Taking a Break…

The period from November 26 to December 20 figures to be one of the more intense periods in recent times. Among other things: Affordable Housing Ordinance, Plaza 2555, University Mall Redevelopment, Mace Ranch Innovation Center is coming back, and there will be a December 20 discussion on the parcel tax.  That’s just what we know off the top of my head.

For the Vanguard coming soon we will be launching a fund drive to finance our new website expected to be launched in early January – more details coming.

We are still hoping to have a series of forums on Affordable Housing perhaps in January.

So stay tuned.

Starting Thursday November 22 and ending Sunday November 25, this is the only time of the year I take completely off.  I will see you on Monday with more hard-hitting coverage.  Thanks for your support, thanks for reading, and we’ll be back on Monday.

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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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57 Comments

        1. Ron

          Keith:  Immediately prior to the WDAAC election, I recall that David repeatedly stated that he didn’t expect any more peripheral development proposals for quite some time.

          Then, immediately after WDAAC was approved, he started arguing for an innovation center, again.

          If this is real (and depending upon the timing of David’s knowledge), I’m wondering about what seems to be conflicting statements, from David.  (To help support approval of WDAAC, first?)

          And then there’s the other related issue, regarding the claimed inability to include Affordable housing in mixed-use proposals (which I presume is what MRIC would be). Also repeatedly highlighted, by David.

        2. Ron

           
          Actually, I suspect that MRIC will come back with a land dedication site, and then encourage the Affordable housing developers to do their bidding (as occurred with WDAAC).
           
          Interesting side note, regarding the conversion of the 7.4-acre site at 3820 Chiles road (from commercial, to high-density residential).  The Historical Effects Analysis study for that site states the following (retyped below), to justify the conversion:
           

          “There is an abundant inventory of land already zoned for and better located for a business park.  Just in the immediate vicinity of the site, south of I-80 adjacent to the freeway between the Mace Blvd. and Richards Blvd. exits, there are more than 20 acres of office/R&D land.  Without counting the land proposed for this project, EPS estimates that there is 40.8 to 65.2 years inventory of vacant net acres in the city suitable for office and R&D/Flex space.”

           
          The document also states that EPS determined that there are “. . . low commercial rents prevailing in the Davis and regional markets”.
           

           

        3. Ron

          The historical analysis also (specifically) notes that the possibility of MRIC creates a significant financial risk, regarding commercial re-use of the site at 3820 Chiles Road.

          In other words, the mere specter of MRIC is already influencing development decisions and conversions of commercial sites to residential usage.

  1. Howard P

    Funny (not “ha-ha”)… on a topic of ‘taking a break’ some cannot let go of their “agenda’s”…

    Alan, will affirm your post (10:24 P yesterday)… je d’accord.

    Highbeam/Cathy, sent the check to David for your end-of-year bonus this morning… you do good work, and volunteers deserve recognition! (particularly dealing with this crowd!)

     

    1. Ron

      Not sure if that’s directed at me, but MRIC is specifically mentioned in David’s article, above.

      However, it is my “agenda” to point out some facts/analyses which haven’t received any attention, here. (Apparently, because it doesn’t fit in with the Vanguard’s agenda.) And, I plan to continue doing so.

      I’m going to do what I can to ensure that the property in question remains prime farmland, outside of city limits.

      1. Don Shor

        Many hours of commission work have gone into the discussions about economic development and peripheral business parks. Here is some reading material for you.
        https://cityofdavis.org/city-hall/commissions-and-committees/innovation-park-task-force/background-and-reference-documents
        The issue of conserving the prime farmland east of Davis came up in a big way when Mace 391 was debated a few years ago. That is the parcel due north of where MRIC would be. It is now in an agricultural preserve easement in perpetuity. So the MRIC site is essentially landlocked with respect to further development, and does not encourage urban expansion (“leapfrog development”) if the business park goes forward.

        1. Ron

          Don:  There are quite a few links on the website, some dating back 8 years.

