The Vanguard has a new home, please update your bookmarks to

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

City of Davis Responds to Yolo County General Plan's Inclusion of City Edge

The Vanguard is fully aware that most of the population is following the election today, and the bulk of our coverage today will be on the election. However, this is issue is too important to let slide. Tomorrow evening the Davis City Council will be taking up a response to Yolo County on the General Plan.

Here's the key sections of the General Plan that impact Davis' planning area:
Policy LU-6.2 reads: Coordinate with the University of California at Davis regarding the Long Range Development Plan (LRDP), campus facilities, off-campus agricultural and open space property and joint venture development with the private sector to achieve the best possible outcomes consistent with the General Plan.

Policy LU-6.11 reads:

Coordinate with the City of Davis to explore mutual opportunities regarding the following projects:

a) Special needs housing, including housing for seniors in the area north of Covell Boulevard and west of State Route 113.
b) Land uses that complement UC Davis, the University Retirement Community, Sutter-Davis Hospital and other nearby social services in the area north of Covell Boulevard and west of State Route 113.
c) Alternatives for the Binning Estates project, including the clustering of residential units and increased densities.
d) Extension of water and sewer infrastructure to the Binning Farms community.
e) Life science, biotechnology and related research uses along the Interstate 80 corridor.
f) Commercial and mixed uses at Covell Boulevard/Pole Line Road and coordinated planning with the Hunt Wesson site.
The city of Davis' staff report responds to these two items.

First they restate the mantra that the city has operated under for the last two years of discussion with the county and the prior to that, the spirit of the pass-through agreement.
"The City assumes that any development on the edge of Davis will occur through the City’s planning process"
Second and more pointedly in response to Policy LU-6.11:
"The City supports the Board’s desire to explore opportunities for mutual benefit. However, the City strongly opposes the inclusion of this policy that identifies specific uses and locations for urban development on the edge of Davis. So far, we have not had any discussions that would indicate that these are appropriate uses or locations. Including this policy in the General Plan is premature and implies that this is a “done deal” without any meaningful participation from Davis or its residents. In addition, listing the specific uses to be considered requires these uses to be analyzed in the “cumulative impacts” section of the EIR for the General Plan."
Third, in response to residential development:
"The City supports the Board’s previous decision to not include housing units in the Northwest Quadrant on the base map for the General Plan Preferred Land Use Alternative. The City recognizes the desire to comprehensively review the area, rather than consider individual development proposals. Our General Plan Housing Element Steering Committee and Planning Commission have recommend this area be “tabled indefinitely,” as there is no need to consider residential development through 2013. Whether and where the community will grow after 2013 will be considered through the City’s General Plan Update anticipated to begin next year."
Fourth, on Research park development:
"The City supports creating additional opportunities for life science and biotechnology research, but the identified location south of I-80 is not the appropriate location. The necessary housing development is counter to City and County planning principles, and these uses should be nearer the City of Davis and closer to improved roads and the Mace/I-80 interchange. Alternative sites should be jointly explored, including the North Central “Covell” site. This site has convenient access to I-5 and employee housing in Davis and in Woodland’s Spring Lake neighborhood."
Yes, you read that right, the city of Davis now surreptitiously is inserting the Covell site as an alternative research park development site.

Fifth on commercial development along I-80:
"The City supports the County’s removal of 43 acres of commercial development at I-80 and Mace and I-80 and Chiles. Such development would violate the principles of the Pass-Through Agreement between the City, its Redevelopment Agency, and the County. Our existing agreement, and our two decades of practice in its implementation, show that the City and County can work cooperatively in evaluating specific development proposals."
The staff report recommends future discussion through the City-County 2x2 process. They also suggest as an alternative to the letter, they could hold discussions at the 2x2 which is scheduled for November 14, 2008.

I have two thoughts. While this is not as alarming as the previous proposals by the county, clearly the city is taking this seriously. However, it is equally alarming to see city staff place Covell into discussion. That seems inappropriate given the public vote that took place now just three years ago.

---David M. Greenwald