Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Humboldt Sunshine says housing issue not resolved

James Faulk The Times-Standard
Eureka Times Standard

Suit still a possibility, group states

EUREKA -- A group that has threatened legal action against the county because of what it says is the inadequacy of its housing element has said that the state's recent decision does not mean the county's housing plan is good enough.

A lawsuit is still possible, said Humboldt Sunshine attorney Robert Best.

In a letter to Community Development Services Director Kirk Girard, the state has said the county's housing element is in compliance, despite heated and repeated objections from the Humboldt Economic and Land Plan group and Humboldt Sunshine.

”After thorough review, the department finds the report continues to demonstrate sufficient adequate sites to address the county's remaining share of the regional housing need,” the letter states. “While the suitability of some identified sites remains relevant, the report demonstrates the county has approved development in excess of its moderate and above moderate income regional housing need allocation and specifically identifies and analyzes sufficient higher density site capacity to accommodate the county's remaining housing need.”

The element's compliance is conditioned on maintaining enough of a land supply to meet its housing need.

Best said the state's letter does not re-approve the county's housing element.

”Its recent letter indicated that, although it had received information demonstrating that the housing element does not meet the requirements of state law, it would not take the extraordinary step of revoking its prior approval provided that the county complied with certain conditions,” Best said.

Best said the state “based its exceptional action on a process not recognized in state law whereby (state) staff negotiated directly with county staff around a secret report prepared by county staff and not made available for public review or approval by the Board of Supervisors.”

Although the state chose to accept that report instead of a proper amendment of the housing element, nothing in that report can make up for an inadequate housing element, he said.

”We do not accept that this kind of off-the-record information exchange can substitute for a housing element that includes both an inventory of sites suitable for residential development and a separate showing of specific sites that are adequate to meet the housing need of all income levels in the county,” he said. “Since the county is not acting to meet these requirements and (the state) is shying away from its responsibilities, it appears it will fall to Humboldt Sunshine to force compliance with state law.”

A lawsuit will be filed “as a matter of last resort” after Humboldt Sunshine has done all it can to get the county to support affordable housing, he said.

Attempts to contact Girard were not successful by deadline.

Read more!

Monday, June 26, 2006

Local record store owner, residents selling anti-'Arkleyville' merchandise

by By Laura Provost, The Eureka Reporter, 6/26/2006

Anti-“Arkleyville” merchandise has been circulating in the community, due in part to the distribution efforts of Larry Glass, owner of The Works.

Glass is the spokesman for Citizens for Real Economic Growth, which formed “around opposition to the redevelopment project of the Arkley family,” Glass said.

Security National, which is owned by Rob and Cherie Arkley, is in the process of purchasing the 38-acre “Balloon Track” from Union Pacific Railroad Co. It plans to create a mixed-use Marina Center for industrial, commercial and residential uses, which would include The Home Depot and possibly a Best Buy, as well as other retail stores.

The development would require that the Balloon Track and adjacent land receive a zoning change from “public” and “industrial” to a combination of “limited industrial,” “service commercial,” “Waterfront commercial” and “office/residentaial.”

Objections have been raised by some community residents over the requested zoning changes and the degree of cleanup the parcel merits.

Glass sells T-shirts at cost and gives away free stickers with a red slash through the word “Arkleyville” in his record stores in Arcata and Eureka.

“I have been in business for 35 years and never have I given out something that was as popular as these stickers,” he said.

Glass said he feels passionately about the prospective sale of the Balloon Track, and the possibility of sharing customers with a big-box store such as The Home Depot.

“The number one problem is that there was a public process in the works for the city to determine the best use for the Balloon Track and that process was derailed,” he said. “It’s been a personal thing for me; it’s always bothered me that the city has never held Union Pacific responsible for cleaning the site.

“You know, this is public-trust land. Long ago, it was given to Union Pacific, and now, years later, after they polluted ... it, they want to have a say in what to do with it in the future.”

In May, Glass prepared a community opinion poll on behalf of The Works and he shared it with CREG. The poll, in part, dealt with the Balloon Track.

When asked if The Works’ distribution of these stickers reflected the sentiment of CREG, Glass said, “Obviously, the popularity of the stickers reflects the community opinion. It just strikes a chord with people; they feel their rights (are) diminished.”

Glass is not the only distributor of “Arkleyville” merchandise, as others have begun to use this method of expression to display their opinion about Balloon Track development.

In Arcata, two individuals, Meredith Baku and Northern Humboldt Union High School District school board member Shane Brinton, sell Arkleyville sweatshirts and T-shirts out of the back of Baku’s car.

The team has not acquired a business license for this operation, according to the Arcata Finance Department.

“The sweatshirts were my idea and Shane is going to set up a Web site,” Baku said. “We came up with the idea a few weeks ago when we saw the stickers, and we liked it.”

The T-shirts and sweatshirts are black with a slash through the word “Arkleyville.”

The shirts are different from those Glass distributes, although the message is the same.

The shirts are $15 each and the sweatshirts are $25 each. The proceeds will fund more production, Brinton said.

“We were not looking to make money with this,” Brinton said. “It’s not that we are against profit, but it’s not our motive. If we made some money, I certainly wouldn’t mind, but right now we need the money to have more shirts printed.”

Brinton recently began some involvement with CREG, which caught his interest while he was working on Richard Marks’ campaign for 4th Disctrict supervisor.

Brinton and Baku’s motives in this enterprise are simple, he said.

“It’s about politics and about standing up for what you believe in, but it’s also about having fun and that’s why were doing this — some people get really serious about these issues, but we also want to have fun,” Brinton said.

When asked about his stance on the Balloon Track purchase, Brinton said he was not pleased with the process of the sale.

“I don’t want to see a big box (and) I don’t want to see it capped,” he said. “I want to see local businesses and open spaces (and) not this kind of development.

“Someone could make the argument that Rob Arkley would purchase the Balloon Track, clean it up and do something responsible with it, and I would listen, but I would be very skeptical.”

In response to the circulation of the Arkleyville merchandise, Cherie Arkley commented, “I guess when you don’t have the facts on your side, you need to resort to playground name-calling tactics.”

Read more!

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?