          It’s pretty apparent that things have changed (regarding the proposal itself, the complete withdrawal and conversion of other sites for housing, new competition from surrounding communities, etc.)  And, the housing and stock markets are really starting to decline again, now.

          And, as noted above, there’s still between 40-65 years inventory of vacant commercial land, within Davis – according to EPS. As noted, commercial rents in Davis and the region are also relatively low.

          Perhaps it’s time to consider permanent conservation of the MRIC site, via the mitigation required for other recently-approved developments. (Resulting in one less freeway access point wrecked by development, as well.)

           

        2. Ron

          Correction:  Some of the documents that Don referred to date back 10 years (coinciding with the early stages of the last housing crash). Of course, back then, it didn’t include housing.

          With any luck, some of those same forces will discourage this type of development for (at least) another 10 years. Perhaps providing an opportunity to preserve the site, to match its surroundings (and to maintain a logical boundary for development).

          1. Don Shor

            Some of the documents that Don referred to date back 10 years

            I suggest you read them. A lot of people have put a lot of thought and effort into expanding the business opportunities here in order to make the city more fiscally solvent.
            The economic cycles you are mentioning affect the absorption rate. They don’t diminish the demand over time.

            If a city wishes to grow business revenues and improve its tax base, it’s best to have the land zoned and ready for development and provided with basic infrastructure so that it will be available during periods of high demand. If there is a range of sites of different sizes, proximities to freeway or UCD or basic amenities, that will increase the likelihood that an expanding or new business will decide to locate or grow its operations here. Then a city needs to have a staff that is pursuing those firms and marketing the sites, especially when demand is increasing.

            Bottom line is that economic cycles don’t eliminate the need for sites for businesses, and getting those firms to locate here requires a reasonable inventory and aggressive outreach and marketing. Davis has obvious advantages in attracting businesses, but the obstacles have clearly outweighed those advantages in recent years. One thing that is clearly missing is a larger site. That was the point of the Innovation Park Task Force, appointed by the council, which generated the reports I linked.

        3. Ron

          Don:  If you’re going to post links to a site that has multiple documents (and refers to more than one topic, and more than one development), you might want to discuss how they specifically support the argument you’re trying to make.  I’m not particularly interested in searching through them, to support your arguments.

          But again, do those documents or arguments note the 40-65 year inventory of commercial sites that exist within Davis city limits?  (Strange, how we never hear about that on here.)

          Your silence was also defeaning, when the other innovation center sites were converted to housing.

          There is no way that MRIC will be approved, without significant opposition. I’m personally ready to devote some time and effort to that, and not limited to arguing with development activists on the Vanguard.

          I would have to add that I’m disappointed in you, as well. I don’t recall a single development that you’ve opposed. Seems like you’re firmly in the development activist camp, at this point. All of your efforts have been in opposition to those who support slow growth.

          1. Don Shor

            Your silence was also defeaning, when the other innovation center sites were converted to housing.

            I publicly supported Nishi I, which was rejected by the voters largely due (in my opinion) to the impact of the commercial component. So I supported Nishi II because we needed the housing.
            I’ve been dubious about the site near the hospital for commercial development because it is not close to the major freeway. If someone wants to put a business park there, I’d support it. But I doubt that will happen.
            MRIC is ideally located for a business park and would not lead to any further development in that part of town.

            If you’re going to post links to a site that has multiple documents (and refers to more than one topic, and more than one development), you might want to discuss how they specifically support the argument you’re trying to make. I’m not particularly interested in searching through them, to support your arguments.

            I was just suggesting that there is a resource there with information that you might find useful. The fiscal benefits of a peripheral business park seem pretty obvious to me, and also seemed obvious to a series of city councils and a lot of people who worked to figure out how to make at least one of them happen.
            I think housing at MRIC would almost guarantee that it will not be approved. I hope that the Ramos team understands that political reality.

        4. Ron

          Don:  “I think housing at MRIC would almost guarantee that it will not be approved. I hope that the Ramos team understands that political reality.”

          I hope so, too.  All things considered, I’d rather not have to devote a significant portion of my life for the next year or two, working to generate opposition (in conjunction with others who would likely materialize).

