Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Connolly worries about Grady Ranch ‘cumulative impact’

Connolly worries about Grady Ranch ‘cumulative impact’

By Nels Johnson, Marin Independent Journal


Supervisor Damon Connolly, propelled into office last June by voters upset about development plans, doesn’t think a residential complex at Grady Ranch is going to be a big hit in the neighborhood.

“During my campaign, and through my first months in office, I have heard loud and clear from the residents in Lucas Valley and Marinwood about their concerns over the number of potential developments in their communities,” Connolly said about George Lucas’ plan for 224 homes at Grady Ranch. “I share their concerns.”

Connolly added his job is to make sure that any proposal is “viewed in the context of the cumulative impact on the entire area, and not just in isolation.”

The freshman supervisor said that after only a few months on the job, “We are already grappling with potential development at Marinwood Plaza, now Grady Ranch, and the Oakview property, where a developer is now looking to build 132 senior housing units pursuant to a master plan that was approved 10 years ago.” In addition, “talk of St. Vincent’s and its allocation of 221 units in the 2007 Countywide Plan is never far from the minds of enterprising developers.”

“In totality these proposals have the potential to literally and figuratively change the landscape in Lucas Valley and Marinwood,” he said.

Other reaction to the development plan varied.

“Mr. Lucas’s sensitivity to the landscape and commitment to sustainability will no doubt be reflected in the proposal,” said Supervisor Katie Rice. “Obviously we have a crying need for senior housing and workforce housing, (and) the key is designing something that not only fills these important needs but is also a good fit for the site and surrounding community.”
“I look forward to seeing the plan,” Supervisor Judy Arnold said. “We know there is a need for workforce and senior housing in Marin and in this case we have the opportunity to be more creative.”

“Even the dedicated housing advocates said it is a bad site for affordable housing,” observed Nona Dennis, vice president of the Marin Conservation League. “Many reasons.”

“Deja vu all over?” wondered Stephen Nestel, founder of Save Marinwood. “The sensitive habitat and the slide conditions remain at the site,” he noted. “Why can’t these developments be located in appropriate locations like Rotary Village? Why must Lucas Valley host all the development? Should Steve Kinsey’s district have its fair share?”
“I commend Mr. Lucas on his continued commitment to the housing needs of the many individuals and families in our community who contribute to our community’s vitality,” said Marin Community Foundation CEO Thomas Peters. “That he is willing to step forward with this extraordinary offer is certainly a clear testament to his conviction.”

Janice Cunningham, president of the Lucas Valley Homeowners Association, had no comment on the Grady Ranch proposal.

“We have no idea” what is being proposed, the homeowners association chief said. “I can’t comment at this time.”

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