Arcata City
CA

Staff Report
1786

Public Hearing to Consider the Final Environmental Impact Report and Approval of the Required Permits and Development Agreement Terms for the Village Student Housing Project at 2715-2920 St. Louis Road; File No. 156-179-GPA-ZA-PM-DR-PD-DA-GPC-VAC.

Information

Department:Community DevelopmentSponsors:
Category:Public Hearing

Introduction

This hearing is an introductory meeting to consider approval of the Village Student Housing project. The project approval process is complex and has several different legal requirements to satisfy, which will require multiple meetings. The Planning Commission provided recommendations to the Council at its May 8, 2018, hearing, forwarding only Resolution PC-18-02, recommending adoption of the Final Environmental Impact Report (EIR; Attachment A), Findings of Fact and a Statement of Overriding Considerations Attachment B. The Council is expected to receive a staff report on the project, a presentation of the applicant, and ask any clarifying questions at this hearing. To provide adequate time for the report, presentation, and public comment, staff recommends continuing the hearing to June 7, 2018, to receive public comment, provide direction to staff, and to adopt Resolution No. 178-64 (Attachment G).

Discussion/Fiscal Impact

BACKGROUND:

In the Fall of 2015, the City Council held a study session with the Planning Discussion to discuss the concept of a large purpose-built student housing project occurring on the Craftsman’s Mall property. There was general support of this concept as one possible way to address the significant housing needs of the HSU student population.

On November 4, 2015, the City Council conducted a Preliminary Review of the Village Student Housing Project. The proposal received support from the City Council.

On January 26, 2016, the Council’s annual study session with the Planning Commission consisted of a discussion on the City’s vision regarding several upcoming large multi-family and student housing projects and their potential cumulative impacts of City infrastructure, housing and the economy. At this meeting, the Council recognized the need for more housing and generally supported the housing developments.

On February 17, 2016, the Council authorized the City Engineer to contract with W-Trans Traffic Engineering Consultant to prepare a comprehensive traffic study for the Sunset/Foster/Alliance neighborhood.

AMCAL Equities, LLC, submitted a complete application for the development of a 240 unit/800 student purpose-built student housing project to be located at the former Craftsman’s Mall property on St. Louis Road on March 8, 2016. The project originally consisted of four 4-story buildings of modern design with a variety of recreational and academic amenities for its student residents and is graphically depicted in Attachment H. The project as originally proposed requires a General Plan and Zoning Map amendment to change the current designations of Industrial Limited (IL) and Residential Low Density (RL) to Residential High Density (RH) and to add a Planned Development (:PD) combining zone. It also requires a Design Review Permit, merger of the seven underlying parcels, a Type “C” Planned Development Permit (PDP), General Plan Conformance review for the vacation and disposition of a portion of St. Louis Road for parking and trail development purposes and a Development Agreement.

The project has many design features developed in coordination with City staff to ensure the project reflects the City’s sustainable building practices. First, it is an infill development of significant scale. The proposed development will occur on an underutilized industrial site. Second, it has many alternative transportation features. The parking has been limited, and the spaces will be fee for use. The project will house a Zagster bike share rack. There are 185 bike parking spaces, all of which are indoors. There will be 12 electric vehicle charging stations. There will be a ride share such as Zip Car. Finally, the project will add a bus stop and trail connectivity between the project and the rail with trail and Maple Lane. All of these designed features will shift transportation choices away from single occupancy cars towards alternative and ride share options. Furthermore, the project will be designed to the LEED silver standard. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and is a national certification system developed by the U.S. Green Building Council to encourage the construction of energy and resource-efficient buildings that are healthy to live in terms of water and energy usage, construction and interior materials, and indoor environmental quality. The LEED silver components include brownfield redevelopment, the use of domestic and landscape water and energy efficient fixtures, diversion of construction waste, use of recycled and/or regionally-sourced materials and many other measures.

On May 8, 2018, after twelve public hearings, the Planning Commission adopted Resolution PC-18-02 (Attachment I) recommending the Council certify the Environmental Impact Report, adopt the Findings of Fact, and adopt a Statement of Overriding Considerations for the Village Student Housing Project. This recommendation was based on the Draft EIR provided November 20, 2017, and the Final EIR, as well as the public testimony received during the meetings. The Planning Commission recommendation includes the Findings of Fact and Statement of Overriding Considerations necessary to certify the Final EIR and approve the project despite the environmental impacts identified in the EIR.

While the Commission did recommend certification of the EIR, it could not garner the votes to approve the specifics of the project. On a tie vote, two for and two opposed, the Planning Commission denied Resolutions relating to the General Plan and Zoning Map/Planned Development overlay amendments and the associated permits, including the Development Agreement draft terms and the General Plan conformance determination. In effect, the Commission’s action was to approve the project in concept and remain silent on the details.

The City received several written public comments throughout the Planning Commission hearing process. All written correspondence received within the Draft EIR circulation period (November 1, 2017 – January 16, 2018) is included in the Final EIR. Correspondence received after January 16th is included as Attachment J.

Meeting Schedule

Acknowledging the need for adequate time to address all aspects of the hearing, including a detailed staff report, an opportunity for the applicant to present the project, public comment, and Council inquiries and direction, staff is proposing to break the initial meeting into two phases. For the initial meeting, staff proposes the Council take the typical hearing procedure over two days, starting with public comment on the second day. The initial hearing should be continued from June 6th to the 7th as described below. Following the initial hearing to orient to the project and consider public input, the project would require a series of meetings with specific actions occurring at each meeting for the Council to approve the project. Those action items are included in this list for informational purposes. The dates provided below are the soonest possible dates, but actual timeline for review for approval is at the Council’s discretion. Action items are identified in bold text. The Council may add additional special meetings to work through the material at its discretion.

Date

Meeting Type

Meeting Component

June 6

Regular Meeting

(Informational)

·         Project overview & hearing procedures

·         Applicant presentation

·         Council clarifications / questions of staff and applicant

·         Continuation of hearing to special meeting

 

June 7

Special Meeting

(Action)

·         Receive public testimony

·         Deliberations

·         Provide staff direction

·         Adopt Resolution 178-64, Intent to Vacate St. Louis Road

·         Continue the hearing to a date specific

 

June 20

Regular Meeting

·         Receive staff report and public comment (consider special meeting on 19th for public comment)

·         Provide direction on permits

·         Adopt Resolution 178-65, EIR, Findings, and Statement of Overriding Considerations (this could occur on June 7)

·         Introduce Ordinance 1503, Development Agreement

·         Introduce Ordinance 1504, Zoning Amendment

 

July 11

Regular Meeting

·         Hold hearing on vacation and disposal of St. Louis Road

·         Adopt Resolution Vacating St. Louis Road

·         Adopt Resolution 178-63, General Plan Amendment

·         Adopt action on planning permits

·         Adopt Ordinance 1503, Development Agreement

·         Adopt Ordinance 1504, Zoning Amendment

 

The material provided to the City Council and herein represents the recommendation of staff, the Creeks and Wetlands Committee, which reviewed the project on March 21, 2017, and made recommendations that were addressed in the DRAFT EIR, and with consideration of the Planning Commission and all public comment received to date.

Project Proponent’s Revised Description Received May 25, 2018

The applicant recently submitted a redesign that addresses some of the public testimony received at the Planning Commission hearings. The applicant modified the project to consist of three 2-story buildings and two 3-story buildings for a total of 152 units/602 students. Additionally, the number of parking spaces has been increased from 369 to 408 spaces. The two 3-story buildings have a maximum height of 45’ and the three 2-story buildings are each up to 35’ tall.

The revised project still provides inclusive student housing and dedicated student-oriented programming similar in cost and amenities to what students can experience when living on campus. The units are redesigned as mostly three-bedroom and four-bedroom multi-family units with a kitchen and living area. The facility provides a range of student-centered amenities, such as study rooms, internet cafes, indoor bike storage, and multimedia presentation rooms. The revised project includes onsite property and resident management personnel to address property maintenance issues as well as resident conduct.  The property provides 409 parking spaces for residents and their guests.  There will be 13 electric vehicle charging stations and 21 spaces reserved for Clear Air Vehicles.

The project has many design features developed in coordination with City staff to ensure the project reflects the City’s sustainable building practices. First, it is an infill development of significant scale. The proposed development will occur on an underutilized industrial site and will convert an industrial site into a residential site to match the existing residential areas that surround it.  Second, it has planned many features to promote alternative transportation.  The project will have a minimum of 185 indoor and outdoor bicycle spaces (as indicated on the original plan set) to securely store residents’ bicycles.  The Applicant intends to partner with a car-sharing firm such as Zipcar.  Finally, the project will add a bus stop and trail connectivity between the project and the rail with trail and Maple Lane. All of these designed features will shift transportation choices away from single occupancy cars towards alternative and ride share options. Furthermore, the Applicant is committed to certifying the project to the LEED silver standard. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and is a national certification system developed by the U.S. Green Building Council to encourage the construction of energy and resource-efficient buildings that are healthy to live in terms of water and energy usage, construction and interior materials, and indoor environmental quality. The LEED silver components include brownfield redevelopment, the use of domestic and landscape water and energy efficient fixtures, diversion of construction waste, use of recycled and/or regionally-sourced materials and many other measures.  Finally, the project will install solar photo-voltaic panels on building roofs to produce clean renewable energy on the site.

The applicant would like the Council to consider the redesign as a possible reduced project alternative identified in the EIR. Staff is currently evaluating for its consistency with the EIR and will provide an update in its oral presentation. The revised project is in the Residential Medium Density range. The action documents (Action, resolutions, and ordinances) would have to be updated to reflect the reduced density of the redesigned project.

Planning Commission Recommendation

 

The Planning Commission considered the design of the project over several meetings. Due to recusals and absences, the composition of the body that ultimately voted on the recommendation to the Council for this project was different from the composition that worked through the project’s design elements. Through straw poll voting, the majority of Commissioners present during the meetings that focused on design review elements recommended the changes that were included in Resolution PC-18-04 included in the May 8, 2018, Planning Commission Packet. While the project ultimately failed to garner enough votes for a recommendation for approval, the project that was presented to the Planning Commission was a reduced project with a midpoint density between the proposed project and the reduced size alternative as described in the EIR.

The differences between the new proposed project and the project the Commission considered include parking and building configuration changes, as well as the reduction of 98 students from the project. The architectural style was changed, more dense screening landscaping including edibles and natives were added and the inclusion of solar panels on the roofs as needed.

Current Conditions. The approximately 10 acre site is currently known as the “Craftsman’s Mall” and has a long history of industrial and manufacturing uses including as a former lumber mill. In order to demonstrate the site is suitable for the proposed residential development, the applicant prepared a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (Blue Rock Environmental, Inc., August 2015; Appendix I of the DRAFT EIR) and a Phase 2 ESA (Blue Rock Environmental, Inc., September 2015; Appendix J of the DRAFT EIR) to determine if the site was safe for the proposed residential multi-family development. The studies concluded that none of the soil or water samples tested contained toxins in excess of acceptable levels. These details are summarized in Section 2.10 of the DRAFT EIR (Attachment A, page 2.10-21)

With the relative decline of the lumber industry on the north coast, this property, like many others, has been transformed into an amalgamation of both allowed and unpermitted developments. The property has been in violation of the City’s building and zoning codes since at least 2006. Three Notices of Abatement for a variety of land use and building code violations are currently recorded on the property. If approved, this project will clear the site of all violating development and the City will release the Notices accordingly.

Because of the size and scale of the proposed project and the proximity of the site to neighborhoods of primarily single-story, single-family residences to the west and south, there has been concern expressed by neighbors about how this project will impact the area in terms of aesthetics, shading, noise, flooding, traffic and other issues. The applicant held a neighborhood meeting on April 12, 2017, to make a presentation and to receive feedback from the nearby residents. Approximately 45 people attended to voice their concerns which had, primarily, to do with views, shading, noise, traffic, student behavior and flooding.

DISCUSSION:

The majority of this discussion focuses on the proposed project in the DRAFT EIR. Though the Planning Commission provided the applicant direction to revise the plans and bring forward a reduced project, which the applicant did, the Commission failed to recommend it. However, the Commission did recommend certification of the Final EIR and adoption of the Statement of Overriding Considerations, which states the project should be approved despite the environmental impact. Since the recommendation for the Commission’s considered reduced project was not recommended, staff has prepared the analysis on the proposed four 4-story/800 student project. The Council has the discretion to consider the reduced project alternative presented by the applicant or the midpoint project considered by the Commission for approval.

Staff has based its recommendation of approval for the project considering the community feedback, staff and committee input, and referrals to other agencies. The issues that have been raised as primary concerns include Traffic, Aesthetics, Drainage/Stormwater, Parking (onsite and offsite) and Wastewater infrastructure. We consider each topic separately below. In addition, the EIR provides the record compiled to date on the environmental issues. Those items that deal specifically with the permits or other approvals, such as the Development Agreement, are briefly discussed below and are discussed in much greater detail in the Findings or the Conditions of Approval which will be included as exhibits associated with the appropriate Resolution(s), Ordinance(s) and Permit Action.

