Eureka’s Waterfront Commercial district. | Image taken from City of Eureka graphic.


From the City of Eureka’s Development Services Department:

Welcome to the eighth 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 photogenic commercial districts: CW

What is CW? What does it stand for?

“CW” stands for “Waterfront Commercial.” It’s the zoning designation for Old Town.

What’s it for?

It’s there for recreational, visitor-serving, coastal-dependent, and coastal-related uses.

I heard it was extra restrictive there because of the Coastal Zone. What’s the deal?

To some extent—it is. A fair number of the uses are what you would expect: bars, bicycle shops, bookstores, and gift shops. Some are definitely coastal, like boat launches and commercial fishing facilities. And just like in most zones, there are quite a few nonsensical distinctions between principally permitted and conditionally permitted uses. A jewelry store is principally permitted while a cigar shop needs a conditional use permit. A record store is principally permitted while a toy store is conditionally permitted.

What does that mean in practical terms?

Well, if someone walks in to the Planning Department as says, “I’d like to rent a space at 2nd and E for my book shop,” we say “Great! Enjoy!” If someone walks in and says, “I’d like to rent a space at 2nd and E for my toy store,” we tell her that she needs a Conditional Use Permit and a Coastal Development Permit. Then, naturally, she asks how much that will cost and how long it will take. When she hears that it will cost $2,205 and take 2-3 months—she is usually quite disappointed. We’re disappointed, too.

That is really a drag. Are you working to make things less difficult?

All day every day.

What was that thing you mentioned? Coastal Development Permits?

Yep. It is a special permit that you need if you want to do a “development” in the Coastal Zone. A “development” usually involves constructing something – but not always. You can read all about Coastal Development Permits in the California Coastal Act of 1976. They even put it on the internet!

Where is the Coastal Zone in Eureka?

Generally it’s everything west of Broadway, north of 3rd Street, and east of Myrtle Avenue.

Fascinating. Do you have it on a map?

Yep. Look for the big blue line.

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.