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Saturday, February 4, 2023

Letters and Comments

Sharon King – January 4, 2023

"All the amenities we chose should be considered non-negotiable requirements: sunlight, parks, walkways, setbacks,  playgrounds, meeting places, community gardens, native plants, accessibility, bike paths, safe roads, art. All of it. We all want all of that. David told me that he wanted a Lamborghini but he couldn’t always have whatever he wanted.   We don’t want Lamborghinis. We want human dignity, quality of life, potential for community interaction, safety for our children, and, yes, beauty. That’s why we live here."

Alex Stillman – September 1, 2022 – Mad River Union article: The five biggest myths of the Gateway Area Plan, and solutions

On September 1, 2022, Alex Stillman forwarded the Mad River Union article "The five biggest myths of the Gateway Area Plan, and finding solutions" to the Community Development Department, the City Manager, and the Mayor.

Colin Fiske – January 16, 2023

"Policy T‐6 and its sub‐policies refer frequently to the need for "adequate parking" and reflect the widespread misconception that parking demand is a fixed variable. In fact, research demonstrates that the availability of (free or underpriced) parking encourages driving, so there is no such thing as "adequate parking" independent of cost or availability. --- Proposed Policy T‐4c.2 specifies that traffic calming should not "compromise emergency access." However, it must be recognized that there are times when slowing traffic will inevitably slow emergency vehicles as well. At such times, the overall risk to life and safety from all sources -- including speeding traffic and emergency access -- should be considered. Emergency access cannot be a blanket excuse not to implement life‐saving traffic calming interventions."

Cathy Chandler-Klein – January 14, 2023

"The 'pros' of the Gateway are clear. It addresses the desperate need for housing for varied incomes with an infill approach which helps mitigate climate catastrophe. We are rapidly running out of time on climate and need to do all we can locally. We live in a unique and wonderful small town. I understand the resistance to change and development. But we have an ethical obligation to share this place with others who do not yet have education and/or housing. We have an ethical obligation to fight the climate emergency."

Christine Perry – August 23, 2022

"I’ve owned my home down 11th Street for 36yrs and I am completely against this plan. It’s unimaginable to me that our town needs to build such a huge project, with multiple stories, invading and destroying our quiet family homes, as well as changing our streets to accommodate this nightmare. Build around the university and Samoa Blvd if need be but PLEASE keep it away from the Creamery and our single family homes that we cherish. ----- I’m very concerned at how this plan will drastically affect and change our quiet, beautiful community in a very negative way. Especially towards the Arcata Bottoms. Many of us chose to live here to enjoy our wonderful town away from the university crowds and traffic. Sorrel Place as well as the building across from Co‐op are perfect examples of how atrocious these large multi storied buildings take over the aesthetic and charm of our town."

Jane Woodward – January 10, 2023

"I believe you need to seriously work with Cal Poly to address the capacity of Arcata Fire to address buildings higher than 4 stories.... The Planning Commission and staff are spending a great deal of time discussing and selecting amenities before it is even clear that building greater than 4 stories is either desired by the Arcata Community (no valid representative survey has been conducted) or feasible economically for contractors to build, particularly if we are trying to construct affordable housing, due to the enormous cost of the required foundations and other building materials."

Colin Fiske – January 9, 2023

"Policy LU‐1c calls for reducing or eliminating parking mandates in walkable areas near transit. We appreciate this direction, but we call on you to go further and eliminate all parking mandates citywide." --- "If AFD can't serve buildings which are 4 or more stories tall, that is an urgent problem. In other words, AFD's presentation seems to imply that it could not currently respond effectively to a fire at the Jacoby Storehouse, or Sorrel Place, or the university's BSS building. If that's true, we've got to solve this problem now, not in the future. Which means it won't be a limitation by the time any new development could take place in the Gateway Area. In fact, Gateway development would help pay for the increased service needed to protect Arcata's existing mid‐rise buildings."

