Eureka annexes coastal property that faces sea-level rise dilemma
The city has annexed its first piece of property since the 1980s, but there may be issues with flooding on the property down the line.
After years of talking about it, the city of Eureka has extended city limits to include about 100 acres just north of the city along U.S. Highway 101 known as the Brainard site. The area is currently the home to property owned by the California Redwood Company, which is zoned for industrial uses; a portion of a Highway 101 right-of-way; and a railroad right-of-way owned by Northwestern Pacific Railroad Company.
“This was driven by the property owner because right now they’re not connected to water or wastewater systems,” said Robert Holmlund, Eureka’s director of development services. “The city cannot really connect to properties outside of city limits.”
There are no current plans to extend water or wastewater service to the property, but that would likely need to happen if new development was proposed on that land. At that time, the Coastal Commission would need to approve any changes, but the commission expressed concern that the area is going to become inundated as the sea level rises.
“I fundamentally disagree with the Coastal Commission,” Holmlund said. “We’re talking about 80 years from now. That’s generations of businesses.”
One local sea-level rise expert, Aldaron Laird, has speculated there could be as much as a foot of sea-level rise by 2030, two feet by 2050 and more than five feet by 2100.