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Rachel ReidEnvironmental Planning Manager
3501 Civic Center Drive, Suite 308,San Rafael, CA 94903
The Marinwood Village project raises many environmental concerns to the community of Marinwood Lucas Valley. Its impact to the health, safety, aesthetics, financial, parking, ground water school impacts, archeological heritage, air quality and local government services will be dramatic. In addition, the proximity to five other potential sites within a 4 mile radius, the cumulative impacts will spread far beyond the immediate neighborhood.
While affordable housing per se is not the issue, non profit (tax payer subsidized) affordable housing at the Marinwood Plaza site is particularly challenging especially given the known toxic waste and benzene contamination, and a microwave farm located on the property. This site is wholly unsuited for high density development, placing its residents at health risks from the toxics from the former gas station, prosperity cleaners site and highway 101. Indeed, a cancer hotspot is located several hundred yards away in Casa Marinwood. see: http://youtu.be/HfsCiHUvZsI
The community concerns raised at the March 29th are just a beginning. Other sites within the Marin County Housing element are far less impactful than the Marinwood Village site.
1.) The EIR shall study the impacts cumulatively from all areas between South Novato Blvd at Hwy 16 in Novato to the Civic Center, San Rafael, and Nicasio through the Baylands Corridor and San Pablo Bay.. Marinwood Plaza may soon be joined by 240 residences at Silveira Ranch, 173 units at Oakview, 225 units at Grady Ranch, Rocking H ranch 240 units, Big Rock Deli 60 units plus 60 units across the street at Rotary Field plus whatever else the community development department may propose. It is clear that the current board of supervisors have specifically targeted Marinwood/Lucas Valley for major development of non-profit affordable housing to meet its HUD requirements under the Analysis of Impediments agreement. In addition, Marinwood was identified as a potential Priority Development Area for urbanization, which may increase the number of living units west of Las Gallinas by 1500-4500 households . (www.onebayarea.org). Although this designation has been temporarily withdrawn, the Board of Supervisor reserve the right to reinstate it at a later date.
2.) The EIR shall study the effects on local and freeway traffic especially if Marinwood market is forced to close due to loss of parking and freeway visibility. Since Marinwood Lucas Valley only has one retail shopping center and virtually no employment beyond government services, the destruction of the shopping center will forever doom its residents to travel elsewhere for all of their living essentials and jobs. Marinwood market is a gourmet deli with premium pricing and unlikely to serve the needs of a neighboring low income population. The residents will be forced to travel to Novato or San Rafael to shop for essentials.
3.) The EIR shall study the comparative environmental effect of a neighborhood retail shopping center that will serve the local community within walk-able and bike-able distances. Especially study the positive impacts on health, well being of the community and positive impacts for mobility impaired people.
4.) The EIR shall focus on the effects on the environmental effects of the immediate community of Marinwood-Lucas valley and ignore irrelevant, non-objective conjecture such as "greenhouse gases saved" by avoiding building 82 single family homes in a distant community.
5.) The EIR shall study the FULL toxic waste removal of the PCE contamination that has traveled beneath the 101 freeway and threatens the water supply of Silveira Ranch. The removal is most likely excavation and will imperil the community health from dust and debris. Residents from Casa Marinwood plus the hundreds of school children who ride the school buses could be affected. The Silveira dairy herd is imperiled from the current contamination and threatens the health of thousands of milk drinkers. See: http://youtu.be/HfsCiHUvZsI ; http://youtu.be/sZJoMdOMzd0 ; http://youtu.be/4aeGaJ4mcMY and also RWQCB website for Geologica Report.
6.) The EIR shall study the current contamination of the old gas station property at the corner of Marinwood Avenue and Miller Creek which will house ten housing units and commercial spaces. The current site has been cleaned to commercial standards according to the RWQCB but not to residential standards. Further cleanup must occur on this site before construction is permitted. The effects on the health of residents of Casa Marinwood and Blackstone drive shall be studied.
7.) The EIR shall study the effects of parking during peak usage during the weekends when workers are home and people need to shop at Marinwood Market. Since the residents auto use will be high (or higher due to multiple adults per residence) due to the lack of local shopping and job opportunities, it is likely that every available parking space will be continually occupied and additional street parking will be needed on Marinwood Avenue, Miller Creek avenue and Blackstone Rd. The EIR shall study the negative effects on groundwater pollution on the Miller Creek watershed.
8.) The EIR shall study the effects of the removal of trees, providing healthy oxygen and filtering roadway pollutants and GHG currently lining Marinwood Avenue.
9.) The EIR shall study the effects on the archeological resources of the ancient Miwok village which was sited along Miller Creek for thousands of years. Indigenous people's relics from past civilization are still found regularly in Miller Creek. Several major anthropological studies have been made along Miller Creek and reside in the Marin County Library. Further work is needed to protect the legacy. A state licensed archeologist shall be present at the dig sites.
10.) The EIR shall study the effects of construction of new schools. The increased population of children will necessitate building new school facilities. Brad Wiblan, VP of Bridge Housing, stated at the October 28, 2012 meeting at Mary Silveira school that he estimated 1.6 school children per apartment, or approximately 160 children. At minimum, this is likely 6-8 classrooms depending on the distribution of grades. It is likely to trigger the construction of a new elementary school given the current capacity constraints. Additional schools will be needed when the new developments at St Vincents and other areas are completed. This impact is especially important to study cumulatively. http://youtu.be/v8435IFLilc
11.) The EIR shall study the impacts on our burdened Marin Municipal Water Supply especially during drought conditions. The current drought has seen our water supply perilously close to water rationing. This impact shall be studied cumulatively on the entire water district and its sources. Sonoma county, has aggressive housing mandates which will lessen the supply available for our district.
12.) The EIR shall study the impact on the overburdened Las Gallinas Sanitary District. It is overcapacity, dated and in need of a major upgrade to stay current with environmental regulations. Study the cumulative impact on the current system plus the construction of a new sanitary system. The current sewage pipes are 60 years old and in need of replacement. Please study the effects of replacing sewage pipes to carry the additional waste.
13.) The EIR shall study the impact of groundwater runoff from the parking lots on the spawning habitat of threatened salmon population, egrets, otters and endangered species found locally.
14.) The EIR shall study the aesthetics of building an urban style high density housing project that is 3 times as dense and 50% taller than any other multifamily building in Marinwood-Lucas Valley. The prevailing density is 5 units per acre in the adjoining neighborhood and 10 units per acre in Roundtree Condominiums. The architectural character of Casa Marinwood is Mission Style and the single family homes are Mid Century ranches. The aesthetics of Marinwood Village is "Miami Vice Modern" clashing with the character of our Mid Century suburb.
15.)The EIR shall study the effects on increase crime with high density housing. Increased population, especially in densely packed housing has been shown to increase overall crime even if the "per capita" crime rate remains constant. More people equals more crime. Compare affordable housing in Bay Vista and Wyndover apartments in Novato crime rates with existing crime rate in Marinwood-Lucas Valley. The EIR shall study increased police protection required to keep crime rates low. See: www.crimereports.org