City-County Discussions Continue to Generate Heat

Most residents of Davis were likely unaware of the County General Plan update process until the County Planning Commission returned with a report recommending several development projects on the periphery of Davis including a 2100-unit senior housing unit in the Northwest Quadrant. This sounded an alarm to many activists and other residents concerned with peripheral growth. At this point, that specific proposal seems dead, however, the contentiousness is far from over.

On Monday, the City of Davis-County of Yolo two-by-two committee met. This body is composed of two members from each body–Sue Greenwald and Don Saylor from the city council and the two Davis County Supervisors–Helen Thomson and Mariko Yamada.

There were moments of relief such as when both Thomson and Yamada indicated their support for the current pass-through agreement indicating that there would not be any move to renegotiate it.

The pass-through agreement is an agreement by the county not to develop within the sphere of influence of the city of Davis, in exchange, the city agrees to give the county a share of the redevelopment money they would have been entitled to had they developed. In this case, Davis gives the county roughly $2.7 million (the figure was somewhat in contention with the county suggesting it might be $2.1 million).

This is a much larger number than the county likely would get if they tried to develop the land. Moreover, it is considerably larger than the pass-through agreements between the county and Woodland and West Sacramento. So when the county talks about not having enough revenue, it seems like Davis ought to be the last place that the county is looking towards.

Moreover, while the county members were suggesting that Davis needs to take on its fair share of growth–a point reiterated by Supervisor McGowan at the County Supervisor’s meeting on Tuesday, City Councilmember Don Saylor on Monday, adamantly said that Davis has exceeded all SACOG requirements on fair share of growth in the past. So again, this entire discussion focusing on Davis seems very odd.

Councilmember Saylor was very clear that the City of Davis through the pass-through agreement, maintained the land-use authority on the periphery. He also strongly maintained his opposition to the specific projects mentioned. The county was adamant however that this has not been a project-based plan so far but rather that they are looking at concepts and philosophies. However, specific sites have been identified as possible study areas by the county.

A few weeks ago, the city of Davis agreed in principle to have some sort of joint meeting with the county to discuss common destinies. The county would take up this issue on Tuesday. On Monday however, Councilmember Saylor was very clear that by agreeing to talk that is all the city was doing. They were not agreeing to reconsidering issues such as peripheral growth.

The issue of the joint study sessions at this point seems to be the sticking point. The county is looking at the change of designations of very land areas. This seemed strongly opposed by both Greenwald and Saylor. Greenwald viewed this as the first step toward development process.

Greenwald in speaking of lands on the Davis city-edge: “I would expect the county to keep its agricultural designation… It would be a somewhat hostile act that would impede cooperation.”

Yamada took exception to the use of the term hostile, but Greenwald’s point here was dead-on: the county should not be changing the land-use designation here. At this point, the joint study session is viewed by Davis council as a means by which to try to force a change and that is not supported, at least from what I have seen, by the council. In the end, I think this proposal will be dropped, but as of now it is THE point on contention.

A few weeks ago, again, the city council in principle agreed to meeting with the county for a meeting on joint destinies. Supervisor Yamada brought this before the Yolo County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday. It became clear that she did not have the votes to support a County-City specific meeting. Neither Rexroad nor McGowan supported that idea as they did not want the county to intrude into their spheres of influence or their respective cities.

Supervisor Rexroad pointed out that he generally defers to the Davis supervisors on Davis issues and thought it should be handled by the two-by-two which is a process already in place. If there was a formal process between Davis and the county, he would have to play a more active role.

Supervisor McGowan suggested that growth on Davis border was a “false alarm.” That there was no need to rehash the general plan. He was not interested in meeting with jurisdictions right now to see what it looks like, not on narrow and specific interests. He said these concerns expressed by Davis are not going to happen. This was local stuff that he did not want to get involved with.

McGowan reiterated previous comments–that he was not interested in telling anyone where they should grow, but all are responsible for caring about increased growth that will come down from SACOG. He was not interested in a county absorbing specific growth because a city does not take on their fare share. (Again, Saylor’s point is important that Davis has exceeded its fair share, so it is not clear where this concern is coming from).

Supervisor Chamberlain made the point that he was interested in meeting with Davis because they want to control business around Davis which are in his district. The Oeste project (Northwest Quadrant) would have bordered his district and he did not think it should go forward without input from the 5th District. (Again the Supervisors were adamant that this project is off the table).

Thomson supported the idea of an all-city-county meeting. This would be between the four cities and the county sometime in September or October (which likely means even later). This ended up being the compromise that was supported by all of the members.

It seems clear that the County General Plan update generated a huge amount of alarm in the city of Davis–and some of that appears to be justified. The process seems to be moving in the right direction however the joint study session idea is still a large concern to residents of Davis who wish to protect against peripheral growth and the county overstepping its land-use authority as authorized in the pass-through agreement.

—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. Our esteemed President said many months ago, when his Iraq debacle had been thoroughly rejected by the voters ,(paraphrasing)”…we change our strategy, not our mission “… this is a political maxim that also applies to Davis politics and is disregarded at our peril.

  2. Our esteemed President said many months ago, when his Iraq debacle had been thoroughly rejected by the voters ,(paraphrasing)”…we change our strategy, not our mission “… this is a political maxim that also applies to Davis politics and is disregarded at our peril.

