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Eureka at Odds with County on GP

City at Odds with County on General Plan

The Eureka City Council and city staff seem none too pleased with the way Humboldt County’s general plan update is unfolding.

"The General Plan process has ignored the City Council’s expressed input regarding potential significant impacts to the City of Eureka," read the first of five talking points prepared for the council by city staff for Tuesday’s meeting.

The council voted unanimously Tuesday night to approve a letter outlining the city’s comments on the plan, and to appoint councilmen Larry Glass and Jeff Leonard to conduct one-on-one meetings with county officials to discuss the matter further.

The city’s concerns mostly surround the county’s proposed plan to build housing developments on areas within the city’s sphere of influence. These developments, the city contends, would have sizable impacts on the city’s waste water infrastructure and traffic.

Adding fuel to the frustration, City Manager David Tyson said, is that the city initially notified the county of similar concerns back in 2005.

"While other cities were throwing rocks at the county, we took a different approach," Tyson said, adding the city tried to be supportive of the process while making its concerns known.

Now, Tyson said it is time to elevate those discussions by speaking individually with each of the county supervisors.

The primary concern among city staff seemed to be the effects the additional cars coming through Eureka to and from these developments would have on city streets, which already have high accident rates.

During the public comment period, Mark Lovelace, speaking on behalf of the Healthy Humboldt Coalition, said the city’s comments and general stance on the issue fail to look at the big picture. He said the city has a concentration of retail and commercial businesses, which draw a lot of employees and customers from surrounding areas.

Consequently, Lovelace said, those businesses generate a lot of sales tax dollars for city coffers. He went on to say that the implication in the city’s comments that the added traffic from new developments would solely be a liability misses the larger picture.

In other matters, the council received a proposed master plan for the development of a community dog park, which Assistant City Manager Michael Knight said would be a mixed-use park, complete with areas for non-dog related activities.

The council also voted unanimously Tuesday to form an ad hoc committee to meet with Eureka City Schools to discuss the city’s immediate concerns about the district’s plans for its old school buildings, as well as to forge better communication between the two entities in future.

The council appointed councilmembers Polly Endert and Chris Kerrigan to the committee, which will meet with Eureka City Schools Superintendent Gregg Haulk and school board members before reporting back to the council at a later date.

Thadeus Greenson can be reached at 441-0509 or

Thadeus Greenson/ The Times-Standard
Posted: 02/06/2008 01:24:21 AM PST