No decision yet in Balloon Track case

Balloon Track watchers are still waiting for a decision by California’s 1st District Court of Appeal following a June 11th hearing in the case against the California Coastal Commission (CCC). The case was brought by the innocuous-sounding “Citizens for a Better Eureka” (CBE).

KMUD news interviewed attorneys on both sides of the case Wednesday (fast forward to 24:52).

CBE is represented by the Pacific Legal Foundation.  Attorney Damien Schiff says the CCC has no authority to interfere with the City of Eureka’s approval of Phase 1 of the Marina Center project, which would relocate wetlands, remove old foundations and rail tracks and grade the site to control weeds.

CCC attorney Christopher Peterson said the only thing the CCC has done at this point is to find that appeals to the approval of Phase 1 raised substantial issues. A hearing was never set on the appeals due to stonewalling by property owner Security National.  Peterson said the CCC supports cleaning up the Balloon Track and has gone along with interim measures, but the specific proposal in Phase 1 is about “much more than that.”  He said Phase 1 is the first stage of preparation for future retail development which doesn’t have anything to do with the clean-up.

The court has 90 days to issue a decision on CBE’s appeal of the lower court’s decision to toss the case.

  1. Little Buddha
    June 23, 2011 at 9:51 am

    I keep asking people: Has anyone ever tried to compromise on this property? Compromise seems to be real hard for people to swallow in Humboldt County. But I’m not sure belligerence has ever accomplished much. I have started to embrace compromise more, and I’m starting to realize I may just not be right about everything all the time. So what happens when the Coastal Commission decision stands, (Little Buddha predicts it will stand.) Will the Arkley machine quit and go away? What if they win? (If Arkley wins in court, Little Buddha predicts much wailing and gnashing of teeth.) Fun to watch. Ah, compromise…as elusive as love. (For some.)

  2. pitchfork
    June 23, 2011 at 9:58 am

    Do anything but start the real clean up of this property. I thought the Brady Bunch ran on a “get er done” platform “marina center now!” was their cry. Mean while all that’s happening is screwing the city up. Try to run the police chief off, destroying the fire dept. raises for department heads, what a crew. This is David Tyson legacy.

  3. Curley
    June 23, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    Little Buddha makes good points. What will happen to the property if the Marina project gets shut down? Is it just going to sit there , get totally overgrown and remain a blight? Can there be a compromise ? Unfortunately I’m inclined to believe we Eurekans are just stuck with it as a blight and nothing will ever be done. It’s unfortunate and we all lose. Well- some folks will be happy and declare a victory. A political triumph I suppose.

  4. Plain Jane
    June 23, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    The railroad has ultimate responsibility and would eventually have to clean it up if Arkley bails, Curley.

  5. skippy
    June 23, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    Following the Citizens for a Better Eureka v. California Coastal Commission case daily on the California Courts, 1st Appellate District Case Information website has yielded no disposition to date, as reported here.

    The Court should have until September 9, 2011 to render disposition. Interested parties can also request an automatic e-mail notification about the case through the website.

  6. tra
    June 23, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    I think the fear is that “eventually” could be a long, long time.

    And Arkley has very skillfully used that fear to build support for his development plans, stoking that fear of long-lasting blight to convince many Eureka residents that somekind of cleanup, supposedly sometime soon, is better than waiting for a fuller cleanup perhaps many, many years in the future.

    It’s unfortunate, but given how long the property has been allowed to remain in its current state, I can understand why a lot of people have bought into that way of thinking.

    Some of the blame does rest with whatever city or state agencies allowed the previous owner to neglect the need for cleanup for so many years, not to mention the share of blame the previous owner deserves for failing to do a cleanup without being forced to.

    That’s not intended to let Arkley off the hook for the cynical game that I believe he is playing — he’s the current owner and has the primary responsibility to get a cleanup done, and despite his rather transparent posturing, it is clearly his own stalling and refusal to cooperate with the CCC that is holding things up at the moment.

