Chapter 9.10
Purpose and Applicability of Land Use Code

Sections:

9.10.010    Purposes of Land Use Code

9.10.020    Authority, Relationship to General Plan and Local Coastal Program

9.10.030    Responsibility for Administration

9.10.040    Applicability of the Land Use Code

9.10.050    Rules of Interpretation

9.10.010 Purposes of Land Use Code

Title 9 of the Arcata Municipal Code constitutes the City of Arcata Land Use Code, hereafter referred to as "this Land Use Code." These regulations carry out the policies of the Arcata General Plan by classifying and regulating the uses of land and structures within the City, consistent with the General Plan. This Land Use Code is adopted to protect and to promote the public health, safety, comfort, convenience, prosperity, and general welfare of residents and businesses in the City. More specifically, the purposes of this Land Use Code are to:

A.    Provide standards and guidelines for the continuing orderly growth and development of the City that will assist in protecting the character and community identity of Arcata;

B.    Conserve and protect the City’s natural beauty and setting, including waterways, hills and trees, scenic vistas, and historic and environmental resources;

C.    Create a comprehensive and stable pattern of land uses upon which to plan transportation, water supply, sewerage, energy, and other public facilities and utilities;

D.    Minimize automobile congestion by promoting bicycle/pedestrian-oriented development, safe, calm and effective traffic circulation, and adequate off-street parking facilities; and

E.    Ensure compatibility between different types of development and land use. (Ord. 1432, eff. 12/20/2013)

9.10.020 Authority, Relationship to General Plan and Local Coastal Program

A.    Authority. The regulations within this Land Use Code are enacted based on the authority vested in the City of Arcata by the State of California, including but not limited to: the California Constitution, the Planning and Zoning Law (Government Code Section 65000 et seq.), the Subdivision Map Act (Government Code Section 66410 et seq.), and the California Environmental Quality Act (Public Resources Code Section 21000 et seq.).

B.    Consistency with General Plan and Local Coastal Program (LCP). This Land Use Code is a primary implementation tool used by the City to carry out the goals, objectives, and policies of the Arcata General Plan. The Arcata City Council intends that all provisions of this Land Use Code be consistent with the General Plan, and that any land use, subdivision, or development approved in compliance with these regulations will also be consistent with the General Plan and Local Coastal Program (where applicable).

C.    Consistency with Local Coastal Program (LCP). The City of Arcata’s certified LCP is the basis for analysis of all Coastal Development Permits (CDP’s) and is the source for determining whether development will have an impact on coastal resources. This Land Use Code will not be used for analysis of CDP’s. All development within the coastal zone shall comply with the City’s certified LCP, the General Plan 2020 and this Land Use Code (LUC). If a conflict arises between this LUC and the LCP during review of any development within the coastal zone, the standards in the LCP shall apply. The following comparison table shows the comparison between the Coastal Land Use and Development Guide (CLUDG) zoning and the Land Use Code zoning designations.

City of Arcata Coastal LUDG and Land Use Code Zoning Designation Comparison 

Coastal LUDG

Land Use Code

Coastal - Natural Resource Protection (C-NRP)

Natural Resource - Timber Production (NR-TP)

Natural Resource - Public Trust (NR-PT)

Coastal - Agricultural Exclusive (C-A-E)

Agricultural - Exclusive (A-E)

Coastal - Residential Agriculture (C-R-A)

Agriculture - Residential (A-R)

Coastal - Rural Residential (C-R-R)

Agriculture - Residential (A-R)

Coastal - Forest Hillside (C-F/H)

Residential - Very Low Density (R-VL)

Coastal - Rural Residential (C-R-R)

Residential - Very Low Density (R-VL)

Coastal - Residential Low Density (C-R-L)

Residential - Low Density (R-L)

Coastal - Residential Medium Density (C-R-M)

Residential - Medium Density (R-M)

Coastal - Residential Medium High (C-RMH)

