Friday, March 15, 2013

Does Supervisor Susan Adams still care about the people of Marinwood?


I find it ironic that Supervisor Susan Adams, once a champion of managed growth for Marinwood/Lucas Valley is now at the forefront of the ABAG plan to urbanize Marin and especially the Marinwood Priority Development Area. The supervisors voted and approved special provisions for high density/affordable housing developers that weaken environmental protections for us all ("streamlining" CEQA).

It is my greatest hope that she will reconsider housing development at Marinwood Plaza and encourage
commercial development like the Farm to Table Market (see for an example) that will serve the whole community. Once we have a true walk/bike friendly community again, we can consider additional housing in the valley.

Please help us save the community for ALL of us . If we lose the Marinwood Plaza site to housing and offices, we will have lost the only viable commerical site next to the 101 corridor. 
Let Susan Adams, Steve Kinsey and the rest of the Supervisors know that you want to keep our community whole.

St. Vincent’s and Silveira Ranch

When viewed from Highway 101, the bucolic St. Vincent’s and Silveira ranchlands remind people of the way California once looked. The open vistas of a working dairy, grazing cows and a pastoral landscape extending to San Pablo Bay was once a common sight in the North Bay. One by one, over the years, these vistas have been replaced with housing and commercial development. The approximately 1,110 acre St. Vincent’s/Silveira properties serve as an important community separator between northern San Rafael and Novato.
The 1994 Marin Countywide plan presumed that the City of San Rafael would annex these two properties and they would be developed as a new neighborhood within the City. Some San Rafael elected officials backed an aggressive plan for large scale development of the area with up to 1,800 housing units and several hundred thousand square feet of commercial space. There was a tug-of-war of sorts between the County of Marin and the City of San Rafael regarding which government agency would have jurisdiction over the site.
When I first ran for office, the City of San Rafael was processing a development application from Shapell Industries that proposed 856 homes and assorted commercial buildings on only the St. Vincent’s portion of the properties. Shortly after I joined the Board of Supervisors, the San Rafael City Council voted to drop the Silveira/St. Vincent’s properties from the city’s sphere of influence, transferring full control of the land use planning to the County of Marin.
I have long been committed to curtailing, as much as possible, large scale development of these lands and I believe the voters supported this position when they elected me to the Board eight years ago. I believe Marin County residents do not want to see the type of growth, which the business and construction industries support and which is evident in so many other areas of California where one city or town sprawls into the next.
As the Countywide Plan was in the beginning stages of a major revision, County planners, Supervisors and the public were in a position to take a fresh look at the future use of these properties. A comprehensive analysis by the County found that there were a number of extremely important resource areas on the St. Vincent’s/Silveira lands, including tidelands; diked baylands; Miller creek and its riparian corridor; large areas within the 100-year floodplain; and the hills leading up to Pacheco Ridge at the northern edge of the site.
As part of the new Countywide Plan approved in 2007, a fourth planning corridor was created. This new “Baylands Corridor” was established to protect important baylands and large adjacent undeveloped uplands (including St. Vincent’s and Silveira) along the bay shoreline. In the new Countywide Plan these properties are assigned the land use designation: “Agricultural and Environmental Resource Area”. Potential uses include agriculture and related uses, limited residential development, education and tourism, places of worship, institutional uses, and small-scale hospitality uses.
The Board of Supervisors set the planning guidelines for these properties to include up to 221 dwelling units for the combined St. Vincent’s and Silveira sites. This equates to 121 market-rate dwelling units plus up to 100 additional units for low income households. Dwelling units would be allocated proportionally to the respective St. Vincent’s and Silveira areas, based on the total acreage of each property. Any new development would be located to protect resource areas and be concentrated in locations that minimize interference with the view corridor from Highway 101 to the bay.
To date, no formal development plans have been submitted to the County for either of these properties.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Let's play "Affordable Housing Developer". Spot the "Creative Assumptions" and win a prize.

Financial worksheet from  published by Bridge Housing.

Editor's Note: 
When  we announced this contest on January 8th.  We were received many responses.  Apparently the supporters of Bridge Housing were watching too and realized the questionable accounting.  Bridge took it off their website. We asked Lisa Grady at the 2/12/13 CSD Meeting to help us understand why she included irrelevant  tax funding streams from Hoytt development and Marinwood Market, and the sewage bill that  wildly inflate their apparent tax contribution .  If Bridge Housing was a publicly traded company and distributed such misleading financial information, they would face severe penalties. 

Bridge Housing ,  potential developer of Marinwood Village is trying to present a case for their development to skeptical residents.  It has been revealed that the 83 family development will pay about $10,000 in total annual fees for the 83 families that will be residing there. We pay $10,000 per student to educate our children in the Dixie School.  Original estimates were that we could expect 150 school children or 1.8 children per apartment.  Now, they have "reworked" the presentation to suggest that they will be paying $360,706 in annual taxes and "only" 60 school children.

Clearly the Marinwood Village complex will be a huge financial burden to the Dixie School District, forcing millions of dollars in costs for new classrooms, teachers and administrators.  It also may require a new fire ladder company, costing millions of dollars in equipment, training and personnel.

See if you can spot the "creative assumptions"
in their spread sheet. 

With such misleading information,
which "facts" can we rely on from Bridge Housing?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Planning Commission 2/11/2013 The after party

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Often times the most interesting parts of the Planning Meetings happen after the the Public Testimony.

