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Sunday, January 28, 2007

General Plan Steering Committee Profile: Jay Gerber

Continuing our periodic series profiling some of the members of the General Plan Housing Element, we look at Jay Gerber.

Jay Gerber owns the Cable Car Wash in Davis. He was appointed to the General Plan Housing Element steering committee by Councilmember Don Saylor. Not surprisingly he has been a strong supporter of the council majority appearing on a number of endorsement lists and financial statements.

He was also a strong supporter of bringing a Target to Davis. Along with Ruth Asmundson, Terry Whittier, Rod Rifredri, and Bonnie Barnitt, he was among five people to sign the Yes on Target ballot statement.

Gerber was a former chair to the Yolo County Planning Commission. He was a strong supporter of growth in unincorporated areas. In a 2002 Davis Enterprise he was quoted as saying, "The goal should be to cluster growth in the unincorporated cities like Esparto, Knights Landing, Dunnigan and Clarksburg rather than in the middle of ag fields."
He said proposals come to the Planning Commission regularly if not frequently for building projects in unincorporated cities, most of which want some new housing, mostly upscale. "Esparto has been the most active with two new housing developments recently," he said. Most of that development has been upscale or market rate housing.
Gerber was also a member of the "No on J Committee." Measure J was an ordinance passed by Davis voters in 2000 that mandated voter approval for certain changes in land use--particularly any conversion of open space into an urban designation. The measure allows the voters to approve any future annexations for the purpose of development.

From a February 13, 2000 Davis Enterprise article:
Gerber predicts that in-fill disputes will happen more frequently, and people will buy up homes and turn them into rentals.

The community needs to respond to growth pressures on a regional level and J makes that more difficult, Gerber added.

''I think Measure J will cause us to disconnect ourselves from our region, our county and our neighboring communities,'' he said. ''Responsible planning does not include planning by initiative. This is planning by initiative.''

Gerber also said he's not sure the public will take the time to read the massive documents that accompany proposals. Proponents add that the council members must approve all documents before a project goes to a vote of the people. Opponents further say J does not protect farm land. Shoving growth off to less agriculturally sensitive communities will lead to a greater loss of farm land, they say.
Gerber as owner of the Cable Car Wash Company said in a July 30, 2006 article, that he files the reports and submits required environmental documents:
"In the 1980s and '90s, when Gerber sold gasoline at his business and had to track daily statistics, he measured the gasoline in the tanks and tallied the numbers by hand. Today, when he submits reports or required environmental documents, he is the one working on them.

"I'm the bookkeeper, the chief purchasing agent. I'm the (person) who hires, and fires ultimately," he said.

But, he said, he enjoys those aspects of the business. "
According to documents we found, on March 29, 2002 the Sacramento Water Regional Control Board issued a notice of violation to the Cable Car Wash for late report submittal and failure to sample in accordance with the Monitoring and Reporting Program. "Groundwater beneath the [904 Third Street in Davis] site is polluted with petroleum hydrocarbons and associated constituents."

Councilmember Saylor has thus named a person who is a strong proponent of new development and who was a strong opponent of the seminal Measure J which has served to help preserve open space, to serve on a steering committee that will update the General Plan.

---Doug Paul Davis reporting