Melanie Bright – November 30, 2022

"Have Weott leadership been invited to participate in the Gateway Plan ideas? If not, I could enquire with the tribe to see who might be interested in participating."

Melanie Bright – November 15, 2022

The "Gulliver's Travels" map from 1726 of the fictional country called Brobdingnag also shows Cape Mendocino, the Klamath River, and Arcata Bay. ******** "I would like to request that meetings involving the Gateway Plan be scheduled after 5 pm on weekdays. Many of us who will be heavily impacted by this brobdingnagian development idea are working regular 9-5 jobs."

Planning Commissioner Judith Mayer – #2 – November 14, 2022

"It seems backward, to me, to create any definitive list of items that developers could offer in return for a streamlined approval process (potentially a ministerial one) BEFORE the Planning Commission has had any substantive discussion or deliberation on the streamlining process options that could result in such ministerial project approval. Understanding (deciding) who would have authority to determine whether, and the extent to which, a project proposal fulfills standards for providing "benefits" is essential to determining WHICH benefit offers should be on the "menu" and how they should be weighed in terms of qualifying for very high densities, building heights or mass, and streamlined or ministerial project approval."

Planning Commissioner Judith Mayer – #1 – November 14, 2022

One common theme that has been heard from the public is how the Gateway Plan views certain features as "Community Benefits" when, in the opinion of many people, these features should be requirements.  ------ In this letter, Commissioner Judith Mayer outlines some of the so-called benefits that really should be characterized as basic requirements, and asks for clarification for others. This was sent in advance of the November 15th Planning Commission meeting, in which a discussion on the Community Benefits Program was on the agenda.

Colin Fiske – November 14, 2022

"We support incentivizing residential density and affordability as community benefits. Denser, more affordable housing near jobs, services and other destinations is key to enabling healthy, low‐carbon transportation for all. We also support provisions to encourage mission‐driven developers who are dedicated to long‐term affordability and long‐term maintenance of facilities and programs."

Travis Gall – November 11, 2022

"I wanted to send a quick message expressing my support for the Arcata Gateway Plan. I recognize that there is a major shortage of housing in the area and the Arcata Gateway Plan is a step in the right direction. As you know we cannot currently keep up with demand and things will get worse without action. Please keep up the good work and I look forward to seeing this happen. ---- Travis Gall -- Realtor"

Gregory Daggett – November 9, 2022

Includes October 2022 article from Lori Dengler "What sea level rise, tectonics mean for North Coast" -------- "The last few months I have been very vocal at the Planning Commission and City Council meeting regarding conflict that the Gateway Area Plan building heights has with the Coastal Act, Sea Level Rise in California: Planning for the Future and transportation circulations issues SB1000. ------- The scenic and visual qualities of coastal areas shall be considered and protected as a resource of public importance. Permitted development shall be sited and designed to protect views to and along the ocean and scenic coastal areas, to minimize the alteration of natural land forms, to be visually compatible with the character of surrounding areas, and, where feasible, to restore and enhance visual quality in visually degraded areas.

Erin Kelley – November 8, 2022

"I am writing a second letter (my first was July 31) in support of the Gateway Area Plan. I am a proponent of the Plan and infill generally. I live in Eureka and work in Arcata (at Cal Poly Humboldt). I ride my bike to work approximately 3x per week, which means I'm riding in Arcata about 3 mornings and 3 afternoons every week. Arcata has always changed and will continue to change. How we prepare for change is absolutely vital."

Fred Weis – November 4, 2022 – to City Council: Westwood Garden Apartments

*** NOT IN THE PACKET *** The Westwood Garden Apartments project was approved by the Planning Commission on October 27, 2022. False and misleading information contained in the Staff Report apparently influenced the Commissioners in their decision. Ten days later, a group of citizens -- residents of the current apartment buildings on the site -- appealed this to the City Council. This letter presents the nature of that false information, and requests the City Council to waive the $1,867 that the residents collected for the Appeal Fee. ------------------------------------------ Note:  This letter was not included in the City Council packet for the December 7 meeting (original appeal meeting date) and it was not included in the City Council packet for the January 4th meeting (when the appeal was heard). The reason for the omission of this detailed, pertinent letter is unknown.