  3. Our esteemed President said many months ago, when his Iraq debacle had been thoroughly rejected by the voters ,(paraphrasing)”…we change our strategy, not our mission “… this is a political maxim that also applies to Davis politics and is disregarded at our peril.

  4. Our esteemed President said many months ago, when his Iraq debacle had been thoroughly rejected by the voters ,(paraphrasing)”…we change our strategy, not our mission “… this is a political maxim that also applies to Davis politics and is disregarded at our peril.

  5. “… the county members were suggesting that Davis needs to take on its fair share of growth–a point reiterated by Supervisor McGowan at the County Supervisor’s meeting on Tuesday …”

    Insofar as there is regional pressure for more housing in Yolo County, I think the idea that a new city should be built in Dunnigan to absorb that is not a bad one. I’m not saying this needs to be done now, or done in the next 5-10 years. But at some point, if Davis, Woodland, West Sac and Winters are expected to grow by a certain percentage every year, each of these communities will either grow into each other — in the case of Woodland and Davis — or to grow far larger than their residents would like.

    So at some point, it seems reasonable to consider an entirely new urban area. (This should be put to a vote of the people of the county, IMO.) Because of its location at the intersection of two big freeways, Dunnigan makes sense. And if it were planned in advance at the county level, a new City of Dunnigan could be built with high levels of density, so that more people could live on less ag land.

    “The issue of the joint study sessions at this point seems to be the sticking point. The county is looking at the change of designations of very land areas. This seemed strongly opposed by both Greenwald and Saylor. Greenwald viewed this as the first step toward development process.”

    When I sat down for coffee with Helen Thomson last year to talk about the Conaway Ranch situation, I suggested to her that the county ought to require a super-majority vote of the Supervisors to change its zoning from agricultural to any type of urban designation. Helen was non-commital on my idea.

    Matt Rexroad, however, supported it conceptually. He said (in an email) that he felt that the county land on the periphery of the cities should be regulated by the cities themselves. But for farm land that is outside of the urban areas, it should remain zoned for agriculture, unless a super-majority — I don’t recall the percentage, but say 4/5ths — voted to change its designation.

    My feeling now is that if the county does move to interfere with development questions on the borders of Davis, Woodland, etc, or if it wants to permit housing developments inbetween Winters and Madison, for example, the voters of Yolo County should have a say. It might be time to pass a Measure J-like proposal, one that required voter approval for redesignation of zoning restrictions on county land, if say, the parcel was more than 20 acres.

  6. “… the county members were suggesting that Davis needs to take on its fair share of growth–a point reiterated by Supervisor McGowan at the County Supervisor’s meeting on Tuesday …”

    Insofar as there is regional pressure for more housing in Yolo County, I think the idea that a new city should be built in Dunnigan to absorb that is not a bad one. I’m not saying this needs to be done now, or done in the next 5-10 years. But at some point, if Davis, Woodland, West Sac and Winters are expected to grow by a certain percentage every year, each of these communities will either grow into each other — in the case of Woodland and Davis — or to grow far larger than their residents would like.

    So at some point, it seems reasonable to consider an entirely new urban area. (This should be put to a vote of the people of the county, IMO.) Because of its location at the intersection of two big freeways, Dunnigan makes sense. And if it were planned in advance at the county level, a new City of Dunnigan could be built with high levels of density, so that more people could live on less ag land.

    “The issue of the joint study sessions at this point seems to be the sticking point. The county is looking at the change of designations of very land areas. This seemed strongly opposed by both Greenwald and Saylor. Greenwald viewed this as the first step toward development process.”

    When I sat down for coffee with Helen Thomson last year to talk about the Conaway Ranch situation, I suggested to her that the county ought to require a super-majority vote of the Supervisors to change its zoning from agricultural to any type of urban designation. Helen was non-commital on my idea.

    Matt Rexroad, however, supported it conceptually. He said (in an email) that he felt that the county land on the periphery of the cities should be regulated by the cities themselves. But for farm land that is outside of the urban areas, it should remain zoned for agriculture, unless a super-majority — I don’t recall the percentage, but say 4/5ths — voted to change its designation.

    My feeling now is that if the county does move to interfere with development questions on the borders of Davis, Woodland, etc, or if it wants to permit housing developments inbetween Winters and Madison, for example, the voters of Yolo County should have a say. It might be time to pass a Measure J-like proposal, one that required voter approval for redesignation of zoning restrictions on county land, if say, the parcel was more than 20 acres.

  7. “… the county members were suggesting that Davis needs to take on its fair share of growth–a point reiterated by Supervisor McGowan at the County Supervisor’s meeting on Tuesday …”

    Insofar as there is regional pressure for more housing in Yolo County, I think the idea that a new city should be built in Dunnigan to absorb that is not a bad one. I’m not saying this needs to be done now, or done in the next 5-10 years. But at some point, if Davis, Woodland, West Sac and Winters are expected to grow by a certain percentage every year, each of these communities will either grow into each other — in the case of Woodland and Davis — or to grow far larger than their residents would like.

