The Eureka City Council is discussing some major coastal zone code changes at next week’s meeting, possibly advancing the Betty Chinn housing development near the Hikshari trail and allowing for taller buildings on Broadway.
More than two years ago PG&E donated 11 trailers for use as housing for low income or homeless individuals. The trailers have since been sitting, unused, on the north end of the Crowley property in Eureka. Originally proposed for the north end of the site, the city is currently proposing the south end for the housing development.
Many hurdles have contributed to the lengthy process of developing the site — including the zoning, which currently does not allow for housing developments. The Crowley Site LCP Amendment would change the zoning to “service commercial,” which would allow for housing on the property. The city is also proposing to add a “Q qualifying combining district” to the zoning of the site.
Eureka Senior Planner Kristen Goetz told the Outpost that a “Q qualifier” adds restrictions to a specific site’s use. Service commercial zoning allows for over 100 uses, Goetz said. And, although the housing project is the only planned project for the Crowley site currently, the city wants to limit possible future developments.
According to the city staff report, the Q qualifier would allow the following uses on the Crowley site:
Multi-family/multi-unit single-story residential uses permitted under permitted uses in the RM Districts, for not more than 40 individual persons.
Public utility and public service infrastructure, including but not limited to pumping stations, power stations, equipment buildings and installations, drainageways and structures, storage tanks and transmission lines.
Storage yards for commercial vehicles.
Temporary/seasonal uses, such as Christmas Tree lots
Towers and other support structures, commercial satellite dishes, antennas, and equipment buildings necessary for the specific facility subject to the provisions of Article 31 (Wireless Telecommunication Facilities
Wireless telecommunication facilities located more than 150 feet from an R District, subject to wireless telecommunication facility permit issued pursuant to Article 31 of this chapter (Wireless Telecommunication Facilities).
The code amendment also requires all developments have a tsunami evacuation plan and be able to easily relocate if flooding occurs. “They have to be able to be responsive to sea level rise,” Goetz said.
So, how soon can you expect to see Betty’s trailers up and running?
Well, the purpose of this meeting is to introduce the ordinance. If the council chooses to move forward, then it will come back to the council for adoption, most likely on Jan. 21. If it passes, it will then go to the Coastal Commission for certification, which, Goetz said, could take at least three months. The project applicants will then need a coastal development permit, which would probably take three to four months to approve. After that, the applicants will need building permits.
“If I had to guess, the very soonest would be September of this year,” Goetz said.
The council will also discuss an ordinance which raises the building height from 35 feet to 55 feet in the coastal service commercial zone, which includes the area just west of Broadway in Eureka.
Lisa Savage — Eureka Property Management Project Manager — told the Outpost that city staff wants to match the building height limit for the other commercial zones, something they’ve wanted to do for a while now.
Though she said she is not entirely sure, Savage said she believes the request for the height change was brought to the city by the hotel developer who purchased the former Chamber of Commerce site on Broadway.
Savage said that the height change can be beneficial by allowing the buildings — such as a hotel — to maintain the same occupancy, while allowing more space on the property for parking and storm water drainage.
Also, because taller buildings already exist in other zones, this change shouldn’t affect the visual quality of the area.
“It won’t block the view of the bay,” Savage said.
And speaking of zoning, just for fun LoCO is including a cool Eureka Zoning map from 1952. You know, for all you zoning nerds out there.
In other business, the Council will be voting on the Aggressive and Obstructive Conduct Ordinance, which repeals the section of Eureka’s Municipal code aimed at banning panhandling and replaces it with less solicitation based language.
The Eureka City Council meets on Tuesday, Jan. 7 in Eureka City Hall — 531 K Street.
You can view the full agenda here.