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For the Planning Commissioners and City Council Members… and everyone:

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Form-Based Code Overview

Newest Articles

Top Articles


  • Read and re-read Andrea Tuttle’s letter. The points she makes are excellent. Her 5 points, however, are only a fraction of where the December 2021 draft plan needs help.
  • Take some time to read (or skim) the “Transcription of the Gateway Plan Presentation, with Comments & Opinion” article. Yes, it is long. There are some suggestions in the article on how to skim it. You can read it and watch the video at the same time, or read it without the video. This article discusses many of the large issues that a plan of this size brings up — and which this current plan has no answers for or misrepresents.
  • Any of the transcripts from the Planning Commission meetings provide fascination insights into what goes on.
  • The Cal Poly Humboldt Expansion article gives the numbers for what we’re looking at. And it’s not just the students and faculty and staff — there’s also the “job multiplier” which could also add 2,000 additional people to the wider community.
  • Enjoy “A Modest Proposal” as humor. And watch “A Short History of America” — a 1-minute video. Presented here for your enjoyment.

For the Planning Commission

To the Council/Commission: A high-density building, the State Density Bonus Housing Law, and reducing regulatory costs

Three new articles: A high-density building, the State Density Bonus Housing Law, and reducing regulatory costs. The State Density Bonus Housing Law and how it affects us here in Arcata is the single most important issue facing the Planning Commission with regard to the success of the Gateway Plan.

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.

The Planning Commission did NOT give a “Recommendation for adoption” to the City Council on the Gateway Plan

The Agenda Packet for the August 22 joint City Council / Planning Commission meeting has this in the staff report: "The Planning Commission completed its initial review of the Gateway Area Plan and the Gateway Code on July 11, 2023, and provided a recommendation to the Council for adoption."  ******** What the Planning Commission provided to the City Council is not recommended for ADOPTION -- just discussion.

Couplet on L? The L Street Pathway as we know it and love it will cease to exist

The City wants to destroy a quiet strolling pathway so that car and truck traffic will be split between L Street and K Street. Meanwhile, cities all over the world are attempting to get rid of car traffic in favor of walkable public spaces. A "Plan B" has been promised since January, 2022. An inadequate discussion of alternatives finally emerged in August 2023, over a year and a half later.

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.

Dave Ryan says: Abandon the L-K Street Couplet & Embrace the Pathway

At the August 2, 2022, Transportation Safety Committee meeting Chair Dave Ryan spoke for 9 minutes on just why the plan's L-K Street Couplet should be abandoned -- and replaced with an L Street Linear Park and walking pathway -- and why this is the heart of a successful Gateway plan for Arcata.

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. **** THIS IS A "MUST SEE" DOCUMENT by the Planning Commissioners, the City Council, and all citizens who want to see how exciting and desirable an L Street Corridor Linear Park could be.

The Planning Commission needs to step up to the plate

The following is a letter sent by Fred Weis to the City Councilmembers. According to the Planning Commission's absurdly accelerated schedule, they are expected to deliver recommendations of a draft of the Form-Based Code, a draft of the Gateway Plan, and a draft of the General Plan following their meeting on July 11th. It is expected that these drafts will be rough and incomplete. With all the work that the Planning Commission has to do, you'd think they'd be working overtime, right? Nope. Their meetings have been shorter than ever. 

Immediate and Timely

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.

Draft Gateway Plan: Policy Chapter 3: Housing – Notes

On June 28th, 2022 meeting, the Planning Commission will take up the Housing chapter of the December 2021 draft Gateway plan. Here are Notes and comments on Chapter 3: Housing of the draft Gateway Plan.

Transcript and Video: Planning Commission meeting — July 26, 2022

Gobbledygook: Could the Gateway Plan be approved before we even see the Form-Based Code that defines the design? This is what David Loya has outlined... and which the Commissioners say cannot possibly occur.

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.

Planning Commission Meetings - Transcriptions & Videos

Transcript: Planning Commission meeting — February 8, 2022

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

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.

Transcript and Video: Planning Commission meeting — May 24, 2022

Confusion and disagreement at the May 24, 2022 meeting of the Planning Commission. When will we see the Form-Based Code? Can Streetscape and Design be evaluated without it ?

Transcript and Video: June 14, 2022 — Part 1: The Process

Another contentious meeting of the Planning Commission, with David Loya openly defying the Commissioners. The change of agenda from what was previously proposed and agreed upon is not discussed.

New & Hot

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.

McKinleyville is transparent. Arcata is not.

How is it that McKinleyville has all of the info for their Town Center plan in one location?  And in Arcata, the same info is scattered all over the place -- or is in obscure locations that so buried that it might as well not exist. Read more here.

Letters to the Planning Commission — June 14, 2022

The letters to the Planning Commissioners are supposed to be in the PC agenda packets, so that the public can read them too. Unfortunately in Arcata, that hasn't always happened. Our city promises that this will get better, and that letters won't be lost. Can we believe them ?

UC Berkeley lawsuit decisions may affect Arcata too

Did UC Berkeley bring in more students than they'd promised? How much should the University contribute to infrastructure costs? And -- is any of this applicable to Cal Poly Humboldt and Arcata ?

