DAVIS — A Davis real estate developer looking to build a seniors’ housing community is told he must first build a toad tunnel.
“They haven’t been able to articulate the need. They just say, ‘We want it because we think it’s a good idea,'” property developer David Taormino said.
Dave says the project was approved by voters in 2018but now he is appealing the city’s demand that he build toad tunnels.
The plans call for a pair of eight-foot-wide underground drain pipes similar to those used to divert runoff.
“What the city asked us to do is customize these tunnels and make them frog-friendly creature tunnels so that creatures feel comfortable going into a dark tunnel.”
The features Dave is asked to include are a concrete bottom that looks like cobblestones and the construction of an 18-inch wooden boardwalk above the waterline.
Some Davis residents are unhappy with the city’s demands.
“Just keep adding more bureaucracy to everything we do here, and it’s hard to get anything done,” said a Davis community member.
Davis officials would not comment on the camera, but released a statement.
On November 4, 2020, the City of Davis Planning Commission approved the draft Bretton Woods Subdivision Plan in a public hearing and subject to certain conditions of approval. Among these conditions were requirements for specific pathway materials and widths, a wildlife crossing shelf/ledge, and a natural bottom for a culvert crossing, with some project streets to be maintained by the homeowners association instead. of the city, and the obligation to use native plant materials. The area along the Covell Boulevard location is a known wildlife corridor, and the wildlife crossing platform/ledge provides wildlife access when there is water in the culvert. Contrary to the statements of the applicant, the conditions of the project do not include a “toad tunnel”.
All of these conditions were reviewed by the Planning Commission on the evening of their final approval with the presence of the applicant at the meeting. After the decision of the Planning Commission, the applicant was given the opportunity to appeal the project to the city council, which would have allowed him to challenge the conditions of approval, but no appeal was filed.
Now, in August 2022, the project has started. The applicant recently filed a variation request to modify the requirements and conditions of the project. City staff will review the developer’s application and will submit a report and recommendation to the Planning Commission. The Planning Commission hearing for this article is scheduled to take place on October 12, 2022.
In protest, Dave’s team created a cartoon character named “Fletcher the Frog” to raise awareness of the town’s demands.