Zoom into Gateway

ARCATA – The public will be able to get up to speed on the status of the Gateway Area Plan (GAP) at a special presentation next Wednesday, June 29. The GAO is presently winding its way through city advisory committees and undergoing analysis by the Planning Commission.

The city’s Community Development Department released the draft of the Gateway Area Plan in December 2021, which provides details of how Arcata’s 138-acre Gateway Area could be redeveloped to create more housing opportunities for the community.

The city considers the plan vital to creation of new housing and neighborhoods in anticipation of the arrival of up to 7,000 new residents over the next 20 years. Those fleeing climate change as well as new residents associated with the development of Cal Poly Humboldt are expected to further increase demand for housing.

Some GAP skeptics consider the draft plan’s allowable housing density and building heights excessive, and question the city’s ability to accommodate development without ruining the town’s rural character. Other questions involve delivery of utilities, seismic safety and sea level rise, plus the appropriateness of broad use of form-based code and ministerial approvals.

But supporters urge timely adoption of the plan and requirements, to encourage and incentivize eco-groovy development with streamlined approval.

More public engagement opportunities are planned throughout the summer, including an upcoming opportunity for the public to learn more about next steps in developing a form-based code for the Arcata Gateway Area.

On Wednesday, June 29 from noon to 1:30 p.m., there will be an hour-long presentation from the city’s design consultant, Ben Noble, as well as 30 minutes for general Q&A from the public following the presentation. The session will be held as a lunch “brown bag” session and will be recorded and available on the city’s YouTube channel and the City’s website after the meeting.

To attend the meeting, go to us06web.zoom.us/j/82611634660, or join by phone: 1-669-900-6833. Webinar ID: 826 1163 4660

Those unable to attend may email comments to Community Development Director David Loya at dloya@cityofarcata.org and copy Delo Freitas at dfreitas@cityofarcata.org. Staff will ensure that questions submitted by June 28 are either addressed in the presentation or asked of the city’s consultant during the Q&A section of the recorded session.

The Gateway Area Plan draft will be circulated to the public for approximately one year before it can be adopted by the City Council, and the public may review the Gateway Area Plan draft with an explanatory video on the City’s website, cityofarcata.org.

The first series of public meetings to discuss the contents of the Gateway Area Plan draft were held between December 2021–April 2022. Video recordings of many of these meetings, including the virtual Town Hall, Planning Commission and City Council meetings are available to view on the City of Arcata’s YouTube page.

Based on engagement to date, the Community Development Department has identified common concerns related to the draft plan and has created a fact sheet for the public to review which is updated over time and available on the city’s website.

Upcoming public meetings will focus on building and neighborhood design, including building height and scale, and other topics of interest. These conversations will also provide an opportunity for Arcata’s residents to share feedback about community benefits and amenities they would like to see in the Gateway Plan Area.

The dates for these meetings will be provided as they become available. Planning Commission hearings on the Gateway Area Plan are ongoing and the schedule can be accessed at cityofarcata.org/940/Ongoing-Community-Outreach.

Sign up for the Long-Range Planning & Community Visioning email notification list by clicking the eNotifications Sign Up button on the homepage of the City’s website. Individuals or groups of community members interested in discussing the plan may call (707) 822-5955 to schedule a virtual or in-person meeting.