Humboldt Alliance for Responsible Planning
More than 1,300 Humboldt residents and visitors have signed a petition contesting the design and impact of a proposed five-story, 100-guestroom Hyatt hotel planned for the bluff above Trinidad Bay.
Members of HARP — the Humboldt Alliance for Responsible Planning — have raised concerns about the Trinidad Rancheria hotel project’s visual and environmental impacts, and where it will get its water.
Respondents to HARP’s petition say a high-rise hotel design is out of character with the area and threatens Trinidad’s coastal environment.
“I think this would ruin the look and feel of the Trinidad area,” commented petition signer Stan Binnie of Arcata. “Trinidad is known for its scenic beauty and the feeling of a more rural and wild place. This hotel is something that belongs in Florida or Waikiki.
“It is completely incompatible with the North Coast environment, and I hope the Rancheria will have a change of heart about what they are proposing,” he wrote.
The California Coastal Commission (CCC) will rule Wednesday, June 12, in San Diego on whether the controversial high-rise hotel project conforms to the state Coastal Act. A May 24 staff report recommends a “No” vote on the project because it exceeds standards for building height on the Humboldt Coast, and because it has no confirmed source of water. It was the second negative staff analysis of the hotel development.
Structures taller than three stories are prohibited in the Coastal Zone on the Humboldt coast. At five stories, the proposed hotel would be about 64 feet tall, or nearly 30 feet taller than any other building on the coast.
HARP’s online petition makes two points: 1. “A five-story high-rise hotel development is wrong for the coast about Trinidad Bay.” And 2. More public input is needed, and the Coastal Commission’s hearing on the matter should be held in Eureka, where local residents can have a voice.
The petition was circulated in late April and May in the hope that hotel developers would agree to delay the hearing until Coastal Commission’s regular meeting in Eureka in August. The federal Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), which represents the Trinidad Rancheria in the process, declined to postpone.
“Although the petition failed to convince the BIA and Rancheria to give more local residents a chance to participate in the review process, the 1,300 signatures send a strong message to the developers and regulators that this design is out of place and needs more work,” HARP said. “The Trinidad shoreline is a sacred and unsullied place that needs protecting.”
Dozens of petition signers echo that argument.
“Trinidad is one of the most pristine and beautiful coastal regions of California. This is because it is NOT disturbed by major developments and human creations,” wrote Malcolm O’Toole of Eureka. “The hotel will detract from the natural beauty of the location.”
Non-residents from across the U.S. who admire the Humboldt coast also chimed in. Cynthia Louis of Fort Collins, Colorado, used to live in Humboldt. “Trinidad is a magical historical and environmental gem that should not evolve into a Cancun-like attraction,” she wrote.
Johnny Imgrund of Minneapolis agreed: “That’s one of the most beautiful stretches of beachfront on the Pacific Northwest. Also the most fragile. This is not sustainable.”
Brian Taylor of Oakland said, “This proposal is a bad idea for Trinidad Bay.”
Ellen Taylor of Eureka called the proposed hotel “a monstrosity,” adding, “To stick it in beautiful Trinidad is an insult to Mother Earth herself.”
And Toby Vanlandingham of Klamath said more study is needed. “I believe the current proposed water usage and environmental impact report is horribly underestimated and needs a thorough third-party review before this project is put on the table for approval,” he said.
HARP has urged the developers to consider a smaller scale, three-story project that fits in better with the scenic rural surroundings.
About HARP: HARP is an informal grassroots group dedicated to informing citizens about major development projects in their communities that could affect their lives and environment.