    So at some point, it seems reasonable to consider an entirely new urban area. (This should be put to a vote of the people of the county, IMO.) Because of its location at the intersection of two big freeways, Dunnigan makes sense. And if it were planned in advance at the county level, a new City of Dunnigan could be built with high levels of density, so that more people could live on less ag land.

    “The issue of the joint study sessions at this point seems to be the sticking point. The county is looking at the change of designations of very land areas. This seemed strongly opposed by both Greenwald and Saylor. Greenwald viewed this as the first step toward development process.”

    When I sat down for coffee with Helen Thomson last year to talk about the Conaway Ranch situation, I suggested to her that the county ought to require a super-majority vote of the Supervisors to change its zoning from agricultural to any type of urban designation. Helen was non-commital on my idea.

    Matt Rexroad, however, supported it conceptually. He said (in an email) that he felt that the county land on the periphery of the cities should be regulated by the cities themselves. But for farm land that is outside of the urban areas, it should remain zoned for agriculture, unless a super-majority — I don’t recall the percentage, but say 4/5ths — voted to change its designation.

    My feeling now is that if the county does move to interfere with development questions on the borders of Davis, Woodland, etc, or if it wants to permit housing developments inbetween Winters and Madison, for example, the voters of Yolo County should have a say. It might be time to pass a Measure J-like proposal, one that required voter approval for redesignation of zoning restrictions on county land, if say, the parcel was more than 20 acres.

  8. “… the county members were suggesting that Davis needs to take on its fair share of growth–a point reiterated by Supervisor McGowan at the County Supervisor’s meeting on Tuesday …”

    Insofar as there is regional pressure for more housing in Yolo County, I think the idea that a new city should be built in Dunnigan to absorb that is not a bad one. I’m not saying this needs to be done now, or done in the next 5-10 years. But at some point, if Davis, Woodland, West Sac and Winters are expected to grow by a certain percentage every year, each of these communities will either grow into each other — in the case of Woodland and Davis — or to grow far larger than their residents would like.

    So at some point, it seems reasonable to consider an entirely new urban area. (This should be put to a vote of the people of the county, IMO.) Because of its location at the intersection of two big freeways, Dunnigan makes sense. And if it were planned in advance at the county level, a new City of Dunnigan could be built with high levels of density, so that more people could live on less ag land.

    “The issue of the joint study sessions at this point seems to be the sticking point. The county is looking at the change of designations of very land areas. This seemed strongly opposed by both Greenwald and Saylor. Greenwald viewed this as the first step toward development process.”

    When I sat down for coffee with Helen Thomson last year to talk about the Conaway Ranch situation, I suggested to her that the county ought to require a super-majority vote of the Supervisors to change its zoning from agricultural to any type of urban designation. Helen was non-commital on my idea.

    Matt Rexroad, however, supported it conceptually. He said (in an email) that he felt that the county land on the periphery of the cities should be regulated by the cities themselves. But for farm land that is outside of the urban areas, it should remain zoned for agriculture, unless a super-majority — I don’t recall the percentage, but say 4/5ths — voted to change its designation.

    My feeling now is that if the county does move to interfere with development questions on the borders of Davis, Woodland, etc, or if it wants to permit housing developments inbetween Winters and Madison, for example, the voters of Yolo County should have a say. It might be time to pass a Measure J-like proposal, one that required voter approval for redesignation of zoning restrictions on county land, if say, the parcel was more than 20 acres.

  9. i would lean towards densification in the existing city centers, rather than continue with peripheral low-density growth or starting up a new city in dunnigan.

  10. i would lean towards densification in the existing city centers, rather than continue with peripheral low-density growth or starting up a new city in dunnigan.

  11. i would lean towards densification in the existing city centers, rather than continue with peripheral low-density growth or starting up a new city in dunnigan.

  12. i would lean towards densification in the existing city centers, rather than continue with peripheral low-density growth or starting up a new city in dunnigan.

  13. Wu,

    I understand your preference. And in principle, I agree with you. Rather than paving over yet more farmland, and/or build up more low density SFH developments, we would be better off concentrating our growth in city centers, by building up and by exploiting that density with services that need concentrated populations to make them fiscally possible (such as light rail, better bus service, shopping centers, etc.).

    However, knowing Davis as I do, and Yolo County in general, there are two (probably) insurmountable obstacles to making a densified overlay in the existing cities possible:

    First is the objection of the people who currently live in the city centers (at least in Davis). They don’t want the fabric of their neighborhood destroyed. They don’t want old (modestly sized), historic buildings demolished, so that they can be replaced by massive, multi-storied structures. (There are a limited number of places in downtown Davis where such changes can be made without too much neighborhood objection. But this is not the case in most of the core area.)

    On the HRMC, we have been working on the Third & B project for quite a long time now. It’s currently in the EIR stage. I don’t know yet if I support it. But I do know that as this moves along, the neighbors in the University Avenue neighborhood are going to overwhelmingly fight this change. They like their neighborhood as it is. They don’t want to be living in the shadow of big new buildings. They (and many others in town) have an affinity for the architectural heritage of Davis that will have to be destroyed to build up the new projects along Third & B. And in this project, we’re not talking about 7-story or 5-story buildings. In almost every case, these will be 3-story buildings. (Technically, there could be a 4th floor on some, but it seems unlikely that will be proposed.)

