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Business in the Gateway Area:
How are businesses affected by the proposed draft Area Plan?

Presentation by Jennifer Dart, Deputy Director, Arcata Community Development Department
May 16, 2022    10 minutes 18 seconds

Note:  This transcription was taken from the YouTube video automatic translation.  It has not been checked for errors.  Any discrepancies between what was spoken and what is written here are unintentional and are not believed to alter the intent or meaning of the speaker.  Many of the “uh” and “you know” and “um” words have been removed.  Some sub-headings may be added.

The transcript is in black text. Highlights may be added as bold highlights.

On May 12, 2022, Community Development Deputy Director Jennifer Dart made a presentation to the Arcata Economic Development Committee and fielded questions from members of the Committee and from the public.  That video will be posted on a separate page on this site. This 10-minute video is a shorter version of the May 12th presentation.  The May 12th presentation is considered to be better and covers more material — the discussions of the Gateway area went on for over an hour.  The reader is encouraged to watch the other video.

This 10-minute version is somewhat of a “sanitized” version of the longer discussion.  The May 12th presentation went into some of the thornier issues at greater depth, and includes discussions with members of the Economic Development Committee as well as comments from members of the community. However this 10-minute version does capture much of the strong points of her talk.

The May 12th presentation can be seen on here.

Transcription of the video:

Hi. Today I’m going to share a little bit

about businesses in the Gateway area.

this presentation was shared at the

Economic Development Committee meeting

which actually was held on May 12th

but I think that it would be interesting

I know a lot of public members have had

questions about it so I want to go ahead

and get this information out

so the topics I’m going to go over in

this presentation are allowable land

uses in the draft Gateway Area Plan

some business and employment data

some discussion of the business types

that are currently in the Gateway area

we’ll go over just briefly some retail

sales tax data just that I think will be


talk a little bit about what

non-conforming means and then go over

some common questions and concerns

so the purpose of this plan is to move

away from use-based zoning

based on the current draft plan all of

the uses listed here would be allowable

and this encompasses the large majority

of businesses in the Gateway area

one comment that we’ve received

is just the concern that light

industrial uses

are not going to be kept in the plan and

that they should be kept in the plan and

I want to point out that based on the

current draft they are allowable uses so

you can find that information in policy

chapter 1 which is on page 43.

any new construction or expansion would

need to have housing as a component in

order to take advantage of the

streamlining that is being allowed for

in this plan but if housing isn’t a

component and the use is an allowable

use there’s still a process that you can

go through it’s the same process

planning and design review process that

currently exists so there is a pathway


so one of the questions that came up at

a previous edc economic development

committee meeting was how many

businesses and jobs

are in the Gateway area currently so

based on the data from the city business


there are approximately 166 businesses

in the Gateway and they employ about 376


so the Gateway encompasses about nine

percent of business licenses in the city

and about four percent of the total jobs

about 20 percent of the businesses and

businesses in the Gateway do not have

employees so those would be

self-employed folks

the business data that we got so the

number of businesses that came from city

business license database so that’s

anybody with a business license is

included in that

um and that was from 2021

so it’s a little a little bit behind but

still probably pretty accurate

the information on the number of jobs we

received that data from the employment

development department

the employment development department

also provided the employment density

heat map uh so you can see downtown is

kind of the primary cluster

of of employers HSU [Cal Poly Humboldt] which is the big the darker

purple circle, east of the highway

and that’s our largest employer

obviously there’s also quite a few large

employers up in the valley western alder

grove area so I just wanted to point

that out I mean I know we’re talking

about the Gateway here and not

necessarily that area but it is

interesting to see and to note that

there are several pretty large employers

up there as well

so Gateway area business types this

graph shows the different business types

or the primary

primary business types that are located

in the Gateway area

you’ll see retail is the highest with 22

and manufacturing and consulting is next

both of those have 13.

