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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the group called Citizens for a Better Eureka (CBE)?

Citizens for a Better Eureka (CBE) is a coalition of concerned residents and business owners seeking to stop the City of Eureka from closing nine downtown parking lots and eliminating 640 badly needed parking spaces. The city plans to build low- and very low-income housing on those lots.

 

CBE believes this is a very poorly designed plan that threatens the economic vitality of downtown and does not meet the needs of the people of Eureka. CBE has identified at least one publicly owned site that could provide even more needed housing without disrupting downtown.

 

CBE is asking the city officials to work collaboratively with business owners and residents on a sustainable downtown redevelopment plan and on pursuing viable options to provide badly needed housing.

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What is "wrong" with the city's plan?

This plan is for subsidized low- and very-low-income housing only and does not include other amenities that are important to the Eureka community. It does not provide housing for middle-class and working families struggling to find housing. We all think Eureka needs more housing, but this proposal is flawed. It comes at the expense of our local businesses, stores, and restaurants; it doesn’t provide services that new low-income residents would need to live comfortably downtown, like an affordable grocery store; and it doesn’t consider other viable sites in the city. 

Isn't more housing needed to address the housing crisis in Eureka and Humboldt County?

The Citizens for a Better Eureka strongly supports the development of housing but not at the expense of local businesses and the waterfront. Taking away approximately 640 parking spaces will limit access to downtown shops, restaurants, and businesses - the very heart of the downtown culture and environment. Reduced parking means employees and customers will also have to walk much further in unsafe conditions created by the number of homeless camping out on the sidewalks, the traffic, especially on the dangerous US 101, and the rising number of attacks on pedestrians. These parking lots are critical to keeping customers, tourists, and employees coming downtown.

What is the alternative site for housing CBE has identified?

An excellent alternative location is the former Jacobs Middle School property. This vacant 14-acre publicly-owned site has the potential for a minimum of 616 units and is located within safe walking distance of public transportation, schools, a grocery store, medical services, and a shopping mall – which are not available with the downtown parking lot locations. It offers the opportunity to develop community housing designed with open spaces for children to play safely. New homes built here would not be heavily reliant on cars enabling Eureka to provide needed housing in an environmentally sensitive manner.

 

This site could provide nearly three times as many units as the city's downtown plan, which only calls for 175 very-low-income and 47 low-income units (a total minimum unit of 222 units) and provides no affordable housing for working or middle-income households.

Has the city considered alternative sites for parking?

There is no plan to provide alternative parking for visitors, tourists, shoppers, downtown workers, or the residents of the new apartment developments.

 

City staff has claimed that most spaces in Old Town went unused most of the time; however, they are relying on an outdated study to draw this conclusion. The Parking Study being used relies on data collected during the COVID-19 pandemic, and therefore does not reflect true parking conditions. This fact is recognized in the Parking Study, which states, "Parking occupancy rose from 2016 to 2019, then decreased in 2021. This decrease is likely related to the COVID-19 pandemic and accompanying economic impacts as well as the associated increase in office workers working remotely."

 

Specific to the 5th & D lot, practical experience today tells us the lot is frequently at capacity, as is nearby on-street parking. The city does not have current, accurate data on which to base such an important and controversial decision.

Why did CBE file a lawsuit against the City of Eureka?

The Citizens for a Better Eureka have filed four lawsuits with the California Superior Court of Humboldt County, over the City of Eureka’s activities related to affordable and low-income housing projects on downtown parking lots. The lawsuits claim they city failed to meet the requirements under the California Environmental Quality At (CEQA) to properly assess the environmental impacts of the housing developments planned for city parking lots.

 

The first lawsuit, filed April 6, 2023, addresses all the public parking lots included in the City’s General Plan Housing Element Update. The second lawsuit, filed May 4, 2023, addresses the City’s efforts to move forward with seeking housing development proposals for the specific parking lot located at 5th and D. The third and fourth lawsuits were filed on October 4, 2023 and specific to parking lots at 8th and G and 6th and M.

In December 2023 and January 2024, CBE filed four injunctions, which can be found here. The coalition is seeking to have the city stop any further actions until a more thorough analysis is done on the impacts on pedestrian and public safety, air quality, neighborhood compatibility, and traffic.

Why are multiple lawsuits necessary?

The first lawsuit addressed all the public parking lots included in the City’s General Plan Housing Element Update. The subsequent lawsuits filed by the Citizens for a Better Eureka addresses the City’s efforts to move forward with seeking housing development proposals for specific public parking lots. The coalition is seeking to have the city stop any further actions until a more thorough analysis is done on the impacts on pedestrian and public safety, air quality, neighborhood compatibility, and traffic.

How does CEQA apply in this case?

CEQA requires government agencies to consider the consequences of their actions before approving plans and policies or committing to a course of action on a project. The city did not analyze the potential environmental impacts of its decision to redevelop numerous parking lots, as it was required to do under CEQA. A thorough analysis was not done on pedestrian and public safety, air quality, neighborhood compatibility, and traffic impacts.

 

CEQA provides a process for the members of the lawsuit and other interested parties to question the city’s decision and require more thorough studies to be conducted before moving forward.

How is CBE funded?

Citizens for a Better Eureka received its startup funding from Security National, a local business of more than 200 employees working in downtown Eureka. CBE is a nonprofit organization and interested parties can contribute to the work of the organization.

Who are the members of Citizens for a Better Eureka and how/why did they sign onto the lawsuits?

The members of Citizens for a Better Eureka are business owners and residents of the City of Eureka. They have joined together to stop the city from moving forward with its plans to build housing on its parking lots, resulting in the loss of more than 600 parking spaces. The members believe the city’s plan is not good for the economic well-being of the city and especially not good for the future residents of these developments. Low- and very-low-income residents should not be forced into housing developments that don’t provide easy access to affordable grocery stores, schools, medical care, and safe play areas for children.

How can I get involved?

Sign up as a supporter. You can fill out a supporter interest form here.

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