Humboldt is beginning to take in our first climate refugees ("Cold Comfort," Oct. 22). These are not folks from far-flung lands but from communities like Paradise and Happy Camp, scattered by climate-exacerbated fires. The climate crisis is going to make large areas of California virtually unlivable. By 2099, Sacramento is anticipated to have 24 days a year above 103.9 degrees, up from only four on average. By contrast, Eureka is projected to have just eight days above 76.6 degrees, up from four or so per year. Humboldt's mild weather will beckon the next generation of people to call this place home.
How do we accept more people into our community without accompanying sprawl? How can we grow and still retain our bucolic identity? We need to plan to build more housing, preferably in our already developed urban centers. The city of Eureka is doing its part, turning under-utilized city-owned parking lots into affordable housing. The county, however, is failing at its charge. It has both made infill development too difficult — burdening developers with excessive parking standards and lot restrictions that make building in urban areas too costly to pencil out — while simultaneously making development of farm and forestlands too easy, encouraging our housing to be built precisely in those areas that make Humboldt special. To maintain Humboldt's rural charm, we ironically need to embrace denser urban areas.
Tom Wheeler, Eureka