    Thus, if someone wanted to really densify downtown, by building a large number of 7-story highrises, it would be impossibly hard to get the public behind such an idea.

    Second, while there are a significant number of middle-aged couples without kids who would prefer to live in tall downtown apartment buildings, the vast majority of families with children — that is, the vast majority of people who want to own a home in Davis or Woodland or West Sac — don’t want that lifestyle. They want to at least have a small backyard. They want to have a dog. They want some version of the suburban model. And you can’t change human nature. That is the fact of what most of new housing demand looks like.

    So it’s easy to say, “let’s densify our downtown.” It’s something else to actually get the job done.

  14. Wu,

    I understand your preference. And in principle, I agree with you. Rather than paving over yet more farmland, and/or build up more low density SFH developments, we would be better off concentrating our growth in city centers, by building up and by exploiting that density with services that need concentrated populations to make them fiscally possible (such as light rail, better bus service, shopping centers, etc.).

    However, knowing Davis as I do, and Yolo County in general, there are two (probably) insurmountable obstacles to making a densified overlay in the existing cities possible:

    First is the objection of the people who currently live in the city centers (at least in Davis). They don’t want the fabric of their neighborhood destroyed. They don’t want old (modestly sized), historic buildings demolished, so that they can be replaced by massive, multi-storied structures. (There are a limited number of places in downtown Davis where such changes can be made without too much neighborhood objection. But this is not the case in most of the core area.)

    On the HRMC, we have been working on the Third & B project for quite a long time now. It’s currently in the EIR stage. I don’t know yet if I support it. But I do know that as this moves along, the neighbors in the University Avenue neighborhood are going to overwhelmingly fight this change. They like their neighborhood as it is. They don’t want to be living in the shadow of big new buildings. They (and many others in town) have an affinity for the architectural heritage of Davis that will have to be destroyed to build up the new projects along Third & B. And in this project, we’re not talking about 7-story or 5-story buildings. In almost every case, these will be 3-story buildings. (Technically, there could be a 4th floor on some, but it seems unlikely that will be proposed.)

    Thus, if someone wanted to really densify downtown, by building a large number of 7-story highrises, it would be impossibly hard to get the public behind such an idea.

    Second, while there are a significant number of middle-aged couples without kids who would prefer to live in tall downtown apartment buildings, the vast majority of families with children — that is, the vast majority of people who want to own a home in Davis or Woodland or West Sac — don’t want that lifestyle. They want to at least have a small backyard. They want to have a dog. They want some version of the suburban model. And you can’t change human nature. That is the fact of what most of new housing demand looks like.

    So it’s easy to say, “let’s densify our downtown.” It’s something else to actually get the job done.

  15. Wu,

    I understand your preference. And in principle, I agree with you. Rather than paving over yet more farmland, and/or build up more low density SFH developments, we would be better off concentrating our growth in city centers, by building up and by exploiting that density with services that need concentrated populations to make them fiscally possible (such as light rail, better bus service, shopping centers, etc.).

    However, knowing Davis as I do, and Yolo County in general, there are two (probably) insurmountable obstacles to making a densified overlay in the existing cities possible:

    First is the objection of the people who currently live in the city centers (at least in Davis). They don’t want the fabric of their neighborhood destroyed. They don’t want old (modestly sized), historic buildings demolished, so that they can be replaced by massive, multi-storied structures. (There are a limited number of places in downtown Davis where such changes can be made without too much neighborhood objection. But this is not the case in most of the core area.)

    On the HRMC, we have been working on the Third & B project for quite a long time now. It’s currently in the EIR stage. I don’t know yet if I support it. But I do know that as this moves along, the neighbors in the University Avenue neighborhood are going to overwhelmingly fight this change. They like their neighborhood as it is. They don’t want to be living in the shadow of big new buildings. They (and many others in town) have an affinity for the architectural heritage of Davis that will have to be destroyed to build up the new projects along Third & B. And in this project, we’re not talking about 7-story or 5-story buildings. In almost every case, these will be 3-story buildings. (Technically, there could be a 4th floor on some, but it seems unlikely that will be proposed.)

    Thus, if someone wanted to really densify downtown, by building a large number of 7-story highrises, it would be impossibly hard to get the public behind such an idea.

    Second, while there are a significant number of middle-aged couples without kids who would prefer to live in tall downtown apartment buildings, the vast majority of families with children — that is, the vast majority of people who want to own a home in Davis or Woodland or West Sac — don’t want that lifestyle. They want to at least have a small backyard. They want to have a dog. They want some version of the suburban model. And you can’t change human nature. That is the fact of what most of new housing demand looks like.

    So it’s easy to say, “let’s densify our downtown.” It’s something else to actually get the job done.

  16. Wu,

    I understand your preference. And in principle, I agree with you. Rather than paving over yet more farmland, and/or build up more low density SFH developments, we would be better off concentrating our growth in city centers, by building up and by exploiting that density with services that need concentrated populations to make them fiscally possible (such as light rail, better bus service, shopping centers, etc.).

