Commentary: Sterling Project Illustrates Difficulty of Conflict Resolution Process

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Sterling Apartments – original proposal

When the council sent the neighbors to the Hyatt House project to meet with the applicants in a conflict resolution process, the main advantage that the city had was that the council had already indicated their tacit support for a project at the site – that meant that the leverage was on the side of the city council and it behooved the neighbors to basically get the best deal possible, knowing that they could not kill the project.

At the time, conflict resolution looked like a way forward from the city’s perspective, as infill projects continue to pit neighbors against project applicants.  However, at least thus far, the Sterling project is demonstrating the limitations of such approaches.

A few weeks ago, the Sterling applicants unveiled a reduced project after appearing to reach agreement with a group of neighborhood representatives.

A February email from Gerald Hallee to the Dinerstein representative, Mayor Robb Davis and Mayor Pro Tem Brett Lee says, “The Rancho Yolo Community Association (RYCA) Board of Directors has voted to suspend its opposition to the Sterling 5th Street Apartment Project based on the proposed February 13, 2017 Dinerstein downsizing of the Project.”

While Mr. Hallee indicated there were some contingencies, he also noted that “nearly all items listed in Attachments 4 and 5 have been accepted. The remaining few items can be managed while Dinerstein and the City finalize the agreement and prepare the re-design packets in preparation for the March 22 Planning Commission meeting.”

But what if the three-person negotiating team didn’t represent the views of the other neighbors at Rancho Yolo?

That, in fact, appears to be the case.  A letter from Marge Beach in the Enterprise comes a week after a similar letter appeared in the Vanguard.

Here she attempts to dispel the notion of some sort of agreement, writing, “For those who think we at Rancho Yolo have ‘dropped our opposition,’ we have not. For those who think we are now ‘happy’ with the project, we are not.”

Instead, she argues, “The Rancho Yolo community continues its absolute opposition to the now ‘revised’ Sterling Fifth Street Apartments proposal.”

She writes, “We are not opposed to an appropriate, much smaller project of one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, like the many largely student-occupied apartment complexes already near Rancho Yolo.  We are very opposed to this massive, mostly four- and five-bedroom apartment project, which places too many students in a dorm-like situation without the amenities and support system that are provided in a college campus dorm.”

Letters of this sort have the potential to end efforts at conflict resolution.

There are several key points here.

First, your process is always only going to be as good as the degree of representation by your negotiating team.  If your negotiating team is not representative of the community or neighborhood at large, or there is not buy in from a critical mass of neighbors, then the process will end much as this one does.

Second, it is going to make applicants like Dinerstein far less likely to give concessions in the future.  They have already agreed to reduce the size of the project by 20 percent, but Ms. Beach and others have now signaled that they are either holding out for more (as indicated by the smaller project paragraph) or are opposed to this project in concept.

What incentive now does Dinerstein have to negotiate down further?

This puts the council in a quandary – it is, on the one hand, in their best interest to get some sort of compromise that leaves both sides relatively pleased.

But here the council has prescribed a process, the process generated an agreement between those who were involved in the process, but others are not pleased.

Is the council going to ask Dinerstein to further compromise, shrinking the project further, or are they going to say that Dinerstein acted reasonably and participated in a conflict resolution process?  Will they pass the Sterling Project as currently configured?

Frankly, there is a bigger philosophical issue at stake.  The groundwork has been laid for a more fundamental question: where should student housing go and what should it look like?

This is again part of why it would be helpful to know how much student housing the city of Davis needs to accommodate.

Are issues such as size of the project (now 160 units), number of beds (now at 540), structure of the leases (bed leases), number of bedrooms and bathrooms per unit going to get resolved here?  Probably not.

As Ms. Beach concludes, “After almost two years of researching and trying to stop the Sterling Apartments project from becoming a reality, our board of directors felt it might possibly be approved anyway, so our negotiating team worked with Dinerstein to secure the slight concessions that it could, in return for agreeing not to publicly oppose the project as a board.

