Friday, May 27, 2022
Tuesday, May 24, 2022
Monday, May 16, 2022
|Photo of BLM protest May 2020. The chalk reads, "No lives matter till Black Lives Matter." Seen in the photo is Bruce Anderson, former Marinwood CSD Director and moderator for Lucas Valley/Marinwood NextDoor. Photo courtesy MarinIJ.com|
I was cancelled from Lucas Valley/Marinwood NextDoor today for the following post:
I disagree that there is a lot of overt racism in our community. I feel the racism exists in cultural insensitivity and laws meant to favor some over others. It is important to identify and discuss it as a community. So many have a good heart in this community and want fairness for all people. Let's make positive change.
The original post was about the policy to ban renting Marinwood Community Center community rooms to "outsiders" after several board members complained about "loud Mexican Music" and public safety incidents. Most of our rentals were to the Latino community for birthdays, weddings and quinceaneras. Similar celebrations like the "Art and Wine Festival" were left untouched. This is clearly a racist policy since it affects only one community. Many agree. Some people want to turn their back on institutional racism and censor those who dare speak about it.
write email@example.com to reinstate fair and respectful discussions WITHOUT CENSORSHIP.
Tuesday, May 3, 2022
Wednesday, April 27, 2022
Saturday, April 16, 2022
Marinwood Park should improve facilities accessible for everyone. They have refused to improve the
accessibility at the Western Quietwood Path entrance despite a generous donation that would pay for the entire improvement.
We should be improving our parks, not destroying them.
Friday, April 15, 2022
Thursday, April 14, 2022
Save Marinwood Park's most lovely picnic area from destruction.
Tonight while I was walking my dogs I notice that crews are in the process of removing grills and picnic tables from Fireman's Picnic Area WITHOUT PUBLIC APPROVAL.
It is quite a shame. As many local residents know, this group picnic area is one of the most lovely spots in the North Bay. It is under a tall canopy of trees that keeps it pleasant year round. Miller Creek cools the air and many birds sing in the trees. It is the perfect place for an informal gathering or just to sit and enjoy nature.
Over the years, maintenance has been neglected and one grill had completely rusted through. Instead of maintaining and replacing the grills, the CSD has decided to decommission the area. They claim they need no input from the public. Neighbors disagree.
For years, hundreds of residents have used this areas for birthdays, block parties, weddings, and memorials. It is a cheerful place.
I ask you to be a Friend of Marinwood Park and save this lovely area from destruction. I ask you to write an email right now to tell them stop the removals.
firstname.lastname@example.org General Manager
email@example.com Rec and Parks Manager
and firstname.lastname@example.org (Friends of Marinwood/Lucas Valley)
A petition to save the Fireman's picnic area will be coming shortly. For now, please send your email to let the Marinwood CSD that you care about our park and our community quality of life.
Wednesday, April 13, 2022
Tuesday, April 5, 2022
Wednesday, March 23, 2022
Tuesday, March 22, 2022
Friday, March 18, 2022
Wednesday, March 9, 2022
Tuesday, March 8, 2022
opinion/openforum/article/No- mountain-lions-won-t-drop- dead-if-16984604.php
No, mountain lions won’t drop dead if California builds duplexes. But some towns are in their habitat
Nancy Reyering March 8, 2022
Woodside was ridiculed after claiming itself a mountain lion habitat in seeming attempt to avoid a state housing law. Brontë Wittpenn/The Chronicle
The Bay Area town of Woodside recently found itself in the international spotlight, and not in a good way. Officials in the town of 5,000 in the heavily forested foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains wanted to pause housing applications under SB9, a law meant to encourage construction, because they believed Woodside is habitat for mountain lions and wanted to await a determination from the state on whether the species would be protected.
The issue raised a question that has garnered widespread mockery: To what extent should developed areas with single-family homes be considered habitat for mountain lions?
California Attorney General Rob Bonta gave his unequivocal answer in a statement he issued last month chastising Woodside officials. “Habitat is land that has the capacity to support a specific species, including providing food and shelter,” he said. “Land that is already developed — with, for example, a single-family home — is not, by definition, habitat.”
Bonta’s tone was undoubtedly meant to send a message to all California communities who have been reluctant to get on board with the state’s new housing laws. But his rationale in rebuffing Woodside’s claim is incorrect.
Bottom line: Building a house — or a duplex — on a plot of land does not eliminate the ability of that land to support wildlife and native plants.
For those who have never been, Woodside isn’t the lawn-filled suburban enclave you might have guessed from its recent media depiction. The town is adjacent to large, natural open spaces, part of what’s called the wildland-urban interface — that is, a place where people and wildlife share space and resources. In these areas, homes are intermingled with redwood forest and coast live-oak woodland, accessed via narrow, winding mountain roads. Deer are much more common than transit stops (the only bus that serves Woodside only runs on Saturdays). And not coincidentally, these heavily wooded hillsides with their challenging terrain are also wildfire hazard zones.
