The packet put together by the Community Development Staff for the April 12, 2022 meeting of the Planning Commission contained correspondence received by the City in reference to the Gateway plan. The full packet link is here on the City’s website.
Included were about 42 letters (it depends on how multiple-threads of e-mails are counted) in 152 pages. A summary of these letters is below, here. There were more letters than these that were received, but (as Staff pointed out) it is not always clear whether correspondence about the Gateway plan is personal to the Community Development Staff or if it was intended by the writer to be forwarded to the Planning Commissioners.
Having Community Development Staff select which letters of input about the Gateway plan are forwarded to the Planning Commission and which are not is a huge gray area. Some letters, such as the superb letter from Nick Lucchesi (full letter here; summary here) seems to be written personally to Community Development Director David Loya and was included — and it’s a good thing that it was, as the letter-writer brings up a multitude of important issues. Other letters, such as the letter from long-time Arcata resident Pam Mendelsohn, while addressed to the Community Development Department, seems clearly intended as input (i.e. public comment) on the Gateway plan and was not included in the packet. It is shown here. Some letter-writers asked specific questions, and it is not known if Community Development Staff responded to those questions or not. In some cases a response is shown, but in most cases a response is not shown. Neither the Planning Commission nor the public — reading from what was supplied in the PC packet — would not know if there was a response.
What was included
Included with the letters in the packet is a 20-page letter/article about composting toilets from a group in Portland that seems to have just about zero connection with the Gateway plan. Yet at the same time, it is believed that other letters from citizens were not included as part of the public record.
The Planning Commission packet did not truly contain all the “Public Comment Received to Date”
Further, while the submission to the Planning Commission is labeled “Public Comment Received to Date” it is definitely not the whole of the public comment received to date. That is to say, the title of this submission in the Planning Commission packet is misleading.
On January 21st and 22nd, 2022, the City of Arcata hosted an Open House event at the Community Center in Arcata. The event was specifically designed to educated the public about the Gateway plan (the draft plan document had just come out about 6 weeks earlier) and, even more importantly, to obtain public comment.
At the time of the Planning Commission meeting on April 12, the Planning Commission and the people of Arcata had still not received any compilation or results coming from the hundreds of comments left by participants at the January 21st-22nd Open House.
Since the time of that Open House, over
three four months have passed — and no input whatsoever as to what the public expressed at the Open House has been presented.
The packet to the Planning Commission for the April 12, 2022 meeting was not the “Public Comment Received to Date” at all.
UPDATE: In the agenda packet for the June 22nd City Council meeting came the “Engagement Report” — unfortunately it is incomplete and inadequate.
See initial article and read the report here: “City’s Open House “Engagement Report” is finally (almost) here.” Despite a page titled “Executive Summary” this “draft report” offers very little in the form of consequential information. How may stories should developers be allowed to build? Arcatans want to know — but it isn’t in this report.
Below is a summary of the 42 letters (approximate number) that the Community Development Department included in the packet for the Planning Commission’s April 12, 2022 meeting.
Following that is a PDF of the 42 letters (approximate number) that the Community Development Department included in the packet for the Planning Commission’s April 12, 2022 meeting, and following that is the letter that is known to not be included in the packet (one so far) from Pam Mendelsohn. Some of the letters were sent as early as late November. As a specific example, the excellent letter from Nick Lucchesi was dated January 15, 2012, and was not seen by the Planning Commission or made available to the public for
three four months.
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Summary of Nick Lucchesi’s letter on Page 2 & 3. Full letter here.
If you are looking for a specific letter, find the Page Number in the table of contents, then type that page number into the small “Page” entry box at the top of where all the letters are displayed.
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Letter(s) not included in the packet:
Letter from Pam Mendelsohn