CEQA Addendum Finds Significantly Reduced Impacts of DISC on Traffic, GHG Emissions

By David M. Greenwald
Executive Editor

Davis, CA – This past summer the developers of DISC returned with a 2022 version of the project that reduces the overall size and scope of the project from 194 acres at the time the project was voted down in November 2020 to a revised 102 acre project that includes approximately 1.1 million square feet of research, office and R&D space along with other uses.

On Wednesday, the city released an addendum to the SEIR that not surprisingly given the reduction in size and scope, shows reduced impacts from traffic and GHG emissions.

“The DiSC 2022 CEQA Addendum thoroughly analyzes our updated smaller plan and confirms that it will have far fewer and less severe potential environmental impacts compared to our previous proposal,” Dan Ramos, project manager for DiSC 2022 said in a statement.  “Overall traffic, for example, is cut by 55 percent. We’ve worked hard to redesign the DiSC, and the Addendum should provide comfort that the new plan is a good fit for the community.”

Ramos added, “We’re looking forward to sharing more as the review and approval moves forward about what Davis residents can expect with our project. We hope that as the community learns more about the exciting role this facility will play in addressing global challenges like climate change and food scarcity, and its potential to enhance local quality of life for current and future generations, that it will be easy to see why DiSC 2022 merits support.”

The EIR notes, “the currently proposed project is similar to the previous iteration in that the current in the mix of previously proposed land uses; however, such land uses would be implemented at a reduced scale.”

Maximum building heights for the project are 85 feet for the multi-family housing as well as the hotel and conference center.

The FAR for the project site will be 0.71 – exceeding the 0.5 FAR minimum threshold by the city in 2014 but a slight reduction from the 0.93 FAR of the previous project.

One of the big points of contention in 2020 was the nearly 6000 (5858) parking spaces at the previous project.  That has been reduced to just over 2000 at 2050.

With the reduction of the Office/R&D/Supportive Retail from 1.6 million sf to 630,000, the parking space allotment there reduces from 3848 to 1050.

According to the EIR, “The parking ratios used for DiSC 2022’s commercial components are consistent with those planned in the previous DISC project, which represented a considerable reduction from the parking requirements set forth in Davis Municipal Code Section 40.25.090. Similarly, at a ratio of 1:1, parking associated with the project’s residential units is proposed at a standard less than the City average and in a manner that reflects the walkability of the project site and current trends in personal transit preferences.”

The time horizon for the reduced project has been decreased from over 20 years to 10 to 15 years.

The build out would occur in two phases.  Phase 1 would “consist of approximately 50 acres and

would include 550,000 sf of innovation building space, 80,000 sf of supportive retail, and up to 275 residential units, comprised of single- and multi-family housing types and estimated to consist of approximately 183 multi-family units and 92 townhouse units. Construction of the residential units would be timed to slightly trail the commercial development, so that jobs are created on-site prior to offering housing.”

It continues, “Consistent with the previous DISC project, housing would be permitted at the DiSC 2022 site at a ratio of one unit for every 2,000 sf of nonresidential development (supportive retail excluded).

“The objective continues to be to time the availability of the homes to be concurrent with the creation of jobs, thereby maximizing the likelihood that on-site employees would occupy the units,” the EIR notes. “Such an approach would achieve the greatest environmental benefit of including housing within the project site.

The housing is planned to include “a variety of mixed-use, rental, and for-sale residential options, including many affordable units, catering to the needs and demands of the full array of on-site employees.”

However, once again, “the housing would not be restricted to only employees, but would be available to the at-large community.”

According to a new traffic analysis by Fehr & Peers, the DiSC 2022 project would generate 11,284 net new daily vehicle trips, with 1,052 trips occurring during the AM peak hour and 1,155 trips occurring during the PM peak hour.

This again marks a considerable reduction from the nearly 24,000 projected trips generated by the original DISC project with about 2200 during the AM peak hour and nearly 2500 during the PM peak hour.

The EIR notes: “Due to the substantial decrease in vehicle trips as a result of the DiSC 2022 project, in comparison to the DISC project, the potential for the DiSC 2022 project to cause localized CO concentrations would be substantially less than the DISC project. Thus, a full CO analysis was not warranted for the proposed project.”

The EIR continues, “Because the DISC project was determined to result in a less-than-significant impact related to localized CO emissions, the proposed DiSC 2022 project would also result in a less-than-significant impact related to such. Thus, the proposed project would not result in a new significant impact or substantially more severe significant impact related to localized CO than was previously identified in the SEIR.”

Finally with respect to housing – “Project changes or circumstances that would adversely affect the analysis in the SEIR related to population and housing have not occurred.”

