Arcata Creekside Annexation

LAFCo received a proposal submitted by resolution of application from the City of Arcata (City) for annexation of approximately 21.6 acres (4 parcels) of land located adjacent to the City boundary and within its current Sphere of Influence. The proposed annexation is for the development of the Creekside Homes project (APN 505-161-011), consisting of approximately 16 acres located at 2000 Foster Avenue, which will add 32 single-family residences and 32 accessory dwelling units, a 100-bed memory care facility, and 25 senior-restricted neighborhood cottage units.  This project will help satisfy the City’s Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) by creating 5 very low, 20 low, 32 moderate, and 32 above moderate units, and would provide housing for approximately 269 residents. The project also includes the annexation of 0.44 acres of the developer-owned adjoining parcel (APN 506-161-009) for development of bike and pedestrian trail infrastructure (“Proposed Hammond Trail Extension”), the nearby 4.22 acre property owned by the City (APN 505-151-009) for recreational park expansion (“Ennis Park Expansion Parcel”), and a portion of the rights-of-way for Foster Avenue and Q Street that are currently in Humboldt County jurisdiction.

Project features to be developed on the Property will include a stream protection zone along Janes Creek, a wetland mitigation area, landscaping, pedestrian/bicycle trails, and the development and dedication of public infrastructure (access roads, utilities, stormwater facilities, etc.). Offsite improvements will include parkland development to the north west of the residential development site, an emergency access road to Stewart A venue, pedestrian/bicycle trails, and the connection of Foster Avenue over Janes Creek which will include sidewalks, bike lanes, and a “T” type intersection at Q Street and Foster Avenue. Finally, Developer proposes to convey a conservation easement over an adjoining parcel as mitigation for the conversion of prime agricultural lands.

Upon consideration of the proposed annexation boundary and referral comments, LAFCo staff identified and analyzed a modified annexation boundary that includes five (5) additional parcels for a total of 76.7 acres (9 parcels). 

Important Documents
Application Form
Plan for Services and Development Agreement
Resolution of Application
Proposed Boundary Figures
City of Arcata Municipal Service Review 2020
City Environmental Documents and Fiscal Analysis (under project documents tab)
LAFCo EIR Addendum
Public Hearing Notice to Landowners and Registered Voters

Request for Reconsideration
At the January 20, 2021 Regular Commission meeting, a noticed public hearing was held during which the Commission choose to adopt the Modified Creekside Annexation with conditions as set forth in LAFCo Resolution No. 21-01, which also included a CEQA Addendum to the City’s EIR for the Creekside project.

A reconsideration request was submitted to LAFCo requesting that only the Creekside Homes subdivision parcel be annexed to the City. At the regular commission meeting on March 17, 2021, the Commission considered the request for reconsideration including new or different facts not previously considered by LAFCo and received oral and written testimony. At the conclusion of its consideration, the Commission approved the reconsideration request with amendment so that the originally proposed parcels are annexed to the City.  This includes the Creekside Homes subdivision, Ennes Park expansion, and Foster Avenue road and railroad rights-of-way. 

Reconsideration Documents
Request for Reconsideration
Notice to Landowners and Registered Voters
March 17, 2021 Staff Report
Additional Comment Letters Received After Staff Report

Reasons for Original City Proposal
The City has determined that the project is consistent with the goals and policies of its General Plan: 2020 and includes appropriate standards and requirements with respect to the development of the property. According to the City’s application, the reasons for the proposed annexation are as follows:

  1. The Creekside Homes parcel is currently owned by Foster Avenue, LLC. The planned use for the property is residential. The property sits at the far western boundary of the City of Arcata, and the plan for development relies upon development into the City and connection to City utilities (water, sewer, etc.). The City is supportive of the annexation as it will create new housing units and supportive facilities that will serve Arcata residents. The proposed residential units have been counted towards the City’s 2019-2027 Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) as part of the 6th Cycle of the City’s adopted Housing Element.
  2. Ennes Park is currently owned by the City of Arcata and currently operates as a community park. The property has been owned by the City of Arcata since the 1970s and was purchased with park bond funds for the express purpose of use by the City of Arcata for Arcata’s residents. Although the City currently manages the parkland and retains control of the land, it is not in City limits. Annexation would allow the city to apply and enforce use regulations arising under the City of Arcata Municipal Code for the Ennes Park site.
  3. The Foster Avenue ROW is owned by the County of Humboldt. The old Railroad ROW is owned by Foster Avenue, LLC and was rezoned for residential use in the past by the County. Both parcels are now proposed to be annexed into the City as “unzoned” land and together will comprise the new City-owned road ROW. Both parcels are integral to the City’s planned improvements for Foster Avenue, which will include connecting the west and east section of Foster Avenue, accompanied by a variety of infrastructure improvements intended to increase pedestrian safety and encourage multi-modal transportation in the vicinity of the project site.
  4. The historic railroad ROW will be converted to a Class I protected bicycle/pedestrian trail parallel to Foster Avenue and will serve as an extension to the Hammond Trail. The Foster Avenue ROW will be improved by the City to connect east and west portions of Foster Avenue, which will include installation of a roundabout at the intersection of Foster and Alliance (within current City limits). As a result of the annexation, this roadway connection project and its ongoing maintenance will be under the purview of the City. The County has expressed interest in the City annexing the full road ROW west to Janes Road, in order to facilitate ongoing maintenance as well as future pedestrian safety improvements necessitated by the Creekside Homes project.

