Photo of Arcata’s Gateway Area | City of Arcata

Arcata’s controversial Gateway Area Plan has been the talk of the town lately, with many meetings and workshops being formed to prepare for the adoption of the plan, which will rezone 138 acres of underutilized land in and around the Creamery District to facilitate the development of high density housing.

While city staff and supporters of the plan say it is absolutely necessary to accommodate Arcata’s growing housing needs, skeptics of the plan fear that it will allow for overdevelopment, will result in high-rise buildings and will potentially ruin Arcata’s small town charm. 

During tonight’s Arcata City Council meeting a citizen group called Responsible Growth Arcata will present the council with a proposal requesting the formation of a Gateway Area Plan Advisory Committee in an effort to improve public participation.

In a letter written to the City by Responsible Growth Arcata (which you can view here), the group suggests that advisory committee consist of seven to nine members, made up of residents, business owners and other community stakeholders who would help gather community feedback on the Gateway Plan and serve as an advisory committee to the council and planning commission. The group suggests that the committee be modeled after the City’s Plaza Improvement Task Force. The letter includes signatures from 84 community members supporting the formation of the committee. 

The suggestion went before the Arcata Planning Commission last week and received mixed reactions. While some commissioners felt that the formation of a committee seemed like a good way to get more community members involved in the planning process, others feared the potential for bias within the committee. Ultimately, the Planning Commission decided not to make any recommendation for or against the advisory committee and to leave the decision up to the Arcata City Council. 

If you feel strongly about the formation of a Gateway Plan Advisory Committee, tonight is the time to speak up. Also be sure to mark your calendar for the Council and Planning Commission joint study session on Aug. 23 at 6 p.m. The study session will focus on development of a draft Gateway Area Plan review timeline, amenities that would need to be included with development plans, and building height restrictions — arguably the most hot-button issue related to the plan. 

You can also send any of your comments prior to tonight’s meeting or the joint study session to Community Development Director David Loya at

If you need to brush up on your Gateway Plan knowledge, you can find more information at this link and by reviewing the Outpost’s previous coverage at the bottom of this post. 


In other business, the council will receive an update from the environmental services department on the City’s water and wastewater infrastructure planning, which includes upgrades to the Wastewater Treatment Facility  

If you haven’t already heard, Arcata’s Wastewater Treatment Facility – the part of the Arcata Marsh that theoretically makes the city’s sewage and wastewater nontoxic enough to pump into nearby wetlands – is pretty old, and parts of it are run down and failing and the city has received multiple violations from the Regional Water Quality Control Board. 

So, for a few years now, the city has been working to repair the issues and comply with the board’s requirements.

The upgrade plans are currently out to bid to find a contractor to complete the project. One of the major changes to the facility will be switching from the current chlorine filtration system to a UV filtration system. If all goes to plan, the city is hoping to begin construction this fall. If you have more questions about this project, city staff included in the report this handy list of frequently asked questions.

The Arcata City Council will discuss these and other important issues at its regular meeting tonight (Wednesday, Aug. 17) at 6 p.m. at Arcata City Hall – 736 F Street. 

You can view the full agenda and direction on how to participate in-person or virtually here