“Individual residents are quite free to continue in our public opposition to the project, and we do oppose it. It is not good for Rancho Yolo, not good for the students, not good for East Davis and not good for Davis as a healthy, supportive community.”

While she is correct, this is probably going to make it more difficult in the future for these types of negotiations and conflict resolution process to work.  Given the scarcity of housing, it seems more likely than not that the council is going to approve these projects.

The goal of conflict resolution is to reduce the harm caused to the neighbors – the goal is not to kill projects.

Will the neighbors get further concessions from this process?  Probably.  But, in the long term, the next applicant is likely to be far less willing to engage with the neighbors in a structured way if there is no guarantee that the neighbors will honor the process.

—-David M. Greenwald reporting



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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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64 thoughts on “Commentary: Sterling Project Illustrates Difficulty of Conflict Resolution Process”

  1. Tia Will

    this is probably going to make it more difficult in the future for these types of negotiations and conflict resolution process to work.”

    I continue to feel that this type of “conflict resolution” is most likely to fail, because it comes too late in the decision making process. What room is left for collaboration after the basics of the project have already been decided ?  Move this type of process to the very beginning of a project and one might see an improved and truly collaborative project that meets student, city and near neighbor needs.

    1. Todd Edelman

      I agree, but also BTSSC should meet with the Planning Commission early on in a way that’s formally-connected with what you suggest… but I suppose it would be called “Conflict Avoidance” as part of the process of fulfilling new comprehensive plans, a new area plan etc… and answering the  “where should students housing go…” and similar questions.

      1. Howard P

        WHOA (old-timers will get the referent)!

        How will the BTSSC/PC better represent the City/neighborhoods than the Rancho Yolo ‘board’ did theirs?  Planning Commission is an appointed body, not elected…

    2. Mark West

      “What room is left for collaboration after the basics of the project have already been decided ?  Move this type of process to the very beginning of a project and one might see an improved and truly collaborative project that meets student, city and near neighbor needs.”

      This might be a fine idea if the City owned the land and was acting as the developer, but it won’t work as long as we are talking about private projects built on private land with private money. You don’t have a project to discuss until you have secured control of the land through purchase (or an option to purchase) and by then you already have spent considerable money on the project concept and scope as part of the purchase decision. Early engagement is a noble idea, but it has to fit within the confines of our current reality and expecting developers to discuss potential projects before they control the land and have developed a basic concept simply doesn’t do that.

      1. Tia Will

        As I have stated before, I know that it is how it is done now. That does not mean that there can never be another process. When I first started in medicine, there were only two ways basic ways to do a hysterectomy. Now there are at least 5. But those other three, which frequently lead to better outcomes with faster recoveries would not have existed had people insisted that the two ways were the only way to operate.

        1. Howard P

          Could be a good analogy, Mark… a ‘development hysterectomy’ could protect against “disease” like new development… Tia may have a damn good point!

          Seriously, new processes, like new surgical techniques, should be fact-based, and vetted by professionals…

  2. James R

    All of these Sterling editorials are becoming a little excessive. At what point will everyone be satisfied with this project? Never. So at what point do we disregard the concerns of a few for the greater good? Well, now would be a good time. Let’s stop fueling the development dissent fire. I applaud David’s continual fight for an “evidence-based approach,” but it is unrealistic to believe that we can always design a 100% efficient development, so sometimes we need to settle for a little less than.

    But what if the three-person negotiating team didn’t represent the views of the other neighbors at Rancho Yolo?

    Of course a three-person negotiating team won’t completely represent everyone’s views. Surprise! Neither does local, state, or federal government representatives. Obviously, neither does the RCYA. By the design of these systems, some views are not represented.
    I love pizza. I think every restaurant in Davis should serve pizza, even the thirty revolving boba joints. It would be silly to say that we should outlaw any restaurant that chooses not to serve pizza. And guess what? My view isn’t represented…anywhere. So does this view deserve to be represented anywhere? You may call this pizza view foolish. Well, I view these slight oppositions to Sterling as foolish.

