby buy into the process”.

      Even if we start a “collaboration process” the turnout will be about the same as the turnout at the meetings for the new Hyatt (one guy).

      1. Tia Will

        South of Davis

        Even if we start a “collaboration process” the turnout will be about the same as the turnout at the meetings for the new Hyatt (one guy).”

        You site only one example. We had a very different experience in OED with the Trackside discussions. Once we were even aware there was a project to be considered, there were 35 attendees at our first meeting, and I do not believe that there were fewer than 10-12 at any of the invitational meetings by the developers once that came to pass. The facilitated conversations, by mutual agreement had fewer in attendance.

        Just because you can site one example of people not showing up does not mean that this is the way it has to be. Again, I am suggesting consideration of a new process since at present, we do not seem to have one that is working smoothly for anyone.

        1. South of Davis

          Tia wrote:

          >  there were 35 attendees at our first meeting,

          35 / 66,000 = .053% of Davis cared enough to shoe up

          > and I do not believe that there were fewer than 10-12

          Other meetings .016% of Davis cared enough to show up.

          > Just because you can site one example of people not showing

          > up does not mean that this is the way it has to be. 

          If less than one half of one percent people show up at a “high turnout” meeting it means “almost no one in town” is interested about a “collaboration process”…

          P.S. I’m guessing that 90% of the people at both meetings could see the Trackside development from their home and we should not confuse showing up to “find out what kind of massive structure they are planning to build in someone’s “back yard” with “citizens  who want to collaborate to make sure the city gets the best possible projects”…

    3. hpierce

      “Collaboration” requires honest, open dialogue, where each ‘collaborator’ truly understands and respects the needs and desires of the other… have seen that work…

      More often than not “the collaborative” process masks a greed based dialogue, where ‘negotiations’ really mean “how much can I get before you cave in to my demands, or walk away”, and represents a tyranny based on geographic proximity… have seen that much more over the years… like a 50:1 advantage to the “highway-man” mentality.

      Based on what I have seen, and my opinion of human nature (based on experience), I could never support giving “neighbors” more power than they already have. Nor giving developers more power than they already have.

      1. Tia Will

        hpierce

        I could never support giving “neighbors” more power than they already have. Nor giving developers more power than they already have.”

        Since you are more knowledgeable in development and city planning than I, and since I value your opinions even though I frequently do not agree, given this statement, how would you see us getting past our current apparent impasse ?

        One clarification of my perspective before you answer. I do not believe that “human nature” is immutable. I believe that frequently a relatively small step towards a collaborative approach will rapidly decrease hostility and distrust and allow people to move forward together. I believe that if we took small steps towards a more collaborative approach, we just might set an example that would lead to greater trust and collaboration in the future and might in the long run set in motion a very different paradigm than the failing process we are now choosing, just because “that is the way things are done”.

      2. Tia Will

        hpierce

        More often than not “the collaborative” process masks a greed based dialogue”

        This simply has not been my experience. I have seen doctors who are not known as a non-competitive, collaborative group set aside their personal interests in favor of the interests of the patients and the group over and over in my years with Kaiser.

        I do however believe that it is emblematic of how most people on either side of the development issue views the other side. Consider the number of times that Frankly used the word “reasonable” in his post of today. The problem is that we all believe that our own views are reasonable. I believe that only when we are willing to start from a position of relative trust and entertain the possibility that the position of the other is “reasonable” even if it is not our own position, and not simply make the assumption that the other guy is “greedy” will be able to get to a more productive process.

    4. Tia Will

      BP

       I don’t think we should be holding up medical care as some beacon of how things should be done.”

      And I could not agree more if we look at how things are currently done across our country where we effectively have no health care “system” at all. But that is not what I am suggesting. I am suggesting that we consider the more collaborative, integrated, service directed model of Kaiser ( which even Frankly has stated is a good model for the provision of care) as an example of what started as a radical, much vilified idea and has ended up being a national leader in care provision.

    5. Tia Will

      Hi SODA,

      My question during the last several angst developments is the role of city staff. How can they be a useful liaison between citizens and developers?”

      I think that you make a key point. I would love to see a change in process to one in which the developers, city staff and or representative council member and/or commission members sit down at the onset and have frank discussions of what may work for all who have any kind of “skin in the game” whether it is financial, environmental, neighborhood conservation or other. There are, as has been previously stated, many different kinds of “skin in the game” and I think it is time that we stopped only honoring and valuing money, and started realizing that this is not the highest priority for all of our citizens regardless of how difficult that may be to believe for others.

      1. hpierce

        So, Tia… we should eliminate professional engineers, professional planners, professional ‘others’, EXCEPT professional negotiators/collaborators from the development process… very scary… yeah, “Kum ba ya” is nirvana… OK (not)

        1. Tia Will

          hpierce

          we should eliminate professional engineers, professional planners, professional “

          So why, I am wondering, when we were actually having an exchange of ideas, did you feel the need to throw in something completely removed from anything that I have said. I am not arguing for the elimination of these professionals, and I do not believe that I wrote anything to suggest that. I am suggesting that changing the order of operations might be reasonable.

  5. Ron

    Tia:

    Good article, with some interesting “brain-storming” type ideas (and perhaps more importantly – underlying principles and “starting points” regarding development proposals).  At this point, it takes some courage to put such thoughts and ideas on the Vanguard.

  6. Frankly

    Our current business practices make the assumption that whomever has enough wealth to acquire land and enough influence and/or persuasiveness to gain exceptions should be entitled to proceed with whatever project they want presumably for the greater good of the city.

    Oh geesh.  This includes you then… wealthy enough to have purchased property in Davis… several if I understand.  From the track record you and your cohort have much more power and influence that does anyone owning a vacant lot wanting to build on it.

    And there is no “presumption” of greater good for the community… it is calculable… unlike the “impacts” that the NIMBY and NOE people complain about.

    1. hpierce

      You left out the “power” that some seek to control others and “their” use of “their property”… often also driven by money… it is indeed, a two-edged sword…

      Not that I can test my hypothesis, if Hyatt gave a cashiers check for $50k to each of the most vocal neighbors, we could get to that “kum ba ya” moment. All of the “real”/serious problems folk cite would disappear like early morning fog…

      1. South of Davis

        hpierce wrote:

        > if Hyatt gave a cashiers check for $50k to each of the most vocal neighbors,

        > we could get to that “kum ba ya” moment. All of the “real”/serious problems

        > folk cite would disappear like early morning fog…

        So true and many of them would get involved with “fighting” other projects and hope to get even more developer cash joining with the familiar names that make a living suing the city and developers getting paid when the city and developers give them money to go away…

      2. Tia Will

        hpierce

        often also driven by money… it is indeed, a two-edged sword…”

        I see this as a key point. If we could only get all parties involved to see the “two-edged” nature of this issue in our community, I believe that we would have come a long way towards dropping the “good guys vs bad guys” paradigm and made a huge step towards a more collaborative process.

    2. hpierce

      Frankly (double entendre intended), my favorite “impact” that has been cited over the years, is ‘loss of view’, ‘proximity to open fields’… self-righteously proclaimed by those living in housing that cut off their existing neighbors’ “entitlements” to the same…

      Are not all the folk in Davis “neighbors”?  If not, we have more serious problems than fiscal or development issues… if we cannot consider all of the folk in Davis “neighbors”, and act accordingly, including electing representatives and participating in the existing processes, then accepting the outcomes, we are ‘doomed’ to wallow in male bovine fecal matter.

      Meant as a damn serious comment… a deeply held belief, not a snipe, nor being a “troll”…

      1. Frankly

        I agree.  We are not very neighborly people unless we extend it to all that own or rent property in our “back yard.”

        The field view thing is the epitome of selfishness given the few that have it, and given the KNOWN risk of anyone buying property next to other undeveloped property.

        1. Frankly

          Bring it.  I support any reasonable development on existing empty lots in and around Davis.  If I lived in or next to downtown I would support any reasonable economic development project and any reasonable project that would increase housing density downtown and near downtown.

          I understand that there is a big senior living development being proposed for around the hospital near where I live.  I support that 100%.  I would also support a retail development out there.

          Yes it will increase traffic, and it will build over brown fields that give me some pleasure driving by or riding a bike next to, but it would be frankly very selfish of me to oppose these types of reasonable projects for Davis given the obvious need.

          If I were you I would stop trying to make a case that I am just like you in NIMBYism and NOE but don’t have anything to oppose in my back yard.  I am nothing like you on this point.  I belong to the cohort of reasonable people in town.

        2. Odin

          Of course, that senior housing wouldn’t bother nearly anyone.  It’s low density, low profile and will have minimal impact on traffic.

          I used to live near Davis High.  I remember never worrying about anything affecting my neighborhood since there were no lots nearby to be developed.  Now that my living situation has changed, my view has been altered, so don’t expect that you wouldn’t feel the same if that senior housing was a mega dorm instead.

          So, keep living in your dreamworld Frankly.  Keep convincing yourself that you are Davis’s best citizen.  Keep convincing yourself that your alt-right views are the only way to go.  I’m sure the country will send the message that you are wrong on Tuesday.

