Saturday, October 13, 2012

'Faulty Formula' Calculates City's Housing Needs (trouble in San Ramon)

ABAG's secret "magical" formula for predicting the future.

Though it's the sixth-largest city in Contra Costa, San Ramon has the highest affordable housing quota in the county.

Since 1969, every city in our state has been required by law to have a certified ”housing element” within their general plan that addresses how the city will support affordable housing.
The Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) determines the affordable quotas for all cities in our region.
Unfortunately these quotas, or “needs allocations” as ABAG calls them, are determined
Since 1969, every city in our state has been required by law to have a certified ”housing element” within their general plan that addresses how the city will support affordable housing.
The Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) determines the affordable quotas for all cities in our region.
Unfortunately these quotas, or “needs allocations” as ABAG calls them, are determined .....

faulty-formula in San Ramon

Silvestri: Local leaders Paralyzed over One Bay Area Plan


Op-Ed: Why Are Local Leaders Paralyzed Over ABAG's One Bay Area Plan?

Longtime local resident says plan's focus on development contradicts its goal of reducing greenhouse gases and challenges county and local officials to "not run with the herd."

Friday, October 12, 2012

Corte Madera Votes to Leave ABAG

NO to High Density housing!

Freedom is the battle cry as Corte Madera votes to dump the controversial Bay Area government group in hopes of regaining local control. Now, the town's leaders hope the rest of Marin will follow their example.

Freedom is the Battle Cry in the Fight against ABAG

Goodbye Green, Sustainable Marin. Hello Development

The destruction of our precious Marin protected lands in the name of Smart Growth

a Citizen Marin affliate reports:

On October 23rd the Board Of Supervisors plans on approving a resolution to allow the County to approve Affordable Housing Projects within the Bay Lands Corridor, Ridge-line and Green-Belt locations, which are currently prohibited from any development.  
This resolution will also allow the County of Marin to approve Affordable Housing projects on site where no water or sewer services have been obtained.  Per my review of the new Marin County Housing Element there are 17 locations within the County being proposed for Future Affordable housing sites. 
Some of these sites being designated for future Affordable Housing within the New Housing Element currently do not have water and sewer services available or may have to located within the Bay Lands Corridor, Ridge-line and Green-Belt areas to meet the unit quantities needed to make these developments viable from a development point of view. 

In essence the BOS needs to approve this resolution to allow Affordable Housing into these environmentally protected areas in order to approve the new Marin County Housing Element and the Affordable Housing Projects contained within at the December 10th meeting.  

This October 16th meeting is the initial step necessary to allow for the Future Affordable Housing locations being approved in December. 

YOUR help is needed to oppose these permanent changes to our landscape.  Call your supervisor. Write the IJ. Talk to your neighbors. Vote.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Smart Train contractors ignore environmental regulations

Smart Train Contractors ignore environmental regulations 

Our fellow Citizen Marin activist with QASSR reports:

Lots has been happening in the last couple of days.... On Oct 1 demolition and salvage work began on our stretch of tracks, adjacent to  Gallinas Creek. As you may know, the area directly adjacent to the tracks is defined as sensitive salt-marsh wetland, and habitat for two endangered species, the California clapper rail and the salt marsh harvest mouse, as well as a designated threatened species, the black rail. That kind of habitat has special protections under a host of federal and state laws, including the federal and state Endangered Species Acts and the Federal Clean Water Act--serious laws indeed!

When the work started, neighbors started noticing (and taking pictures of) potentially contaminated soils being moved around and spilling into the wetland area, raising concerns that creosote and other toxins could pollute the marsh, especially when the rains come. No protections were in place to block potential runoff. The salvage crews were also working in the endangered species' habitat without a biologist, in violation of federal law. And the whole process was being done without a permit--the salvage crew said SMART told them they didn't need one because this project was demolition work, not new work.

That didn't sit right with neighbors. Several of us raised concerns to a host of officials--the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, CA Fish & Wildlife, CA Water Quality Control Board, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Congressman Jared Huffman, and Supervisor Susan Adams, among others. We detailed what was happening, and sent photos.

And then stuff started happening.