Adam Taylor – November 3, 2022 – A resident of the current Westwood Garden Apartments speaks out

"The Planning Commission gave up on what could have been a win, win, win, project. The people of Arcata, specifically residents of apartments, rely on our elected and appointed officials to speak and look out for us." "In a win, win, win, scenario, the City has more and better quality housing, not because of luxury fixtures but because of exacting oversight that necessitated humane housing. This is where people's lives happen."

Fred Weis – July 13, 2022 – to Parks and Recreation Committee

A 2nd copy of the original July 13, 2022, letter to Parks and Recreation Committee on the need for dedicated parks within the Gateway area -- in particular, playgrounds for children. Request for differentiation between adult recreation (bocce, basketball) and children's playgrounds. Request for differentiation between open space in the form of trails versus open space in the form of parks where people can congregate, sit, and play. Points out falseness of draft plan's “Existing Parks and Recreational Facilities” map.

Nicole Holland — October 13, 2022

I'm very much in support of the Gateway Plan, and my input is to be sure that the sound between apartments is not passing through into, below, or above the adjacent apartments. If you want residents to be happy with where they live, they need to not hear their neighbors coughing, snoring, or other noises.

Gregory Daggett — October 11, 2022

*** OMITTED FROM PUBLIC VIEW *** Letter from Gregory Daggett regarding the ​conflicts the Gateway Area Draft Plan has with the California Coastal Act, Sea Level Rise, and SB1000. Note:  As of October 24, 2022, this letter has not been included on the City's "Submitted Comments" webpage.

Scott McBain – October 10, 2022

Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates (FM3) is pleased to submit this short scope of work to conduct a community survey to help inform a large-scale planning effort in the City of Arcata. We are proposing a methodology similar to the one we used in 2019 for our survey to inform the passage of the City's Measure A in 2020.

Jim Becker – October 10, 2022

Petition for the L Street Pathway to Become a Permanent Linear Park We support the existing L Street bicycle-pedestrian pathway be officially designated as a Linear Park, from Alliance Road to Samoa Boulevard, and that this Linear Park be preserved and enhanced as a green space for recreation, play and community. We also support the spoken recommendation from the Chair of the Arcata Transportation Safety Committee at its August 2, 2022, meeting: "Revise the circulation plan that eliminates L Street as being considered for new streets and car traffic. This area is recommended to become a car-free Linear Park that prioritizes people." For the website and to sign this petition:

Lisa Pelletier — October 3, 2022

Please pay attention to sea level rise!! (re: Wastewater Treatment Plant, Gateway Plan) Former Arcata Mayor and Councilmember Michael Machi said it best: "Stop the bureaucratic sleepwalking ‐ sea level rise will doom our plans; Ma Nature has clearly warned us to relocate the Wastewater Treatment Plant" (Mad River Union, Sept. 29, 2022). I strongly urge you to read his piece and give serious thought to his warning.

Rita Pender Arena — October 1, 2022

Some thoughts regarding the current Arcata concerns, that include Cal Poly Humboldt and Gateway, specifically. Perhaps there may be something within this offered tome, of merit upon review.

Lisa Brown – September 27, 2022 – to Planning Commission

*** OMITTED FROM PUBLIC VIEW *** Another letter to the Planning Commissioners that was never shown to the public -- not in the packets, and not on the City's website. Lisa Brown has been the co-owner of "Solutions" on the Plaza for 30 years and was a long-time member of the City's Open Space and Agriculture Committee. She proposes to lower the scope of the Gateway Plan, reduce the proposed 3,500 housing units, and be realistic about Sea Level Rise. As a solution, she says to look at the future housing needs for the next 20 years, and to only build on land that is at least 20 feet above sea level.

Jane Woodward – September 22, 2022

An interview on KHSU "Here and Now" with the architect Vishaan Chakarabartic. He concludes that the sweet-spot for homes in an apartment building is three stories.

