The now somewhat run-down trailers on the Crowley Site on Hilfiker Lane, that will soon be used for housing | Photo: Stephanie McGeary


Nearly four years after PG&E donated a batch of trailers to the Betty Kwan Chinn Foundation to be used as modular housing units, the Eureka City Council is still in the process of clearing the remaining red tape on the project. During tonight’s meeting, the council will consider, and most likely approve, the Coastal Development Permit for the site that holds the vacant trailers, bringing the long-planned housing project one step closer to completion.

The proposed project somewhat resembles Betty’s Blue Angel Village in Eureka and would provide affordable housing for individuals who are homeless or at risk of homelessness and help them to build their rental history. According to the city staff report, the project will consist of six individual trailers — each separated into two living quarters — and one large structure, constructed out of six connected trailers that will be able to accommodate up to 28 living units. Each separate structure will include a shared kitchen and bathroom.

The trailers are located on the Crowley Site, a city-owned lot on Hilfiker Lane, near the Hikshari Trail and between the Humboldt Bay Fire Training Facility and the Elk River Wastewater Treatment Plant. Since the trailers were moved to the site more than three years ago, the City has been moving through the tedious zoning and permitting processes to allow the development of housing on the site — something that has been especially difficult because of the land’s location in the Coastal Zone. 

Map of the project area | From the Eureka city staff report

Now the Eureka City Council is set to approve one of the final necessary permits to allow development of the site. If the Coastal Development Permit is approved, it will then go to the Coastal Commission for a 10-day appeal period and if no appeal is filed, the permit will be final. If someone does file an appeal, however, the permit will have to go through the Coastal Commission’s hearing process, which would create more work for the City and further delay the project.

So, how likely is it that someone will file an appeal? Well, City Manager Miles Slattery told the Outpost that it is definitely a possibility. Though some people who previously had issues with the housing project have since come around, at least one resident is not happy about the project and expressed their concern to Eureka city staff in response to the City’s public hearing notification.

“I continue to object to the Betty Chinn Development on Humboldt Bay,” resident Ann White wrote in an email to the City. “I am also writing in opposition of the project to preserve my right to an appeal if the project is approved. This project wholly ignores the Coastal Act.  It will destroy wildlife and their habitat.  The project will degrade aesthetics and impact public use of the Bay.”

If no appeal is officially filed, then the project will only need building permits before work can begin on the site. The project site will first need installation of plumbing and electrical, and the timeline on that work may vary,  Slattery said, depending on whether the work is donated — something that a couple of local companies had previously agreed to — or if it needs to be purchased.

The trailers themselves have also fallen into pretty severe disrepair and will need some rehabilitation, Slattery said. After years of sitting vacant, several of the trailers have roof damage and several have also had break-ins, causing broken doors and/ or windows. Best case scenario, Slattery said, the housing village could be ready for the Betty Kwan Chinn Foundation to start operations in four or five months.

“I think it’s a great project and it’s a long time coming,” Slattery told the Outpost. “ It will be another great resource for those who are disadvantaged.” 

The Eureka City Council meets tonight (Tuesday) at 6 p.m. at Eureka City Hall — 531 K Street. You can view the full agenda and directions on how to participate here.



What the trailers looked like when they were first donated nearly four years ago | File photo