2020 CANDIDATE FORUM Q&A FROM Matthew Owen
Eureka Chamber of Commerce Candidate Questionnaire
1. Do you support cannabis manufacturing, distribution, and/or retail in Eureka?
a. What types of cannabis businesses currently operate in Eureka?
b. What are the pros and cons of the cannabis industry operating in Eureka?
Yes, I support any legal, legitimate business that is hiring people in the City of Eureka.
Dispensaries and manufacturing are the two biggest cannabis businesses in Eureka. For example, the former OH’s Townhouse and the drive-through coffee shop across the street from Target are now cannabis manufacturing.
Currently the City of Eureka has over 70 cannabis businesses, employing over 200 people and generating over $800,000 in permit fees.
The biggest issues other cities have is the smell. No one likes their home or business next door to a skunk farm.
2. What recommendations could you make to revitalize business in Eureka?
a. What can the city do to help reduce commercial storefront vacancies?
Why don’t we have two large murals at the north and south Highway 101 entrances to our city?
During COVID, the city should be bending over backwards to allow businesses to move part of their business to parking lots and sidewalks and maybe even the street. The city should be promoting outdoor tents and canopies for businesses.
Regarding commercial vacancies, this has been an on-going complaint of mine for years. There is no reason why The Ritz location at 3rd and F Streets has been vacant for over six years outside of the greed of the owner.
b. What outdoor projects in the city of Eureka do you support?
My big push is for additional housing, specifically apartments on city owned under-utilized parking lots. This doesn’t have to be low-income housing, but rather market rate housing. I’m proposing the city lease a parking lot to a developer for $1 per year for 99 years. That takes care of the land cost.
Outdoor projects such as murals on the sides of buildings always beautify our city.
I’d also like to see the Foot of C Street developed as the city first proposed 15 years ago with retail, restaurants and housing on the upper floors.
3. What is your position regarding the ongoing increases in the cost of city development fees and water rates?
Regarding development fees, the city should look at decreasing, not increasing fees for additional housing. Water rates are trickier as our city has many underground water pipes that are in need of repair and there’s a cost to upgrade our infrastructure.
4. If parking becomes a more significant challenge in the future, what solutions would you suggest helping alleviate the problem?
Other cities build parking garages, however please note these are very expensive and don’t sit with the aesthetics of our community. The reality is I’ve never experienced parking problems in Old Town, Downtown and Henderson Center that required walking more than a block or two.
5. What is your position regarding Sea Level Rise regulations?
Eureka is a coastal city with a bay. We experience heavy rains every year. We need to be listening to our scientific experts and their recommendations regarding sea level rise and drainage in Old Town properties along the waterfront.