The original SEIR found that the 2020 DISC project would have generated 5882 new employees, “which would have correlated to an additional 815 housing units within the City needed to serve the projected employee population.”

As their calculation went, “the SEIR estimated that employee housing demand at buildout of the DISC project would have been 3,763 households.”

The original DISC project would have resulted “in an employee housing demand of 2,053 units within the City, and the remaining housing units (1,710) would have been met outside of Davis, within the six-county SACOG region. After accounting for City of Davis residential unit capacity, the SEIR determined that of the 2,053 units demanded by DISC project employees within the City, the project would have needed to provide approximately 815 units.”

The new project is projected to generate around 2800 employees, “which would result in a housing demand at buildout of approximately 1,729 units.”

Using the same metric, “a reduced amount of approximately 944 units would be required in Davis to accommodate the increased housing demand from DiSC 2022 employees.”

The EIR notes that with the approval of the Housing Element, the city approved a total of 2088  units for moderate and above moderate income – likely to align with the income of DiSC 2022 employees, “With that capacity, the raw demand for housing in Davis generated by

DiSC 2022 could be met with the existing planned and approved units and, as such, the project does not induce a need for increased housing construction.”

The project also includes a housing component with 460 units of on-site housing to “further help ensure that adequate housing is available for the project’s employees within the City.”

The EIR concludes: “the currently proposed project would not result in new significant impacts or substantially more severe significant impacts related to population and housing beyond what were previously identified in the preceding environmental documents.”

See the full CEQA Addendum – here.

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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48 Comments

  1. Keith Olson

     We hope that as the community learns more about the exciting role this facility will play in addressing global challenges like climate change and food scarcity

    How so?

    Maximum building heights for the project are 85 feet for the multi-family housing as well as the hotel and conference center.

    So we’re talking what, 7 stories?  Were the building heights this tall in the other DISC?

      1. Keith Olson

        Who cares how tall the buildings are on campus?  What does that have to do with DISC?  We’re talking the possibility of tall buildings on the edge of town here in the case of DISC4.

        1. Bill Marshall

          We’re talking the possibility of tall buildings on the edge of town here in the case of DISC4.

          What is inherently ‘wrong’ with that?

          Not saying it is inherently ‘right’, but I see nothing inherently ‘wrong’ with it, either.  All it could do is ‘cut off the view’ of the much higher structures in Sacto… has little ‘value’ to me…

        2. Ron Glick

          There is no written rule that I know of about how tall the buildings are in Davis but as Joseph Campbell pointed out many years ago “Whoever has the tallest building runs the town.” In and around Davis that has historically been UC Davis. That is why I’m interested in how this proposed height compares to the buildings on campus.

    1. Alan Miller

      > So we’re talking what, 7 stories?

      Rule of thumb is 15 feet for the first floor and 11 feet for floors above, plus a few feet for the roof, depending on the slope.  So likely 7 stories.

  2. Don Shor

    The new project is projected to generate around 2800 employees, “which would result in a housing demand at buildout of approximately 1,729 units.”

    Using the same metric, “a reduced amount of approximately 944 units would be required in Davis to accommodate the increased housing demand from DiSC 2022 employees.”

    The EIR notes that with the approval of the Housing Element, the city approved a total of 2088  units for moderate and above moderate income – likely to align with the income of DiSC 2022 employees, “With that capacity, the raw demand for housing in Davis generated by

    DiSC 2022 could be met with the existing planned and approved units and, as such, the project does not induce a need for increased housing construction.”

    I’m guessing this is going to require some further explanation. But basically they’re saying that DISC/2 will use up about 45% of the housing allocation of the Housing Element.

    1. David Greenwald

      It appears (I need to explore further) that they assume that some employees will simply move into existing housing stock that becomes vacant during the ordinary course of turnover. Remember as well the build out is about twice the HES period of 8 years, so it overlaps two not one period.

      1. David Greenwald

        This is the discussion from the SEIR: “Based upon empirical commute patterns for Davis area employees, the SEIR assumed 45.4 percent of new DISC employees would have sought housing outside of the City, with 54.6 percent of new DISC employees living in Davis. As such, the DISC project would have resulted in an employee housing demand of 2,053 units within the City, and the remaining housing units (1,710) would have been met outside of Davis, within the six-county SACOG region. After accounting for City of Davis residential unit capacity, the SEIR determined that of the 2,053 units demanded by DISC project employees within the City, the project would have needed to provide approximately 815 units. “

  3. Alan Miller

    We hope that as the community learns more about the exciting role this facility will play in addressing global challenges like climate change and food scarcity

    I don’t believe anyone who says they are going to address global challenges.  I do believe they wish to tap into the government money to ‘address’ such lofty goals.

