On Thursday, Oct. 10, neighbors of a new residential development on Melville Road in Garberville met with several county officials and staff to voice concerns about potential traffic hazards, parking issues and aesthetics associated with the project.
The complex will consist of four buildings each with four apartments on about 1.4 acres, for a total of 16 units. The plan provides for 44 parking spaces and the driveway access will be onto Melville Road east of Locust Street. It is considered an urban development project.
Second District Humboldt County Supervisor Estelle Fennell said, “I had been hearing from some of the neighbors so I arranged to have county staff come and see what can and can't be done.”
Regarding questions of aesthetics, supervisor Fennell said the county has very little say about what a person does on their own property except to make sure they comply with what is allowed in the General Plan.
Humboldt County's Planning Department Director Kevin Hamblin explained that the property is being developed within the limits of its zoning under the current General Plan. The design of the development is up to the owner.
Deputy Director of Public Works Bob Bronkall explained that the owner is responsible for improvements to his property's frontage on Melville. With his rolling measuring device Bronkall marked out areas so that the neighbors could see where improvements would be.
The neighbors expressed concerns about the steepness of Melville Road that curves up behind the driveway and buildings. Some neighbors said the two-story buildings will obscure visibility for drivers coming down the road, and there are potential hazards for pedestrians and people coming out of the apartment building's driveway onto Melville. The neighbors wondered if there could be at least a foot path from the apartments directly to Locust Street so that children living in the apartments could have a safer and more direct route on sidewalks to the school bus stop on Redwood Drive.
Following the meeting, Fennell said that the county can do some things about traffic speed on the roadway, parking and safety but some issues would need to be addressed by the community and property owners working together.
Humboldt County senior planner Michael Richardson said that developers have a vested interest in harmonious relationships with their neighbors.
Fennell said there would be more discussion with county staff.
REDWOOD TIMES PHOTO BY SANDY FERETTO
Neighbors and county officials look at the driveway and Melville Road at the new building project in Garberville