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Community Profile: Welcome to the agri-hood in Davis

By Tinka Davi

Residents at The Cannery can enjoy the seven-acre urban farm, the open space, Ranch House with pool and walking and bicycling trails.
Residents at The Cannery can enjoy the seven-acre urban farm, the open space, Ranch House with pool and walking and bicycling trails.

There’s a growing trend in master-planned communities, which are serving residents who opt for a farm-to-table setting. Called “agri-hoods,” these urban agrarian communities have been sprouting up across the county from Atlanta to Davis.

The Cannery in Davis is the first farm-to-table new-home community in California. It offers a mix of homes that appeal to all lifestyles from singles and families with children to empty-nesters.

It’s now the home of Diane Parro, the city’s chief innovation officer, and her husband, Jon.

They moved to Davis 13 years ago with their two sons.

“We initially came for my husband’s job at UC Davis. Our sons completed their K-12 education in Davis public schools and have since moved on to their own adventures,” Diane Parro said.

“Although my husband, who is active in the community, is no longer employed at UC Davis, this is our community and we have no plans to leave.”

They decided to downsize after talking about giving up their big family house with the giant yard.

“I don’t believe it is environmentally sound for two adults to have a large footprint in Davis when we are not utilizing the space,” she said.

“We have a really beautiful townhouse in the Heirloom neighborhood with no yard but an amazing array of shared green space such as the playground, running track and 7-acre urban farm.”

They use the running track several times a week and enjoy meeting new neighbors.

Cannery communities include Heirloom and Sage from The New Home Company and Persimmon and Tilton from Shea Homes.

Beech at The Cannery from Standard Pacific Homes will open in the spring. Standard Pacific and Ryland Homes merged last October to become CalAtlantic Homes but Standard Pacific is continuing to market Beech.

Residents enjoy the farm, the open space, Ranch House with pool and walking and bicycling trails.

At The Cannery’s entrance is a Dutch intersection, the first in the U.S.

“It provides the safest possible passage for cyclists,” Parro said. “It’s something new and exciting from Holland.”

Parro joined the Davis city staff in July and said her position gives her a great perspective on what is going on in the community.

As innovation officer, she is responsible for managing the city’s diverse economic development portfolio and serves as a key resource in efforts to attract and retain business, partner with UC Davis, strengthen downtown Davis, and promote the arts and entertainment. Currently, a high priority is working with all interested parties in developing innovation centers.

“Innovation centers are specifically designed to enable the formal and informal sharing of ideas between a diverse group of entrepreneurs, start-ups, innovation businesses, students, corporate research and development satellites and research institutions,” she said.

Currently, there are two proposed projects - the Mace Ranch Innovation Center (MRIC) and the Nishi Gateway.

Located between the railroad tracks and Interstate 80, the 45-acre Nishi site is a gateway to the district that is proposed to be a walkable and bicycle-able mixed-use district that includes a university-related research park development that will have high-density urban housing and be integrated into the UC Davis campus and downtown Davis.

The proposed MRIC is a 228-plus-acre site located approximately 2.5 miles east of downtown Davis near the “Mace Curve” in unincorporated Yolo County. A 212-acre portion of the project proposes 2,654,000 square feet of which up to 10 percent may be developed with supportive commercial uses such as office, research, hotel, conference facilities and retail.

“Nishi Gateway calls for high-density housing and MRIC may include housing in their plans as well,” Parro said.

“I don’t know if either or both projects will be successful in gaining the ability to build, but I know the city is very interested in the opportunity to keep our talented individuals in town and create the necessary high-quality jobs that would be possible with the addition of some new companies. The two projects plan to create space for all types of innovative businesses from small incubators, labs and start-ups to light manufacturing at MRIC.”

The City Council has yet to vote on whether to place the proposals on the ballot for Davis voters.

Growth of business in Davis includes an expansion of H.M Clause, an international company, dedicated to innovative and sustainable development of the highest quality vegetable seeds, Parro said. Their investment in Davis includes a life-science innovation center launched last May in collaboration with UC Davis.

Downtown Davis is a popular spot with its shopping, dining, entertainment and art attractions. The 2nd Friday Art About features open galleries and artists’ receptions.

“People like Davis for its strong sense of community,” said Kim Eichorn of Lyon Real Estate. “They like the small-town atmosphere with the richness of the university, the proximity to employment and the schools.”

Parents want to live within the Davis Joint Unified School District, said Eichorn, who was born and raised in Davis.

“A big change for Davis in 2016 is the number of new homes under construction. The Cannery is the largest new-home subdivision, but also adding to the new-home inventory is local builder Don Fouts who has several smaller neighborhood projects in the works,” Eichorn said.

In 2015, the total number of residential properties sold was 567. The average sales price was $590,298; median sales price was $535,000.

Of these, 42 were halfplexes, 79 were condominiums and 446 were single-family homes, she said. The lowest-priced property sold was $183,000, a one-bedroom, one-bath, 800-square -foot condominium; the highest-priced property sold was $1,675,000, a 5,104-square-foot home in Lake Alhambra Estates.

Whether moving to a resale home or a new home in the agri-hood, people may feel the same way Diane Parro does about her townhome.

“It’s a perfect fit,” she said.

Tinka Davi is a freelance writer and editor based in Folsom.


Where: 11 miles west of Sacramento

Size: 9.91 square miles

Population: 66,205

Government: municipal council/manager

County: Yolo

Incorporated: March 28, 1917

The Community Profile spotlights Sacramento-area cities and neighborhoods weekly. This schedule is subject to change:

  • Orangevale, Feb. 6
  • Arden/Arcade, Feb. 13
  • Folsom, Feb. 20
  • Rancho Murieta, Feb. 27
  • Placerville, March 5
  • Roseville, March 12
  • Elk Grove/Laguna, March 19
  • Granite Bay, March 26