    This appears to be a smaller version of DISC, which I voted FOR.  DISC had a very long build-out rate, with more land.  This is smaller, so the numbers are smaller, but will be filled by demand, so will fill up to the same size as the proportion of the earlier DISC proposal at the same rate, at which point no doubt the developers will propose a new project.  So I don’t see this as any different than the previous project, except an attempt to appear to have lower numbers.  I don’t see it, as I’m not blinded by such tactics.

    Because this is smaller there appears to be no intention of building the pedestrian tunnel under Maced Students Boulevard.  Because of this, my current status is to OPPOSE this new version of DISC.  My mind can be changed.  Y’all know how.

    1. wesleysagewalker

      Alan,

       

      They are going to be contributing land and money towards the undercrossing at Mace. The city will have millions of dollars of impact fees at their disposal to cover the gap as well as the ability to apply for grants via the $1.2 trillion dollar infrastructure bill that just passed. The project will carry a lot of the load for creating this undercrossing, but it is too heavy a burden for this scaled down project to take on entirely. The city will have many options to see this through so I don’t think this should be such a concern to you. The developers absolutely support the undercrossing, but without the scale from last time, this is too much of a fixed cost to be placed on the reduced project. Not sure how convincing you find this, but the means will be there to build this; however, it requires the city to step up some which may or may not give you reassurance.

      1. Alan Miller

        Thanks, WS.   I will have to hear more before the vote, and I will be listening – both to what the City and the developer have to say about this

        This project is still quite sizable, one of the largest single projects in Davis history.  Mace is a significant barrier.  Underpasses have been built throughout Davis — these are part of our infrastructure DNA.  There will be residents, potentially families, living there and heading back west into current Davis, as well as bike commuters east from Davis to DISC.

        I am understanding about costs to the developers, but this underpass is monumentally important.  I do not feel comfortable with a simple intention and desire that leads to an underpass maybe in a generation or two down the road.  2045 to 2070 – is that acceptable to people?

        1. Ron Oertel

          In other words, a future underpass would be dependent upon additional peripheral development, which is *ahem* likely to face opposition as well.

          Starting with the “other half” of the development, which would probably arise in the form of a housing proposal.

          Something about a camel’s nose, under the tent.

          And by that time, costs for the underpass will rise. Any idea what the “current” cost even is?

          In the meantime, I’d suggest that they propose to build it halfway across Mace, with a “personhole” cover halfway across for access. Either that, or just use the future sewer system as a bicycle/pedestrian underpass.

      2. Bill Marshall

        Wesley… also for Alan M…

        The developers could also use their best efforts (which I believe to be considerable) to get the folks under the Mace curve (and folk to the north?), to get the R/W needed to make this puppy (bike/ped undercrossing of Mace) happen, sooner than later… even if that means cash up front to be reimbursed with CCI and/or inflation, to make things equitable when those properties develop (which they certainly will, @ some point.  The puppy needs to happen (be completed) by occupancy of 50% of the first phase (open to alternate timelines)… other UC’s (undercrossings/grade separated crossings) have varied… some were immediate, some took a lot of time (like the one under Drummond)… I’d like to see something not immediate, but sooner than later as to actual construction… needs to tie into the N/S path on E side of the Alhambra Estates portion of Mace Ranch Park, and SHOULD tie into (one or both) of the first adjacent cul-de-sac E of Mace and or sweep up to Mace bike/ped facilities…

        I’m with Alan M on this… we want to “get ‘er done”, if this project gets our vote… besides Alan M, there were 3 ‘yes votes’ on the original measure in this household… the commitment to “get ‘er done”, early on, is crucial to many votes, I suspect… it should be part of the “baseline”, with early implementation… it needs to be accomplished, not just ‘partially funded’, if the project is approved.

        Like Alan M,

        I will have to hear more before the vote, and I will be listening – both to what the City and the developer have to say about this… and,

        but this underpass is monumentally important.  I do not feel comfortable with a simple intention and desire that leads to an underpass maybe in a generation or two down the road.

        As someone who was very involved with getting the bike/ped grade separated crossings done (probably all but 4-5… the ones pre- 1979) this aspect of the ‘baseline features’ is very important to me, professionally, and ethically.

         

        1. Craig Ross

          The ability to redesign the interchange to separate those getting on I80 from those staying in town is going to be a huge part of whatever mitigation the city will need to do here.  Really in both directions.

        2. Matt Williams

          Craig, I have lived just off of Mace Blvd for 23 years, so I have a wealth of experience observing and driving in Mace Blvd traffic.  With that said, I am very curious how you believe the interchange can be redesigned to separate those getting on I-80 from those staying in town?    I honestly do not know of any way that that goal can be achieved.  You will be a hero in the eyes of almost all the people who use Mace Blvd (in both directions) if you can come up with a workable solution for that challenge.