  7. Eureka kid
    June 23, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    Well said, tra. Best synopsis yet of Arkley’s cynical political calculation that is “the Marina Center” yet:

    “Folks, settle for a cover-up (masquerading as a cleanup) now, or maybe, sometime in the ambiguous future when the Eureka City Council grows a pair of balls and sues Union Pacific, a REAL cleanup – you choose!”

  8. Down the Road
    June 23, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    The only balls I have observed in this city belonged to Bill. Now he is gone. But, not completely his replica has brass balls.

  9. wurking stiff
    June 23, 2011 at 5:39 pm

    dioxin does not compromise– it kills, maims & disfigures. What compromise on this toxic substance would you subject your child to in relation to dioxin and other toxic substances?

  10. empires end
    June 23, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    the so-called marina center will never be built. the design concept is for the past. it is a laughable notion that there will be any big box maul anywhere anymore in this age of contraction and peak resources.

    nature bats last!

  11. June 23, 2011 at 7:01 pm

    TRA wrote,”That’s not intended to let Arkley off the hook for the cynical game that I believe he is playing — he’s the current owner and has the primary responsibility to get a cleanup done, and despite his rather transparent posturing, it is clearly his own stalling and refusal to cooperate with the CCC that is holding things up at the moment.”

    Well I believe part of SN’s stalling is because the project isn’t getting the businesses and retail establishments that SN would prefer to see move in there.I can remember Randy Gans telling me two years ago about how excited the Lost Coast Brewery folks were about opening an establishment there,and we see that they have walked away from that.Home Depot still has little interest,and big boxes are tighter with their money nowadays and aren’t as willing to make a risky investment.There is no anchor now for the project.

  12. Oldphart
    June 23, 2011 at 8:44 pm

    Baykeeper said cap the dioxin at the foot of Del Norte. But NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO can do at the proposed Marina Center. It has sat for more than 35 years as a dump. And it is a wetlands? All of the Eureka waterfront was a wetlands and where where you? Oh yeah, not born yet. 7 billion people in the world, another 2 billion by 2050 and you wonder where the so called natural world went? The human race overran it. Plan for your future. And for Christ’s sake compromise. Do you always get your way? Are you 3 years old?

  13. Anonymous
    June 23, 2011 at 8:56 pm

    I believe mresquan @ 7:01 is absolutely correct. A lot has changed these past few years and it’s hard to see the Marina Center ever being developed as originally conceived or SN having the money to do so.

  14. Mike Buettner
    June 23, 2011 at 11:52 pm

    Back to the roots. Put the Timber Heritage Society’s toys there. They could even run their speedo from Old Town to Fortuna.

  15. Decline To State
    June 24, 2011 at 7:47 am

    I continue to believe that Arkley actually has no intention of building his Marina Center. This all about his forcing a zoning change and then selling the property for large $$$. The rest is smoke and mirrors.

  16. June 24, 2011 at 8:40 am

    I suspect that to sell it, he would have to complete the court-ordered full cleanup decreed through the Baykeeper lawsuit last year. If it was cleaned up, it actually makes for wonderful open space. When you’re at the city marina, you can see the hills beyond in a very nice vista. There is no crime in open space!
    As to compromise, Little Bhuda, that could have happened a dozen times since the late ’90’s if THE MAN had any interest at all. He doesn’t and won’t so on we go.

  17. empires end
    June 24, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    aged flatulent has it all wrong as always. anyone who believes in the nine billion humans myth is ignorant, crazy or both. In population biology the sequence goes: overshoot–> crash–> die-off

    Overshoot Day this year is sometime in september . That is the day that humans begin depleting the natural systems of the planet to feed the needs and greeds of humans.

    Unfortunately we don’t get to ‘re-set’ the depletion/extinction/system failure dial back to start each year, so this is actually just an intellectual exercise. The process of overshoot is cumulative in effect and accelerating in rate.

    tough ugly times ahead far beyond big box fantasies unfulfilled.

    instant karma gonna get us!

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