Isabella Vanderheiden / @ 7:01 a.m. / Agendizer

Old Town Housing Development, Design Plans for Habit Burger Grill, Short-Term Vacation Rentals and More at Tonight’s Eureka Planning Commission Meeting

The Eureka Planning Commission has a hot date with a jam-packed agenda this Valentine’s Day. Let’s take a look!

Starbucks-Habit Burger Combo

Many of our readers will recall last year’s thrilling announcement: Habit Burger Grill is coming to Eureka. The fast food chain, known for its “signature Charburgers and unparalleled fast-casual dining experience,” will set up shop at the old Sizzler location at 1907 Fifth Street next to the soon-to-be Starbucks.

Image via City of Eureka

A little over a year ago, the Eureka Planning Commission approved demolition plans for the three vacant buildings – the former homes of Annie’s Cambodian, Subway and Sizzler (RIP) – on two adjoining properties, located on T Street between Fourth and Fifth Streets. The commission also approved design plans, submitted by applicant Humboldt QOZ Fund, for two drive-thru restaurants on the site. Starbucks was included in the original plans, but Habit Burger wasn’t identified as a tenant until last year.

During tonight’s meeting, the commission will review the modified design plans, which include reconfiguring both parking lots, reversing the layout of the Habit Burger building and drive-thru entrance, adding a designated ADA path of travel between the buildings and closing the exit onto Fifth Street, according to the staff report.

The report notes that the proposed modifications are consistent with the Site Plan Review criteria, adding that the building designs and signage are “not ugly” or “inharmonious” with their surroundings. Staff is recommending approval of the application.

A rendering of the proposed mixed-use commercial/residential building at the corner of Third and G streets in Old Town. | Image via City of Eureka

Mixed-Use Housing Development in Old Town

The planning commission will also consider a permit application for the construction of a new mixed-use housing project on a vacant lot at the corner of Third and G Streets in Old Town. 

Designs for the four-story building, by Eureka-based developer Adams Commercial General Contracting, Inc. (ACGC), include 13 apartments above two ground-floor commercial retail spaces. “The apartments will be a mix of studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units, with three fully ADA-accessible units,” according to the staff report. “The building will feature night-sky-friendly exterior lighting and rooftop photovoltaic solar power generation.”

The 4,460-square-foot parcel, formerly home to Russ Meat Market and later Globe Imports, has sat vacant since the historic building was destroyed by a fire in 2006. The parcel was previously part of a larger 10,890-square-foot parcel, which included a single-story metal building on the alley and the two-story Joseph Russ Building next door, but was subdivided in 2021 to accommodate the development of the vacant corner.

Along with the Conditional Use Permit and Coastal Development Permit, ACGC is seeking a variance from zoning regulations that generally require housing projects to include designated parking spots for residents. Raelina Krikston, ACGC’s real estate development director and community liaison, previously told the Outpost, “Given the size of the lot it wouldn’t be possible to put in this kind of development and still include parking.”

There are parking options nearby. The new building will be located near several city-owned parking lots and catty-corner to the EaRTH Center, the city’s future mass transit hub. The city is also considering the possibility of building a multi-story parking garage on the parking lot directly across from the proposed project, where City Hall used to be.

The Eureka’s Historic Preservation Commission unanimously approved the mixed-use housing project at the end of last year. Once the project gets the green light from the planning commission, it will go to the city council for final approval.

The site of the future mixed-use building. Map via City of Eureka

Short-Term Vacation Rental Update

The commission will also receive an update on city’s ongoing efforts to regulate short-term vacation rentals, such as Airbnbs and Vrbos, operating in the Eureka.

The city created a permitting structure for vacation dwelling units (another term for short-term rentals) through a council-approved ordinance back in 2016, although the rules didn’t take effect in the Coastal Zone until they were certified by the Coastal Commission in 2018. The city has spent the last couple of years working with the monitoring service Host Compliance to create an inventory of permitted and unpermitted short-term rentals operating in the city. To date, approximately 142 units are being advertised “wholly or in part” as short-term rentals in Eureka.

While short-term rentals offer numerous upsides for property owners and tourists, staff believe a memo prepared by the vacation rental subcommittee indicates that the proliferation of such services has caused “disharmony in Eureka neighborhoods” in recent years.

“Items on the good side of vacation rentals include providing choice for tourists that can be more economical or work better logistically, and their contributions to transient occupancy tax (TOT) funds,” according to the staff report memo. “The potential downsides include loss of housing stock for residents, conflict with neighbors and unwanted changes of neighborhood character. We should also note that vacation rentals vary greatly in degree of benefit/harm from a proprietor on-site renting a room or two in an occupied historical home to help pay for maintenance of the property, to expressions that resemble a boutique hotel and may not be staffed on-site, and have unresponsive, out-of-area ownership.”

