Hank Sims / @ 2:58 p.m. / Agendizer

How’s Arcata Doing on Meeting its Housing Goals, And Should it Make K Street Traffic One-Way? Those Will be Some of the Questions Addressed at Tonight’s Planning Commission Meeting

Tonight in Arcata: A meeting of the Planning Commission that may be short on agenda items, but undoubtedly long when measured by hours and minutes.

That’s because there are two big, big-picture topics on the agenda, and each of them are bound to take up plenty of time, not only in questions from the commissioners but in comments from the public.

The first of these items: An update on the city’s efforts to meet the goals of its general plan. A lot of local jurisdictions are going through this process right now, probably because progress toward those jurisdictions’ housing goals must be reported to the state annually. The state mandates that all local jurisdictions must plan for housing growth across a variety of income levels — no no-growth NIMBY towns allowed in California, technically — and the state wants to hear how that growth is coming along.

Used to be the Sacramento bureaucrats let a lot of stuff slide, here. Lately, though, in the face of the current California housing crisis, it’s been taking those duties a lot more seriously. Just yesterday, for instance, the Newsom administration filed suit against the city of Huntington Beach for a Housing Element that was not up to snuff.

So how’s Arcata doing?

The city of Arcata’s progress toward housing goals, to date. Click to enlarge.

Pretty good, according to the staff report.  The city’s current planning period runs from 2019 to 2027, and it’s already exceeded its total goals for very-low income housing. It planned for 142 new units during that period, and it’s already brought 167 new ones online. That’s largely due to motel conversions brought about through Project Homekey, the staff report notes.

Moving up the income ladder, the news gets progressively less good. The city’s achieved 79 percent of its “low income” housing goals;  26 percent of its “moderate” income goals; and 20 percent of its “above moderate” goals. Overall, the city is about halfway to its total number of new units, which is good considering it’s halfway through the cycle, and especially good given that the mandates get stronger down on the lower-income level of the scale.

Moving on to the next agenda item: The Circulation Commission will be looking at proposed updates to the city’s general plan at large, and particularly updates to its Mobility Element, and most particularly to the controversial proposal to convert the much-trafficked K Street, along with its less popular sister L Street, each to one-way traffic. (The Outpost has written about this plan previously, here and here.) L Street would have to be built out in areas where it does not currently exists.

Map showing the proposed one-way roads | Images from the City of Arcata’s Draft Gateway Area Plan

Some people do not like this at all. The city’s Transportation Safety Commission gave it the thumbs-down a few months ago. Fred Weis of the Gateway Area Plan-skeptical arcata1.com website maintains a page of stories devoted to the threat of the “K-L couplet” to the bike path in the vicinity, and a petition arguing for a “L Street Linear Parkway” in place of the proposed couplet has gathered many signatures. Still, city staff and the council are in favor of the couplet, and staff in particular maintains that it will pose no threat to the separate bike trail along the railroad lines. Read that staff report here. The couplet stuff starts on page 3.

The Arcata Planning Commission meets at 5:30 p.m. at Arcata City Hall (736 F Street). Remote viewing/participating instructions at this link. Full robot-summarized agenda below.

Arcata Planning Commission
April 11, 2023, 5:30 p.m.


A. Roll Call.



1. Minutes of Mar 27, 2023 5:30 PM

2. 4129 : Recommend Approval of the 2022 General Plan Annual Progress Report

This report discusses the recommendation to approve the 2022 General Plan Annual Progress Report, which provides information on the status of the General Plan and progress in its implementation to the local legislative bodies and the public. State law also requires the inclusion of a Housing Element in the General Plan, and an annual report on the progress in its implementation. The General Plan Progress Report allows the Governor's Office of Planning and Research to identify statewide trends in land use decision-making, while the Housing Element Progress Report allows Housing and Community Development to track progress on state housing funding programs. There is no standardized format for the reports, but the suggested approach is to discuss General Plan implementation in the context of the jurisdiction's overall programs and activities. The 2022 Progress Report is included as Attachment B.