Approvals and Permits

  1. The project requires a variety of approvals including General Plan and Zoning Map amendments to change the existing land use and zoning designations from Industrial Limited (IL)/Residential Low Density (RL) to Residential High Density (RH). The permit types are explained in Items 1 – 5 below, except for the General Plan Conformance for the vacation of St. Louis Road which must be approved by the Planning Commission as the City’s planning authority.

The subject property currently has seven parcels. Six of the parcels are zoned IL; the remainder is zoned RL. The density proposed for the project is in the midrange of the proposed RH designation. There is limited land within City limits that is already planned and zoned RH and could accommodate the proposed development.

  1. The project also proposes a Parcel Merger to consolidate the seven subject parcels into one which would allow for a consolidated development able to make use of the entire upper terrace of the site.

Without the merger, the property could not meet the density of the proposed RH land use designation nor could the property be developed in such a comprehensive manner.

  1. A Design Review Permit for both the development of the new buildings and the demolition of existing structures.

Per Sections 9.53.060 and 9.72.040 of the Land Use Code, all demolition and multi-family development requires a Design Review Permit, respectively. The Design Review process gives the review authority the opportunity to weigh the design and proposed benefits of a development against its compatibility with the surrounding neighborhood(s) and conformance to the policies of the General Plan and standards of the Land Use Code.

  1. A Planned Development (:PD) overlay or combining zone and subsequent Type “B” Planned Development Permit (PDP). The original plan required an exception to the height limit of 35’ in the zoning district. The newly revised project still requires the height exception, but now requires an exception to exceed the maximum number of parking spaces per §3.36.040, Table 3-6 of the Land Use Code. The reduction in building height and the addition of parking spaces is a direct result of public testimony and Planning Commission deliberation.

Except for the parking exceedance, the proposed project will be in compliance with the development standards of the proposed RH zone. The PDP also will allow a relaxation of the private recreation space requirement in Section 9.42.130 of the Land Use Code.

  1. The project requires a General Plan Consistency finding for the vacation/disposition of a portion of St. Louis Rd. for parking and trail purposes. The Planning Commission will be taking an action on General Plan Consistency pursuant to California Government Code § 65402 upon the Council’s adoption of Resolution 178-64, a Resolution of Intent to Vacate. This item will be included on the next available Planning Commission agenda.

In order to minimize viewshed impacts from the west, the applicant has designed the project so that the buildings will be located as far to the east of the site as possible. The vacation of this portion of the road will accommodate this position of the buildings while keeping enough distance from the highway to minimize noise impacts. Furthermore, the vacation will allow the developer to the build a portion of the Rail with Trail and to provide parking for both the project and the public.

  1. A vacation of a portion of the St. Louis Rd. right-of-way is needed to accommodate the construction of the trail and for project-related and public trail parking. The Council’s adoption of a Notice of Intent to Vacate (Attachment G) is required to get the process started. The general vacation process is initiated pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 3 of Part 3 of Division 9 of the Streets and Highways Code.
  2. Development AgreementAs authorized by §9.72.110 of the City’s Land Use Code (LUC), the applicant and the City may enter into a Development Agreement (Agreement). The Agreement will be binding between the City and the applicant and will confer benefit and assurances to the City in exchange for vested development rights and incentives. The substantial benefits that the City will receive as a result of this project are: 1) the completion of the offsite improvements identified in the conditions of approval; 2) the payment of $75,000.00 toward future study of needed improvements to the Wastewater Treatment Facility; 3) all standard connection and mitigation fees identified in the conditions of approval; 4) buildings that are pre-wired to support the future development of solar facilities; 5) assurance that the purpose-built student housing use will be maintained over an identified term; and 6) improvement of a portion of Rail with Trail over the vacated St. Louis Road right-of-way. The execution of the Development Agreement provides the City with the assurance that these improvements will be constructed even if not directly attached to the issuance of Building Permit(s) and/or Certificates of Occupancy as other conditions of approval generally are.

The following terms were reviewed by the Planning Commission at its last meeting on May 8, 2018, but the motion to approve the terms failed due to a tie vote.

KEY CONDITIONS – DEVELOPER OBLIGATIONS:

  1. Comply with all terms and conditions of project approvals, including the conditions of Agreement to effectuate the road right-of-way acquisition.
  2. Prior to the issuance of certificate of occupancy, pay to the City a sum of $75,000 as a Wastewater Treatment Plant Off-Set Fee as outlined in the City’s Wastewater Treatment Memo dated June 23, 2017.
  3. Prior to the issuance of certificate of occupancy, pay to the City of Arcata the fair share of the fee identified in the Central Arcata Areawide Traffic Study as established by the City Council.
  4. Agrees to pay by the project’s certificate of occupancy all water connection, sewer connection, drainage, recreation, mitigation fees, and public improvement fees at rates in effect as of the date on which a complete building permit application for the construction of the buildings is filed if paid within three years of that date.
  5. Create a certified LEED Silver housing development that includes solar panels.
  6. Developer shall condition any sale or other transfer of the property and/or project to a tax-exempt entity such that the new entity shall continue to remit directly to the City its 8% share of property tax annually with an escalation for market value or pay to the City $300,000.
  7. Developer shall cooperate and assist the City to secure the Rail with Trail easement between the southern project property line and Todd Court, approximately 200’ to the south. Developer’s assistance shall include all work and reasonable costs directly attributable and necessary to effectuate the grant of public easement, including but not limited to surveying the easement, preparing the easement for recording, and other reasonable directly attributable costs excepting the cost of the land and/or easement itself.
  8. Developer shall pay the City of Arcata an in-lieu fee for the off-site Rail with Trail construction if necessary right of way easement for trail development is not finalized and recorded prior to 90 days from the project’s effective date after approval.  The in-lieu fee will be the Engineer's Estimate of construction costs for the off-site portion calculated according to the improvement per square foot cost using similar recent trail development costs in the City as adjusted for changes in materials costs. Developer will pay the in-lieu fee prior to Certificate of Occupancy in conjunction with fees due under Developer Obligation #3.

KEY CONDITIONS – CITY OBLIGATIONS:

  1. Comply with all project approvals and cooperate with processing all applications for permits and approvals.
  2. Agree as reasonably practical to a review timeline of not more than 30 working days for all first reviews of building permit applications and submittals including but not limited to: demolition, site grading, foundations, and buildings (outside plan-check timelines are out of the control of the City or City employees) and not more than 10 working days for subsequent reviews. Developer may be subject to outside plan-check fees in order to maintain this schedule.
  3. Accept the wastewater improvement funds of $75,000 for near-term projects at the treatment plant that were identified independently of this project and to assist with planning and permitting the future treatment plant components.
  4. Accept the traffic fee and retain it in a segregated account to pay for the improvements identified in the EIR. Any funds collected may be added to a future Traffic Mitigation Impact Fee program and may be combined with other public and private funding sources to make the improvements. These funds shall neither be refundable nor subject to return, but may not be used for any other purpose by the City.
  5. Work with Caltrans and HSU to fund, design, and install the LK Wood and Sunset traffic improvements.
  6. Consent to and cooperate with any funding applications submitted by the developer to pay for off-site improvements. No additional improvement shall be required if alternative funding sources are identified.
  7. Provide approvals for separate on- and off-site demolition, grading, foundation, and building permits that the developer may pull over the course of the entitlement period to efficiently construct the project with Developer’s execution of an indemnification for any improvements approved at an earlier stage that are modified in a later stage of review.
  8. Transfer fee title of a segment of St. Louis Road, retaining emergency, utility, public ingress/egress easements through to Eye Street and across the Rail with Trail as provided in the form of the Conveyance Agreement to be attached to the Development Agreement.

City shall negotiate for off-site right-of-way easement for access from the southern project property line to Todd Ct.  Agree to accept an in-lieu fee to fulfill off-site Rail with Trail improvement requirements if the right-of-way easement is not identified and agreements in place with affected land owners within 90 days of the project’s effective date.

Other than where specifically indicated, the permits discussed above will require the adoption of an Action with Findings for and Conditions of Approval. This staff report includes draft Action, Findings, and Conditions (Attachment F). In its deliberations on approval of the project, the Council should consider the Findings and Conditions. The Council may amend these documents, but staff has provided a first draft for the Council’s consideration. This action will implement the entitlements necessary to approve and build the project, conditioned on the other necessary actions.

This staff report includes draft Findings and draft Conditions of Approval; both of which are exhibits to the Permits Action (Attachment F).

Community Concerns

Community concerns primarily focused on traffic impacts, parking and car storage impacts in the surrounding neighborhoods, viewshed and aesthetic impacts with an idea that the westerly buildings would “loom” over the Maple Lane neighborhood, student resident behavior impacting nearby neighborhoods, noise, student resident safety in terms of pedestrian and bicycling activities, emergency response impacts, nighttime light and glare from the buildings and car headlights, and rents and affordability. A complete response to all of these concerns that relate directly to environmental impacts that were received during the DEIR circulation period are addressed in the Final EIR. Written comments received after the January 16th close of the circulation period are included in Attachment J.

The Arcata Citizens for Responsible Housing (ACRH), an organization formed to develop an alternative to the Village, was the most formalized and well developed efforts identifying public concerns over the project. The ACRH provided a thoughtful and detailed alternative for the City’s consideration during public comment at the March 27, 2018, Planning Commission meeting. They also provided an alternative proposal for the Village project site (included in Attachment J, letters received after January 16, 2018). The ACRH requested that their proposed alternative design be included as an alternative in the Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) prepared for the Village project and that the Draft EIR be recirculated. 

Although the public comment period, which was extended to afford additional time for public input on the Draft EIR, ended on January 16, 2018, the ACRH public comment was a substantive consideration for an alternative to the proposed project. The proposal was not timely, having missed both the scoping meetings and the EIR circulation. While the City is not required to respond to alternatives submitted after the Draft EIR comment period, (California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Guidelines, §15207; South County Citizens for Smart Growth v County of Nevada (2013) 221 CA4th 316), staff recommends the Commission consider the ACRH proposal and make a recommendation whether to include it as an alternative in the EIR to further facilitate the public process. Whether the Council ultimately decides to recirculate the draft EIR with the ACRH proposal included as an alternative, the Commission and Council should recognize the ACRH proposal as a statement of the organization’s, and its members’, response to the project.

CEQA requires an EIR to describe a range of reasonable alternatives to the project that would “feasibly attain most of the basic objectives of the project but would avoid or substantially lessen any of the significant effects of the project, and evaluate the comparative merits of the alternatives” (CEQA Guidelines, § 15126.6(a)).  The CEQA Guidelines also note in Section 15126.6(a) that an EIR “need not consider every conceivable alternative to a project” and that “[a]n EIR is not required to consider alternatives which are infeasible”.  The development of alternatives is to provide ways of “avoiding or substantially lessening any significant effects of the project” (CEQA Guidelines, § 15126.6(b)).  In sum, the City’s EIR for this approval does not need to evaluate all conceivable alternatives, but only those that reduce the impact, are potentially feasible, and accomplish the primary objectives of the proposed project.

Alternatives Considered in the Draft EIR

To address whether the comment raises new information that needs to be considered, staff has evaluated the ACRH proposal against the Draft EIR alternatives analysis. Recirculation of an EIR is required if “significant new information” is presented to the lead agency (CEQA Guidelines, §15088.5).  “Significant new information” requiring recirculation includes a feasible project alternative considerably different from other previously analyzed that would clearly lessen the environmental impacts of the project, but the project’s proponents decline to adopt it.

The ACRH proposal is a residential development with a range of unit types from single-family residential to three-story apartment complexes.  The ACRH design proposes 92 units with a total of 276 bedrooms.  This equates to a density of approximately 8.4 units per acre, and a population density of 193 (2.1 persons per household; Census 2010).  The ACRH presentation describes their alternative project as housing that is “multigenerational”, “green”, “walkable”, “affordable”, has “blended density”, and incorporates “view shed protections.”  Generally, the ACRH design proposes residential units that are lower in height and density on the western portion of the site and taller, higher density units on the eastern portion of the site.

The ACRH proposal is predominantly a multifamily project with a range of building sizes and eight single-family structures. The total density is in the lower range of the City’s Residential Medium density zoning. The proposal does not include any specific student programing and is not otherwise restricted. In effect, it is open-market, mix of predominantly multifamily housing with a planned design. This is similar to either the Medium Density Residential Development, which is evaluated in the Draft EIR on page 6-6 (Chapter 6) or the Traditional Multifamily Housing alternative (Alternative 4, Chapter 6).

