Wait. Who’s on first?

A Marina Center story in Saturday’s Times-Standard elicited this response regarding another local item on the California Coastal Commission’s December agenda. The agenda itself is here and the staff report on the item in question is here. Enjoy!

Notwithstanding the controversy regarding the Balloon Track, you may not be aware of a more egregious abuse of power by the Coastal Commission. If you look at the Commission’s Dec. 10 agenda you will note that there is also an appeal filed on the Eureka City Council’s action to approve a coastal development permit for Robert Colburn to construct an industrial warehouse on Washington Street. The site is industrial and has been for decades; it has an existing warehouse and the property owner just wants to build another warehouse behind the existing one of about the same size (congrats to the property owner if he can afford to grow his business in these hard economic times). The City’s approval of the coastal development permit was appealed by two Coastal Commissioners. There were no appeals filed by local persons or groups (no, not even Baykeeper, EPIC or NEC), there was no controversy and no press.

Why would the Coastal Commission take issue with the City Council’s approval of the coastal development permit? Because the property is adjacent to the Clark Slough and the warehouse would not be 100 feet away from the slough. ONE HUNDRED FEET! Give me a break! Just exactly where is the industrial growth supposed to happen if it cannot be on existing industrial property in the industrial area of the city?

And, do you want to know the kicker? I can’t even explain it properly, but I’ll try… Because Phase 1 of Marina Center will improve the aquatic habitat of the slough, it must be protected from encroachment by this industrial development… but, hey, isn’t that the SAME Phase 1 project that the Coastal Commission appealed to itself because (among other things) it didn’t do enough to protect the wetlands??? The Colburn project had a biological analysis done by local qualified professionals that included conditions for protection of the Clark Slough and improvements to the existing surface drainage on the industrial property. But that wasn’t good enough. Colburn can’t build a warehouse because it is too close to the Clark Slough which will be improved by Phase 1 of Marina Center but Phase 1 isn’t good enough which means Clark Slough may never be improved which means that the basis for the appeal of the warehouse is bogus!

It’s brilliance!!

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20 Responses

  1. The 100 foot setback from wetlands, etc. is very consistent across the board in the General Plan. Unless there is a extensive mitigation proposal on top of a thorough cleanup, the 100 ft setback is typically non negotiable.

    Here’s the language:

    Environmentally Sensitive Habitat Areas and Wetlands. All development shall be located no closer than 100 feet from the outer edge of an environmentally sensitive habitat area or the average setback of existing development immediately adjacent as determined by the “string line method”

  2. It’s being set back from a wetland that doesn’t even fucking exist. Do you not read well?

  3. I believe the argument will be “emergent” wetland see term used in one of the appeals. Probably referring to areas outside of ditch re contouring and likely flat graded areas with obligate species growing on engineered surface.

  4. Stories like this about the Coastal Commission are too numerous to count. The commission is the personal bully pulpit of Peter Douglas and whatever dumbnut yes-men he can find to go along with him. Douglas actually revels in the power trip, and frequently tells applicants for various things that if they get approved by local government he will personally appeal it. To himself. That’s how this works and how it will continue to work unless the state decides enough is enough.

  5. Clark Slough exists there buddy, right at the end of Koster St.

    And the 100 ft. mark isn’t necessarily from the water’s edge itself, its from where they determine, such as where the wetland “plant life” terminates etc.

  6. What is even worse about this case is Cal Fish and Game reviewed the reduced buffer request and was impressed at project’s design and its ability to provide wetland buffer and habitat where none exists at this time. Again arbitrary God like appeals as if their “Coastal Analyst “expereience trumps post graduate biological “scientific” degrees. Do us a favor stop your unethical behavior. The tribal example on Indian Island is proof that you guys are arbitrary.

  7. Most of the Eureka waterfront is “emergent” wetlands then by definition. That should include the jail and the courthouse.

  8. Who could have known the City Council was approving conflicting plans? Thank god we have the CCC and Pete to sort this all out for us.

  9. Curious,

    Are you kidding me…..Pete hasn’t done shit other than ripping off the people that actually employ people in this county. Long as he gets paid he allows capping of dioxin contamination just like he allowed on Indian Island (the Wyiots didn’t have money to pay him so they get a pass) and Simpson Mill site.

    The only conflict here is Bonnie and Larry supporting her largest campaign contributor Bill Pierson. Thats it, come on go on the balloon track and take a look at the wetlands.
    Take a look and be honest with yourself for once, they are mud puddles.

    If this clean up fails Bonnie will be laughed out of office this June, people. Her election campaign will be a shooting gallery for her many, many, many critics.

  10. No one can agree on the methodology of identifying wetlands either. Different agencies use different scoping, and no surprise: the most advantageous method to meet the agencies agenda is the best method. (i.e. dont even try to apply for a permit with the coastal commission or army corp.)

  11. It’s amazing that anyone contributes a dime to local campaigns these days given the way way some pull the conflict of interest card

    Arkleys backdoor meetings with the Eureka City Council & Piersons “lunch dates” seem like the way to get it done.

  12. The IP address indicates this person with so many fascinating ideas about how Eurekans should live their lives actually resides in Santa Rosa. Go fuck up your own city, friend.

  13. the problem lies with wetland delineation relying on unlicensed “professionals” who self certify they are competent. the practice of biology should be licensed in the state if it is going to be able to direct civil works and potentially affect public health and safety.

  14. Really? So does having a State license remove sarcastic parenthesis from ones ability to be “professional”? No offense to any botanists, but keying out wetland plants is not the hardest job…they [plants] are there, or they ain’t…

  15. There are biostitutes out there, but the professionals on the Colburn study did a stand up job!

  16. Wow, I was being sarcastic!

  17. Friend!

  18. Yes, I was kidding.

  19. Okay okay. Hugs and whatnot. But your carpetbagger imitation was exquisite.

  20. professional practice arises out of more than identification. You need to evaluate the potential impacts of proposed project to the resources present and provide mitigation if impacts are likely. just because a wetland or resource is there does not mean project cannot go forward. mitigations can include loss of resource but to enhance or offset elsewhere. witness the highway 36 interchange job. CalTrans will be “building” wetlands to offset loss from projecrt foot print.

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