City of Eureka Balloon Track Zoning, Measure N (November 2010)

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Eureka, California
A City of Eureka Balloon Track Zoning, Measure N ballot question was on the November 2, 2010 ballot for voters in the City of Eureka in Humboldt County, where it was approved.[1]

The Balloon Track is a 43-acre property that was once a rail yard. It is located off of Waterfront Drive and the foot of the downtown commercial district in Eureka, a port city with about 27,000 residents known for its proximity to California's redwoods and its plethora of Victorian homes.

"Clean Up Eureka VI," an affiliate of Security National Properties, wanted to develop Balloon Track by converting it into a mixed-use development that would include a Home Depot; office, residential and retail space; and 11 acres reserved for wetlands. For this to happen, Eureka's general plan and local coastal program would have had to be amended and the zoning of Balloon Track changed. The development was referred to as the Marina Center.[2]

Measure N changed the zoning and said that any changes in the zoning would have to be approved by a majority of Eureka's voters.

Election results

Measure N
Approveda Yes 5,942 68.80%
These final, certified results are from the Humboldt County elections office.

Text of measure

The question on the ballot:

Shall ordinances be adopted amending the City of Eureka Local Coastal Program, including general plan and zoning amendments, to allow retail, office, multi0family residential, light industrial, restaurant, and museum uses on the "Balloon Track" and adjacent properties, as proposed for the 43-acre Marina Center Project; require additional permit approvals for the development; prohibit "Discount Superstores;" and authorize the City Council to amend or repeal specific limitations on development after 10 years and following appropriate environmental review?[3][4]

Lawsuit filed

Humboldt Baykeeper and the Environmental Protection Information Center filed a lawsuit against the City of Eureka in Humboldt County Superior Court in July 2010 for putting the measure on the ballot.[5]

The lawsuit claimed that the Environmental Impact Report approved by the city was flawed. It went on to say that since the EIR was flawed, so was any ballot measure written based on the EIR.[6]

Baykeeper Executive Director Pete Nichols said, "The hasty decision by the city of Eureka to place this issue on the November ballot without considering the potential environmental impacts is a disservice to the citizens of Eureka. The voters should know the ramifications of their decisions at the ballot box."[6]

Security National Vice President Randy Gans said, "This is just another lawsuit by fringe environmental groups and their fee-loving lawyers to stop Marina Center. How else could one explain these so-called 'environmental groups' recent opposition to the clean up and restoration of wetlands on (the) long neglected Balloon Track property. The EIR document was prepared by the finest environmental consultants on the West Coast. This bogus lawsuit is just another attempt to silence the voice of the people."[6]

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