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Saturday, February 4, 2023

Newest Articles

Berkeley modular “village” housing with rooftop garden

Garden Village is a 77-unit student-orientated apartment building located in Berkeley, California completed in August of 2016. Designed to echo the massing and rhythm of the community, the innovative design departs from the standard single-volume building. Instead, 18 distinct building volumes are spread out in a garden and linked by exterior walkways in a design that seamlessly integrates into the surrounding fabric of the community.

Pre-Fab Modular Housing – a dozen articles and more

Modular housing could be an answer to state housing crisis. A collection of articles from other sources, and lots of photos. Modules can be assembled into apartment buildings 40% more quickly and 20% cheaper than traditional construction. ------- From factories in Vallejo, Sacramento, Klamath Falls OR, Idaho, Canada, and China.

Editorials from Fred Weis for

Sea Level Rise expert Aldaron Laird, Danco president Chris Dart, and the Arcata Fire District Board of Directors, Chief, and Staff all agree -- for three different reasons. ---------- “Gulliver’s Travels” map from 1726 depicts Arcata and the Brobdingnagian Gateway Plan. ---- The Gateway Plan was anticipated in 1943 as: “The can-do spirit of the times that led people to devise a number of illogical schemes that would purportedly solve social and economic ills.”

OLLI Presentation: The Affordable Housing Challenge – December 12, 2022

Danco president Chris Dart and Rural Communities Housing Development director Beth Matsumoto discuss the challenges of creating affordable housing. Chris Dart specifically discusses how buildings over 4 stories are not feasible, and that market-rate non-subsidized housing is a financial impossibility. Hosted by Jane Woodward as an OLLI "Brown Bag Lunch" Zoom presentation. With video and full transcription.

Craftsman Mall Dorms Environmental Impact Report is flawed

The Cal Poly's EIR says "Therefore, no additional fire protection facilities are anticipated to be necessary for AFD to adequately serve the project site, and no significant decrease in response time is expected. Impacts would be less than significant." -------- This is directly refuted by the Arcata Fire District. It is not safe for people to live in 7-story buildings that do not have adequate fire and emergency protection.

Berkeley approves housing plan, with pledge to upzone wealthy neighborhoods

The Berkeley City Council voted  unanimously to approve their 656-page Housing Element, an eight-year housing plan. The plan shows how Berkeley will add at least 8,934 new homes over the next eight years. The plan commits to rezoning several major streets in an effort to encourage denser development in some of the city’s wealthiest neighborhoods.

Cal Poly Humboldt – Expansion

Cal Poly Humboldt looks to expand by 6,000 students, and that may be 3,000 students more than they are building housing for.

Fire Danger in Arcata High-Rises — Three-minute video from Eric Black

*** A MUST-SEE VIDEO *** 2-minute 47-seconds by Eric Black, taken from the January 10, 2023, Planning Commission meeting. Eric Loudenslager of the Arcata Fire District Board of Directors spoke on how the AFD is unable to provide adequate fire protection and emergency services to the residents of a building over four stories -- and even a four-story building is a dicey situation. The AFD is saying that no more taller buildings should be built until this situation is conclusively resolved. *** A MUST-SEE VIDEO ***

“Gulliver’s Travels” map from 1726 depicts Arcata and the Brobdingnagian Gateway Plan

Is the Gateway Plan an example of how "the can-do spirit of the times that led people to devise a number of illogical schemes that would purportedly solve social and economic ills." ****** See Arcata on a fictional map from the 1726 satirical novel "Gulliver's Travels."

Draft Gateway Plan WordCloud

Which words are repeated hundreds of times in the draft Gateway plan? And which words are conspicuous by their absence? Hint: You won't find the word "sun" or "sunshine" there. Or "solar shade" or "solar shadow" either. There are over 28,000 words in this document. "House" and "Home" do not appear even once.

Will we see 7-story buildings in the Gateway Area ?

Three local experts are telling us that tall buildings can not feasibly be built in the Gateway Plan: the Arcata Fire District, Danco president Chris Dart, and renown sea level rise specialist Aldaron Laird. Has the time finally arrived that we might want to listen to people with knowledge and experience?