        3. Tia Will

          hpierce and Frankly

          Are not all the folk in Davis “neighbors”

          I firmly believe this to be the case. And I see this also as a two edged sword. If we truly are all neighbors, then surely we all have an obligation to treat those who live distant from us in town the same way that we would treat our next door “neighbor”. So I have a few thoughts about what that might entail from both sides.

          1. Immediate neighbors should be respectful of the investment and contribution of developers to our community. To this end, if a project is within guidelines that have been previously worked out by a brand coalition of our neighbors then those who are in close proximity should not be nickel and diming over choice of safe materials, color choices, landscaping and other relatively minor issues.

          2. If the proposal does not meet the previously agreed upon specifications, then I think in the interest of neighborliness, I think it is incumbent upon the developers to discuss their concept with the immediate neighbors well before they have sunk large amounts of time, money and energy into a proposal that is likely to be opposed.

          3. As far as “skin in the game”, if you reduce that only to money, then would not the “neighborly thing” be to invite the most proximate neighbors to be able to invest in the project if they wanted to ? I do not see it as particularly “neighborly” to only invite your own close circle to participate while expecting a group of distant “neighbors” to bear the direct negative impacts.

          4. And, finally, if we really consider all of the residents of Davis as our neighbors, why would those of us who are affluent be opposed to paying more in taxes for the benefit of our entire community ?

        4. Frankly

          so don’t expect that you wouldn’t feel the same if that senior housing was a mega dorm instead.

          Like I said, if I lived where it made sense to build a large complex of dense rental housing in Davis, I would support it because the city needs it and those needs would far outweigh my selfish emotional demands.  If I could not handle that then I would live somewhere else where it would not happen.

          Live next to undeveloped land then accept the risk that it will be developed and you might not like what goes up.  That happened to me.  I took a risk buying a lot and building a house on it 26 years ago with the lot next to it not built.  The house that ended up there looms over mine and has direct views into my backyard and home windows.   That is my fault for taking the risk.  I bet and I lost.  But I put up vegetation for screens, and the neighbors have been fantastic.   If it bothered me enough I would have moved.  But I got over it.  I moved on.  I used my rational mind to control my emotional impulse.  That is what adults are supposed to do.  Nothing material was really impacting me.  In fact, if the neighbor was in a one-story but an a_ _ h_ _ _, I would have been more likely to have moved by now.

          Really dude, I think you just need some therapy.

          1. Don Shor

            Really dude, I think you just need some therapy.

            This is a consistent theme of yours: that anyone who doesn’t share your world view is mentally ill and needs counseling. I’m surprised you’re so fond of the psychiatric profession. 80% of ’em are liberals.

        5. South of Davis

          Tia wrote:

          >  why would those of us who are affluent be opposed to paying

          > more in taxes for the benefit of our entire community ?

          I won’t be holding my breath for Tia to post her receipt from the Davis Finance Department showing us how much extra taxes she paid for the “benefit of our entire community” this year…

        6. Frankly

          I’m surprised you’re so fond of the psychiatric profession. 80% of ’em are liberals.

          Ha!  Well, 80% of the patients are also liberals, so there you have it.

          It makes sense since therapy generally deals with emotional dysfunction.

      2. Matt Williams

        One of the ancillary issues associated with hpierce’s comment is the fact that almost all the dialogue about this proposal has been presented as a comparison of the impacts/benefits for the neighbors vs. the impacts/benefits for the developers.

        I personally feel that that comparison doesn’t make sense.

        The comparison that makes much more sense is the impacts/benefits for the neighbors vs. the impacts/benefits for the Davis community as a whole.

        1. Ron

          Matt:

          Not necessarily disagreeing with the principle you presented, but the impacts of various proposals are primarily limited to a few “at risk” neighborhoods (so far, at least).  In other words, the negative impacts are disproportionally distributed. It seems this is one of the points that Tia was making, as well.

          And, in the case of the Hyatt, the council has (at this point) put the neighborhood at a significant disadvantage regarding any real mitigation – since the council has essentially indicated that they’ll likely approve it, regardless.

        2. Ron

          hpierce:

          Without debating the impacts again, I think that’s a fair statement overall, to make.

          And again, I haven’t taken any position regarding this proposal (despite what some might think).  But, I also haven’t seen any real discussion or analysis of significant mitigation efforts, other than some statements (attributed to the developer?) that it “can’t be done”.  I realize that objective, impartial analyses might possibly exist, but may not be appropriate to share on the Vanguard.

          The council’s actions certainly put the neighborhood at a disadvantage, at this point.  However, I’ve also seen statements which seem to conflict somewhat, regarding earlier efforts. I don’t really know enough to comment on that.  

        3. Ron

          Also, I realize that regardless of any “objective analyses” (for any given proposed or required mitigation), the developer may, or may not be interested in implementing it. Of course, it’s the developer’s right to refuse, and to “walk away” from a proposed development (and/or, to at least state that they intend to do so), in such cases where it’s required as a condition of approval (e.g., when a zoning change approval is required to accommodate a proposed development).

        4. Matt Williams

          Ron said . . . “Not necessarily disagreeing with the principle you presented, but the impacts of various proposals are primarily limited to a few “at risk” neighborhoods (so far, at least).  In other words, the negative impacts are disproportionally distributed. It seems this is one of the points that Tia was making, as well.”

          Ron, I know you are a strong supporter of the General Plan.  When the General Plan was originally approved and the parcels along Chiles/Cowell were placed in the Industrial-Research (I-R) land use category, didn’t the “at risk” neighborhood label become moot as a result of the community-wide General Plan Update process?  Do you agree that that land use/zoning decision by the citizens very clearly mapped out the future fate of all the neighborhoods that bordered that I-R land use/zoned strip. Didn’t that General Plan very clearly make a decision about how impacts would be distributed in the community?

          If you don’t agree, what flaw in that citizen-based General Plan Update process do you think existed that warrants a reconsideration of the “at risk” status of those neighborhoods now?

        5. Ron

          Matt:

          I intended my original point to be more of a general comment, although I did add a statement regarding the Hyatt proposal.

          Regarding your comment about the Hyatt proposal, I believe that you listed/copied the uses that are currently allowed, further down in the comment section.

          I’m not planning to participate in a debate (with anyone) tonight, regarding the impact of the proposed changes, vs. what’s currently allowed.

           

        6. Ron

          Matt:

          I forgot to add one thing.

          If I’m not mistaken, the Hyatt proposal might require more than a change of use (in regard to current zoning).  For example, I recall seeing some comments on the Vanguard, in which the amount of required “green space” on the Hyatt site might be reduced to accommodate the proposal.  (But again, I’m not certain about this, and I welcome any corrections to my understanding, and/or anything I’m overlooking.)

           

        7. Matt Williams

          Ron, I do not KNOW what the landscaping (green space) requirements for the site are, so I won’t attempt to answer your question.  Grok has strong feelings about that issue.  I suggest your homework/legwork on your question would be to contact him to pick his brain.

          With that said, while researching the “restaurant menu” issues for Tia, I did run across the following as the part of the August 21, 2012 Council Public Hearing where the parcel was rezoned from PD #12-87 to PD #2-12.  That language may be a guide for you.

          Special Conditions — Landscaping . The existing landscape standard on the parcel is a minimum coverage of twenty percent of the site. The city’s standard landscape requirement for industrial zones is a minimum coverage of ten percent of the site (Municipal Code Section 40.26.250). Establishing this minimum on the parcel would be consistent with the landscaping standard for other similarly zoned parcels in the city. The parcel is approximately 3.37 acres, which equates to a minimum of one-third of an acre of landscaping, in addition to 50 percent parking lot shading requirement. City greenbelt provides additional landscaping to the south. If the parcel is split as anticipated, each lot would be required to meet the ten percent standard; the minimum amount of landscaping would not be aggregate All landscaping on the site would be evaluated during the design review. At a minimum, the nature and extent of landscaping that will be required between parking areas and buildings, between driveways and buildings, between buildings, adjacent to building elevations, at project entries, between parking areas and the street, at property boundaries and as a buffer to residential or other less intensive uses would be considered to ensure adequate landscaping.

    3. Tia Will

      Frankly

      I am very well aware of my privileged position. I do not need for you to point this out to me. What you have left out of your comment is that I am very willing to pay much more in the form of taxes which I see as a more equitable distribution of burden than expecting targeted neighborhoods to bear the brunt of the disadvantages while not seeing any more of the advantages than any other citizen. I feel that it is relatively easy for those “whose ox is not being gored” to sit back and claim that those who are disproportionately affected are “selfish” while at the same time opposing more distribution of the burden through taxes. In other words, I completely agree with your own statement that you are a “tax NIMBY” while being completely willing to support projects that have no direct impact on your life style.

      1. hpierce

        And, Tia… you seem to be perfectly willing to have those who make far less than you, pay the same parcel tax proposed as Measure H… nice… very generous (with other peoples’ money)… you seem to be very willing to force folk whose income exceeds yours to  continue to pay much higher taxes than you do… “sharing”, right?

