Tackling a McK town center

TOWN CENTER This aerial photo shows the boundaries of the town center.
Graphic from McKinleyville Community Plan

Jack Durham
Mad River Union

McKINLEYVILLE – Mack Town’s advisory committee will take another stab at making a recommendation with regard to creating a McKinleyville Town Center at its meeting tonight, July 26, starting at 6 p.m. at the Middle School Conference Center, 2285 Central Ave.

Members of the McKinleyville Municipal Advisory Committee voiced support for the concept at their May 31 meeting, but wanted to wait before sending a letter to the county asking that the process get underway.

The McKinleyville Community Plan, the town’s growth blue print approved by the Board of Supervisors in 2002, calls for the creation of a town center. The zone extends from Pierson Park to McKinleyville Avenue, and from Railroad Drive to an area just south of Hiller Road. It also includes the commercial area north of Heartwood Drive where the Burger King and other businesses are located.

The largest undeveloped area in the Town Center is located behind the McKinleyville Shopping Center. There are also some undeveloped parcels along the south side of Hiller Road.

The community plan calls for the town center to include housing, shops, work places, parks and other civic facilities connected by pathways, with areas for social gatherings. The idea is to give McKinleyville a focal point and create a village-like atmosphere.

A key element to turning the vision into reality is an ordinance spelling out the specific rules and regulations for development in the town center area. The McKinleyville Community Plan, approved 15 years ago, called for the creation of this ordinance, but it never happened.

A local group of volunteers called the McKinleyville Organizing Coalition (previously called the McKinleyville Organizing Committee) submitted a letter to the committee in May asking that it recommend to the county that the town center process get underway.
At the suggestion of committee member Craig Tucker, the committee voted unanimously May 31 to draft a letter to the Board of Supervisors in support of the town center concept.

The letter includes two paragraphs taken from the letter submitted by the McKinleyville Organizing Coalition:

1. Urge the Board of Supervisors, on our behalf, to instruct the Humboldt County Planning Department to begin drafting a McKinleyville Town Center Ordinance by fall 2017. (Humboldt County General Plan, vol. II, McKinleyville Community Plan, 2002; Section 2352, pg. 11).

2. Commit the McMAC [McKinleyville Municipal Advisory Committee] to initiate a broadly inclusive public process, ensuring community participation in decision about the structure and design of the Town Center, and the elements of the Town Center Ordinance, commencing immediately. (Humboldt County General Plan, vol. II, McKinleyville Community Plan, 2002; Section 1601, pg. 3).

The committee left out a portion of the coalition’s letter calling for a building moratorium in the town center area.

The committee will review the draft letter tonight, may make edits and may decide to send it to the county.

Also at tonight’s meeting:

• Sheriff William Honsai will give a presentation on local law enforcement issues.

• A representative from Humboldt County Public Works will give an update on sidewalk projects in McKinleyville, with a focus on Sutter Road.

• The committee will discuss the process of putting items on its monthly meeting agendas.

Darkened areas indicate the Town Center zone. Image from McKinleyville Community Plan


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