By David M. Greenwald
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.