        When you volunteer to adopt 3 folk and share 50% of your income to UBI, I might actually listen to that… until then…

        And it should be noted that you don’t even contribute to SS on ~ half of your income…

        1. Tia Will

          hpierce

          And, Tia… you seem to be perfectly willing to have those who make far less than you, pay the same parcel tax proposed as Measure H… nice… very generous (with other peoples’ money)”

          This is simply not true. I have stated repeatedly that I am willing to contribute proportionally more based on my higher income. If a change in our laws allowed this, I will be one of its strongest proponents. And I am quite sure that you are aware of this since we have had this conversation before.

          But, I honestly do not see a substantive difference here. Frankly and you seem willing to be very generous with “other people’s values and life style” in much the same way that you claim ( falsely) that I am being generous with other people’s money.  Once again, I would call to your attention that not everyone values money over lifestyle.

        2. Ron

          Tia:  “Once again, I would call to your attention that not everyone values money over lifestyle.”

          I’m guessing that you already realize this, but (in general) using the word “lifestyle” to describe neighborhood concerns diminishes those concerns.  (It’s a “loaded” word in this case, which I suspect that you’re inadvertently repeating from others who may not share such concerns.)

        3. Frankly

          Frankly and you seem willing to be very generous with “other people’s values and life style” in much the same way that you claim ( falsely) that I am being generous with other people’s money.  Once again, I would call to your attention that not everyone values money over lifestyle.

          So, to maintain what YOU demand as a defend-able life-style you are willing to force everyone else to pay for it.  And you criticize others’ values for refusing to basically pay more out of THEIR pockets to benefit YOU and YOUR values.  How is that not selfish?

          There is so much blind hypocrisy here it is breathtaking.

          But setting that aside for the moment, those that value holding on to the money that they earn to do things with it like pay for their kid’s education and invest in small business that can produce jobs and help improve the overall human condition are significantly more righteous than are folks like yourself that keep throwing out buckets of nebulous, fanciful, subjective and intangible value terms like “look and feel”.  The way I look at this is your are demanding people pay more taxes just to prevent your needed therapy to cope with what is reasonable and necessary change.

        4. Matt Williams

          Ron said . . . “(in general) using the word “lifestyle” to describe neighborhood concerns diminishes those concerns.  (It’s a “loaded” word in this case, which I suspect that you’re inadvertently repeating from others who may not share such concerns.)”

          Fair enough Ron.  I can agree with and support that point of yours.  What word or expression would you use as an alternative to “lifestyle”?

        5. Matt Williams

          Tia Will said . . . “But, I honestly do not see a substantive difference here. Frankly and you seem willing to be very generous with “other people’s values and life style” in much the same way that you claim ( falsely) that I am being generous with other people’s money.  Once again, I would call to your attention that not everyone values money over lifestyle.”

          I don’t see a substantive difference either Tia.

          That creates a “scales of justice” situation where very generous with “other people’s values and life style” is in one pan of the scales and very generous with “other people’s money” is in the other pan of the scales.

          It also illuminates the neighborhood interests comparison to the community-wide interests that should be at the core of this community decision process.

        6. Tia Will

          hpierce

          With regard to your post of of 12:01, how in the world do you know how many people I do or do not support ? And as for the UBI, if we instituted that so that all payed into it proportionally, I would have absolutely no problem putting in 50 % of my income.

  7. Frankly

    I have a challenge for those opposing the Hyatt House t0 explain what they consider to be the negative impacts.

    There is a long list of positive impacts to the city and neighborhood:

    – TOT tax revenue

    – More local jobs

    – More hotel rooms to support the needs of visiting families of students and local business

    – More visiting customers to the city that will spend money in the city

    – Freeway sound mitigation

    – Improved neighborhood security

    So, what are these negative impacts?  I am having trouble coming up with any.  For example:

    – Privacy impacts can be mitigated completely with landscaping

    – Traffic for a hotel would be much less than any other zoned use

    – Neighborhood parking from customers of the hotel would be much less than any other zoned use

    – Noise would be much less than any other zoned use

    – Building attractiveness would be better than any other zoned use

    It is the lack of real tangible negative impacts that leads me to the opinion that we are really just dealing with emotionally reactionary opposition.   Maybe somebody can correct this opinion.

    1. Tia Will

      Frankly

      OK, I am willing to address your point from the perspective of alternatives and mitigation.

      TOT tax revenue – revenue likely could be generated by other, non hotel uses of this parcel and or by other taxes.

      More local jobs – could also be provided by another type of business in this location

      More hotel rooms – there are two other proposals on the table that do not have the proximity to housing issue

      More visitors spending more money – see alternative hotels

      Freeway sound mitigation – this is only a “mitigation”  if it is an issue for the people affected. If you told me that you were going to erect a huge fence between my house and the train tracks to mitigate for the sounds that are not a problem, and are actually pleasurable to me, I would turn you down flat regardless of how much you might think you were benefitting me.

      Improved neighborhood security – this is speculative. There may be less vagrancy, but there may be even more strangers in and out of the area in the form of hotel guests and service providers to the hotel. This could be argued either way and again, it is the perception of the neighbors that I believe should be paramount, especially if we are all “neighbors”.

      So, what are these negative impacts?  I am having trouble coming up with any.”

      Which merely tells me that you are unwilling to take the legitimate concerns of your “neighbors” who will actually have the impacts, seriously.

      1. Frankly

        You only tried (ineffectively, IMO) to shoot down my positive impacts and yet have not listed a single negative impact.  My guess is that you, like the Rosecreek neighbors in opposition, cannot articulate the actual negative impacts because there really are none.

        1. Tia Will

          Frankly

          The negative impacts have been documented by the neighbors ( who are in my opinion the only ones able to judge the degree of impact on them) as per Don’s post.

          Since I am not opposed to the project, and I do not live in the neighborhood, I think that the concerns of the neighbors have much more validity than anything that I might choose to focus on as “downsides”.

           

           

  8. Matt Williams

    Tia Will said . . . “There is a certain irony in the statement that a lack of options is being presented by the neighbors, when there were no options or alternatives whatsoever being given by the developers. There was no initial discussion with the neighbors about what use might be preferable to them. The Hyatt was presented as the only option with all mitigations being essentially minor tweaks to make an undesired project less unpalatable to those most directly affected.”

    There is no silver bullet in situations like the Hyatt, and Tia’s bolded words are factually correct; however, they do not tell the whole story associated with the Permitted Uses in the I-R zone in the Municipal Code.  Will Arnold devoted a considerable amount of his comment period illuminating how those permitted uses compared to the proposed hotel.  This is what Will said:

    I did also look at the list of permitted uses for this piece of property. I know that it’s as it’s been presented to me by some of the neighbors they sort of feel like when this gets brought up that it’s intended is sort of a threat of like,

    “Well we could put a blank here instead of a hotel how do you feel about that!”

    I see it more as a menu, and so this is the menu that we have, and the Hyatt house is sort of telling you that there’s a special on the menu that’s not quite on the menu, take it or leave it.  Maybe you like it,  maybe you don’t. So I went through, and again, this is just my opinion, and if I were a neighbor I would take it with a grain of salt,

    Permitted uses:

    Administrative, Executive Financial Officesprobably more desirable as a neighbor if you think of hotels as not a great neighbor (1-0)
    Laboratories including Experimental, Film, or Testingpossibly less desirable (1-1)
    Manufacturing, Assembly, or Packaging of Products from Previously Prepared Materials, such as cloth, plastic, paper, leather or semiprecious metals or stones, but not including such operations as saw and planing mills, any manufacturing uses involving primary production of wood, metal or chemical products from raw materials. — definitely less desirable in my opinion (1-2)
    Manufacture of Electric and Electronic Instruments and Devices such as televisions radios and phonograph equipment (if those things get manufactured by the way the last two things possibly could operate 24 hours a day) — probably less desirable (1-3)
    Manufacture of Food Products, Pharmaceuticals and the Like, but not including production of fish or meat products, sauerkraut, vinegar, or the like, or the rendering of refining of fats and oil — so no it’s not gonna be a hog rendering plant but it still probably less desirable even if they’re just making potato chips (1-4)
    Agriculture except for the raising of fowl or animals for commercial purposes — probably less desirable to live next to a farm, maybe, maybe not (1-5)
     Commercial Recreation Conducted Fully within a Completely Enclosed Building (like Davis Diamonds) — probably more desirable than a hotel (2-5)
    Other Research or Light Manufacturing Use determined by the Planning Commission — possibly less desirable to live next to Manufacturing. These are also passably things that either benefit or harm your home’s value. I think if you’re next to a food processing plant that’s less helpful to your homes value then say an upscale hotel. (2-6)
    Conditional Uses — Public and Semipublic including the use necessary and appropriate to serve etc. etc. — possibly more desirable I don’t know (2-6-1)
    Retail commercial uses such as restaurant — possibly more desirable (3-6-1)
    Auto service stations — definitely less desirable in my opinion (3-7-1)

    So by my count, that’s eight possible uses that are less desirable and two that are more desirable. [EDITORIAL comment by Matt: Will’s 2-8 math was off, which is why I added the counts in parentheses.  I get seven less desirable based on Will’s criteria three more desireable and one uncertain]  Again, that’s just my opinion.

    So I also want to mention something about the zoning. I want to thank Mr. West for his work in presenting this to the public.  This is another call for why we are to take a hard look at updating our general plan, because the general plan, not of this parcel necessarily but the parcel immediately adjacent to it which I would argue have the exact same impact on the Rose Creek neighbors, that General Plan includes a motel.

