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Davis

Davis, California

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Davis City Council, Planning Commission complete remaining discussions at second joint session

After their first joint session on June 28, the latest meeting offers resolutions on remaining commission concerns

 

By ANTHONY W. ZAMMIKIEL city@theaggie.org

 

On Nov. 15, members of the Davis City Council and the Planning Commission attended a second joint discussion session to resolve the commission’s remaining questions on how to best align with council priorities. The joint session comes less than five months after the first joint session was held on June 28, where the Planning Commission first approached the council with recommendations about how the commission could best act to advance city council agenda items in a timely manner.

“The City Council held a Joint Discussion with the Planning Commission at the Council meeting on June 28, 2022. This meeting is a continuation of that discussion,” the staff report written by Community Development Director Sherri Metzker reads. “Joint discussions are a chance for the City Council to provide direction to the Commission and share with the Commission thoughts about potential projects/advice the Council wants or needs from the Commission.”

The staff report included two attachments, with the first outlining the Planning Commission’s ongoing challenges with determining how to be as productive as possible in following through with the city council’s recommendations. The second attachment outlines the current status of the planning documents that both the commission and the council use. 

According to the report, topics to discuss included affordable housing, trees, transportation and plans for Downtown Davis. 

“What are Council’s priorities among these items, and how do you envision advancing these items to get them completed and provide guidance to the Planning Commission in a timely fashion?” the report asks. “Until these items are completed, how should the Planning Commission be proceeding with our work evaluating projects in the absence of updated policy guidance on these topics?”

Greg Rowe, the chairman of the Planning Commission, first spoke to the attending city council members about the issues he wanted to address.

“The presentation given in June really summarizes the challenges the Planning Commission has had in providing recommendations to the council because of a number of outdated policies and plans, including the General Plan, and things like the Housing Element, Circulation Element, Affordable Housing Ordinance,” Rowe said in his opening statement to the council. “In our view, this forced the Planning Commission to look at projects on a one-by-one basis and make judgment calls on projects in isolation from any kind of overarching context in many cases.” 

Vice Mayor Will Arnold was directing the response from the city council on behalf of Mayor Lucas Frerichs, who was not present during the beginning of the meeting. Arnold talked about collaboration between the council and commission. 

“There appears to be a broad agreement among our bodies about the importance of continuing to build a community that is welcoming and inviting to folks and that we address and we recognize that a housing crisis exists, and we recognize our role in being a part of addressing it,” Arnold said. “That is not a universally shared viewpoint, I would say, in our community if I can put it lightly, and so that baseline level of common understanding, I think, is a critical starting point to the work that we do together.”

Davis City Council meetings are scheduled for the first and third Tuesdays of each month. The schedule for upcoming meetings and the agendas for each meeting can be located on the City Council page of the City of Davis website. The council can be contacted via email at citycouncilmembers@cityofdavis.org.

 

Written by: Anthony W. Zammikiel  — city@theaggie.org