Arcata Planning Commission | screenshot from video on City of Arcata’s website

The Arcata Planning Commission on Tuesday night unanimously passed a resolution recommending the City Council approve the removal of the McKinley statue from the Arcata Plaza. The project will go before the council at its meeting next week.

This controversial topic was returning to the commission following a series of exciting statue-related events. The Arcata City Council already voted to remove the statue last year, after which, a group of citizens who disagreed with the council’s decision drafted an initiative measure to keep the statue in its place. Arcata citizens then voted down the measure in November, showing public support for the statue’s removal.

Arcata Community Development Director David Loya provided the staff report to the commission on Tuesday, explaining that this resolution includes recommending some necessary amendments to the general plan. Because the statue is considered a historic landmark, the City needs to consider the unavoidable impacts the removal will have.

“There are impacts to historic resources that can’t be mitigated,” Loya explained to the commission. Loya said that the resolution includes a statement of overriding consideration — meaning the evaluation determines that social and environmental factors outweigh those historic impacts.

Several community members spoke during public comment, all in favor of the statue’s removal. Eureka resident Meg Stofsky addressed the issue of where the City might relocate the statue. Canton, Ohio, home to McKinley’s burial site, has expressed interest in the statue, which Stofsky said she thought would be a fitting location.

The McKinley Statue as it looks today | Photo by Andrew Goff

“Any other place locally, [the statue] would run the risk of being a continued source of historical trauma,” she said.

The decision of where to relocate the statue will be up to the Arcata City Council, which will review the project at its next meeting — Wednesday, Feb. 20 at 6 p.m. at  Arcata City Hall (736 F Street).

When the full agenda is posted you will be able to view it here.

You can view the full Planning Commission meeting video here.