Staff Recommends Council Stall Cannery Park for another Shot At Covell Village

While the proposals in the County Supervisors General Plan update have rightly gotten much of the attention this week, there is in addition to the very important County Supervisor’s meeting this afternoon, some very important items of the Davis City Council agenda for tonight.

The Cannery Park proposed housing development is surrounded on two sides by the site that was the proposed Covell Village.

It is very interesting now that the staff report is suggesting that approving the Cannery Park proposal before the completion of the update to the housing element might be “premature.”

Claire St. John’s article on Sunday in the Davis Enterprise does a very good job of laying out the possibilities that this is a ploy to stall for time in terms of getting another shot at the project that the council majority and staff really want–Covell Village.

She writes that there is nothing to prevent a future proposed development once again on the Covell Village site. “If that were to happen, the city might have other uses for Cannery Park.” As such, the city might be better off leaving the area zone for industrial use as it now rather than a 600 home develop with set asides for a nursing home, community center, or another public use.

St. John continues: “The city might also like Cannery Park to be seamless with whatever might be built next door.” Thus implying that staff things perhaps they would like to wait and see if they can get Covell Village approved before they create a usage for the Cannery Park site.

Indeed, when we look at the make up of the housing element committee, as we have profiled just some of the members, we see a strong strain running through that committee. The members appointed by Souza, Saylor, and Asmundson were virtually all strong proponents of Measure X and many were strong opponents of Measure J.

Moreover some on that committee have a very strong financial stake in a future development project at the Covell Village site. As we see John Whitcombe’s Tandem Properties, who planned and sought the development of the Covell Village project, is well represented on that committee, as were others with peripheral interests to the Covell Village Development project.

As we know, given concerns about traffic and now the availability and costs of water and wastewater treatment, it may be now or never to revisit the Covell Village project.

Thus it is not surprising that a staff report is recommending that the City Council wait and see rather than approve this project.

Caught in the middle, Ken Topper, senior project manager for Lewis Planned Communities who owns the property, who would like council’s approval for his project but expressed patience.

Nevertheless it is pretty clear that developers such as Topper are not the city’s priority as they eye another end-run around the General Plan and Measure J to get the final nod for the massive Covell Village.

—Doug Paul Davis reporting

Author

  • David Greenwald

    Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

Categories:

Land Use/Open Space

28 comments

  1. One had difficulty reading Claire’s recent well-done article without holding one’s nose. Emlen’s statments were unconvincing and reeked of special interest pressure and political manipulation . We will see how this end-run around the No on X vote fares at the council meeting this evening. His old Planning Department job may be looking very attractive about now.

  2. One had difficulty reading Claire’s recent well-done article without holding one’s nose. Emlen’s statments were unconvincing and reeked of special interest pressure and political manipulation . We will see how this end-run around the No on X vote fares at the council meeting this evening. His old Planning Department job may be looking very attractive about now.

  3. One had difficulty reading Claire’s recent well-done article without holding one’s nose. Emlen’s statments were unconvincing and reeked of special interest pressure and political manipulation . We will see how this end-run around the No on X vote fares at the council meeting this evening. His old Planning Department job may be looking very attractive about now.

  4. One had difficulty reading Claire’s recent well-done article without holding one’s nose. Emlen’s statments were unconvincing and reeked of special interest pressure and political manipulation . We will see how this end-run around the No on X vote fares at the council meeting this evening. His old Planning Department job may be looking very attractive about now.

  5. “Nevertheless it is pretty clear that developers such as Topper are not the city’s priority as they eye another end-run around the General Plan and Measure J to get the final nod for the massive Covell Village.”

    End run? I don’t see that here at all. If Covell Village were resubmitted — highly, highly unlikely in the face of the 60% no vote — it would still have to go to the voters.

    To use your football analogy, a re-submission would not be an end run — it would be a power-I rush right up the gut.

    “St. John continues: ‘The city might also like Cannery Park to be seamless with whatever might be built next door.’ Thus implying that staff things perhaps they would like to wait and see if they can get Covell Village approved before they create a usage for the Cannery Park site.”

    There are two very good, rational reasons why the street structure (and other infrastructure) of Cannery Park ought to be planned so that it is “seamless” with the CV property:

    1) Because CP will have only one small ingress and egress point at Covell Boulevard. There is no way in or out to the west or north. Hence, all of the traffic from CP will drain onto Covell at one point, causing problems for others using Covell Blvd, and problems for the residents and businesses inside CP. If something is eventually built on the CV property, and the CP streets are designed to connect up with them to the east of CP, cars could then flow into and out of CP from a second direction, easing the problems at Covell and J;

    2) It probably makes good long-term sense for underground sewage and water infrastructure to be designed so that CP’s system could be integrated with something that is built on the CV property. (I am told this was done where the “Westwood” neighborhood, built in the 1970s, eventually hooked up with the “Evergreen” neighborhood, built in the ’90s.)

