Friday, September 21, 2012

The Future of Marinwood Plaza? Vibrant Community Marketplace or Government Housing? you heard what is being planned at Marinwood Plaza?

It may be converted to government subsidized housing and retail for up to 100 families. Bridge Housing Development is hoping to build a cluster of 3 or 4 story apartment structures.   This dense urban style development will require an additional 200 parking spaces or more and may encroach on publicly owned Marinwood Avenue.

Susan Adams, Marin County Supervisor,  cites that "teachers, firefighters and policemen" will have a place to live in "workforce housing" although some she acknowledges earn more than the $96,000 maximum income threshold to live there. Government pension benefits ( typically 50% of salary or more) are not included in the total income calculation.  Very low income is family income of less than $26,000 is the minimum.

Since the lot is small, developer Bridge Housing will ask for reduced parking requirements in the mistaken belief, that working poor do not own cars.  The isolation of the property in a bedroom community will require a car trip for affordable shopping, services and job opportunities if public transportation is not conveniently available. One only needs to see the cars parked along the roads in the  San Rafael Canal district, to see how many cars low income residents own.

The Marinwood Fire Department does not own a ladder truck and will have to upgrade its fleet for a new $900,000+ ladder truck and train staff to fight blazes in large multiunit, multi story tenements.

The water and sewage infrastructure will need to be upgraded to accomodate this intensive project. Infrastructure bonds do not require voter approval and are paid back typically in 40 years or more. It is estimated the Marinwood Plaza housing project will rival the scale of a large roadside hotel, like the Four Corners Sheraton in Terra Linda with far fewer parking spaces.  

The Dixie schools will receive an estimate increase of 200-300 new children requiring additional staff, classrooms and special needs population qualified teachers.  As low income, resident renters,  they cannot be expected to contribute at the same rate as existing population,  with the net effect of stretching existing resources or increasing taxes to pay for the changes.  No doubt the new voting population will demand these resources and vote for increasing taxes on existing property owners.

Although press releases from the office of Susan Adams and Bridge Housing claim widespread support from community leaders for this project,  none have publicly identified themselves.   CSD directors-Bruce Anderson, consultant,  Cyanne Dandridge, local government contractor, Bill Hansell, Architect, Leah Green, elevator component manufacturer have been involved in the preliminary planning process and/or discussions as citizens.  The meetings are closed to the general public.   Do you think the public has a right to participate in the planning process with Bridge Housing and the County?

What about the people of Marinwood-Lucas Valley?  A local place to shop by walking and bike gives us our independance, cuts down on pollution and builds community. For some seniors and the mobility impaired,  a neighborhood market is the only way they can shop without relying on outside services or caretakers.  An indoor market featuring local produce, wine, restaraunts, fitness studios, performance space and essential services have been proposed. Marinwood Plaza has the opportunity to come alive again with our neighbors and an enjoyable place to shop. To be commercially successful, these businesses need adequate parking and freeway visablity. Marinwood plaza should be retained as a commercial space.  There is no additional room for housing and resident parking on this site.

Marinwood Plaza can become a center of our community for years to come, providing us a place to shop and meet our neighbors. Or it can become one of many subsidized government projects burdening us with costs forever.

What future do you want for Marinwood-Lucas Valley?

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