The EIR evaluates and rejects the medium density development option. It acknowledges that the impact would be less than the proposed project but cites the inconsistencies with the objectives of the project. As a result, the alternative was eliminated from further review and is not included as an alternative. While the EIR does not consider what specifically the design of the multifamily mixed-use project would look like, it does identify that it “would provide typical single-family and limited multi-family residential development”. The ACRH proposal is the same as the rejected Medium Density Residential Development that was evaluated in the EIR with a specified mix of single- and multifamily structures. The ACRH proposal has a mixed unit size approach, with lower density, and so lesser impacts, than the medium density project evaluated in the EIR. Despite the differences, and the more explicit design, between the EIR analysis and the ACRH proposal, they are substantively the same in terms of the kind of development. The EIR is not required to address all points on the continuum of alternatives conceivable. Rather, it is required to evaluate a reasonable range of alternatives that are potentially feasible.

Project Objectives

Determination of whether the ACRH proposal should be analyzed as an EIR alternative requires first considering whether the ACRH proposal meets the project objectives. CEQA requires that the EIR describe a range of reasonable alternatives to the project that would “feasibly attain most of the basic objectives of the project”. As cited above, the ACRH proposal is similar to the evaluated but rejected Medium Density Residential Development. This alterative was rejected because it did not meet the project objectives.

The following summarizes the primary project objectives for the Village project as it relates to analysis of the ACRH proposal. The project is designed to:

·         assist the City with implementation of the General Plan Housing Element goals by providing more housing units for students and returning single-family homes for ownership opportunities;

·         maximize student housing development within walking distance of Humboldt State University to reduce impacts of traffic and parking on local roads and significantly reduce carbon footprint;

·         get the most out of infill development opportunities to reduce urban sprawl and create sustainable communities;

·         make the best use of student housing development to sites in close proximity to Humboldt State University in order to create linkages between residential and educational spaces;

·         create a strong sense of community through open space and indoor and outdoor recreational facilities within the development;

·         boost student performance and success rates through a purpose-built and programmed student housing community.

The ACRH proposal meets some, but not the majority of key Village project objectives. The ACRH proposal provides additional housing, but it is not purpose built or programmed housing, which is a key objective of the Village project. The proposal does not maximize student housing within walking distance to HSU. The density in the ACRH proposal (8.4 units/acre) is at the low end of the Residential Medium density zoning range of 7.25; and is less than the Residential Low density range with a standard density bonus. This density does not maximize housing within walking distance to HSU. Related, and for the same reason, the ACRH proposal does not address the infill objective. While the ACRH project includes providing a sense of community through design elements that provide community oriented private open space and other amenities open to the public, it does not appear to provide outdoor and indoor recreational opportunities. In sum, the ACRH proposal does not appear to satisfy the requirement that an alternative feasibly attain most of the basic objectives.

Significant Impacts

The next part of determining whether the ACRH proposal should be analyzed as an alternative in the EIR (CEQA Guidelines, § 15126.6(a)) is analyzing whether the significant effects of the project could be avoided or substantially lessened. The Draft EIR describes the potentially significant impacts of the proposed project related to transportation-traffic and biological resources.  Mitigation has been included for the proposed project requiring the applicant to pay a fair-share contribution for transportation improvements at the intersections of Sunset Ave/LK Wood Blvd and Foster Ave/Alliance Rd (see Mitigation Measure 3.1a), construct on-site pedestrian/bicycle improvements (see Mitigation Measure 3.1b), and conduct a pre-construction biological survey (see Mitigation Measure 4.3.1a). 

The ACRH alternative design may reduce the severity of some of the potential impacts of the proposed project; however, the impacts of the ACRH project would still be significant for Biological Resources and Traffic. The biological impacts of both the ACRH and the alternatives evaluated in the EIR are similar. They would require pre-disturbance surveys and the mitigation would be the same if species of concern are found. Since the impact would be similar, and the ACRH proposal would not reduce the biological impacts relative to the proposed project, the ACRH project is not discussed in depth here.

While staff has not reevaluated the traffic model with the ACRH proposal, we evaluated relative impacts of housing development using a conceptual model based on the Central Arcata Areawide Traffic Study (“Traffic Study”), which is Appendix L to the Draft EIR. The Traffic Study method uses 6.57 Average Daily Trips (ADT) for apartments and 9.52 ADT for single-family units. The ACRH alternative design (84 apartments and 8 single-family units) would generate approximately 627 trips per day. This is less than the trips generated by Creekside and Sunset Terrace projects, but more than the Canyon Creek and Twin Parks projects. While this analysis does not consider trip distribution, it would have relatively proportional individual and cumulative impacts as are identified for the other projects in the Traffic Study.

Although the ACRH proposal would result in a reduced traffic volume, it would still result in a direct significant impact and cumulatively considerable traffic impact. The ACRH project would require the same mitigation measures as the preferred alternative, and the traffic-transportation impact would remain significant and unavoidable. Therefore, the ACRH alternative design would also require the payment of a fair share contribution to improve nearby intersections as mitigation.  As described in the Draft EIR, the timing of implementation of the transportation improvements cannot be guaranteed and, thus, traffic impacts from the ACRH alternative design would also be significant and unavoidable. So, while the project would lessen the impact by reducing the total number of people, it would still have a significant effect on the environment.

The traffic impacts analysis evaluates discrete Level of Service (LOS) categories for thresholds of significance, ranging from C-F. An impact could be considered to have substantially less impact if the project would result in a lesser category, despite still being above the significance threshold. The ACRH proposal would fall in the LOS F category, as interpolated between the other analyzed projects. The preferred and the reduced size alternatives both result in LOS F. Therefore, while the ACRH proposal would clearly have fewer trips than the preferred alternative, it would not substantially lessen the significant effects.

In summary, the ACRH project does not meet key objectives, does not substantially lessen the environmental impact, and is similar to an alternative included in the Draft EIR. For these reasons, the ACRH proposal does not warrant inclusion as a new alternative in the EIR. If a proposed alternative does not meet the project objectives or offer significant environmental advantages over the proposed project or the alternatives that are presented in the EIR, it can be rejected as a new alternative (Guidelines §15126.6(b); Tracy First v. City of Tracy (2009) 177 Cal.App.4th 912, 929). The Draft EIR is not required to include variations of the evaluated alternatives (Marin Mun. Water Dist. v. KG Land Cal. Corp. (1991) 235 Cal.App.3d 1652 [final EIR properly rejected several suggested alternatives that were variations on alternative discussed in draft EIR]), and it arguably does not serve the public interest to evaluate multiple iterations of substantively the same alternative.

Traffic Impacts The subject project is one of five housing projects (plus the Open Door Clinic) in the Sunset Avenue area that either is in the permitting process or was recently approved. The table below describes each project, including the number of units/beds which correlates directly to the findings in the traffic study (further described below), and its current status:

Project

Size

Status

The Village Student Housing

240 units / 800 beds

Hearings and DRAFT EIR Circulation

Creekside Annex/Subdivision

32-lot subdivision / 100 bed assisted living facility / 25 senior cottages

Administrative DRAFT EIR under Staff review

Canyon Creek Multi-Family

89 mixed units

CEQA determination in process

Sunset Terrace Multi-Family

142 one-bedroom units

Approved and under construction

Twin Parks Multi-Family

42 mixed units

Approved and in plan-check for Building Permit issuance

Open Door Clinic

Public Facility (medical clinic)

No application as of this writing

Given the scale of large development projects within relative proximity to one another, the City Council directed Staff to obtain consultant services to prepare an areawide traffic impact study. The City obtained W-Trans to prepare the Central Arcata Areawide Traffic Study (W-Trans Study), which was completed in March 2017 (included as Appendix L in the Draft EIR, Attachment A). The Study analyzed the cumulative traffic impacts of the aforementioned projects on 12 intersections and the levels of service (LOS) that could be expected once all of the subject projects are built.

The City does not have an adopted Level of Service (LOS) threshold of significance for CEQA. The Caltrans standard threshold for significance is LOS “C”; that is, LOS D, E, or F would be a significant impact, and LOS C or better would not be. LOS “D” at an unsignalized intersection results in a wait of 25-35 seconds. However, since the City values and encourages non-motorized modes over the convenience of the single-occupancy vehicle, staff recognizes poorer LOS encourages mode shift from single occupancy vehicles to alternative forms of transportation.  Staff reasons that the more inconvenient it is to drive a car, the higher rates of alternative transportation.

Since LOS D or worse has not been formally adopted, the W-Trans Study used the standard LOS “C” threshold to inform the decision makers based on industry standard. The W-Trans Study also reflected on the informal staff recommended threshold of LOS D. In addition, the industry standard is to evaluate traffic impacts for vehicle drivers only. On staff recommendation, the W-Trans Study evaluated traffic impacts on bikes and pedestrians as well. 

The Study concluded that under existing, pre-project conditions, the intersection of LK Wood Boulevard/Sunset Avenue operates below LOS C. However, using the informal policy, the current conditions are acceptable.  All other study intersections are currently operating at LOS C or better (W-Trans, March 2017).

The W-Trans Study and the Village EIR conclude that the cumulative impacts of the projects at the identified intersections will be significant using the industry standard LOS C. Based on the LOS C, the direct impacts of the Village project are significant at intersections 1, 2a, 2b, 3, 4a, and 4b (W-Trans Study, Pg. 683). The impacts at each of the intersections, except the LK Wood and Sunset intersection, can be mitigated to LOS C or better. The interim striping intersection improvements at Foster and Alliance have been installed, as well as interim pedestrian improvements at LK Wood/Sunset Avenue. 

Completing improvements at the LK Wood/Sunset/US 101 intersection is complicated for a number of reasons. The intersection is five-legged and may require a complicated design to improve the LOS. Furthermore, the intersection ownership is split between HSU and Caltrans. This split ownership means collaborating on design, funding, and implementation. The ownership also limits the City’s ability to make improvements. Further complicating the matter is the relationship between the LK Wood/Sunset/US 101 intersection with the Sunset/US 101/G&H Streets intersection, which are so close together that, according to the Study, any improvement to one should consider the other. In other words, the operational effectiveness of one intersection needs to be taken into consideration when making substantial improvements to the other. Lastly, the funding for the improvements will take time to secure; the project is going to be very costly.

No one project could complete the needed improvements to mitigate the impact at the LK Wood/Sunset intersection. The EIR has identified the proposed improvements as mitigation. However, since the mitigation will not be implemented with the project, or within the reasonably foreseeable future, the traffic impact at this intersect resulting from the direct and cumulative impacts of the area projects is significant and unavoidable. Staff has recommended a key term in the Agreement to contribute $353,551.00 towards the future improvement of the intersection.

The W-Trans Study identified a variety of improvements that would be required to mitigate traffic impacts at six of the study intersections that would bring LOS to an acceptable level given all of the expected traffic resulting from the full build-out of any combination of these six projects, including the direct impacts of the Village project. The Study (Table 27 of the Study included as Appendix to the DEIR, Attachment A) indicates that this project’s fair share of those improvements would be $353,551.00. In addition to paying this amount into a traffic improvement fund, which has been included as a condition of approval, the Study recommends the following improvements be developed in association with the Village project:

·         Sidewalks should be constructed on the project frontage of St. Louis Road as well as within the site connecting buildings and to Eye Street. The portion of the planned trail along the railroad right-of-way across from the site and connecting to the Canyon Creek site should be constructed as part of the project. (These are included as Conditions of Approval)

·         A bicycle connection should be provided between the site and Eye Street and bike parking provided on-site. (Included as a component of the project)

·         Facilities should direct pedestrian traffic toward Eye Street and not St. Louis Road until the trail connection to Sunset Avenue is completed. (The project proposes non-vehicular and emergency vehicle access (bollards) to Eye Street)

The project has a Condition of Approval to build a portion of the Rail with Trail along St. Louis Road from the north end of the project to the south end, roughly to the northerly terminus of Todd Court, an approximately 850’ length. This will be a critical link in the City’s goals to complete the Rail with Trail from its southern City boundary (Humboldt Bay Trail North) all the way to Blue Lake. The trail is identified in the City’s Bike & Pedestrian Master Plan. In addition to the Rail with Trail, the applicant will develop a path from the project to Maple Lane to the west. These two trails are included in the Development Plan as amenities to the City above and beyond the mitigation measures included in the DRAFT EIR. The trails will help reduce traffic impacts in the neighborhood. This trail development will also help to offset the traffic impact of the project and was analyzed in the W-Trans Study.

To summarize the traffic discussion, Staff suggests that the direct and cumulative impacts to vehicular circulation create a significant impact. Due to the cost of improvements to mitigate the impact and the coordination between agencies and landowners to accommodate those improvements, the timing would not allow for the construction of improvements in a manner that would reduce the direct impacts associated with the Village project. For both time and cost, the impacts cannot be mitigated to below significant. The City Council should consider whether it agrees with this argument or, given the City’s goals toward reaching a mode shift from single-occupancy vehicle to non-motorized modes, that the impacts are less than significant.