  6. “Nevertheless it is pretty clear that developers such as Topper are not the city’s priority as they eye another end-run around the General Plan and Measure J to get the final nod for the massive Covell Village.”

    End run? I don’t see that here at all. If Covell Village were resubmitted — highly, highly unlikely in the face of the 60% no vote — it would still have to go to the voters.

    To use your football analogy, a re-submission would not be an end run — it would be a power-I rush right up the gut.

    “St. John continues: ‘The city might also like Cannery Park to be seamless with whatever might be built next door.’ Thus implying that staff things perhaps they would like to wait and see if they can get Covell Village approved before they create a usage for the Cannery Park site.”

    There are two very good, rational reasons why the street structure (and other infrastructure) of Cannery Park ought to be planned so that it is “seamless” with the CV property:

    1) Because CP will have only one small ingress and egress point at Covell Boulevard. There is no way in or out to the west or north. Hence, all of the traffic from CP will drain onto Covell at one point, causing problems for others using Covell Blvd, and problems for the residents and businesses inside CP. If something is eventually built on the CV property, and the CP streets are designed to connect up with them to the east of CP, cars could then flow into and out of CP from a second direction, easing the problems at Covell and J;

    2) It probably makes good long-term sense for underground sewage and water infrastructure to be designed so that CP’s system could be integrated with something that is built on the CV property. (I am told this was done where the “Westwood” neighborhood, built in the 1970s, eventually hooked up with the “Evergreen” neighborhood, built in the ’90s.)

  7. “Nevertheless it is pretty clear that developers such as Topper are not the city’s priority as they eye another end-run around the General Plan and Measure J to get the final nod for the massive Covell Village.”

    End run? I don’t see that here at all. If Covell Village were resubmitted — highly, highly unlikely in the face of the 60% no vote — it would still have to go to the voters.

    To use your football analogy, a re-submission would not be an end run — it would be a power-I rush right up the gut.

    “St. John continues: ‘The city might also like Cannery Park to be seamless with whatever might be built next door.’ Thus implying that staff things perhaps they would like to wait and see if they can get Covell Village approved before they create a usage for the Cannery Park site.”

    There are two very good, rational reasons why the street structure (and other infrastructure) of Cannery Park ought to be planned so that it is “seamless” with the CV property:

    1) Because CP will have only one small ingress and egress point at Covell Boulevard. There is no way in or out to the west or north. Hence, all of the traffic from CP will drain onto Covell at one point, causing problems for others using Covell Blvd, and problems for the residents and businesses inside CP. If something is eventually built on the CV property, and the CP streets are designed to connect up with them to the east of CP, cars could then flow into and out of CP from a second direction, easing the problems at Covell and J;

    2) It probably makes good long-term sense for underground sewage and water infrastructure to be designed so that CP’s system could be integrated with something that is built on the CV property. (I am told this was done where the “Westwood” neighborhood, built in the 1970s, eventually hooked up with the “Evergreen” neighborhood, built in the ’90s.)

  8. “Nevertheless it is pretty clear that developers such as Topper are not the city’s priority as they eye another end-run around the General Plan and Measure J to get the final nod for the massive Covell Village.”

    End run? I don’t see that here at all. If Covell Village were resubmitted — highly, highly unlikely in the face of the 60% no vote — it would still have to go to the voters.

    To use your football analogy, a re-submission would not be an end run — it would be a power-I rush right up the gut.

    “St. John continues: ‘The city might also like Cannery Park to be seamless with whatever might be built next door.’ Thus implying that staff things perhaps they would like to wait and see if they can get Covell Village approved before they create a usage for the Cannery Park site.”

    There are two very good, rational reasons why the street structure (and other infrastructure) of Cannery Park ought to be planned so that it is “seamless” with the CV property:

    1) Because CP will have only one small ingress and egress point at Covell Boulevard. There is no way in or out to the west or north. Hence, all of the traffic from CP will drain onto Covell at one point, causing problems for others using Covell Blvd, and problems for the residents and businesses inside CP. If something is eventually built on the CV property, and the CP streets are designed to connect up with them to the east of CP, cars could then flow into and out of CP from a second direction, easing the problems at Covell and J;

    2) It probably makes good long-term sense for underground sewage and water infrastructure to be designed so that CP’s system could be integrated with something that is built on the CV property. (I am told this was done where the “Westwood” neighborhood, built in the 1970s, eventually hooked up with the “Evergreen” neighborhood, built in the ’90s.)