        3. Craig Ross

          There are two ways to do it.  Either you bypass the overpass or you widen it and create a dedicated on-ramp lane that’s got a barrier that prevents lane changes after a certain point.  There are people a lot smarter than me that know how to do these things.  The key is you need a project that can fund it.

        4. Matt Williams

          Bypass the overpass?  How do you do that?  The cars coming south on Mace Blvd. from the Alhambra traffic light are going to fall into four categories.

          — The first group will by definition already be bypassing the overpass … they are turning west at the Ideda’s traffic light on 2nd Street to go into town.

          — The second group will also by definition be bypassing the overpass … they are turning east at the Ikeda’s light to go west on County Road 32A.

          — The third group will be getting on I-80, with most of them getting on I-80 East. They by definition have to go over the Overpass to get to the I-80 East on-ramp.

          — The fourth group will be going to the Mace-Chiles intersection and either turning right or left or going straight at that intersection. They too by definition have to go over the Overpass to get to the Mace-Chiles intersection.

          So where do you put the barrier(s) you mention? And what proportion of the total southbound traffic do you put into the four groups?

          My information tells me that the first group is about 5-7% of the total and second group is about 5-7% of the total and the third group is about 50% of the total and the fourth group is the remaining 35-40% of the total, with the total being about 1,300 vehicles.

          How long a queue does 650 (50% of 1,300) vehicles create?  Will your barriers be in place for that whole queue distance?

           

           

           

        5. Bill Marshall

          Craig… you may have inserted your comment in the wrong place… Alan M and I were speaking as to a bike/ped grade-separated crossing of Mace… north of Second/CR 32-A…

          Be that as it may, it (bike/ped crossing of Mace) has nothing, or very de minimus, effect on the Mace/I-80 interchange.  The project, with or without the bike/ped crossing will have effects on the interchange… more about local traffic and mode choice.

          Yet, now your post is fuel/bait for the Mace Interchange, Mace Boulevard, I-80 corridor discussion… valid discussion, but NOT in regards to the bike/ped crossing on Mace @ northern edge of the proposed site.

          I personally believe that the “Mace Mess”, and I-80 could easily be solved by personal decisions, with or without the project proposed… when to travel by car… I make those choices, as I do when considering when to travel thru the Richards overhead… timing is everything (just ask your significant other!)… guess some folk place more value on convenience/wants than actually thinking… particularly now when tele-commuting is more available to folk, as is flexible hours, and ‘shopping on-line’… as Pogo might say, “We have met the enemy, and it is us”… the proposed project is not an inherent problem… it is our behaviors… If I need to go to Sacto, I can choose to pick the day/time… I do so… unless there is a collision/crash, no problemo… others COULD do the same, given the flexibility on work times (schedules) that we have witnessed in the pandemic…

        6. Alan Miller

          Bypass the overpass?  How do you do that?

          Catapults  – Think Monty Python.

          Cartapults?

          How long a queue does 650 (50% of 1,300) vehicles create?

          Total vehicles doesn’t mean anything.  Vehicles per hour is the only meaningful number here, at specific hours.

        7. Matt Williams

          Bill, having attended all the City meetings on the Mace Mess, I only partially agree with your personal choice comment.  I expressed very much the same sentiment at one of the Mace Mess meetings.  The responses that came from individuals in the assembled audience were enlightening.  Retired folks like you and me definitely could avoid the Mace traffic by making different travel plans (times of travel and/or route), but many in the audience were not retired and the schedules of activities were constrained due to employment or school or children factors.  For them, the need to become a part of the Mace traffic jam was not a matter of personal choice … indeed they had no choice.

          Alan, that is 1,300 vehicles per hour, not 1,300 total vehicles. So 50% of 1,300 is 650 vehicles per hour.

        8. Keith Olson

           Either you bypass the overpass

          LOL, I would love to be at that meeting if that’s ever being put forward as the solution.  So where would that traffic end up, Richard’s Blvd?

      3. Matt Williams

        wesleysagewalker said . . . “They are going to be contributing land and money towards the undercrossing at Mace.”

        wesley, why the change from the 2020 DISC project’s responsibility to actually create/construct the underpass to simply contributing land and money?  That seems to be playing fast and loose with the safety of the lives of the residents and workers of the DiSC 2022 project.

