Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Fortuna Moment

Posted By on Wed, Mar 5, 2008 at 3:31 PM

OK, so, the Fortuna City Council was well into its agenda Monday night, in what would be a four-hour meeting after all was said, ranted and done, when Sean Armstrong, project manager for Danco Communities, stood up to answer some questions about his company’s plans to build low-income housing on land the city had bought and set aside for just that purpose. The land, however, is zoned residential single family, and the Danco project -- 35 low- and very low-income "townhome-style" units -- would require a rezone to residential multi-family, a General Plan amendment and an easement from a nearby church. This was a public hearing on the proposed rezone.

It’s a sticky issue, rezoning. Fortuna’s in the midst of updating its general plan; meanwhile, would-be developers keep knocking on the city’s propped-open door. But how can the city make decisions about rezones and housing when it doesn’t even know what its new housing element’s going to be, asked Councilman Douglas Strehl. Indeed, every time one of these proposals comes up it reminds the council that the city hasn’t yet answered some pretty key questions. Like, what does Fortuna want to be when it grows up? Who will it associate with? And so on.

But Councilman Dean Glaser is pretty clear about what he doesn’t want. He said he was leery of the rezone, and that he knew of "horror stories ... marital disturbances" and such associated with these sorts of high-density low-income developments. He wants homeowners, not lowlifes (OK, he didn’t quite use the term "lowlifes").

Glaser’s soliloquy on what makes a good neighbor -- in the first clip, below -- was followed by a severe upbraiding by Armstrong -- the second clip.

(The clips are from a disc Access Humboldt, which broadcasts the City of Fortuna’s council meetings on Channel 10, was kind enough to make for us.)
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Heidi Walters

Heidi Walters worked as a staff writer at the North Coast Journal from 2005 to 2015.

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