Residential - High Density (R-H)

Coastal - Residential High Density (C-R-H)

Residential - High Density (R-H)

Coastal - General Commercial (C-G-C)

Commercial - General (C-G)

Commercial - Mixed (C-M)

Coastal - Central Business District (C-CBD)

Commercial - Central (C-C)

Coastal - Thoroughfare Commercial (C-C-T)

Commercial - Visitor Serving (C-V)

Coastal - Industrial Commercial (C-I-C)

Industrial - Limited (I-L)

Coastal - Heavy Industrial (C-H-I)

Industrial - General (I-G)

Coastal - Public Facility (C-P-F)

Coastal - Public Facility - Parks (C-P-F Parks)

Public Facility (PF)

(Ord. 1432, eff. 12/20/2013)

9.10.030 Responsibility for Administration

A.    Responsible bodies and individuals. This Land Use Code shall be administered by: the Arcata City Council, hereafter referred to as the "Council;" the Planning Commission; the Community Development Director, referred to as the "Director;" the Zoning Administrator (who shall be the Director or the designee of the Director); the Historic and Design Review Commission, referred to as "HDRC;" the Environmental Coordinator (who shall be the Director or the designee of the Director, such as the Public Works Director, the Director of Environmental Services, or a Senior Planner); and the Community Development Department, hereafter referred to as the "Department."

B.    Exercise of discretion. In the event that a provision of this Land Use Code allows the review authority for a permit or other decision to exercise discretion in the application of a specific standard or requirement, but does not identify specific criteria for a decision, no discretion shall be exercised unless the review authority shall first make all of the following findings:

1.    The proposed project complies with all applicable provisions of this Land Use Code;

2.    The exercise of discretion will act to improve the compatibility of the proposed project with its site, surrounding properties, and the community, to a greater extent than if discretion were not exercised;

3.    The manner in which discretion is exercised will result in a more practical application of the provisions of this Land Use Code given specific characteristics of the site and its surroundings than if discretion were not exercised; and

4.    The decision is consistent with the General Plan and Local Coastal Program.

9.10.040 Applicability of the Land Use Code

This Land Use Code applies to all land uses, subdivisions, and development within the City of Arcata, as follows.

A.    New land uses or structures, changes to land uses or structures. It shall be unlawful, and a violation of this Land Use Code for any person to establish, construct, reconstruct, alter, or replace any use of land or structure, except in compliance with the requirements of Section 9.20.020 (General Requirements for Development and New Land Uses), and Chapter 9.90 (Nonconforming Uses, Structures, and Parcels). No Building Permit or Grading Permit shall be issued by the City unless the proposed construction complies with all applicable provisions of this Land Use Code.

B.    Subdivisions. Any subdivision of land proposed within the City after the effective date of this Land Use Code shall be consistent with the minimum parcel size requirements of Article 2 (Zoning Districts and Allowable Land Uses), Article 8 (Subdivision Regulations and Procedures), and all other applicable requirements of this Land Use Code.

C.    Continuation of an existing land use. An existing land use is lawful and not in violation of this Land Use Code only when operated and maintained in compliance with all applicable provisions of this Land Use Code, including Chapter 9.90 (Nonconforming Uses, Structures, and Parcels). However, the requirements of this Land Use Code are not retroactive in their effect on a land use that was lawfully established before the effective date of this Land Use Code or any applicable amendment, except as otherwise provided by Chapter 9.90.

D.    Effect of Land Use Code changes on projects in progress.

1.    A planning permit application (Article 7) that has been accepted by the Department as complete prior to the effective date of this Land Use Code or any amendment, shall be processed in compliance with the requirements in effect when the application was accepted as complete.

2.    A project that is under construction on the effective date of this Land Use Code or any amendment, need not be changed to satisfy any new or different requirements of this Land Use Code, provided that the approved use of the site shall be established, including the completion of all structures and other features of the project as shown on the approved permit, before the expiration of the permit, or applicable time extension.