        1. wesleysagewalker

          Matt, Alan, and Bill,

          The current project that is being proposed is roughly half the size of the original project which means that there is less total money that can be allocated towards fixed costs like the undercrossing in addition to all of the other commitments the developers will be making with respect to infrastructure, the Mace Corridor Travel Study, broadband, etc. This is part of the tradeoffs involved with project scale. This does not, however, mean that the development team will not be contributing significant resources towards the creation of the undercrossing. Moreover, it does mean that it will not be completed. As I mentioned, there are many sources of funding (the project fees, grant funding, future public financing districts, etc), so there are a lot of ways to accomplish this. West Sacramento does a great job in applying for and receiving grants. Davis can and should be very competitive in receiving infrastructure grants especially with the (for better or worse) once-in-a-generation infrastructure bill of $1.2 trillion. Matt, as someone involved in finance, I expect that you more than most can appreciate that the project still needs to generate sufficient returns to remain viable. The proposed contributions of DiSC towards the undercrossing will be significant, and the remainder of the balance will come from any of the sources I described above. This may or may not allay potential concerns, but if you consider the incentives, the DiSC development team will be very incentivized to work with the City to figure out the remainder of the funding for the undercrossing since they will be be a beneficiary of its completion. Looking forward to continuing the conversation as we move forward.

        2. Matt Williams

          Wesley, I believe you have misread the points that Alan and Bill and I have been making on this Mace underpass issue.  None of us are questioning the proportional fiscal realities of the undercrossing.  What I think all three of us are saying is that the DiSC team appears to be channeling Pontius Pilate and washing its hands of any responsibility for the execution of the underpass construction.  Rather than avoiding “ownership” of making that piece of crucial infrastructure happen, the DiSC 2022 team should be spearheading the collaboration of developer and City resources (both human and fiscal) to make that underpass happen at the very beginning of the project rather than at some indeterminant future date.  We are all afraid that your words above, “Moreover, it does mean that it will not be completed” are prophetic.

          It isn’t enough for the DiSC team to be a casual observer while the City applies for infrastructure grants.  To do would be clear evidence of the DiSC team playing fast and loose with the safety of the lives of the residents and workers of the DiSC 2022.  A consistent theme in your long response at 3;16pm is “leadership.”  The DiSC 2022 team needs to show leadership in making sure that construction of the bicycle/pedestrian underpass happens at the very beginning of the project.  That is especially true give the history of how the Mace Ranch infrastructure was delayed by many many years, and only happened because the Mace Ranch CFD was levied against the Mace Ranch residents.

          As they say, “Burn me once, shame on you.  Burn me twice, shame on me.”  Davis has already been burned once by the Mace Ranch history. Davis needs to be careful not to have that happen again if DiSC 2022 goes forward.

          [Moderator: this is your seventh comment on this thread today. Please monitor your own comment counts. You cannot comment any more on this thread today.]

  4. Keith Olson

    1,155 trips occurring during the PM peak hour

    And where will a majority of those 1,155 peak hour trips be headed?

    Towards the Mace overpass and will only add to the Mace Mess.

    1. wesleysagewalker

      Keith,

      I am curious as to your views on tradeoffs here. What would be an acceptable set of benefits to outweigh concerns about traffic? What do you see the needs of Davis being? What should the future of Davis look like? Is there anything that would be worth additional traffic to you?

      1. Matt Williams

        wesley, while we wait for Keith to get back to you with an answer to your question, I have a question for you.

        You mention a “set of benefits” in your question to Keith.  I am curious what you see those benefits being.  Please provide all the Vanguard readers with a list of those benefits, as well as a timeline for when those benefits will actually begin appearing on the City of Davis’ income statement and balance sheet … or the income statements and balance sheets of the community as a whole.

        Thank you in advance for your response.

        1. wesleysagewalker

          Hi Matt,

          Thanks for the thoughtful questions. The economic analysis should be released soon which will detail some projections on revenues various entities in Davis can expect (noting, of course, that point estimates really reflect a range of outcomes) as well as projected timelines for the realization of these revenues. As you know, the economic analysis will provide estimates regarding the one times fees as well as ongoing revenues for the City, County, and DJUSD along with other entities. It will also estimate job generation as well as economic activity it is expected to generate from the project directly and indirectly (i.e. other businesses within Davis and the broader region).

          As the SEIR notes, the project buildout has been narrowed to 10-15 years for full buildout and initial building would likely start to come online sooner than that (perhaps within five years from approval). Of course, this entire timeline is dependent on a multitude of factors, so, to me, the exact timeframe is less important a question than the underlying logic of the project’s contribution to Davis’ economic development. It is my understanding that the commercial corridor of 2nd street properties that serve a similar role to the anticipated uses at DiSC are filled up for all practical intents and purposes. On a personal note, I have been working several biotech firms in the area who are looking for lab space, manufacturing space, and office space along with other specific needs such as research greenhouse space and it is incredibly challenging to find suitable space to fit their needs–if you have any good leads, please share. This is a problem for small, medium, and larger sized enterprises. I know that you have created a list of available retail/restaurant/other commercial spaces that are leasing, but I can tell you that these are very challenging to retrofit to meet tenant needs. (I am currently wrapping up a wet lab conversion at my property in Davis and the costs have been eye-popping. A different ownership group probably would not have undertaken this given the costs-returns-risk matrix that such enterprises face, but I harangued my partners into doing this because I believe it is important to provide opportunities for ag-tech and biotech firms to locate in Davis). So, from personal experience working in this market, I can affirm that there is a real market demand for the type of spaces that DiSC would create. In other words, I have found the underlying logic for DiSC to pass the market test.