Scott McBain, Jane Woodward, Chris Richards – September 21, 2022

A further refinement of the RGA proposal for an Advisory Committee / Task Force. Includes a presentation of Public Engagement strategies.

Scott McBain, Jane Woodward, Chris Richards – September 21, 2022

Topics for discussion and consideration by the Planning Commission and an advisory committee.

Scott McBain, Jane Woodward, Chris Richards – September 21, 2022

Cover letter for: -- Topics for consideration and discussion -- Task Force and Public Engagement proposal.

Fred Weis – September 21, 2022

A decision on "building height" does not exist as a stand-alone figure. Among the critical factors that accompany this decision: -- Setback from the street -- Upper-story stepbacks -- Proximity to other taller buildings -- Relationship with neighboring single-family residences -- Solar Shadowing -- The "canyon" effect for pedestrians and bicyclists, particularly in Winter months -- Massing and design.

Nancy Pelletier – September 19, 2022

Comments on Street Safety, both in and outside of the Gateway Area.

Fred Weis – September 19, 2022

Questions about non-conforming business uses in the Gateway Area. The public's confusion over non-conforming business use seems to continue, regardless of they City's outreach on this issue. I can point people to the SIRP FAQ page, but it seems that some people are distrustful of what is there.

Fred Weis – September 14, 2022

Buildings heights in the different districts. A new district is proposed, in the Creamery area.

Fred Weis – September 14, 2022

Letter to the Transportation Safety Committee regarding the L Street - K Street Couplet and the formation of an L Street Corridor linear park. Dave Ryan said: "I think it’d be a missed opportunity to turn this into a people-gathering place for bikes, walkers. ... This is an opportunity to really put our money where our mouth is in terms of making it a little less of a car-centric area.

Fred Weis – September 14, 2022

A re-print of the article in the Mad River Union on September 14 regarding the L-K Streets Couplet and the formation of an L Street Corridor linear park.

Jim Becker — September 14

Letter to the Planning Commission regarding the L Street Pathway and Linear Park.

Jim Becker — September 14, 2022

Letter to the Transportation Safety Committee regarding the L Street Pathway and Linear Park.

Jane Woodward – September 13, 2022

Comments on Amenities and building heights.

Gregory Daggett — September 13, 2022

Letter on State Bill SB-1000, CEQA rules, sea level rise considerations.

Ann Lindsay – September 12, 2022

I support the maximum building heights already contained in the draft Plan for each district to ensure enough density to support real walkability. I do not support the creation of a new task force or committee nor the commissioning of a new poll or survey. Such surveys tend to have built‐in biases and do not provide conclusive, "scientific" findings on complex topics like land use planning.

Sofia – September 12, 2022

Support for 6 to 8 story buildings in the Gateway Area.

Colin Fiske – September 12, 2022

Request for a realistic timeline for completion. Support for maximum building height.

Chris Richards – September 7, 2022 – Letters concerning the Gateway Advisory Committee

Request for letters regarding the formation of a Gateway Advisory Committee be included in the Planning Commission packet for their September 13th meeting. Includes copies of the letters, from August.

Steve Railsback – September 7, 2022 – Support for Gateway Advisory Committee

"I am an Arcata resident and business license holder, and served on the Energy Task Force that preceded the permanent Energy Committee. I support the proposal for a Gateway Plan advisory committee (or task force) that Scott McBain and Responsible Growth Arcata made at last night's (17 August) Council meeting. I am not part of that group and not deeply involved in the Gateway Plan controversy, but my experience with the Energy Task Force makes me believe that a formal body for citizen input would be a very good thing." -- "First, Arcata is blessed with a wealth of professional expertise in many fields relevant to the Gateway Plan, and its citizens are unusually willing to volunteer their time and expertise. --- Second, a clear route for serious citizen input is essential for the Gateway Plan to gain credibility and acceptance in the community. My strong perception is that many residents applaud the Plan's goals but many also see it as being pushed by insiders intent on removing obstacles to profitable development."

