Rendering showing example of potential building design in the Gateway Area |  Screenshot from  Building and Massing Presentation video on City’s YouTube channel.


It is nearly time again for the Arcata Planning Commission to convene, and if you follow the commission meetings much then you know that recently the commission has been almost exclusively spending its meeting time discussing the city’s General Plan and, one of Arcata’s hottest topics – the Gateway Area Plan. This week is no different, with the only item on the agenda being to “consider a recommendation to the City Council on the General Plan Updates.”

In case you aren’t up-to-date on the Gateway Area Plan, here’s a quick recap: With things like HSU becoming Cal Poly Humboldt and climate change making coastal Humboldt’s weather increasingly more attractive, Arcata’s population is expected to explode in the coming years. To accommodate that growth and to meet state housing requirements, city staff came up with the Gateway Area Plan – which will rezone about 138 acres of Arcata near downtown to allow for high-density housing and mixed-use developments. The city has been working on this plan for years and over the last several months the Planning Commission has been going over every detail of the General Plan, the Gateway Area Plan and the zoning code that will make these new developments possible. 

During this week’s meeting the commission is slated to focus on its “bike rack” items – topics that have come up during recent discussions that the commission decided to table for later discussion (this is often referred to as a meeting “parking lot,” but is being called a “bike rack” to be more aligned with Arcata’s vibe.) Basically, the commission is going over any final topics that need to be discussed in preparation for its next meeting on July 11, when the commission is slated to make its recommendations to the Arcata City Council on the General Plan and Gateway Plan. 

After the Planning Commission makes its recommendations, the council and commission will be holding multiple joint study sessions during the late summer and early fall, to go over all of the documents together. The Environmental Impact Report should be ready for review by late fall/ early winter and, if everything goes as planned, the city council should be ready to adopt the General Plan and Gateway Area Plan by spring, 2024. 

Between now and then, city staff are still taking public feedback on the documents. You can provide feedback by attending the Planning Commission meeting, or other upcoming meetings, or by emailing  

The Arcata Planning Commission meets Tuesday, June 27 at 5:30 p.m. at Arcata City Hall – 736 F Street. You can view the full agenda and directions on how to participate here.