Home > Balloon Track, Coastal Commission, Eureka California, Marina Center, Rob Arkley > Coastal Commission has jurisdiction over Balloon Track

Coastal Commission has jurisdiction over Balloon Track

A lawsuit by the so-called “Citizens for a Better Eureka” (CBE) has bombed out in the California 1st District Court of Appeals, which affirmed the lower court’s decision that the California Coastal Commission (CCC) does indeed have jurisdiction over Balloon Track property.

CBE argued the CCC didn’t have authority to hear appeals filed by environmental groups, Humboldt County Planning Commissioner Ralph Faust and two members of the CCC itself over a Coastal Development Permit approved by the City of Eureka in 2009. The higher court disagreed.

“[W]e affirm the judgment denying CBE’s petition for writ of mandate that seeks to prevent the appeal from going forward,” the court wrote in its decision filed Wednesday. Read it here.

The Appeals Court agreed with the Coastal Commission and wrote in its ruling that “the Phase 1 development [of the Marina Center project] ‘goes far beyond just nuisance abatement.’” Phase 1 is designed to prepare the property for a big box mall rather than simply address nuisance issues.

CBE was represented by the Pacific Legal Foundation.  Balloon Track owner Rob Arkley is a past board member of PLF.

  1. Anon
    June 29, 2011 at 8:56 pm


  2. Plain Jane
    June 29, 2011 at 8:58 pm

    Another shockeroo

  3. June 29, 2011 at 9:04 pm

    Hard to say this wasn’t expected but still nice to hear.

    Mr. Arkley can’t blame Bonnie for this.

  4. Not an Expert
    June 29, 2011 at 9:11 pm

    I’m sure he’ll figure out a way regardless. He always manages somehow.

  5. tra
    June 29, 2011 at 9:23 pm

    Given Arkley’s considerable ego, and his deep pockets, I wouldn’t be surprised if CBE/PLF/Arkley try to appeal this ruling to the CA Supreme Court. I wonder how long it would take before they got laughed out of that venue, too?

  6. William Verick
    June 29, 2011 at 9:26 pm

    To quote the Kinks: “One on the nose; and one on the chin; [she] bruises easily; so why stay with him?”

    We should all be thinking about Cherie tonight.

  7. June 29, 2011 at 9:26 pm

    Right now he has all the time in the world. Is HD even still interested?

  8. June 29, 2011 at 9:27 pm

    Humboldt County.
    Kicking and screaming into the 20th century, while 21st century realities lap at their shore.
    So much of this could be avoided with just a hint of relationship between The County and The Commission, maybe a workshop or two and then consistency. No… it’s the full “I don’t know and I don’t care” Let the courts sort it out. Pitiful and predictable, every inch is guaranteed a battle. Thanks big PLF and Girard, you make it all possible.

  9. Pete Nichols
    June 29, 2011 at 9:39 pm

    The Coastal Act prevails once again, as it should! To quote Ray Charles, “hit the road jack and don’t ‘ya come back no more…”
    There’s only one nuisance in this town…..

  10. June 29, 2011 at 9:41 pm

    Hmm… I’ld say 2.

  11. Larry Glass
    June 29, 2011 at 10:17 pm

    I haven’t seen Rob pace back and forth in front of my store, gloating like he was in November….oh ya he lost.
    Quit screwin around and start the real clean up.

    quote the rolling stones “Time is on my side”

  12. Anonymous
    June 29, 2011 at 10:29 pm

    You folks need help. I mean it. The majority of us don’t give a sh@t other than the facts that you say no to EVERYTHING. I am still shaking my head about the fact that the “arcatans” couldn’t “toLerate” ag land being used to support goats for a dairy concern. Wt@ should ag land be used for? The local herb?

  13. Not an Expert
    June 29, 2011 at 10:32 pm

    Dane: the Balloon Track is in the City of Eureka. Has nothing to do with the County. Not sure where you’ve been…but maybe you should get the facts straight before slinging mud in random directions.

  14. Not an Expert
    June 29, 2011 at 10:37 pm

    @ 10:29, hate to burst your bubble, but all the developers say the easiest place to get permits approved is Arcata. It’s also the only local jurisdiction that has met its state housing requirements; guess how? By BUILDING, that how.

    The plan to put 1400 goats on 23 acres was not only about 5 times the number of goats that 23 acres could support, but the land is in the County’s jurisdiction, where there are no permits required for any number of goats, cows, etc. I too thought it was a NIMBY thing until I got some information on it. There are better places for Cypress Grove’s operation, and I hope they find it.