Whatever you may think of state housing policies, one thing is true: Woodside is indeed mountain lion habitat, and treating that habitat responsibly is critical to the survival of this species.
Mountain lions, also knowns as cougars, once freely roamed the hills, forests and grasslands of the Bay Area. Their habitat has been severely degraded by development. But these big cats still live here. There are only around 2,000 to 3,000 cougars left in California. They are currently a “candidate species” under the California Endangered Species Act, giving them the same protection as threatened and endangered species. Mountain lions are at the top of the food chain. A robust cougar population keeps the whole ecosystem in balance.
That ecosystem includes many California neighborhoods. Unfortunately, the controversy in California over housing density has raised the political stakes to the extent that it has generated gravely misinformed public statements about wildlife habitat. The assumption that anything short of a state or national park isn’t habitat and has no conservation value is inaccurate and damaging to efforts aimed at preserving biodiversity.
Indeed, the Bay Area is a biodiversity hotspot equal to Madagascar, and towns in the foothills to the west of Interstate 280 contain much of that biodiversity. These areas are threatened by human development; they make up just 2.5 percent of the planet’s surface but represent an outsize opportunity to protect a large variety of species. This demands land use planning with extra care.
Woodside inarguably has areas of mountain lion habitat. We therefore have a particular obligation to take account of the habits and needs of cougars when building here. Most importantly, we should prioritize protecting key wildlife corridors when planning for development. Our plans should account for the needs of wildlife, especially large mammals, that require room to roam, feed and breed.
This issue is not unique to the Peninsula. Ventura County just passed ordinances requiring environmental review for projects that may hinder wildlife connectivity. Wildlife crossings being built across Highway 17 in the Santa Cruz Mountains and across Highway 101 northwest of Los Angeles show efforts to connect wildlife habitat are necessary and possible. Both wildlife crossings will save human and animal lives and increase efforts to keep species from dying out by allowing cougars and other animals to access additional habitats and populations. Recognizing the ecological crisis caused by divided habitats across the U.S., Congress recently allocated $350 million to support these types of crossings.
In other words, “habitat” is not something only found in remote wilderness areas.
Even as we must plan for adequate affordable housing for all Californians, we must also protect sufficient habitat for our state’s wild animals and plants to survive, particularly in the wildland-urban interface.
No, that doesn’t mean mountain lions will drop dead if we build duplexes. But it does mean housing goals can and should exist alongside our obligation to preserve our environment, keep people safe in an era of increasing wildfires and create housing policies that recognize the importance of wildlife in our extraordinary state.
As our planet faces an existential biodiversity crisis, let’s remember that mountain lions deserve a place to live, too.
Nancy Reyering is a 35-year resident of Woodside and is president of the San Mateo County Harbor District.
EDITORS NOTE: Lucas Valley is also home to mountain lions. They have been spotted in Marinwood Park on rare occasions. They are extremely shy and seldom seen. Most often the bobcat is seen in our neighborhoods. Many people mistake them for mountain lions which are much bigger.
Friday, March 4, 2022
Thursday, March 3, 2022
Monday, February 28, 2022
Dear Marin County Supervisors and Community Planning Staff:
Public comments on the 2023-2031 Marin County Housing Element DRAFT Candidate Housing Sites are due TODAY
Public comments on the 2023-2031 Marin County Housing Element DRAFT Candidate Housing Sites are due on February 28th! Marin County Board of Supervisors & Planning Commission will discuss the proposed sites at a joint session on March 1st at 5 PM!
County Staff is asking the Supervisors & Planning Commissioners to do the following at the March 1st joint meeting
SUBJECT: Marin County Housing Element Update
RECOMMENDATION to Supervisors & Commissioners:
1. Receive report on community outreach and feedback received related to candidate housing sites and site scenarios.
2. Review and provide feedback on staff recommendation for candidate housing sites and alternative scenarios that address the State-mandated Regional Housing Need Allocation for housing production for the 2022- 2030 planning period.
Future Housing Sites on Agenda for March 1
County prepares to update long-term plans to meet needs and state mandates
San Rafael, CA – A master list of all potential locations in unincorporated Marin County that are under consideration as future housing sites will be the subject of online-only meetings on Marin 1 and March 15.
The Board of Supervisors and Planning Commission, which are co-hosting the meetings, will then select sites to be evaluated in an upcoming Housing Element environmental review. During the March meetings, members of the two governing bodies could direct County staff to narrow down the list by eliminating some eligible locations.