Wastewater Treatment Facility Impacts. The ability of our wastewater treatment facility (treatment plant) to accommodate the increase in density of the proposed residential development is a critical component of this project’s review. This type of “upzoning” on this particular property was not considered when the EIR for the 2000 General Plan was prepared which considered a variety of industrial uses that might have significantly different capacity and strength requirements. To provide an analysis of what this project, and others of a similar nature, might have on the treatment plant, the Community Development Director, the City Engineer, and the Environmental Services Director, prepared the Water and Wastewater Impact of Sunset Area Housing Projects Memo (included in the Appendix of the Draft EIR), which describes existing conditions, the regulatory environment in which the treatment plant currently operates and provides the following conclusions:

In sum, there is planned wastewater treatment capacity for 20,000 people and actual capacity for slightly more. Current potential and planned development projects may yield a slightly higher population, depending on household characteristics. All of this development is within the margins of planning for the facilities; however, the facilities must be improved to meet the demand of both current and future population. The City has plans to improve the treatment plant and water service capacity. The primary method for paying for these improvements from the ratepayers comes from the capacity charge portion of the capital connection fees and monthly rates for service. Because the wastewater treatment facility is near the end of its planning horizon, any upzoned property will pay both a capital connection fee, pursuant to its direct impact on the facilities, as well as a fee negotiated through a development agreement to offset the future planning or development needs of the facilities.

As the Memo determined, this project will pay the standard capital connection fees for water and sewer as a condition of approval. The additional fee of $75,000 will be included in the Development Agreement and will be dedicated to the near-term improvements at the treatment plant and planning for future improvements. This project does not require upsizing or relocation of any existing water or sewer infrastructure.

Aesthetics As mentioned previously, the property is bordered on the west and south primarily by standard single-family subdivisions and will be visible from the residential development across the freeway to the east, much of which is planned and zoned Residential High Density as shown on the Vicinity and Zoning Map (Attachment L). The four-story buildings’ potential impacts in terms of morning sun and shadowing effects have been a concern of the residents along Maple Lane to the west. Given the topography of the subject site and the applicant’s desire to ameliorate the neighborhood’s shading and viewshed concerns as much as possible, the proposed buildings are to be located as far to the east of the property as possible. A shadow analysis is included in Attachment C.4, which shows that the Maple Lane residence will not be shadowed even on the longest day in winter.

The applicant installed 50’ tall story poles in five locations as near as possible to where the proposed corners of the new buildings would be located. The story poles are intended to give viewers an idea of the height of the proposed buildings. The tops of the poles are visible from all vantage points surrounding the site.

The scale and massing of the buildings is greater than Arcata generally sees in new development and is more common on the HSU campus (the Behavioral and Social Sciences Building (2007), the Creekside dormitories (2012), Campus Apartments, the Canyon dorms, etc.). On the other hand, the existing large metal warehouse, at 35-40 feet tall and ±22,000 sq. ft. is also quite large and its location near the south property line gives it an appearance of looming over the houses below. This structure is located approximately 40’ from the south property line and approximately 100’ from the west property line. The proposed building nearest to the southern property line will be located approximately 60’ away and the two westerly buildings will be approximately 230’ from the west property line which will help further reduce the impact of the views to the eastern wooded hillsides from the Maple Lane neighborhood. Furthermore, the architectural style, materials, site layout and overall design incorporate many of the features mentioned in Policy D-5a of the General Plan (below). The policies bolded below most closely describe the design attributes of the project:

D-5a Multi-family housing design. Within each neighborhood where multi-family is allowed by the Land-Use Element, multi-unit housing designs should comply with the following criteria:

1.      Buildings should maintain the scale and character of other residential structures in the immediate vicinity and avoid abrupt changes in height and bulk between structures.

2.      Buildings should be grouped compactly to provide more usable open space.

3.      Building elevations should be articulated and long, continuous wall and roof planes should be avoided. Architectural features such as bay windows, balconies, porches, and similar elements are encouraged.

4.      Features should be incorporated into site and architectural designs which provide maximum exposure to sunlight and protection from rainstorms and other adverse climatic conditions (such as covered entryways).

5.      Site and building design shall incorporate features to mitigate noise from nearby noise sources (see Noise Element).

6.      Sufficient useable outdoor open space should be provided to accommodate the recreation and leisure needs of the residents, of the development, and individual households.

7.      Individual units should be designed to be readily distinguishable from one another from the exterior.

8.      Parking should be designed to protect the privacy of residents and prevent intrusion of noise and lights from vehicles.

9.      Parking lots shall be landscaped with trees that reach a mature height of at least twenty feet and shall be visually screened from the street by solid walls, fences, or a planted landscape buffer of at least six feet in width. Site design should incorporate safety features that maintain visibility and provide security lighting.

10.  Service and storage areas, such as for recycling and garbage, shall be screened by fencing or walls; appropriate landscape planting and setbacks from adjacent properties shall be provided.

The applicant has provided photo simulations of the site showing existing conditions and the proposed development (original project submittal) that are included in the Final EIR (Attachment A).  These are included in the Aesthetics chapter of the Draft EIR and in the Final EIR as well. The photos show before and after views of the site from three different locations: looking east from Maple Ln, looking west-northwest from the US 101 northbound lanes, and looking northwest from the northbound Sunset Avenue onramp.

The aesthetic impact threshold required for CEQA is described more thoroughly in Section 2.6 of the Draft EIR (Attachment A) and is much more specific than what an individual may consider a significant change in a viewshed. The Council should consider both as the one finding for the Design Review Permit has to do with neighborhood compatibility. In other words, although the buildings will be visible and the viewshed will be changed, the City Council could find that the buildings are an attractive modern design that fulfills the City’s need for a paradigm shift toward the provision of new, vertical, infill housing developments which outweigh the visual and aesthetic impact to less than significant. Staff recommends that the Council find that the project, as designed, landscaped and positioned on the site, will not significantly impact the environment.

Noise. The majority of the property is currently planned and zoned Industrial Limited (IL) and was developed in the 1940s with lumber mill uses including a teepee burner in the lower western portion of the site. Many uses including trucking, truck and auto mechanic shops, mini-storage, contractor’s yard, small manufacturing, a tree service business and others have made the Craftsman’s Mall their home. The past uses and uses that are principally allowed in the IL zone (low impact manufacturing, dry cleaners, printers and publishers, some recycling, mini-storage, wholesale and distribution, auto sales and rental, construction and heavy equipment sales, major and minor auto body and repair shops, etc.) are likely to have a greater impact on the neighborhood and environment in terms of noise than the proposed large housing development. Furthermore, other than the proposed community garden in the southwest corner, the majority of the outdoor recreation areas are located between the two west buildings and the two east buildings which will further attenuate noise coming from the site. In short, the proposed residential development will not create significant levels of noise and can be found more compatible with the existing residential neighborhood than industrial uses would be.

Noise impacts from US 101, which nearly abuts the property’s eastern boundary, has been identified in the DRAFT EIR as a potential impact. An Exterior Noise Analysis was prepared by Bridgenet International. This analysis concluded that the noise at this location was dominated by traffic noise from the 101 Freeway. No noise was audible from the commercial property to the north, although the Lumber Mill was active. (Bridgenet, July 2017). The report further states that at Open Spaces 1 and 2 (the recreational areas between the two sets of buildings), exterior noise levels will be less than 60 dB CNEL. CNEL or Community Noise Equivalent Level, is a 24-hour, time-weighted, average noise level based on the “A-weighted” decibel. In the calculation process, noise occurring in the evening time period (7 p.m. to 10 p.m.) is penalized by adding 5 dB, while noise occurring in the nighttime period (10 p.m. to 7 a.m.) is penalized by adding 10 dB. These time periods and decibel increases were selected to reflect a person's increased sensitivity to noise during late-night and early morning hours). The study indicates that the project will meet the City’s standard per General Plan Table N-1. A Condition of Approval additionally requires the project to meet interior noise limits of 45 dB CNEL, requirements of both the City of Arcata and the CA Building Code. No mitigation measures are proposed. Staff recommends that the Commission acknowledge that the project will have a less than significant impact on the environment, including residences nearby, in terms of noise.

Flooding. According to FEMA Flood Map Panel 06023C0689F effective November 4, 2016, portions of the lower western area of the site are within the AE Zone, areas of 100-year flood hazard. This area has historic flooding issues affecting the Maple Lane neighbors from time to time. Although the project will not be contributing to these issues as all stormwater associated with the proposed development will be retained on the elevated portion of the site, as indicated in the Preliminary Stormwater Management Report (Manhard Consulting, July 2017), the applicant has agreed to replace existing infrastructure onsite that has failed and will provide an access and maintenance easement to the City for future drainage maintenance to assist with flood reduction activities. These maintenance efforts will be covered by the City’s Programmatic Drainage Maintenance Plan’s Mitigated Negative Declaration adopted by the Planning Commission in March 2017.

Biological Resources. The area mapped as 100-year flood zone is also where the 2- and 3-parameter wetlands occur. No development is proposed for this area other than the installation of an overflow pipe from the upper stormwater facility down to an infiltration basin which will be developed approximately 40’ from the wetlands. This is further described in Section 4.3 of the DRAFT EIR, Page 4.3-19.

The project meets the standards of the Land Use Code in terms of setbacks from riparian or other sensitive habitats. However, as identified in the Biological Review (NRM, May 2016; Appendix O of the DRAFT EIR), the lower portion of the property may contain potential habitat for amphibians and nesting birds. As a result, the project includes a mitigation measure requiring pre-construction survey for protected species. If species are found, the biologist will design appropriate project activity buffer widths and operational restrictions in conjunction and on approval with the City and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Parking. Per §9.36.040 of the LUC, one parking space is required per unit with a maximum of two spaces per unit. The project proposes to develop 369 spaces which is 65% more than required, but fewer than the maximum (480). Included in the total number of spaces will be three electric vehicle (EV) charging stations (3 for each building) and 20 spaces reserved for clean air vehicles. Additionally, the applicant proposes 185 bicycle and 20 motorcycle spaces which adheres to the 50% and 20%, respectively, requirements of the Land Use Code.

Adequate onsite parking is always a concern to neighbors where large projects are proposed. In 2008, the Planning Commission recommended, and the City Council adopted, the current parking standards of one space per residential unit which is what is being applied in this case. By requiring parking spaces on a per-unit rather than per-bedroom basis, the City is slowly trying to create a mode-shift away from the single-occupancy vehicle and toward walking, biking and transit, especially for projects near the university. This project represents an infill, high-density residential project within ½ mile from the HSU campus where the residents will be registered students (in addition to College of the Redwoods students).

Some options for the Council to consider with regards to parking are: 1) create “car storage” areas which allows for tandem parking over a smaller area. These parking scenarios would be assigned to residents who share a unit so that arrangements for moving vehicles could be more easily accomplished; 2) require the minimum number of spaces – while reducing impervious area through the reduction of parking spaces could be a benefit in terms of stormwater management and landscaping, it could result in a greater impact to nearby neighbors; or 3) require the construction of a parking structure that could accommodate up to the maximum number of spaces allowed by the Code (480) or more.

Stormwater.  Impervious areas, such as parking lots, buildings, walkways, and some recreation features, must be balanced with the State and City’s stormwater regulations. Given the large amount of impervious surface proposed, the size of the project and the area that will be disturbed for new development, the applicant was required to prepare a Preliminary Stormwater Management Report (Manhard, July 2017; Appendix N of the DRAFT EIR), that meets the Humboldt County LID/State Water Quality Control Board’s MS4 Permit requirements for hydromodification projects. In other words, the engineered plan must show that the project can accommodate post-project runoff that will not exceed the estimated pre-project flow rate for the 2-year, 24-hour storm. As mentioned previously, the stormwater requirements of the State and City are separate and in addition to the correction of the onsite flooding impacts in the lower portion of the property. By addressing the stormwater that will be created by the project within the proposed stormwater management facilities and areas on the upper portion of the site, the existing flooding scenario on the lower portion of the property, which is partially created by the lack of any functioning stormwater management from existing conditions above, will be reduced to a less than significant impact.

The Report prepared by Manhard was reviewed by the City Engineer who found that the author’s methodology used to analyze existing conditions and develop a stormwater plan that is appropriate to the site, is in compliance with the required City and State standards.

Landscaping. Landscaping is a major part of the Low Impact Development (LID) portion of the stormwater plan. The LID features that accentuate the required landscaping are addressed in the Stormwater Plan (Manhard, July 2017) and include: planting 200 trees; significant soil amendment in the landscaping areas; rain gardens, bio- and vegetated swales to help slow and improve stormwater runoff; and native plantings. In addition to the LID features, a complete landscaping plan with planting palette is included in Attachment H. The proposed landscaping meets the standards in Chapter 9.34 of the Land Use Code.