  15. anonymous # 1
    June 29, 2011 at 10:37 pm

    10:29 – The issue was that the goat people wanted to put a goat feedlot (like the Harris Ranch shindig along Route 5 in the valley), right next to peoples homes. Running a bunch of goats there would not have been a problem.

  16. tra
    June 29, 2011 at 11:08 pm

    The issue was that the goat people wanted to put a goat feedlot (like the Harris Ranch shindig along Route 5 in the valley), right next to peoples homes

    To be fair, those people decided to live right next to land that has been used as dairy pasture and other ag uses for more than 100 years. And from what I have been able to gather, the Cypress Grove operation wasn’t going to be the hellish “factory farm” or “feedlot” that some of the hysterical neighbors portrayed it as.

    Apparently the neighbors feel entitled to their pleasant view of underutilized ag land (with property taxes paid by someone else, of course) as their “viewshed” — just as long as there isn’t any actually profitable farming going on that might interfere with their cushy suburban lifestyles.

    Apparently their idea of farming is Old McDonald’s farm, with a couple of chickens, a couple of pigs, a couple of cows, a corn field with a scarecrow, a red barn, a white silo, and a white picket fence.

    Unfortunately Old McDonald went bankrupt long ago, the bank foreclosed on his land, speculators bought it and converted it to suburban lots, and that’s where those goatpocalypse-fearing neighbors are living in their suburban houses right now.

  17. Anonymous
    June 29, 2011 at 11:19 pm

    *0:* the land is ag. If the complainers and their “homes don’t like it they shouldn’t have built there. Ag is ag. Unless you are from Arcata. Every place else it counts. Sheesh. Hypocrites. Build a house in and around ag and expect (don’t complain) that its used for ag.

  18. Eureka Pride
    June 29, 2011 at 11:33 pm

    Keep stalling, boys. It’s getting you nowhere.

    Balloon Track: how about “a real cleanup, not a coverup.” What’s so hard about that?

    Security National, if you had spent half the money on properly characterizing the site and cleaning it up, as you had spent to this point on legal fees fighting the prospect of it, the job would be done by now. True dat.

    Hubris: look it up!

  19. tra
    June 29, 2011 at 11:38 pm

    I wonder if these are some of the same people who love to fret about “ag lands being converted to residential development.” They want to live their in their suburban homes, right at the edge of ag lands, but not have any of the sights and smells of actual agriculture infringing on their suburban lifestyle.

    On the one hand, when the facility was going to be near their homes, they portrayed this proposal as some kind of hellish “factory farm,” but on the other hand they are perfectly happy buying Cypress Grove products made from goat milk from this very sort of operation, as long as those operations remain “out of sight, and out of mind,” hence the statement “There are better places for Cypress Grove’s operation, and I hope they find it.” That’s pretty much the definition of NIMBY.

    And I wonder if some of these people are the same folks who proudly buy dioxin-free toilet paper at the co-op, but were just horrified at the idea that we might actually have our own dioxin-free pulp mill on Humboldt Bay (better to let people in Louisiana or in some third-world country deal with any impacts, while we just smugly buy the consumer products and pretend we’re environmentally superior because we’ve outsourced the associated pollution to faraway places that we don’t have to see, smell, or think about). And then there are the folks who love to buy locally-brewed beer, but then are up in arms when the producer wants to build a new brewery and bottling plant in Eureka.

    Sometimes it seems like these sorts of folks are actually trying to fulfill the stereotype of “no to everything” NIMBYs. If so, they’re doing a great job.

  20. Andrew Bird
    June 29, 2011 at 11:54 pm

    At the Capitol a few months ago an Assemblymember from So Cal brought in a PLF lawyer to testify in support of a bill she had to limit the Coastal Commission’s jurisdiction. A minute or two into the testimony, Jared Huffman, an Assemblymember from Marin who serves on the committee, blurted out, “who turned on the Fox News Channel?” You had to be there to get the humor.

    The Coastal Commission attorney who followed corrected the PLF attorney’s numerous misstatements and the bill died a quick death in that committee. If the performances of the respective attorneys in this committee hearing are any indicator, it’s easy to understand why the PLF usually gets trounced in court by the Coastal Commission.

  21. Anonymous
    June 30, 2011 at 12:16 am

    “cushy suburban lifestyles”?

    tra has is soooooo hard in his 2000 square foot custom home on 40 acres and no job. What a righteous boob.

