By David M. Greenwald
Davis, CA – The Council Subcommittee on Long Range Growth is returning to council with a proposal that might crack the door open slightly to the possibility of a project being put to the voters by November 2024.
The subcommittee is comprised of Mayor Will Arnold and Councilmember Bapu Vaitla.
When the council on April 4 received a status report, in addition to pushing off future consideration of projects until at least 2025, a key focus was developing a set of criteria by which to evaluate proposed and future annexation projects.
According to the subcommittee, “The interim criteria would serve as a bridge and provide guidance for consideration of such proposals until such time that an updated General Plan is crafted and adopted.”
What is coming forth is a scoring rubric based on LEED ND, modified to be more applicable to the Davis context.
The staff report notes, “LEED is a widely recognized and used green building rating system and has been used to evaluate many projects both nationally and in California (including in Davis) over the years.” They add, “While the LEED rating system is designed for individual buildings, LEED also introduced a program for evaluation of neighborhood proposals, called LEED ND. LEED for Neighborhood Development (LEED ND) was created to help foster better, more sustainable, well-connected neighborhoods and considers a wide range of important factors.”
Some of the key considerations: location, open space, walkable streets, compact development, neighborhood connections, mixed uses, affordable housing, transportation, and energy efficiency.
The report notes, “After review of LEED ND the Council Subcommittee and staff incorporated adjustments to the LEED ND scoring system to reflect nuances of Davis land use policy, and to adjust weighting of certain factors that may necessitate higher priority consideration locally.”
According to the recommendation, “This scoring rubric is being suggested as a mechanism to assist the City Council in evaluating various peripheral proposals for Council consideration of direction to staff to undertake review of one or more of them.”
They add, “This scoring rubric is intended to be a tool for evaluation only and not to be a sole determinant in and of itself on what proposal(s) the Council may wish to embark on review of. Additionally, the rubric is intended to supplement, not replace, already existing city standards, ordinance, policies, and other criteria required of development proposals.”
The recommendation suggests that self-scoring by applicants could be undertaken immediately for each proposal with submittals provided to the city and then reviewed by staff in order to assess accuracy and validity.
These findings could be presented to the council for consideration of next steps—including proceeding with an EIR—as soon as June 20.
Staff believes that the initial self-scoring could be completed by June 12, with applicants submitting their self-assessment and justifications for any blank responses.
“Applicants electing to adjust their proposal to reflect claimed points on the self-assessment are encouraged to do so. In this case—i.e., where the self-assessment doesn’t reflect the existing pre-application or application—a revised pre-application or application should be submitted before the initiation of an EIR process,” the report added.
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