Chapter 9.94
Growth Management


9.94.010    Purpose of Chapter

9.94.020    Effect of Sphere of Influence

9.94.030    Changes to Sphere of Influence

9.94.040    Prezoning of Parcels Within Sphere of Influence

9.94.050    Annexation Procedures

9.94.060    Annexation Application Requirements

9.94.070    Criteria for Annexation of Undeveloped Land

9.94.080    Criteria for Annexation of Land With Existing Urban Development

9.94.090    Urban Services Boundary

9.94.100    Extension of Services Outside City Boundary

9.94.110    Modification of Urban Services Boundary

9.94.010 Purpose of Chapter

This Chapter provides criteria and procedures for growth management in the City.

9.94.020 Effect of Sphere of Influence

A.    Sphere of Influence defined. The Sphere of Influence adopted by the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCo) for the City, is shown on Figure GM-a of the General Plan.

B.    City intent. It is the City’s intent to maintain an adequate amount of land within the Sphere of Influence to accommodate future growth, consistent with the goals and policies of the General Plan, as well as to protect open space and productive resource uses.

C.    Effect of Sphere of Influence. Only parcels that are included within the City’s Sphere of Influence shall be eligible for annexation into the City.

9.94.030 Changes to Sphere of Influence

A.    Periodic evaluation. The City shall comprehensively evaluate the Sphere of Influence boundary at least every five years, but more frequently if appropriate.

B.    Property owner requests.

1.    Any owner of property within the unincorporated area of Humboldt County that is adjacent to the Sphere of Influence may request that the City include their property within the Sphere of Influence.

2.    A proposal to change the Sphere of Influence shall identify the requested land use designations and any other necessary or appropriate amendments to the various elements of the General Plan/Local Coastal Plan.

C.    Consideration by Planning Commission and Council. A proposed Sphere of Influence amendment shall first be considered by the Planning Commission, which shall provide a written recommendation to the Council, and then acted upon by the Council before any consideration by LAFCo and/or the Coastal Commission.

D.    Criteria to be considered. A City decision to change the Sphere of Influence boundary shall be based on the following criteria:

1.    The resulting area has an adequate supply of land to accommodate projected housing needs allocated by the Humboldt County Council of Governments.

2.    In considering proposed changes, and at each periodic comprehensive evaluation, the Council, upon recommendation of the Planning Commission, shall determine whether it would serve the public interest to designate additional lands for which to provide municipal services and developed with urban uses, or to protect open space or productive resource uses.

3.    An amendment to the Sphere of Influence to include additional lands shall be subject to environmental review in compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and Chapter 9.78 (Environmental Impact Assessment) and the California Coastal Act, if applicable.

4.    A proposal to amend the Sphere of Influence may be considered concurrently with an annexation request.

5.    An adjustment to the Sphere of Influence shall incorporate adequate provisions for open space.

9.94.040 Prezoning of Parcels Within Sphere of Influence

A.    Timing of prezoning. Land within the Sphere of Influence shall not be prezoned until the City considers a formal annexation request, and then only in compliance with Section 9.92.060 (Prezoning).

B.    Consistency with General Plan. All prezonings shall be consistent with the land use designations of the City’s General Plan for the Sphere of Influence, or a General Plan Amendment shall be required, in compliance with Chapter 9.92 (Amendments).

C.    Purpose of procedure. The purpose of this procedure shall be to provide maximum latitude to the City to determine the appropriate timing of expansion of the City boundaries, extension of services, and urban development.

9.94.050 Annexation Procedures

A.    Purpose. The City’s objective is to provide for the logical annexations of unincorporated lands within the City’s Sphere of Influence only when the existing or proposed development is consistent with community character, and City services can be adequately provided or to protect open spaces and resource uses.

B.    Timing of application. The City shall consider prezoning/annexation requests before an annexation application is filed with LAFCo.

C.    Procedures. If area property owners or residents request that the City initiate an annexation request to LAFCo, the following procedures shall apply:

1.    Initiation.

a.    Inhabited lands. If lands are inhabited, a petition needs to be signed by no less than 50 percent of the resident voters, or at least 25 percent of owners of property located within the annexation area;

b.    Uninhabited lands. If lands are uninhabited but consist of more than one parcel and owner, a petition needs to be signed by a majority of owners representing more than 50 percent of the annexation area;

c.    Single parcel. If a single parcel, a petition needs to be submitted by the owner(s).

2.    Planning Commission consideration and recommendation. The Planning Commission shall review and make a written recommendation on the requested annexation to the Council.

3.    Council’s final action. Final action shall be taken by the Council in the form of a Resolution of Intention for the annexation.

4.    Transmittal of annexation request. Following Council approval of an annexation request, including any accompanying General Plan amendment, pre-zoning ordinance, and/or environmental document, the City shall transmit the annexation request to LAFCo for its consideration and decision.

9.94.060 Annexation Application Requirements

The following shall apply to where the land proposed to be annexed to the City is not developed with urban land uses before the annexation.

