Plans to develop a new hotel in South Davis faces final vote in City Council
The Davis Planning Commission voted down a proposal on Sept. 14 to approve the development of a new extended stay hotel in South Davis. The project, which will be built in South Davis on Cowell Boulevard, has faced significant opposition from community members in Rose Creek, many of whom are concerned about the disruption the development will have on the area.
Guneet Bajwa, managing principal of Presidio Companies, who is seeking to build the Hyatt House development, recognized the community concerns. However, he emphasized that the project will provide an economic boost to the city, which currently has a shortage of high-end hotels. He hopes a hotel will introduce new shops, cafés and restaurants for Rose Creek residents.
“There’s a very big demand in the city for an extended stay [hotel] and the UC which is the biggest driver of business in Davis, they want an upscale brand,” Bajwa said. “Hyatt is globally known as one of the most upscale brands, so that’s why we chose [it] as the brand. [It will have] 120 guest rooms and it will be the first extended stay [hotel] in Davis, which the city really needs.”
Many residents in the neighborhood object to the proposal, arguing that the project is incompatible with current zoning regulations in the area, which prohibit buildings of more than three stories from being constructed. In a change.org petition, residents of the area argue that the developers want the area to be ‘rezoned’ by the city to allow the construction of the Hyatt House hotel.
In a statement to The California Aggie, Alan Pryor, a resident of Rose Creek who was involved in the creation of the petition and opposes the project, highlighted that residents strongly feel that the development will significantly change their neighborhood.
“We are opposed to the zoning change of 2750 Cowell […] and are convinced it will negatively impact our neighborhood. The proposed zoning change would, at minimum, impact neighbor’s privacy, traffic and allow a development that isn’t compatible with a neighborhood of single and multi-family homes. We applaud the planning commission for voting NO on the proposal based on the city council’s criteria for evaluating hotels,” Pryor wrote in an emailed statement.
While Bajwa accepted the privacy concerns, he said that the development has already proposed a plan to implement screened windows on the highest floors of the hotel to prevent guests from seeing into neighbors’ homes, which was a concern of residents.
The hotel developer also emphasized that the project has significant support from the Davis Chamber of Commerce, Davis Downtown, UC Davis Campus Events and many local businesses. He dismissed the notion that the majority of Davis’ 60,000 residents oppose the project, and said he is confident that the City Council will override the Planning Commission’s recommendation and approve its development.
Both proponents and opponents of Hyatt House will have to wait until Oct. 25 for the City Council to give a final say in whether the project will be allowed to continue.
Councilmember Lucas Frerichs, who supports the proposal, agreed with Bajwa that the city is in need of more hotels to accommodate visitors, and was also keen to highlight that projects like the Hyatt House are extremely beneficial to the city’s finances.
“The city has a shortage of hotel rooms currently, and many cities rely upon what’s known as Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) to help fund city services,” Frerichs said. “There is both a shortage of hotel rooms and also not a very large amount of TOT dollars that are gained from having hotel rooms right now in Davis. So we’re looking at all our options in the city for potential new hotels and new locations.”
Frerichs, unlike Bajwa, was not so sure about whether the project will be approved by the council and conceded that, as with all cities, new developments are always a contentious issue amongst community members.
“I’m not sure that it will be approved by the city council. People seem to be very torn over the project. I think any site is going to present unique challenges […] You have a site like that nearby a neighborhood, and often [residents] have concerns about any change or development in their neighborhood,” Frerichs said. “It’s not a unique situation for that site and it’s also not unique to Davis.”
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