          As a side note, UCD did not want commercial traffic going through their property, from Nishi. Also, the site in Woodland will be dependent upon the same freeway as the Davis Innovation Center would have used. (Therefore, I’m not sure why you think that was an “obstacle”, in Davis.)

          Personally, I’d rather just see the MRIC site preserved, once and for all.

        5. Ron

          The other thing I’m concerned about is that an innovation center (with, or without housing) will be used to justify some other peripheral housing development.  Davis is already a net “importer” of commuters, due to employment at UCD. There is no “internal need” to add even more employment.

          Even without an innovation center, there’s constant advocacy on here for more residential development.

          I’d personally oppose another Covell Village just as strongly.

          It would be nice if the development activists “counted their recent wins”, and didn’t attempt to push this any further – for the next few years at least. (But, I’m not counting on that, since development activists can never be satisfied.)

          1. Don Shor

            The purpose of a peripheral business park is to increase the city’s tax base and increase revenues, making the city more fiscally stable.

        6. Howard P

          Ron… your 4:08… what are you willing to financially commit to, to make that happen

          Personally, I’d rather just see the MRIC site preserved, once and for all.

          What “power” do you wish to assert over the property of others?  Should we all assert the same over yours? Probably annexed, developed on prime ag…
          “H” word is in play… and I don’t mean ‘Howard’… or do you have ‘resident guilt’? [Whatever that might mean…]

           

        7. Ron

          Howard:  I’ve never understood your opposition to my posts.

          I’d suggest using agricultural mitigation funds, to maintain the same zoning and usage that already exists at the MRIC site.

          Using that logic, perhaps you and I should be paid to maintain the zoning on our respective property.  And yet, we’ve both been doing so, for “free”. (In fact, we pay a much higher rate in taxes and fees for that “privilege”.)

        8. Howard P

          Ron… there is no viable pass-through agreement now…

          The County of Yolo has pretty much every power and right to zone and approve development outside City limits…

          Learn, grasshopper…

          Mace Ranch was developed under such a possible scenario…

        9. Ron

          If the pass-through agreement is an “obstacle”, than why are we hearing about the resurrection of MRIC in the article, above? Also, why isn’t that an obstacle with Nishi and WDAAC?

          If it’s presented to and approved by voters, the land would be annexed to the city.

  2. Ron

    Don:  “The purpose of a peripheral business park is to increase the city’s tax base and increase revenues, making the city more fiscally stable.”

    Ron:  And, as noted above, there’s still between 40-65 years inventory of vacant commercial land, within Davis – according to EPS. As noted, commercial rents in Davis and the region are also relatively low.

    (This also speaks to “market demand” for commercial sites.  As does the multiple conversions of existing commercial sites, to housing.  As does the withdrawal of all innovation center proposals, which have also been morphing into housing developments.)

    Optimistic projections put forth by developments activists (which conflict with reality) usually don’t pan out.

    1. Ron

      Actually, won’t the pass-through agreement “skim off” a significant portion of the supposed revenues from a peripheral development?  (I understand that’s not the case, regarding development of existing commercial properties in Davis.)
       
      But really, we’re getting ahead of ourselves, here. There isn’t even a specific proposal or analysis, at this point. There’s plenty of time for David to argue that there won’t be any significant extra costs to the city, despite what EPS (or some other external consultant) might say. And besides, David is still busy trying to undermine Affordable housing requirements and Measure R, for now.

      As they say, one step at a time.

    2. Howard P

      Ron… absent the pass-through agreement, the County can approve any type of development outside City limits.  Period.

      Measure J/R does not affect property not proposed for annexation to the City.

      The County can approve MRIC without any vote of Davis residents.

      1. Ron

        Howard:  So, the pass-through agreement helps prevent that from happening, but also skims-off revenues that the city would otherwise receive.

        Which is not an issue, regarding the 40-65 year inventory of commercial sites that exist within the city.

