Thursday, December 18, 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

    Former foster youths aided by UCD’s Guardian programs

    By Sarah Colwell | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Rain Recyclers saves water for another day

    By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    City plans signs to improve flow on Fifth Street

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    U.S., Cuba patch torn relations in historic accord

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Supplies collected for victims of abuse

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    New technology chief will join McNaughton Newspapers

    By Tanya Perez | From Page: A3 | Gallery

    Feds will discuss Berryessa Snow Mountain protection

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    ‘Longest Night’ service Saturday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Nominate teens for Golden Heart awards

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Journalist will join post-film discussion Thursday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    City offices will take a winter break

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Konditorei presents free holiday concert

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Yolo County needs a few good advisers

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Per Capita Davis: Time to stop fooling around

    By John Mott-Smith | From Page: A4

     
    NAMI-Yolo offers free mental health education program

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    .

    Forum

    Disagreement on mother’s care

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Marovich is a brilliant diplomat

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

    And a jolly time was had by all

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6 | Gallery

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

    Remember that all lives matter

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Pollution from electric vehicles

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    .

    Sports

    On skiing: What to know when buying new skis

    By Jeffrey Weidel | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Devil boys host Les Curry beginning Thursday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    UCD women gear up for second half of swim season

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Aggie men begin 4-game road trip at Air Force

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Youth roundup: DBC Juniors rider Kanz wins a cyclocross event

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

     
    .

    Features

    College Corner: How does applying for financial aid work?

    By Jennifer Borenstein | From Page: B3

     
    What’s happening

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: B3

     
    Anniversary: Barbara and Jan Carter

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

    Something growing in the mailbox

    By Don Shor | From Page: A8 | Gallery

     
    .

    Arts

    Sing and dance along to Cold Shot at Froggy’s

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7 | Gallery

     
    Point of Brew: Recollections of Christmases past

    By Michael Lewis | From Page: A7

    Golden Bough brings Irish holidays to The Palms

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7 | Gallery

     
    Come ‘Home for the Holidays’ and benefit school arts

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    Rena Sylvia Smilkstein

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Comics

    Comics: Thursday, December 18, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B6

     
    .

    Last Minute Gift Guide

    Young phenoms make YouTube success look like child’s play

    By The Associated Press | From Page: LMG1

    Classic or contemporary, it’s all holiday music to our ears

    By The Associated Press | From Page: LMG2

    Teen gifts: ideas for hard-to-buy-for big kids

    By The Associated Press | From Page: LMG3

    Gift ideas for the health-conscious

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: LMG6

    Hall of Fame proudly puts these toys on the shelf

    By The Associated Press | From Page: LMG7