In this 45 minute clip, The commissionors make thoughtful comments and remarks about the impact on our little 5.78 square mile community of Marinwood Lucas Valley.  They show concern about what will happen to the Dixie School district when affordable housing comes without a supporting tax base.  We spend roughly $120,000 per child to educate them through the 12th grade.

The Marinwood Village project alone will bring 60 to 150 or more children.  If all projects are built we may have as many as 1000 new students without a supporting tax base and will be forced to build new schools etc. 

The planners responded that due to AB 50,  the impact on schools cannot be considered as a reason to deny a housing project once the impact fee has been paid.

The local Dixie School District parents will have to either tax themselves or a whole new school district funding scheme will need to be created with heavy government subsidies and controls.

Also in this clip is a discussion of the Oakview project which was NOT included in the housing element .  With over 175 potential units, it would reduce our housing allocations substantially.

The planners stated that since it is their goal to create as many affordable housing sites as possible, they ommited this project since it had been in past reports. Commissionor Dickenson noted the inconsistency since other projects had been counted towards housing allocations.

We get the sense that "The Emperor's New Clothes" are being revealed as politically connected communities have successfully peeled away their allocations while leaving with us with the responsibility to build affordable housing in 0.6 percent of the land mass of the entire county.

Planning Commission 3/11/2013 Public Testimony

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We certainly hope our Board of Supervisors are listening.  There is overwhelming opposition to the high concentration of affordable housing in Marinwood Lucas Valley.  The housing element concentrates 71% of all affordable housing for unincorporated Marin within our 5.78 square mile neighborhood.

We are 2% of the population of Marin and only 0.6 percent of the land mass.  How is this fair to us?

We support a fair allocation of affordable housing that respects wise land use,  is financially sound and integrates diversity within our community.

This video testimony is very interesting. 

Your can see the full video at March 11th Planning Commission

We are at great crossroads in Marin.  Not since freeway and a major city was planned for West Marin in the early 1960s has Marin been under such threat of exploitation by developers.

You will be proud of your neighbors in the above clip.  Next time please lend us your voice speak for the community.

Life is good in Marinwood-Lucas Valley

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Bureacrats Gone Wild in Marin Meeting March 20th

See this article by Nels Johnson from the Marin IJ about the Citizen Marin meeting held at the Al Boro Center on March 20th.  Also review the comments following the article.  It contains some inflamatory and defamatory claims about this website and the people of Marinwood-Lucas Valley.

Bureaucrats Gone Wild in Marin

Monday, March 11, 2013

Planning Commissioner, "The only likely development for approval is Marinwood Village"

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Did we hear this right?  This is an excerpt from the February 11, 2013 Planning Commission meeting. 

"The only project likely to get approved for the 2014 Housing Element is Marinwood Village"

also our newest commissioner (and Marinwood resident), Ericka Erikson questions, "Why are all of the Marinwood Village apartments listed as all extremely low to low income with no moderate income units?"

After three hours of testemony mostly from residents of Marinwood-Lucas Valley, the planning commissionors still regard Marinwood Village as a site "very likely" to develop.

There is no mention of the community's legitmate concerns about the impact on the Dixie School district, the loss of our only viable retail location in the community, environmental concerns, etc.

Marinwood Village, if built will be one of the largest affordable housing communities in Marin next to Marin City and Hamilton.  High density housing brings high density urban problems.

Get active.  Our "neighborhood leaders", politicians and political insiders want this project badly. 

We can win the future WE want. Join us at the March 11th planning commission to voice your opinion.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Bridge Housing explains the Marinwood Plaza Site Plan at Feb 12 CSD Meeting Part 1

Lisa Grady of Bridge Housing explains their plan for Marinwood Plaza at the February 12, 2013 CSD Meeting

VIDEO: Planning Commission 2/11/2013 on Housing Element for Unincorporated Marin

Editor's Note:  It is actually worse than this report from last year. In this year's housing element, the Planning commission is recommending 60% of all affordable housing in Marinwood-Lucas Valley. Also, it has been discovered that San Rafael placed 700 units on our border.  All told an estimated 1500 units of housing in non profit housing that PAY NO TAXES. All will be inside the Dixie School District. Our population may double or triple if all of these units are built to plan.
The above video is a portion of the February, 11, 2013 Marin County planning commission on the Housing Element for Unincorporated Marin.  The majority of speakers are from Marinwood-Lucas Valley. They question the concentration of housing in our community but accept limited and proportional affordable housing that is financially and environmentally responsible.
Despite the small size of our 5.78 square mile jurisdiction we are assigned with 71% of all affordable housing in unincorporated Marin.  We only represent 2 % of the population of Marin.
Planners,  Supervisor Adams, Planning Commission and even Ken Kirkey, director of ABAG recognize the extreme concentration of housing in our neighborhood.
Non-profit affordable housing pays almost no taxes.  Our Dixie Schools are at capacity and the addition of 60-240 children for Marinwood Village (1000-2000 if all housing is built) is unsustainable for the local community.  It will mean we will either suffer a catastrophic loss of school funds, have dramaticly higher taxes or some school children will only be able to attend by lottery. 
The above video is only the portion of the public testimony.  The full video can be found : here 
Our community needs you to stand up and be heard.  Whatever you feelings on housing, our community is at an important moment that will shape our community for decades to come.  Please plan to attend public meetings to voice your opinion.
Your community needs you to create our future and protect Marinwood-Lucas Valley