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Monday, May 14, 2007

Guest Commentary: Changing The Anderson Bank Building Not in the Public Interest

Tomorrow an item will appear on the Davis City Council Agenda that will first certify the Environmental Impact Report.

The City Staff Report is recommending that they take the council adopt the "no action alternative:"
"Determine that the “No Project Alternative” is the appropriate project based on the staff analysis and the findings of the Historical Resources Management Commission. This determination rejects both Design Options A or B and effectively precludes lowering the windows in question at the Anderson Bank Building."
According to yesterday's Davis Enterprise:

The City Council will make a final decision on whether the windows can be altered at its meeting Tuesday night, but a staff report advises the council against making any changes. The city's Historical Resources Management Commission agreed.

Kidd said if the City Council won't allow the changes, he'll go to the voters by putting a measure on the ballot.

“It'll cost me something like $75,000, but that's what I'm willing to do,” he said.

Kidd has been lobbying the council to approve bigger windows, planting signs around the downtown area that read “Better Windows/Better Retail/Better Downtown. Lower the Anderson Building Windows. KEEP OUR DOWNTOWN VITAL.”

Signed “Citizens and Merchants who Care About Davis,” the sign is to let the City Council know that the high windows not only hurts retail inside the Anderson Bank building, but the downtown as a whole, Kidd said.

“An empty storefront or a lack of display windows discourages shoppers and has a negative ripple effect on surrounding merchants,” Kidd wrote.

Twenty-nine downtown business owners signed a petition to alter the windows, and Kidd forwarded the City Council a string of letters from retailers who expressed interest in locating at the bank building if it wasn't for the high windows.
In all likelihood they will adopt staff recommendations, I can recall times when they have altered staff recommendations, but not a time when they have reversed them. However, it seems that regardless of what the city council determines tomorrow night, this issue will not go away.

What was interesting to me on Saturday being out at the Whole Earth Festival, was just how much this issue really crossed political lines that usually are rather clear in Davis. We will present both sides of the issue.

This piece is written by the Davis Historical Society, Friends of the Hattie Weber Museum of Davis, and Friends of Davis Historic Resources.

Please click here in order to read their article: Changing The Anderson Bank Building Not in the Public Interest

---Doug Paul Davis reporting