In November, the Marin Board of Supervisors will vote to adopt the new "housing element," which proposes sites for hundreds of new housing units not required by state law. This misguided plan is on the minds of thousands of Marin residents who care about the future of our amazing county. '

Everywhere I go, people are worried about this "build, baby, build" mentality and wondering what they can do. Well, first and foremost they can contact their supervisors and give them some good reasons to re-think Marin's future.

Here are five good reasons why the process should start over:

• The will of the people has clearly been stated. County officials boast about the months of public hearings on this matter. They don't mention that the majority of people who attended their "workshops" firmly objected to the process because it lacked real options, or that hundreds have shown up at planning meetings to express strong opposition to high-density projects — similar to WinCup in Corte Madera — they are planning to allow.

• There are better ways to grow. The idea that people will drive less if you house them along the highway is absurd. If this planning is really about sustainability, why aren't we talking about what is actually economically and environmentally sustainable? Why aren't we talking about creating senior and low-income housing within our downtown areas, even in unincorporated parts of Marin? In every small town, people can, and already do walk and bike to stores, schools and restaurants. Why not allow second-story units above and close to existing locally owned businesses? This would welcome seniors and low-income residents into our communities, instead of forcing them to live out near the noise and pollution of the highway.

Shouldn't we also consider encouraging more and better jobs first, before adding more housing for more people who will only have to commute by car to get to work?

• What's the rush? The county Planning Commission's decision to increase designated development sites four-fold over the state's legal requirement is unprecedented. The supervisors' decision to finalize and adopt this plan before Jan. 31 is unnecessary. The Metropolitan Transportation Commission told the county that if it fails to adopt the housing element by Jan. 31, MTC will deny it federal transportation funding. However, MTC won't tell the county how much money, or even promise that there will be any money available. MTC has no legal authority to make that threat or penalize anyone. So there is no good reason to rush. The county, by law, has until May 31 to finalize the plan; plenty of time to get it right.

• Marin deserves better. Future generations in our county will wonder what we were thinking. If the county's planning process is about sustainability, we should surely be discussing the impacts of four times the amount of state-required housing on our schools, roads, traffic, the costs of public services and the management of resources, especially water.
We should consider our dwindling water supply and the foolishness of proposing to build housing in flood-prone areas that will be impacted by sea-level rise. • If we can't do it, who can? We're Marin County. We have more resources, natural, intellectual and otherwise, than just about anywhere else on Earth. Surely we can do good, thoughtful, long-term planning to benefit future generations. Surely we can begin by getting our elected representatives to see that they should represent our interests, rather than those of high-density housing advocates and profit-motivated developers. And if they don't believe the majority of residents agree, then why not do a public survey and ask?
It's time to start digging for the right answers for Marin. Please think about this and talk to your neighbors, and above all attend upcoming supervisors' and planning commission meetings and speak your mind during open time.

We can do better. Let's get working on it.

Then maybe we can get back to living our lives, instead of being increasingly distressed by poor decisions and unresponsive government processes we are experiencing from our elected representatives. 
Pat Ravasio of Corte Madera is a local real estate agent. She is a former community member of the Marin IJ Editorial Board. She can be reached at