Description of Annexation Areas

Creekside Homes residential development site:
The residential development site’s street address is 2000 Foster Avenue (APN 505-161-011); it is located near the intersection of Foster Avenue and “Q” Street, west of the Sunset Neighborhood in the City of Arcata. The site is north of Foster Avenue, west of Heather Lane and Westwood Lane, and south of Stewart Avenue. Janes Creek runs along the southeastern boundary of the site.

Surrounding uses include single-family and multi-family residential development to the north and east, agriculture uses to the west including Sun Valley Floral Farms, and a mix of single-family residential and agricultural uses to the south. The former Simpson Mill spur tracks are located along the southern boundary of the residential development site adjacent to the north edge of the Foster Avenue right-of-way. The railroad bed is now inactive and privately-owned. Foster Avenue is a two lane County roadway with a 40-foot right of way.

The residential development site was used as a lumber mill and whole-log chipping facility in the past but has not been used for this purpose since the 1980s. The site contains remnants of the former mill structures as well as the western bank of Janes Creek and associated riparian corridor, fill materials and gravel, blackberry bushes, grasses, and other low growing shrubs. The site is essentially flat, sloping slightly from the northeast to the southwest. The site is surfaced with river run gravel fill interspersed with vegetation.

Ennes Park Site:
The proposed park site (Ennes Park Expansion), which totals approximately 4.69 acres, would be located on City owned parcels 505-151-009, 505-284-009, and 505-284-010. Parcel 505-151-009 is currently located in the County and parcels 505-284-009 and 505-284-010 are located within City limits. The majority of the proposed park site is currently vacant but was used historically for agriculture and contains prime agricultural soils. The park site currently contains a graveled driveway access that is used for an adjacent community supported agriculture (CSA) operation on parcel 505-151-008. Ennes Park serves the single-family residential neighborhood to the north of the residential development site and was recently redeveloped by the City to contain a jungle gym, wiggle board, spinner pod, a see-saw type structure, and a corn hole court.

Previous Railroad ROW/ Proposed Hammond Trail extension:
The proposed Hammond Trail section that will be developed by the applicant will be located on parcel 505-161-009 (no address assigned) which totals approximately 0.94 acres (0.74 acres in County jurisdiction and 0.20 acres within City limits). This parcel is located along the southern boundary of the residential development site. This parcel historically contained the Simpson Mill spur tracks which have been inactive for several decades. The property is privately owned and is planned to be developed as a section of the Hammond Trail and has been identified as such in the 2010 Arcata Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan.

Foster Avenue ROW:
The proposed Foster Avenue connection will be located within the City of Arcata public right-of-way and on parcels 505-161-009, -030, and 505-162-010. The Foster Avenue connection will cover an approximately 0.21-acre portion of these parcels and the existing road right-of-way (180 feet long by 50 feet wide). The majority of the Foster Avenue connection will occur in the Foster Avenue public right-of-way and on parcel 505-161-009. The area proposed for this road connection contains an existing rail bed crossing over Janes Creek with an undersized culvert that is in disrepair. The right-of-way crosses Janes Creek and is bordered by parcels 505-161-009 (railroad bed) and 505-341-037, the residential development site, and Westwood Manor Park.

Please direct comments, questions, and requests to review documents to Humboldt LAFCo, 1125 16th Street, Suite 2020, Arcata, California 95521.  For further information, please contact LAFCo Clerk, Krystle Heaney, at krystleh @ or the LAFCo office at (707) 445-7508. Please note that staff is currently working remotely due to COVID-19 and may not be able to check phone messages regularly.