    So for Tia’s bolded point to be fair and comprehensive a discussion of the alternatives needed to be not just by the developers, but by the neighbors as well.

    One personal note: I lived near Kennett Square Pennsylvania, the mushroom capital of the world, living next to a mushroom growing house was not a pleasant experience.  Even driving by one was unpleasant.

    Another personal note: on Thursday the monthly Green Drinks meeting of people interested in renewable energy was a presentation by Dr. Heiner Lieth, Professor of Environmental Horticulture, UC Davis, who talked about the intersection of solar photovoltaics and plant production agriculture.  On the UCD campus he has a prototype multi-story building (he called it “The Cube”) where he is growing crops with a combination of LED lighting and hydroponics.  I couldn’t help but imagine a 50 foot tall version of the Cube on the site, with solar panels across Chiles Road along I-80 providing the renewable energy power.  After Tuesday, the possible crop possibilities for Dr. Lieth’s technology could be notably expanded.

    1. hpierce

      Matt… ever drive down I-5, just north of Kettleman City?  Where bovine creatures climb up on the amass of their own excrement to stay dry?  Where even with windows rolled up, you get the “whiff of Jiff”? [I can’t stand the smell of peanut butter… makes me gag]… I’ll put that up against the mushroom farm thing (might be a dead heat)… but I get inspiration… mushrooms grow well in ‘highly organic’ substrate, and don’t like direct sunlight too well…  an interesting, even if unintended, metaphor…

      1. Matt Williams

        Agreed hpierce, but that is outdoor agriculture, which wouldn’t fit the zoning at the Chiles Road site.  Indoor agriculture on the other hand would fit the zoning.

    2. Tia Will

      So for Tia’s bolded point to be fair and comprehensive a discussion of the alternatives needed to be not just by the developers, but by the neighbors as well.”

      This was one of the major reasons that I wrote the piece. If the neighbors are not aware of the selections on the menu in advance and are not aware of which the developers are planning to order, they have no ability to suggest other selections. Obviously when you are ordering “family style” or in this case “neighborly style” input from all sides should be available before anyone places the order.

      1. Matt Williams

        Tia said . . . “If the neighbors are not aware of the selections on the menu in advance”

        Tia, the selections on the menu are part of the Municipal Code.  Saying that there is a lack of awareness of the selections is like saying that there is a lack of awareness of the speed limit on I-80 as it goes through Davis.

        Will was simply reading from the PD 2-12 zoning code when he made his comments Tuesday.

        Further, the Rose Creek neighbors were very actively involved in the creation of those zoning regulations when Davis Diamonds was approved.  The reason I say that is that there was considerable dialogue about the following standard zone I-R Permitted Use

        (i)  Sex-oriented entertainment businesses, subject to the requirements of Section 40.26.410. (Ord. 296 § 19.2; Ord. 756 § 1; Ord. 1377 § 3; Ord. 1735 § 2)

        as well as two of the standard zone I-R Conditional Uses

        (c)    Any use which handles, stores or treats in any fashion hazardous materials as defined in Section 40.01.010 of this chapter.
        (d)    Drive-through facilities, subject to the provisions of Section 40.26.420. (Ord. 296 § 19.4; Ord. 1377 § 4; Ord. 1739 § 8, 1994; Ord. 2113 § 1, 2003)

        So, if the neighbors were not aware of the selections on the menu, then they have no one to blame but themselves.  That is what the judge would say if anyone tried to plead ignorance of a speeding ticket given to them on I-80 going through the City of Davis (if they tried to plea ignorance of the speed limit).
        My personal opinion is that the neighbors have legitimate arguments, not the least of which are the General Plan Amendment and the South Davis Specific Plan Amendment, but the “awareness” argument you have put forward here is not one of those legitimate arguments.

        1. Tia Will

           

          Matt

          Tia, the selections on the menu are part of the Municipal Code.  Saying that there is a lack of awareness of the selections is like saying that there is a lack of awareness of the speed limit on I-80 as it goes through Davis.”

          I fundamentally disagree with your analogy. How long has this particular lot been empty ? If you have not been to a restaurant for years, why would you have any reason to be aware of what is “on the menu” ?  Now if someone were to contact you and say that they wanted you to accompany them to this restaurant and suggest that you look a the menu and see what your preference would be before they ordered, it would indeed be your responsibility to look. But you can hardly be held at fault if they order for you in advance and then just expect you to accept their selection with possible very minor changes to a dish that you definitely do not like.

        2. Matt Williams

          Tia said . . . “How long has this particular lot been empty ? If you have not been to a restaurant for years, why would you have any reason to be aware of what is “on the menu”?”

          Legally the 3.37 acre Seiber parcel, which had been for sale for probably 20 years (I first learned about it in the 2007-2008 Housing Element Steering Committee process) stopped being “empty” on August 21, 2012 when the City Council approved Planning Application #12 – 33 and Rezone #2 – 12.

          Picking up your restaurant menu awareness argument, the parcel and all its neighbors went on:
           
          — A series of visits to the restaurant as part of the 2004 Feasibility Study prepared for the site and surrounding area by Economic Research Associates. The study was prepared when a number of property owners in the PD # 12 – 87 industrial – research subarea expressed the desire to change the permitted land use from commercial to residential use.

          — A one-time visit to the restaurant with the Planning Commission on May 11, 2012

          — A one-time visit to the restaurant with the Planning Commission and CEQA on August 8, 2012

          — A one-time visit to the restaurant with the City Council on August 21, 2012

          — A one-time visit to the restaurant with the City Council on September 11, 2012

          — A one-time visit to the restaurant with the Planning Commission on April 4, 2013

          — A one-time visit to the restaurant with the City Council on July 9, 2013

          — A one-time visit to the restaurant with the Planning Commission on October 23, 2013

          — A one-time visit to the restaurant with the City Council on August 21, 2014

          Bottom-line, I think it is fair to say that the neighbors had abundant opportunity to be very familiar with both the restaurant and the menu . . . and I will stand on my original point that if the neighbors were not aware of the selections on the menu, then they have no one to blame but themselves.  That is what the judge would say if anyone tried to plead ignorance of a speeding ticket given to them on I-80 going through the City of Davis (if they tried to plea ignorance of the speed limit).”

  9. Frankly

    It is impossible to test, but the argument from the opposition that they oppose it because it is not a zoned use is, I think, just a situational convenience for what would really be opposition for every other use unless it was underground and invisible… but probably even then.

    1. Tia Will

      South of Davis

      Even if we start a “collaboration process” the turnout will be about the same as the turnout at the meetings for the new Hyatt (one guy).”

      You site only one example. We had a very different experience in OED with the Trackside discussions. Once we were even aware there was a project to be considered, there were 35 attendees at our first meeting, and I do not believe that there were fewer than 10-12 at any of the invitational meetings by the developers once that came to pass. The facilitated conversations, by mutual agreement had fewer in attendance.

      Just because you can site one example of people not showing up does not mean that this is the way it has to be. Again, I am suggesting consideration of a new process since at present, we do not seem to have one that is working smoothly for anyone.

    2. Tia Will

      Frankly

      It is impossible to test”

      So since it is “impossible to test” ( with which I agree) why do you default to the negative and assume the worst of your “neighbors” ?  Why not work with the more positive assumption that, just like you, these are reasonable people who simply do not share your priorities ?  This would at least allow for a starting position which is not possible when you begin with the premise that they are lying.

        1. Tia Will

          Frankly

          You keep talking about them but never make a list.”

          The neighbors and Alan Pryor have already done so. I know from your comments that you have already read them….. and chosen to dismiss them rather than consider whether or not they have any substantive points.

          1. Don Shor

            Actually, the place to find the concerns is in the original petition at change.org.
            https://www.change.org/p/davis-city-council-petition-to-deny-hyatt-house-s-re-zoning-request
            Basically it seems to come down to
            — view of the hotel from back yards
            — view into back yards from the hotel
            — noise due to hotel
            — increased traffic on Cowell

            Originally they also expressed concerns, it seems, about the kinds of people attracted to hotels in general, or extended-stay hotels in particular.

        2. hpierce

          Don and Tia… there are “concerns”, and there are “well-founded concerns”… just because someone expresses a concern, does not mean it is well-founded…  Hyatt seems to be a case in point…

          There are remedies/mitigations for any well-founded concerns, IMHO…

          But, of course, you both probably figure all public processes are “rigged”… where have I heard that claim before? Give me a few minutes, and I may remember…

          1. Don Shor

            But, of course, you both probably figure all public processes are “rigged”…

            I can’t imagine why you would assume I think that. All I did was post what the neighbors have said.

      1. hpierce

        I do know of developers who gave 10-15 feet or more land to adjacent neighbors to “shut them up” and it worked like a charm… Can provide the specific projects if needed, But includes a portion of Covell Park Northstar… experience… true, no money changed hands, but … a  clearly monetary value… THAT’s what I assumed, that you ridicule, would have happened with Hyatt… seen it, been there have several t-shirts…

        Why the heck did YOU assume I was just speculating!?

        Also happened for Arlington Farms (why lots are deeper on west side of Hudson Court than the west side), portions of Senda Nueva, and was proposed for Wildhorse Ranch.

