City council, developers and community members gathered at the Craftsman’s Mall site Tuesday evening.


The Arcata City Council emerged from its chambers Tuesday evening. Members put on their walking shoes and braved the great outdoors to visit the proposed building site for the Village — a 602-bed student housing project proposed by the AMCAL development company. Roughly 30 people, including city staff, Arcata citizens and AMCAL developers, gathered at the site known as the Craftsman’s Mall, on the end of St. Louis Road in Arcata.

The tour, primarily lead by Arcata City Engineer R. Charles Class, allowed members to look at at the site from all angles. From the Craftsman’s Mall, the group traveled down the railroad tracks behind the property to Todd Court and Eye Street and ended at Maple Street, stopping on each access point of the property to orient the group and field any questions.

Arcata Citizens for Responsible Housing member Pauli Bachemin has lived on Eye Street, adjacent to the Craftman’s Mall site, for almost five years. During the walk Bachemin brought up concerns with increased traffic, noise and safety.

City Engineer R. Charles Class mentioned that Eye Street  is not a very high traffic area, pointing out that no cars had come down the street since the group had been there. But Bachemin disagreed.

ACRH Member Pauli Bachemin, David Moon of AMCAL and Councilmember Paul Pitino orient themselves with”The Village” map.

“This neighborhood is about 30 percent families and the rest are students,” Bachemin replied. “There are no cars because school is out.”

Bachemin told the Outpost that he is particularly concerned because there is another pending development on Todd Court. Along with the housing development already underway on Foster Avenue, the Village would put three developments relatively close to his home. “I refer to it as the almost unholy trinity,” Bachemin said.

Some other concerns addressed during the approximately two-hour tour were drainage and any shading the buildings might cause to nearby homes.

“As you can see, there’s no shadowing that will affect anyone on Maple Lane,” AMCAL project developer David Moon said.

After the their field trip, Arcata City Council members reconvened in the safety of their usual home at City Hall, to further review the proposal. Once again, the Council decided they will need more time to make a decision on the Village. Councilmember Paul Pitino said he has more questions and Vice Mayor Brett Watson said he doesn’t feel good about the city’s ability to control the project in the future.

Councilmember Susan Ornelas is concerned about Humboldt State’s agreement with AMCAL. Following much public speculation on HSU’s involvement with this project, the university recently announced a partnership with AMCAL, in which HSU said they will not purchase the Village  from the developers, but would manage the property in exchange for compensation. Ornelas feels City Council needs to learn more about what this partnership entails.

“I can’t even think about approving something that’s depending on an HSU agreement that we’ve never seen,” Ornelas said.

The City Council moved to continue the public hearing on July 11. The next regular City Council meeting is Wednesday, June 20 at 6 p.m. at Arcata City Hall (736 F Street).

City Council checking out the view from Maple Street, Arcata

Arcata City Engineer R. Charles Class does a Captain Morgan pose at the end of Maple Lane, Arcata.

A map showing the roads and trails walked during “The Village” site tour.