  • US Fish and Wildlife Service immediately required a biologist to be on site, as did CA Fish & Wildlife.
  • CA Water Quality Control Board required the immediate installation of a barrier to block any potential silt or polluted material running into the creek.
  • US Army Corps of Engineers is assessing the need for additional permitting.
  • SMART's lead consultant penned the following: Removal of old ties and track by a recycler /salvage firm has ceased and SMART has and is installing sediment fencing to protect disturbed areas on the top of the rail grade.   No further tie or track removal will be occurring until permits for  construction are completed.  We are working closely with SMART and jurisdictional agencies to ensure all work conducted related to this important project is done in compliance with all regulations.   

While this is great news, we're not done.

SMART tried to get away with something, and they got caught. It's totally awesome seeing the neighborhood and concerned citizens mobilizing so quickly, and with such impressive results. It's totally distressing seeing how SMART is trying to play fast and loose right under our noses, in sensitive wetland habitat, as if getting away with major violations is the way to go. Well, not here. Environmental laws are some of the most sacred laws we have--destroy our environment, and you destroy a piece of our planet. What train track is worth that? It's ironic that a project that claims to reduce traffic and therefore is good for the environment has no problem turning around and trashing that same environment to meet its deadlines and single-minded goals. Shame on SMART. We won't stop watching every move.


Santa Venetia Residents say "NO!"

Santa Venetia Residents protest wetlands habitat destruction at San Rafael Airport

In Santa Venetia neighborhood of San Rafael,  residents are fighting the destruction of precious wetlands and housing  A multimillion dollar sports complex and an expected Smart train facility (unannounced) will destroy precious wetlands and crowd more people in 5 story apartment buildings  The proposal will raise the level of the wetlands five feet with fill from roadway projects.  This will permanently affect the nesting habitat of the federal protected Clapper Rail  and thousands of species,  including commercial fisheries.

The "development at any cost" juggarnaut has ignored sound land use planning which Marin pioneered from the early days of the environmental movement.  The San Rafael Mayor and City Council have approved the project in addition to the controversial Civic Center Station Plan which will add hundreds of low income housing units on both sides of 101 and around the perimeter of Northgate shopping mall.

The residents are fighting back. They will not let corporate greed crush us.  They will defend their right for local control and wise land use. We are inspired.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Free Money for the Marinwood Priority Development Area!

Free Money?

Do we really get Free Money for Marinwood Priority Development Area?  Here is what One Bay Area Plan is promising ....

Investment Strategies

Unfortunately nothing is truly "free". For all this money, we need to sell our green suburban communities for high density housing, government control and less freedom.

[The best things in life ARE free.  I am going to walk my dog in the park and enjoy the lovely Fall afternoon along Miller Creek.]

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Planning Department 10/8/2012 meeting about Marinwood-Lucas Valley

There were about twenty citizens and a handful of housing activists and developers attend the Monday, Housing Element "workshop" on Monday, October 8th.  After you get through the blah, blah, blah,  essentially the whole meeting was a proposal to "streamline development" for low income  housing developers so they don't need to be "burdened" with the same level of public scrutiny as the rest of us.  "Ministerial" approval (i.e. a politician or bureaucrat) is all that is required to fast track low income development and radically change our neighborhoods.  

The "workshop" allowed public comment but there were very few answers given.  We came to learn. The came to sell.    Of course, they will call this a "public workshop" but only a few of us could attend at 1pm on a Monday afternoon.

This is unacceptable.  We need to be part of the process.   Stand up be heard.

Planning Department 10/8/2012 meeting concerning Marinwood-Lucas Valley

Public comments start at approximately the 2:04 mark

Monday, October 8, 2012

Have Something to Say on Housing in Marinwood-Lucas Valley? Let's Talk!