um rental is categorized as rental


um so they’re probably not allowed a lot

of jobs associated with that maybe a

property manager here and there but

that’s what that is listed as because

they are required to get a business

license there are 11 businesses that identify as

auto repair or parts and I know this

question has come up before but those

would be allowable uses

miscellaneous services includes things

like marketing detailing seamstress work

graphic design that type of thing and

then the next which isn’t it didn’t show

up here on this on this

on this graph but the next one would be

home home occupations so those would be

a lot of the self-employed folks as well

so this

this slide gives a snapshot of retail

sales tax generated in the Arcata

Gateway area and also the creamery


the Gateway area represents about eight

percent of our total sales tax revenue

of course you know fluctuates depending

on the quarter but this is just some

interesting information that

I thought we would like to share

um the numbers that you see

listed for the creamery district

are also included in the Gateway area so

I just want to make that clear that

those are those are um

those are included in the Gateway area

it’s just kind of nested

and we had that broken out so I thought

it would be interesting to share kind of

what the Gateway is

as a whole but also breaking out the

Creamery District

so there are five or six businesses that

would be considered non-conforming uses

based on the current draft plan

these businesses would be allowed to

continue indefinitely rebuild if

destroyed and generally be maintained

they would lose their non-conforming

status if they ceased to operate

for 12 months if a structure doesn’t conform to the


but wanted to expand they would still be

able to do so by going through the

planning permit process

so they just wouldn’t get the


that they would if they were conforming

so if it’s an allowable use and

they wanted to uh to develop

they would be able to do that they just

would have to go through the planning

process as it currently exists

and I really want to point that out the

purpose of the plan is not to drive out

businesses and the existing investment

in the area we know that there’s a lot

of you know fantastic businesses we

don’t want to lose

the purpose really is to give more

flexibility and allow more uses with

obviously an emphasis on housing

development because that’s kind of you

know the goal of the plan

so there’s many non-conforming uses and

structures throughout the city it’s

actually fairly common

one of the examples that I would point

out is all the current residential uses

in the Gateway area are currently

legally non-conforming and they have

been for for decades

so some common concerns that have come

up how many businesses and jobs are

going to be lost and the answer there is none.

What uses have been identified as non-conforming?

heavy industrial and mini

storage are currently the two uses that

are identified in the plan

as non-conforming

and there’s approximately five

potentially six the number you know i

have to go through this a little bit

more detail but I just wanted to point

out that right now as it stands based on

the business license info that we’ve got

it looks like there’s four mny-storage

units and one lumber mill

in the area and those businesses

would likely obviously become


but that that number is fluctuating a

little bit again I need to we need to

look at that and look at the exis exact

businesses that are out there but about

five or six

so another common concern that came up


Will landowners and developers be able

to build in the Gateway ?

Or are we just making a plan that only outside area

large corporations and developers would

be able to to do.

and I want to just make sure that it’s

really clear that the new

building height minimum is two stories

and then the incentives start at three

stories and I would say most of our

local developers have the capacity to

develop at that height

and this is a really great question and

I think that you know there’s a lot of

nuance to this but what happens if a

business has to be relocated because

housing is being built at their current

location so first of all a lot in this

plan is focused around affordable


um almost all affordable housing that’s

developed is developed with federal or

state funding

to make it feasible

all of those programs require relocation

assistance both to businesses and to

anyone in a home you know rental house

that type of thing so that would be

required if there’s state or federal

funding for affordable housing

relocation and a relocation plan

relocation assistance and a relocation

plan would be required so that’s one one


if it’s market rate housing that is

definitely different but the city will

work with businesses to try and find an

appropriate place in Arcata to relocate

um a couple of sites that we’ve already

identified as potential relocation would

be happy valley in elder grove

and also the Little Lake Industry site

off Samoa which the city was just


a cleanup grant for

and I know that that also has some

potential to be

to be a park space as well but there are

still a portion of the property that we plan

to develop as far as uh

for industrial light industrial use

so that is the information that I’ve got

for you today.

If you have additional questions please

feel free to reach out we’re happy to

answer questions and and we can put

another one of these together if we need

to as well.

Thank you.