Lisa Pelletier – September 7, 2022 – the article by Susan Ornelas

I concur with Planning Commissioner Kimberley White who mentioned that the Gateway Plan feels more like it’s staff driven than led by community input. So my main request to you tonight is to bring us - the community - along with you! -- What’s missing in the Gateway Plan is the evidence that the Plan is fiscally responsible or feasible (i.e. wastewater, roads, traffic, schools, police, etc, etc) -- Sea Level Rise, Arcata Fire District - Susan Ornela's letter - I am concerned that our letters are not getting into the agenda packets.

Lisa Pelletier – September 7, 2022 – Arcata Fire District article in NCJ

"Why aren’t you listening to your own experts? -- Assistant Chief Sean Campbell cites a host of grievances from a shortage of staff and equipment to lack of funding and adequate training with absolutely zero capacity to respond to fires in high-rise or mid-rise buildings (6 to 8 stories). The district doesn’t even have a ladder truck!"

Susan Ornelas – September 7, 2022

Housing in Humboldt. It’s on everyone’s mind, and Arcata may be a focal point. The City of Arcata has been studying the ‘Gateway’ project -the redevelopment of important properties in the City, properties close to downtown, reasonably close to the university. I support some element s of this development idea, I see that we could use our property better, for greater uses – and like the idea of retail on the first floor, and apartments above. Gaudi did it beautifully in Barcelona, Spain. Can we be as creative? Eight stories on a mudflat? Probably not. Maybe we can think wider. I’m thinking about all of Arcata, and beyond.

Alex Stillman – September 1, 2022 – the Mad River Union article “The five biggest myths of the Gateway Area Plan, and finding solutions”

Alex Stillman forwarded the Mad River Union article "The five biggest myths of the Gateway Area Plan, and finding solutions" from August 31, 2022 to the Community Development Department, the City Manager, and the Mayor.

Alex Stillman – September 1, 2022 – Cal Poly buys LifePlan Humboldt property

Alex Stillman forwarded the Times-Standard article "Cal Poly Paid Triple Appraised Value in Land Purchase -- University dubs property 'vital' but won't say what it will be used for after outbidding nonproft"

Julie Fulkerson – August 28, 2022

Discussion of 3-D modeling with the Julian Berg "car wash site" design, and public acceptance of the 3D modeling.

Jane Woodward – August 28, 2022

"A controversial 8 story apartment building in Oceanside. This report about a controversial 8-story apartment in Oceanside might be educational for CC and Planco with respect to how the state law is being implemented. Question is: how do we avoid this happening to us? Is this what we really want for Arcata? Does our proposed form-based code protect us from the above situation? If we leave our districts as designated for 5-8 stories, does that make us more vulnerable? If we left them at 4 stories, does that protect us? Lots of questions remain to be answered. so what's the best strategy for Arcata, at least in the short run, to avoid being overwhelmed by the recent state law's provisions?"

Chris Richards – August 25, 2022

I have enclosed an analysis review of the January 2022 2-day open house created by the Responsible Growth Arcata (RGA) group. As you have probably seen, Arcata City Staff has created a Draft Summary of the 2-day event but have yet to finalize the report with statistics, numbers and a proper evaluation final report. RGA has taken the time to go through all the Poster Boards, sticky notes, comments and such from the Community event and our report shows an reasonably accurate depiction of the attending Community members responses, opinions as well as future vision ideology.

Lisa Pelletier – August 25, 2022

Does the city have a plan, and by that I mean a very specific plan (with maps), for where to relocate the sewage treatment plant and businesses south of Samoa and West of Old Arcata Rd.? Also, is the city prepared for a worst case scenario like the mega floods predicted to hit California in approx 30 years? Or the type of floods that occurred here in 1964, which according to climate scientists, are becoming more frequent? --------- At the last PlanCo meeting, Kimberley White said that this feels more staff driven than community driven. That's why we're calling for an advisory board made up of professionals and better community engagement. I think that's a reasonable request, but the council is turning a deaf ear. What that means in the long run is that you won't get buy-in from the public and could even end up with a lawsuit, further delaying the project.