The March 1 joint session of the Board and Planning Commission will be held as a 5 p.m. videoconference only because of the topic’s high interest in unincorporated neighborhoods and the need to prevent large crowds from congregating due to COVID-19. The Civic Center’s Board chamber will be closed.
That session will be a follow-up to December 7 and February 1 joint meetings between the two bodies at which staff from the Marin County Community Development Agency (CDA) presented details about the Housing and Safety Elements, which are required plans to accommodate future housing needs and address climate change. Staff has been hosting community meetings throughout the unincorporated county to share information on candidate sites and gather feedback, which will be shared with the Board and Planning Commission.
“Residents in the local workforce struggle to find suitable affordable housing close to their Marin jobs, which leads to longer commutes, negatively affects the environment, and erodes quality of life,” said CDA Deputy Director Leelee Thomas. “We see this as a chance to make marked progress with racial and social equity. At this stage, we are asking our residents to participate in this process and help us identify places where we can add housing within our communities.”
The County has been directed to plan for at least 3,569 new housing units in unincorporated areas during the eight-year cycle that begins in 2023. Those must be distributed among all income categories, from extremely low to above moderate. Parcels have been identified as potential housing sites in all areas of the unincorporated county. Land owned by schools, houses of worship, businesses, nonprofits, private owners and the county government is all open for consideration. While housing is allowed in almost all local zoning districts, including commercial, the update to the Housing Element will increase the maximum number of homes allowed in some areas.
The consequences of noncompliance with housing requirements could be stiff. If a jurisdiction does not meet its housing goals, it becomes ineligible for state funding to serve local transportation needs and may be subject to statewide streamlining rules, which allow for housing development with limited public review process. California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) has a new division that is designed to enforce accountability with plans to meet housing needs.
“It behooves us to listen, collaborate, and come with our own locally designed plan rather than risking state reprimand and losing local control on decisions,” Thomas said.
The Housing Element, along with the accompanying Safety Element, needs to be completed by the end of 2022 so it can be submitted to the State of California for approval. This winter, CDA staff is engaging in community discussions, speaking at local homeowners association meetings and design review boards. Three online tools are being used to encourage residents to provide feedback on where housing could be located.
“Our outreach has received positive feedback, and several thousand people have visited the Balancing Act website,” said CDA Senior Planner Jillian Nameth Zeiger. “The meetings with design review boards and other community organizations have allowed us to describe the process, answer questions, and gather a lot of public comment that will be reported back to the Board of Supervisors and Planning Commission. We have more sites on the candidate list than we need for the plan, so we are looking to the public for guidance on where they think we should be planning for more housing. Balancing Act, public comment at meetings, phone calls, and emails are great ways to get involved.”
For disability accommodations, please phone (415) 473-6358 (voice), CA Relay 711, or e-mail the Community Development staff at least five business days in advance of the event. The County will do its best to fulfill requests received with less than five business days’ notice. Copies of documents are available in alternative formats, upon request.
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Saturday, February 19, 2022
Friday, February 18, 2022
Marin County Community Development Director, Leelee Thomas claims that "TOO MANY HOUSING SITES" for "The Balancing Act" tool. They ask for public commentary on a LIMITED NUMBER of potential housing sites. In Lucas Valley Marinwood over 75% of the housing sites are not listed on the tool. This appears to be complete B.S. and a cause for worry.
Have you every heard of a modern database that can only handle 550 records but 2300 records would crash the servers?
I think it is obvious that the Marin County Community Development department do not want to alert the public about the massive changes about to take place in their neighborhoods. This video clip was taken from the Marin City presentation on February 16, 2022 https://youtu.be/2GHdSFf26QE The 2022 RHNA proposal for Unincorporated Marin is absurd.
Thursday, February 17, 2022
Why Very Low Income Housing will be Located in Lucas Valley and Marinwood
In this clip from the Marin County Community Development workshop, Leelee Thomas, Director explains the reasons behind locating very low income housing in middle income areas like Lucas Valley and Marinwood. Our neighborhood is designated to receive 80% of all very low income housing developments for unincorporated Marin. Wealthy areas of Marin are deemed "impractical" for this housing. Lucas Valley currently has approximately 2700 and may receive 2300+ new tax subsidized apartments as the result of our current Regional Housing Needs Assessment.(RHNA). Of course the real reason is that we are without a local political leadership and it is easy to foist this upon us. Real world concerns for water, infrastructure, schools, traffic are NOT ADDRESSED. It is an absurd plan and much more public discussion needs to take place. The full workshop video here https://youtu.be/2GHdSFf26QE
Wednesday, February 16, 2022
Tuesday, February 15, 2022
A crew works on a townhome development on Redwood Boulevard near Wood Hollow Drive in Novato on Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2021. (Alan Dep/Marin Independent Journal)
PUBLISHED: February 14, 2022 at 6:43 p.m. | UPDATED: February 14, 2022 at 7:15 p.m.
