The Ukiah Daily Journal
TRINIDAD LIGHTHOUSE PERMITS APPROVED
Coastal Commission OKS infrastructure upgrades
On Friday, the California Coastal Commission unanimously approved the permits allowing the Trinidad Memorial Lighthouse at the base of Trinidad Head commemorating those lost at sea to become permanent with some infrastructural changes.
The permits, requested by the city of Trinidad and the Trinidad Rancheria, allow the city to elevate the replica lighthouse on a concrete foundation that cannot exceed 25 feet in height, construct a concrete wall, railing, pedestrian walkway and a concrete pedestal to support the fog bell, two observation benches, the historic anchor, lighting, and utility connections to the harbor bathroom.
“We feel that exactly where its place is where it should be because it will not impact any of the surrounding hillsides,” Jacque Hostler-carmesin, chief executive officer of the Trinidad Rancheria, said. “It will not be above the viewshed where the vacation rental is, it's substantially below that and we believe that the lighthouse should be seen because it is a historic structure. It houses historic parts from the lighthouse so we're not so much interested in hiding it, we want it there for everyone to see.”
The replica lighthouse was constructed in 1948 and moved to its current location in the parking lot at the base of Trinidad Head in 2018 due to landslide threats, necessitating emergency permits from the commission, but the approval of long-term permits allows the infrastructural improvements to be made to the site. After construction, the final footprint, based on the concrete pedestal, retaining wall, permanent foundation, sidewalks, viewing platform, benches, railing, pedestal and installing underground utilities will make the total developed area roughly 1,450 square feet.
The commission received 27 public comment letters on the item, including a letter requesting removal of legal liability from the applicants stemming from the approval and a letter from the Yurok Tribe requesting denial of the application due to visual impacts on the area around the lighthouse. Melodie Meyer, associate general counsel with the Yurok Tribe, was slated to be present virtually and speak on the item, but she was not there.
“The Yurok Tribe does not have a higher standing regarding this property. Trinidad Rancheria is a historic tribe with strong ties to cultural and natural resources,” Hostler-carmesin said.
Part of the permitting approval requires that all three Indigenous tribes be involved in the protection of cultural and archaeological resources during construction. Trinidad must notify the tribes, the Trinidad Rancheria, Yurok Tribe, and Tsurai Ancestral Society, no less than three weeks prior to construction and must invite monitors from all three tribes to see the construction work.
Commission staff expressed respect for the Yurok Tribe, but noted that the application falls within the allowances made by state law and the coastal commission's code.
“The proposed location will minimally impact the culturally significant viewshed,” Dana Hope, the Trinidad Civic Club's copresident, said.