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Supes set GPU schedule

June 12, 2012 58 comments

It’s time to “get ‘er done,” as they say.

The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors agreed Tuesday to the below schedule for reviewing the draft General Plan Update (which can be modified if necessary):

  • June 18 and 25 — Key Issue identification
  • July 16* – Setting/Governance and Land Use
  • July 23 — Building Communities
  • Aug. 13 — Building Communities (Circulation Telecomm, Infrastructure) and Resource Management
  • Aug. 20 — Resource Management and Health/Safety
  • Sept. 10 — Health/Safety
  • Sept. 17* — Land Use Classification

(*afternoon and evening meetings)

Supes were urged by a majority of public speakers to move forward with the General Plan Update process that is finally near completion after more than a decade of public meetings and workshops.

Developer and property rights groups renewed calls to stall the process after last week’s election of two new supervisors** who will be seated in January. One group — Rob Arkley’s Humboldt Economic and Land Plan (“HELP”) even suggested a United Nations mind control conspiracy was responsible for wording in the GPU.

Planning Commissioner Denver Nelson assured Supervisors at the beginning of the hearing that he was not employed by the U.N.

As for his years of Commission meetins on the GPU, Nelson said, “Public input means you can have your say, not have your way.”

Planning Commission Chairman Ralph Faust said the draft reflects the diversity of Humboldt County residents.

“None of us are completely happy,” he said. “This is not the document that any one of us would have brought as individuals.”

The review meetings will follow a “two on/two off” approach with meetings held two Mondays in a row, and then take two Mondays off before resuming again.

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**Election results are not yet certified and a question still hangs over the 2nd district race.

General Plan Update timeline

June 7, 2012 219 comments

Following the election of Humboldt County General Plan Update haters in Tuesday’s election, speculation about the future of the Update is underway.

The image shows upcoming dates in the GPU process as presented by Interim Planning and Building director Martha Spencer to the Eureka City Council on election night. Click image for easier viewing.

The County Planning Commission approved the draft plan on March 19th. The draft will be officially presented to Supervisors on June 12th, though they’ve had it in hand for a month.

Two of three winners of supervisor races on Tuesday are supported by a faction who want the nearly complete decade-long process stopped or trashed altogether. But those two, Estelle Fennell and Rex Bohn, will not be seated on the Board until January 2013.

Local blog update, and a reaction to the GPU hate fest

December 11, 2011 89 comments

The media landscape in Humboldt County is quaking with economic and cultural activity (or lack thereof) and it’s all a junkie can do to keep up with this never-before-seen trajectory.  Some highlights:

  1. Newspapers are folding and dropping days of publication.
  2. Hank Sims is getting other people to update his Lost Coast Outpost blog for free –  and he’s still getting paid!
  3. Charles Douglas and his maverick Humboldt Sentinel are posting in-depth interviews unseen elsewhere in this “did you poop and pee on the bank” media landscape.

Take for example this interview with Community Development Services Director Kirk Girard who was the recent subject of an obnoxious cover of the North Coast Journal.  The headline there asked, “Why Do People Hate Kirk Girard?”  Emphasis original, all bold and big font next to a picture of Girard.  Not as bad as the meat hooks, but sheesh.  Who else do we Hate with bold type on the cover of the Journal? Maybe the NCJ should make it a series.

Anyway, Girard spent an hour with Douglas, talking about his work history and the current topic of so much Humboldt County angst: the General Plan Update.  At about the 50 Min. mark, Girard has this to say about the motivations of his detractors.

If I can be discredited, it would  spill over into discrediting the entire plan, and potentially slow its momentum or stop it altogether.  And I say that because it’s a really common tactic as communities are going through General Plan Update processes to see if the argument can be made that the director should be fired, and by association pause or change the General Plan, change it’s direction.

But Girard says the Plan belongs to the Planning Commission, not him, as they have gone through it line by line over the last few years during public meetings.  Such tedium always follows scads of input from the Girard/GPU haters who continue to say they’ve been prevented from participating in the process.

Multi-family Housing Workshops this week in Redway, Eureka, McKinleyville

June 6, 2011 22 comments

[A note from Healthy Humboldt.]

