Tuesday, September 30, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

City moves forward with Nishi property

Tim Ruff, owner of the Nishi property sandwiched between Interstate 80 and the UC Davis campus, just southwest of downtown Davis, points out project landmarks for Ken Hiatt, director of community development and sustainability, during a visit to the site Thursday morning. Sue Cockrell/Enterprise photo

By
From page A1 | November 30, 2012 |

The City Council voted 4-1 Tuesday to commit $100,000 for pre-development of the Nishi property, an undeveloped 44-acre slice of land bordering the southern edge of the city and cornered by Interstate 80, Olive Drive and the Union Pacific Railroad tracks.

City development staff and the landowner, Nishi Gateway LLC, would like to transform the property into a mixed-use development of 600 units of high-density housing plus research and business park space.

Through the agreement, the city will share the pre-development costs equally with the property owner to share the risk of fronting a substantial amount of cash for a project that has no guarantee of gaining approval from the public.

The project would have to go to a Measure J public vote because the property is outside the city limits. Measure J, passed by the voters in 2000 and renewed as Measure R in 2010, requires all council-approved peripheral developments on agricultural land or open space to be approved by a majority of the voters.

The only two projects to reach the polls under Measure J have failed miserably — Covell Village in 2005 and Wildhorse Ranch in 2009 failed. But Mayor Joe Krovoza said Tuesday that because this is an unusual proposal, it may not be appropriate to gauge the will of the people based on those prior votes.

“This is about jobs, this is about connecting to the university and this is not about peripheral development,” Krovoza said. “There has never been a Measure R vote in this community that has involved those very different elements. It’s always been 100 percent residential.”

However, Councilman Brett Lee, the lone dissenting vote on the proposal, was not comfortable handing over the money considering the city’s voting history.

“I think a realistic view of the situation would be that the money will be lost because, based upon the last Measure J/R vote, that’s a somewhat uphill battle,” Lee said. “I don’t think that it’s safe to assume that, number one, we’d get to a vote, and then, number two, that it would be approved by the voters.”

Instead, Lee said the city could gauge the pulse of its constituents on the idea of developing the land through a low-cost poll.

Ken Hiatt, director of community development and sustainability, recommended allocating $350,000 toward pre-development at the council meeting to pay for environmental documents, planning work and public outreach processes. The council eventually voted to have city staff check in after $100,000 is spent or in six months, whichever comes first.

To pay for its share, the city will reallocate funds dedicated to Core Area parking improvements. The agreement specifies that all costs associated with pre-development would be reimbursed by the property owner if the project wins approval from the public.

The agreement also includes options for the city and the landowner to leave the project at any point during the process before any major expenditures are made.

Meanwhile, the city and Nishi Gateway LLC will continue to look for ways to finance the project and its development, including resubmitting a grant proposal next year to the Strategic Growth Council. This summer, the city and UC Davis narrowly missed out on $1 million for the project.

While the project proposal is far from finalized, Hiatt and the landowner have devised a preliminary plan where the city would own half of the land, or 22 acres, nearest to the highway where the research park development would be situated, and Nishi Gateway LLC would own the high-density housing land away from the highway and closer to the train tracks.

“I like the fact that the city would own part of the property,” Councilman Lucas Frerichs offered Tuesday.

The two parties also will continue to work with UCD in the hope that the university will contribute to the planning effort since the site is adjacent to campus.

And as Hiatt told The Enterprise on Thursday, the land likely has great value to UCD, given Chancellor Linda Katehi’s 2020 Initiative plan that will increase enrollment by 5 percent.

Hiatt said the university also has made enhancing the Solano Park apartments on the other side of the railroad tracks a top priority, which could turn the entire area into an extremely viable neighborhood.

Frerichs, on the other hand, voiced concerns Tuesday over future access to the site.

“I think it’s going to be a very difficult sell if it’s primarily Olive Drive access,” he said.

