The future of the Nishi property, located southwest of Richards Boulevardlvd. and Interstate- 80, is up in the air.
The 44 acre44-acre piece of land is currently designated agricultural land,[omit jl], yet is being examined for housing development. The area could de developed into up to 1,000 apartment units.
“The land is not within the Davis city limits,” said Catherine Hess, Ccommunity Ddevelopment director. “It is land that has been considered for development, but at this point[, jl] none of the city’s planning documents show developments on that site. It has been identified as a potential site.”
The property is next to the core downtown area, the arboretum and the freeway. There are existing bike and pedestrian connections to downtown and South Davis. The area promotes the use of alternative modes of transportation:[, including jl] walking, biking and transit. Vehicles, however, only have one connection to the city core – along Olive Dr. Drive – which connects to traffic on Richards Blvoulevardd. For this reason, the site does not even have access to Olive Dr.Drive and would have to connect to the university campus.
Davis City Council candidate Sydney Vergis said the city is looking at their its different options.
“High density housing with close proximity to the downtown and university could be attractive to a diverse mix of socio–economic demographics including students, retirees looking to downsize, and first-time buyers looking for entry level options,” she said in an e-mail interview.
According to the report by the Steering Committee on March 20, challenges include limited vehicular access to the site, noise and air quality from I-80 and railroad and safety concerns with the railroad.
“Noise and air quality impacts can be mitigated through good building design and addressing safety concerns must include foraging a proactive partnership with the railroad and Caltrans to mitigate hazards,” Vergis said.
The site is also prime agricultural land because of soil type, but its size is too small to be considered viable commercial farming opportunity.
“The site has great access for bicycles and pedestrians,” Hess said. “The issue is vehicles. Questions have been, ‘ sShould here be a connection to West Olive?.’ There might be a way to go over or under the railroad tracks and connect to UC Davis.”
Property owner Tim Ruff said there have been engineering studies done to assess the feasibility of access to campus.
The Steering Committee, a 15-member citizen committee, ranked 37 potential housing sites. The Nishi Property ranked as a top-tier infill site based on these advantages. The property also has potential to provide higher density housing without impacting existing neighborhoods.
Nishi Property is ranked 17 as a secondary site in the General Plan Housing Element report, a site recommended for housing and considered “green light” sites. It appears again as a 22ndnd rated alternate “yellow light” site, which are to be considered for housing if needed prior to 2013.
The Planning Planning Commission and City Council will take a look at the site recommendations from the Steering Committee and a development proposal before it is submitted for approval by voters. They will then make a recommendation decision if UC access will be required. The Nishi Property requires approval by public vote, according to Measure J, before it can be developed.
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