— LoCOBot

… or, as a conversation between Beavis and Butt-head!

(Beavis and Butt-head are sitting on a couch, watching TV when an announcement about a Planning Commission meeting comes on)

TV Announcer: Breaking News! The Planning Commission Meeting will be held on April 11th, 2023. The Director of Community Development will submit the 2022 General Plan Annual Progress Report.

Beavis: Uh huh huh huh. Did you hear that, Butt-head? The Planning Commission Meeting is happening.

Butt-head: Yeah, I heard. What does that even mean?

(Beavis shrugs)

Butt-head: Let's google it.

(They pull out their phones and start typing)

Beavis: Uh huh huh huh. It says here that they're talking about some progress report for the General Plan.

Butt-head: What's a General Plan?

Beavis: I don't know, but it sounds pretty important.

Butt-head: Yeah, I bet it is. (reading from his phone) It says that the report is supposed to show how the land use decisions relate to adopted goals, policies, and implementation measures of the General Plan.

Beavis: Whoa. That sounds like a lot of work.

Butt-head: (nodding) Yeah, and it's mandatory. They have to submit it to the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research and the Housing and Community Development every April.

Beavis: Whoa. They better get on it then.

Butt-head: Yeah, they better. (pauses) Hey Beavis, you know what I just realized?

Beavis: What?

Butt-head: We should go to this meeting and see what all the fuss is about.

Beavis: Uh huh huh huh. Yeah, that's a great idea. We can learn about the General Plan and stuff.

Butt-head: Yeah, and maybe we can make some suggestions on how to make it better.

Beavis: Uh huh huh huh. Yeah, that's like, our civic duty or something.

Butt-head: (nodding) Yeah, it is. We'll be like, the coolest guys at the meeting.

Beavis: Uh huh huh huh. Cool. Let's do it.

— LoCOBot


Staff ReportAttachment A. Res PC-23-02Attachment B. 2022 City of Arcata General Plan Annual Progress Report

3. 4157 : Consider a Recommendation to the City Council on the General Plan Updates

The Planning Commission meeting on April 11, 2023, will be focused on reviewing the Circulation and Infrastructure Elements, as well as the infrastructure financing, construction impacts, and K/L couplet identified by the Commission in their “Concerns and Solutions” list finalized on November 8, 2022. The Commission is also expected to make a recommendation on the General Plan Updates, including the Gateway Area Plan and the Form-Based Code for the Gateway Area by July. Staff recommends using the updated meeting framework to discuss amendments to the Circulation and Infrastructure Elements. The meeting will address transparency and communications, as well as financing mechanisms for infrastructure projects, construction impacts, and other items of interest to the Commission. The meeting will provide ample opportunity for public input and feedback.

— LoCOBot

… or, as smack talk from a professional wrestler!

Listen up, Honorable Chair and Commissioners! It's your opponent, the Director of Community Development, David Loya, coming at you with a recommendation to update the General Plan! He wants you to use his fancy new meeting framework to discuss the Gateway Area Plan and Form-Based Code by July, and also talk about amendments to the Circulation and Infrastructure Elements. But don't fall for his fancy tactics – we know he's trying to sound all official and important. Let's be real, the real fight is about transparency and communication. Loya claims he's making process improvements, but we all know he's just trying to cover up potential Brown Act violations. He's trying to hide the public's emails by uploading them to a website? Give me a break! And don't even get me started on his Infrastructure Financing Options and Construction Impacts nonsense. We all know he's just trying to distract us from the real issues. So, Commissioners, don't let Loya fool you with his technical jargon. Let's get to the real heart of the matter and give the people of this city the transparency they deserve!

— LoCOBot


Staff ReportA. FrameworkB_Circulation Element (2045)C. Public Facilities Infrast.D. Gateway_AreaPlan_v11c_MobilityE. Policy Pitch ToolF. Bike Rack 03.27.23G. Capitial Imrpovement Program List



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