The developers of the Hyatt House hotel have proposed a somewhat scaled down project, reduced the number of floors to three on the backside of the building and the number of rooms from 120 to 118. In addition, they have committed to a ten-year funding mechanism for community assets in a greenbelt park.
Still, as a letter from neighborhood representatives Neil Dhanowa, Alissa Burnett and Bridget Boyd makes clear, after meeting with a majority of the neighbors, “the overall consensus is still that they do not feel a hotel of this size is appropriate in the location we have been discussing.”
The January 20 email to, among others, Ashley Feeney of the City of Davis, which the Vanguard acquired through a records request, states, “Everyone was happy with the mitigation efforts you have put forth and really appreciate the changes to the property we were able to work towards. The general consensus is a frustration that even though the design was altered in size to be 3 stories in the rear and 4 stories in the front, the overall size of the hotel being only reduced 2 rooms down to 118 rooms was a sore subject, as well as the pool being a requirement of the property.”
According to them, “The feelings were that even with the proposed changes the project/development team was not truly making a sacrifice in the same manner that the neighborhood was by effectively ‘giving something up.’”
The letter discusses the idea of a dedicated Rose Creek fund with the city, to which the development team would contribute. They explain, “The fund would receive a quarterly deposit from the hotel via a $1 per night contribution. While the hope was that this would stand as long as the hotel was in business, Guneet and I settled on a 10 year term in which the property owner would guarantee the nightly amount should the room occupant choose not to voluntarily accept/contribute.”
After ten years, “this fee would be moved to a voluntary pass through to the hotel guests at the same rate, but would effectively remove this perpetuity from being guaranteed by the owners.
“The second part of this discussion was around an upfront one time monetary contribution to the Rosecreek fund. While our hope was to be in the ballpark of $350k, Guneet agreed upon a $100k contribution as the max amount feasible, but that we would collectively work with the city to attain approval of an additional $150-$200K from either the general fund or from the $1.8 million in impact fees from this project prior to project approval,” the letter continues.
Finally, they “discussed a friends and family rate for Rosecreek families. The sticking point here is that the neighborhood needs some sort of agreement that this rate will hold with the property should ownership change. Open to ideas here from your side, but think this is really valuable as well as helps us be an advocate for your property in our community and hopefully increase your occupancy.”
However, the neighbors indicated, “if all of us can get the city to agree to an immediate contribution, or allocation, as outlined above to be used to completely renovate Brentwood park, we will not oppose the project moving forward.”
They write, “Given all of the outlined changes we discussed the other week, as well as this total investment, we believe we can come to an agreement. This is what our stance will be unless the development team is willing to take on the extra monetary contributions, but from my understanding that is not feasible. So the X factor is how we collectively get the city to commit something here.”
The final point is that “if we can secure the funding to overhaul Brentwood park from the combination of your contributions as well as the city’s, the Rosecreek neighborhood will not pursue litigation.”
But the neighbors add that “we are not in control of the actions of those we have not spoken with or know about. Should a situation evolve where some outside 3rd party decides to move forward with legal action, we will happily state neighborhood support for the project given all of the changes and guarantee of monetary contributions.”
In the meantime, Roshan Patel sent a letter to the city dated Monday (January 23) that threatens litigation. Noting both the significantly smaller Embassy Suites Conference Center and the hold on the Mace Ranch Innovation Center (but ignoring the planned expansion of both Sierra Energy and the University Research Park), Mr. Patel writes, “I strongly urge the City Council oppose the Hyatt House Hotel.”
He adds, “The City is adding an unsustainable amount of hotel rooms in inappropriate locations without any new demand generators. This will ultimately lead to devastating effects to existing hotels including but not limited to closures, abandoned buildings, homeless encampments, deferred maintenance, blight, and other environmental issues.
“I’d like to remind the Council that adding hotels without any new demand generators is not going to solve any of the [City’s] financial problems and it is not a community benefit for anyone. Please oppose the Hyatt House Hotel based on Davis’s smart growth policies,” he writes.
Mr. Patel warns, “If the City continues to ignore my concerns, I suggest the City prepares to govern itself accordingly in the Court of law based on an invalid environmental impact report and breaking zoning and land use laws.”
He argues, “The EIR inadequately addresses potential impacts of urban decay of existing hotels in the community. Additionally, based on section 65860 of the California Planning, Zoning, and Development Laws – I have reason to believe the project is in violation of planning and zoning law as the Hyatt House Davis project is not consistent with the city’s General Plan Land Use policies and the South Davis Specific Plan policies.”
—David M. Greenwald reporting