Fred Weis speaks to the Planning Commission on Sea Level Rise – January 10, 2023

Aldaron Laird is a recognized expert on Sea Level Rise and its affects on coastal California and, particularly, on Humboldt/Arcata Bay. Here is a synopsis of a small part of his knowledge, as presented by Fred Weis at the January 10, 2023 Planning Commission meeting.

Emerging Groundwater Report from the SF Bay Area

A 67-page report prepared in 2022 for Alameda, Marin, San Francisco, and San Mateo Counties. "Low-lying inland areas could flood from below by emergent groundwater long before coastal floodwaters overtop the shoreline.... Rising groundwater can destabilize foundations... Contaminated Sites:  The interaction of rising groundwater and contaminated sites could pose challenges for public health and the environment. ... The areas most at risk of liquefaction are generally located ... in former floodplains, wetlands, mudflats ... that were filled for development.

Arcata Fire District presentation to the Planning Commission – January 10th, 2023

Arcata Fire District Board Director Eric Loudenslager spoke at the Planning Commission meeting of January 10, 2023. Includes discussions of costs, staffing requirements, and potential response times involved for providing adequate fire and emergency protection in the Gateway area and throughout Arcata.

Arcata Fire District Director: Eric Loudenslager – August 4, 2022

Eric Loudenslager, Board of Directors member of the Arcata Fire Protection District, weighs in on some of the challenges of the Gateway Plan, and some requests for information and involvement.

Cal Poly ignores Arcata Fire District response to the Draft EIR

The construction of a new dormitory at the site of the old Craftsman's Mall is of great concern to the Arcata Fire District. In summary, the proposed dorms will be two seven story buildings, and the Arcata Fire District has stated that they cannot provide adequate fire protection these structures.

Arcata Fire contemplates Cal Poly Humboldt and Arcata’s tall plans

An article from the Northcoast Journal from September 2022 concerning how the Arcata Fire District is not set up to provide fire and emergency protection in the taller buildings. ----- The proposed dorms are is not larger than the existing BSS building, but this does not mean that the dorms are safe. The AFD maintains that in the current staffing situation, neither the BSS building nor the dorms would be safe.  -------To say that it "will built to the highest degree of fire safety standards, including full concrete and steel structures with a full sprinkler system" doesn't help either. Fatalities come from smoke inhalation. In a regular living environment there is plenty that will smolder and burn: Carpet, bedding, clothing, books, furniture, etc. The firefighters aren't concerned with trying to save the building. They are concerned with trying to save lives.

Arcata Fire District Board Meeting – December 13th, 2022

A section of the Arcata Fire District Board Meeting of December 13th, 2022 regarding the costs, staffing requirements, and potential response times involved for providing adequate fire and emergency protection in the Gateway area.

Steve Salzman: Let’s answer the basic questions first

Arcata resident, retired professional engineer, and former Greenway Partners partner Steve Salzman asked some basic questions in March, 2022.  What happened to the public input element of Planwest's Scope of Work? Why are we working on an Area Plan before updating the General Plan? How much additional wastewater treatment capacity will be required, how much will it cost and how will it be paid for? Sea Level Rise:  Update the Local Coastal Plan based on the most recent and relevant scientific studies and planning efforts.

Sea Level Rise – the basics

Sea Level Rise could affect plans for the Gateway area. See maps here of what Sea Level Rise looks like.

The L-K Street Couplet — An Engineer’s View

The joint City Council / Planning Commission study session introduced big problems when an elated City Council considered the Transportation Safety Committee's strong recommendation for an L Street Pathway and Linear Park and tossed it out the window -- well, sent it back to the TransSafetyComm for them to review. This presentation was the cause. Is it filled with misleading and possibly false information? Read it, and you decide.

The Five Biggest Myths of the Gateway Plan

It’s fun to talk about dreams. The Gateway Plan has lots of goals. It’s aspirational. But I’m a pragmatist. I want to talk about dreams that can really happen. Arcata needs housing. We know that. Maybe the Gateway Plan could provide an answer.

Appeal of the Westwood Garden Apartments – January 4, 2023

At the City Council meeting on January 4th, 2023, the Council took up the matter of an appeal of the Planning Commission's approval of the 102-unit Westwood Garden Apartment project. The video shows the portion of the City Council meeting concerning the appeal.

City Council selects two new Planning Commissioners – January 4, 2023

Videos and discussion of the City Council's process of selecting two new Planning Commissioners. Choosing a new Planning Commissioner for Arcata is an important task. The ideas and opinions and visions that are promoted (or withheld) by the two new Planning Commissioners in the discussions on the Gateway Area Plan will have the potential to change the look and feel of Arcata for the next 50 or 100 years. 

L-K Street Couplet – Transportation Safety Committee meeting, September 20, 2022

The Transportation Safety Committee at their September 20, 2022, meeting discussed how the City Council had asked the members to revisit and reconsider the strong recommendation to not construct the L Street - K Street Couplet. Instead, the TSC committee stated, the L Street Corridor should become a permanent Linear Park.

Letters and Comments

Includes letters not published in the City of Arcata City Council or Planning Commission packets, and not published on the City's website. From the most recent to the oldest. Summaries of each letter are being added. Please return to this page for updates.

Siddhartha Claus is coming to town

Siddhartha Claus is coming to town! He knows when you're trapped in duality. He knows when you're not awake. He wants you free of all desire. So be free for Nirvana's sake!

Some City Council meetings are more fun than Arcata’s

In Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, concerned citizens ask the City Commissioners for $250,000 for funding a BDSM dungeon.

Planwest’s schedule: We’re completely off-course

We are completely off from the Planwest schedule for the Gateway plan. Let's re-evaluate where we are, and adjust accordingly. With specific requests for what the City Council can do.

To the City Council: The Westwood Garden Apts Appeal

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.

A current resident of the Westwood Garden Apartments speaks to the City Council

"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."

For the Planning Commissioners and City Council Members… and everyone

Here’s an assortment of articles for you to read and enjoy. Also be sure to check “Latest Posts & Articles” also to see what’s new.

Planning Commission Gateway Concerns and “Solutions” – November 11, 2022

Over the course of three meetings -- October 11, October 25, and November 8, 2022 -- the Planning Commission and City Staff created a list of what are called "Gateway Concerns / Solution Set." One glaring problem with that title: There are lots of concerns shown here, but no solutions.

David Loya dismisses the 2010 Rail With Trail study

At the November 8th, 2022, Planning Commission meeting, David Loya acted as though he was familiar with the 2010 City study that proposes what amounts to a linear park on the L Street Corridor. But from his speaking, it was clear he did not know what that study contains. A suggestion to him: Come to the website and learn.

L Street – 2010 Rail with Trail Feasibility Study

In June, 2010, the City of Arcata published a 160-page document titled "Arcata Rail With Trail Feasibility Study and Operations Plan." This detailed study is significant now for the Gateway Area Plan because of its depiction of how L Street would be converted into a Linear Park. With images and street designs. A "must see" document.

Planning Commission Minutes are woefully inaccurate and deficient

The actions of the Planning Commission are perhaps the most permanent of decisions made by any City body, and yet the minutes are deficient, insubstantial and at times inaccurate. The minutes don't have to be this way -- Other City agencies are not this way. Let's improve this situation.

The Gateway Plan: A modest proposal

Arcata's Gateway Plan apparently includes humor and satire in its form-based code. Who would have guessed. And... what's Life without a little levity?

Can the Superblocks of Barcelona work in Arcata? Yes!

The Barcelona "Superblock" design that is capturing the imagination of city citizens in Europe and all over the world -- Can this concept be applicable here in Arcata? The answer is a resounding YES. It is perfect for us here in Arcata.

L Street – Proposed design

If indeed L Street were to become a through road carrying truck traffic from Alliance Road, there would be some pretty major issues.