        Tia, I kinda’ know my stuff… stick to medicine…

        1. Ron

          hpierce:  “I do know of developers who gave 10-15 feet or more land to adjacent neighbors to “shut them up” and it worked like a charm…”

          And, that’s “wrong” because ?  In theory at least, could this be considered a mitigation, and or/compensation for impacts?  I realize there’s a potential for taking advantage of the situation.  However, might this be considered a “win-win” solution (at least theoretically)?  Were the developers requesting a change, that would have impacted these neighbors?  Did the developers offer this, voluntarily?

          Might it have provided a better buffer, as well?

          Just wondering.

        2. Tia Will

          hpierce

          Tia, I kinda’ know my stuff… stick to medicine…”

          Now there is a “neighborly” comment for you. I state right up front that I am asking for positive suggestions from those who “know their stuff” better than I do. And what I get is a comment suggesting that I confine my comments to my area of expertise. In my mind, the rhetorical equivalent of telling me to just hide my “light” or questions in this case under a barrel. So much for “lighting a candle”.

      2. hpierce

        Oh… I didn’t say they were ‘lying’, Tia… those are words you put in my mouth, tho’ you hate it when others do that to you.  I was pointing out they could be ‘bought off’… have you never heard of wehrgelt? Blood money?

  10. Tia Will

    South of Davis and BP

    So true and many of them would get involved with “fighting” other projects and hope to get even more developer cash joining with the familiar names that make a living suing the city and developers getting paid when the city and developers give them money to go away…”

    How quick we are to demonize and assume we “know” the motivations and aspirations of others. How quick to believe that everyone who does not see an issue the same as we do must be “greedy, selfish, dishonest….”. So a question for both of you. Since I have no financial interest in any of these projects, since I have come out in opposition to the Trackside project  but in favor of the even closer to my house Lincoln40, since I was in favor of Nishi but opposed to Mace if it did not include a housing component, what exactly do you think my motivations are ?  Confused ?

    If so, maybe it is because you truly do not believe that there are those in our community who are neither “no growth” nor “grow as fast as we can” but who actually do judge each project separately based on its individual pros and cons as viewed both from benefit to the city as a whole weighed against the downsides especially as applied to the most directly impacted neighbors and make their decision based upon the entire picture, not the supposed purely empiric money promised by the developers nor the supposedly purely subjective objections of those in closest proximity. It is possible to start from a neutral position rather than falling back on a knee jerk “if you don’t agree with me you are a greedy fool” position from either side of the issue.

    1. South of Davis

      Tia wrote:

      > How quick we are to demonize and assume we “know”

      > the motivations and aspirations of others.

      I said that “many” people that get developer cash who jump in for another fight will be doing it to get MORE developer cash.

      I’m not talking about the typical NIMBYs who work to stop stuff in their “back yard” but the people who after getting money from one developer go after another developer trying to get money (often for a site they will never see).

      I am not “demonizing” anyone I’m just passing on what people have actually told me.  Tia may think that not a single person suing a developer (or chasing an ambulance) is doing it for the money, but if she thinks this she is wrong…

       

    1. Frankly

      “Reasonable” as defined by what the vast majority of communities comparable to Davis would allow to be developed.   The term “reasonable” is a legal term and it means something.  Davis NYMBYs are unreasonable by every comparison.

      1. Tia Will

        Matt

        It also illuminates the neighborhood interests comparison to the community-wide interests that should be at the core of this community decision process.”

        I believe that “neighborhood interests” are “community – wide interests”.  I truly do believe that as hpierce and Frankly proposed, we should view every resident of Davis as our “neighbor”. When seen in this light, we should all be concerned when our more geographically separated neighbors are being expected to “take a hit” for the team that we are not being expected to take. That is where I believe that we may have a difference of opinion. Today it may be my neighborhood that is being expected to “sacrifice” more, tomorrow it might be yours. We should all be concerned about the concerns of our “neighbors’.

        1. Matt Williams

          Tia Will said . . . “I truly do believe that we should view every resident of Davis as our “neighbor”. When seen in this light, we should all be concerned when our more geographically separated neighbors are being expected to “take a hit” for the team that we are not being expected to take.”

          I agree with you 100% Tia, and as I will explain below I have “walked the walk” on that score back in 2006-2007.

          The thing about being “neighbors” is that it is a two way street.  You have described the neighbors in close proximity to the Hyatt as “taking a hit” for the team if they agree to let the project go forward (against their better judgment).  What you haven’t described are how the “neighbors” who are not in close proximity to the Hyatt will be “taking a hit” for the team if they agree to not let the project go forward.  Was that an inadvertent omission on your part?

          With respect to my “walk the walk” experience.  Back in 2006-2007 The Vineyards at El Macero project with 176 single family residences was proposed for the parcel that bordered wife’s and my home.  We organized an education program to inform all the El Macero homeowners about the pros and cons of the proposal.  Every piece of educational material was submitted in draft to the developer to ensure that there was no bias (either inadvertent or intentional) in anything we distributed.  We conducted a series of joint educational meetings with the developer, moderated by the Homeowners Association and observed by the County.  We convinced the County to conduct a one-week duration, mail-in advisory vote, and got a 69% voter turnout.  Through all of that, my wife and I very clearly said to one another that as much as we loved our home, if the vote turned out to be in favor of the development  proceeding, we would have to seriously consider selling the home and moving to another place that had the qualities we loved.  Bottom-line, we worked incredibly hard to create an objective community-wide message to the County Supervisors, and were wholly committed to abiding by the collective will of our “neighbors.”  That to me, was what being a good neighbor is all about.

        2. Marina Kalugin

          and that, my pals, is why I still walk the walk and bring up ancient history….when I noticed the Nishi just before the primary, I GOTV in my neighbordood of elders who back up to the RICCI Farm,   we banded and had 3-2 on the CC on our side, and then the election shifted 3-2 against us when someone left for county supe or something…

          Many were not going to go vote …too sick…unimportant….

          In only a few days, I alone GOTV and got at least some few hundred more No votes..

          At the same time I was also getting signatures for Mariko to save money on the filing…

          It is  never about the money …it is  always about truth and justice..

          Sorry, I have a memory like an elephant, though not necessarilty for names…

          But, with some work, and some help from other posters here,  the original Ricci aka Woodbridge developer was from Sac….when the CC laffed him away, he sold his OPTION to a team of nice local boys….   We neighbors shared..we met – with anyone who would listen…the staff, the pc, the council…

          We put all our cards on the table and we still  got shafted..  We went to open meetings and we held our own meetings…

          Some of the vocal developers of this project are familiar names..  Chuckie Roe, Chuckie Cunningham…the main builders of the custom homes included most of the still big names around…like Fouts…sorry to pick on him but that houses Directly behind the cheapest fence one can imagine was a Fouts home…..

          The Arnold famiy members ere agents for buying and selling many of those homes..

          I couldn’t afford to move but I would have if I could’ve

          Instead we got a height restriction later, not just “stories” but actual feet…

          And so many other changes that we the people and neighbors pushed through.

          That all led to measuere J…and later R….right?

          WE had the original 3-2 on board for out vision of a teaching and learning farm.

          But we lived in Soda because one could get more for ones bucks around sight and smell  of the fast food joints and the car dealers…and the gas stations and the toxic areas that the N, S and West refused…

          In the 90s we asked for more time to raise the over $1 million it would take..and Julie and Dave and perhaps it was even Lois who were on our side …..  all were into us having the time.

          then the election, and the good ole boys got there way..

          they had their candidates and they donated to them…it only took one different person to swing the vote

          As I say , follow the money and LEARN the truth..

      2. Tia Will

        Frankly

        Reasonable” as defined by what the vast majority of communities comparable to Davis would allow to be developed.”

        Ok that would seem to be one reasonable definition.

        Another definition might be what is felt to be “reasonable” or “desirable” by the majority of voters in Davis.

        I don’t  think that it should be solely up to either of us to decide which definition of “reasonable” should be imposed.

        1. hpierce

          Perhaps we should put all applications… whether a Granny Flat, a room addition, repainting, change in landscaping up to a vote… very democratic… yet first, a ‘collaboration’ with neighbors…

        2. Ron

          hpierce:

          I believe that some types of small-scale applications (e.g., granny flat?) do require notification of adjacent neighbors.  (Presumably providing an opportunity to voice concerns, if any.)  I recall receiving such a notice regarding this (or a similar application), relatively recently.  (I did not pay much attention to it, especially since it was about a block away from my house.)  I don’t know if it required a zoning change.

      1. Tia Will

        hpierce

        As, do you, Tia…”

        I am glad to see that you have acknowledged this. Every substantive external change that I have made to either of my houses or their yards, I have vetted with the neighbors first to check in with feasibility and whether or not they would have any objections to my plans.

        As for the property in Washington that I have inherited, there is currently a house which is not habitable ( acceptable to code, but not acceptable to me). I am going to have it demolished and a new home built. Prior to doing this, I intend to go to all of the immediate neighbors and anyone who will be impacted by line of sight ( it is located in a very prominent position in the neighborhood) and discuss with them the options that I am considering. I really want to build a home that will enhance the neighborhood, in the eyes of the neighbors, as well as be a tribute to my parents and a comfortable “home away from home” for our family and guests. Where collaboration is concerned, I put my money where my mouth is.

