Arcata City

Staff Report
Direction Given
Mar 27, 2018 6:00 PM

Consider a Recommendation to the City Council for Approval of the Required Permits and Development Agreement Terms and Certification of the Draft Environmental Impact Report for the Village Student Housing Project at 2715-2920 St. Louis Rd.; File No. 156-179-GPA-ZA-PM-DR-PD-DA-GPC.


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Discussion/Fiscal Impact

At its February 27, 2018, meeting, the Planning Commission finalized its review of the permits, general plan and zoning amendments, draft Development Agreement term sheet, and draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR). The majority of the members of the Commission that were present recommended approval of the project, as modified, and directed staff to return on this date with the Final EIR and the appropriate resolutions needed to finalize its recommendation(s) to the City Council.


Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR). The draft EIR was circulated as required by the Office of Planning & Research, provided at several locations locally and online for public review and provided to the Planning Commission at its first hearing on the project. The public provided over 90 written and oral communications on the DEIR. These, as well as the deliberations undertaken by the Commission, were incorporated into responses to comments and have been presented in the form of a Final EIR.

The Commission went through the draft document finding by finding and concluded that the project will have a significant and unavoidable impact in terms of traffic. Although, through the Development Agreement, the applicant will pay its fair share of identified intersection improvements into a dedicated account, these improvements will not be completed prior to the project becoming operational resulting in a significant impact. At its February 27, 2018, meeting, a majority of the Commissioners present found that the social and economic benefits of providing housing, specifically student focused housing, outweigh the possibility of environmental damage due to the traffic impacts at certain intersections pursuant to the CEQA Guidelines §15093 and the Land Use Code §9.78.170.C.

In support of this conclusion, the Commission recommends to the City Council that it adopt the Findings of Fact (Exhibit 1) and Statement of Overriding Considerations (Exhibit 2) included as exhibits to Resolution PC-18-02 (Attachment A) and certify the Environmental Impact Report for the Village Student Housing Project (Attachment B).

General Plan and Zoning Amendments. At the Planning Commission’s December 5, 2017, hearing, in a “straw” vote, the Commission concluded unanimously that the redevelopment of the site to accommodate some type of multi-family residential use was reasonable. The meetings that followed focused on finalizing an appropriate density for the site based on its location, proximity to HSU and what impacts there might be to the surrounding neighborhoods. The Residential High-Density (RH) land use and zoning classifications were approved, in concept, along with the Planned Development (:PD) combining zone.

The findings for general plan and zoning amendments are included as Exhibit 1 in Resolution PC-18-03 (Attachment C). A map indicating the change from Industrial Limited (IL)/Residential Low-Density (RL) is included as Exhibit 2.

Design Review Permit, Parcel Merger, Planned Development Permit, St. Louis Rd. Vacation, and Development Agreement. At its February 27, 2018, meeting, a majority of the Commissioners present moved to approve the Design Review Permit based on the modifications to the project that were presented at that meeting by the applicant. The modifications included a reduction in the height of the two westerly buildings from four stories to three stories, a significant change to the architectural style and exterior materials, and changes to the landscaping plan. These revisions to the original Design Review submittal, as well as the recommendation of approval for the vacation of road right-of-way, the Parcel Merger, the Planned Development Permit and the draft terms of the Development Agreement, are referenced in Resolution PC-18-04 (Attachment D).


Meeting History

Mar 27, 2018 6:00 PM Video Planning Commission Regular Meeting

Commissioner Orth recused herself, and left the room when the item was introduced.

On a motion by Baker and a second by Mayer, the project was continued to the April 10, 2018 meeting.

Ayes: Baker, Barstow, Mayer, McCavour, Tangney. Noes: None. Absentions: Orth. Absent: None.