          More so than individual elements (such as the project’s broadband that will be built to accommodate expansion into the city for example), to me, this project is much more about how it fits into Davis’ future. That is why I am excited to be an advocate for DiSC.

          I see DiSC as creating opportunities for Davis to continue to be a leader in research and development in areas like agriculture, biotech, clean energy, etc. My sense from having been involved in Davis for the past nine years (I’m a newbie to many no doubt) is that Davis is a community that values education and the production of knowledge to improve the human condition. I personally was attracted to Davis because it is a community that fosters a sense of intellectual exploration and attracts people from around the world who are interested in figuring out how to challenge the status quo and work to make the world a better place. Growing up in Calaveras County, people would describe the people of Davis as “farmers with PhDs” which always tickled my fancy since, for the most part, the farmers and ranchers of Calaveras do not generally hold PhDs and have a different set of values and experiences from what I have tended to find in Davis.

          I think Davis should want to be home to more farmers with PhDs, more researchers, more entrepreneurs, more dreamers, more people working to promote human flourishing. I view DiSC as helping facilitate that by creating a space for them to explore and create.  To me, that is a compelling vision that fits well with the ethos of Davis. By creating the conditions for these people to come to Davis, I believe DiSC can create a more dynamic community.

          Since I know you also have a background in economics, I would also point you to some good work by Enrico Morretti at Berkeley that has looked at the spillover benefits that economic development and a robust labor market can bring to dynamic communities. Export oriented firms tend to bring higher wages, charitable giving, and community participation across the spectrum of a community. A robust labor market helps with employer/employee matching which is not a trivial problem. This benefits institutions like UC Davis who will be able to attract researchers who might not otherwise come due to concerns about their or their significant other’s outside options. It benefits existing firms in Davis for similar reasons, and it helps increase the critical mass of innovators to spur spin-offs, startups, etc. These are the network benefits that have been an area of rich study by many economists since at least Ricardo (I think Smith has something to say on this too, but I would have to give Wealth of Nations another read through to confirm)

          In sum, I think the main reason why most people come to Davis is due to the work being done at the university along with the associated economic activity that has sprung up around it. DiSC continues this trajectory and I think it makes a whole lot of sense to continue to foster this. Apologies for the long-winded response, but I think that laying out the broader picture made more sense here as opposed to getting into an itemized list of the project particulars since this vote is, in my view, more about the underlying logic and vision for the future given the level of entitlements it is seeking.

           

        2. Ron Oertel

          On a personal note, I have been working several biotech firms in the area who are looking for lab space, manufacturing space, and office space along with other specific needs such as research greenhouse space and it is incredibly challenging to find suitable space to fit their needs–if you have any good leads, please share.

          Apparently, they haven’t been looking very hard:

          https://www.cityofwoodland.org/583/Woodland-Research-Technology-Park

          And if not there, I’d refer them to West Sacramento. Lots of space (probably pretty inexpensive, there.)

  5. Ron Oertel

    It is projected to generate around 2800 employees, “which would result in a housing demand at buildout of approximately 1,729 units.”

    Using the same metric, “a reduced amount of approximately 944 units would be required in Davis to accommodate the increased housing demand from DiSC 2022 employees.”

    1,729 – 944 = 785.

    And yet:

    The project also includes a housing component with 460 units of on-site housing

    So, wouldn’t the actual number of off-site housing units required to meet the additional demand created by DISC be:

    1,729 – 460 = 1,269?

     

    1. wesleysagewalker

      Ron,

      I suggest you read through the methodology in the SEIR for the housing demand calculations for clarity. 1,729 housing units is the total number of housing units estimated to be generated by the employees, but the SEIR uses existing commute patterns to estimate the number of units of this total that would be demanded within Davis (kind of a crude metric, since it assumes similar trends which may or may not be a valid assumption, but probably better than throwing darts at the wall). This results in an estimated demand of 944 housing units within Davis by the employees of which 460 would be located onsite. The remainder is expected to be adequately serviced by the 2088 units that will be approved through the Housing Element. I think that should sum it up well, but I suggest reviewing the SEIR housing demand section to make sure you understand the methodology more clearly.

