McKMAC tackling housing needs, park and infrastructure improvements and changes in land-use zoning

Jack Durham
Mad River Union

McKINLEYVILLE – McKinleyville’s housing needs, park and infrastructure improvements, and changes in land-use zoning will be discussed at upcoming meetings, the first to be held tonight, Feb. 27, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Azalea Hall, 1620 Pickett Rd., McKinleyville.

Housing Element

The McKinleyville Municipal Advisory Committee (McKMAC) will gather tonight to hear a presentation on the Humboldt County 2019 Housing Element. 

The county advisory committee will provide time for public comment and may take positions on the draft document.

The Housing Element, last updated in 2014, is a state-mandated plan which identifies existing and projected housing needs and includes goals and implementation measures. State law requires that the Housing Element be updated by August of this year.

From now through 2027, the draft plan projects that the county will need 3,390 additional housing units throughout the county as a whole. 

Of those, 829 would be for people with very low incomes, 532 for people with low incomes, 613 for people with moderate incomes and 1,416 for people with above moderate incomes.

A different agency, the Humboldt County Association of Governments (HCAOG), decided in December how to divide those housing units up between Humboldt’s cities and the unincorporated Humboldt County.

Eureka was allocated 952 units, Arcata 610, Fortuna 290, Rio Dell 51, Ferndale 33, Blue Lake 23 and Trinidad 18. Unincorporated Humboldt County, of which McKinleyville is a part, was allocated 1,413 units.

It’s estimated that McKinleyville could end up with 900 of those units.

However, it’s important to remember that the Housing Element is ultimately a theoretical exercise on paper, and may not necessarily translate into actual housing development. 

The county is required to have enough land zoned to meet those housing needs, but whether the properties ever get developed is dictated by private property owners, market forces and the availability of grant funding for low-income housing projects.

Representatives of the Humboldt County Planning and Building Department will be at tonight’s meeting to explain the Housing Element, answer questions and discuss other changes to state housing laws.

Strategic Plan

The McKinleyville Community Services District Board of Directors will hold a public hearing on its Strategic Plan at a meeting on Wednesday, March 6 starting at 7 p.m. at Azalea Hall.

The document provides district staff with a work plan through 2024, and includes a variety of projects, including sewer, water, parks and recreation improvements. The district is working to acquire property on Cochran Road to build a 4.5-million-gallon water tank. The tank would provide the town with additional capacity in the event its main water supply line is cut off in a disaster.

McKinleyville purchases its water from the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District. A single water line crosses under the Mad River and supplies the entire town.

One of the concerns is that the line could break during an earthquake, and the town wouldn’t have enough water to douse the fires that are expected following an earthquake.

The Strategic Plan also includes a proposed community forest, improvements to local parks and replacement of aging sewer and water lines, among other things.

Zoning changes

The McKMAC will hold a special meeting on  Wednesday, March 13 at 6 p.m. at Azalea Hall to discuss proposed zoning changes.

The County of Humboldt is proposing several zoning changes throughout the county, including McKinleyville. 

According to the Humboldt County Planning and Building Department website, “The purpose of the meeting is to discuss the proposed zoning text changes to implement the 2017 Humboldt County General Plan and gather public input, as well as to provide information about the next steps in the rezoning process. In addition, there will be opportunities to review proposed rezones in McKinleyville. Note: Humboldt County will initiate planning for creation of a Town Center District in Summer 2019 that is intended to establish a unique identity for McKinleyville through the development of a viable town center, serving as a community focal point and providing a center for social/community interaction.” 

More information is available at



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