The Eureka City Council will be discussing at its meeting next week drafting a temporary ban on the development of new hotels in Eureka.
According to the city staff report, the idea was brought forward by a Eureka hotel owner because of a concern that the development of new hotels would cause existing hotels to fail. The report does not identify the hotel owner.
Eureka Development Services Director Rob Holmlund told the Outpost that additional research will be required to determine the effect new hotels would have. But, based on the initial research, Holmlund doesn’t seem to think it is much of an issue. Other cities have adopted bans on new hotels. But most of the reasons are not applicable to Eureka. Also, Holmlund said, there have not been any permit requests submitted for a hotel in Eureka in over six years.
There have been, however, been a couple of parties interested in developing hotels. A few months ago, the city council voted to sell the property at 2112 Broadway, formerly home to the Eureka Chamber of Commerce, to SJN Hospitality — a company planning to build an 83-room hotel on the location. But Holmlund said the developers have still not submitted any permits.
If the city were to temporarily ban new hotels, Holmlund said it would not necessarily completely stop the project from happening. But the city’s agreement with SJN would go on hold.
“By law, a moratorium can’t last more than two years,” Holmlund said.
Though Holmlund can’t be sure where the council stands on this issue, he did say that the decision to sell the Broadway property to a hotel developer sends the message that the council members do want new hotels in Eureka.
The council can can either decide that this doesn’t seem like a problem and there is no need to discuss it further; decide that further discussion is necessary, direct staff to do more research and bring the item back at another meeting; or decide this is a real issue and direct staff to draft a moratorium for a vote at the next meeting.
Holmlund did not know the name of the hotel owner, who he said had been in contact with City Manger Greg Sparks. Attempts to reach Sparks were unsuccessful.
In other business, the council will also be reviewing the Strategic Arts Plan annual report. The plan was adopted in 2017 in an effort to promote economic development through the promotion of arts and culture in Eureka.
The plan contained about 30 projects including the Utility Box Art Program, the Eureka Street Art Festival, the Waterfront Trail artistic benches and the certification of downtown Eureka as a California Cultural District.
The update identifies some upcoming projects, such as street pianos, and some eliminated projects, such as art crosswalks. If you are interested in finding out more about the Strategic Arts Plan, the city has also put together a handy website: eurekart.org.
You can find out what has been accomplished, what projects are upcoming and even share a story of how art in Eureka has impacted your life. Wow!
The Eureka City Council meets on Tuesday, August 20 at 6:00 p.m at Eureka City Hall — 531 K Street.
You can view the full agenda here.