But Tim Ruff, the property owner, said Thursday that he doesn’t share that concern, pointing out multiple places around the property that, with the right plan, could address most issues.

City staff will continue work with UCD to “identify and explore options, viability and costs for circulation and access options that involve university property.”

— Reach Tom Sakash at tsakash@davisenterprise.net or 530-747-8057. Follow him on Twitter at @TomSakash

Comments

comments

Tom Sakash

Tom Sakash covers the city beat for The Davis Enterprise. Reach him at tsakash@davisenterprise.net, (530) 747-8057 or @TomSakash.
  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Man on a mission: transform Davis

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Poppenga outlines ambitious agenda

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Cool Davis Festival is très chill

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Sanity phase begins in Daniel Marsh trial

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1

    Council looks at granny-flat revision

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1

     
    Find the perfect club or organization to join

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: C2 | Gallery

    California becomes first state to ban plastic bags

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Standing In: Is the therapy for them, or me?

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A2

    California exhausts initial firefighting budget

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Brown allows new local development financing tools

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Forum examines Props. 1 and 2 on November ballot

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Register to vote by Oct. 20

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Assembly candidates will be at Woodland forum

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Pets of the week

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

    California approves landmark ‘yes means yes’ law

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

     
    Try out basic yoga on Thursday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    DCC welcomes students with free lunch

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Gibson House hosts plant sale and garden event

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    UCD, University College Dublin will cooperate on food, health

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

     
    Accessibility technology on exhibit at fair

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    Covell Gardens breakfast benefits Komen Foundation

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    Put your hoes down and celebrate the harvest

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5 | Gallery

    Panelists discuss raising children with special needs

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

     
    DCC hosts fair-trade gift sale on Oct. 11

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    Number of wheels: How many bicycles do you have in your household?

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: C5 | Gallery

     
    Emerson gives away old textbooks

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

    Downtown history tour planned in October

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    Fraud Awareness Fair set Oct. 15 in West Sac

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    Woodland PD seeks volunteers for ViP program

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

    DMTC makes musical theater accessible to everyone

    By Bev Sykes | From Page: C9 | Gallery

     
    Take home a wreath from Davis Flower Arrangers’ meeting

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

    Snapshot: A night out with the neighbors

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: C10

     
    Davis school names reflect interesting history

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: C12

    Snapshot: Plenty of places to park it

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: C14

     
    Snapshot: Dive into Davis fun

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: C15

    Snapshot: Kick garbage to the curb

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: C16

     
    Snapshot: Sounds like a party

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: C17

    .

    Forum

    It takes two to lambada

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    He seems happy at home

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

    Marsh case shows need for ‘Maupin’s Law’

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

     
    The great bedtime conspiracy

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    They’re best-prepared to lead

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Vibrant and hard-working

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    Archer has the right stuff

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

    Get on your bikes to meet Davis’ greenhouse gas goals

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

     
    .

    Sports

    ‘Playoff game’ or missed chance? Either way the Aggies move on

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Devils move atop league standings with win

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Only 15 months out of UCD, Runas off to LPGA Tour

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Davis golfers get teaching moments in forfeit win

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    Two Junior Blue Devil squads emerge victorious

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

     
    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    I-House film series continues with ‘Monsieur Lazhar’

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

     
    ‘Art Farm’ exhibition will open in Woodland

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

    Pleasant Valley Boys cool down Picnic in the Park

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9 | Gallery

     
    Acclaimed guitarist Peppino D’Agostino to play The Palms

    By Landon Christensen | From Page: A9

     
    Woodland artist hosts event at her new studio

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    Danelle Evelyn Watson

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Michael Allen Hanks Baxter

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Anne Elizabeth Elbrecht

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Comics

    Comics: Tuesday, September 30, 2014 (set 1)

    By Creator | From Page: B5

     
    Comics: Tuesday, September 30, 2014 (set 2)

    By Creator | From Page: B7