    Davis needs more housing. Sterling provides that.

    Davis needs more revenue. Sterling provides that.

    Davis needs more diversity. Sterling provides that.

    I’m all for inclusivity in the planning process; community planning works best when we have everyone’s input. But sometimes “haters are gonna hate” and you just have to move beyond that. Here we have some haters, so maybe it’s time to just say “let’s build Sterling” because it’s obvious we can’t please them all.

  3. Ron

    Just started reading this, and couldn’t get past the first paragraph:

    ” . . . the main advantage that the city had was that the council had already indicated their tacit support for a project at the site – that meant that the leverage was on the side of the city council and it behooved the neighbors to basically get the best deal possible, knowing that they could not kill the project.”  (Emphasis added.)

    Interesting that David left out the party that unquestionably has leverage in such a situation (the developer).  Also interesting that the statement equates a development as an “advantage” for the city, and that the city’s interests equate to developers’ interests.

     

     

     

    1. Ron

      David:  You’re the one who said that the city had an “advantage”, and “leverage”.  Perhaps you’d care to clarify what you meant by that.  (For example, is it a foregone conclusion that the city “wants” a particular development, as long as a bone can be thrown to “pesky neighbors”?)

      By the way, how did you learn that the development had previously planned to be downsized, as you reported in the Vanguard last year? Did the developer tell you that? Or, was it a city official?

      1. David Greenwald

        They do have leverage – they have and up and down vote.

        I don’t recall reporting that – so I really don’t recall how I would have learned

        1. Ron

          David:  I do recall you stating this (probably more than once), via comments.  (Perhaps in response to my comments.)  For now, I’m not planning to “search” for them, though.  (Pretty time-consuming, unless one knows an easy way to do so.)

        2. David Greenwald

          I don’t doubt you – I just dont remember it.  I probably write over 1000 articles a year and have a million conversations, so my memory gets fuzzy.

        3. Howard P

          David… don’t worry about defending intuitively obvious facts that one normally learns in JH or HS civics classes… waste of your effort.  Some with eyes refuse to see… some with ears refuse to hear.  Their minds are made up… don’t try to confuse them with facts.

        4. Ron

          And some, unfortunately, periodically make uncalled-for statements designed to incite.  (Sort of the very definition of trolling.)

          Either missed the point, or just trying to seek reaction. Either way, a willful failure to seek understanding and simultaneously incite negative reaction.

        5. Matt Williams

          Ron said . . . “For now, I’m not planning to “search” for them, though.  (Pretty time-consuming, unless one knows an easy way to do so.)”

          It is time consuming Ron.  You may want to create a Word document where you copy and paste comments that are “meaningful” to you.  That saves a lot of search time.

        6. Ron

          Again, I’d look at Marge’s suggestion (which has essentially been repeated by others), and which ties in nicely with Tia’s general suggestion.

        7. Ron

          Thanks for the suggestion, Matt.

          No problem, Howard. I think you failed to see the point I was making, which was closely related to the topic of this article. Suggesting that opposing parties “negotiate” after a proposal has already been submitted and undergone a lot of “processing” is not an ideal way to plan. It also suggests (correctly, or not) that the city has given tacit “approval” to the proposal.

        8. Howard P

          Guess I did miss your point, Ron… as you have apparently missed mine… “negotiation” has little/no place in land use processes/decisions… a constitutional and legal issue, to me… a property owner (my view) needs to follow the rules, but (my opinion) “vox populi” has no place to alter the rules once a proposal is made.

          Guess you, I, and others will have to ‘agree to disagree’ on what “process” should be…

          A rezone is obviously a ‘change in rules’, to an extent, but that doesn’t mean it should be an open “negotiation”, if it is consistent with the ‘spirit’ of the rules… the Stirling proposal is a “tweener”… I’m focused on the general case…

        9. Ron

          Howard:

          Thank you.  I’m not sure that you made this statement previously (in this particular thread), but I have seen you state this in the past.  Regardless, I do understand your point.

