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  1. Ron Glick

    Don’t get me wrong I like trees but the history of parking lot plantings has, with one exception in Davis, been a failure. Solar panels over parking lots in Davis are overall better for the environment.

    1. Don Shor

      We know what works and what doesn’t and several of us (Alan H included) have provided detailed input at various venues on that topic. It comes down to species selection, proper soil management at planting, and follow-up care with enforceable outcomes required. That needs to be written into the development agreement and be enforced, with a funding mechanism in place to ensure the process.

  2. Richard_McCann

    The developer should be required to either plant and maintain trees up to the requisite specifications, or install solar panels to provide shade meeting the draft ordinance that the the Joint Subcommittee on the Parking Lot Shade Ordinance was about to finalize a year ago before being delayed by various activities within the City government. Solar panels that include EV charging will reduce GHG emissions by at least a order of magnitude more than trees while providing the same amount of shade. (I’ll note that Alan Hirsch contributed significantly to the draft ordinance as a citizen participant and supports the current draft.)

  3. Ron Oertel

    I’m glad that someone like Alan H is monitoring such things, but (for what it’s worth) – I’m (generally) with Ron G regarding solar panels in parking lots.  Cleaner, less damage to pavement and cars, generate electricity, and provide immediate, full-cover shade.

    In addition, they can be designed in an architecturally-pleasing manner.  They’re not all just square boxes, covering parking lots. I recall seeing one that has more of a slight arch design.

    I like the “solar panel tree” that Don posted – doubling as art!

    Don’t much care for the way that fake “cell phone trees” look, however.  They stick out like a sore thumb.  I seem to be drawn to look at them, for that reason.

  4. Don Shor

    Quick overview of shade tree benefits.

    • ●  Environmental benefits: sequesters carbon both above and below ground, supports wildlife, mitigates gaseous pollutants, absorbs nitrogen dioxide and reduces ozone, filters particulate matter, improves soil health
    • ●  Reduces the urban heat island effect through both shading and evapotranspiration
    • ●  Reduces hospitalization recovery times when provided access to a view of tree canopied landscapes
    • ●  Provides places for people to gather and exercise, creating safer and healthier communities
    • ●  Provides traffic calming along roadways and acts as a sound buffer
    • ●  Reduces stormwater runoff providing municipalities indirect economic benefits
    • ●  Increases the lifespan of paved surfaces
    • ●  Increases property values and economic activity in commercial areas
  5. Alan Hirsch


    I am not oppose to use of solar panel in some part of parking lot—where fewer people go. but where people go/look form window we should soften the urban environment.  Look at this landscape plan lack of tree along edge of parking lot by stores and sidewalk.  I don’t thinks its help to raise solar panel vs tree debate… we need new policy but their is not so we just default to 30 year old trees policy, too few and poorly planted, wrong species






  6. Alan Hirsch

    Culture Change needed to move Davis Government Ahead on trees…and most other stuff

    City hall Management has not yet resolved policy issues on balancing of trees vs solar after years discussion, Sutter Hospital debacle (9/20) (where city staff decide they didn’t need policy but could give developer what ever they wanted). So in 2021 they formed a 2×2 parking lot study commission that burned hundreds and hundreds of hours of volunteer time in discussion  (this was after 2019 when NRC put together policy proposal.)   But here we are 2023…….no policy on trees vs solar.

    This is like tree ordinance, first ID’ed as problem in 2008 by Tree Davis, the Tree Commission submitted three drafts in 2016, 2018 and 2021.  No Progress.

    City staff – not the  urban forestry depart– is the bottleneck on addressing these policy issues. we lost a city arborist and had 100% turn over in the department…

    The city has now engaged citizen to spend hundred and hundreds of our on Forestry Management Plan that resulted in high level visit that need to be turned into actual implements– and then enforceable policy.

    We will see……

    *  *  *

    The City of Davis does not have a big tax base to hire a lot of city staff, but it is graced with a lot of highly educated civicly involved resident who what the get involved.   And one of the world’s leading research university located right accross the street from City Hall.

    The city council has formed a larger number of commissions to supposedly engage these resident in policy discussion.

    Yet, we seem to be in gridlock…and I would suggest that problem is not from citizen disagreeing in commission empowered to make recommendations, but city staff not moving forward on proposals they get from these commissions.

    Wonder if city management feels over whelmed and becomes defensive…and thus taps the breaks against any change.

    This frozen policy angrys citizen who feel unheard. And speak out.

    who attack city hall

    And city hall gets even more defensive and put even more pressure on the breaks……


    It is too easy at this point to write of city staff “Lead, Follow or get out the way”

    Its more complex than that, city staff knows stuff…legalities that often call for more cautious action than citizen on commission understand… maybe this is because staff has not educated commission members…or commission members don’t represent community’s broader interest…or maybe they aren’t listening to staff?

    Peter Drucker noted an organization’s Culture eats any Strategy for breakfast.

    We need a change our city hall/commission culture so we can work together more productively to move things ahead.

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