Imagine being able to commute simply by climbing one flight of stairs.
That’s the idea behind a new infill project for 2751 Del Rio Place, a 16-lot development on 1.02 acres at Peña Drive and Del Rio Place in Mace Ranch. The project, which is on a vacant parcel near the Pamela Trokanski Dance Workshop and Far Western Anthropological, would have small businesses on the ground floor and living space for business owners up top.
The City Council unanimously approved the project on Tuesday.
The city and developers Tim Ruff and Eric Roe are betting that as a small business owner, being able to lump your store or office space into your home mortgage probably would be much easier on your budget, or at least make life more convenient.
According to an Aug. 26 city staff report, the space would “provide a unique opportunity for professionals and others who desire this type of housing.”
The city had zoned the land for light industrial, but on Tuesday changed that designation to “neighborhood mixed use” that would allow 2751 Del Rio Place to become a reality.
The energy-efficient buildings would range from 2,924 square feet to 3,632 square feet, and would meet the city’s objectives toward lowering its carbon footprint as well.
Plus, the Davis Chamber of Commerce gave the project its seal of approval, saying there is a severe shortage of office/lab space in Davis and this project will help meet that demand.
“Undeveloped land within the city of Davis’ boundaries is rare and the Chamber supports urban infill projects like Del Rio Live-Work to provide more opportunities for innovative professionals to live in Davis while creating and growing their businesses in our community, providing much-needed tax revenue,” a statement from the Chamber said.
Business leaders also pointed out the project increases the diversity of housing options available in Davis as envisioned by the General Plan, which says: “Provide a range of unit sizes and a mix of housing types, densities, designs, prices and rents.” In addition, the Chamber praised the project for having ample parking.
That’s been a thorny issue in the recent past on Del Rio Place.
Kelly McGuire, CFO of Far Western Anthropological, said employees of nearby Carlton Senior Living on Fifth Street used to park on Del Rio Place, crowding the cul-de-sac.
“The (city) has really improved that,” McGuire said, adding that the parking problem seems to be a thing of the past.
Local dance instructor Pamela Trokanski said although she’s been away recently and the studio was closed during August, she thinks the parking situation is much better than it was before.
“I know it did change,” she said. “…What we saw (before) were people passing through and stepping through our landscaping.”
According to a city staff report, Carlton Senior Living was asking its employees to park on nearby streets rather than in its own parking lot. Carlton management said the parking lot is not big enough to accommodate its residents and employees, because many of the tenants are younger than anticipated.
“The short-term solution is that Carlton employees are now parking on-site,” the report said. “The long-term solution is that Carlton is negotiating with neighboring property owners to lease off-site parking spaces for their employees.”
While the city says the remedy now in effect lessened the parking impacts on Del Rio Place, it admits there is no guarantee that a Carlton employee will not park on Del Rio Place on occasion.
The 2751 Del Rio project seeks to address the parking issue by offering its residents a two-car garage and CC&Rs that ban parking on the street or common areas. A homeowners’ association will manage the rules.
Special provisions were included in the approval that prevent the downstairs business space from being converted into a living room or bedroom.
The project is the first live-work project outside downtown. City Council members praised that aspect of the deal, but two members wanted to additions to the project.
Councilman Brett Lee asked for 1 kilowatt of solar panels on each roof. The architect explained that would work only on south-facing roofs because each roof is steeply sloped, plus it would affect the overall affordability of the units. What’s more, he said, by making the buildings well-insulated and energy-efficient, it would provide more environmental bang for the buck than solar panels.
Councilman Lucas Frerichs asked for, and got, a promise to include electric vehicle charging outlets in the garages.
— Reach Dave Ryan at [email protected] or 530-747-8057. Follow him on Twitter at @davewritesnews