The Gateway Area boundary, looking south | Images from the City of Arcata’s Draft Gateway Area Plan


OK, so it might be a little last minute, but LoCO knows that you care very much about Arcata’s Gateway Area Plan – that controversial plan to rezone about 138 acres of land in and around the Creamery District to facilitate the development of high-density housing. And so we feel that we must inform you that the Arcata Planning Commission will be discussing the plan today during a special meeting at 4 p.m. Better late than never, right?!

The focus of this evening’s discussion will be the plan’s proposed Community Benefits Program. Community benefits are, just like they sound, features of a project that would generally benefit the community. This could include things like adding or improving trails, beautifying the area with more murals, or improving public transportation.

In the case of the Gateway Area Plan, planners and staff propose using community benefits as a way to incentivize development project by offering to streamline the approval process for projects that include certain benefits. The idea is that the benefits program would be tiered, so that if a developer offered more community benefits, they would be allowed to build taller and higher-density buildings. 

The developers could select from a list of proposed benefits, which were drafted based on input from the community during previous workshops and outreach sessions. The list focuses on different categories of community improvement, including job creation, arts and culture and transportation. You can view the full list of proposed benefits here

Tonight the planning commissioners will review the list of community benefits, rank them based on how much value they would bring to the community and make a recommendation to the City Council based on their findings. 

Some concerns brought up by the planning commission in the past have included whether or not the list should include features that would only really benefit the tenants, rather than the entire community. Commissioner Judith Mayer also expressed concern over some of the listed benefits, which she believes should be required for all new developments. You can read Mayer’s list of concerns here. 

The Planning Commission meets today (Tuesday, Nov. 15) at 4 p.m. at Arcata City Hall – 736 F Street. You can view the full agenda and directions on how to participate here