Strategic Infill Redevelopment Program

What is a Strategic Infill Redevelopment Program?

The purpose of the Strategic Infill Redevelopment Program is to align the City’s policies with the needs of the community and available resources, so Arcata’s housing and economic development needs can be met in the future. 

This program is a large-scale planning effort that will result in development of new programs to support housing and economic development, the adoption of an Area Plan, amendments to the General Plan, targeted rezoning to accommodate greater housing densities, and the required environmental review of these efforts. 

The Strategic Infill Redevelopment Program (or SIRP) is not a physical plan but an over-arching “umbrella” effort, similar to another pre-existing regulatory structure-the California Coastal Commission’s Local Coastal Program-which contains both a Land Use Plan, and measures to implement the Plan (in Arcata’s case, the Coastal Land Use and Development Guide). Similarly, the Infill Redevelopment Program will include new high-level policy guidance (Arcata Gateway Area Plan), updates to existing guidance (the Land Use and Growth Management Elements of the General Plan, among others) and measures to implement these policies (form-based code regulations, other Land Use Code updates to permit higher density, etc.).

This program will:

  • Create a new vision statement for the City and a new set of strategic programs to implement over the next 20 years.
  • Result in creating a well-balanced housing infill development program that meets Arcata’s current and future housing needs.
  • Ensure the continued preservation of working forest-land to the east and agricultural bottomlands to the west of the City by concentrating development in and around downtown Arcata.

Next Steps

Ongoing Community Outreach

Ongoing Community Input is integral to ensuring our policy is current and effectively addresses community needs and priorities. We will continue to create input opportunities through a variety of outreach methods over the next two years.

The City’s approach to outreach will continue to evolve over time as local conditions and COVID-19 progresses. The main components of the City’s current outreach strategy can be reviewed here and we welcome your ideas on how to effectively reach new and existing players in this effort. 

Infill Market Study

The Infill Market Study is the first step in the planning process and will identify the demographic data and trends, housing needs, and economic conditions the City is currently facing, and will project changes that will occur over next twenty years.

The Infill Market Study provides a comprehensive assessment of the City’s current housing stock and market, economic conditions, commercial and industrial space needs, and existing gaps and opportunities for each. This data and analysis will be used by the City, in its Strategic Infill Redevelopment Program, to identify the types of programs and policies needed to address the gaps and opportunities that will also be identified in the Strategic Infill Redevelopment Program.

The Infill Market Study was adopted by City Council on February 3, 2021.

Updates to the General Plan

The General Plan helps shape how the City will look, function, manage resources and provide services for the next 20 years. 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 network of services provided to Arcata’s residents. 

In order to plan for 20 years of growth, the City adopted a General Plan in October 2000 based on low population growth from 16,500 residents to an estimated population of 20,000 by the year 2020. Click here to learn more about the current General Plan, or to review the document in its entirety.

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.

Arcata Gateway Specific Area Plan

Key to the effectiveness of the Strategic Infill Redevelopment Program is another plan known as the Arcata Gateway Area Plan or "Gateway Plan." The Gateway Plan encompasses a 106-acre area of land that was once used mostly for industrial purposes. Some of this land has already been redeveloped or adaptively reused, others are in various stages of disrepair. This area is located within 1/10 of a mile of downtown Arcata, so the Gateway Plan area holds huge potential for redevelopment. 

Current planning regulations prevent large-scale residential development, so the Gateway Plan will establish streamlined permitting for projects in the urban core and strengthen policy, programs, and organizational capacity to protect working forest and agricultural lands surrounding the City.

Contrasting this potential, the City does not have enough land base, adequately zoned to meet its Regional Housing Needs Allocation for the current 6th Cycle Housing Element. The City’s current projected 8-year housing need is approximately 650 units. Early estimates suggest the City can produce approximately half of those units for this cycle. If those units were developed, the City would have no other vacant, suitable land to meet its housing need without re-evaluating housing potential in areas such as the Arcata Gateway.

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Community Visioning Session
February 25, 2021
5:30 p.m. - 7:15 p.m

Community Outreach

Community Vision Statement

Past Engagement Sessions

Request for Proposal for Long Range Planning Services

The City of Arcata Community Development Department is seeking qualified consultants to provide long-range planning services related to updating the City’s General Plan, adopting a form-based code, and writing an Environmental Impact Report for this work in Arcata, California.  See the Notice of Request for Proposal for details.