County officials are reviewing plans by filmmaker George Lucas to remodel his Big Rock Ranch office complex in Lucas Valley to provide 57 overnight lodging rooms for guests.
The project, which calls for an interior remodel of 76,556 square feet or less than half of the structure, requires a master plan amendment because it involves conversion of office space to living accommodations.
Improvements would be limited to the existing footprint of the building and would not change its appearance from the outside, according to county planner Jocelyn Drake.
A traffic analysis provided by Skywalker Properties indicates the plan would curb traffic envisioned by a 1996 master plan.
The county Planning Commission will review the project at 1:45 p.m. May 9. A staff report and recommendation about the proposal will be issued next week.
“As long as conversion does not change the footprint or building profiles, which fit well into the site, or require substantial new water and wastewater infrastructure, and as long as a covenant restricts lodgers to people working on projects on site... it could reduce some in and out day traffic on Lucas Valley Road,” environmentalist Nona Dennis said.
“I’ll be personally reviewing the application and key documents ... particularly the traffic study, and working with county staff to ensure a full vetting and complete understanding of the proposal,” Supervisor Damon Connolly said. “I look forward to hearing the perspective of the Planning Commission on May 9, and I’ll be keeping residents fully engaged throughout this process,” he added. “The Department of Public Works’ initial review of the traffic study agrees with the study’s conclusion that the proposed project would generate fewer car trips than are allowed under current permitted use.”
The Big Rock Ranch complex at 3838 Lucas Valley Road was approved for use as a multimedia center with a private theater, cafeteria with dining room, day care and fitness center, as well as archive storage. Construction of the $87 million special-effects and high-tech video complex began in 2000. It has served as office space for the nonprofit George Lucas Education Foundation and for Skywalker Properties administrative staff, and housed Lucasfilm Animation, which moved to the Presidio in 2006.
See the Full story in the Marin IJ HERE
There is a Planning Commission meeting about this on Tuesday, May 9, 2014 at 1:00 PM. The staff report is very concerning. It appears that this is a Trojan Horse. Lucas is asking for a maximum of 300 overnight guests. That is 5 people per room! They also want unlimited day visitors. They also want the special use to extend to all future owners. This lays open the opportunity for big rock ranch to become a casino or conference center.