Behold, the Office and Multi-Family Residential (OR) zones in Eureka. | Image courtesy City of Eureka.


From the City of Eureka’s Development Services Department:

Welcome to the 9th installment of our fourteen part series “Get to Know a Zone District.” In this series, a staff-member in the Planning Division answers questions about each Zoning District in the City. This month we will be exploring one of our most vanilla commercial (or is it residential?) districts: OR

1.     What is OR? What does it stand for?

“OR” stands for “Office and Multi-Family Residential.”

2.     What’s it for?

It’s a special zone designed to mix multi-family residential uses with office uses.

3.     But why? Why not just give offices and residential developments their own zones?

You definitely could…but there are some advantages to letting these two mix. The first is that offices are generally pretty quiet places, so they typically don’t irritate residents. The second advantage is that office workers that drive to work only use the street parking during the day, which is exactly when residential demand for parking demand is lowest (because they also left to go to work for the day). It also provides opportunities for some people (office, professional, white-collar folks) to live near their jobs, which means that walking or biking to work becomes a viable commute option.

4.     Sounds like the peas and carrots of compatible land uses! Can you give me an example?

Well, let’s say you’re an optometrist from Pasadena. You’re established in SoCal—things are going fine but you’re ready for something a little less hectic. You decide to move your practice and your trophy husband up to the heart of Humboldt – right up to Eureka. Thing is, you don’t want to be in some sterile office park. You also don’t want to be downtown. What you want is to own (and lovingly restore) a majestic Victorian in a peaceful neighborhood which will do double duty as your home and your office. Office Residential would kill in this situation!

5.     Wow. That does sound nice. What about other uses? Are office and residential uses the only options?

Not at all! There are a few uses that you can do if you get a conditional use permit. Hair salons, florists, and child care centers are all possibilities. These uses are conditionally permitted because they have the potential to conflict with the nearby uses – which is why each one must be evaluated on a case by case basis. Would you be okay living next to a hair salon?

6.     Maybe? Like a big one? I’d be okay with a little one – as long as they don’t do nails—that nail polish smell makes me sick.

That’s why we send letters to all property owners with 300’ of a proposed conditional use.

7.     Sick. I like that.

Happy to hear it.

8.     I’d really like to look at the City’s zoning map.

We got you.

9.     Where can I get more information about this and other zoning stuff? The Development Services Department (and Planning Division) is open Monday-Friday 8am to 5pm (closed from noon-1:00) at City Hall. Stop by or call 441-4160 to speak with a planner.