          I do look at it a little differently, especially when zoning changes are involved.  Such changes do impact their surroundings (including neighbors).  Hence, the “reason” that neighbors must be considered, in general. And, that consideration often negotiation, compromise (and a willingness by the city to say “no” to such changes in zoning, regardless).

          Note that the suggestion from Marge (and others) is still a significant change from the current, allowed use of the property. And, would still address concerns that some others have expressed.

          Regarding developments such as Sterling, I actually think the city-wide impacts (and precedent) are just as important as the impact on neighbors.  I am mostly seeing drawbacks for the city (and students), regarding the unstated goal of providing housing specifically intended for students, throughout the city.  The reason that we hear more from neighbors (such as Rancho Yolo) is because they are disproportionately impacted by such proposals.

          I’m going to try to make this my last comment of the evening.

           

           

        10. Howard P

          The CC also has the power of “conditional approval”… conditions suggested by staff, PC, other commissions, etc., informed by their ‘takes’, and by public comment… not quite the same as “negotiations”… in a negotiation both parties might well expect the CC to just “bless” it… “let’s make a deal” is not good public policy, in my opinion…

        11. Ron

          Howard:

          That is an interesting point, and might actually be the “better” (and more normal) process, assuming that it’s working properly.

          In fact, having the neighbors and developers “negotiate” a solution might then put unnecessary “pressure” upon the city to approve a development (which might not be in the city’s overall interest).  Something that I hadn’t fully considered, previously.

          Of course, you could argue that (in general), the city shouldn’t be engaging in “planning by exception”, after gathering input for, and establishing the general plan and zoning.

        12. Howard P

          Ron… the “process” I referred to has been the ‘normal’ process for 30-40 years… not a new concept…

          The “new concept” is ‘planning by negotiation’… which I am strongly inclined to reject.

          The “planning by exception” concept might be more ‘real’ as a problem, if you don’t know the context of the original ‘plan’, which was often “arbitrary”… a ‘throwing darts’ kind of thing… true of GP and various SP’s… no “sim-city” analysis… political…

  4. Alan Miller

    Your process is always only going to be as good as the degree of representation by your negotiating team.  If your negotiating team is not representative of the community or neighborhood at large, or there is not buy in from a critical mass of neighbors, then the process will end much as this one does.

    Damn straight.

  5. Ron

    James R.:  “Davis needs more revenue. Sterling provides that.”

    Also couldn’t get past this statement.  Are you suggesting that revenues exceed costs, in the long term?  If so, do you have some evidence of that?

    Also, not sure what you mean by “diversity”, but I suspect it’s not really an important point regarding this proposed development.

    Which leaves student housing. (You’ve already no doubt heard where some of us are focusing our efforts, regarding that.) I suggest that we not “go there” again, in this article.

    1. James R

      I am suggesting what I’ve said.

      More people within the Davis city limits means more money being spent at local businesses, of which the city collects sales tax from. Citation: every business journal article ever.

      1. Howard P

        No… you are correct… except for short-term infusion of revenues, it (like all residential) will be somewhat of a negative [thanks, primarily to Prop 13].

        Gets down to community values as to ‘housing’… of all types… owners, renters (be they students or workers), and the homeless… pretty clear where some folk’s values lie…

  6. Ron

    Again, the developer’s representative personally acknowledged to me (months ago) that the proposal would likely be somewhat reduced from its original “proposed” size.  I recall David stating this months ago as well, on the Vanguard.

    Other than some minor changes to the design, there was no concession to neighbors.  Perhaps Rancho Yolo leaders feared that the original proposal would actually be considered, if the didn’t acquiesce.

        1. Howard P

          Source, or just opining?

          They obviously didn’t do enough “pre-planning” (or were stupid), under that theory… original proposal should have been 75% greater than it was… they could have then compromised MUCH more…

        2. Ron

          Howard:

          The “source” was the developer’s representative (to my own ears).  And, from the Vanguard. Both of these occurred months ago.

          Do you not read comments above, before opining?