    However, knowing Davis as I do, and Yolo County in general, there are two (probably) insurmountable obstacles to making a densified overlay in the existing cities possible:

    First is the objection of the people who currently live in the city centers (at least in Davis). They don’t want the fabric of their neighborhood destroyed. They don’t want old (modestly sized), historic buildings demolished, so that they can be replaced by massive, multi-storied structures. (There are a limited number of places in downtown Davis where such changes can be made without too much neighborhood objection. But this is not the case in most of the core area.)

    On the HRMC, we have been working on the Third & B project for quite a long time now. It’s currently in the EIR stage. I don’t know yet if I support it. But I do know that as this moves along, the neighbors in the University Avenue neighborhood are going to overwhelmingly fight this change. They like their neighborhood as it is. They don’t want to be living in the shadow of big new buildings. They (and many others in town) have an affinity for the architectural heritage of Davis that will have to be destroyed to build up the new projects along Third & B. And in this project, we’re not talking about 7-story or 5-story buildings. In almost every case, these will be 3-story buildings. (Technically, there could be a 4th floor on some, but it seems unlikely that will be proposed.)

    Thus, if someone wanted to really densify downtown, by building a large number of 7-story highrises, it would be impossibly hard to get the public behind such an idea.

    Second, while there are a significant number of middle-aged couples without kids who would prefer to live in tall downtown apartment buildings, the vast majority of families with children — that is, the vast majority of people who want to own a home in Davis or Woodland or West Sac — don’t want that lifestyle. They want to at least have a small backyard. They want to have a dog. They want some version of the suburban model. And you can’t change human nature. That is the fact of what most of new housing demand looks like.

    So it’s easy to say, “let’s densify our downtown.” It’s something else to actually get the job done.

  17. well, for a whole lot of us, there is no hope of actually owning a house in davis anyways, so really we’re just talking about the affluent types with equity who can afford to live the suburban dream. us renters are never going to have a shot anyways, whether we have kids or not. and yes, people raise kids in urban areas all over the world; if they built adequate housing downtown, you would find people with families living there, for the same reason why they live in apartments and rental houses scattered through town right now.

    at any rate, you sort of proved my point that ultimately a lot of the people who like to talk a good line about controlling growth for environmental reasons are really a lot more concerned with protecting their property than with any real sense of environmental principles. it’s the same old NIMBY attitude that so typifies this town, with an overlay of liberal-looking rhetoric.

    as for the architectural heritage of downtown davis? while there remain a couple old buildings with some character, and some single-story houses that are pretty nice, the majority of downtown davis are ugly concrete and stucco monstrosities from the 50s through the 70s; preserving that would be as rediculous as preserving a nondescript railroad underpass. it’s an excuse to prevent any change and block any growth, not a valid argument IMO.

    these people talk a good line about infill, until there’s actually an infill project, and then they switch gears and start whinging about preserving the neighborhood. and all the while, the town becomes a gated community for a combination of affluent bay area transplants and boomers lucky enough to have been born in an era when mortals could still buy houses, and who decided that it was in their interests to pull up the ladder once they bought a home.

    sorry if i sort of unloaded on you, doug, but it’s the dishonesty in the argument of the people that you’re talking about that just sets me off. i’ve seen the same pattern in cities all over northern california, where people can’t afford to live where they grew up because of property values, yet suburban restrictions on building height prevent the natural process of urbanization, as happened in european and 19th century american cities before the introduction of the car, and drive people into ludicrous 2+ hour commutes and peripheral commuter town development in the distant exurbs. and we all get pushed further and further inland, and out of state.

    it’s unsustainable, and keeping people out of one’s (often newly purchased) backyards doesn’t do much to address the underlying problems. no growth goes hand in hand with sprawl, it just passes the buck onto another community and another generation.

  18. well, for a whole lot of us, there is no hope of actually owning a house in davis anyways, so really we’re just talking about the affluent types with equity who can afford to live the suburban dream. us renters are never going to have a shot anyways, whether we have kids or not. and yes, people raise kids in urban areas all over the world; if they built adequate housing downtown, you would find people with families living there, for the same reason why they live in apartments and rental houses scattered through town right now.

    at any rate, you sort of proved my point that ultimately a lot of the people who like to talk a good line about controlling growth for environmental reasons are really a lot more concerned with protecting their property than with any real sense of environmental principles. it’s the same old NIMBY attitude that so typifies this town, with an overlay of liberal-looking rhetoric.

    as for the architectural heritage of downtown davis? while there remain a couple old buildings with some character, and some single-story houses that are pretty nice, the majority of downtown davis are ugly concrete and stucco monstrosities from the 50s through the 70s; preserving that would be as rediculous as preserving a nondescript railroad underpass. it’s an excuse to prevent any change and block any growth, not a valid argument IMO.

    these people talk a good line about infill, until there’s actually an infill project, and then they switch gears and start whinging about preserving the neighborhood. and all the while, the town becomes a gated community for a combination of affluent bay area transplants and boomers lucky enough to have been born in an era when mortals could still buy houses, and who decided that it was in their interests to pull up the ladder once they bought a home.

    sorry if i sort of unloaded on you, doug, but it’s the dishonesty in the argument of the people that you’re talking about that just sets me off. i’ve seen the same pattern in cities all over northern california, where people can’t afford to live where they grew up because of property values, yet suburban restrictions on building height prevent the natural process of urbanization, as happened in european and 19th century american cities before the introduction of the car, and drive people into ludicrous 2+ hour commutes and peripheral commuter town development in the distant exurbs. and we all get pushed further and further inland, and out of state.

    it’s unsustainable, and keeping people out of one’s (often newly purchased) backyards doesn’t do much to address the underlying problems. no growth goes hand in hand with sprawl, it just passes the buck onto another community and another generation.