E.    Minimum requirements. The provisions of this Land Use Code shall be minimum requirements for the promotion of the public health, safety, and general welfare. When this Land Use Code provides for discretion on the part of a review authority (designated City official or body), that discretion may be exercised to impose more stringent requirements than set forth in this Land Use Code, as may be determined by the applicable review authority to be necessary to promote orderly land use and development, environmental resource protection, and the other purposes of this Land Use Code.

F.    Conflicting requirements:

1.    Land Use Code and Municipal Code provisions. If conflicts occur between requirements of this Land Use Code, or between this Land Use Code and the Arcata Municipal Code, or other regulations of the City, the most restrictive shall apply. For development within the coastal zone, if conflicts occur between this Land Use Code and the City’s certified LCP, the LCP shall prevail.

2.    Development agreements or specific plans. If conflicts occur between the requirements of this Land Use Code and standards adopted as part of any development agreement or applicable specific plan, the requirements of the development agreement or specific plan shall apply.

3.    Private agreements. This Land Use Code applies to all land uses and development regardless of whether it imposes a greater or lesser restriction on the development or use of structures or land than a private agreement or restriction (for example, CC&Rs), without affecting the applicability of any agreement or restriction. The City shall not enforce any private covenant or agreement unless it is a party to the covenant or agreement, or a portion thereof.

G.    Federal, State, and Local agencies.

1.    Development or new land uses proposed by federal, state, or local agencies (e.g., school districts) within the City shall comply with the requirements of this Land Use Code to the maximum extent allowed by applicable federal or state laws.

2.    Federal agencies are not subject to the provisions and permit requirements of this Land Use Code, the City’s Local Coastal Program, or the permit requirements of the Coastal Commission, but are subject to the consistency process provided by the federal Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972 (CZMA). Non-federal development on federal lands may be subject to both the CZMA consistency process and the requirements of this Land Use Code and the Coastal Commission.

H.    Other requirements may apply. Nothing in this Land Use Code eliminates the need for obtaining any other permits required by the City, or any permit, approval or entitlement required by any other applicable special district or agency, and/or the regulations of any State, or Federal agency. (Ord. 1432, eff. 12/20/2013)

9.10.050 Rules of Interpretation

A.    Authority. The Zoning Administrator has the authority to interpret any provision of this Land Use Code. Whenever the Zoning Administrator determines that the meaning or applicability of any Land Use Code requirement is subject to interpretation, the Zoning Administrator may issue an official interpretation. The Zoning Administrator may also refer any issue of interpretation to the Planning Commission or HDRC, as appropriate for their determination. Interpretations may be appealed in compliance with Chapter 9.76 (Appeals).

B.    Language. When used in this Land Use Code, the words "shall," "must," "will," "is to," and "are to" are always mandatory. "Should" is not mandatory but is strongly recommended; and "may" is permissive. The present tense includes the past and future tenses; and the future tense includes the present. The singular number includes the plural number, and the plural the singular, unless the natural construction of the word indicates otherwise. The words "includes" and "including" shall mean "including but not limited to . . ."

C.    Time limits. Whenever a number of days is specified in this Land Use Code, or in any permit, condition of approval, or notice provided in compliance with this Land Use Code, the number of days shall be construed as calendar days. A time limit shall extend to 5 p.m. on the following working day where the last of the specified number of days falls on a weekend or holiday.

D.    Zoning Map boundaries. See Section 9.12.020 (Zoning Map and Zoning Districts).

E.    Allowable uses of land. See Section 9.20.030 (Allowable Land Uses and Permit Requirements).

F.    State law requirements. Where this Land Use Code references applicable provisions of State law (for example, the California Government Code, California Coastal Act, Subdivision Map Act, or Public Resources Code), the reference shall be construed to be to the applicable State law provisions as they may be amended from time to time.