        3. Howard P

          I consider “sources”… as to veracity… as we all should… particularly second-hand ones…

          Oh… yes, I have seen some development proponents “play that game”… more and more, they kinda’ have to, knowing that they will be EXPECTED to compromise… gets back to the article’s main point… if a project HAS to be NEGOTIATED, rather than up or down on its merits, a proponent has to come in high to get to what they need/want… it has become more and more a “game” than a process…

    1. Mark West

      “This entire process is starting to sound quite “familiar” (e.g., Hyatt, Trackside, . . .)”

      Good thing, as they have all followed the same legally defined process. If you don’t like the process, get the law changed.

        1. Mark West

          “It would also be “legal” to deny requests to change zoning. “

          Of course, it would, Ron. That is what gives the City leverage in the discussions as Howard and David tried to explain to you above. The City has the final say (subject to review by voter referendum or the Courts) on both the zoning changes and the project approvals. All the Developer can do is put forward the proposal for consideration.

          “Perhaps it isn’t the “law” that needs changing.”

          Public knowledge and attitude are both areas ripe for improvement.

  7. Ron

    Mark:  “Public knowledge and attitude are both areas ripe for improvement.”

    Right.  And, some city officials seem to be willing to help “improve” the public’s knowledge and attitude, whether they like it or not.

    The council (and staff who process development applications) seem to be more pro-development (overall), than the citizenry.  That seems to be the case everywhere, actually.

    Perhaps this will change, in the future.  (But, not before some more damage occurs, aided by relentless supporters of development).

    1. Mark West

      “some city officials seem to be willing to help “improve” the public’s knowledge and attitude, whether they like it or not.”

      Knowledge is a personal choice, and cannot be imposed upon you. Everyone has the option of deciding to become informed, or remaining ignorant.

      Your attitude is also something that is completely under your own control and cannot be imposed upon you, despite the best efforts of some around here.

       

    2. Ron

      Mark:   Well, I could say that the same type of statement would apply to you (or anyone, for that matter).  Kind of meaningless.

      What we’re really talking about is a fundamental difference in goals. Stating that this is related to a lack of knowledge (or “attitude”) is not accurate.

      1. Mark West

        “I could say that the same type of statement would apply to you…”

        It certainly does apply to me, Ron, that is why I said it. You were the one implying that the City could impose these on the public “whether they like it or not.” 

        “What we’re really talking about is a fundamental difference in goals.”

        No, what we are talking about is a legally defined process, which you seem to want to alter and manipulate to fit better with your bias (claiming inappropriate behavior on the part of City Officials and Staff in the process).

        1. Ron

          Mark:  You were the one implying that the City could impose these on the public “whether they like it or not.” 

          I was not implying it – I was stating it.  There are some folks on that council (and probably staff members) who have goals and values that often don’t align with many of the residents.  Sometimes, they go so far as to engage in “lecturing” those they don’t agree with.  (I can provide examples, if needed.) Unfortunately, they are in fact in a position to enforce their goals and values.

          Yes – we’re talking about a fundamental difference in goals, especially regarding the difference between people like you and me.  I shudder to think of what the city would be like, if decision-makers consistently sided with your goals.

          Truth be told, no two individuals agree on everything. But, I maintain that the council (as a whole) is more pro-development than the “average” citizenry. (You can see it regarding their continuing support for Nishi, for example.)

          1. Don Shor

            There are some folks on that council (and probably staff members) who have goals and values that often don’t align with many of the residents.

            And yet, oddly enough, they got elected.
            When you vote for a candidate for council, you can rest assured that any annexation of land into the city will be subject to a public vote. But rezoning and development issues within the city limits will be the purview of the elected council. So perhaps you should not vote for someone who you think will support redevelopment projects. Or perhaps those who oppose most growth should run a couple of candidates of their own. It’s been at least three election cycles now since a slow/no-growth candidate was in the field.

        2. Ron

          That is true, Don.  Although as noted, there are some differences regarding goals on the current council, as well.  At various times, it seems that some have indicated a willingness to consider more slow-growth points of view, and perhaps greater sensitivity to concerns of neighbors.