  19. well, for a whole lot of us, there is no hope of actually owning a house in davis anyways, so really we’re just talking about the affluent types with equity who can afford to live the suburban dream. us renters are never going to have a shot anyways, whether we have kids or not. and yes, people raise kids in urban areas all over the world; if they built adequate housing downtown, you would find people with families living there, for the same reason why they live in apartments and rental houses scattered through town right now.

    at any rate, you sort of proved my point that ultimately a lot of the people who like to talk a good line about controlling growth for environmental reasons are really a lot more concerned with protecting their property than with any real sense of environmental principles. it’s the same old NIMBY attitude that so typifies this town, with an overlay of liberal-looking rhetoric.

    as for the architectural heritage of downtown davis? while there remain a couple old buildings with some character, and some single-story houses that are pretty nice, the majority of downtown davis are ugly concrete and stucco monstrosities from the 50s through the 70s; preserving that would be as rediculous as preserving a nondescript railroad underpass. it’s an excuse to prevent any change and block any growth, not a valid argument IMO.

    these people talk a good line about infill, until there’s actually an infill project, and then they switch gears and start whinging about preserving the neighborhood. and all the while, the town becomes a gated community for a combination of affluent bay area transplants and boomers lucky enough to have been born in an era when mortals could still buy houses, and who decided that it was in their interests to pull up the ladder once they bought a home.

    sorry if i sort of unloaded on you, doug, but it’s the dishonesty in the argument of the people that you’re talking about that just sets me off. i’ve seen the same pattern in cities all over northern california, where people can’t afford to live where they grew up because of property values, yet suburban restrictions on building height prevent the natural process of urbanization, as happened in european and 19th century american cities before the introduction of the car, and drive people into ludicrous 2+ hour commutes and peripheral commuter town development in the distant exurbs. and we all get pushed further and further inland, and out of state.

    it’s unsustainable, and keeping people out of one’s (often newly purchased) backyards doesn’t do much to address the underlying problems. no growth goes hand in hand with sprawl, it just passes the buck onto another community and another generation.

  20. well, for a whole lot of us, there is no hope of actually owning a house in davis anyways, so really we’re just talking about the affluent types with equity who can afford to live the suburban dream. us renters are never going to have a shot anyways, whether we have kids or not. and yes, people raise kids in urban areas all over the world; if they built adequate housing downtown, you would find people with families living there, for the same reason why they live in apartments and rental houses scattered through town right now.

    at any rate, you sort of proved my point that ultimately a lot of the people who like to talk a good line about controlling growth for environmental reasons are really a lot more concerned with protecting their property than with any real sense of environmental principles. it’s the same old NIMBY attitude that so typifies this town, with an overlay of liberal-looking rhetoric.

    as for the architectural heritage of downtown davis? while there remain a couple old buildings with some character, and some single-story houses that are pretty nice, the majority of downtown davis are ugly concrete and stucco monstrosities from the 50s through the 70s; preserving that would be as rediculous as preserving a nondescript railroad underpass. it’s an excuse to prevent any change and block any growth, not a valid argument IMO.

    these people talk a good line about infill, until there’s actually an infill project, and then they switch gears and start whinging about preserving the neighborhood. and all the while, the town becomes a gated community for a combination of affluent bay area transplants and boomers lucky enough to have been born in an era when mortals could still buy houses, and who decided that it was in their interests to pull up the ladder once they bought a home.

    sorry if i sort of unloaded on you, doug, but it’s the dishonesty in the argument of the people that you’re talking about that just sets me off. i’ve seen the same pattern in cities all over northern california, where people can’t afford to live where they grew up because of property values, yet suburban restrictions on building height prevent the natural process of urbanization, as happened in european and 19th century american cities before the introduction of the car, and drive people into ludicrous 2+ hour commutes and peripheral commuter town development in the distant exurbs. and we all get pushed further and further inland, and out of state.

    it’s unsustainable, and keeping people out of one’s (often newly purchased) backyards doesn’t do much to address the underlying problems. no growth goes hand in hand with sprawl, it just passes the buck onto another community and another generation.

  21. “the majority of downtown davis is ugly concrete and stucco monstrosities from the 50s through the 70s”

    That is true of most of the commercial buildings. They, of course, were built over the graves of some excellent early 20th C. architecture. However, it’s not really true of the houses. And it still remains the case that in the core area, most of the parcels are single family homes (or SFH’s being used as places of business, such as with Ciocolat).

    The big redevelopment proposal downtown now under consideration is the 3rd & B Visioning Project. Every single building that would be torn down, if it were approved, would be a house. Most of those houses are nothing special individually. However, they do, collectively, make up a neighborhood. And as a group, they do make up a good part of the 1920s-era architecture in Davis. That does not mean that they have to be preserved. We as a community may decide to allow them to be demolished. But I think it’s worth knowing that something signficant would be lost if they are torn down.