POLICY IMPLICATIONS:

The project consists of the development of 240 new residential units targeted specifically at students enrolled at either Humboldt State University or College of the Redwoods. The total number of beds to be provided is 800. The policy implication to be considered has to do with the delivery of 800 beds on balance with the potentially unmitigatable impacts to traffic at certain intersections in the vicinity, especially in light of the other large residential projects either proposed or under construction in the area. This developer will pay its fair share of the estimated project cost to install permanent improvements at the intersections identified in the W-Trans Study, but these improvements will not be completed until such a time as the City and its partners, HSU and Caltrans, can obtain the full cost for planning, permits and construction. This could be a number of years after The Village, and the other residential projects, are completed. In the interim, Arcata residents will experience greater traffic delays in the Sunset Avenue neighborhood.

The City Council, at public study sessions and other housing-related public hearings, has stated publicly that Arcata is experiencing a housing crisis. The ever-increasing difficulty finding housing in Arcata is in the news almost daily; concerns about the effect on families who cannot find housing in single-family neighborhoods, in addition to students’ difficulties, are well-known. In a recent study prepared by Brailsford & Dunlavey (B&D, June 2017) for Humboldt State University’s Student Housing Master Planning effort, the authors state:

Investigation into the off-campus market revealed the Arcata market to be “Student Adverse”, given its high price point, requiring credit checks and large security deposits, 12-month leases, few student amenities, and active landlord selection against student occupants. The inability for students to effectively access housing locally places additional pressure on Humboldt State’s housing offering.

The Village Student Housing project is specifically mentioned in two of the four “programmatic concepts” recommended in the B&D report. These concepts are options for HSU to consider in ameliorating some of the pressure that students feel in finding appropriate housing.

This project, as well as the other large residential developments in the Sunset Avenue area, represents an opportunity to further the concept of mode-shift as it relates to transportation in Arcata. Mode shift refers to the outcome of a series of decisions to shift to another mode of transportation based on differences in cost, time, level of service or reliability between two modes. A general example could be a decision to use transit rather than the single-occupancy vehicle mode in areas where heavy peak traffic results in a great impact to the traveler. In the case of the Village project, Staff recommends that the City Council find that a shift will occur between driving to campus and the availability of parking once on or near campus. Given the lack of availability of on-campus parking, it would make more sense for residents of the Village to use an alternate mode (bike, walk or transit) and leave their vehicle, if they have one, at the project. Enrolled students ride the Arcata and Mad River Transit Service (A&MRTS) busses for free with their Jack Pass and a new bus stop will be provided near the intersection of St. Louis Rd. with the St. Louis Overpass to provide further accommodation.

A mode shift in transportation requires a wide and comprehensive change in public perspective over many years. With the adoption of the per-unit parking standards in the 2008 Land Use Code, more recent amendments to §9.36.080-Adjustment of Parking Requirements of the Code pertaining to the near elimination of parking requirements in the downtown area and G Street corridor areas, the creation of the Bicycle Boulevard Project, the Rail with Trail projects and other non-motorized facilities, and the City’s practice  to allow a lower vehicular level of service at intersections which promotes safety for bikes and pedestrians over vehicle convenience, it is clear that the City’s mode shift away from the single-occupancy vehicle is underway. The Village project, by its combination of location, contribution to the City’s network of trails and transit facilities and provision of onsite amenities, represents a step toward the realization of a more complete transportation mode shift.

In summary, this is the largest housing project the City has ever considered and the first EIR for a project since 2001 (Courtyards Multi-Family and Janes Creek Meadows Subdivision). It is up to the City Council, based on the evidence presented and public testimony, to determine whether or not the provision of 800 new student housing beds can be balanced with the individual and cumulative traffic impacts that will occur as a result of its development. A Study of Basic Needs (Attachment M) prepared by the California State University in 2017 demonstrates the need for appropriate housing options for HSU students.

COMMITTEE/COMMISSION REVIEW:

The project was presented by the applicant’s consultant to the Creeks & Wetlands Committee on March 21, 2017. The Committee had several comments regarding the Wetland Delineation prepared by Natural Resources Management Corporation (NRM, April 2017). The Committee’s recommendations regarding additional analysis of one of the 2-parameter wetlands resulted in the preparation of an amended wetland delineation and recommendations that were included in the DRAFT EIR.

The W-Trans Traffic Study was reviewed by the City’s Transportation Safety Committee (TSC), which agreed with the methodology used and the proposed recommendations.

ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW (CEQA):

In the case of this project, it is one of six large projects in general proximity to one another (Attachment K) and a determination was made early on that a comprehensive traffic impact study and other analyses would be needed in order to address potential cumulative impacts. Two of the housing projects considered in the traffic study (Sunset Terrace and Twin Parks) either had completed the discretionary permit process or was substantially through the process at the time of the submittal of the other three. The sixth project included in the traffic study, the Open Door Clinic, has not yet submitted an application for the development of a clinic on its site just west of the Foster Avenue and Sunset Avenue roundabout.

The decision to prepare an EIR was made after an Initial Study was prepared using the standards of §15064 of the CEQA Guidelines. It was determined that the project would result in traffic impacts that could not be mitigated to a less than significant level. In compliance with §15082, a Notice of Preparation (NOP) was filed with the State Clearinghouse (SCH#2016102038) and a scoping meeting was held on November 2, 2016, for interested agencies to learn more about the project. After receiving input on the W-Trans Traffic Study from Caltrans and Humboldt State, comments from a variety of local referral agencies and reviewing the numerous special studies that were prepared for the project, Streamline-SHN Consultants prepared a Draft EIR and a Final EIR (Attachment A). City staff reviewed an Administrative DRAFT EIR, provided comments and recommendations back to the consultant who incorporated them into the “final” Draft EIR. A Notice of Completion was included in the circulation materials and a Notice of Availability was filed with the County Clerk per §9.78.130 of the LUC and §15085 of the CEQA Guidelines. The 45-day circulation period was November 1 – December 15 with an additional 30 day extension to January 16, 2018.

The Planning Commission, as the appointed planning authority of the City of Arcata, was tasked with reviewing the Draft EIR and making a recommendation to the City Council as to completeness per §9.78.140 of the LUC. The City Council, following the standards of adequacy set forth in §15084 of the CEQA Guidelines (Guidelines), is to certify that the final EIR has been prepared in compliance with CEQA and this section of the Land Use Code, that it has been reviewed and considered by the review authority, and that it represents the City’s independent judgment and analysis.

The mitigation measures, other than those relating to the large traffic improvements at identified intersections, will be implemented through the Conditions of Approval (an Exhibit of Attachment F).

The City, as lead agency, may hold public hearings on the project and the DRAFT EIR during the circulation period, but may not certify the document until the circulation period has closed and all comments received have been adequately addressed and included in the Final EIR (FINAL EIR). The FINAL EIR will then be certified by the lead agency. The permits associated with the project cannot be approved until the FINAL EIR is certified and the requirements of §15091 and §15093, if applicable, are met.

Chapter 9.78 – Environmental Impact Assessment, of the City’s LUC §9.78.140.C specifies that the “review authority” shall certify the FINAL EIR. The “review authority” in terms of CEQA is the Environmental Coordinator (Community Development Director or designee), the Planning Commission or the City Council. In this case, the certifying body in the City Council.

In accordance to §15091 of the CEQA Guidelines and §9.78.170 of the LUC, the Council must make Findings of Fact (Attachment B) to certify the FINAL EIR through the adoption of Resolution 178-65 (Attachment N).

If the Council finds that the traffic impacts, or any others, will result in the occurrence of significant effects which are unavoidable or cannot be substantially lessened, it must also adopt a Statement of Overriding Considerations. Section 15093 (CEQA) and §9.78.170.C (LUC) include the following Findings for a Statement of Overriding Considerations (Attachment B):

(a)  CEQA requires the decision-making agency to balance, as applicable, the economic, legal, social, technological, or other benefits, including region-wide or statewide environmental benefits, of a proposed project against its unavoidable environmental risks when determining whether to approve the project. If the specific economic, legal, social, technological, or other benefits, including region-wide or statewide environmental benefits, of a proposal project outweigh the unavoidable adverse environmental effects, the adverse environmental effects may be considered “acceptable.”

(b)  When the lead agency approves a project which will result in the occurrence of significant effects which are identified in the final EIR but are not avoided or substantially lessened, the agency shall state in writing the specific reasons to support its action based on the final EIR and/or other information in the record. The statement of overriding considerations shall be supported by substantial evidence in the record.

(c)  If an agency makes a statement of overriding considerations, the statement should be included in the record of the project approval and should be mentioned in the notice of determination. This statement does not substitute for, and shall be in addition to, findings required pursuant to Section 15091.

Within five business days of the certification of the FINAL EIR, a Notice of Determination will be filed with the State Clearinghouse and the County Clerk and, if a Statement of Overriding Considerations is adopted, a notice stating such will be published in the newspaper and included in the Notice of Determination.

 

Meeting History

Jun 6, 2018 6:00 PM Video City Council Regular and Special Meeting

Councilmember Winkler announced that he and the energy consulting firm he worked for had done work for the developer, AMCAL, for six years, although not in the last two years, and because of this he was recusing himself from the discussion and vote on this item. He left the Council Chamber at 7:25 p.m.

Director of Community Development Loya said this was the introductory meeting for the City Council for The Village student housing project. He said the applicant and its development team were present, Gary Reese and Bob Brown from Streamline Planning (now part of SHN) who prepared the environmental documents, and representatives from Humboldt State University (HSU). He listed the communications received post publication of the packet. He said the applicant had provided a printout of materials it intended to review that night including a revised site plan and project proposal. He said staff had received an analysis of the revised project from SHN in terms of the Environmental Impact Report.

Director Loya said the first step for the Council, if it chose to proceed with the project, was to certify the environmental document. He gave information on the background of the project and why it was being considered. He listed documents which spoke to the need for this type of project, specifically the Arcata Community Development Agency's Implementation Plan, the Housing Element 2014-2019, the General Plan: 2020, and the draft Housing Strategic Plan.

He said the project was proposed for the current Craftsman's Mall site east of the Westwood neighborhood, north of the Sunset and Eye Street neighborhoods, south of the Janes Creek Meadow neighborhood, and west of U.S. 101. He described the current use of the site as including micro-businesses, but mostly storage. He noted the site was currently the subject of ongoing enforcement activity by the City relative to building and zoning violations, but that enforcement had been put on hold during the review of this project. For the sake of zoning consistency, he said it made sense to up-zone this property from industrial to residential noting that the site was completely surrounded by residential properties.

He gave information from Humboldt State University's Housing Market Analysis where 49 percent of the respondents said they found it difficult to find a place to live, 21 percent said they had experienced housing insecurity, and 68 percent of respondents expected HSU to provide housing their first year, but only 32 percent had housing on campus. He said that over 50 percent identified that housing insecurity negatively affected their studies. He said the City needed to determine to what extent it could provide assistance with HSU's housing needs and what extent HSU needed to provide housing on campus to modify this impact on its students' success and retention.

He gave a history of housing development projects in the vicinity of the site that were being proposed about the time The Village was proposed in 2015, namely Canyon Creek, the Kramer project, Lower Twin Parks, and Creekside Annexation. He noted that three of the five proposed projects required changes in zoning to accommodate them. He said the Council and Planning Commission held a study session in January 2016 to discuss housing. He said that as a result of that study session, staff asked the Council if it wanted a master Environmental Impact Report to consider those five projects, or if it wanted the total traffic impacts of the projects evaluated. He said the Council said it wanted a Traffic Impact Analysis so one was prepared by W-Trans. He said that Traffic Impact Analysis was included in The Village's EIR and would be included in the EIRs for the other four projects as well. He confirmed that the Traffic Impact Analysis included vehicle, bicycle and pedestrian traffic.

He stated that in March of 2016 the City received a completed application from the applicant and staff completed its preliminary review by December 2017. The Planning Commission held 12 meetings and considered the EIR, emphasizing aesthetics and the design review process. He said it appeared that the Planning Commission might have approved the project at a lower density, but ultimately it only made a recommendation that the Council certify the EIR, and adopt the Findings of Fact and Statement of Overriding Considerations. He said that at this point the project had been reduced dramatically to try to address concerns from the Planning Commission meetings. He shared that the project now proposed 602 students with reduced scale of the buildings and a location of the buildings farther east on the parcel. He said the project of 600 students fit within the reduced project alternative identified in the EIR. He explained that the original project consisted of four four-story buildings, 800 students, and 366 parking spaces. He said the project was proposed as an alternative transportation project: it would require residents to pay an extra fee for a parking space; it would encourage residents to not have vehicles; it was sited within walking distance of HSU; it would include provisions for shared cars; it proposed plentiful bicycle parking, indoor and out; it would add a bus stop; and each resident would receive a Jack Pass. He spoke of the community's concern that lack of available parking at the site would encourage residents to park their cars in surrounding neighborhoods. He said the revised project would have 602 students, 409 parking spaces, two three-story buildings at 45 feet in height and three two-story buildings at 35 feet. The two-story buildings would be sited on the western side, with the three-story buildings up against the freeway on the eastern side. He said that additional parking was proposed on the eastern side and the new plan eliminated the clubhouse and some recreational amenities. He spoke of the density of the project as currently proposed, which fell into a medium density range of less than 15 units per acre.