A core group of Marin’s staunchest density opponents is strategizing ways to challenge state housing mandates.
Catalysts for Local Control, founded by Mill Valley resident Susan Kirsch, held a teleconference meeting attended by about 36 people on Thursday. The statewide organization’s stated mission is to promote “affordable housing while preserving single-family zoning, the environment and reliable infrastructure.”
Featured speakers included Sharon Rushton of Mill Valley, chairperson of Sustainable TamAlmonte; Frank Egger, the seven–time mayor of Fairfax known for his battles with developers; and Stephen Nestel, a community activist from Marinwood.
Kirsch said that Marin City Community Services District chairman Damian Morgan was set to speak but was unable to attend.
The purpose of the meeting was to discuss ways of pushing back against an edict from the Association of Bay Area Governments requiring Marin County and its municipalities to create 14,405 new residences between 2023 and 2031.
“This is more than the current number of homes in Mill Valley and Sausalito combined,” Rushton said.
During the previous cycle from 2015 to 2023, Marin jurisdictions were assigned a 2,298 residences.
Every eight years, the state Department of Housing and Community Development projects how much new housing will be needed in the Bay Area to accommodate expected population and job growth.
The Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) then decides how many of those homes to assign to each county and municipality in the region. Local jurisdictions are required to adjust zoning laws to make the creation of that amount of housing possible.
Under SB 35, which was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2017, any municipality or county that fails to build the amount of housing assigned to it by the Association of Bay Area Governments is subject to a streamlined approval process for new housing projects, which removes virtually all local control.
Another new state law, Senate Bill 9, gives property owners the right to build duplexes, and in some cases four homes, in most single-family-home neighborhoods.
New state housing laws are already playing out in Marin. A five-story, 74-apartment complex in Marin City was approved under a streamlined process in 2020. At last count, the developer of the project, AMG & Associates LLC of Encino, was working on eight projects that qualify for SB 35 protections.
“California housing policy has been supporting Wall Street investor wealth but not mainstream wage earners,” Kirsch said. “It is harming our neighborhoods and communities and the American Dream.”
Kirsch cited a study by the Palo Alto-based Embarcadero Institute as evidence that the ABAG housing assignments are inflated. The study contends that this cycle’s estimated need for new housing, calculated using a new approach mandated by yet another new state law, Senate Bill 828, mistakenly double counted the actual need.
Groups such as California YIMBY and YIMBY Law dispute this argument, asserting that the Embarcadero Institute’s problem with the numbers is a political one, not a technical one.
Regardless, Kirsch said one of the actions that members of the public should take if they believe the housing assignments are unreasonable is to contact Assemblyman Marc Levine, D-Greenbrae, or state Sen. Mike McGuire, D-Healdsburg, and demand an audit of the housing need estimate.
Rushton said, “These unrealistic housing allocations are setting jurisdictions up to fail. Marin’s crisis in housing is not in quantity but in affordability.”
Ruston asked meeting attendees for their help in gathering signatures to get the Our Neighborhood Voices Initiative on the ballot. The proposed ballot measure would neutralize state housing laws such as SB 9 by mandating that city and county land-use and zoning laws override all conflicting state laws, except in certain special circumstances.
The Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG), which is the equivalent of ABAG in Southern California, voted 32 to 12 to endorse the measure. SCAG’s jurisdiction spans six counties — Imperial, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura — and 191 cities.
Rushton said she is also putting together a local petition to urge local government representatives to actively resist the housing mandates.
For example, she wants them to oppose the Marin Community Development Agency’s decision to identify 15% to 30% more housing sites than the 3,569 it has been assigned for the unincorporated area, as a buffer in case other sites don’t pan out.
Egger emphasized the risk inherent in building in many areas of Marin due to the risk of wildland fires and sea-level rise.
“Everyone wants to blame Pacific Gas and Electric for all the fires, but local agencies are approving development in ‘wildland urban interface’ areas,” Egger said. “If they are forcing these units to be built in WUI zones, what is going to happen when they burn up and when we burn up? We need to put the elected officials and agencies on notice for the liability.”
Nestle, however, said, “The time for persuasion of the decision makers is pretty much over. We citizens need to seize the day and force our local and state officials to reconsider what they’re doing. I hate to say it. I’m the passionate one. I would be like the truckers in Canada.”
Save Marinwood Note: Despite the breathless headline that implies that we are all against housing, it is not true. We are for RESPONSIBLE community planning. It is very apparent that Marin County has not considered the full impact on infrastructure, water, schools, government services and taxes with their massive growth plans. Unlike previous Housing Elements, if we fail to have housing built, developers will get their projects approved WITHOUT ANY LOCAL PLANNING. It is absurd.