City of Davis seeks public opinions about Draft Downtown Plan
The City of Davis released the Draft Downtown Davis Specific Plan and Draft Downtown Form-Based Code for a 90-day public review and comment period, starting Oct. 14 until Jan. 14, 2020. The public can submit their comments through the online comment form.
The plan will be centered around the commercial core and mixed-use area in Davis — it will include the established residential University Avenue-Rice Lane neighborhood and partially established neighborhood of Old North and Old East Davis. This plan identifies six key issues as a result of previous community engagement.
Planner and project manager Eric Lee described the public review and comment period as a crucial stage.
“It is a very important stage, a very important part of the process,” Lee said. “Up to now, there has been very intensive public participation and community engagement.”
Lee said the City of Davis will evaluate all the comments to identify new issues and general community concerns.
“We will present those comments to the Downtown Plan Advisory Committee and eventually to the Planning Commission and City Council,” Lee said. “We will be looking at those comments and make some revisions to the plan.”
Larry Guenther, a member of the Downtown Plan Advisory Committee (DPAC), as well as a representative of Old East Davis, emphasized the influence of comments from the student body and faculty staff at UC Davis.
“There has definitely been a lot of concerns with many other committee members about how this is going to affect students and what role students play,” Guenther said.
Catherine Brinkley, a member of the DPAC and an assistant professor in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, specializes in Human Ecology and Community and Regional Development at UC Davis. She addressed current housing concerns for both students and people who work in Downtown Davis.
“Students are sleeping in the car, they are homeless and they are commuting very long distances, which is increasing greenhouse gas emissions,” Brinkley said. “It’s not just students. Two-thirds of people who work downtown commute from outside of Davis into Davis. There is a mismatch of housing availability and affordability.”
Guenther described the current zoning for Davis as restrictive in terms of stories and building types.
“There are very few people who live, actually, in the core downtown,” Guenther said. “One of the goals of the committee is to try to change the zoning so that we get more people [to] live downtown.”
The Specific Plan aims to enhance living and business environments in Downtown Davis. Lee said Davis has the potential to become better.
“The city has a lot to offer the community [and] downtown,” Lee said. “We are very unique in this region. We obviously have the university, all the students [and a] long history there.”
The DPAC, made up of 20 community members representing diverse aspects of the community, is a key component of community engagement in the whole planning process.
“There has been a lot of outreach with the community,” Guenther said. “And the idea behind having so many members in the committee was to really try to do a good job of representing the community and all the different voices.”
The Specific Plan has a 20-year planning horizon through 2040 and will use a two-phase strategy.
Written by: Rui Ding –– firstname.lastname@example.org