The Business and Economic Development Commission passed a motion Monday night supporting further consideration of a development at Cannery Park that would include both housing and business park space. If approved, a mixed-use development at the long vacant site would create hundreds of jobs and homes, according to a report by an outside consulting firm.
Combining an office park with residential space would help to attract businesses, said economic development coordinator Sarah Worley.
“Businesses come where there’s land or buildings available,” Worley said.
The mix of uses would be environmentally friendly because new Cannery Park residents could easily walk or bike to their jobs at the business park, Worley said.
Cannery Park – a 98-acre site northeast of Covell Boulevard and F Street – represents a large portion of Davis’ unused land, and developing the site could ease some of the city’s growth needs.
“We have limited land left both for residential and non-residential development,” Worley said.
Opponents to a mixed-use plan argue that an all-industrial use of the site would attract businesses, would earn the city money through taxes and ultimately would be more beneficial to the citizens of Davis.
The plan proposed by Lewis Planned Communities, the company that owns the Cannery Park site, is one possibility for the future of the site. Their proposal includes a 610 home residential area and opportunities for businesses.
“The 20 acres of business park that is in the plan today would generate 225,000 square feet of business park opportunities,” said Ken Topper, director of community development for Lewis Planned Communities.
A study by Economic Strategies Group, the consulting firm that evaluated possibilities for the site, estimates that the Lewis plan would create between 650 and 800 new jobs in Davis.
“[Developing Cannery Park] will be an opportunity for the city to realize their affordable and middle-income ordinances,” said Topper.
Ninety-two of the proposed 610 homes would have price restrictions according to the city’s affordable housing requirements, Topper said.
Topper emphasized that the plan is far from finalized and is frequently changing.
Lewis Planned Communities has held five community outreach meetings since they bought the property in 2004 to get feedback from neighbors.
“The people who live around the site – there’s a perspective there that’s invaluable,” Topper said. “The plan has evolved over the course of those meetings.”
The company also receives considerable input from city commissions and the Davis City Council, which must approve any plan before the site can be developed.
Support in the community is growing for a plan that combines a residential neighborhood and business space, said former planning commissioner Eileen Samitz.
“A mixed use like this would be compatible with the surrounding neighborhoods, unlike a huge 100-acre business park,” Samitz said. “It offers the best of two worlds to provide affordable workforce housing and some office business park for jobs.”
Kevin Fort, a Davis resident living near the site also expressed his support in a letter to the Davis Enterprise.
“The mixed-use strategy meets a variety of goals and integrates well into the surrounding community, and those of us who live near this parcel encourage the Davis City Council to adopt [the Lewis plan],” Fort said.
Topper said that if all goes well Lewis will be able to break ground as early as 2010, and the first residents of Cannery Park would move in a year later.
JON GJERDE can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.