The Arcata city council voted unanimously to reconsider a newly revised proposal to the controversial housing project known as ‘The Village.’ Prior to the revised proposal the housing units were a large scale apartment complex that was planned to only house students. AMCAL, which is in charge of the project, has now proposed a 651 bed facility with half of its units open to non-students.
AMCAL’s David Moon said The Village will include amenities like a gym and play area for children. The complex will also include solar panels, walking trains, and car and bike share programs.
"What we're presenting tonight is something that we think is financially viable, economically viable, which it has to be, and then, at the same time, meets the needs of many in the community, not just students," Moon said.
Moon also added that with the new changes made, their partnership on the project with Humboldt State University has ended. HSU administration previously agreed to manage the housing complex but only if it was student-only housing.
While the changes did address some concerns within the Arcata City Council and community, some were not convinced that the complex would serve everyone equally. Community member Steve Martin said the building and site designs are only good on paper and that the apartments will not appeal to non-students.
"What they're proposing is basically the same student housing development as before but now they say they'll let some non-students live in it," Martin said. "But since they didn't actually change the buildings or the site design substantially, does anyone really believe they'll attract any significant number of non-students to live right next door to two 50 foot dorms with 423 students living in them?"
While the majority of public speakers were not in favor of the new proposal, some were more optimistic about the opportunity for more student housing. Keenan Hilton of the Coalition for Responsible Transportation Priorities supported a high-density housing project.
"On all sides of (Humboldt State University) you have low-density housing. Let's have a place that can actually fit a bunch of students," Hilton said while noting that students are very much part of the fabric of the neighborhood. Hilton also said he lives near the area where the proposed project would take place, which is on St. Louis Road, adjacent from Highway 101 and L.K. Wood Boulevard north of the HSU campus.
Previously, the project not approved in August by the council. This stalled the project for close to five months, but AMCAL re-developed and publically unveiled the new plans at a meeting on January 31st. Even with the council reconsidering the complex, 'The Village' Housing Project still needs further reviews before moving forward.