  9. You may be right.. It does look more like a power play right up the middle with little subtlely.. openly stacking the Steering Committee and,I would guess, putting unrelenting pressure on city staff.
    Your suggestion that the development in West Davis put in its infrastructure to accomodate future hookups probably was not a significant cost factor or they wouldn’t have done it. It could probably be included in the plans,just in case….., for Cannary Park without putting it on hold while Whitcombe tries for “another bite at the apple”.

  10. You may be right.. It does look more like a power play right up the middle with little subtlely.. openly stacking the Steering Committee and,I would guess, putting unrelenting pressure on city staff.
    Your suggestion that the development in West Davis put in its infrastructure to accomodate future hookups probably was not a significant cost factor or they wouldn’t have done it. It could probably be included in the plans,just in case….., for Cannary Park without putting it on hold while Whitcombe tries for “another bite at the apple”.

  11. You may be right.. It does look more like a power play right up the middle with little subtlely.. openly stacking the Steering Committee and,I would guess, putting unrelenting pressure on city staff.
    Your suggestion that the development in West Davis put in its infrastructure to accomodate future hookups probably was not a significant cost factor or they wouldn’t have done it. It could probably be included in the plans,just in case….., for Cannary Park without putting it on hold while Whitcombe tries for “another bite at the apple”.

  12. You may be right.. It does look more like a power play right up the middle with little subtlely.. openly stacking the Steering Committee and,I would guess, putting unrelenting pressure on city staff.
    Your suggestion that the development in West Davis put in its infrastructure to accomodate future hookups probably was not a significant cost factor or they wouldn’t have done it. It could probably be included in the plans,just in case….., for Cannary Park without putting it on hold while Whitcombe tries for “another bite at the apple”.

  13. Moderators comment: The posts on this subject have been almost absent. My conclusion is that the Vanguard posters and lurkers find that Doug has described the situation accurately and are taken aback and frozen before their keyboards by the unvarnished frontal assault on the voter’s Measure X decision just a year ago… something for our city manager Bill Emlen and his staff to take note of.

  14. Moderators comment: The posts on this subject have been almost absent. My conclusion is that the Vanguard posters and lurkers find that Doug has described the situation accurately and are taken aback and frozen before their keyboards by the unvarnished frontal assault on the voter’s Measure X decision just a year ago… something for our city manager Bill Emlen and his staff to take note of.

  15. Moderators comment: The posts on this subject have been almost absent. My conclusion is that the Vanguard posters and lurkers find that Doug has described the situation accurately and are taken aback and frozen before their keyboards by the unvarnished frontal assault on the voter’s Measure X decision just a year ago… something for our city manager Bill Emlen and his staff to take note of.

  16. Moderators comment: The posts on this subject have been almost absent. My conclusion is that the Vanguard posters and lurkers find that Doug has described the situation accurately and are taken aback and frozen before their keyboards by the unvarnished frontal assault on the voter’s Measure X decision just a year ago… something for our city manager Bill Emlen and his staff to take note of.

  17. Cannery Park is characterized by quality urban design with a focus on the housing product types this town needs: townhomes, condos, etc., at more affordable price points. We’re talking about Aggie Village type of development here. Considering it’s location and direct shot to downtown, it should be getting support from the City. Lewis Communities has allowed for road linkages between Covell Village and this development. If the City had reservations about reserving the land for another use, that should have been made clear to Lewis Communities up-front. But when there is no City-defined vision and only ideas for “other uses” that are assumed to be inconsistent with current zoning or another adopted/approved plan, the City is on shaky ethical ground to prevent this project from going forward.

    I don’t see Covell Village as mutually exclusive projects. They can be complementary if done correctly. The Covell Village location, despite critics’ opinions, is a logical place for additional growth if City residents don’t want to see downtown go vertical and/or the market isn’t there for downtown development.

    Right now there is a critical physical and psychological linkage missing from Wildhorse and other development northeast of Covell/Pole Line intersection. This impedes residents from accessing the North Davis greenbelt. There is also an opportunity for more retail amenities fronting Covell and Pole Line Road that could serve East Davis/Wildhorse/Mace Ranch residents and complement the Oak Tree shopping center. This would serve to reduce the number and distance of vehicular trips for shopping purposes. There were flaws in the Covell Village proposal, but any future proposal should include mixed-uses fronting Covell and Pole Line Rd, IMO.

  18. Cannery Park is characterized by quality urban design with a focus on the housing product types this town needs: townhomes, condos, etc., at more affordable price points. We’re talking about Aggie Village type of development here. Considering it’s location and direct shot to downtown, it should be getting support from the City. Lewis Communities has allowed for road linkages between Covell Village and this development. If the City had reservations about reserving the land for another use, that should have been made clear to Lewis Communities up-front. But when there is no City-defined vision and only ideas for “other uses” that are assumed to be inconsistent with current zoning or another adopted/approved plan, the City is on shaky ethical ground to prevent this project from going forward.