        So, yes ….as I do.

  11. Tia Will

    Ron

    I’m guessing that you already realize this, but (in general) using the word “lifestyle” to describe neighborhood concerns diminishes those concerns”

    While I certainly feel that some people feel this way about the word “lifestyle”. I do not share this opinion. I do not hesitate to affirm that I care more about other aspects of my life than I do about my monetary worth. I care more about how I feel about myself, my family, my neighbors, and my surroundings than I do about my money.  I am a minimalist as anyone who has been at my house can vouch for. I honestly do not see how you feel that the word lifestyle “diminishes” concerns when it is lifestyle and values that are of the utmost importance to me. Maybe you could clarify this point as I obviously am not understanding this point.

    1. Ron

      Tia – Sorry, I misunderstood how the word “lifestyle” was being used.  I thought it was being used to refer to neighborhood concerns regarding proposed developments (in general), in a somewhat derisive manner.

      I’d just like to add that neighborhood concerns are often shared among residents who don’t necessarily share the same lifestyle.  (Actually, lifestyles might sometimes differ within a single household, as well.)

       

  12. Tia Will

    South of Davis

    I won’t be holding my breath for Tia to post her receipt from the Davis Finance Department showing us how much extra taxes she paid for the “benefit of our entire community” this year…”

    Are you actually aware of a means by which one can pay “extra taxes” and specify which “benefits to the entire community” you want the extra taxes to be directed towards ?  If you are aware of such a program, I would be more than happy to look into it if it resulted in doing away with development by exception.

    1. Matt Williams

      Tia Will said . . . “Are you actually aware of a means by which one can pay “extra taxes” and specify which “benefits to the entire community” you want the extra taxes to be directed towards?”

      Actually Tia, any of the City’s Parcel Taxes or Special Taxes (the ones that require a 2/3 majority to pass) will allow you to do exactly what you are looking to do.  Because the revenues from those taxes have to (by law) be spent on the specific purpose described in the ballot the citizens voted on, if you made an “over-payment” for that tax, the City could not spend your “over-payment” dollars on anything else.

      Further, if the Council consistently acts on the unanimous FBC recommendation regarding additional and/or renewal taxes, then your opportunities to do what you have described will expand in the coming years.

      That FBC Recommendation to Council read as follows:

      That the F& B C is recommending that the Davis City Council not approve any new tax measures or utility rate increases for placement on a ballot measure until such time that:

      1.  The staff provides a detailed scope of proposed and/or deferred capital infrastructure projects, as well as proposed new services.

      — Said scope document shall include specific measurable success metrics for the proposed new services and projects, along with an inventory of the specific costs that will be incurred to provide said proposed services or complete said projects.

      — Each deferred capital infrastructure project shall include its expected success metrics, as well as an anticipated budget.

      — The scope document will be updated each year as part of the Budget adoption process.

      2.  The staff provides detailed report/s in conjunction with or as a part of the annual Budget adoption process documents submitted to City Council that reports the specific work done (accomplishments) the prior Fiscal Year on staff proposed services and project/s associated with item #1.

      3.  The staff provides detailed report/s in conjunction with or as a part of the annual Budget adoption process documents submitted to City Council that defines where the revenues collected from any new tax/increased tax measure(s) spent on services and/or projects other than the services and/or projects associated with item #1.

      NOTE: Steps 2. and 3. would give you a bonus beyond what you have asked for. Specifically an annual assessment of how efficiently and effectively your monies have been spent over the preceding 12 months.

  13. MikeY

    There is an easy fix to Trackside, Sterling, Lincoln 40 and Hyatt House. Approve projects that don’t require general plan changes, specific area plan changes or zoning changes.

    1. Matt Williams

      Mike, I really like your suggestion in concept, and in a city where the General Plan has been kept in compliance with California Law it would work well. 

      One of the significant challenges we face in Davis is that our General Plan is non-compliant with California Law because the maximum population it explicitly stipulates is 64,000 residents, and we are (by my estimation) about 10% higher than that thanks to mini-dorm conversions of Single Family Residences, as well as by bedroom “double ups” in  student apartments. 

      We desperately need to update our General Plan and bring it into compliance with California Law.

      1. Tia Will

        Matt

        Bottom-line, I think it is fair to say that the neighbors had abundant opportunity to be very familiar with both the restaurant and the menu “

        You and I do not share the same “bottom line” on the restaurant analogy. It would not matter if every member of the community had the entire menu committed to heart. If they are only being offered one choice by the “host” or developer as the case may be, then it really does not matter what is on the rest of the menu.  This would only matter if the developer ( or host) offered them their choices in advance.

        Thus, my suggestion that the developers start with a “menu” not a predetermined selection.

        1. Matt Williams

          Your argument ignores the fact that the neighbors have had the opportunity for approximately 20 years to build their own restaurant and establish their own menu.  However, they have not chosen to take the initiative and do so.  You need to look at the whole timeline Tia, not just an artificially restricted portion of the timeline since the property was finally purchased from Rita Seiber.

          I will draw a parallel to the Vineyards at El Macero situation in 2006-2007 that we faced.  One of the steps we took to address the uncertainty associated with the vacant parcel that bordered our homes was to approach the parcel owner and offer to purchase the parcel from them.  We didn’t offer just once either.  We renewed the offer multiple times.  Bottom-line, we were willing to establish our own restaurant and menu.  That is a step that did not happen in this case, but the option to do that was always there.  I suspect Rita Seiber would have sold the parcel to the neighbors if they had made an offer.

    2. Tia Will

      MikeY

      There is an easy fix to Trackside, Sterling, Lincoln 40 and Hyatt House. Approve projects that don’t require general plan changes, specific area plan changes or zoning changes.”

      I completely agree with your post. From my perspective this seems straightforward and simple. However, I suspect if I were a developer or investor, I might have a very different point of view. This is why I think that starting the dialogue much earlier in the process might help to reconcile these very different perspectives.

       

  14. Tia Will

    South of Davis

    I’m not a tax attorney but I am not aware of any “change in our laws” necessary for Tia to contribute more to the Federal, State and/or Local Governments.”

    And this would obviously be completely pointless unless everyone else  were willing to do the same. But I would be willing to work with a smaller pool. You tell me how much you are willing to contribute in addition to the taxes that we are now paying to the city and if we get enough others to buy in, I will be happy to match it.

     

    1. hpierce

      Equivocation, Tia… you say one thing, then don’t follow thru unless you get your way as to how the money is spent, yet you expect others to contribute more (much more, as percentage of resources) for your priorities…

      And this would obviously be completely pointless unless everyone else  were willing to do the same

      Have you not heard of the phrase, “better to light one candle, than to curse the darkness”?

      1. Tia Will

        hpierce

        yet you expect others to contribute more (much more, as percentage of resources) for your priorities…”

        Still not true just because you repeat it. You failed to quote the rest of my position which you have read ( I know because you have previously commented on this point) which is that those of us who have more should be willing to pay more. I have consistently voted for both candidates who favor, and proposals that would raises taxes on the wealthy and tighten tax proposals for large corporations ( not small mom an pop operations). In this I have been consistent throughout my adult life.  I do not “expect others to contribute more” and would change it tomorrow if I could. Unfortunately, this is consistently blocked by those who do not feel the need to contribute proportionately more even if they themselves have benefited greatly from the taxes of others which would apply to anyone who has utilized our public school system to obtain their education ( for just one example).

        1. South of Davis

          Tia wrote:

          > I would be more than happy to look into it if it resulted

          > in doing away with development by exception.

          Why only “IF” they do away with “development by exception”?

          > And this would obviously be completely pointless  unless

          > everyone else  were willing to do the same.

          You have posted many times that we need to make small steps, is it also “pointless to ban soda in Happy Meals “unless everyone else  were willing to do the same”

          > You tell me how much you are willing to contribute in addition

          > to the taxes that we are now paying to the city and if we get enough

          > others to buy in, I will be happy to match it.

          Why not just come out and tell us that you want others who (with rare exceptions) make less than you and own less real estate than you to pay more while you don’t want to step up and pay any extra to the city unless you are forced to like everyone else?

          P.S. The truth will set you free It is painful to most people after posting many many times the details of your 4 br home in Northstar and details of your home in OED then call me a liar when I say you own over a million dollars worth of Davis real estate.  It is also painful that after years and years of telling us yet you expect others to contribute more (much more, as percentage of resources) for things you find important then call hpierce a liar for pointing this out (saying he is posting things that are “not true” is the same as calling him a liar)…

        2. hpierce

          You still mischaracterize me Tia, as is your wont for anyone who does not share your world view…

          I did not quote all of what you said [true], as it was “out there”… you are probably one of the last people who should fault something like that, as you often “cherry-pick” one phrase, sentence, etc. to repudiate all of what others post.

      2. Tia Will

        hpierce

        Have you not heard of the phrase, “better to light one candle, than to curse the darkness”?”

        I have heard it. And my request for this article was that people more knowledgeable in planning than I think about how each side might “light one candle” rather than simply cursing the “darkness” of our current adversarial situation.  One central problem is that the only candle we can light is our own. We seem to be insistent on sitting in the darkness while telling the other side which candle they must light.

