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Saturday, February 4, 2023


The December 2021 draft Gateway Area Plan is not acceptable in its current form.
In addition to large questions about the feasibility of the plan itself,
there are numerous inaccuracies, misstatements, misrepresentations, and actual false information.
Here are some opinions and commentary on the plan and the process.


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?

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.

Survey says Home Ownership is what’s desired — in a big way

August 16th Survey shows "Home Ownership" of supreme importance to the 50-or-so participants during the two minutes of voting. What's the possibility of Home Ownership Opportunities to be written into the Gateway Plan? Very likely to be Zero.

“Dwelling Units per Acre” – Another terrible way of measuring housing

Since the aim of the Gateway plan is to provide housing for lots of people, then we’d want to see as many dwelling units per acre as possible, right?  To achieve more dwelling units per acre, we can do two things:  Build taller apartments or have more units on a floor (or both). And how do the number-crunchers make more units on a a floor?  They make smaller units.

Transcript: Planning Commission meeting — February 8, 2022

Transcript with added commentary. Includes misguided views on the cost of housing. Public comment from Carlisle Douglas.

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.

Transcription of the Gateway Plan Presentation, with Comments & Opinion

A full transcription of the 1 hour introductory video presentation of the draft Gateway plan. With comments and opinions about misrepresentations and false information in the video.

“Housing Units” and “Housing Density” – Why these are terrible ways to measure housing success

To regard a three-bedroom apartment in the same way — as one “housing unit” — and equal to a studio apartment is just engineering-thinking. Instead, count the bedrooms. Count the number of people — adults and children — who might be living there. Homes are for people. Let’s not forget that.

The Gateway Plan Advisory Committee: Why it’s crucial

If the City Council chooses to go forward without the formation of this Advisory Committee, the completion of a good Gateway plan is, in my view, doomed to fail. Sorry to say that, but it’s sure how it seems to me.

The L Street Pathway Deception

The "couplet" created by making K Street and L Street be one-way, one-lane streets seems unlikely to happen. And if it were to take place, the joyful humanity of the current L Street Pathway would be destroyed. Why does it seem that the City is not being forthcoming on this? Why aren't we presented with alternatives?

Does Building Luxury Condos Create More Affordable Housing?

This article is a re-print of the article of the same name in the July 25/August 1, 2022, issue of The Nation. It is...

A possible 6-story design for Arcata

Here's a 6-story building that could work in Arcata, with some modifications. Originally proposed for Santa Cruz, it incorporates many of the design elements and features people here have said are important.

Quimby Act Dreams — How do we get parks in Gateway?

The "plan" for human-access parks in the Arcata Gateway area is woefully inadequate. To make the Gateway area livable for thousands of people, we need real parks.

Gateway Needs Parks!

Sure, there's open space.  But where are the parks? Gateway needs parks! How is Arcata going to supply adequate parks for 2,000 people? Parks = Community. Places to meet, talk, hang out. Children's playgrounds too. If we don't insist on this, it's not going to happen.

Homelessness 85 years ago: How can you keep on moving?

Ry Cooder from his second album "Into the Purple Valley," 1972. The song is a Depression Era late-1930s song, in protest to California's "No More Migration" laws. Also here is the Sis Cunningham version from 1976,

What is the financial impact of Gateway development?

What's the fiscal aspect of development in the Gateway area? What will be the changes to Arcata's over-stretched Police & Fire Departments? Who will pay for it? Will the City be running at a deficit in 10 years?

Transcript: Planning Commission meeting — April 12, 2022

Video of portion of the April 12, 2022 Planning Commission meeting. Vice-Chair Judith Mayer says Form-Based Code and discretionary review are not mutually exclusive, and will work hand-in-hand well together. Comments from David Loya on Form-Based Code and what went wrong with the Village project.

The Village Project: What went wrong?

Arcata's Village project was stalled in public comment for almost 2 years. A year after it was eventually approved, the developers withdrew. What went wrong?

Rentals Percentage in Arcata: “Do the math”

Arcata's Gateway plan could add 3,500 apartments to our town, as Cal Poly Humboldt expands. Unless more than 60% of all new apartments are owner-occupied condos, Arcatans will have small chance of owning their homes.

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.

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.

Facebook Conversations #1: April 9, 2022

Here are some citizens' views, as expressed on Facebook. From April 9, 2022. Tom Wheeler, Chris Richards, Aaron DeBruyn, Meredith Matthews, Bonnie Carroll, Lee Torrence.

Three things California must do to address Affordable Housing

Changing the RHNA allocation and Tax Credits could do more to help build Affordable Housing. An article from The Marin Post.

Transcript: Planning Commission meeting — February 8, 2022

Transcript with added commentary. Includes misguided views on the cost of housing. Public comment from Carlisle Douglas.

Vancouver, British Columbia: 40-story buildings proposed

A plan for Downtown Vancouver, British Columbia involves new building heights of 40-stories, seriously changing the existing neighborhood.