          But again, Mark is completely wrong, when he describes the differences as a matter of “knowledge” and “attitude”.

           

           

        3. Ron

          Don:

          Final point.  It’s not that I’m opposed to all developments, even though that seems to be the commonly-made allegation.

          More importantly, look at what Marge states (as quoted in the article, above):

          She writes, “We are not opposed to an appropriate, much smaller project of one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, like the many largely student-occupied apartment complexes already near Rancho Yolo.  We are very opposed to this massive, mostly four- and five-bedroom apartment project, which places too many students in a dorm-like situation without the amenities and support system that are provided in a college campus dorm.”

          I strongly suspect that opposition would disappear, if the suggestions in Marge’s letter were pursued. Marge’s letter echoes the statements of others, as well.

        4. Mark West

          “But again, Mark is completely wrong, when he describes the differences as a matter of “knowledge” and “attitude”.”

          Ron – I am pretty careful with my word choice. Please show me where I said that or admit that this comment is your [mis]interpretation of my words.

        5. Ron

          Mark:  “Public knowledge and attitude are both areas ripe for improvement.”

          “Everyone has the option of deciding to become informed, or remaining ignorant.
          Your attitude is also something that is completely under your own control and cannot be imposed upon you, despite the best efforts of some around here.”

          Rather than allowing this to get off-track (and devolving into something personal and simultaneously unimportant), I’d suggest reviewing earlier Marge’s suggestion, above this statement.

        6. Mark West

          “Yes – we’re talking about a fundamental difference in goals, especially regarding the difference between people like you and me.  I shudder to think of what the city would be like, if decision-makers consistently sided with your goals.”

          If the City’s decision makers sided with my goals we would be paying all of our bills, providing opportunities for appropriate housing for all residents (not just the one’s you prefer as neighbors) and expanding private business opportunities in order to provide quality jobs for residents, now and into the future. We would also be conserving farmland by increasing land-use efficiency through taller and more compact developments, recognizing that the regional population will continue to expand and that artificially limiting housing options we just make life more difficult (and expensive) for everyone. Fiscal sustainability, fair housing opportunity and land-use efficiency are the centerpieces of my ‘goals.’

          You?

           

           

        7. Ron

          Mark:

          Rather than drifting off into a larger, off-topic conversation, I’d start off by considering this from Marge (as quoted in the article, above):

          She writes, “We are not opposed to an appropriate, much smaller project of one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, like the many largely student-occupied apartment complexes already near Rancho Yolo.  We are very opposed to this massive, mostly four- and five-bedroom apartment project, which places too many students in a dorm-like situation without the amenities and support system that are provided in a college campus dorm.”

          1. Don Shor

            Hm. The U on Cantrill, just around the corner between 5th and 2nd, features 4-bedroom/4-bath units, and I’m pretty sure they are renting by the bed. Pretty much the newer the project locally, the more likely it is to be this style. She’s probably referring to units like Cambridge House.

        8. Ron

          Don:

          I don’t mind honest communications regarding the facts (whatever they are).  However, if the city would like to ensure greater “buy-in” from surrounding neighborhoods (and from those concerned about the overall impacts on the city), they probably should consider input (such as Marge’s).  Preferably, much earlier than has been the case.

          Regardless of the terminology (or other complexes which may or may not have some similar features), the issue and impacts of “megadorms” has not actually been addressed by the city.  (Planning by exception, again.)

          There may be cumulative impacts to consider, as well.

          Unfortunately, some interpret these types of concerns as “unreasonable”, “anti-growth”, or whatever other negative terminology they can come up with. And, that’s really unfortunate (and untrue), and creates unnecessary disputes.

        9. Ron

          All of this, by the way, is the reason that some saw (right away) that housing specifically oriented toward students should be on campus.  Simple message, that keeps getting argued on here, over-and-over.

          This doesn’t mean that rental housing (which is designed in a way to appeal to a broad range of occupants) shouldn’t be built. (That’s the underlying message in Marge’s letter, and the repeated statements of others as well.)

