Letter: Incorrect Reading of City’s Municipal Code

by Elaine Roberts Musser

The Senior Citizens Commission (SCC) was asked by city staff to weigh in on the Bretton Woods/University Retirement Community extension, including design review and how current URC residents would be affected. The SCC dutifully forwarded its opinion to the Planning Commission (PC). The PC gave its final opinion, which was at complete odds with the SCC.

However, the PC relied on an incorrect reading of the Davis Municipal Code (DMC) written in a staff report by a city attorney.

This lawyer gave a legal opinion that the PC’s evaluations and findings must focus on five design review criteria and only those criteria listed in DMC § 40.31.085.

This is a blatantly incorrect reading of DMC. It states 1) the project can be approved only if the five criteria are met, but says nothing about excluding other criteria; and 2) the design review application shall be approved/denied by the PC pursuant to DMC 40.39, which allows the project to be approved/denied on the basis of public comment on any aspect of the project.

The city attorney’s legal opinion effectively eviscerates any opinion of the SCC outside the five design review criteria. This legal opinion is blatantly mistaken and needs to be corrected. Unfortunately, the Chair of the SCC has resigned because of it, and without a quorum, the Commission can no longer meet. Another commission bites the dust, along with the Finance & Budget Commission, because council members Vaitla and Chapman have refused to appoint applicants to commission vacancies.

About The Author

Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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