Director Loya stated that actions needed to approve the project consisted of: 1) certification of the EIR and adoption of the Findings of Fact and the Statement of Overriding Considerations; 2) approval of a General Plan Zoning Amendment from industrial to residential; 3) Vacation of a portion of St. Louis Road; 4) approval of a Development Agreement; and 4) issuance of Planning Permits--Planned Development Permit, Design Review Permit, and Parcel Merger.

Director Loya explained how the EIR found traffic impacts to be a significant, unavoidable impact and any project to mitigate those impacts would cost more than the project could accommodate. He said the largest impact was at the intersection of L. K. Wood Boulevard and Sunset Avenue, improvements at that intersection would be a joint project between the City, HSU, and Caltrans and they could take more than five years to come to fruition. He said the significant impact was defined as an increase in wait time for cars at that intersection that was above the threshold levels identified by Caltrans. In addition to applying for grant funds, he said that this project and any of the projects coming forth that required an up-zone would be required to pay a traffic impact fee to help fund the traffic improvements.

He explained that the Planning Commission had four members at its final meeting on the project and adopted a resolution recommending approval of the EIR, Findings of Fact and Statement of Overriding Considerations. It failed to adopt two other resolutions dealing with the zone amendment and planning permits, which failed on votes of 2-2. He said the two Commissioners voting against those resolutions were concerned with neighborhood compatibility of the then 700-student proposal consisting of three- and four-story buildings.

Written communications were received from Maureen Jules, Chris Wuoltee, Holland & Knight, LLP, HSU President Lisa Rossbacher, Jane Woodward, Lindsey McWilliams, SHN Engineering, and Steve Martin.

RECESS: The Council recessed from 8:58 to 9:07 p.m.

David Moon, representing the applicant, appeared before the Council and spoke of how he became engaged in student housing eight years prior as a parent. He said his company, partnering with AMCAL, had built or was currently building off-campus student residential buildings at California State University Monterey Bay, CSU Stanislaus in Turlock, CSU Sacramento and San Jose State. He said they were proud that students in those cities had more choices of where to live. He spoke of the value of students living near their peers stating they were statistically more likely to graduate in four years, had higher grade point averages, participated in extra-curricular activities, and had an overall positive college experience. Mr. Moon said this proposal was for a purpose-built, inclusive student housing community which they believed was consistent with the City's Housing Element.

Mr. Moon spoke to the local student housing crisis. He noted that HSU had 8,500 students and the vast majority of them came from outside the area thereby creating more demand for housing locally than at a typical CSU. He said HSU's on-campus housing accommodated 25 percent of its students. He stated the local student housing market was constrained, there were reports of housing discrimination, and there was student homelessness. He noted that the housing demand study prepared for HSU categorized housing as student averse, student friendly, or student focused, and it gave Arcata a grading of student averse. He said the difficulty in finding housing here discouraged students through the requirement of credit checks and 12-month leases, and the housing was generally market focused containing few student amenities. He declared the status quo was unacceptable. He said the off-campus housing available was old and scarce and allowed landlords to overcharge for a poor-quality product. He said that City leaders should be concerned about the impact of the housing crisis on the community and the university. He said they had held numerous meetings with HSU officials to find out how to better serve their students and see if there was an opportunity for collaboration.

Mr. Moon said there was a tremendous amount of input from the community to which they had responded, notably they had: lowered the buildings closest to Maple Lane from four stories to two stories; obtained greater involvement from HSU including coverage by the University Police Department (UPD); confirmed the Fire Department's ability to respond to fire and medical calls; pledged to contribute to mitigation to address overflow parking and transportation issues; created a plan for stormwater management to prevent flooding in the Westwood neighborhood; and assured public access to new trails. He said they planned to seek coordination with local animal shelters. He listed requests from HSU students they had or were addressing as: involving HSU management and residential life programming; adopting HSU staffing plan including an additional UPD officer; adopting HSU's non-discrimination policy and rules of conduct; basing leases on the academic term; setting rents at rates affordable to students; agreeing to qualify students for housing based on the HSU student application and ID--no credit checks or co-signers; not requiring large security deposits; modifying the design, including the floor plans, to make them more compatible with what was found on campus and making them more affordable and effective. He said there was a petition initiated by HSU students with 1100 signatures supporting more housing options and this project, and that they had support from HSU, City staff and community leaders, and the general public.

Mr. Moon did point out that there were landlords in town that would like to keep them out, but he did not feel this project would take away business from other landlords. He said the other landlords had hired attorneys, marketing firms, and consultants to try to keep this project from being developed. He noted that The Village would be the only purpose-built and programmed housing of all the major housing projects proposed in the vicinity. He said they had taken steps to meet the City's greenhouse gas reduction goals.

Mr. Moon outlined the modifications to the original proposal which resulted in the current proposal: Increased the building setback from Maple Lane to 300 feet; added bicycle and car-share amenities; agreed to pedestrian improvements to Todd Court and Maple Lane; adopted a stormwater plan; changed the architectural style to better fit into the city; added rooftop solar panels; added more screening trees; eliminated two stories from each building on the western side and one story from each building on the eastern side; reduced the bed count to 602; and added 40 parking spaces. He said these modifications were the result of input from the community, HSU, and HSU students.

Mr. Moon said the public benefits of the project included revitalization of industrial land, addition of 200 trees, elimination of current electrical hazards, elimination of blight, construction of pedestrian and bicycle linkage, reduction of local flooding, addition of a bus stop, and construction of LEED-certified buildings. He said the project was for a student-specific community, just like what was available on campus, and would be outfitted with academic and recreational amenities--presentation rooms, an internet cafe, a gym, safety and security features, a location within walking distance of HSU, and the availability of academic-term leases.

Mr. Moon declared there was no reason for students at this location to have to drive to campus; they could walk, ride a bicycle, or take the bus. He stated that they currently projected the annualized rental rates in two years would be $708 for single-occupancy and $571 for double-occupancy constituting $8,500 for a single-occupancy unit per term, and $6,860 for double-occupancy. He said it would employ eight full-time and 11 part-time employees for operations. He said they felt this project would provide much needed housing for students and the university, was consistent with the City housing element, and offered high-quality, inclusive, professionally managed student housing.

Doug Dawes, Vice President for Administration and Finance at HSU, appeared before the Council and reported that HSU was actively working to finalize a partnership with AMCAL in which HSU would manage the project. He read a letter into the record from President Rossbacher which stated that: 1) HSU would have full authority to operate the facility while ownership would be maintained by AMCAL; 2) HSU would provide student support and programs; 3) there would be resident advisors on site; 4) the additional housing was critical to HSU's ability to retain students; 5) HSU did not have the ability or interest in purchasing the facility and that managing the facility was the university's long-term goal.

Wayne Brumsfield, Interim Vice President for Student Affairs at HSU, appeared before the Council and said he had been working with students to ascertain the issues of homelessness for them. He said housing was a significant challenge for HSU, and without appropriate housing, the university's ability to recruit and retain students was impacted. He said the scope of the current project was affordable for HSU students.

On inquiry by Councilmember Watson, Director Loya said it was never the intent of the Housing Element, the EIR, or the staff report to portray this project as solving the City's housing owner-occupancy issue. He said the owner-occupancy rates continued to decline because of investment in student rentals due to supply and demand for those by students. He noted that building housing that was attractive to students would shift the dynamic and get owners into units. This project, however, would not drastically change the owner-occupancy rate right away.

Mayor Pereira requested the Council be given any case studies or articles, if available, speaking to the relationship between purpose-built student housing developments and their impact on bordering neighborhoods, or how student housing affected owner-occupancy rates. She also asked for photo simulations showing the current proposal, including the views from Maple Lane and U.S. 101, and asked that the story poles be adjusted to reflect the current proposal.

Councilmember Pitino asked if staff had considered preferential parking for the Sunset neighborhood on Eye Street and Todd Court. He commented on the condition of Eye Street and the lack of sidewalks. He expressed his concern that until the trail was built, students would walk on Eye Street which was in bad repair. He requested to be able to walk the route of the proposed trail before it was built.

Councilmember Ornelas said she thought the four-story buildings were the best part of the project and she was frustrated by the two- and three-story building proposal. She said she thought that four-story buildings on the eastern side of the parcel would not break the skyline view from Maple Lane and would be blocked from the view of U.S. 101 by the trees.

ON MOTION BY ORNELAS, SECONDED BY WATSON, AND WITH A FOUR-TO ZERO VOICE VOTE WITH ONE ABSENCE, THE COUNCIL CONTINUED THE PUBLIC HEARING ON THE VILLAGE STUDENT HOUSING PROJECT TO THURSDAY, JUNE 7, 2018, AT 6:00 P.M., IN THE COUNCIL CHAMBER. AYES: PEREIRA, ORNELAS, PITINO, WATSON. NOES: NONE. ABSENT: WINKLER (RECUSED). ABSTENTIONS: NONE.

City Attorney Diamond gave an explanation of ex parte disclosure saying the purpose was for the Council to state factual information it had obtained from any source. She said this included touring the site. She said the Councilmembers should think about what facts and evidence they were bringing to this discussion from sources including outside research, emails, letters, or communications. She cited the purpose as: 1) make sure whatever information the Council was relying on was brought into the record because the Council's decision had to be based on the record. She said the record was the public hearing and the record would be preserved in case the project was challenged; 2) The applicant and the public had a right to know on what evidence the Council was basing its decision; and 3) The applicant had the right to have an impartial decision-making body. She advised the Councilmembers to be very mindful from now until they made their decision as to if they were participating in ex parte communications, and to be certain to bring it to the record.

Councilmember Winkler returned to the Council Chamber at 10:37 p.m.

RESULT:CONTINUED [4 TO 0]Next: 6/7/2018 6:00 PM
MOVER:Susan Ornelas, Councilwoman
SECONDER:Brett Watson, Vice Mayor
AYES:Paul Pitino, Susan Ornelas, Sofia Pereira, Brett Watson
Jun 7, 2018 6:00 PM Video City Council Special Meeting

A special meeting of the City Council of the City of Arcata was held on the above date at 6:03 p.m. with Mayor Pereira presiding. Notice of this meeting was posted on June 1, 2018. PRESENT: Pereira, Watson, Ornelas, Pitino. ABSENT: Winkler (recused). STAFF PRESENT: City Manager Diemer, City Attorney Diamond, Director of Community Development Loya, City Engineer Class, Assistant City Engineer Khatri.

Director of Community Development Loya reviewed the original plans submitted to the Council for The Village against the current plans. He explained that the original proposal consisted of four four-story buildings housing 800 student, and the new proposal consisted of three two-story buildings and two three-story buildings housing 602 students with 409 parking spaces. He said the latest proposal included additional parking, additional setback from the western property line, and a reduced scale of the buildings.

City Attorney Diamond explained that ex parte communications included all information and factual evidence the Councilmembers acquired outside of the hearing, and included not only oral and written communication, but also any information obtained on their own by walking the site, etc. She said that the need to disclose ex parte communications satisfied three purposes: 1) The decision rendered had to be based on the record--hard copy documents, oral testimony, minutes from hearings, etc. That record was the evidence that supported the Council's decision. It was important to make sure whatever factual information the Council was basing its decision on was brought into the record. 2) The applicant had a right to know the basis of the Council's decision and have a chance to refute it. The community had this right, as well. 3) The Councilmembers each needed to be impartial as a decision maker and they needed to support that by avoiding the appearance they were communicating outside the hearings with one side more than the other. Attorney Diamond encouraged the Council to have a site visit as a group during a meeting so the public could see what information was being considered.

Councilmember Ornelas disclosed that she had spoken to people in the community about this project for nine months, including Greg King and Sean Armstrong regarding whether or not it could be a no-car development. She said she was contacted by a neighborhood group, took a tour of the site in late 2017, and was shown student housing in that neighborhood and the impacts of it. She said she met with Bonnie MacRraith, who lived on Maple Lane, and looked at the story poles. She reported she went to the Marina project and spoke to the residents of the development and saw how it was situated. She further stated she had spoken with her adult children who compared this development to the Colony Inn development on Union Street which they considered to be a nightmare. She said this weighed on her. She reported she had a conversation with John Bergenske about the effects of purpose-built housing on a community. She said she spoke with Tony Lucchesi seeking information from a builder's point of view. She also spoke with Todd Larson who emphasized how much HSU needed housing. She reported that she visited the site to look at it and try to imagine the mass, etc.