A.    Annexation study. The City, or consultants under contract to the City, shall prepare a detailed annexation study, as follows.

1.    Content of study. An annexation study shall include the following items.

a.    A comprehensive and detailed analysis of the fiscal impacts of the annexation, addressing the full range of revenues and expenditures. One-time capital costs of facilities, as well as recurring operating costs and revenues, shall be evaluated.

b.    A study and/or proposal for tax-sharing agreements with other taxing entities (e.g., the County).

c.    An accompanying General Plan amendment, if requested or appropriate.

d.    A proposed preliminary development plan, including phasing if appropriate.

e.    An assessment of the City’s capacity to provide facilities and services, including: fire protection; parks; police services; stormwater management; streets and circulation; wastewater collection and treatment; water supply and distribution; and other services as appropriate.

f.    A prezoning ordinance.

g.    The annexation study shall have a determination of consistency with the Arcata General Plan.

2.    Cost for preparation of study. The costs of preparing the annexation study, including City administrative costs, shall be paid for by the applicant requesting the City to consider the annexation.

B.    Environmental document. An appropriate environmental document shall be prepared in compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and Chapter 9.78 (Environmental Impact Assessment).

C.    Planned Development or specific plan may be required. A Planned Development, prepared and adopted in compliance with Section 9.72.070 (Planned Development Permit), or specific plan may be required prior to the annexation of any property larger than five acres and any vacant residential property of an acre or more.

9.94.070 Criteria for Annexation of Undeveloped Land

Undeveloped land may be annexed to the City only if the proposed annexation will:

A.    Only include parcels within the Urban Services Boundary identified in Section 9.94.090, and adjacent to existing urban development;

B.    Not exceed the City’s capacity to provide services and infrastructure to accommodate the proposed development;

C.    Be timed so that the availability of services and infrastructure is concurrent with the anticipated need;

D.    Have either a positive or neutral fiscal impact, or other overriding public benefits;

E.    Comply with all applicable General Plan policies; and

F.    Not include prime agriculture land (Storie Index of 60 or higher) other than with a designation and prezoning of Agriculture Exclusive (A-E), Natural Resource (NR), or Public Facility (P-F).

9.94.080 Criteria for Annexation of Land With Existing Urban Development

Land with existing urban development may be annexed to the City only if the proposed annexation will:

A.    Only include parcels within the Urban Services Boundary identified in Section 9.94.090, and adjacent to an existing City boundary;

B.    Have facilities brought up to City standards before or concurrent with the annexation; and

C.    Ensure that all costs for service extensions shall be paid for entirely by the owners of annexing properties and not by existing City taxpayers or ratepayers, or, have a financing mechanism in place before the annexation.

9.94.090 Urban Services Boundary

A.    City’s intent. It is the City’s intent to provide needed services to urban uses within the Urban Services Boundary when the provision of those services will not exceed the City’s planned system capacities.

B.    Boundary defined. The Urban Services Boundary serves to define the boundary that limits the extent of City services and urban uses, within the City’s incorporated area and Sphere of Influence.

C.    Rural residential development. Rural residential development within the City limits may be approved outside the Urban Services Boundary but only if the development would not require the extension of sewer, water, and other public facilities.

9.94.100 Extension of Services Outside City Boundary

A.    The City shall not extend sewer mains or new water mains, or provide new service connections to portions of its Planning Area outside of the City limits except under following conditions:

1.    Emergency sanitary sewer connection. The City may provide an emergency sewer line extension provided the following conditions are met:

a.    The property is located within the City Urban Services Boundary for water and sewer.

b.    The property is adjacent to the City limits.

c.    The on-site sewage disposal system has failed.

d.    It is not feasible to replace or repair the on-site sewage disposal system as evidenced by a letter from the County of Humboldt Division of Environmental Health.

e.    The on-site sewage disposal system failure is considered a health hazard by the County of Humboldt Division of Environmental Health.

f.    The owner has submitted a complete application to the City of Arcata for annexation of the property within 18 months from the date that sanitary sewer service was provided.

g.    LAFCo has approved the emergency sanitary sewer connection.

h.    The sewer connection shall be sized to only accommodate the failed system.

2.    Contracts to provide water and/or sewer services to other service districts. The City may contract to provide water and/or sewer services to other service districts subject to the following guidelines:

a.    Only those areas with existing contracts as of December 31, 1998 shall be served.

b.    No new contracts for services shall be approved.

c.    No new connections shall be allowed to the sewer lines in the area located between the City limits and the Arcata Planning Area Boundary except in compliance with Subsection 1, above.

9.94.110 Modification of Urban Services Boundary

The City may approve an Urban Services Boundary modification only after first finding all of the following:

A.    There are existing legal urban uses or urban uses designated on the land use plan map for the area being considered.

B.    There is sufficient existing or planned infrastructure capacity to extend police protection, sewer, water, and other services, without reducing service standards for other areas.

C.    The area to be served is:

1.    Adjacent to existing urban development; and

2.    Within the City limits or Sphere of Influence.

D.    City service extensions will not adversely impact open space and natural resources in the area.