  15. Marina Kalugin

    Gee, Dr Will, unlike the HS grad Will, I think you got it…what ole movie was that from?

    And the more quotes we see from the other Will, the one on the CC, the more he proves the point I was making even prior to elections.

    Nice chap, but heck he sounds just like Donna, and Doug, and Dave and Carly and  so many of the rest of the happy, or not so happy family folks   – the developers, realtors and investors, some silent, some not so silent, some with and some without their licenses….and some like LF totally hiding his investment and conflict of interest….ooopss  cya guys   🙂

  16. Frankly

    Ok, so this is their list of “impacts”:

    — view of the hotel from back yards

    Versus view of anything that could be developed there?

    — view into back yards from the hotel

    Versus the view into back yards from anything that can be developed there?

    — noise due to hotel

    Hotels provide sleeping services.  They are one of the most quiet commercial uses one could hope for… especially given the alternatives already zoned.

    — increased traffic on Cowell

    Versus the increased traffic for all other zoned uses?

    So basically they are opposing the hotel just because that is what is proposed, but would basically oppose anything built there based on this list.

  17. Frankly

    You see, this list is evidence that collaboration isn’t a realistic approach.

    Collaboration assumes reasonable and rational parties coming to the table to identify and pursue shared goals.  Tia’s Kaiser experience is interesting, but it does not fit in these conflicts between neighbors in opposition of a development project.

    These two camps are in too severe of conflict to expect that collaboration would be anything but a bigger problem… both camps farming information from the other than can be used to beat the other.  This is like expecting Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump to collaborate and select a President.

    Even arbitration and mediation are useless here.  Arbitration hands over the decision to an arbitrator after hearing both sides… basically a judge but not so bound by the law as much as just rational assessment of the two positions.  An arbitrator can certainly strive to find some middle ground.  But there isn’t any here.  A mediator strives for consensus from bit parties.  The mediator listens and questions and then reflects the points in a rational pros-vs-cons narrative… and then works to find a position of agreement.   But the NIMBY neighbors and NOE people want the project to be defeated… to go away just like all the Measure R decided projects.

    So none of these approaches are useful.  They would be a waste of time.  In the end the neighbors and NOE people are either going to get their way, or be defeated.

    Will Arnold actually did much of the job as a mediator in the last Council meeting.  He walked through the points and alternatives and provided the rational assessment.  Though he made a mistake as a mediator in sending the two parties back to war.  The CC actually had all the information they needed to make a decision in the last meeting to stop the war, and cause one party to go through their pain of losing and the other party to be satisfied in their win.

    That is the point here.  Some people think that there is a win-win solution in every conflict.  That is fanciful thinking… a vision of a land of unicorns and rainbows and Happy Shining People.  The truth is simply that most of the time the differences are irreconcilable and someone owning the big-boy pant has to make a damn decision.

      1. hpierce

        Actually, Odin, reminds me of an old joke, which I’ll re-word as, “What’s the difference between a ‘________’ neighbor and a terrorist?   You can negotiate with a terrorist.”

        In reality, it is some of the neighborhood ‘groups’ that have acted as ‘fascists’… look again at your history books (or a dictionary, where you substitute “neighbors” for “government”) as to ‘fascism’…

        Frankly can be a jerk at times, but he is no fascist… not even close… [and, yes, I’ve been a jerk at times]

    1. Don Shor

      Will wasn’t mediating. The opponents of the project learned one very important thing from the CC meeting: there is almost certainly a majority vote to move forward with the project. Will just seems to want them to try once more to make some progress on mitigation of the things they’re concerned about. In effect, he told them this was their last chance to have some input, and gave them two weeks to do it. And I’m sure they didn’t fail to notice the extreme skepticism evident in other council members as to the likelihood of any progress. They got a reality check.

      1. Don Shor

        If there’s any question about whether they got the message, I’ll note that “Grok” hasn’t posted on the Vanguard since the morning after the CC meeting.

        1. Matt Williams

          Grok’s absence from the Vanguard might be in part a reaction to his public comment during the Marriott item, where he accused Robb of “lecturing the public from the dais” about “doing something wrong” in the Measure A vote.  He went on to chastise Robb for being “out of step with the general population of the city.”  Grok’s body language appeared to indicate that even for himself, the comment was clearly an uncomfortable moment.   It sort of appeared that the thought “I should have counted to ten before speaking” was going through his head.

          Later, when Robb was summing up the next steps for the Marriott team, he acknowledged (without naming Grok) that he had been accused of “an offensive diatribe.” Robb did not go on to expand on that acknowledgement.

    2. Tia Will

      Frankly

      You see, this list is evidence that collaboration isn’t a realistic approach.”

      I do not see the list as evidence that collaboration isn’t a realistic approach. I see it as evidence that collaboration must come before the battle lines are drawn, not after. By placing the collaborative step before the design step, I feel that collaboration might well be a possibility.

       Some people think that there is a win-win solution in every conflict.”

      Yes, I do believe this. I do not believe that we are achieving it now, but I believe that it is entirely possible but must be started at the onset of a plan. If one starts early enough in a process ( like at the very beginning) I truly believe in the possibility since I have seen it work over and over again. You look at this from a point of view of what we have now, and why nothing else will ever work. I look at it from the point of view that humans are capable of changing how we view the world, and as such are capable of shaping our world and accepting new paradigms if we choose to. You frequently accuse me of being change adverse, but with this post you clearly are stating that it is you who are change resistant just as were those who claimed that men could never fly, or that fee for service was the only way to provide good medical care. Over and over throughout history people have done what others claimed was impossible. My question is why is community development exempt from this process of reinvention ?

      someone owning the big-boy pant has to make a damn decision.”

      Do you mean like a dictator ?

       

  18. Mark West

    We don’t live in a ‘command and control’ society where the government dictates where we live, how many children we may have, what job we hold, or what businesses get started. Development projects are created by people who are willing to risk their own financial futures to secure a parcel of land, propose a project, and see it through to completion.

    The normal approach will always be a developer buying or optioning a parcel and making a proposal to the City for evaluation, which will in most cases involve asking for one zoning variance or another, especially when working with an outdated and no longer ‘legally valid’ General Plan (as explained by Matt elsewhere). The only way we will ever have two or more proposals for a single parcel of land is if the land is owned by the City and the City puts out a request for proposals.

    All of the discussion here about the community comparing different options and deciding on the best one for a parcel is simple fantasy and has nothing to do with the real world (and otherwise known as a complete waste of time).

    As for Tia’s idea for a more collaborative approach to development… We have just seen what happens when a developer comes in with a project that reflects all the things that our community says it wants, a high-quality product, LEED Gold development, Net Zero Energy, respect for worker’s rights to organize AND a willingness to meet with the neighbors IN ADVANCE of submitting the project to the City and then responding to their concerns with design changes.

    So how did the community respond? Without rehashing all that has happened, it is safe to say that the organized neighbors and their supporters did not react in a ‘collaborative’ fashion. When we add to this experience the recollection of how Tia and her neighbors reacted to a project proposal in their neighborhood – attacking the project and the developer’s integrity in front of the City Council in advance of the project being formally proposed – we know that her call for ‘collaboration’ smells quite a bit like (as hpierce so eloquently put it) “male bovine fecal matter.”

    Here is the straight-forward answer to this entire discussion. When a developer offers you the opportunity to engage in discussion about their project, accept the offer and engage. If you don’t want to engage, yet still believe that you should have a say in how the parcel is developed, buy it and risk your own financial future to develop it (or not) in line with your own vision. If you are not willing to engage and are unwilling to risk your own livelihood, then all you are doing here is whining, and absolutely no one should pay any attention to a thing you say.

     

     

    1. Tia Will

      SOD

      You have posted many times that we need to make small steps, is it also “pointless to ban soda in Happy Meals “unless everyone else  were willing to do the same”

      If your only goal were to make sweeping changes in the rates of diabetes across our country, your statement would be accurate. This is the public health perspective. If your goal is to prevent one individual in your practice from getting diabetes ( also a laudable goal) then having soda not be the default beverage at their closest McDonalds may be very effective. Both individual and community health improvements are worthy goals that may require different approaches.

      For the purposes of this article, my goal was to elicit ideas about alternatives to our current contentious development practices that I do not believe work well for anyone, not to pretend that I have definitive answers. I thought that I was very clear that I was presenting examples for the sake of generating discussion but perhaps I was not clear enough.

       

    2. Tia Will

      Hi Mark

      I agree with your entire first paragraph. This is indeed how we do things now.

      The normal approach will always be a developer buying or optioning a parcel and making a proposal to the City for evaluation, which will in most cases involve asking for one zoning variance or another, “

      This is where our agreement ends. Just because something is the norm now, does not mean that it will always be the norm. The norm used to be horse and buggy. Most of us would agree that is not the “norm” now outside very limited areas of our country. We determine what our “norms” are and certainly have the ability to change them when they are no longer serving our purposes well.

      When a developer offers you the opportunity to engage in discussion about their project, accept the offer and engage.”