Councilmember Watson disclosed that three to four years ago he rented a space at the Craftsman's Mall site for his business. He reported that June 20, 2017, was his first meeting on the project; he met with Bonnie MacRraith and they discussed shading of and privacy in her backyard, noise, and the impacts of having 800 students close to neighborhoods; on October 26, 2017, he met with David and Billy Moon and reviewed the project plans and got a detailed explanation of the proposal; in November 2017, he met with Maureen Jules and they spoke about loss of property value, past problems with college parties, and foot traffic in the neighborhood; on December 15, 2017, he and Councilmember Ornelas attended a neighborhood meeting and walked from the Janes Creek Meadow subdivision to Maple Lane, and talked about parties, building height, traffic impacts and increased density of students; on January 9, 2018, he met with David and Billy Moon and discussed their willingness to accommodate the neighbors' desires; on June 4, 2018, he met with Connie Stewart and they discussed issues with previous developments in the city; he visited The Promontory in Marina which provided housing for CSU Monterey Bay.

Councilmember Ornelas said she had met with the project proponents three times in the last one and one-half years.

Councilmember Pitino said he, too, visited The Promontory in Marina at CSU, Monterey Bay and spoke with students and the state college superintendent. He said everyone was positive about the development and it looked like an upscale project for any town. He said he met with The Village project proponents a couple of years ago, but had not met with them since then. He disclosed that he made many visits to Maple Lane, Todd Court, Eye Street, and St. Louis Road. He reported he met with Bonnie MacRraith in her back yard; he viewed the story poles multiple times; he spoke with members of the Senior Action Coalition updating them on the project as it proceeded through the City's process; he met with Heidi Benzonelli at the Jefferson School Project and she explained the effects of student housing in the low-income neighborhoods in Eureka; he met with Morgan King who resided on the west side of Westwood. He said that when he had spoken with people, he told them what the project was and asked what they had to say. He said people's responses had been mixed. He spent time talking with Julie Vaissade-Elcock from Arcata Citizens for Responsible Housing (ACRH) and she explained the impacts from ACRH's perspective; he had extended discussions describing the project to Samantha Everett, Dana Quillman, Ron Zimmel, Alan Sanborn, Cheryl Johnson, Wayne Brumsfield, Lena Dalahash, Joel Bradfield, Rocky Drill, Al Cooper, Liz Van Magun, Michael Moynihan, Sandy Deluca, Jane Woodward, and a general group of homeless advocates. He said some people want the project and some people don't. He said he had spoken with Ann King-Smith, Soloman and Katie of the 13th and J Sanctuary, and on the east side of Westwood--Steve Martin, Ann Wasserman, Christine Ng, John Moynihan, Daniel, Leeso, Sarah Turner, Maureen Jules--all of whom gave him input on the impacts of the project on their neighborhood. He said he also spoke with Kash Boodjeh. He said he looked, again, at Eye Street and had verified that the sidewalk on that street was defunct all the way from Todd Court to the project. He said there were parts of Eye Street that people could walk on.

Mayor Pereira said that over several months she had received requests from residents and the applicants for meetings and for the most part declined, especially during the Planning Commission's process. She said she had looked through Bonnie MacRraith's back yard and listened to her concerns. She reported that at an HSU/City Liaison meeting, there was a conversation between City staff and HSU staff about the status of the project and inquiring if HSU had an interest in or position on the project. She said her recollection of that meeting was that HSU was waiting to see what would happen with the project and how it may or may not relate to some other housing projects HSU was considering. She said she received a request for meetings from Erik Jules, ACRH, and through J.B. Mathers for a meeting with David and Billy Moon, to which she responded that she would only be receiving information and would not share any of her thoughts or perspective on the project. They agreed and she met on June 5 with Erik Jules on Maple Lane where they viewed the story poles, spoke about the evolvement of ACRH, the proposed alternative, and ACRH's concerns: driving up of rents in neighborhoods, increased friction and isolation between students and community, living in a mixed-use neighborhood, the project could decrease owner occupancy, single-family homes could be converted into rentals, there were inconsistencies between what the city wanted and what the project offered, parties at The Village might move down to the neighboring neighborhood. In terms of meeting with the applicant, Mayor Pereira said she met with them for one hour on June 5, 2018, where she received information regarding how they got into building student housing, how they took community input for CSU, Monterey Bay, the challenges for parents placing their students in housing, other projects they had built for CSUs, how they came to work with AMCAL, their pre-requisites for working on projects, the benefit of social and academic spaces, the amenities of the project, and CSU, Monterey Bay's master lease and option for purchase and that this agreement hadn't been on their other properties. She said the developers explained how they had communicated with universities to collaborate on housing and residents' life, when possible, and that they had been in communication with HSU for a couple of years, but it wasn't until very recently that there was an agreement. She said she was told these projects work better when there was an affiliation with the university. She said they also talked about double-occupancy of about 30 percent of the units to bring the cost down. She said she learned that AMCAL had done 80 affordable housing, public-benefit projects in the past and had only sold off three of them, and continued to manage the majority of the projects. She also learned they consider these projects do self-imposed market caps and they were targeting rents within 10 percent above or below on-campus housing rates, not including meal plans. She said the developers shared with her that HSU felt 800 beds were too many and that HSU shared some of the same concerns as the community.

Councilmember Watson disclosed that Mr. Mathers and the Moons had requested a meeting with him, and he declined to meet with them. He said his impressions from visiting the Marina project was that it was a really nice facility, but he didn't see neighborhoods immediately around the project. He said he also looked at an overhead view of that project on Google maps and saw it was mostly surrounded by sand dunes.

Mayor Pereira invited public comment.

Chip Wilkins, representing ACRH, appeared before the Council and referred to a letter he submitted to the Council earlier in the day which detailed why the environmental impact report (EIR) was inadequate. He complained that HSU was given unlimited time to address the Council on June 6, but he and citizens were only being given two minutes which he felt was a violation of the administrative process hearing requirements. He said the letter addressed why the EIR was not compliant with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). He said the applicant had hidden its intentions for this project and its true intention was to double or triple the bedrooms. He said the EIR had only addressed half of the traffic impacts.

Shante Catt, a resident of Wyatt Lane, appeared before the Council and acknowledged ACRH for voicing concerns and AMCAL for redesigning the project. She relayed the story of how she was homeless for 16 weeks when she transferred to HSU and spent $16,000 camping with her family. She said she was a member of a housing equity working group and that HSU's students were suffering with 19 percent feeling there were barriers to them obtaining housing. She said there were many students eligible for housing, but there was no housing for them. She noted that many parents buy housing in Arcata to rent to students. She stated that Arcata needed this project.

Michael Lozeau, representing Laborers' International Union of North America No. 324, appeared before the Council and expressed their concern that this project was being presented in a way to skirt the university's obligation to pay prevailing wage. He said it appeared the traffic analysis may not have relied on the actual number of residents. He asked the Council to hold off on making a decision, look at the alternatives, and make sure the public could comment on each of the changes.

An unidentified member of the audience appeared before the Council stating that Arcata needed affordable housing, but he was concerned this project was not affordable stating the monthly rent was in the range of $892. He said that for many people, this would be more than one-half of their take-home pay.

John Rosa, a resident of Maple Lane, appeared before the Council and said he was disappointed because he received a notice to come to the June 6, 2018, meeting, but not this meeting. He said he would submit a letter with his comments.

Julie Vaissade-Elcock,a rseident of Arcata, appeared before the Council and said she was opposed to the project even with its redesign. She said she was even more against it knowing the developers' ultimate goal. She said that AMCAL sold its development to CSU, Monterey Bay for $68 million, and if Arcata allowed this project to be built and then removed from the tax rolls without a fight, the public would not want to hear about tax increases in the future. She said she wanted to keep projects local and not tax exempt. She asked why no local developers had been invited to submit a bid.

Kimberly Taes, a resident of Humboldt County, appeared before the Council and asked if it had read the emails between HSU and AMCAL. She said the Council should demand that HSU release the information it had redacted from the emails. She said it was troubling that HSU officials were working to circumvent prevailing wages and wanted to double the occupancy of the project. She said the alternative project designed by Greenway Partners was compatible with Arcata.

Steve Martin, a professor at HSU and resident of Maple Lane, appeared before the Council and said he didn't want students to have to deal with being homeless. He said he loved students, but didn't want to live across from them. He declared the project would be good if it were built on the HSU campus. He referred the Council to his concerns he listed in a letter he submitted, which included not believing HSU would not purchase the project. He said he did not trust HSU or AMCAL and urged the Council to get a legally binding commitment from HSU and AMCAL that there were not be more than 602 residents housed there.

An unidentified member of the audience appeared before the Council and said her concerns paralleled those of ACRH, and she hoped native plants would be used in the landscape design.

Cynthia Bashman, a resident of Eye Street, appeared before the Council saying she felt the impact of living near HSU where parking was free. She said this project would pour another 600 students out onto Eye Street. She said the units did not seem more affordable than what was already available. She expressed her concern with what she anticipated to be heavy use of Eye Street, Grant Street, and Jay Street.

An unidentified member of the audience appeared before the Council and said Arcata nee4ded housing now. She relayed that while a student, she couch surfed awhile due to the lack of housing. She said she wrote her senior project on how the housing problem could be fixed, and that it could be fixed by having an actual housing project. She said the redesigned project was a better fit for the community.

Jane Woodward, a resident of Arcata, appeared before the Council and thanked the developers for listening to the residents and students and making modifications to the project. She listed the concerns she still had as being the lack of a demonstrated need; neighborhood disruption due to parking, parties, food and entertainment; unmitigable traffic issues; recirculation of money; loss of tax revenue if HSU purchased the facility; apparent failure to address the condition and maintenance of Eye Street; and the difficulty in commenting on a continuously evolving project. She said the public needed more time, and that she would support the project if it were on the HSU campus.

Allan Sanborn, a resident of Arcata, appeared before the Council and asked if local labor would be employed to build the project. He said that if the EIR did not address a scenario in which HSU purchased the project making it exempt from property taxes, we should go back to square one. He said that anyone living on Eye Street should be concerned because if HSU bought the project, they may want to connect it to the main campus some day.

Bonnie MacRaith, a resident of Maple Lane, appeared before the Council and said that ACRH was not given ample time to comment on the changes to the proposal. She asked the Council to refer to the study she sent it on purpose-built student housing and the problems it created when built in neighborhoods--homeowners left, prices went up, and neighborhoods became student ghettos. She encouraged the Council to consider the ACRH site plan which was open to all ages. She asked why this project was not being built on the HSU campus.

Judy Scharnberg, a resident of the Janes Creek Meadow subdivision, appeared before the Council and expressed her concerns regarding the new configuration, the greatest of which was parking. She said that when HSU was in session, all the streets in her neighborhood were filled with parked cars, and under no circumstances could that neighborhood handle bleed over of cars from The Village. She suggested The Village residents be given free or low-cost off-street parking, and said the problem must be addressed in advance and not become an unintended consequence.

Dan Bartley, a resident of Stromberg Avenue and professor at HSU, appeared before the Council and said HSU had homeless students and needed affordable housing, but he was not convinced this was the right project for Arcata. He expressed his concern that there was very little public disclosure and comment on the project and felt it violated the spirit of CEQA. He also said he was concerned about the ability of HSU to manage the project, and concerned about the future tax status of the property.

Carla Douglas appeared before the Council and said it could best serve Arcata by turning this site into an affordable housing neighborhood. She said she owned a rental and was an engaged, ethical landlord and that was the model that needed to be encouraged. She said students had told her they didn't want to live in student housing because it was too dense and had too many rules. She urged the Council to reject any sense of urgency to create student housing on private property. She said the student housing crisis was propaganda to get this project approved and that approving it would be a huge misstep.

Milton Boyd, a resident of Hilfiker Drive, appeared before the Council and said he had hoped whatever was built would be a model for infill development in Arcata and complement his neighborhood. He said the plans were incompatible with the values and character of the Westwood area. He asked the Council to stop the project so one compatible with the neighborhood and city could be developed.

Seth Hill, a resident of Stromberg Avenue, appeared before the Council and said the project would be a large nuisance to the Westwood neighborhood in terms of traffic, trash, partying, noise, and light. He surmised there were better areas elsewhere in Arcata to locate this project. He asked for confirmation that Eye Street and Stromberg Avenue would not be impacted by increased stormwater runoff from the project site. He asked about fencing to buffer noise and light.

Heather Bergen, a realtor from Coldwell Banker Sellers Realty, speaking on her own behalf, appeared before the Council and said Arcata's and HSU's housing crises were extreme and a project such as this would ultimately lead to more owner occupancy and opening up opportunities for single-family residents. That being said, she urged the Council to exercise caution in its review of this project, especially in regard to traffic and parking. She voiced her support for rezoning of the property, and said a project of this type was in the best interest of the community and in the interest of single-family homes being owner occupied.