Building and Massing 4: Height Ratios and Unit Calculations

The Building & Massing Presentation that arrived on August 12 provides so much needed information, along with the first glimpses of the long-awaited 3D modeling. 4: Height Ratios and Unit Calculations

Maps: Building Height Districts

Maps of the "Land Use Designation" zoning districts of the Gateway area, with a proposal for a new district around the Creamery Building. The line through the central portion is a potential "L Street Pathway" linear park and walking "mall" that would extend from Alliance Road at the north and go to Samoa Boulevard at the south. It would be a car-free area, adjacent to the Creamery District arts area, alongside The Pub restaurant and many future restaurants and shops.

A reply to “Thankful to be a community partner” by Dr. Tom Jackson, Cal Poly Humboldt

Dr. Tom Jackson has been the President of Cal Poly Humboldt since May, 2019. He writes a twice-a-month letter published in the Eureka Times-Standard. Dr. Jackson may be "thankful to be a community partner" but many people here in Arcata do not see Cal Poly Humboldt as being a community "partner" at all.

To Dr. Tom Jackson: You can do more — Please.

An open letter to Dr. Tom Jackson, president of Cal Poly Humboldt. Listed are some concrete actions that can be taken, for the benefit of all people in Arcata.

L Street – Proposed design

If indeed L Street were to become a through road carrying truck traffic from Alliance Road, there would be some pretty major issues.

Building and Massing 1: Current and Proposed Height Standards

The Building & Massing Presentation that arrived on August 12 provides so much needed information, along with the first glimpses of the long-awaited 3D modeling. 1: Current and Proposed Height Standards.

Building & Massing Presentation videos – August 12, 2022

An excellent presentation of Building Height and Massing in the Gateway area. 47 minutes. With 3D modeling. A "must see" video.

Building & Massing Presentation – Overview

The Building & Massing Presentation that arrived on August 12 provides so much needed information, along with the first glimpses of the long-awaited 3D modeling.

Planning Commission: Portal

These pages will be updated regularly, based on what is new in the Gateway universe. Click or Press here for the Newest articles Click or Press...

Ben Noble Form-Based Code presentation – June 29, 2022

Here is a one-hour presentation on what a Form-Based Code is, some background of its development, some examples nationally, some Northern California examples, and the nature of the Ministerial Review permitting process. 

Form-Based Code Overview

An assortment of articles on the Form-Based Code. Consultant Ben Noble's presentation -- transcription and improved audio track. MUST-SEE for an understanding of the Gateway plan.

Ben Noble – Form-Based Code Workshop – August 16, 2022

Video of the Form-Based Code presentation by Ben Noble, August 16, 2022. 1 hour 31 minutes. This was the 2nd presentation. With some questionable survey input from about 50 participants.

Links to ADU information, design ideas, and more

Links to other websites with photos, designs, and discussion about Accessory Dwelling Units.

Prefab Tiny Homes in Villages all over U.S.

The Everett, Washington-based company "Pallet" is making $7,500 prefab tiny homes that can be setup in 1 hour to help solve the homelessness crisis. Its smallest $7,500 64-square-foot unit "Pallet 64" is now being used in villages across the US.

Petition to establish the L Street Linear Park

A citizens' petition to permanently establish the L Street corridor as a Linear Park, creating a walkable quiet open space running the length of the Gateway area.

Arcata L Street Pathway and Linear Park: Portal / Links

A special page for the L Street Pathway and Linear Park -- and a great place for all readers to learn more about the Gateway Plan. This page will be updated regularly. Come back for more!

The L Street Pathway

The L Street pathway could be a community jewel in the heart of the Gateway area. The City wants it to be a high-traffic road, taking all the southbound car and truck volume from Alliance Road to Samoa Boulevard.

L Street Pathway: Aerial Views and Photos

This page contains an assortment of photographs and aerial views of the L Street Pathway area. It will be updated as new images come in, so be sure to check back to see what's new.

Transportation Safety Committee Meeting – January 18, 2022

Transportation Safety Committee January 18, 2022 The full discussion on Gateway-related Transportation Safety issues started at about the 20-minute point on the original audio.  This section...

L Street Pathway & Park — or another major road?

It’s a question of priorities. What do we want to see in Arcata? Do we make our roads better for cars, or do we make the Gateway area better for people? Yes, it is that simple.