Friday, August 22, 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

    No easy task: History buffs still trying to save building

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    DHS musicians back from summer in Italy

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    City to overhaul its sprinkler heads, other water-wasters

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Davis indecent-exposure suspect pleads no contest

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

     
    Not-guilty plea entered in Woodland homicide case

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

     
    Russian aid convoy reaches war-torn Luhansk

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Yolo County golf tournament enters fourth year

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

     
    Putah Creek Council appoints new executive director

    By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A3

    Communitywide ice bucket challenge on Sunday

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A3

     
    Parents’ Night Out features Vacation Bible School

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Afternoon tours of city wetlands resume Sept. 6

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

    Prunes take center stage at last agri-tour of the summer

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    In need of food? Apply for CalFresh

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Can you give them a home?

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

     
    Saylor will meet constituents at Peet’s

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Event will unveil mural celebrating food justice

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Explorit: Final Blast show returns for second year

    By Lisa Justice | From Page: A5

    Wolk bill would require reporting of water system leaks

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

     
    Writing couple stops at Davis bookstore

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

    Record drought saps California honey production

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

     
    World travelers

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

     
    Seniors set to stroll through Arboretum

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

    .

    Forum

    Weightlifters causing a racket

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    No support for militarization

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    A better use for this vehicle

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    Police are our friends, right?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Wage plan has a big flaw

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    Bridging the digital divide with computational thinking

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

    .

    Sports

    Watney and McIlroy struggle at start of The Barclays

    By Wire and staff reports | From Page: B1

     
    Light-hitting Cats fall

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    Giants win nightcap in Chicago

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Watts likes what he’s seen in keen Aggie DB competition

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Sports briefs: Big West soccer coaches have high hopes for UCD men

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8 | Gallery

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

     
    Davis Chinese Film Festival to kick off with 1994 favorite

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

    Rock Band campers perform at E Street Plaza

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

     
    Natsoulas to host mural conference

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11

    Yolo Mambo to play free show

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

     
    ‘If I Stay’: Existential angst

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A11

    .

    Business

    Car Care: Teenagers not driving safe cars, study shows

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

     
    Car Care: Feeling the summer heat? Your car battery is too

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

    Three-wheeled Elio gets closer to going on sale

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A12 | Gallery

     
    .

    Obituaries

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Friday, August 22, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B6