        There’s no indication that MRIC would bypass the city. But, if there’s an attempt to do so, then the county will have to deal with providing police, fire, sewer, water, garbage pickup, etc. Somehow, I doubt the county wants to be in the business of providing that, for an isolated MRIC.

        1. Ron

          In any case, I view this as another reason to ensure that the land remains as is, via the use of mitigation fees.

          Perhaps it’s time for development activists to “take a break”.

        2. Don Shor

          So, the pass-through agreement helps prevent that from happening, but also skims-off revenues that the city would otherwise receive.

          Not any more.
          The pass-through agreement came into existence because a developer went to the county and sought approval for what now is Mace Ranch. That developer was Frank Ramos. He is the father of Dan Ramos, who is the one seeking to develop MRIC. The basis of the pass-through agreement has gone away with the redevelopment districts.
          You can read the whole story of how it transpired in Mike Fitch’s excellent history, available at the City of Davis web site. So the risk of the county bypassing the city to allow this development seems slim, but it is not non-existent.

          the 40-65 year inventory of commercial sites that exist within the city.

          There was considerable analysis of the available vacant commercial sites in the city. You can find a map in the links I have posted for you. There are a lot of reasons those sites have not been developed. A peripheral site close to the freeway is much likelier to get developed sooner than any number of those sites, thereby providing tax revenues to the city. Buildout of MRIC is projected to be much faster, as you will find in the analysis in the links I’ve provided you.

          Freeway frontage development is the low-hanging fruit for tax revenues for the city. Every other city along I-80 has developed freeway commercial to a much greater extent than Davis has, which is one of the reasons they have better tax income on a per capita basis. It’s a way of bringing in money that has the least impact on residents. And with the land around it protected for agriculture, MRIC would not be a growth-inducing project.

        3. Ron

          Don:  “Not any more.”

          Please explain.  Are you stating that there won’t be any pass-through agreement, if MRIC comes forward and is approved?  Are there no pass-through agreements forthcoming, for Nishi and WDAAC?

           

          Don:  “There are a lot of reasons those sites have not been developed.”

          Maybe.  There’s also reasons that all of the other innovation center proposals have been converted to housing (not to mention some existing commercial sites, within the city.)  But, as noted in the historical analysis I provided above, the mere “specter” of MRIC is one of the reasons that 3820 Chiles Road is being converted from commercial to residential.  Maybe you think this is a good thing.

          Don:  “A peripheral site close to the freeway is much likelier to get developed sooner than any number of those sites, thereby providing tax revenues to the city. “

          Again, maybe you think it’s a good thing to have 40-65 years inventory of empty/unused commercial sites, within the city.  (Which aren’t subjected to pass-through agreements.)  Maybe you think it’s better to have a peripheral commercial development on prime farmland outside of city limits, which will encourage even more commuters to Davis.  (And, will encourage some of the innovation center residents to commute elsewhere.)

          I’d also like to know what the actual market demand is, for commercial sites. As noted above, there is a 40-65 year inventory, within the city. The analysis discussed above states that commercial rents are comparatively low, in the city and region. And, Davis is facing new competition from surrounding cities.

      2. Jim Frame

        The County can approve MRIC without any vote of Davis residents.

        However, it the city declined to provide sewer, water and storm drainage service to the parcel, would development be feasible?

         

        1. Howard P

          Given the size, very well might be… would need a lot more info on the technical part, and as to the economics, not sure… wasn’t my specialty.

          Wild Wings?  ND Meadows? Willowbank (non-City)? Binning Tract? El Macero?

          Interesting question, tho’… a CSA would definitely be needed, but some of the CSA’s have successfully negotiated service agreements with the City for one or more utilities.

          I responded (quoted item) to the fallacy that the City, or certain citizens within, own or even fully control its borders…

          Maybe need that “moat”… or perhaps a “wall”… heard those things suggested elsewhere… and we’ll “make the County pay for it”, right?

  3. Jim Frame

    I don’t know about Wild Wings, but I think El Macero and Willowbank are both on city water due to water quality concerns.  Binning Tract might be on individual wells; don’t know about Binning Ranch.  (I’m away from the office so don’t have access to my utility map book.)  Given the difficulty the city has had meeting WQ standards with well water, this might be a make-or-break consideration.