      1. Ron Oertel

        Don:  I’m guessing this is going to require some further explanation. But basically they’re saying that DISC/2 will use up about 45% of the housing allocation of the Housing Element.

        Matt:  If 10% is correct then the 2,800 additional employees will result in a housing demand at buildout of approximately 2,520 additional units.

        (In reference to Matt’s comment, resulting in “using up” even more of the housing element than the 45% that Don referred to.) Pretending that no other demand exists, or will be met.

        It’s a dishonest argument that you and David put forth. But it doesn’t fool anyone.

         

      2. Matt Williams

        Wesley, help me understand your math.  The project is promising to produce 2,800 jobs. You are saying that there will only be 1,729 housing units needed to house the 2,800 people who fill those jobs.  Why are 1,071 people with DiSC jobs not going to need a housing unit?

  6. Matt Williams

    This CEQA Addendum has every appearance of the City “putting its thumb on the scale”.  Here are some of the more obvious examples.

    (1) The new project is projected to generate around 2800 employees, “which would result in a housing demand at buildout of approximately 1,729 units.” Applying some simple math to the numbers in that statement, the City is saying that 1,081 of the 2,800 employees will come from the same household as at least one other DiSC employee. If those 1,081 employees are spread across the 1,729 units that means 60% of the new households will have at least two DiSC employees per unit.

    With the exception of the employees of UC Davis what proportion of current Davis residents live in the same household with a fellow employee?  My persona experience is that 10% is the upper limit … certainly not 60%.  If 10% is correct then the 2,800 additional employees will result in a housing demand at buildout of approximately 2,520 additional units.

    (2) The standard categories for a Traffic Study are as follows:

    Existing Conditions – Establishes the existing setting, which is used to measure project-specific transportation effects.
    Existing Plus Project Conditions – Adds changes to travel demand resulting from buildout of the proposed project to existing conditions.
    Cumulative No Project Conditions – Represents cumulative travel demand based on reasonably foreseeable local and regional land use and transportation system changes. For the purposes of this study, the cumulative year is 2036. This scenario assumes the project site remains vacant.
    Cumulative Plus Project Conditions – Adds changes to travel demand resulting from buildout of the proposed project to Cumulative No Project conditions.

    .
    Where I believe the CEQA Addendum puts its thumb on the scale is in the Cumulative Plus Project category, because the traffic demand from the 100 acres of the “top half” of the DISC 2020 proposal simply moves out of the Project category and into the Cumulative category as a future housing project.  As a result, the impact on Mace and the surrounding streets in the Cumulative Plus Project category … which is the category that really matters to anyone experiencing/considering traffic delays … will be unchanged in this 2022 version when compared to the 2020 version.

    (3) While I haven’t been able to read the details of the CEQA Addendum or the updated Fehr and Peers traffic study yet, I suspect that the impact in the Cumulative category of traffic does not account for either the recent proposed development on the Shriners property or the Wildhorse Ranch property.  I will be pleasantly surprised if the cumulative traffic impact on Mace and its surrounding streets does actually include specific references to those two Cumulative traffic impacts.

    1. wesleysagewalker

      Matt,

      Since any future development on ag land would be subject to a Measure J/R/D vote and would require a new EIR or updated SEIR depending on the specific project, any potential future impacts would be studied and publicly disclosed as part of any future Measure J/R/D campaigns. I think this should mitigate the concerns you raise since any of these future potential impacts would be disclosed to the public who would have the opportunity to weigh them as part of the Measure J/R/D process. In addition, I would suggest that this critique doesn’t acknowledge that the existing EIR and SEIR for DiSC was unable to incorporate any quantitative analysis of the impending improvements to I-80 or Mace Boulevard south of the interchange because they have not actually started construction. It also does not account for any improvements that would result from the Mace Corridor Travel Study and its associated improvements. One could argue that these have strong potential benefits to traffic flow even though they are excluded from any quantitative analysis as part of the EIR’s structure.

      1. Matt Williams

        Since any future development on ag land would be subject to a Measure J/R/D vote and would require a new EIR or updated SEIR depending on the specific project, any potential future impacts would be studied and publicly disclosed as part of any future Measure J/R/D campaigns.

        .
        Wesley, your statement is correct with respect to the administrative process that the City has to comply with … and the time horizon of administrative processes is rather short.  However, that is the wrong context/standard to be applying to impacts.  The much more meaningful timeline and context is how the impacts affect the personal lives of each individual who has the opportunity to express their thoughts on those impacts.  To use myself as an example, the limited time horizon the City may apply “under the rules” is considerably shorter than the 23 years I personally have lived here in the Davis community.  One need go no further than the Mace Mess to see how cumulative impacts accumulate … and the effect those impacts have on both individual and family lives.