During a previous discussion, one of the commissioners asked, “What percentage of rental housing on the market is now a vacation rental?” Staff The subcommittee found that short-term rentals account for the vast majority – about 71.4 percent – of rental properties in Eureka, according to data from July 2023. 

Long-term vs. short-term Rentals. Chart: City of Eureka

“This is not entirely an apples-to-apples comparison, in that vacation rentals are generally more continuously marketed, while long-term rentals are generally only marketed when there’s a vacancy,” the staff report memo notes.

Reached for additional information, Development Services Director Cristin Kenyon said staff are looking at various strategies to improve the city’s regulations surrounding short-term rentals. 

“We are still not satisfied with the regulatory framework so it’s our hope to tweak the regulations again during the 2024 or 2025 annual inland zoning code cleanup amendment,” Kenyon wrote via email. “[W]e are thinking about are doing away with the use permit approval process, potentially limiting how many rentals one entity can have, and potentially creating some sort of easier path for vacation rentals in homes on the Local Register of Historic Places (to incentivize purchase/maintenance of historic homes).”

Staff are The subcommittee is also looking at ways to prevent clusters of short-term rentals in a single neighborhood. Kenyon said that could be accomplished by “setting a minimum buffer distance between rentals.” 

Asked whether the city would consider a cap on short-term rentals, Kenyon said staff has recommended that the city deal with its backlog of un-permitted rentals first “so we have an understanding of the universe of rentals we’re dealing with.” 

Kenyon noted that staff had sent out compliance letters to 13 operators on Friday. “Combined, we estimate just these 13 owe the city $175,000 in back taxes for failure to remit TOT,” she said. “We are going to use this TOT money to help seed a housing trust fund for the city.”

Staff The subcommittee is going to propose solid policy recommendations to the Planning Commission later this year, with hopes of updating the city’s code by the end of the year.


All that, plus a little preview of the new waterfront-themed play area going in at Grace Marton Memorial Park. Keep scrolling for further analysis and clever interpretations of the agenda from LoCO’s beloved agendabot, Gennie!

The Eureka Planning Commission will meet on Wednesday, Feb. 14 at 5:30 p.m. at Eureka City Hall – 531 K Street.

Eureka Planning Commission
Feb. 14, 2024, 5:30 p.m.




1. Planning Commission Meeting Minutes


Meeting Minutes




1. Tirsbeck Surplus Property and Right-of-Way Vacation and Local Coastal Program Amendment Location: 2000 Broadway and 936 West Hawthorne Street APN: 003-182-013 and -014 (the

The Planning Commission is discussing a project called Tirsbeck Surplus Property and Right-of-Way Vacation and Local Coastal Program Amendment. The purpose of the project is to surplus a City-owned parcel and vacate an alley easement, as well as change the land use and zoning designations of a property. The proposed changes would allow for new commercial and residential uses to be developed. The project is currently in the planning stages and there is no specific development plan at this time. The project requires an environmental assessment to ensure there are no adverse impacts. The Planning Commission will hold a public hearing and make recommendations to the City Council.

— LoCOBot

… or, as a chanson!

Chanson du projet de surplus de propriété et de vacation des voies publiques de Tirsbeck et modification du programme côtier local

Dans la ville de Eureka, un projet est en cours
De surplus de propriété et vacation des voies publiques
De Tirsbeck, nommé Alan, est le demandeur
Il souhaite modifier le programme côtier local

Sur un terrain situé au 2000 Broadway
Et 936 West Hawthorne Street également
Une parcelle de 600 pieds carrés de surplus
Et une allée de 2600 pieds carrés à abandonner

Alan Tirsbeck est à la fois le demandeur et le propriétaire
Il souhaite modifier l’utilisation des terres et les zonages désignés
Il veut passer du zonage industriel au zonage commercial
Pour le terrain situé à 936 West Hawthorne Street

La demande a été déposée le 13 mai 2021
Pour le surplus de propriété et la vacation des voies
Et le 28 août 2023 pour la modification du programme côtier
La proposition consiste à changer le zonage industriel en commercial

Le plan général actuel du 2000 Broadway
Est commercial de services généraux (GSC)/commercial de services (CS)
Et pour 936 West Hawthorne Street
C’est industriel général (GI)/industriel général (MG)

La recommandation est de tenir une audience publique
D’examiner l’étude préliminaire et la déclaration négative atténuée
D’adopter une résolution recommandant au conseil municipal de déclarer
La parcelle de 600 pieds carrés en surplus, ainsi que la vacation de l’allée