Greetings all,

The County is currently considering possible sites for multi-family housing, which can include apartments, duplexes, or a “live/work” mix of residential, office and retail space. Based on input from the public, the County has revised their list of candidate sites and will be holding a series of public workshops to discuss the details. These workshops will be an opportunity for community involvement in how best to provide a wider range of housing options for people who already live and work in our communities.

Community Workshop 1

When: Monday, June 6, 2011 from 6 – 8 p.m.
Where: Redway Elementary School 344 Humboldt Avenue, Redway

Community Workshop 2

When: Wednesday, June 8, 2011 from 6 – 8 p.m.
Where: Wharfinger Building – 1 Marina Way, Eureka – The Bay Room (downstairs)

Community Workshop 3

When: Thursday, June 9, 2011 from 6 – 8 p.m.
Where: Azalea Hall – 1620 Pickett Road, McKinleyville

For more information, view the County’s Notice HERE.

Healthy Humboldt is a coalition of organizations and individuals working for a County General Plan that provides healthy housing and transportation choices while protecting our farms, forests and watersheds.

To learn more, visit us at: www.healthyhumboldt.org

If you have any questions or comments you can get in touch with us at: info@healthyhumboldt.org.

ZIEMER: Take Planning staff to the woodshed

May 24, 2011 45 comments

Humboldt County Supervisors will pick a new Planning Commissioner at its meeting this afternoon, and one of the top candidates has called for corporal punishment for county staff.

Retired Fire Chief Glenn Ziemer was named by 3 out of 5 Supes as a top choice to fill the vacancy left by Commissioner Bruce Emad, but Ziemer’s comments at the July 20, 2010 Planning Commission meeting call for pause.

Speaking about the challenge of providing fire service to rural residents, Ziemer called the staff’s work on the matter a “sham” and said they “deserve a trip to the woodshed.”

It’s not unusual for members and heroes of the Humboldt Coalition for Property Rights (HumCPR) to pound their chest while railing about county staff in the Community Development Services department. But it’s one thing to have it unleashed during public comment, and quite another to give it a nameplate and designated seating.

Ziemer is supported by developer-backed Supervisors Virginia Bass and Ryan Sundberg, with the third nod coming from swing vote Supervisor Jimmy Smith.

The only other candidate with three thumbs up is Insurance Broker Greg Conners, who is supported by smart growth advocates Mark Lovelace and Clif Clendenen — and again, the swing voting Smith.

It’s hard to imagine Smith — whose courtesy and patience seem boundless — would approve of calls to flog the staff. The General Plan Update is already a contentious affair without the addition of a Commissioner who thinks advocating for physical force against county employees is a productive way to finalize the long-overdue GPU.

Ziemer didn’t say whether he wanted to be the one to dole out the spankings.

Hank’s well-rounded Public Records Request

April 19, 2011 51 comments

UPDATE: Of course, there could be argument on whether Hank’s request is “well-rounded.”

It all depends on the aim.  One could question why he didn’t ask for emails from Bill Barnum, Julie Williams, Tina Christensen, Estelle Fennell and Bob Morris, among many other GPU players. But if the goal is to get an idea of what communications are going on regarding the GPU, the 8 names on the PRA will give a peek into that, if not the full archive.

It’s hard to agree with Hank’s presumption that Arkley’s “principal object[ive] was to gauge such groups’ influence on the update of the county’s general plan.” It’s obvious Arkley was looking for dirt on his new enemy #1 — Supervisor Mark Lovelace, now that Bonnie Neely lost re-election.

Regardless, results of this PRA might yield some wild results.

Who in Humboldt County has the reputation for sending the nastiest emails to his enemies? Arkley’s raving communiqués are legend.  Let’s hope the county has retained a complete record.

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Inspired by local big shot Rob Arkley’s Public Records Act request (PRA) seeking emails between the county and Arkley’s political foes, Lost Coast Outpost reporter Hank Sims today filed his own (PRA).

Whatever Arkley’s aims in seeking the emails, Hank says his PRA is focused on the General Plan Update.  He wants all emails between eight individuals and the county in the last year: Arkley, Arkley’s assistant Shirley Fuller, Randy Gans, Lee Ulansey, Bill Pierson, Jen Kalt, Scott Greacen and Elizabeth Conner.

“We believe this list is pretty well representative of the entire range of active political opinion on the Humboldt County General Plan,” Sims wrote on the LoCO.

Hank says he will publish everything he gets as a result of the PRA.

