By Ted Pease
on Wed, Feb 10, 2016 at 4:10 PM
Online vacation rental sites include plenty of local options, from the luxurious to the humble.
Acknowledging that they are playing catch-up on yet another high-impact issue affecting residents countywide, the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to jump into the vacation rental regulation business.
“Currently, the county code is mute on this issue,” said Chair Mark Lovelace in introducing the discussion. “It is another issue that has been unregulated for far too long,” he added, referring to the board’s recent lengthy deliberations on cannabis cultivation.
The vacation rental issue came to the board as a result of a petition by a joint private-public Vacation Home Rental Working Group, which developed and paid the costs of preparing a staff report to revamp county zoning.
The county planning staff recommendation is that the county move to allow short-term rentals in residential zones anywhere in the unincorporated parts of the county, which would include communities such as Westhaven, where full-time residents have been increasingly vocal in their opposition to the “disruptive” vacation rentals in their midst.
Coming Attractions, which has operated the Minor Theater in Arcata since 2005, will shut the historic theater down Feb. 5.
Josh Neff, who took ownership of the Minor Theater building and adjacent storefronts last year, says he plans to re-open the movie theater, but expects renovations to take at least a month. The theater celebrated its 100th anniversary at the end of 2014 and holds the niche historical significance of being the oldest "multi-reel feature film theater in the United States."
The Arcata Resource Recovery Center — better known as the spot on 10th Street where you can drop off your recyclables and get your deposit back on glass bottles and cans — is closing.
As the Mad River Unionfirst reported, Rick Powell, the general manager of Eel River Resource Recovery — which owns and operates the Arcata center — told the Humboldt Waste Management Authority at its January meeting that the company wasn't earning enough at the Arcata site to justify keeping it open. The prices for resources are down, he said, and not enough customers were using the site.
Eureka Natural Foods is moving forward with its plans to open a McKinleyville store, just not as quickly as the company had hoped.
Eureka Natural Foods owner Rick Littlefield said the project hit some snags obtaining a building permit from the Humboldt County Planning Department, which set things back a couple of months. But, with the permit now in hand, Littlefield said work should begin soon renovating the former McKinleyville Home and Garden Center building at the corner of Pickett Road and Central Avenue. Even though it was built as a grocery store in 1965, the building needs some pretty extensive work, Littlfield said.
California's lowest earners will have a little bit more of this to throw around.
Local activist and former Arcata City Councilmember Dave Meserve tells the Journal that, in the wake of Measure R’s defeat, he attempted to drum up support for a countywide initiative that would immediately bump the minimum wage to $12 an hour, working up to $15 over a three-year period. Meserve says he met with a host of people about the idea — union organizers, workers and business owners.
“Although I did find broad support for the idea, I was not able to put together enough of a coalition to be sure of success in collecting the thousands of signatures necessary, all across Humboldt County,” he wrote in an email to the Journal. “Unfortunately, I did not have the time or the resources to press ahead without a lot of enthusiastic supporters who had time to devote to such an effort.”
Meserve said he hopes to see the statewide $15-an-hour initiative on the ballot in November.
In the meantime, while supporters of Measure R expressed some hope that new Eureka City Councilmembers Natalie Arroyo and Kim Bergel, both of who expressed support for Measure R on the campaign trail, would push forward a city ordinance, there doesn’t appear to have been any movement on the issue at city hall.
The Humboldt Bay Tourism Center's parklet should be lovely in the summertime.
Those parklets, the tiny, public, Old Town outdoor spaces that were supposed to be completed in September, got held up a little, but we’re assured they’re on their way.
Eureka Community Development Director Rob Holmlund says the parklet plans for two of the four participating businesses have been approved by the city. Ramone’s Bakery owner Berit Meyer says workers were prepared not long ago to pour cement in front of the E Street store, but she wanted to hold off until after Christmas, what with extra traffic in Old Town and extra business for the bakery. Now, Meyer said, she's just waiting on a break in the weather.
It looks like the North Coast’s AT&T customers will be entering the modern era of telecommunications reliability. Next year.
In a letter sent to the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors today, the company said it’s “upgrading the North Coast network to significantly increase the network’s protection against outages or service disruptions caused by fiber damage.” The company has been plagued by a pair of recent outages — the first in September, when someone sliced through a fiber optic line between Ukiah and Hopland, and the second earlier this month, when a CalTrans crew near Fortuna severed the line while clearing a culvert — that have left tens of thousands of customers without cell phone, internet and home phone service. (Those came on the heels of another blackout in October, 2014.)
Under the threat of multiple lawsuits, the Arcata City Council decided last night to table its discussion of a Medical Marijuana Innovation Zone.
The council had previously brought forward an ordinance adopting the zoning change for the former Humboldt Flakeboard Mill on West End Road (“Area A”), which would allow medical marijuana cultivation, processing, manufacturing and warehousing at businesses on the site. At a neighborhood meeting last week, council members heard from nearby property owners and seemed poised to expand the zoning to include an “Area C” farther north at last night’s meeting.
UPDATE: The most recent campaign finance information for 5th District incumbent Pat Higgins and details of his late filing have been added to this post.
PREVIOUSLY: The final round of campaign finance reports for the Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District commission candidates were due yesterday, and they show a fairly spendy push to elect the district’s next commissioners.
Read more about the district, and what’s at stake in our previous coverage here. And read profiles of the candidates for two district seats here and here.
Here are some of the numbers, and noteworthy takeaways, from the Oct. 22 reports: