ever been there, Aldaron? Houses. On hillsides. LOTS of 'em.
In Arcata's General Plan, there is a standard that one cannot build on a slope of more than 15 percent. “The hillside development standards were adopted to protect the public from development occurring on steep slopes. That’s why they are in the Public Safety Element,” Laird said.
That's not in the City of Arcata’s zoning ordinances, which is at odds with the City's General Plan, as well as the County, which provides for exceptions for building on slopes of more than 15 percent, there’s just extra engineering work that is involved. In the Arcata General Plan, there is no exception.
So these two "developers," Envisioning a green future, did their research, and worked out a plan to complete their dream to build a small community on the property they bought for this purpose. Now they are paying the price for the fact that the City of Arcata has never melded their General Plan and their Zoning Ordinances?
Laird said it’s not the first time the city has run into conflicts with the outdated zoning ordinances and the general plan, and the precedent set by those conflicts has been that the general plan overrides the zoning ordinances.
Not the first time? Then why hasn't it been fixed?
Incidentally, there’s a state law that may override the Arcata General Plan, the Density Bonus Law. Winkler said. “The point of the state law is to prevent cities from using standards to keep higher densities out,” he said. “The state has decided it’s more important to make more affordable housing available.”
Ah, yes. Infill to the rescue. The irony of it all.
Michael Winkler, the chairperson of the Arcata Planning Commission, said getting a professional to look at all the regulations before starting a project will help prevent making expensive mistakes.
Maybe. And that is part of what forces costs up. Pretty cavalier attitude. Seems like getting your various policies into compliance with one another would be a very high priority.
But welcome to Arcata, where you can ignore all the laws, zoning and building codes you want if you are growing pot, but try to do something right and you are screwed.
That's my read, what's yours?