Design Element


The Design Element is not a required element under California Planning Guidelines.  It is included in the Arcata General Plan due to the importance of community appearance, form, function and livability to Arcata.  In addition to addressing community-wide design features and criteria, the Design Element is important for protecting City scenic and visual qualities and those in the coastal zone as required by the California Coastal Act of 1976. 

The Design Element is intended to guide form and functions of the City’s future built environment while at the same time respecting the unique relationship to the natural environment.  Design considers both preserving character defining buildings and public spaces; and for continual adaptation and improvement of the built environment.

        A.    Promote orderly and harmonious development of the City.

        B.    Assure  new development is designed to preserve important natural features, historic resources, and scenic resources.

        C.    Promote building designs well suited to their functions and sites.

        D.    Prevent excessive and unsightly grading associated with development.

        E.    Create  both natural and built visual environments of high aesthetic quality and variety.

        F.    Achieve maximum benefit from natural environmental settings.

        G.    Assure new building design fits neighborhood or area context.

        H.    Promote design that maintains land value stability s and encourages City investment.

        I.     Incorporate “green building” and universal design concepts and features into new and renovated structures.

Available Documents

Planning Commission Reccommendation July 11, 2023:
Design Element (clean)
updated Design clean Opens in new window
Download version HERE.
Planning Commission Reccommendation July 11, 2023:
Design Element (tracked changes)
updated Design TC Opens in new window
Download version HERE.