Kevin L. Hoover
Mad River Union
ARCATA – Having redesigned The Village housing two times in response to City Council advice, it appears that The Village’s proponents are passing on the opportunity to do so a third time.
The City Council is to decide Wednesday, March 6 between two plans for The Village housing project, or it could exercise the option to reject the project outright.
Before the council are last year's student-only project that the Planning Commission and council rejected by default in tied votes last year, and the one which includes open rental apartments which was re-introduced in January.
At the Feb. 6 council meeting, a revised project was re-introduced. It included the mixed residency and four-story student buildings councilmembers had indicated was desirable when they rejected last year’s plan.
But councilmembers still weren’t satisfied, and advised the applicant, David Moon, representing Coleraine Capital group/AMCAL Equities, to reduce the project’s density from about 651 to around 600 residents.
Some councilmembers openly preferred the previous project not approved by the council to the newly revised version.
According to a staff report, the project applicant has told the city that it can’t make the project “work” – that is, be financially feasible. A project restricted to students, though, would be feasible.
Skeptics of the new plan have suggested that the population density of the project could be much higher than projected. The staff report uses different techniques to estimate potential overcrowding, with results ranging from 706 to 879 residents.
But, states the report, “Staff suggests that the market conditions in Arcata are not driving such extreme overcrowding and that by adding units to the housing stock, overcrowding pressures are reduced.”