    “preserving that would be as ridiculous as preserving a nondescript railroad underpass.”

    I’m rather agnostic about the Richards Blvd. underpass. However, because of its association with the Lincoln Highway, it is one of the few Landmark structures in Davis.

    I should add that when it was put up for a vote to make that a four-lane structure, I voted no. I didn’t do so because of the fear-mongering that the CAVErs were selling on that vote. Rather, I saw the fix as a 24-hour solution to a 2-hour problem. I felt then, and now, that a simple $5 toll for all single occupant cars (one hour in the morning and one hour in the late afternoon) would solve most of the problem without any expenditure of public funds.

  22. “the majority of downtown davis is ugly concrete and stucco monstrosities from the 50s through the 70s”

    That is true of most of the commercial buildings. They, of course, were built over the graves of some excellent early 20th C. architecture. However, it’s not really true of the houses. And it still remains the case that in the core area, most of the parcels are single family homes (or SFH’s being used as places of business, such as with Ciocolat).

    The big redevelopment proposal downtown now under consideration is the 3rd & B Visioning Project. Every single building that would be torn down, if it were approved, would be a house. Most of those houses are nothing special individually. However, they do, collectively, make up a neighborhood. And as a group, they do make up a good part of the 1920s-era architecture in Davis. That does not mean that they have to be preserved. We as a community may decide to allow them to be demolished. But I think it’s worth knowing that something signficant would be lost if they are torn down.

    “preserving that would be as ridiculous as preserving a nondescript railroad underpass.”

    I’m rather agnostic about the Richards Blvd. underpass. However, because of its association with the Lincoln Highway, it is one of the few Landmark structures in Davis.

    I should add that when it was put up for a vote to make that a four-lane structure, I voted no. I didn’t do so because of the fear-mongering that the CAVErs were selling on that vote. Rather, I saw the fix as a 24-hour solution to a 2-hour problem. I felt then, and now, that a simple $5 toll for all single occupant cars (one hour in the morning and one hour in the late afternoon) would solve most of the problem without any expenditure of public funds.

  23. “the majority of downtown davis is ugly concrete and stucco monstrosities from the 50s through the 70s”

    That is true of most of the commercial buildings. They, of course, were built over the graves of some excellent early 20th C. architecture. However, it’s not really true of the houses. And it still remains the case that in the core area, most of the parcels are single family homes (or SFH’s being used as places of business, such as with Ciocolat).

    The big redevelopment proposal downtown now under consideration is the 3rd & B Visioning Project. Every single building that would be torn down, if it were approved, would be a house. Most of those houses are nothing special individually. However, they do, collectively, make up a neighborhood. And as a group, they do make up a good part of the 1920s-era architecture in Davis. That does not mean that they have to be preserved. We as a community may decide to allow them to be demolished. But I think it’s worth knowing that something signficant would be lost if they are torn down.

    “preserving that would be as ridiculous as preserving a nondescript railroad underpass.”

    I’m rather agnostic about the Richards Blvd. underpass. However, because of its association with the Lincoln Highway, it is one of the few Landmark structures in Davis.

    I should add that when it was put up for a vote to make that a four-lane structure, I voted no. I didn’t do so because of the fear-mongering that the CAVErs were selling on that vote. Rather, I saw the fix as a 24-hour solution to a 2-hour problem. I felt then, and now, that a simple $5 toll for all single occupant cars (one hour in the morning and one hour in the late afternoon) would solve most of the problem without any expenditure of public funds.

  24. “the majority of downtown davis is ugly concrete and stucco monstrosities from the 50s through the 70s”

    That is true of most of the commercial buildings. They, of course, were built over the graves of some excellent early 20th C. architecture. However, it’s not really true of the houses. And it still remains the case that in the core area, most of the parcels are single family homes (or SFH’s being used as places of business, such as with Ciocolat).

    The big redevelopment proposal downtown now under consideration is the 3rd & B Visioning Project. Every single building that would be torn down, if it were approved, would be a house. Most of those houses are nothing special individually. However, they do, collectively, make up a neighborhood. And as a group, they do make up a good part of the 1920s-era architecture in Davis. That does not mean that they have to be preserved. We as a community may decide to allow them to be demolished. But I think it’s worth knowing that something signficant would be lost if they are torn down.

    “preserving that would be as ridiculous as preserving a nondescript railroad underpass.”

    I’m rather agnostic about the Richards Blvd. underpass. However, because of its association with the Lincoln Highway, it is one of the few Landmark structures in Davis.

    I should add that when it was put up for a vote to make that a four-lane structure, I voted no. I didn’t do so because of the fear-mongering that the CAVErs were selling on that vote. Rather, I saw the fix as a 24-hour solution to a 2-hour problem. I felt then, and now, that a simple $5 toll for all single occupant cars (one hour in the morning and one hour in the late afternoon) would solve most of the problem without any expenditure of public funds.

  25. “preserving that would be as ridiculous as preserving a nondescript railroad underpass.”

    Perhaps the underpass is “nondescript,” but that’s not the point. It is an icon, a touchstone that has helped define the feel of Davis for decades. The entrances to most other cities in the region are marked by Walmart, McDonald’s, Starbucks, and freeway onramps – which offer no differentiation from every other American city, and tell nothing of the city’s heritage.