    I don’t see Covell Village as mutually exclusive projects. They can be complementary if done correctly. The Covell Village location, despite critics’ opinions, is a logical place for additional growth if City residents don’t want to see downtown go vertical and/or the market isn’t there for downtown development.

    Right now there is a critical physical and psychological linkage missing from Wildhorse and other development northeast of Covell/Pole Line intersection. This impedes residents from accessing the North Davis greenbelt. There is also an opportunity for more retail amenities fronting Covell and Pole Line Road that could serve East Davis/Wildhorse/Mace Ranch residents and complement the Oak Tree shopping center. This would serve to reduce the number and distance of vehicular trips for shopping purposes. There were flaws in the Covell Village proposal, but any future proposal should include mixed-uses fronting Covell and Pole Line Rd, IMO.

  19. Cannery Park is characterized by quality urban design with a focus on the housing product types this town needs: townhomes, condos, etc., at more affordable price points. We’re talking about Aggie Village type of development here. Considering it’s location and direct shot to downtown, it should be getting support from the City. Lewis Communities has allowed for road linkages between Covell Village and this development. If the City had reservations about reserving the land for another use, that should have been made clear to Lewis Communities up-front. But when there is no City-defined vision and only ideas for “other uses” that are assumed to be inconsistent with current zoning or another adopted/approved plan, the City is on shaky ethical ground to prevent this project from going forward.

    I don’t see Covell Village as mutually exclusive projects. They can be complementary if done correctly. The Covell Village location, despite critics’ opinions, is a logical place for additional growth if City residents don’t want to see downtown go vertical and/or the market isn’t there for downtown development.

    Right now there is a critical physical and psychological linkage missing from Wildhorse and other development northeast of Covell/Pole Line intersection. This impedes residents from accessing the North Davis greenbelt. There is also an opportunity for more retail amenities fronting Covell and Pole Line Road that could serve East Davis/Wildhorse/Mace Ranch residents and complement the Oak Tree shopping center. This would serve to reduce the number and distance of vehicular trips for shopping purposes. There were flaws in the Covell Village proposal, but any future proposal should include mixed-uses fronting Covell and Pole Line Rd, IMO.

  20. Cannery Park is characterized by quality urban design with a focus on the housing product types this town needs: townhomes, condos, etc., at more affordable price points. We’re talking about Aggie Village type of development here. Considering it’s location and direct shot to downtown, it should be getting support from the City. Lewis Communities has allowed for road linkages between Covell Village and this development. If the City had reservations about reserving the land for another use, that should have been made clear to Lewis Communities up-front. But when there is no City-defined vision and only ideas for “other uses” that are assumed to be inconsistent with current zoning or another adopted/approved plan, the City is on shaky ethical ground to prevent this project from going forward.

    I don’t see Covell Village as mutually exclusive projects. They can be complementary if done correctly. The Covell Village location, despite critics’ opinions, is a logical place for additional growth if City residents don’t want to see downtown go vertical and/or the market isn’t there for downtown development.

    Right now there is a critical physical and psychological linkage missing from Wildhorse and other development northeast of Covell/Pole Line intersection. This impedes residents from accessing the North Davis greenbelt. There is also an opportunity for more retail amenities fronting Covell and Pole Line Road that could serve East Davis/Wildhorse/Mace Ranch residents and complement the Oak Tree shopping center. This would serve to reduce the number and distance of vehicular trips for shopping purposes. There were flaws in the Covell Village proposal, but any future proposal should include mixed-uses fronting Covell and Pole Line Rd, IMO.

  21. The single fundamental flaw with Cannery Park, however, is a ped/bicycle bridge connecting it with North Davis due to engineering constraints. This must be corrected. A Covell Village development would address this problem. If not, I suggested Lewis Communities purchase an easement from the Covell Village Property to facilitate the connection further north where the engineering problems were not as severe.

  22. The single fundamental flaw with Cannery Park, however, is a ped/bicycle bridge connecting it with North Davis due to engineering constraints. This must be corrected. A Covell Village development would address this problem. If not, I suggested Lewis Communities purchase an easement from the Covell Village Property to facilitate the connection further north where the engineering problems were not as severe.

  23. The single fundamental flaw with Cannery Park, however, is a ped/bicycle bridge connecting it with North Davis due to engineering constraints. This must be corrected. A Covell Village development would address this problem. If not, I suggested Lewis Communities purchase an easement from the Covell Village Property to facilitate the connection further north where the engineering problems were not as severe.

  24. The single fundamental flaw with Cannery Park, however, is a ped/bicycle bridge connecting it with North Davis due to engineering constraints. This must be corrected. A Covell Village development would address this problem. If not, I suggested Lewis Communities purchase an easement from the Covell Village Property to facilitate the connection further north where the engineering problems were not as severe.

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