Une résolution est également recommandée pour
L’approbation de la modification du programme côtier local
Pour changer l’utilisation des terres et les zonages désignés
Du terrain situé à 936 West Hawthorne Street

Le projet consiste à combiner la parcelle du Notch
Avec le terrain plus vaste du 2000 Broadway
Aucun projet de développement spécifique n’est prévu pour le moment
Mais cela permettrait un nouveau développement commercial

Une évaluation environnementale a été effectuée
Et un examen initial et une déclaration négative atténuée ont été conclus
Avec des mesures d’atténuation appropriées, aucun impact environnemental majeur n’est prévu
Les futures développements nécessiteront une permis de développement côtier

Une audience publique a été prévue pour discuter du projet
Et le Conseil municipal décidera s’il adopte la déclaration négative atténuée
L’ensemble du projet est conforme au plan général de la ville
Et aux politiques du programme côtier local

Caitlin Castellano est la personne-ressource
Pour toute question concernant ce projet
Vous pouvez la contacter au (707) 441-4160
Ou à

— LoCOBot


Staff ReportAttachment 1 - SP and SV ResolutionAttachment 2 - LCPA Resolution Attachment 3 - ISMND with MMRP

2. Humboldt QOZ Fund Starbucks and Habit Burger Drive-Through Restaurants Location: 1906 4th Street and 1917 5th Street; APNs: 002-105-017 and 002-105-018 Project: Design Review Modification AA-21-0013 (MOD-23-0005)

The Humboldt QOZ Fund is requesting changes to the design of two drive-through restaurants that were previously approved but not yet constructed. They want to modify the layout of the parking lots, move the drive-through entrance, add an ADA path of travel, and make changes to the signs. The proposed changes include adding a new tenant, Habit Burger, and updating the signage to include their branding. The Planning Commission will hold a public hearing and will likely approve the modifications. The project is exempt from further environmental review.

— LoCOBot

… or, as a nursery rhyme!

In Humboldt town, on 4th and 5th Street,
There were plans for restaurants, really neat.
Starbucks and Habit Burger, a drive-through they’ll be,
But the design needed a modification, you see.

The Humboldt QOZ Fund had a grand plan,
To make these restaurants the best in the land.
They wanted to change the site layout a bit,
And make sure everything was a perfect fit.

The Design Review was approved before,
But the buildings weren’t constructed, there was much more.
Now the Humboldt QOZ Fund had a tenant in sight,
Habit Burger would fill one restaurant with delight.

But changes were needed, a modification in sight,
To approve the design, everything had to be right.
The parking lots needed reconfiguration,
And the buildings’ layout needed some alteration.

Trash enclosures moved, paths of travel added,
The exit onto 5th Street, no longer to be treaded.
The Habit Burger design was now revealed,
And it needed approval for this plan to be sealed.

A public hearing was held, for all to have their say,
And the Planning Commission had its say.
They adopted a resolution, conditions in place,
To approve the modification and move forward with grace.

The staff report detailed the changes and more,
From the project summary to the environmental score.
All the documents attached, for all to review,
To ensure the process was fair and true.

Now the Humboldt QOZ Fund can proceed,
With their grand plan for the restaurants they need.
Thanks to the Planning Commission’s decision,
Humboldt town will have a new culinary vision.

So next time you’re in Humboldt, take a drive,
To the Starbucks and Habit Burger, you’ll arrive.
Enjoy a delicious meal, with a smile on your face,
Thanks to the Planning Commission and their grace.

— LoCOBot


Staff ReportAttachment - 1 ResolutionAttachment 2 - 2022 Staff ReportAttachment 3 - Applicant Submitted Materials

3. ACGC Mixed-Use Development Location: Northwest corner of Third and G Streets; APN: 001-091-009 Projects: Conditional Use Permit CUP-23-0010, Coastal Development Permit CDP-23-0013, and

The Planning Commission is reviewing a proposal for a mixed-use development project in a specific location. The project includes a four-story building with commercial and residential spaces. The building will have 13 residential apartments and two ground-floor commercial retail spaces. The project has obtained necessary permits and is exempt from certain environmental regulations. There is also a request for a variance to exceed the maximum allowed floor area. The project site has been vacant since a fire destroyed the previous building, but it is located in a historically designated area. The project does not include off-street parking, but this is allowed because it is near a major transit stop. Overall, the project is consistent with the city’s plans and regulations.

— LoCOBot

… or, as a bedtime story!

