Historic Preservation

News and Commentary: City Council Goes Forward with Alternative 3 on Tank House

Depending on your perspective, nights like Tuesday are what make Davis interesting, boring, and/ or at the very least unpredictable. Fifty to sixty people filed into Council Chambers to discuss the future of the Tank House. Ordinary alliances are disrupted for that night and the dispute boils down to two alternatives to the main project.

Alternative 3 is the staff recommended and owner preferred alternative. This alternative calls for a two story building between the Varsity Theater and the Hunt-Boyer Mansion and the Tank House to be demolished, moved, and then reconstructed to the west of a building. Ultimately that project alternative won out by a scant 3-2 vote.

Alternative 5 became the other option on this night. This was Richard Berteaux’s proposal. Quite frankly Rich Rifkin – and the artist rendering – sold me on this alternative, and it became my preferred alternative. This preferred alternative provided a greenhouse-type set up and the broader expanse of open space.

City Council to Hear EIR on Tankhouse Project

Though it seems as though this issue has been on the table for a considerable amount of time, the city will finally hear and vote on the EIR for the Hunt-Boyer Tankhouse project.

The Final Environmental Impact Report evaluates the potential environmental impact of a proposal for Mishka’s Cafe that would be located on a portion of the historic Dresbach-Hunt-Boyer Mansion at 604 Second Street in downtown Davis. This project would demolish the existing tank house structure and orange grove at 604 Second Street to accommodate the construction of a new three-story commercial building between the varsity theater and the Mansion, according to the Davis city staff report.

The owner of the site Sinisa Novakovic and the staff report however now support Alternative 3 to the proposal.

City Can Better Utilize Hunt-Boyer Mansion with a Restaurant

Back in December, the city council met to decide the future reuse of the Dresbach-Hunt-Boyer Mansion. Currently city staff are located in that building, however, they will soon be relocated to other city facilities and the city now has the choice as to how to use the building.

The city hired a consultant to do a feasibility study and consider reuse options which were narrowed down to a restaurant or a visitor’s center. At the December 9, 2008 council meeting, the majority of the city council concurred with the staff report “that the visitor’s center concept is a better fit than a restaurant for this historic structure, as it would have the least physical impact on the building and would be far more economical to implement.” However, in a compromise, Councilmember Stephen Souza constructed a motion that would allow the city to at least test the restaurant option.

Unfortunately by putting out a RFP (Request for Proposal) for only two months during these economic times may not be doing far enough in terms of actually allowing a potential restaurant owner to use the site.