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.

Public Comment: Planning Commission and City Council meetings

Public comments from Planning Commission and City Council meetings. Transcribed from videos of the meetings.

3D Modeling: We’re still waiting

Original article: June 16, 2022 --We've been promised the 3D modeling for at least four or five months now. *** ONE AND A HALF YEARS NOW **** Why is 3D Modeling so important? Look at the pictures here and decide for yourself.

Why this website exists

Why this website exists? Because this is what Ministerial Review looks like.  The data center building on 11th Street goes against everything that's important to us. No jobs, no vitality. This is the blight in Arcata

... and everything else

David Loya on Supply and Demand — and how that relates to Affordable Housing

"So the way that we add equity into our community... is by increasing the demand." David Loya speaks at the Feb 12 2022 Planning Commission on housing supply and demand. This article was originally written May 30, 2022 -- over a year ago. It exposes the vast misunderstandings and distorted viewpoints of David Loya, Arcata's Community Development Director, with regard to what determines the costs of housing. Please read and see if you can make any sense out of what Mr. Loya is proposing for Arcata.

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.

Watch the Video –Transcription of the Gateway Plan Presentation, with Comments & Opinion

WITH VIDEO -- 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.

City’s Open House “Engagement Report” is finally (almost) here

Is this really the Community Engagement Report? The one we've been waiting FIVE -- no make it SIX -- months for? It's supposed to be a summary of what Arcatans want. Oh well. There's no Summary, no compilation of what people have said. Do we want 8-Story apartment buildings in the Gateway area? It still might be a while before we find out -- from official sources -- what the community wants. Unless, that is, we already know.

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.

Aerial Views of the Gateway area

Here are some aerial views of the Gateway area. The aerial views give a more clear vision of the size of the Gateway area, relative the area of Downtown and Northtown Arcata.

Letter from Andrea Tuttle, Ph.D. — February 13, 2022

READ THIS LETTER ! Arcata resident Andrea Tuttle Ph.D. environmental planning, former Director Calif Dept. Forestry (CDF), past Calif Coastal Commission & North Coast Water Quality Control Board, principal consultant State Senate.

Planning Commission or 1-Person review?

Which does Arcata want? Ministerial review, to smooth the way for developers, or Planning Commission and public input, which allows for greater oversight? We can have both.

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.

Redwood City has PlanComish review

Redwood City's Downtown Precise Plan was adopted in 2011, after three or four years of development.  It is helpful to us because it incorporates a well-designed Form-Based Code -- and has a blend of Discretionary Review and Ministerial Review.

Redwood City Downtown Precise Plan – Form-Based Code

Redwood City's Downtown Precise Plan includes Form-Based code and Planning Commission review. It all took 4 years to develop. The Form-Based Code can serve as a model for Arcata.

Redwood City DTTP – Explore the document

Redwood City's Downtown Precise Plan includes Form-Based code and Planning Commission review. It all took 4 years to develop. The plan can serve as a model for Arcata.

Letters to the Planning Commission — April 12, 2022

The Community Development Staff packet for the April 12, 2022 Planning Commission meeting had correspondence received by the City about the Gateway plan. Some letters were over 4 months old, not previously available to the public or the Commission.

Steve Railsback – Times Standard opinion – December 8, 2021

Dr. Steve Railsback points out 5 major questions with the draft Gateway plan. A thoughtful and concise summation. From December, 2021.

Letter from Nick Lucchesi – January 15, 2022

A letter from Nick Lucchesi of Pacific Builders, dated January 15, 2022. ** A must-read letter. **

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?

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.

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?

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.

Density Guide for Housing Types

A density guide that shows the variety of types of housing that is suitable for different density levels.  Which types would be suitable for Arcata?

Gateway Maps: History and Size

Somewhere between December 2019 and December 2021 -- two Covid-impacted years -- the Gateway area grew from 87.64 acres to 138 acres.  Here's the history. Also: Is it 138 acres or is it 128 acres ?

3D Model flyover of the McKinleyville Town Center

Flyover showing the 3D model of the McKinleyville Town Center Zoning Map showing the future buildout of the proposed Town Center Core mixed use area. From July, 2021. 2 minute video

Robert Crumb: A Short History of America

The classic Robert Crumb 12-panel masterpiece of a history of America, as seen from a single street-corner. Video 1 minute 12 seconds.

The Gateway Area Plan: A modest proposal

Partial build-out of the Gateway Area Plan. The Plan was finally adopted in 2031, following nine years of discussion and community input. A minor typographical error in the final version resulted in a 70-story maximum height, rather than the previously agreed-upon 7 stories. As anticipated, many developers opted to build smaller buildings than the allowable maximum.

Gateway Maps: Historical Structures

Aerial image from 7th Street, looking north. The point-of-view is from a spot above the current Amerigas site. All the blocks to the left (west) of K Street are part of the Gateway area. According to the December 2021 Draft Plan, six-story apartments could be built across the street from these homes.

Open House – Survey Results [This is Satire!]

The Open House for the Draft Gateway Area Plan was January 21 & 22 -- FOUR MONTHS ago. Here are the results from hundreds of comments and feedback from Arcata's citizens.