    1. Howard P

      Point was/is, neither were initially… not for many, many years. ND Meadows and El Macero, CSA’s with their own sewer/water (and still, drainage) for many years…

      I did not mention Binning Ranch… last I saw, except for a gate, there’s nothing there.

      “Cherry picking”(?), avoiding main points… but you’re not alone…

      1. Jim Frame

        Point was/is, neither were initially… not for many, many years.

        Point was/is, water, wastewater and storm water discharge requirements are much more stringent than they were back in the day.  The cost of meeting those with onsite facilities may no longer be feasible.

    2. Jim Frame

      Back in town now (long drive from Long Beach!).  According to the 2014 city utility atlas, NDM is on city well water (onsite wells) and city sewer (4″ force main).  Neither Binning development has city connections.  El Macero is on city water and sewer.  Old Willowbank is on city water and (apparently) onsite septic tanks.

      Wild Wings has its own county-run CSA.  The 300+ homeowners there each pay about $4k annually for water (presumably onsite wells) and sewer (a 3.5-acre onsite treatment plant), for a total annual tab on the order of $1.2M.  Although the overall Wild Wings developed area (not counting the golf course) is roughly the same size as MRIC, I would expect an innovation park would have to spread the infrastructure and operations costs over a much smaller number of parcels.  I don’t know how the service demands would compare between the two uses.

  4. Ron

    Regardless of what one thinks of a peripheral development, it’s ultimately not going to be settled on here.  Therefore, I’d argue that the city should proceed carefully regarding conversion of its existing commercial sites, even if there is a 40-65 year inventory.

    It certainly would be foolish to count on a peripheral development that hasn’t even been submitted or analyzed, and may ultimately not be approved.

  5. Alan Miller

    Regardless of what one thinks of a peripheral development, it’s ultimately not going to be settled on here.

    . . .  and certainly not this long weekend on a thread named, “I’m taking a break”.  Maybe said commenters should listen to the title of the article, and consider serious psychological help if they don’t get the hint.

    1. Jim Frame

      Maybe said commenters should listen to the title of the article, and consider serious psychological help if they don’t get the hint.

      Are you kidding?  I just spent the last 5 days in SoCal with my inlaws, I’m just getting warmed back up!  (Hey, where’d everybody go?)

  6. Ron

    Alan:  “Maybe said commenters should listen to the title of the article, and consider serious psychological help if they don’t get the hint.”

    Seems strange, that some aren’t taking a break themselves (and are choosing to engage), while simultaneously making comments like this about others who are doing the same thing.  I guess that some have no self-reflection.

    It also seems that the new Vanguard policy isn’t going to filter these type of comments out, based upon ID alone.

    MRIC was mentioned in the article, itself. The only one taking a break is David (for the moment).

     

    1. Howard P

      Affordable Housing Ordinance, Plaza 2555, University Mall Redevelopment, Mace Ranch Innovation Center is coming back, and there will be a December 20 discussion on the parcel tax

      Technically you are correct.  One referent in a constellation.

      1. Ron

        Howard:  I’m just getting a “head start” regarding the onslaught of one-sided Vanguard articles to come, regarding this topic. (Which actually started immediately after WDAAC was approved.)

        With that said, let’s end this thread. Especially since you haven’t made a single point that has any validity, in your multiple comments above.

    2. Alan Miller

      Seems strange, that some aren’t taking a break themselves (and are choosing to engage), while simultaneously making comments like this about others who are doing the same thing.

      Think of me as a mirror.  A very strange mirror.

      1. Ron

        If it makes you feel any better, I’ll consider psychological help after I help defeat MRIC.  😉

        (Hopefully, there won’t be any other “whack-a-moles” for awhile, after that.)

  7. Craig Ross

    Ron: You may not be alone, but if history is any sort of guide, it will be a small handful of the usual suspects.

    BTW, are you again MRIC or just MRIC with housing?

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