Writers wanted
One of our main goals in creating  is to generate conversation about the future of Marinwood Lucas Valley and inform citizens of  imminent changes to our community.  Some people have torn down our Alert! posters with the incorrect assumption that we are anti-housing.  
We are for open neighbor-neighbor conversations about future for Marinwood-Lucas Valley.  Disagree with something?  Like to make a point?  We want to hear from you.  Send an email to or leave a comment on any article. 
We strive to be factually accurate and will give you links to source documents so that you can independently decide on issues.  We welcome your help making our community better place for everyone.
-Stephen Nestel

Maps of Marinwood Priority Development Area and land use

Curious what the One Bay Plan may mean for Marinwood?  Check out these maps of the Priority Development for an Urban corridor in our neighborhoods.   The land use map is of existing zoning.  This may all change to an urban style development to all areas within the Priority Development Plan. There are even more developments proposed in Lucas Valley from St. Vincents to Grady Ranch.

This requires the attention of our community.  Do we want to become another East Bay mixed use urban city or do we want to keep our green Marin heritage?  Will we get to determine our own fate or will we be bulldozed by government and development interests?

Even if you have never become politically active at anything in your life, it is time to become aware of what is happening and defend your home.

Is this what we elected our local politicians to do to us?

A map of the Marinwood Priority Development Area

What is a Priority Development Area?

Does this sound like Marinwood? 

From the website:

What are Priority Development Areas?
Priority Development Areas (PDAs) are locally-identified, infill development opportunity areas within existing communities. They are generally areas of at least 100 acres where there is local commitment to developing more housing along with amenities and services to meet the day-to-day needs of residents in a pedestrian-friendly environment served by transit. To be eligible to become a PDA, an area had to be within an existing community, near existing or planned fixed transit or served by comparable bus service, and planned for more housing.

Go Team Go!- Planning Department Meeting is Today

Standing up for your rights is American as apple pie.

Today the planning commission will be meeting to discuss the Cell Poles and the 2012 Housing Element at Marin Civic Center Room 328.  The meeting starts with discussions on the Cell Poles at 8:30 AM and will be discussing the Housing Element from 1-5 pm.  See you there.

New supplemental information has been added to the Planing Commission Staff Report for Monday, October 8, 2012.The meeting is scheduled for 1:00 PM.


Sunday, October 7, 2012

One Bay Area Plan Meeting in Marin January 17, 2012

This is a video of the Association of Bay Area Government's  One Bay Area Plan Meeting on January 17, 2012 at Marin Civic Center.  It was my first meeting on housing.  I went to learn about the Marinwood Plaza development and general plans for all of Marin. 

At the beginning of the meeting,  I was annoyed with many angry protestors waving signs and being disruptive.  I simply wanted everyone to be quiet so the planners could make their presentations and respond to questions.  As the meeting progressed, however,  it became apparent that the "workshop" was simply a facade to sell people on the massively overambitious and intrusive One Bay Area Plan.  I was shocked at the details.  The plan threatens to irrevocably change the county of Marin from largely a bedroom community to an urban corridor and redefine property rights.  In the starkest terms, One Bay Area Plan is a total transformation of the economy, transportation and local governments and threatens our rights to govern local issues ourselves.

I have never been politically active. Frankly, I don't agree with some of what is said by some of the speakers on the tape.   I don't believe Agenda 21 is a global conspiracy.  I have never been a member of any political group whatsoever. I am proudly Independent.

This tape is an excellent recording of the One Bay Area Meeting that night in January 2012.  Ordinary citizens asked some extraordinary insightful questions.  Facilitators provided no answers.  This video is instructive on what to expect at your next Planning "Workshop". It will give you a window on the growing opposition to One Bay Area Plan.   It can also restore your faith in your fellow citizens and hope for democracy.

Plan Bay Area Map- The plans for government development

Will you speak up for the future of Marinwood-Lucas Valley?

Will you be heard?
As Martin Luther King, Jr. so famously said, “History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.”

Tommorrow, Monday, October 8th at Marin Civic Center, Room 328, San Rafael at 1 PM,  the Planning Department will have a workshop on the 2012 Housing Element for Unincorporated Marin.  This is your opportunity to ask questions and submit commentary on the future of Marinwood-Lucas Valley.

The state has "pre-approved" the Housing Element as it now stands.  All it waits for is final approval by the Board of Supervisors.  Will you be heard?

The chambers will be filled with housing advocates pushing for development.   

HOW  MANY of US will be there?