More General Plan Update talk on KMUD

April 18, 2011 46 comments

Tune into KMUD from 7-9am Monday morning to hear more discussion about Humboldt County’s General Plan Update.  Lost Coast Outpost hybrid reporter Hank Sims is guest-hosting with regular host Dennis Huber.

The broadcast is already underway.  Sims told a story of going salmon fishing with his father who would take a pitchfork rather than a fishing pole and throw it in the river because the salmon were so plentiful.  Those days are gone, of course, but the recovery of the salmon needs to be part of the discussion about future development in Humboldt County’s resource lands.

Estelle Fennell from HumCPR will be on the show from 8-9.

This show follows up last week’s interview with Healthy Humboldt.

Humboldt Dems support General Plan Update

April 17, 2011 76 comments

[The Humboldt County Democratic Central Committee approved a resolution in support of the General Plan Update at its meeting last week.  The resolution notes the importance of an up-to-date plan that will guide development in Humboldt County for the next 20 years. -- H.]

Whereas, further residential development in timber and agricultural land disrupts wildlife habitat, contributes to global warming, and reduces acreage available for resource production;

And, whereas, such conversion of resource land to residential use raises its value as real estate making it more costly for productive use;

And, whereas, ongoing urban sprawl onto productive resource land requires the extension of roads, drainage, fire, police and other public services paid for by the general public;

And, whereas, a General Plan Update that actually protects resource land and economizes public services while infilling established urban areas that can efficiently be served by public services has been developed through an orderly process of representative government with expert preparation by planning staff and open public hearings by the Planning Commission, both under the direction of the elected Board of Supervisors, for over a dozen years;

Therefore, be it resolved, that the Humboldt County Democratic Central Committee strongly urges the timely adoption by the Board of Supervisors of a version of the General Plan Update that most effectively restrains further residential development of prime resource land and promotes efficient infill of urban areas for the benefit of the entire community now and in the future.

Complete Streets redux

April 13, 2011 51 comments

[Text and photos by Jen Rice.]
To get back to the Complete Streets issue, I’m glad that the community is having a conversation about what this means for our small towns and rural communities — I hope it can continue in a more constructive and informed manner. After working toward complete streets goals in this rural region for fifteen years at RCAA, I will say it is absolutely erroneous to assume that complete streets means sidewalks or any other ‘urban’ form of bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure. You can read the text of the 2008 Complete Streets Act here. it specifically calls for providing a “multimodal transportation network… suitable to the rural, suburban and urban context”.

The photo of Bayside above shows an example of what ‘rural’ complete streets can look like and a few other photos I took in Weott:Carlotta: and Hoopa: showing what kinds of safety issues we’re faced with every day in our rural communities. I have hundreds more like these. Kids’ safety walking to schools on rural roads, families being able to push strollers without traffic conflicts, people getting to the store on horseback because they don’t own a car — these are not political issues, they are basic needs that can be addressed with infrastructure improvements in many rural communities and small towns. In many places, I’m sure rural roads will stay just like they are… to say that ‘complete streets’ means sidewalks in places like Blocksburg or Whitethorn would be crazy: no one has ever suggested any such thing to my knowledge.

Complete Streets Humboldt Style could mean a gravel path for pedestrians on the shoulder of Red Cap Road; a multi-use trail adjacent to the Avenue of the Giants, between Arcata and Blue Lake, from Elk Meadow through Orick to the Redwood National Park Interpretive Center; between Willow Creek and the Elementary School or between Redway and Garberville; wider road shoulders and a little traffic calming on Westhaven Drive; a downtown Willow Creek-style treatment for any number of our small towns; or bike lanes and sidewalks on School Road from the shopping center to the Hammond Trail. These visions vary in cost and complexity and have been heard loud and clear around the county for decades from communities of every shape and size. They have not only safety benefits, but economic development, health and environmental impact benefits. We can achieve these goals if we work together, regardless of our politics (!), and put our ingenious, creative and community-loving hearts and souls into making them reality.

Jen Rice, Co-Director of the Natural Resources Services Division
Redwood Community Action Agency

GPU live blog

April 12, 2011 288 comments

Follow along with today’s battle for the Humboldt County General Plan Update (GPU) as we live blog the hearing at the Board of Supervisors. Notes and commentary will be posted in the comments section. The meeting starts at 1:30pm.

Read more…

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