  22. tra
    June 30, 2011 at 12:32 am

    You must have me confused with one of your Healthy Humboldt pals.

  23. tra
    June 30, 2011 at 12:38 am

    And really…only 2,000 square feet and only 40 acres? As long as you’re just making stuff up, surely you can do better than that?

  24. June 30, 2011 at 12:59 am

    I’m not sure that resisting a slaughter house (for example) being built next door to your 100yr old farm house, while still enjoying a good steak; makes one a hypocrite.
    The whole goat thing seemed pretty massive for the space.
    There sure is a lot of righteous posturing about “Owning” a piece of land and being able to do whatever you damn-well please with it. Problem is a person can no more “Own” land, than they can own water; or own the air, or space. This whole “White-Man” illusion of property is really at the root of all the problems in the world.
    Whenever I drive I am amazed at the beauty and majesty of the natural landscape. There are signs that say it is “owned” by various companies. Well, murdering the inhabitants does not give one title to any part of the Earth in reality. Capitalists are murderers who kill and kill to take over land so they can destroy it in every way it can be destroyed. I realize this concept is not readily accepted; mostly because the notion of: “private property” satisfies human greed.
    It takes guns and murder to “take” any part of the planet. It’s all really just illusion. Yeah, yeah…shoot people to enforce the fantasy that some puny, transitory, animal with a life span of 70yrs; is some kind of “god” who takes possession of the nature that gave him birth. Yeah, that’ll work great! Just kill the other “gods” if they disagree.
    No one is giving up “ownership” of property anytime soon. But human beings can’t even “Own” the hole they are buried in.

    Thanks to this mental/spiritual illness that infects both the greedy, and the insecure; we are destroying ourselves.
    It’s like we’re in a raft some rich guy says he owns and he is within his rights dismantle it. Killing us all; but hey, it’s his raft right? I mean he took some paper, put his picture on it, and gave it to the guy who built it.
    It’s so sad that in this sickening, dying society people still worship the notion of money and property. Greed is respected here. The selfish are hailed as great men. Once the myth of the: “Individual” took hold; human extinction is only a matter of time.

  25. skippy
    June 30, 2011 at 3:06 am

    The 1st Appellate District summarily concluded:
    “The judgment denying the petition for writ of mandate is affirmed.”

    A remittitur has been issued with the due date of August 29, 2011. This simply means the case will now be divested and transferred from the Appellate court back to the original Humboldt trial court having full jurisdiction over judgement.

    We’ll see if the Pacific Legal Foundation/Citizens For a Better Eureka will pursue this to the bitter end– sending it onward to the California State Supreme Court after two losing dispositions of the lower courts.

    Will there be more stalling delays?
    When will the actual clean up of the Balloon Track begin? Ever?

  26. William Verick
    June 30, 2011 at 6:43 am

    The funny thing about this decision is that it says that under the Coastal Act, a Coastal development permit was never needed to simply clean up the mess — abate the nuisance. And that that was always the position of the Coastal Commission and of the various Attorney General opinions issued over the years.

    So if Arkley really wants to Clean Up Eureka (for the Sixth or Seventh time or whatever) he can get Dave Tyson, Virginia Bass and Def Leopard out there in their aprons with brooms and dustpans sweeping up tomorrow. Maybe they can get the new police chief to join them.

    We could be seeing the beginning of the light at the end of the crocodile tears tunnel. But somehow I doubt it.

  27. June 30, 2011 at 7:20 am

    Genius is 90% perspiration, just 10% inspiration. Surely, there’s a court somewhere along the chain that can be bought. The genius part is using your money to find it rather than clean up your property.

    Soooooo, Arkley is like Thomas Edison. Never give up. If one court doesn’t work, just keep trying and buying.

    Well, there is one difference. Edison’s lawyers didn’t do youtube.

  28. 06em
    June 30, 2011 at 7:48 am


    You’re gonna have to define ‘you folks’ a little bit better. Put down that sloppy thinking shot gun of yours and lets go through them one by one:

    1. Marina Center – Prime waterfront location in the most congested part of the city. Many Eurekans don’t want to see this unique, high visibility parcel turned into a paean to menial retail jobs and somebody’s ego.

    2. Cypress Grove expansion – Some of the preserved ag land that Arcata has been justifiably proud of. Questionable objections seemingly coming from a vegan animal rights activist kind of worldview easily riled a whole neighborhood because … why? People are fed up with corporations and wanted to make a statement? A sense of powerlessness over climate change has them keyed up do want to do something? Who knows, but it was enough to make CG want to look elsewhere.