Once upon a time in the city of Eureka, there was a vacant lot on the northwest corner of Third and G Streets. This lot had been empty since the Russ Market Building, a historic structure, was destroyed by fire in 2006. The lot was listed on the Local Register of Historic Places and had been subdivided from the adjacent buildings to facilitate development of the vacant corner.

One day, a company called ACGC Inc. came forward with an exciting proposal. They wanted to construct a four-story, mixed-use commercial and residential building on the vacant lot. The building would have 13 residential apartments and two ground-floor commercial retail spaces. The apartments would be a mix of studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom units, with three fully ADA-accessible units. The building would also have night-sky-friendly exterior lighting and rooftop photovoltaic solar power generation.

The proposed project went through various approvals and permits, including a Conditional Use Permit, Coastal Development Permit, and Variance. The project had to comply with the city’s General Plan and Zoning regulations. It was exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) due to its classification as an infill development project.

The project received support from the Planning Commission and the Historic Preservation Commission, as it aimed to maintain the character and scale of the surrounding historic buildings. The commission unanimously approved the project, recognizing its contribution to the city’s Core Retail Commercial area and the need for additional housing in the community.

The project also took into consideration the city’s parking requirements. Although no off-street parking was provided, the project met the criteria for proximity to a major transit stop, allowing for a reduction in parking requirements.

After all the necessary approvals were obtained, construction on the ACGC Mixed-Use Development began. Day by day, the building started to take shape, with each floor being added carefully. People passed by and watched in amazement as the vibrant and modern building transformed the empty lot into a bustling hub of activity.

Finally, the day came when the ACGC Mixed-Use Development was complete. The residential units were filled with happy tenants, and the ground-floor retail spaces were occupied by thriving businesses. The building became a symbol of progress and community growth.

And so, the ACGC Mixed-Use Development lived happily ever after, contributing to the vibrancy and economic vitality of the city of Eureka. The end.

— LoCOBot


Staff ReportAttachment 1 - PC ResolutionAttachment 2 - Proposed PlansAttachment 3 - Other applicant submitted materialAttachment 4 - HPC Resolution of Approval

4. Grace Marton Memorial Park and Eureka Waterfront Trail Improvements Location: Halvorsen Park APNs: 001-161-015, 002-241-006, 002-241-007, 002-241-013,

The City of Eureka is planning to make improvements to Halvorsen Park. They want to build a maritime-themed playground called Grace Marton Memorial Park and improve the Eureka Waterfront Trail. The playground will have different play areas and include picnic tables, a chess game table, and other features. The trail will be realigned and repaired to make it safer and more accessible. The project has been reviewed by the Planning Commission and they recommend approving it with some conditions. The project does not require a full environmental assessment and is exempt from certain regulations. The public has been notified about the project and there will be a public hearing to discuss it.

— LoCOBot

… or, as a heartbreaking country/western song!

(Verse 1)
In a seaside town where the waters run deep,
There’s a story of a park that’ll make you weep,
They called it Grace Marton Memorial Park,
A place for laughter, play, and a shot in the dark.

But now it’s just a staff report on a page,
A broken dream in the midst of decay,
They planned a playground and a trail by the bay,
But all that’s left is a heartbreaking dismay.

(Verse 2)
The City of Eureka, with hopeful eyes,
Applied for permits, they aimed for the skies,
A maritime-themed playground they did conceive,
But the hopes and dreams, they began to cleave.

Now it’s just a staff report on a page,
A broken dream in the midst of decay,
They planned a park and a trail by the bay,
But all that’s left is a heartbreaking dismay.

The Playground, they said, would bring joy and delight,
But now it’s just an empty, abandoned site,
The swings and slides, they’re covered in rust,
A haunting reminder of what was once a must.

(Verse 3)
And the waterfront trail, so full of promise,
To connect the community, a haven for solace,
But now it’s torn up and compromised,
Accessibility and safety, oh how they agonize.

Now it’s just a staff report on a page,
A broken dream in the midst of decay,
They planned a park and a trail by the bay,
But all that’s left is a heartbreaking dismay.

Oh, Grace Marton Memorial Park, what might have been,
A place where memories could have surely gleamed,
But now it’s just a planning commission’s plea,
To hold a public hearing, to let it be.

— LoCOBot


Staff ReportAttachment 1 - Planning Commission ResolutionAttachment 2 - Playground Site PlanAttachment 3 - Eureka Waterfront Trail PlanAttachment 4 - Tree Removal Site PlanAttachment 5 - Soil and Groundwater Management Contingency Plan (SGMCP)Attachment 6 - Grace Marton Park Plant PaletteAttachment 7 - NOE


1. Vacation Rental Sub-Committee Update






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