Joanne McGarry appeared before the Council and said it was difficult for her as a single senior to find safe, sane, affordable housing in Arcata. She asked the Council to keep these terms in mind when considering housing in Arcata: silo thinking, integration, town-and-gown, inter-generational, and community. She asked the Council to please consider if this project provided safe, sane and affordable housing.

Jack Roscoe appeared before the Council and said this project had too many beds, too many cars, too many promises, and too many false representations. He said the developers' project in Turlock at CSU, Stanislaus, The Vista, proposed 600 beds and in the end there were 660 beds. He said all their studios were sold out at $1,400 a month with a yearly lease, not a nine-month lease. He said he spoke with Turlock resident Minnette Snook who told him her house was right behind The Vista and she had relayed a history of noise, police calls, complaints, and parking problems.

Gwen Roscoe appeared before the Council and said the community had presented its concerns at many Planning Commission meetings. She said that lowering the buildings' height and reducing the number of beds to 602 addressed some concerns, but the concentration of students and their impact on the adjacent neighborhood remained a concern. She said that poor planning and infrastructure would impact safety and traffic and that was a huge concern. She surmised the price of housing would increase if the project were built.

Sherry Starr, a resident of Bayside, appeared before the Council and expressed her concern about traffic explaining that she was a frequent user of Foster and Sunset Avenues. She expressed concerns with having bicyclists and pedestrians having to cross US 101 to get to the campus. She said this project should be located on campus. She also said she was concerned about the possible use of non-union labor and the state taking the land from the city.

Carol Petty, a resident of Spear Avenue, appeared before the Council and expressed her concerns about increased traffic on Spear Avenue, speeding, parking congestion on Spear Avenue, drainage, and crime along Spear Avenue and in the railroad corridor along Eye Street.

Margaret Kelso, a resident of Ross Street, appeared before the Council saying she was opposed to any construction on the Craftsman's Mall Site at this time because of dangerous traffic conditions at the roundabout at Sunset and Foster Avenue. She recommended the traffic issues be mitigated before any developments be considered. She expressed her concern about the atmosphere between HSU and the community saying there had been instances of disturbing propaganda from the campus and this created a schism between students and residents.

Bill Kowinski appeared before the Council and asked if a need for the project had been established. He noted that in 2018/2019, HSU was projected to have 1,000 fewer students. He asked why it was the City's problem that HSU admitted more students than it could house. He said this project would not help to free up single-family homes.

Connie Stewart, a resident of Arcata, appeared before the Council and said that even though she had money, she was a couch-surfing student at HSU 34 years ago. She said the stories about the quality of housing in Arcata and how long it took students to find housing would break one's heart, as would the number of students sleeping in parking lots overnight. She said it was time for the pain of infill. She said the City could consider social host ordinances and she felt it was possible to do something about the traffic impacts.

Alex Stillman appeared before the Council saying she moved to Arcata in 1972 and realized what a housing shortage it had. She noted that vacation rentals had taken a lot of Arcata's housing stock. She said she had three vacation rentals that she turned into housing and the majority of them were filled with students. She said she felt Arcata needed all kinds of housing and that this was a project the City could support.

Erik Jules, a professor at HSU and a director for ACRH, appeared before the Council and said that if someone was starting from scratch, they would look around the country to see what worked. He said there was a consensus that dorms built off campus created problems for students and the community with landlords increasing their rents, an increase in the separation between students and non-students, and a decrease in owner occupancy as people realized their homes could generate high-end rents. He requested the Council read the papers he and his wife submitted so they could better understand the risks associated with this type of project.

Norm Dutra, a resident of Vaissade Estates, appeared before the Council and said the story poles were visible from Alliance Road and this project would be a big monster. He noted that sidewalks in the area were inadequate and that drivers sped on L. K. Wood Boulevard. He spoke of traffic hazards in the area. He surmised that a property tax give-away was not in the best interest of Arcata. He asked who would provide police services to the property.

Maggie Gainer appeared before the Council and said she moved to Arcata because it was a college town and her first two years she convinced two different homeowners to let her convert their garages so she could live in them. She declared Arcata had a terrible housing shortage. She urged the Council to deny this project because she knew something better could be developed that integrated students into community life.

John Bergenske, a director of ACRH, appeared before the Council and said he was opposed to the project because it isolated students in a managed facility and he felt students needed to blend with the community. He said that a public records request by ACRH revealed the project would be sold to HSU. He noted that a Development Agreement would not service the project beyond five years. He declared it was a public project, not a private one, was missing review by the State Architect and did not guarantee payment of prevailing wages. He said the developer was not trustworthy, not local, and would take its profits and leave Arcata with the problems.

Jenna, a resident of Eye Street, appeared before the Council and voiced her concerns about the upkeep of the roadway and sidewalk on Eye Street. She said she valued the quiet in her neighborhood. She relayed that she lived in the HSU dorms for three years with a community kitchen which was a nightmare. She said they started with double-occupancy rooms which became quad-occupancy rooms. She asked who would be responsible for the development.

Elizabeth Johnson, a homeowner for 28 years next to Craftsman's Mall, appeared before the Council and said the development would change the neighborhood and her way of life. She said the development was not what was needed in the community. She said she hoped the development would not move forward.

Written communications in favor of or opposition to the project, expressing concerns about the project, or presenting general information regarding student housing were received from Ann King Smith, Michael Lozeau on behalf of Laborers' International Union of North America Local Union No. 324, Kristen Kanaga, John Rosa, Andrew Whitney, Erik Jules, Remy Moose Manley LLP on behalf of Arcata Citizens for Responsible Housing, Maureen Jules, Judith Williamson, Bill Kowinski, Bonnie MacRaith, Chris Wuoltee, Holland & Knight LLP on behalf of AMCAL, HSU President Lisa Rossbacher, Jane Woodward, John Bergenske, Lindsey McWilliams, Margaret Kelso, and Steve Martin. The Council also received a news release from Humboldt State University titled, "HSU Joins Effort to Create New Student Housing."

Mayor Pereira closed the public comment period.

Councilmember Pitino asked if it was accurate that AMCAL could build the project without paying prevailing wages just like all the other developers in town.

Director Loya replied that the requirement to pay prevailing wages was not triggered unless the project was a public work, so he understood it would not be required on this project. He said he didn't know if the affiliation with HSU would trigger that requirement, but he would look into that.

Councilmember Pitino asked how long the eight percent property tax would be retained by the City.

Director Loya responded that the Development Agreement was structured to add flexibility into that provision of the agreement. At the time it was drafted, there was no affiliation agreement between the developer and HSU. He said staff was aware that the developer and HSU were communicating throughout the entire process, but he understood they did not have anything that approached what HSU would accept as either an affiliation agreement or purchase and sale agreement. He said those terms recently changed. He said staff had been speculating on how it could accomplish the tax requirement in the Development Agreement when there was no agreement between AMCAL and HSU. He said that now that staff knew AMCAL and HSU were moving toward an affiliation agreement, staff was looking to find a way to firm that up. He said there may be a potential for a three-way agreement to provide for an ongoing tax base. He explained that the one-time $300,000 payment paled in comparison to a long-term tax loss. He said staff would be looking to secure the long-term payment of at least the City's share of property taxes.

On inquiry by Councilmember Pitino, Director Loya said that 602 residents was included in the project description, Conditions of Approval, and the Development Agreement. He said the Planned Development permit would not be extinguished by the affiliation agreement, and would specify 600 residents, but could be amended. He stated that if HSU purchased the property, it would no longer be subject to the City's regulations. He said staff would investigate if there was a way to flesh that out in an agreement.

On inquiry by Councilmember Pitino, David Moon, the developer, said the leases would be for the academic term, approximately 10 months; not one year. He also said they would not be required to pay prevailing wages as it was a private project.

Councilmember Ornelas said she had not had enough time to read the documents submitted to the Council that day, although she had read at least one-half of the ACRH material. She said she was interested in student housing, but only slightly interested in this type. She worried about the history of the Colony Inn. She said this project would not be easily adaptable to become regular housing, and she worried about that. She said she thought the proposal was just too much. She stated that she had found that for housing to be successful in Arcata, it was best integrated with students living amongst other residents and families. She said this was an infill project on 11 acres and she felt to turn it into student housing was short-sighted and not thoughtful. She stated her concern that the project would be creating housing for people of color and then separating them from neighborhoods, and that would create more strife. She expressed her opinion that the project was too big of a student project for the site. She said she was interested in student housing up against the east side of the site at, maybe, four stories housing perhaps 300 students. She said the building plans had nothing to do with this region, stating that the courtyards were facing west and would not get sunshine and that the development should block the westward winds. She stated she could not accept the unavoidable traffic impacts. She said that in Marina, the students told her they liked the housing. She said this project would most likely be built with local subcontractors, so it might not be a high-quality development. At this point, she said she could not make the findings to support the project, citing the traffic problems and that it didn't fit into the neighborhood.

Councilmember Watson said he would like to see the final affiliation agreement between HSU, the developer, and the City. He asked if the project would be 600 beds today and 1200 tomorrow depending on the ownership? He said he did not want to give the public a false bill of sale.

Councilmember Watson asked who would have control over the rent.

Mr. Moon replied that the agreement with HSU had not been finalized. He said that ownership typically controlled, but it could be established by agreement with HSU. He said the rents were not fixed forever, they were fixed for the term of the lease. He said that how rents would increase over time was determined by the market, and there could be restrictions on that in the agreement with HSU.

Councilmember Watson asked what the downsides were of vacating St. Louis Road at the site.

City Manager Diemer said the downside was that the City wouldn't want to vacate St. Louis Road without a real good idea of what the development would be on the site. She said the City could lose potential connectivity to Eye Street. She said staff had reserved a tremendous easement for ingress, egress and future connectivity. She said that if the site were fully developed, then the need for future use of that road wouldn't exist. She said the consideration was to vacate the road so the buildings could be moved farther east.

City Attorney Diamond said the vacation of St. Louis Road would be structured so that it would not occur until after the development was completed.

City Engineer Class said the City would lose long-term vehicle access on that side of the freeway, but would maintain bicycle, pedestrian and other connectivity. He said there was a mainline easement through the property for utilities, and that PG&E had easements as well. He said the City also wanted to make sure it had the capability for short durations to be able to pass some traffic through there, carefully down Eye Street, such as if there were some emergency or disaster.

On inquiry by Councilmember Pitino, City Engineer Class said Eye Street was fully built out and a very low-volume street, so no new sidewalks would be built. He said the pavement was currently in bad shape, however, he felt that people could safely walk on that street. He said the plan for bicycle and pedestrian connectivity was with the rail with trail in that area.

Councilmember Pitino expressed his concern that Eye Street, without sidewalks, was not a good place to send pedestrians, especially in the winter.

City Engineer Class confirmed that a requirement for this project would be that the developers would have to complete the trail from the project south to Todd Court.

Director Loya said the City did not currently have an easement for the trail. He said a timeline would be spelled out in the Development Agreement, and that if the trail could not be built, due to a lack of easement, before the Certificate of Occupancy was issued, the developer could pay a fee to the City and the City would build the trail after it secured the easement.

On inquiry by Councilmember Pitino, City Engineer Class said that currently there was not enough traffic volume to justify a three-way stop at the intersection of Spear Avenue and the St. Louis Road overcrossing, but the traffic analysis estimated 1500 trips a day coming out of St. Louis Road at the overcrossing. He said staff would have to do a warrant study prior to considering a three-way stop.

Councilmember Pitino requested the Council visit the site.

Mayor Pereira said the Council needed to have a full understanding of the project's impacts, read the academic material received and understand the short- and long-term picture for the project.

Councilmember Pitino asked about the Fire Department's ability to reach the buildings, to which Director Loya replied that Chief McDonald had confirmed the Department's trucks had the ability to reach the buildings, including the roof. Chief McDonald had said the Fire Department could provide service to a four-story building.

ON MOTION BY WATSON, SECONDED BY PITINO, AND WITH A UNANIMOUS VOICE VOTE THE COUNCIL CALLED A SPECIAL MEETING AND CONTINUED THE PUBLIC HEARING TO TUESDAY, JUNE 19, 2018, AT 4:00 P.M., BEGINNING IN THE COUNCIL CHAMBER, THEN MOVING TO A TOUR OF THE PROJECT SITE, THEN BACK TO THE COUNCIL CHAMBER AT 6:30 P.M. AYES: PEREIRA, WATSON, ORNELAS, PITINO, WINKLER. NOES: NONE. ABSENT: NONE. ABSTENTIONS: NONE.

ADJOURNMENT: The meeting was adjourned at 8:50 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Bridget Dory

City Clerk

RESULT:REFERRED [UNANIMOUS]
MOVER:Brett Watson, Vice Mayor
SECONDER:Paul Pitino, Councilmember
AYES:Michael Winkler, Paul Pitino, Susan Ornelas, Sofia Pereira, Brett Watson