    How many scenes around Davis are instantly recognizable as part of our community? I can think of only a handful (tree-lined west Russell Boulevard, the old police station, the water tower on 8th Street, the train station, the tank house and Hunt-Boyer mansion) and none is more strongly associated with Davis than the underpass is.

    For as long as I can remember, exiting the freeway and passing under the tracks has been synonymous with coming home. The underpass is a portal through which we pass from the World Outside to Our World. It’s part of how we retain a small town feel in a city of 70,000. That’s why Davisites voted to save it from destruction – not because the underpass, itself, represents any architectural masterpiece.

    I recognize all of the traffic and safety issues associated with the narrow, two-lane bottleneck. I don’t mean to minimize them or the value of solving them. That’s not what this post is about. My point is only that although the underpass may be architecturally nondescript, its cultural significance is great. It will be sad day when it is eventually replaced with yet another boring yet efficient, high-speed, sixteen-lane concrete vehicle conduit that will look and feel like….everywhere else.

    David Suder

  26. “preserving that would be as ridiculous as preserving a nondescript railroad underpass.”

    Perhaps the underpass is “nondescript,” but that’s not the point. It is an icon, a touchstone that has helped define the feel of Davis for decades. The entrances to most other cities in the region are marked by Walmart, McDonald’s, Starbucks, and freeway onramps – which offer no differentiation from every other American city, and tell nothing of the city’s heritage.

    How many scenes around Davis are instantly recognizable as part of our community? I can think of only a handful (tree-lined west Russell Boulevard, the old police station, the water tower on 8th Street, the train station, the tank house and Hunt-Boyer mansion) and none is more strongly associated with Davis than the underpass is.

    For as long as I can remember, exiting the freeway and passing under the tracks has been synonymous with coming home. The underpass is a portal through which we pass from the World Outside to Our World. It’s part of how we retain a small town feel in a city of 70,000. That’s why Davisites voted to save it from destruction – not because the underpass, itself, represents any architectural masterpiece.

    I recognize all of the traffic and safety issues associated with the narrow, two-lane bottleneck. I don’t mean to minimize them or the value of solving them. That’s not what this post is about. My point is only that although the underpass may be architecturally nondescript, its cultural significance is great. It will be sad day when it is eventually replaced with yet another boring yet efficient, high-speed, sixteen-lane concrete vehicle conduit that will look and feel like….everywhere else.

    David Suder

  27. “preserving that would be as ridiculous as preserving a nondescript railroad underpass.”

    Perhaps the underpass is “nondescript,” but that’s not the point. It is an icon, a touchstone that has helped define the feel of Davis for decades. The entrances to most other cities in the region are marked by Walmart, McDonald’s, Starbucks, and freeway onramps – which offer no differentiation from every other American city, and tell nothing of the city’s heritage.

    How many scenes around Davis are instantly recognizable as part of our community? I can think of only a handful (tree-lined west Russell Boulevard, the old police station, the water tower on 8th Street, the train station, the tank house and Hunt-Boyer mansion) and none is more strongly associated with Davis than the underpass is.

    For as long as I can remember, exiting the freeway and passing under the tracks has been synonymous with coming home. The underpass is a portal through which we pass from the World Outside to Our World. It’s part of how we retain a small town feel in a city of 70,000. That’s why Davisites voted to save it from destruction – not because the underpass, itself, represents any architectural masterpiece.

    I recognize all of the traffic and safety issues associated with the narrow, two-lane bottleneck. I don’t mean to minimize them or the value of solving them. That’s not what this post is about. My point is only that although the underpass may be architecturally nondescript, its cultural significance is great. It will be sad day when it is eventually replaced with yet another boring yet efficient, high-speed, sixteen-lane concrete vehicle conduit that will look and feel like….everywhere else.

    David Suder

  28. “preserving that would be as ridiculous as preserving a nondescript railroad underpass.”

    Perhaps the underpass is “nondescript,” but that’s not the point. It is an icon, a touchstone that has helped define the feel of Davis for decades. The entrances to most other cities in the region are marked by Walmart, McDonald’s, Starbucks, and freeway onramps – which offer no differentiation from every other American city, and tell nothing of the city’s heritage.

    How many scenes around Davis are instantly recognizable as part of our community? I can think of only a handful (tree-lined west Russell Boulevard, the old police station, the water tower on 8th Street, the train station, the tank house and Hunt-Boyer mansion) and none is more strongly associated with Davis than the underpass is.

    For as long as I can remember, exiting the freeway and passing under the tracks has been synonymous with coming home. The underpass is a portal through which we pass from the World Outside to Our World. It’s part of how we retain a small town feel in a city of 70,000. That’s why Davisites voted to save it from destruction – not because the underpass, itself, represents any architectural masterpiece.

    I recognize all of the traffic and safety issues associated with the narrow, two-lane bottleneck. I don’t mean to minimize them or the value of solving them. That’s not what this post is about. My point is only that although the underpass may be architecturally nondescript, its cultural significance is great. It will be sad day when it is eventually replaced with yet another boring yet efficient, high-speed, sixteen-lane concrete vehicle conduit that will look and feel like….everywhere else.

    David Suder

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