In the Fall of 2017, a small group of dedicated community members volunteered to spend what is now two years as members of an advisory committee. That committee would guide the drafting of the Specific Area Plan for Downtown Davis. The process was full of formal meetings, workshops, surveys, and pop-up events to gather community input, review and make recommendations. The resulting document lays out a vision for the downtown by 2040, encompassing buildings, activities, streets, and civic spaces. The work of the committee, City staff, and Opticos (the consultants tasked with leading the planning process and drafting the plan) has now come to fruition with a first formal draft released on October 14.

The next steps in this process are public review and comment, final recommendations, and formal review by the planning commission and city council.

See below for a full listing of next steps, meetings, and workshops with dates.

Public meeting and workshop this Saturday

This Saturday November 2, 1-4 pm: Public meeting and workshop to review the Downtown Davis Specific Plan and Davis Amtrak Access and Connections study at Davis Community Church Fellowship Hall at 421 D Street.

RSVP for the meeting and workshop (requested not required).

Public comment period

There will be a 90-day public review and comment period on the draft documents ending on January 14, 2020. The public is welcome to provide comments to be submitted no later than by 5:00 p.m.

Draft documents and all documents and proceedings from the process that began in 2017 are available at: and the draft plan and appendices are also linked below.

Comments may be submitted on the web page or emailed to:


Form based code. The plan delivers a new framework for planning, moving away from more traditional land use zoning designations to using what is called “form-based code” to guide the planning and development of downtown. The specific plan comes with an attached “form-based code” that will replace, amend or work in concert with the City of Davis’ existing code for the downtown. This form-based code approach is a prequel to the approach expected for work on the future general plan. Two training workshops will be offered on form-based code during the comment period.

Vision for a sustainable downtown. Chapter 3 of the Document lays out a “sustainable vision for downtown” where Downtown Davis is envisioned as a “carbon neutral, equitably accessible, water efficient, zero waste resilient community by 2040.” Ten sustainability themes are offered, and examples presented of how sustainability strategies can work at building scale and in the public realm aspects of the plan. Many of the sustainability details are also woven throughout the plan’s later chapters. Chapter 8: Implementation, provides additional detail regarding many steps for implementation including sustainability.

Look close, ask questions, make comments. Cool Davis encourages you to take a close look at the plan. Examine how the vision and the many aspects of the plan go on to be reflected in the implementation chapter and the Form Based Code. Links to the draft document appear below. Ask questions and make comments. There are public workshops and presentations you can attend. You have until January 14 to bring even more wisdom to the process! Finally reflect on this planning process and the final document. Consider how a general plan process with a form-based code approach might help the community envision the future of other parts of our community and neighborhoods.

Important review period dates

  • October 24, 2019 (Community Chambers) DPAC meeting for Opticos presentation. The October 24th DPAC meeting is available for viewing on the City video archives under “Other” at: The Opticos presentation begins at about the 05:00 minute mark and goes until 1:02:00.
  • Saturday, November 2, 1-4 pm. Public meeting and workshop on the Downtown Plan and Davis Amtrak Access and Connections Study at Davis Community Church Fellowship Hall at 421 D Street. RSVP online at (RSVPs are requested, not required). Facebook Event:
  • Thursday, November 14, 2019 DPAC meeting for discussion, comments, and initial recommendations.
  • November 20, 2019 Community Chambers (Wednesday 12:30 – 3:30 PM) Form Based Code introduction and training for builders, developers, architects and public.
  • November/December 2019 TBD Opticos presentation for City Commissions. Specific date to be determined.
  • December 11, 2019 Senior Center Activity Room (Wednesday 5:30 – 8:30 PM)

Form Based Code introduction and training for builders, developers, architects and public. Same training as November session.

  • January 14, 2020 End of public review period
  • January 23, 2020 DPAC meeting to review public comments and final recommendation. Date to be confirmed.
  • February 2020 TBD Planning Commission check-in meeting for Opticos presentation and comment review. Specific date to be determined.
  • February/March 2020 TBD City Council check-in meeting for Opticos presentation and comment review. Specific date to be determined.

Draft document and other core materials

The Downtown Plan Advisory Committee (DPAC) has been providing assistance throughout the plan process. The Chair and Vice Chair of the DPAC have written an introductory letter to accompany the release of the draft plan with the intent to provide context about the DPAC and the process to date.

The draft plan appendices (Chapter 10) are provided below: 

00 Appendices Cover

01 Existing Conditions

02 Economic Background Analysis

03 Recurring CASP Implementation Problems

04 Public Workshop 1 Summary

05 Public Workshop 1 Feedback

06 Public Workshop 2 Summary

07 Public Workshop 2 Feedback

08 Sustainability Recommendations

09 Current Regulations Analysis

10 Underutilized Sites Map

11 Illustrative Plan

12 Downtown Neighborhoods Map

Document availability

A hard copy of the documents is available for review at:

  • Mary L. Stephens – Davis Branch Library located at 315 E. 14th Street, Davis.
  • City of Davis, Department of Community Development and Sustainability located at 23 Russell Boulevard, Suite 2, Davis.

During the review period, opportunities for the public to learn about the draft plan will be provided and will include public meetings. See the Davis Downtown Plan Upcoming Meetings and Events webpage for more detailed information.

Members of the public wishing a printed copy may purchase it at Copyland who can print them in color or in black and white. Copyland is located at 231 G Street in downtown Davis.

Cool Davis has a office copy of the plan and form-based code. Partners, volunteers, and friends are welcome to come by and read it in our offices. Send us an email to and we will let you know what hours we are open and come on by! Typical hours are 10am-5pm Tuesday  through Friday at 1623 5th St. 2nd floor above Davis Media Access.