It’s Official: The Big Cheese Settlement – June 6, 2012

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Eye Staff Report

ARCATA BOTTOM – Cypress Grove Chèvre and the neighbors who opposed the company’s planned expansion of its Q Street cheese factory have reached a compromise settlement in advance of tonight’s City Council consideration of the neighbors’ appeal.

The company sent out a press release (see below) detailing the settlement. Details of the official announcement differ somewhat from those described in a message sent out earlier today by appellant Sean Armstrong.

• Armstrong’s message described an area protected under the agreement as “the first protected parcel of the Arcata Green Belt.” The official announcement refers to it more generically as “an agricultural wildlife easement.”

• The official release gives the size of the newly protected area as six acres, while Armstrong’s message lists it as eight acres. That figure apparently includes a creek easement already protected under a 2002 arrangement.

• Armstrong’s message states that Cypress Grove truck traffic will be diverted off 17th and Q streets to an alternate access route through the Reid & Wright lumber mill to the east. The official release makes no mention of this arrangement.

The Cypress Grove announcement also includes no mention of improvements to Q Street which neighbors had demanded in the appeal. Numerous other concerns previously raised by opponents, including drainage issues, aren’t covered in either announcement.


This graphic generally delineates the major features of the Cypress Grove.neighbors settlement. Courtesy Cypress Grove Chevre

Cypress Grove Chevre Press Release


Neighbors to Request Permission from Arcata City Council to Withdraw Appeal 

Arcata, CA – (June 6,  2012) – Humboldt County based Cypress Grove Chevre announced today that it had reached an agreement with neighbors Sean Armstrong and Shail Pec-Crouse regarding their appeal of the Arcata Planning Commission’s decision to allow Cypress Grove Chevre’s proposed expansion of its Q Street creamery in Arcata. Pec-Crouse and Armstrong have agreed to withdraw their appeal at the Arcata City Council meeting scheduled for Wednesday, June 6th. Parliamentary procedure requires that the city council agree to allow the appeal to be withdrawn, and both parties expect the request to be approved.

“Listening to and working with the community, then addressing as many of their concerns as possible felt right and we thank them for their input,” stated Cypress Grove Project Manager David Estes, “we are very happy that both sides are content and we hope to start our project before the rainy season is upon us.”

Appellant Sean Armstrong commented, “For almost a year, part of our community has been in conflict in how to deal with the environmental and safety issues that result from intensive agricultural uses of farm land. With the cooperation of Cypress Grove and help from the City of Arcata staff and a group of neighbors and amazing farmers, I am glad that we have forged a compromise.”

Included in the agreement are:

  • An agricultural wildlife easement of approximately 6 acres on the north side of the property bordering 17th Street and Q Street. Combined with the existing creek easement that Cypress Grove granted the City of Arcata in 2002, the total agriculture and wildlife easement will be 8.24 acres.
  • A good faith effort on the part of Cypress Grove to explore the development of alternative routing for trucks as the business grows.
  • Species-specific plantings along the sidewalk on 17th Street to create an “edible walkway” for everyone to enjoy.

Cypress Grove’s plans call for the modernization and expansion of their creamery, which is located on an exclusively agriculturally-zoned 18 acre parcel on Q Street in Arcata, CA.  The new addition will add over 24,000 square feet to the current creamery and allow for additional capacity to meet demand for their cheese in coming years.  Incorporated in the new facilities will be advanced food safety controls and significant energy savings by updating aging coolers and installing a more efficient pasteurization system.

“We have already received approval from each city committee and commission without a single dissenting vote and our plan fulfilled every requirement of the City of Arcata. That being said, Cypress Grove has been and will continue to be a good neighbor.  Although we did not agree with all of the thinking behind the appeal, in discussing it with Sean, we were able to find some common ground on questions behind the appeal,” stated Cypress Grove’s General Manager Pamela Dressler. ”Sometimes the best solutions come from negotiation and compromise.”

About Cypress Grove Chevre 

Cypress Grove Chevre is the leading producer of fine American goat cheese, including the
top-selling American artisanal classic, Humboldt Fog.  Founded in 1983 by Mary Keehn, Cypress Grove continues a tradition of innovation by introducing original American cheeses to the marketplace, such as Truffle Tremor and Herbs de Humboldt. Located in Humboldt County, CA, where the Redwoods meet the Pacific, Cypress Grove’s award-winning family of products can be found at fine retail outlets and restaurants across the country. Cypress Grove’s mission is to provide its customers with an innovative and unique selection of cheeses while taking care of its employees, community and dairies, as well as being good stewards of the environment.