Letter: Responding to Inaccurate Public Commentary – The People’s Vanguard of Davis

Bretton Woods Map

Bretton Woods MapBy Matthew Keasling

In a “Guest Commentary” published in the The Davis Vanguard today, Mr. Alan Pryor makes several rather salacious assertions about numerous issues about which he has no direct knowledge. The commentary is riddled with assumptions and conjecture which reflect poorly upon City staff, J. David Taormina and your Council. These statements are not just inaccurate but libelous and intended to cause real personal and financial damage to Mr. Taormina and the Bretton Woods project. They collectively reflect a reckless disregard for the truth.

At its core, Mr. Pryor asserts that the City has allowed Mr. Taormina to substantively change the Bretton Woods project in a manner inconsistent with that approved by the voters in 2018, specifically with respect to what will occur at a proposed ±3-acre site in the southeast comer. This is grossly inaccurate.

To be specific: The project description from your May 29, 2018 staff report included the following language “The West Davis Active Adult Community project includes… An approximately three-acre continuing care retirement community site, which would likely contain 30 assisted living, age-restricted detached units.” (City Council staff report, 05-29-18, p.05-5.) The staff report for item 4B tonight includes a Newsletter GraphicBackground section which, in the past tense, describes the project that your Council approved in 2018 using the identical language, “The Bretton Woods project includes… An approximately three-acre continuing care retirement community site, which would likely contain 30 assisted living, age-restricted detached units.” (City Council staff report, 0 3- 01-22, p.04B- 3.) As is plain to see, there has been no change to the description of the use of this site. Mr. Pryor’s assertion that the City staff and/or Council have allowed the Developer to impermissibly morph the project is not only wrong, it is intentionally inaccurate and defamatory.

Going a step further, Mr. Pryor asserts that the “change” made to the project violates the Baseline Features approved by the voters. This is also false.

The Baseline Project Features include a list of “Primary Project Components” among which is the following: “Provide an approximately three-acre parcel for the expansion of URC for the benefit of its residents or for use by another specialized senior care facility.” (City Council staff report, 05-29-18, p.05-96, emphasis added.) The description in today’s staff report is fully consistent with this Baseline Project Feature, just as it was in 2018 when the same language was utilized to describe this 3-acre component of the project. To elaborate, providing units for senior “assisted living” is the definitional equivalent of providing senior “specialized care.” Case and point, here are two dictionary definitions:

Assisted Living – Housing for elderly or disabled people that provides nursing care, housekeeping, and prepared meals as needed.

Senior Specialized Care – Elder care, often referred to as senior care, is specialized care that is designed to meet the needs and requirements of senior citizens at various stages. As such, elder care is a rather broad term, as it encompasses everything from assisted living and nursing care to adult day care, home care, and even hospice care.

As is clear from the definitions, identifying land for assisted living units is equivalent to identifying land for specialized senior care units. Furthermore, use of this terminology is consistent with the services offered at the University Retirement Center and would in no way precludes its utilization of the site. To be clear, there has been no change to the description and there is no inconsistency with Baseline Features.

Oddly, half way through the Guest Commentary, despite explicit language that the 3-acre parcel continues to be for “assisted living” units and is bound under the Baseline Features to be for “specialized care,” Mr. Pryor asserts that the Developer has convinced city staff to modify this parcel to allow for traditional “single family homes” which he compares to those at the Cannery. He then claims that this change precludes use of the 3-acre site by URC and will result in a financial windfall to the Developer. Not only is all of this conjecture riddled with false accusations and speculation, it is plainly wrong and is, apparently, knowingly intended to mislead the public. It is our sincere hope that Davisites – particularly those in our senior population- are not fooled by this fearmongering.

In summary, please rest assured that (1) your staff has in no way authorized alteration of the project from what was approved in 2018; (2) what is before you tonight is in no way seeking to change the land uses approved by the Council and the electorate; (3) nothing before you is inconsistent with the Baseline Project Features; and (4) that the Guest Commentary is complete and utter nonsense which is apparently intended to create controversy where none exists.

As such, we ask that you take the actions recommended by staff and we thank you for your attention to the item. Approval of Final Maps and Assignment of the Development Agreement to DeNova Homes paves the way to allow Bretton Woods to break ground this summer and finally construct this long-desired and strongly supported senior community in Davis.

Matthew Keasling is an attorney with Taylor and Wiley

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