Chris Richards & Jane Woodward – August 23, 2022

Contains 62 pages of information, collected from people's comments and viewpoints, that the City has not included in their engagement report about the Gateway Plan. Includes the comments on the Post-Its from the two-day January 2022 Open House meeting -- information that the City has been unwilling to assemble and published.

Rick Knapp – August 23, 2022

"I would like to express our strong support for the conversion of K and L Streets from two way to one way in order to better accommodate bicycle and pedestrian traffic in the corridor as part of the Gateway Plan. We would like to be involved in the specific design of facilities when the design stage is undertaken to assure that the best possible design is undertaken to provide for safe and efficient bicycle travel. Thank you for proposing this in the draft plan."

Kathie Kelly – August 23, 2022

NO MORE THAN 2-4 STORIES -- "I know I am not alone in my appreciation of Arcata’s unique size and character as a small town with lots of community activities, safe walkable neighborhoods and easy access to natural areas. With these values in mind, I want to express my support for a measured approach to future growth and one that includes ample feedback and involvement from residents of Arcata who love this town like I do. I support a gateway plan that includes a variety of new construction including mid‐size apartments no more than 2‐4 stories and more on the side of 2‐3 stories as well as condos, duplexes, single dwellings and tiny houses."

Christine Perry – August 23, 2022

"I’ve owned my home down 11th Street for 36yrs and I am completely against this plan. It’s unimaginable to me that our town needs to build such a huge project, with multiple stories, invading and destroying our quiet family homes, as well as changing our streets to accommodate this nightmare. Build around the university and Samoa Blvd if need be but PLEASE keep it away from the Creamery and our single family homes that we cherish. ----- I’m very concerned at how this plan will drastically affect and change our quiet, beautiful community in a very negative way. Especially towards the Arcata Bottoms. Many of us chose to live here to enjoy our wonderful town away from the university crowds and traffic. Sorrel Place as well as the building across from Co‐op are perfect examples of how atrocious these large multi storied buildings take over the aesthetic and charm of our town."

Caroline Griffith – August 23, 2022

"As has been stated many times throughout this process, planning for development that allows people to live, work and play without relying on personal vehicles not only makes for more livable communities, but it will also help us to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, which is absolutely vital given the fact that we are in a climate crisis. We also mustn’t forget that Arcata is a coastal city in a region that is expected to experience higher rates of sea level rise than other regions on the West Coast and make sure that this factors into planning efforts."

Colin Fiske – August 23, 2022

"I certainly hope that everything is adopted by next summer. But since we're almost a year in and the PC hasn't even gotten through an initial review of the plan (let alone the code, which will be much more complicated), I'm feeling that there may be a need for a real deadline to motivate a more efficient process. " David Loya: I anticipate this work to be completed by the summer of ’23 at the latest.

Melanie Bright – August 23, 2022

[The August 23, 2022, joint City Council - Planning Commission meeting was not held on Zoom. The stated reason was that with participants sitting around a table, there could not be video coverage. The audio of this meeting is available on] ----------- "I am writing to let you know that I am deeply disappointed that tonight’s meeting will not be available for attending or viewing via Zoom or YouTube. After so much dialogue about desiring community involvement you are closing off many community members by holding this meeting as ‘In Person Only’. Please change tonight’s meeting format to include this wider audience or, at the very least, see that meetings regarding The Gateway Plan include the Zoom and YouTube options going forward. I’ve been anticipating this meeting for several days only to find out there is a barrier to my involvement."

Peggy Martinez – August 23, 2022

As we consider approval of the Arcata Gateway plan, whatever the scope, please include the increase of public transit. Busses should be small and operate with no or low emission and should move throughout Arcata and surrounding areas plentifully and often. Please plan for the large number of people who will come to Arcata for school, work, recreation etc. by providing a usable and reliable transit system, complete with a clean and well-functioning transit center.