Arcata General Plan

The Arcata General Plan shapes how the city of Arcata will look, function, provide services, and manage resources for the next 20 years. The plan is the City's “constitution” for physical development and change within the existing and future city boundaries. The plan is a legal mandate that governs both private and public actions. The general plan is atop the hierarchy of local government laws regulating land use. Other laws and policies, such as specific plans, subdivision regulations, and the zoning ordinance are subordinate to, and must be consistent with, the general plan. Comprehensive in scope, the plan conveys the fundamental values that public decision-makers will use to guide the City's evolution, from its physical development to the ever-changing network of services provided to its citizens.

Updating this General Plan

The City is currently working to update the General Plan. Review publicly available draft updates here. Although the majority of the General Plan is still relevant, Arcata is nearing the 20,000 residents projected in the plan, and some elements must be updated to accommodate future growth. Among them, the Land Use, Circulation, Utilities, Open Space, Resource Conservation and Management and Growth Management Elements , will need revision in order to strengthen conservation and infill policies. Other updates that will be made include new land use and utility priorities, equity and environmental justice policies, and more. 

Notice of Preparation of an Environmental Impact Report

The City of Arcata is releasing a Notice of Preparation (NOP) of an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for its General Plan Update, which will include the City’s Gateway Area Plan as a new Element. An NOP signifies the formal start of the General Plan Update’s environmental review process. 

Visit the Strategic Infill Redevelopment Program page to learn more and for details on how you can get involved.

2022 General Plan Annual Progress Report

On May 17, 2023 the City Council adopted Resolution 223-53, which accepted the 2022 General Plan Annual Progress Report and authorized staff to submit the Report to the Governor's Office of Planning and Research, and to the State Housing and community Development Department.  The Resolution and Report are available to view here.

Authority & Purpose of the General Plan

California State law requires cities and counties to prepare and adopt a general plan. The Government Code Sections requiring general plans are listed and summarized in the box on the following page.

Planning Commission & City Council Review & Adoption

The City of Arcata Planning Commission conducted public hearings and reviewed the Draft General Plan prepared at the direction of the City’s General Plan and Specialized Task Forces. They forwarded a Planning Commission Draft to the City Council. After conducting their own public hearings, the Council adopted this General Plan on October 4, 2000.

Arcata General Plan Chapters Elements Figures
Introduction Introduction Figure I-b: Arcata Neighborhoods
Chapter 1: Community Vision Statement Arcata Community Vision (English)  
Chapter 2: Community Development Land Use Element Figure LU-a: City and Sphere of Influence - Land Use Plan Map
Figure LU-b: Planning Area - Land Use Plan Map
Figure GM-a: Urban Services Boundary
Figure T-a: Street Functional Classification Plan
Figure PF-a: School Districts
Chapter 3: Housing and Human Services Housing Element & Appendices  
Chapter 4: Environmental Quality and Management Open Space Element Figure OS-a: Open Space Plan Map
Figure RC-a: Protected Watercourses

Chapter 5: Design and Historical Preservation Design Element Figure HP-a: Arcata Plaza Historic District
Figure HP-b: Local Historic Landmarks, Neighbor Conservation Areas and Specific Plan District
Figure HP-c: Bayside Specific Plan District
Chapter 6: Health and Safety
Figure PS-a: Hazards Map
Figure N-b: Projected Noise Contours
Glossary Glossary