      With this I also agree. However, I would change the current order of operations to one in which the developer offers the opportunity to engage prior to solidifying their proposal. I know that is not the current norm, but again, what I am seeking is not the perpetuation of our current dysfunctional process, but rather how all sides could make changes to improve that process. Little progress will be made if each side states that their position is immutable and the other side must make all the changes.

      1. hpierce

         I would change the current order of operations to one in which the developer offers the opportunity to engage prior to solidifying their proposal. 

        That was done, before, and a good example of what you appear to advocate… the developer “vetted” a major project with known ‘neighbor-activists’ [little/no conversations with professional City staff], crafted their proposal to mollify them… then (and only then), let professional City Staff see their “vetted” proposal… saying that we already have the ‘approvals’/consensus we need, so beware of saying anything differently…

        That project was Covell Village… that turned out real well, didn’t it?

        Voted down by “the people”…

  19. South of Davis

    Mark wrote:

    > All of the discussion here about the community comparing

    > different options and deciding on the best one for a parcel

    > is simple fantasy

    Does anyone know if South Davis is still zoned for XXX drive in movie theaters?

    It would be funny if the developer could give the neighbors the option of a nice hotel or a XXX drive in movie theater.

    If they call the developers bluff they could set up a screen and run “films” until the neighbors are all begging for a Hyatt House hotel.

    http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/15953

     

  20. Marina Kalugin

    One of my favorite movies when my children were growing up  and the boys also… was Good Will Hunting….the other was a Beautiful Mind…

    recently I was upgraded and was watching Me before You on a plane flight then next flight I saw The Meddler.

    I grok GROK>..wtf happened to him?

    And, those who think I am weird….well take a few more graduate level classes to understand me…and why I post what I do…

    and finally DR Will has this one nailed, with the other Will need s to grow up a bit more….

    And, like Good Will Hunting and It’s a Beautiful mind the truly brilliant can be the leaders, the activists or the Buddhists monks….they can be MDs or Dentists  (though if you follow the AMA and the ADA and so on…you are sure to have a slow or not so slow yet painful early death)….

    They can be brilliant engineers, or managers or they can be the heroin addict at the DHS who never was understood and kept out of GATE…

    And, yes, that chart is not too farfetched…but it is only in my mind….not on a wall…especially since the same developer of the toxic mold is still building overpriced homes throughout Davis…..at the Cannery, at Grande and elsewhere, custom overpriced homes that are not affordable to  even TWO entry level STEM or UCDMC faculty …..right?
    EVEN with the MOP program…

    PS>   Guess where I fit in?   in my own universe….right?

    PPS> Follow the money and learn the truth, right? WAKE up folks

     

     

     

  21. Tia Will

    SOD

    You have posted many times that we need to make small steps, is it also “pointless to ban soda in Happy Meals “unless everyone else  were willing to do the same”

    If your only goal were to make sweeping changes in the rates of diabetes across our country, your statement would be accurate. This is the public health perspective. If your goal is to prevent one individual in your practice from getting diabetes ( also a laudable goal) then having soda not be the default beverage at their closest McDonalds may be very effective. Both individual and community health improvements are worthy goals that may require different approaches.

    For the purposes of this article, my goal was to elicit ideas about alternatives to our current contentious development practices that I do not believe work well for anyone, not to pretend that I have definitive answers. I thought that I was very clear that I was presenting examples for the sake of generating discussion but perhaps I was not clear enough.

     

  22. Tia Will

    Matt

    The thing about being “neighbors” is that it is a two way street.  You have described the neighbors in close proximity to the Hyatt as “taking a hit” for the team if they agree to let the project go forward (against their better judgment).  What you haven’t described are how the “neighbors” who are not in close proximity to the Hyatt will be “taking a hit” for the team if they agree to not let the project go forward.  Was that an inadvertent omission on your part?

    Two points.

    First I did not describe them as “taking a hit” for the team if they agree to let the project go forward ( against their better judgement)”. What I said was “taking a hit”….if the project did not conform to the zoning and design guidelines as worked out over many, many hours by participants from many segments of the community. This is quite different from opposition on the basis of a whim. The community as a whole, not just the neighbors weighed in on this plan for which the developers are now requesting exceptions. If we want the community based plans to change, then we as a community should re open that process and change the design and rules. If we do not want them changed then we should adhere to them. What I do not see as working for our community is development by exception and litigation. Is there anyone hear who really believes that this is the best that we can do.

    Second, I think that I was very clear that the neighbors not in close proximity would be taking a hit in the form of taxes which distributes the cost over the entire community not specifically targeting these particular neighbors. Since it is the community as a whole that has racked up the costs, the community as a whole that has created the wear and tear on roads, parks, public buildings and it was the community as a whole that produced the zoning and design guidelines,  it seems far more equitable to me that the community as a whole should pay the bills when they come due.

    I have said many times, on many threads that I see the most equitable approach is a balance between development, taxation and prudent use of the revenues that we do have.

    1. Odin

      The Tia you should really look at the Specific Plan for East Olive Drive.  Lincoln40 is rezoning run amok.  It’s obvious they didn’t even look at the plan.  Of course, we don’t expect the lot to be used for cottage houses as suggested, but the development should maintain current zoning restrictions on height and density (and aesthetics) otherwise Olive Drive will become by far the most highly densely populated in town.  It’s just a plain wrong thing to do to the poorest part of town where folks (like myself) are newly exposed to the process used to get developments approved.

    2. Matt Williams

      Tia, I admire your commitment to the status quo in this case; however, if you applied that same commitment to the status quo in medicine, we would have no new drugs, we would have no new breakthrough medical procedures, we would still be doing radical mastectomies and frontal lobotomies.

      You appear to be digging in your heels in support of an absolutist position that is inconsistent with the ideals of your chosen profession.

      In fairness to you you have clearly stated that you support moving forward with a community-wide effort to update the General Plan.  Drawing a parallel to medicine, many (but not all) of the medical break throughs happened as a result of individual specific actions that preceded the point where those actions were memorialized in the generally-accepted medical best practices (the General Plan of medicine).  Think about the amount of time that elapsed between the moment when the individual medical breakthrough first happened and the time when it was first taught in medical school.  The medical innovator often looks at the best practices of medicine and says, “They can be better.”  Often, at the same as the innovator is saying that, others in medicine are saying, “That idea is an abomination.”  That was what the practitioners of the Halstead Radical Mastectomy were saying when breast cancer innovators were coming up with the lumpectomy. 

      Bottom-line, the period between when we recognize that our best practices are deficient until the point where those best practices are updated is almost always a period of rough sailing . . . sailing that is particularly hard for absolutist positions, because we can’t please all the people all the time.

    3. Matt Williams

      Tia said . . . “Second, I think that I was very clear that the neighbors not in close proximity would be taking a hit in the form of taxes which distributes the cost over the entire community not specifically targeting these particular neighbors.”

      What that argument of yours leaves out is that in the one case the neighbors in close proximity are choosing to take on the burden of the higher taxes, while the neighbors not in close proximity are not being given that choice.

  23. Tia Will

    BP

    What if they want an open view with no house?”

    Great question. I think that I would have several alternatives in this situation :

    1. Say “the hell with you” I am going to take whatever I want before the city council and hope they will approve it.

    2. Say “the hell with you”. I will leave the house standing as it is now….. a slight eyesore…which will likely get worse over time.

    3. Say “ok” decide how much you are willing to pay for the lot given that my family was there long before anyone else who would be affected directly and I will decide if your best offer is enough to cause me to sell to you so you can keep the lot open.

    However, you have mischaracterized a critical point in your analogy. I have heard no one at all say that they want the lot left open. I have only heard a desire for either a different or a smaller project. This is exactly what I am saying I would consider based on the neighbors concerns on my lot, and I think that it is what the developers might have considered for this lot. Again, I am talking about process, not project.

    1. South of Davis

      BP asks Tia:
      > What if they want an open view with no house?
      I’m wondering why she took the time to type about 200 words if she was not going to answer the question.
      She does end with:
      > I am talking about process, not project.
      Not talking about a specific “project”,  What should happen if neighbors want and open view with no house, hotel or apartment?

  24. South of Davis

    It looks like Tia is up early and I’m wondering if she is going to respond my questions about “why” she “claims” to want to do something like pay more to the city to the city but only says she will do it “if” something she is pretty sure won’t happen occurs.  I’m also wondering why she finds a need to call both me and hpierce liars when both of us work real hard to to post the truth (and correct any mistakes).

    P.S. Tia might want to take a look at the posts from 8:31 & 9:07 pm last night above.

  25. Tia Will

    SOD

    Two points. First I cannot respond to a question that I do not understand. I found this “’I’m wondering if she is going to respond my questions about “why” she “claims” to want to do something like pay more to the city to the city but only says she will do it “if” something she is pretty sure won’t happen occurs. ” very confusing. If you would like to clarify, I will be happy to make my best attempt at responding.

    Second, I have reviewed every one of my posts and am unable to find anywhere that I called either you or hpierce liars.  The closest I could come was my post that a statement made was “not true”. This is not the same thing as calling someone a liar. It is completely possible for someone to make a false statement in perfectly good faith. I also told Matt Williams that a statement he made was factually and demonstrably false. I consider Matt a friend and was most certainly not calling him a “liar”. If you feel that I did call anyone a liar, please quote my statement that you interpreted in this way.

     

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