          Personally, I’d prefer it if all rezoning (to residential) was also timed in such a manner as to meet our next round of SACOG requirements, but I’d rather not get into that repetitive argument with you, either. (Of course, the city also must consider other needs, which may get shortchanged as properties are converted to high-density residential (from industrial or commercial). (Not to mention social service needs, as well.)

  8. Ron

    “That is what gives the City leverage in the discussions as Howard and David tried to explain to you above.”

    Again, what is the city’s “goal”, regarding the leverage?  This implies that they support a development, in the first place.  Why send folks to “negotiate”, after a proposal is submitted?

    Again, look at David’s comment, regarding Hyatt (in which he didn’t even acknowledge the leverage that the city handed to the developers):

    “. . . the main advantage that the city had was that the council had already indicated their tacit support for a project at the site – that meant that the leverage was on the side of the city council and it behooved the neighbors to basically get the best deal possible, knowing that they could not kill the project.”  (Emphasis added.)

    What “leverage” is being referred to, here? And, what is the goal of that leverage?

    Strangely enough, the Hyatt proposal actually yielded a tangible benefit to the neighborhood, even under those conditions. Supposedly, Sterling doesn’t have this advantage. (And yet, no meaningful concession was made, as I noted above.) Again, the developer representative personally acknowledged to me (around last September) that the development would likely be reduced in size. Again, I recall David explicitly stating this via comments, on the Vanguard last year, as well.

     

    1. David Greenwald Post author

      “This implies that they support a development, in the first place. Why send folks to “negotiate”, after a proposal is submitted?”

      Let’s go back to the Hyatt House:

      1. Proposal by developers
      2. Neighbors oppose
      3. Planning Commission votes to oppose
      4. Council signals they will support a project but wants the neighbors and applicant to try to get some sort of agreement
      5. The neighbors now know that they can’t kill the project – their original goal – they negotiate a better deal

      So why have the folks negotiate? Because they wanted the two sides to potentially reach an agreement

  9. Ron

    David:  “So why have the folks negotiate?  Because they wanted the two sides to potentially reach an agreement.”

    Exactly.  An agreement which would allow the city to approve a previously-submitted development proposal (which requires a zoning change) more easily.

    In the case of Hyatt, the city had already explicitly stated this, so it wasn’t a secret.  However, even when this isn’t explicitly stated, the fact that the city is facilitating negotiations between neighbors and developers (for a previously-submitted proposal) indicates that the city is looking for a way to more easily approve a given proposal and zoning change.  (In other words, a simple “denial” seems to be “off the table”, by that point. It goes without saying that this would favor developers, over neighbors.)

    The entire process is also reactive, and is essentially “planning by exception”, which has been discussed multiple times on the Vanguard.

    By the way, I couldn’t see your latest comment (until I logged out), again.

     

     

  10. Michael Bisch

    Honestly, I can’t even read this nonsense any longer without weighing in. Of course, “a simple denial seems to be of the table”. Duh. There are such things as property rights, Ron. The property owner has every legal right to develop their property all your incessant opining to deny such rights notwithstanding. The only question is in what matter they are permitted to develop their property. And of course the system is tilted towards development.  That’s what happens in cities and towns by definition (like where your home was developed). There’s no need to incorporate an area of vacant land where no development is intended . Those areas are known as “unincorporated areas.”

    As for your unwillingness to engage in a dialogue around goals and needs a la “drifting off into a larger, off-topic conversation”, what a surprise.  I have yet to see you acknowledge that the city/community has unmet needs or goals. You’ve made it quite clear over many months that you simply don’t care. You opine in a vacuum. What housing crisis? What commercial space shortage? What fiscal crisis? Let someone else fix these problems you are so fond of posting. It’s quite clear you are very comfortable abdicating all responsibility. Fortunately for the community, the CC and other community leaders find it not so easy.

    I’m going to check out for a while now.  I’ve got some inconsequential things to do. Tootaloo!

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