Local Coastal Program Update

The Community Development Department is updating its 1989 Local Coastal Program and we want the community to be involved!

The update includes potential changes to the downtown commercial district and some residential areas and considers issues such as agricultural resources, coastal access, industrial development, sea level rise and coastal hazards, and wetlands and other environmentally sensitive areas. 

What is the Local Coastal Program?

Arcata’s Local Coastal Program was developed to comply with the California Coastal Act. The Local Coastal Program regulates all development within the Coastal Zone. The Local Coastal Program is regulated by the City of Arcata and must be certified by the California Coastal Commission.

What does the Coastal Act regulate?

In the Coastal Commission’s words, “The Coastal Act guides how the land along the coast of California is developed or protected from development. It emphasizes the importance of the public being able to access the coast, and the preservation of sensitive coastal and marine habitat and biodiversity. It dictates that development be clustered in areas to preserve open space, and that coastal agricultural lands be preserved. It prioritizes coastal recreation as well as commercial and industrial uses that need a waterfront location. It calls for orderly, balanced development, consistent with these priorities and taking into account the constitutionally protected rights of property owners.” (Source: An Introduction to the California Coastal Act)

The full text of the Coastal Act can be found here on the Coastal Commission’s website.

Where is the Coastal Zone? 

The Coastal Zone makes up about one-third of the land area of the City of Arcata. It includes the western portion of the Arcata Bottom, lands south of 7th and 8th Streets west of State Route 101, and lands south of Bayside and Old Arcata Roads east of State Route 101. Look at this map to see the Coastal Zone boundary and land use designations.

How can I get involved?

The City of Arcata is finalizing our comprehensive update to the Local Coastal Program and conducting environmental impact studies necessary for the Coastal Commission’s environmental review. We would like to invite the public to a workshop to provide input on which special studies should be included as part of the environmental review. The event will be on Monday, December 18, from 4:30 - 6pm in the City Council Chambers at City Hall (736 F St., Arcata)

We will also be accepting written comments on which special studies should be included. These should be emailed to David Loya <dloya@cityofarcata.org> cc Kiko Barr <kbarr@cityofarcata.org> by the end of the day on Friday, January 5th.

Stay tuned-- we are planning a workshop in spring 2024 to solicit feedback on the draft Local Coastal Element (see below for link). Subscribe to the City’s Long-Range Planning Notify Me listserv to receive updates about this upcoming event.

After several years of engagement on the Local Coastal Program update, these will be some of the last opportunities to provide input before the City creates a final draft in September 2024 for submittal to the Coastal Commission. We hope to hear your voice!

How was the draft Local Coastal Element developed?

The Community Development Department held a series of public scoping sessions, providing an opportunity for the public to hear how the Program update is proceeding and, most importantly, to help the City’s staff and Planning Commission understand how proposed policies would affect the community and environment, helping shape Coastal Zone activities for the next 20 years.

Review the DRAFT Updated Local Coastal Element here.

LCE Cover Sheet Opens in new window

Where Can I Learn More About Sea Level Rise?

Sea Level Rise Information continues to be collected, while many jurisdictions are working together to determine options for meeting this challenge. The following are some links on information to date.