UPDATE, 4:50 p.m.: The hearing has been postponed to the meeting of March 22 due to an agenda error.


Plans for the North McKay Ranch Subdivision include up to 320 residential units, including up to 172 multi-family units, along with 22,000 square feet of commercial development on a total of about 81 acres. | From the DEIR.


The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday will consider approving one of the largest development projects in county history — an 81-acre subdivision in Cutten that would include up to 320 residential units and 22,000 square feet of commercial space. 

The North McKay Ranch Subdivision, proposed by applicant Kramer Properties, Inc., would encircle the Redwood Fields recreation facility just south of Eureka city limits. Water and gas service would be provided by the Humboldt Community Services District, and an off-site water storage tank owned and operated by that agency is slated for a 0.3-acre parcel located two and a half miles south of the development.

Under the terms of a proposed development agreement, Kramer’s project would boost the county’s housing supply with up to 146 new single-family houses and 174 multi-family units, which would be built in nine phases over a period of 15 to 20 years, depending on market conditions.

It would also dedicate 22 acres of open space to the county for future trail development and include at least 25 bicycle storage racks, four bicycle lockers, a transit stop and other improvements.

Map of project area. | Courtesy County of Humboldt.

The county circulated a Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) in late spring of 2020, then recirculated three chapters for further review this past fall. In January, the project came before the Humboldt County Planning Commission, which has recommended that the Board of Supervisors certify the environmental document and approve both the project and the development agreement.

The project site will require rezoning before construction begins, and that’s one of the things the board will consider on Tuesday, The land is currently zoned for single-family residential, with some combining zones to allow other uses, but this development will require zoning for multi-family housing, such as apartments, and commercial developments.

A lot of folks are bracing for population growth here in Humboldt, given the anticipated influx of students for Cal Poly Humboldt, the pandemic-spurred remote work revolutionArcata’s Gateway Plan and other developments.

In total, the McKay Ranch development is expected to generate population growth of 778 new county residents, according to the EIR. That’s about 16 percent of the county’s forecasted population growth from 2016 to 2027, a figure calculated by the Department of Housing and Community Development.

There are two “significant unavoidable impacts” identified in the EIR. One is the generation of greenhouse gas emissions; the other is increased wildfire risk due to the slope, prevailing winds and project location at the suburban-wildland interface.

Critics of the project — and of its environmental review document — have raised concerns about a variety of issues, including the analysis and mitigations for greenhouse gas emissions, the impacts to traffic (a study found that the project would generate 2,879 trips per day at full build-out), the use of natural gas (rather than going all-electric) and the increased wildfire risk.

If you’d like to attend or tune into Tuesday’s meeting, it starts at 9 a.m. in board chambers at the county courthouse and will be streamed live online. (Look for a link to the video to appear on this page shortly before 9 a.m.)

Below is an interactive map of the project location (outlined in red):