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Saturday, February 4, 2023
HomeGateway PlanCommunity InputFacebook Conversations #1: April 9, 2022

Facebook Conversations #1: April 9, 2022

From the Facebook site “Arcata Gateway District Community”  [link here]
Public group, 329 members.

Thread started April 9, 2022
Some highlighting added


Lee Torrence
We live in Arcata because it is NOT Santa Rosa.   Inform every single person in Arcata and all the surrounding areas what is planned for our community.  They would surely vote down this “development” if put to a vote.

Tom Wheeler
Santa Rosa’s median home price is $730k while Arcata’s is $454k (according to If you want to stop the Santa Rose-ifcation of Arcata, how are you going to keep down housing prices without increasing housing stock through infill development?

Chris Richards    reply to Tom Wheeler
Housing stock as described in your post (homes) is not the same as high density infill apartments that will be owned by developers (unless the codes specify otherwise). Also, folks keep pointing out to me that 4 story med/high density projects like the recent Sorrel building can be proposed and built today. Without getting into a whole discussion about developers financial feasibility vs profit margins and the current use of Low-Income Housing Grant access programs and outside investor influx monies that have been a necessity for the reality of the last two 3-4 story apartment projects, the market and delivery of infill has not been real forthcoming in Arcata.

Tom Wheeler
This gets back to the worry about block after block of 4+ story buildings in the Gateway as a likely outcome of the rezoning efforts. As you mention, in some areas of Arcata, four stories is already allowed. (Yet we don’t see these being built en mass.) In Eureka, the city already allows eight story buildings but we don’t see anything close under development. Private development, absent other funding sources (like low income housing) has not supported this development yet.

On how low income funding can impact building construction: You are totally right that the conversation about housing creation is more complicated. Just about our only dense infill development (Sorrel, Plaza Point, the Village) have been because of federal/state funding for low income housing. Again, however, we don’t see any monolithic high-rise apartments (despite the ability to do so).

So why allow for four-plus stories in Gateway? Because we might have the housing demand in the future to support this kind of development. Do we currently? At least based on the market response, we don’t. (But housing creation is also a lagging indicator of housing need.)

Bonnie Carroll    reply to Chris Richards
thank you.

Chris Richards    reply to Tom Wheeler
One of the bigger concerns folks in Arcata have is not the zoning change that will allow housing and infill projects but the removal of light industrial zoned properties and businesses ability for future expansion and growth. Simply if an existing light industrial or manufactural business wants to expand under the proposed new zoning codes, they would have to include housing, minimum 2 story structures, and their existing businesses would need to be compatible for mix-use as well. Many would not be able to meet this new zoning standard and be forced to relocate or remain static with growth at their existing properties. Blanket zoning for the entire proposed Gateway District is not a recommendation that most folks I’ve talked to will support. I can agree with folks that there are better ways to write zoning changes that would allow and encourage infill development but give option for retainment of important light industrial and manufactural properties and businesses that have been providing services and supporting Arcata’s tax base for many decades and in some cases generational.

Tom Wheeler     reply to Chris Richards
I hear you and I am sympathetic to that concern, generally. There are many different flavors of concerns expressed on this page. I think more flexibility for pre-existing uses is reasonable.

Bonnie Carroll  reply to Chris Richards
we could advocate to have every building over three stories have to go through a special approval process or something.
Sounds like a good idea to send to our city council members and planning people.
And the shading issue has definitely been presented as a concern and the city council heard and agrees with that concern.

Meredith Matthews        reply to Bonnie Carroll
that is baked in to the plan.

Aaron DeBruyn  reply to Bonnie Carroll
the purpose of the plan is to provide a streamlined ministerial approval process for developers. Which means the guy who made the plan is the only one that needs to approve.

No City Council, no Planning Commission, no Committees, no public input.
If you don’t like that, you don’t like this plan.

Bonnie Carroll    reply to Aaron DeBruyn
I don’t think that decision is final yet.
I thought that was still up for debate and a number of the council members were uncomfortable with it?
The planning staff just put together the first draft.
But I think this is gonna be a long process with many revisions.
Bring your concerns to the planning and council meetings and they will be heard.

I share the same concerns.
My understanding is that the city of Arcata provides oversight to development.

I’ve always heard developers, contractors, and even homeowners complaining about the city regulations.
I doubt that’s going to change?
I plan to keep paying attention.

Aaron DeBruyn  reply to Bonnie Carroll
the streamlined ministerial approval is the cornerstone of Form Based Code. GAP is 100% form based code. If you doubt that ask David Loya, Director of the Development Department and head cheerleader for Gateway.

Chris Richards    reply to Meredith Matthews
I think calling it “baked into the plan” is a bit misleading. You need to have all the ingredients included in the planning process to have a successful product. We have yet to see a complete analysis and reflective statement from staff of all the Public, Planning Commissioners, and multiple City Committee input and comments about the Draft Gateway District Area plan (recipe). There should then be a back-and forth conversation examining the compiled report from staff between the Council Members and the Community. After that the Council should be able to submit to Staff the directives that gleans out “Quality” ingredients that enables staff to continue on with the creation of all the specific codes and details for the EIR draft process. We certainly don’t want to bake this important cake and forget to include important ingredients, nor forget important process steps that will inhibit Arcata’s pathway to a Successful Plan and Community.

Meredith Matthews        reply to Chris Richards
props on continuing the metaphor!