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2006-05-29 00:52:28 A resident of one of the houses on B Street across from Central Park told me that the houses will soon be snatched under the pretext of eminent domain and that two-story housing/business units will be built in their places. Can some fellow wikis confirm or negate this rumor? If this turns out to be true, I don't think I can decide if this is an acceptable thing. My instinct says that this is an outrage, as the downtown will automatically become more mainstream and urban, and by this I mean that the area will begin to lose its classic Davis character. After all, the houses currently on the piece of land have likely been where they are a relatively long amt. of time and really reflect Davis as a community. What says "big city in the making" more than towering businesses surrounding a park, after all? Clearly, my first reaction is that of shock and indignation. On the other hand, if Davis keeps growing (though I don't think it should), would these buildings be better than urban sprawl?
Are there alternatives to demolishing these houses? For example, can any current one-story bldgs downtown be made into two-story edifices to create more housing and business space? Or if demolition of the current B St. houses goes forth, is there an ordinance mandating that the bldgs are modeled after ones like Ciocolat—ones that remain true to Davis style? Is there a way to find out what sort of businesses would be opening? It could be nice to have a European-style row of restaurants there, encouraging community. There could also be a creative space of some sort...maybe an arty multi-purpose venue/lounge? Or should we just chain ourselves to the trees and save the houses because I had a dream that a bunch of us did that and it felt good to preserve an important part of our shared history. —EliseKane
Re: Chaining ourselves to the trees — I'm in. Especially if we can buy the chain at a Davis business. Using eminent domain to build businesses seems a little too much like fascism to me. —BrentLaabs
This is alarmist and melodramatic. If eminent domain for these properties is ever actually attempted, it will certainly not be secret, so there is no need for spreading rumors and speculation at this point. I think it is presumptious of this person on B Street to say that an eminent domain purchase of the property would be under a pretext. At this point of complete speculation, I am assuming the city would act in good faith and would not attempt such a thing with public funds without justification. Furthermore, as a lifelong citizen of Davis, I can tell you that there is no such thing as "classic Davis character". Are you, an art student, seriously suggesting that there be an ordinance dictating architectural style? I think that is an outrage. -NickSchmalenberger
—Being an artist and an art student has nothing to do with my desire to preserve what I view as "classic Davis character". And if you don't see this "character", it is perhaps because you have lived here your whole life. That happens when one is too close to the source; the style becomes invisible. As for an ordinance "dictating" an architectural style, it is not such an outrage as it is employed all over the United States and Europe as agreed upon by both communities and governments. In this context, persons of a community are responsible for requesting that ordinances be put in place. The ordinances are not intended to be dictatorial in the least; an overwhelming educated majority usually approves the proposals in order to preserve local histories and limit as much as possible the imposition of arbitrary architectural styles that homogenize cultures. One ought not to be so quick to attack a fellow citizen's words when the citizen's only hope is that, as said above, we all preserve a part of our shared history in the most optimal manner possible, given (or in spite of) the governmental systems in place. -EliseKane