County approves McKinleyville residential parcel split

1837 BABLER ROAD The location of the residential subdivision. Via County of Humboldt

Daniel Mintz
Mad River Union

HUMBOLDT – ​McKinleyville’s housing stock will get a slight bump-up with the county Planning Commission’s approval of a Babler Road subdivision.

​The splitting of a 1.3-acre parcel located on Babler Road about 1,500 feet from the Central Avenue intersection was unanimously approved by the commission at its September 2 meeting.

​Already developed with a single family home and a large detached shop building/garage, the parcel split facilitates conversion of the detached structure into a second residential unit.

​The county’s Planning Department has gotten written comments from three neighbors who expressed concerns about the narrowness of parts of Babler Road and drainage.

​County Planner Steve Lazar said the parcel’s location doesn’t present drainage issues and most commissioners weren’t convinced that the project will put traffic pressure on Babler Road.

​Nor did they support a Department of Public Works (DPW) recommendation to require installation of a curb, gutter and sidewalk along the parcel’s frontage.

​According to a written staff report, the subdivision’s applicant, Beth Rynearson, requested an exemption from sidewalk installation due to there being no other sidewalks on Babler Road and none likely to be.

​Commission Chair Alan Bongio agreed.

“When I look at this road, it doesn’t look like there’s going to be a whole lot more development happening here,” he said. “There’s no sidewalk anywhere within sight, if you look at any of the maps, so I think  it’s just ridiculous to require a sidewalk in an area that isn’t going to have a whole bunch of infill or projects happening adjacent to it.”

​But the DPW offered two alternatives to a sidewalk, including adding five feet of paving along Babler Road instead.

​There was a suggestion to require only curb and gutter installation but Bongio didn’t support it, saying that are no other curb and gutter installations in the area and “it would just be one more tripping hazard.”

​The additional paving was added as a condition and the subdivision was approved by a majority vote. Commissioner Mike Newman voted against it, saying he supports the project but doesn’t believe the added paving is necessary.


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