        For the typical individual voter, the future development of the north 100 acres of the DiSC parcel, and the parcel inside the Mace Curve, and the Shriners parcel, and the Wildhorse Ranch parcel is a lot like Pascal’s Wager.  Just as Pascal in his Wager said that giving more consideration to the worst of the four outcomes (to choose not to believe in God, only to find out that God does exist, and he/she is angry at Pascal for not believing), the typical voter will give more consideration to the huge incremental and cumulative traffic impact of the development of those parcels, because the chances that the voter personally will end up being inconvenienced by that traffic will be the highest in that scenario.

  7. Bill Marshall

    Five comment rule is in effect. Please monitor your own comment counts.  [Moderator]

    Moderation is not a 8/24/365 thing… some get away with 12-14, some get “called” @ 7… it is what it is… those who post early and often, often get to ‘fly under the radar’… cut that “stuff” (there is other terms for it, but it involves lower intestinal tract products, but I want to fly under the ‘word’ screens) out [PLEASE!]… particularly when many of the comments are off-topic (arguably), or meant to provoke others… NOT ‘moving the football’, as to rational, honest discussion…

    The “abusers” squirrel the ability of others to even do 6, even if they are on topic, and contributing (or trying) to ‘move the football’.

    Please stay on topic, and follow the written and otherwise promulgated “rules of engagement”… I’ll try to do my best to do so even though it is truly ‘trying’ at times… particularly when one poster goes ‘provocative’, and throws it in my face, pointing out I was @ 5 and taunting “too bad you can’t respond, as you have run into the limit”. Probably believed they had a technical KO…

    Civility is a good thing…

    My ‘Nanny’ PSA. Admittedly, somewhat off-topic…

     

    1. David Greenwald

      The problem is – everyone here can count to five and they don’t. It shouldn’t have to be on Don to enforce it every single day – he’s a volunteer who has a full time job and a business. And I have not only a business to run but with my wife going back to work in person this week, I have to shlep children around half the day. But most of you guys scream personal responsibility in politics, but aren’t willing to take personal responsibility on counting to five and then you complain when we are a little too slow at enforcing the rule. You all know the rule and push it every single day.

        1. Matt Williams

          But sometimes more than 5 comments are allowed and sometimes not.  One never knows.

          That is an incredibly obtuse comment Keith … especially your choice of the word “allowed.”

          Don Shor’s moderation of the Vanguard is a 100% thankless job, and he does it as a volunteer and without any compensation.  He fits it into his otherwise very busy schedule running his nursery/garden center business.  Sometimes he logs onto the Vanguard and finds the 5 comment limit has been exceeded and has to make a difficult choice.  He can delete the comments over 5 or not.  Deletion often comes with unintended consequences due to the capabilities/limits of the WordPress software … specifically that if a comment is deleted, all the responses to that comment (and there are often multiple layers of responses) also disappear when the “parent” comment is deleted.  As a result commenters who have abided by the 5 comment limit are harmed by the deletion, so Don makes a decision for the greater good of the Vanguard community and leaves the limit-breaking comment up.

          You in your comments here on the Vanguard have often expressed the criticism “give them an inch and they will take a mile.”  That criticism of the topic you are commenting on is often 100% on the mark.  I would ask you to step back and look at your “But sometimes more than 5 comments are allowed and sometimes not.  One never knows” comment and apply that same inch and mile standard to it.  I think you will find that you are advocating taking a mile in what you say.

          As has often been said “physician, heal thyself.”

          JMO

           

        2. Keith Olson

          That is an incredibly obtuse comment Keith … especially your choice of the word “allowed.”

          My comment is 100% correct and I stand by it.

           

           

           

           

           

           

           

           

      1. Ron Oertel

        but aren’t willing to take personal responsibility on counting to five and then you complain when we are a little too slow at enforcing the rule. You all know the rule and push it every single day.

        You’re (often) the one “pushing” others further.  And Don has literally stated on this blog that he may allow if it you’re engaging someone else. Which you often do.

        Your articles are often intended to provoke in the first place.

        Don to enforce it every single day – he’s a volunteer who has a full time job and a business.

        He does so unevenly, and does not respond to emails. Neither do you.

        Maybe he should “retire”, and your business should pay someone. That is, if you want to continue relying upon the “honor system” – not just in regard to comment limit, but content as well.

      2. David Greenwald

        That’s exactly the problem – we’re not the cops. I have a lot of jobs here and very low down on my list is monitoring the comments of grown 60 year old men. The rule is five comments per person, per article, per day. Period.

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