By Gerry Braun
Measure B would authorize development of the Davis Innovation & Sustainability Campus (“DISC”) north of I-80 and east of Mace Boulevard.
I support Measure B because I believe DISC’s benefits and environmentally responsible plans outweigh concerns expressed by opponents. The buffer between Davis and surrounding ag land remains secure despite the DISC exception. Accelerating transportation sector changes make long term traffic patterns hard to predict. Foreseeable traffic congestion concerns can be addressed by the City, using funds committed by the developer.
A decisive consideration not covered in ballot arguments is the opportunity the project affords the City to collaborate in providing exemplary climate emergency leadership. It is the first project of its kind in the nation to commit to using 100% renewable electricity. It will be microgrid ready which means everything will be pre-wired to support local energy generation, storage, and distribution on site.
The impact of ideas, innovations, and experience UC Davis generates can be magnified by follow up in the private and public sectors. For example, UCD’s net zero carbon solar village and its community scale solar array have no counterparts in our City. To confidently apply UCD’s cutting edge energy and climate initiatives, the City needs a partner whose vision matches its own and whose capacities are complementary. I think the DISC developer can be such a partner. I hope it will be, along with PG&E and Valley Clean Energy.
As generally outlined in public documents, the project is not perfect. No project of similar scope can hope to be. However, DISC meets important community needs likely otherwise to go unmet. My conclusion is that its developer has listened to community input and used it to make sensible, environmentally appropriate adjustments to the project plan.
More detailed City and public attention as the project builds out could maximize public benefits while minimizing environmental costs. I hope the City Council, City staff, UC Davis and knowledgeable citizens will continue to engage with the developer to erect a new standard for carbon neutral and energy resilient land development in northern California.
Gerry Braun is a member of the City of Davis Utilities Commission and the Valley Clean Energy Community Advisory Committee
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