    3. Lost Coast Brewery expansion – A very small handful of houses on a dead end street have enjoyed the quiet of being surrounded by the dead on one side, underdeveloped public use zoned land on the other and a gully along the back. This small group of residents wants to keep enjoying their country lifestyle while still conveniently being in town. For some reason, none of the elected officials who perennially run for office yelling “Jobs! Jobs! Jobs!” (like they really gave a c**p about real, well-benefited, living wage jobs other than those of their own family) seems willing to publicly support this significant job creating and sales tax increasing project. Project is currently delayed while the Wiyot determine if there is anything historically and culturally significant underground.

    4. ACRC recycling contract – A modern recycling facility on the Samoa Peninsula that employs 35 and creates high-grade glass stock for a local manufacturer in addition to creating high-grade recycling to sell on the fluctuating recycle market. County supes and the city of Eureka are all set to throw away those jobs, but now the board of HWMA, realizing the stupidity of valuing short-sighted profits over long-term financial health, has decided to reconsider and may offer to buy the Samoa site and save, presumably, at least some of those jobs.

    5. Walmart – See #1 above.

    So who are “you folks” 10:29? The cemetery neighbors? The Eureka city council? The vegan goat lovers? Them darn socialists who Rush is always talking about? Who’s saying “no to EVERYTHING” in your mind?

  29. June 30, 2011 at 9:23 am

    Not an Expert says:
    June 29, 2011 at 10:32 pm
    Dane: the Balloon Track is in the City of Eureka. Has nothing to do with the County. Not sure where you’ve been…but maybe you should get the facts straight before slinging mud in random directions.

    “Random directions” ???? More like laser focus.
    NaE is it your understanding that our coastal policy is left to the whimsy of geo-political borders?
    Think about it. Hell, go ahead and study the issue.
    Tags: FEMA/NOAA, wetland, Coastal Act, Local Coastal Act,
    Long-Term Management Plan, A-Zone, V-Zone, reason.

  30. Not an Expert
    June 30, 2011 at 9:36 am

    It is my understanding that the City of Eureka has jurisdiction over Coastal Development Permits within the Coastal Zone in city limits. Sorry, I don’t see any way to connect the dots to Kirk Girard on this issue. You can go ahead and try though, don’t let the facts get in the way!

  31. tra
    June 30, 2011 at 9:37 am

    Good post from 06em, pointing out that some of the things that are opposed really are bad ideas. I’d add the LNG plan, which was dangerous and foolish (and put forward by a company that fell apart financially soon afterward anyway) and the Mad River water grab plan, which was just wrong on so many different levels.

    I do get frustrated with what I perceive as a “no to everything” crowd, but as 06em correctly points out, it’s not necessarily the same people who are saying “no” to each of the various proposals that I think we should, at the very least, be saying “maybe” to. In some cases (like the proposed new Lost Coast Brewery facility or the Cypress Grove proposal) it may just be a few NIMBYs.

    The problem is that, cumulatively, the chorus of knee-jerk naysaying does create an impression of “no to everything” being the norm in Humboldt County, which only weakens the position of those trying to say “no” to those things that really do make the least sense, such as a Big Box development on the waterfront. When the public at large keeps hearing people “cry wolf” about things like the brewery or the goat farm, then they may be less inclined to believe us when we warn of the wolf in sheep’s clothing that is menacing the balloon track.

  32. June 30, 2011 at 10:13 am

    Not Expert 9:36, here are some facts for you.
    The success of our coastal policy hinges on consistency, local
    state and federal—international (Ramsar Copenhagen Kyoto) What pulls all of this together, in the U.S.A. is FEMA,
    single source for flood insurance combined with NOAA coastal science. As long as you, Girard and PLF and Pete ignore FEMA/NOAA the more screwed tomorrow becomes.
    On the coastline being twenty years behind in coastal science will leave unnecessary problems for the future generations to deal with.
    So, Non Expert, Humboldt County has done nothing but rip and gut its coastline for a decade(restoration by bulldozer, Garlon and salt) while the rest of the world is armoring and securing their coastlines. Where does that leave the next generation? Don’t let the facts get in the way.

    Wetlands are to be cared for not screwed by people who do not understand the role aquatic function plays in the stability of a coastline.

  33. nelson
    July 3, 2011 at 12:39 am

    ha ha

  34. nelson
    July 3, 2011 at 12:43 am

    no skippy 3:06 they will try to get rid of paul and make another run at it locally

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