McKinleyville Town Center details firming

MCKINLEYVILLE TOWN CENTER This map shows some of the proposed trails and open space areas for the undeveloped area of the Town Center. The circle on the left shows the Pierson Pond. On the bottom, south of Hiller Road, there is an area designated as a possible park. However, portions of that strip are already developed with homes, businesses and a church. The McKinleyville Municipal Advisory Committee does not support that area as being a park as designated on the map. Humboldt County Planning Department image

Jack Durham
Mad River Union

McKINLEYVILLE – Planning for the McKinleyville Town Center is underway, but it’s mostly taking place behind the scenes with the mapping of wetlands and preparation of drawings showing alternative designs.

This information should come before the McKinleyville Municipal Advisory Committee (McKMAC) sometime this fall.

The county advisory committee received an update on the project at its Aug. 26 Zoom meeting from  Supervising Planner Michael Richardson, who said that planning staff has been meeting with architect Kash Boodjeh, who is preparing drawings of what the Town Center could look like.

Richardson said that before those drawings are released to the public, they need to be vetted by planning staff and reviewed by Public Works. Richardson said he also wants to show them to Greg Pierson, whose family owns the largest undeveloped parcels in the Town Center.

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The McKinleyville Town Center is located between Railroad Drive and Heartwood Drive and from McKinleyville Avenue to the eastern boundary of Pierson Park.

The largest undeveloped parcels, owned by the Pierson family, are located behind the McKinleyville Shopping Center and on the south side of Hiller Road.

Richardson said the goal is to have a variety of drawings that the committee and the public can review. People will be able to pick and choose what they like and don’t like, and that input will be used to craft a master plan and ordinance for the McKinleyville Town Center.

Asked when the drawings would be available, Richardson said it was uncertain, but he hopes to have the McKMAC wrap up the Town Center planning by the end of the year.

Another major issue with the Town Center is the location of wetlands. At the Aug. 26 meeting, Greg Pierson said that professional mapping of the wetlands on his family’s properties is almost completed. 

Richardson said that while the committee awaits the drawings, it may want to address other issues such as wetland policies and how to handle the what’s called the Burden Area on Central Avenue.

The Burden Area is a relic from when Central Avenue was the main highway. The California Department of Transportation wanted to have the option of adding additional lanes, so it created the Burden Area. The Burden Area was later transfered to the County of Humboldt.

 It generally extends 45 feet back from the curb. The area can be used for parking lots and landscaping, but not buildings. The existence of the Burden Area is one of the reasons that buildings on Central Avenue are set back from the roadway and have parking lots in front. 

The McKMAC may want to change the Burden Area to allow for buildings or outdoor patio seating, Richardson said.



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