Letters to EcoNews | Sept. 2023

Wetland Impact

Dear EcoNews,
I am extremely concerned about the 200-acre development continuing to occur in Mckinleyville right now, called the Beau Pre Subdivision. My understanding is that the project will soon be reviewed for permit renewal. I would like to know when this will occur.

The project is located within a predominant sitka spruce and alder forest, which qualifies it as a one-parameter wetland under the McKinleyville Community Plan wetland standards  therefore the area should have been protected by our Community Plan development. You’ll remember I have communicated to you previously that the environmental document for this project failed to identify these one-parameter wetlands. 

At Section 3422.15 our Community Plan clearly states “No land use or development shall be permitted in Wetland Areas which degrade the wetland or detract from the natural resource value on newly created parcels.” Because the project is indeed subdividing the area and creating new parcels, this means that the project should never have been built at all.

Finally, as the CDFW had commented during the project review period, this project violates our Community Plan standards for development of clustered housing.

Again, I would like to know when this project permit will be evaluated for renewal, and I urge you  to please revoke the permit.

Thank you,
Kelley Garrett
McKinleyville Concerned Citizen

Rent Hikes

Dear EcoNews,
A few months ago I read an article in your paper about low income housing in Arcata.  I greatly appreciate you writing with intelligence, sensitivity, and depth on this topic.

I am a tenant at the new low income apartment building Sorrel Place, on the corner of 7th and I street in downtown Arcata. I moved in when the building first opened in February of 2022. Sorrel is marketed specifically as low income housing.

Less than a year ago my rent here at Sorrel was increased by 24%. I was told by my landlord, DANCO Properties, that this was done because of inflation. I just recently received another notice saying my rent will be going up again starting October 1, 2023. 

Together these two increases will mean my rent here at Sorrel will go up by 47% in less than one year!

I am currently living on SSI disability payments and Cal Fresh food assistance.  No matter how much my rent goes up, my SSI payments stay the same.  The amount of money I will have left after I pay my rent will not be enough for me to live on. ($300 in cash and $191 in food assistance.)

I am not alone in this. I have been told by our building manager that there are several other older adults at Sorrel who are living on disability. It boggles my mind that the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has apparently allowed this to happen.

These rent increases seem cruel and unfair to me.  I spent years looking for affordable housing before I found Sorrel Place in Arcata. This apartment is precious to me. It has given me the gift of safety and privacy I need to continue to heal from extreme trauma and childhood abuse. Through therapy, writing, drawing, reading, and connecting with other survivors, I am becoming stronger. I am afraid I and others will be forced into homelessness and lose the vital privacy and safety we need to heal because of these drastic hikes in our rent.

If you or your readers have any thoughts, insights, suggestions or words of wisdom on this situation, I would greatly appreciate hearing them.

Mary (Sparrow) Bolger