From the start, the Cannery project has been fraught with controversy and a series of 3-2 votes that have allowed the developers to have multi-bites at the apple when they have miscalculated or wished reconsideration of part of their plan. To date, the council, albeit narrowly, has obliged.
But in our view, this continued pattern is becoming a problem for the city and is putting current housing needs at risk. It is time for the council to show mettle and tell the Cannery folks either the word “no” or, at the very least, the word “wait” and get in the back of the line.
Once again, the arguments put forward by Bob Dunning in his column Tuesday greatly oversimplify the problem by suggesting in Davis “every big change is controversial.” He’s not wrong on that, but if the Cannery isn’t justifiably controversial, I don’t know what is.
There was a bit of a self-serving nature to the fitness clubs of Davis coming out to oppose LA Fitness. I used to be a member of 24 Hour Fitness, I’m now a member of Get Fit Davis, and it was nice to see the owner come out and speak from the heart. They do a good job and have a good product. I think it probably survives because there are sizable groups of people in this community who are not going to want to go to a big club.
In a way, however, the presence of the local gym owners distracts from what I see as the bigger problem here.
The bigger problem here is that, once again, Cannery is coming back to council after badly miscalculating – once again. Even worse is this is not the last time. There are already other changes on the
The thing about Cannery is not that a fitness center is a big deal or should be controversial. Rather, it just feels like their entire project has been one miscalculation/recalculation after another and, after awhile, you just shake your head at this stuff.
My concern is this takes up bandwidth needed to deal with more pressing issues that weren’t decided five calendar years ago.
But actually it is worse than that. I had a conversation Tuesday night with a few people citing Cannery as a reason to be skeptical about Nishi because of this ever-changing process. While they have legitimate concerns, at least with Nishi the baseline features and any major changes to them will require a new vote. And, while deciding what constitutes “major change” may be debatable, what’s not debatable is that most of the new bites of the apple from Cannery would have triggered a new vote for Nishi.
But this is something council needs to be cognizant of – every time they go back to accommodate Nishi on a failed promise, they are undermining their own credibility.
As one person told me, “There’s a ‘here we go again’ feeling. And this isn’t even going to be the last one.”
So the question is why allow them to do this? The council has the power to put an end to this, and, speaking with some members of council this week, there may well be the votes to do just that.
Is that why Cannery asked to delay the vote on Tuesday night? We don’t know for sure, but it would seem a reasonable possibility.
The problem here once again is the Cannery promised something to the community that they could not deliver upon. So, instead of being held accountable, they want the council to let them off the hook.
As George Phillips of ConAgra explained at the Planning Commission earlier this month, “We were hoping that we could attract a large food format that would have been an attraction within the city because it was going to be unique, (like) nothing else in the city.”
Again, this is not the first time that they have done this.
In 2013, the project was approved on a 3-2 split vote with then-Mayor Joe Krovoza and Councilmember Brett Lee voting in opposition.
The infrastructure needs caused the developers to come back after the fact and request the passage of a CFD (Community Facilities District) costing residents at Cannery, which pushed the project back before the council in 2015 for another 3-2 vote approving the CFD, this time with Brett Lee and Robb Davis in opposition.
In May 2015, then-Mayor Pro Tem Robb Davis stated, “I still don’t understand why the New Home Company needs this CFD to cover their costs. The infrastructure that we’re approving tonight, $6 million is already in place – they found a way to finance it. It’s already in place. $6 million of the $8 million is already in place according to Bob Clarke.”
Nor was the CFD the only issue. In April 2016, the Cannery pulled back at the last second from a number of proposed changes to increase the number of stacked flats while reducing the number of small builder units.
At some point, Cannery has made its bed, let them lie in it. Clearly the heat is on as the applicant requested a delay, but unless they actually pull back entirely, the precedent will be once again set and it will harm the council and city’s credibility not only on this project, but on future projects.
It is time to put a stop to this. And the council has the ability to say enough is enough. We have approved the project, make it work to the best of your ability.
The problem otherwise is you end up with people making arguments like this: Developers in Davis are promising things that they can’t deliver on, just to make a sale. While I think the notion that this was done intentionally or represents “bait and switch” as the Enterprise editorial implied is moving beyond the facts, reasonable people still can and should question this process and whether it is in the best interest of this community.
Once again it falls to council to just say no. Will they do it this time?
—David M. Greenwald reporting