This one is for Marin residents concerned about sustainable development

WinCup siteHere’s the text of an email I received from Sustainable TamAlmonte about the December 9 Board of Supervisors meeting regarding Marin density:

Dear Neighbors and Friends,

We only have until December 9th to convince the Supervisors to make MAJOR changes to Marin County’s DRAFT Housing Plan in order to prevent excessive high-density housing in Unincorporated Marin. The only way this will happen is if we can demonstrate STRONG political clout. Presenting hundreds, better yet thousands, of petition signatures will help accomplish this.

Please take one to two minutes to sign our online petition described below. Be sure to add a comment where it asks; “Why is this important to you?” Then, please forward this email to everyone you know.

Here’s the link to the petition.


Marin County’s DRAFT Housing Element (a state mandated document that plans to meet the existing and projected housing needs of Unincorporated Marin) promotes excessive high-density housing by planning for over 200% more housing units than required by law and by including programs geared to housing developments that could:

• Greatly increase density by changing the definition of a “unit”, such as calculating studios and one-bedroom apartments as fractions of units;
• Dramatically raise height limits – up to 45 feet (similar to the WinCup Apartments);
• Cluster housing units at 30 units per acre even in single family neighborhoods;
• Reduce onsite parking and force residents to park on crowded streets or in public parking areas that are meant for other purposes;
• Promote streamlined and ministerial “over-the-counter” permit review, thereby significantly limiting public input and thorough review; and
• Allow the number of units in traffic impact areas to exceed pre-established housing unit CAPs.


The Housing Element promotes an excessive number of high-density housing developments with even greater potential density, height, and size than currently allowed. Such densification with the ensuing population growth would increase the risk of adverse impacts on the environment, public health and safety, traffic congestion, infrastructure, utilities (water supply), public services (schools), views, sunlight, privacy and neighborhood character. Streamlined and ministerial “over-the-counter” permit review of housing projects would hinder thorough and accurate review, constrain valuable public input on planning decisions, and reduce transparency, thereby diminishing the quality and safety of the developments.


Please sign this petition to urge the Marin County Board of Supervisors to act now to revise the 2015 to 2023 Marin County DRAFT Housing Element and:

1. Reduce the number of sites and housing units identified in Housing Element’s Site Inventory; and
2. Eliminate the above-mentioned Housing Element programs.

Don’t forget to write a comment where it asks; “Why is this important to you?”!

Once again, here’s the link to the petition.

Let me add my own two cents on the matter. Those of us opposed to the Supervisors’ plan are not Luddites who seek to keep Marin perpetually as it is today, like a fly in amber. We fully understand that a healthy community needs to grow and adapt. Our problem is that the Supervisors’ plan will change Marin’s fundamental nature by turning it from a green and gracious suburban swath into a densely-packed, basically urban extension of San Francisco or the East Bay.

Dick Spotswood, writing at the Marin IJ, articulates the view that change is good, but that it needn’t be change to the point of destruction. Instead, change can be subtle and pragmatic, driven by community needs, not developer machinations.

If you’re a Marin resident, and this is something that concerns you, please sign the petition.

(For more on the issue, you can check out an October 2014 post I wrote.)