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Central Avenue Open Space Maintenance Zone Reformation

The Central Avenue Open Space Zone (Zone #6) is located within the Humboldt County Central Avenue Right of Way which extends 50-feet to the east and west of the Central Avenue center line. The landscape areas are 11-feet wide on the west side and 20-feet wide along the eastern side. The eastern side of Central Avenue Open Space Zone also contains a 5-foot-wide bridle

 trail in addition to the sidewalk and landscape areas, while the western side contains a sidewalk and landscape areas.

Zone History

McKinleyville Community Services District formed the Central Avenue Open Space Zone #6 in June of 1997. The zone extends from Anna Sparks Way at the Ray’s shopping center on the south end of Central Avenue to the intersection of Central Avenue and Bates Road to the North.

The zone was established in 1997 with a five-year “sunset clause” and, in accordance with Proposition 218, was reformed on July 1, 2000. At the time an independent contractor was retained to perform landscape maintenance work along the zone at a total cost of $1,020/month or $0.15 per linear foot of frontage.  No fees were increased in 2000 and 8.5hrs/week of maintenance was performed by the contractor on the Zone.

In January 2005, the zone was again reformed, and, with the addition of a new maintenance person, MCSD took over all maintenance for the Zone. The total maintenance fee was calculated to be $1,350 per month and 10hrs/week of maintenance was performed by District Staff.

In 2010, the zone was again reformed. New assessment costs included banners and insurance cost increases. Zone maintenance fees increased to a total of $2,202 per month.

In 2016, the zone was again reformed and reassessed. During this assessment the method for assessing fees for each individual parcel was revised to account for “maintenance area” opposed to “linear frontage”. Another consideration was the District’s successful negotiation with Humboldt County Public Works for contributed maintenance labor and $10,000 per year in cost sharing. This reassessment increased fees collected by MCSD to a total of $2,400 per month.

In 2021, the assessment methodology remained consistent with the 2016 methods. Zone maintenance fees to be collected by MCSD increased to a total of $3,061.63 per month.

The estimated cost of maintenance includes weeding, hedge and tree pruning, new plantings, mulching and bridle trail maintenance as well as bookkeeping and billing fees.


In previous years (1997- 2010), the Central Avenue open space fees were assessed by calculating how many linear feet of each parcel fronted Central Avenue, minus driveways and entry points. This method was applied to all parcels within the zone. This method was modified for the 2016 reassessment due to General and Special Benefit considerations.

Since 2016, the method for assessing fees was changed to an area-based calculation to account for the difference in open space width along the eastern and western sides of Central Avenue. The total assessable square footage of maintenance area was calculated by multiplying the total assessment frontage, by the zone depth, minus area for driveways, entry points and sidewalks. 

The Central Avenue Open Space Zone totals approximately 126,300 square feet of area, including both east and west sides of Central Avenue.  Of the total area, 39,452-square feet are non-assessable sidewalks and driveways, resulting in an assessable area of approximately 86,874-square feet.  The zone is comprised of 75 assessor’s parcels with 93 customers on these parcels.

Reformation via Proposition 218

The current Central Avenue Open Space Zone requires reauthorization every five years. In November 1996, California voters passed Proposition 218, the “Right to Vote on Taxes Act”. This constitutional amendment protects taxpayers by limiting the methods by which local governments can create or increase taxes, fees and charges without taxpayer consent. The Proposition 218 process requires voter approval prior to imposition or increase of general taxes, assessments, and certain user fees and is not a protest voting process. 

Proposition 218 requires that an assessment be supported by a detailed engineer’s report quantifying the benefit obtained by each parcel.  The District prepared an Engineer’s Report detailing this assessment in 2016 and updated the Engineer’s Report for this year based on changed conditions and increased costs. The detailed Engineer’s Report can be found below as well as a detailed costs per customer.

Prop. 218 also requires, prior to implementing an assessment, the agency must hold a Public Hearing, mail advance notice of the Public Hearing to the owner of each parcel and conduct a ballot protest proceeding.  The Notice of Public Hearing will be mailed along with the Engineer’s Report and ballots  to the affected customers in the zone after Board approval. 

The Public Hearing must be held not less than 45-days after the Notice has been mailed and has been scheduled for the general Board Meeting to be held on December 1, 2021. Public input will be gathered at that meeting prior to the reformation of the zone. The votes will be tallied, and the Board will have the option to consider reforming the zone after the closing of the Public Hearing.


Central Ave OSMZ Engineers ReportCentral Ave OSMZ Cost per CustomerPublic NoticeCentral Ave. OSMZ  Reformation Presentation