Michael Corbett served on the City Council from 6/20/1986 to 6/20/1990. During that time, he served as Mayor from 1988 to 1989. He and Judy Corbett are responsible for Village Homes. Michael and Judy separated, and Michael currently resides in downtown Davis. Michael was the principal designer of the Covell Village project. He is one of the authors of the Ahwahnee Principles. He was responsible for expanding Central Park for the future expansion of the Farmers Market. He never swayed on his commitment to maintaining the integrity of Davis' downtown keeping the theatres from going to a freeway location. He voted to get the city to build the theater in the core of downtown on city property. One of the many choices he made as Mayor to keep the "Village" concept strong. He also had the drainage ponds in North and west Davis converted to wildlife habitat.

Michael and former Davisite John Oliver were very involved in Measure S in 1986. That was a citizen's referendum to reverse a city council decision to sell the Arden-Mayfair site between 3rd and 4th streets for commercial development (to a company called Terranomics). That site is now the piece of Central Park that is home to the Farmer's Market, the US Bicycling Hall of Fame, and the Central Park Gardens.


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2007-06-25 16:26:57   Micheal Corbett was the sole designer and developer of the world famous "Village Homes" in Davis, CA. Based on his lifelong interest in architecture and the environment, he developed one of the first solar and environmental communities in the world. He won acclaim not only from our President at the time Jimmy Carter, but from many other world leaders. Many concepts from his first book "A Better Place to Live" were used as he forged ahead to build a community many at the time thought was a little off-beat! He also designed the most recent environmental development, "Covell Village" which was voted down by the citizens of Davis. As Davis claims to be so concerned about growth, and environmental issues they were put to the test when this development failed. Mace Ranch and Wildhorse Davis' first production sprawl developments must have caught on. Having one of the most acclaimed developments in the world was more than the citizens could handle. —Louis

I have a hard time with the form and substance of Louis' posting; following the link to Covell Village will show anyone with an interest that there are many perspectives & arguments about the environmental impact of the failed/foiled development. I'd say Mike was "put to the test," and his environmental credentials couldn't cover up the traffic and financial costs the project would have had. But that's just another opinion. —DougWalter

2007-06-26 09:16:09   While agree with a portion of Louis's comments regarding the Covell Village project, and the citizens desire to not be at the forefront of sustainable development, the overall fawning tone makes me uncomfortable, like I should genuflect or somthing when Mr. Corbett's name is mentioned. —RocksandDirt

Mike IS an influential thinker and developer. He's conscious of it, but — then again — he's a very approachable person. That's the combination that helped him succeed in politics. There's a lot to debate about issues like sprawl, infill, development on agricultural land, and creating community; the character of individuals is bound to seep into that, but there's no reason that personalities need to become the focus. —DougWalter

  • I agree that personalities should not be the focus in these debates and almost always get sucked into them. It actually hurts the quality of the debate substantially. I actually feel (and this is totally my own un substantiated opinion) that the fawning tone most people take towards Mr. Corbett and his ideas hurt the Covell Village project. Davis (like most towns) has a built in vote against personality in these situations, and I think it hurt the project. —RocksandDirt

2007-06-26 22:20:16   I was a supporter of Covell Village and have always admired Michel Corbett, but Louis seems to think he is the next Saint Francis of Assis. Nature is under good stewardship as long as Mike stays around. —Jeffreymh

2008-01-09 15:33:23   I've known Michael Corbett for some years now; he is a man who loves Davis very much, and wanted to "give something back" to it, in the way he knew how: by designing an environmentally sustainable community within Davis, called Covell Village. The plans I saw were beautiful; he could see into the future at what that lifestyle within a neighborhood be like, and probably would have lived there himself if it had been approved. It had the walking and bike paths, senior center and garden sites, school and parks, water/wetlands areas. Davis is going to grow no matter what people want; but I guess what they want is more Mace Ranch monoliths that look like every other subdivision in California. Can you say "SOUND WALL?" —Beahah

2008-01-09 16:02:06   Mike was also involved in the planning of Manzanita, which would have been a small city of several thousand people just over the county line from Winters in Solano County. Touted for its environmentally friendly features, Manzanita triggered a county-wide vote and was defeated by Solano County voters in 1985. The proposal was partly responsible for Solano County's Measure A, which restricted growth to the existing cities. —DonShor

2008-12-14 22:04:32   I think the Covell Village proposal was just too big. People had a hard time with the size. Regardless of how trustworthy the developers were. —JeffShaw