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 LVFRG Advocates for Wildfire Evacuation Drill for Lucas Valley Road

Updated: Sep 2, 2023

TEXT FROM 8/16 EMAIL To SUBSCRIBERS

Dear Lucas Valley supporters, With the tragic wildfires in Maui weighing heavily on all of our hearts and minds, we are sending some updates related to wildfire preparedness and related housing development here in Lucas Valley. Planning and preparation are vital to keep our community safe.

  • We are planning a wildfire evacuation drill to demonstrate the impact of additional housing and traffic on our neighborhood’s safety.

  • We met with Mary Sackett, Marin County Supervisor, and Sarah Jones, Director of Marin Community Development Agency (CDA.) They provided helpful insights on Builder’s Remedy in Lucas Valley (explained below) and about the developer’s proposals for 1501 Lucas Valley Road.

  • We have some new information about proposed housing developments in Lucas Valley.

About Lucas Valley for Responsible Growth Lucas Valley for Responsible Growth (LVFRG) is a group of local residents who have come together in response to shared concerns about development decisions related to Marin County’s requirement to increase the amount of affordable housing (Marin's Housing Element for 2023 - 2031). Numerous sites are being developed for housing growth and/or are identified for the potential addition of affordable housing within Lucas Valley. LVFRG supports the development of more affordable housing in our community if it can be accomplished in a manner that is safely supportable with the infrastructure, is commensurate with growth in other parts of Marin, preserves the highly-utilized Lucas Valley Park, and the rich wildlife it supports. Our mission is to engage with community members and elected officials to promote responsible planning decisions in Lucas Valley and ensure that Lucas Valley continues to offer a safe, high quality of life for current and future residents. Community Meeting in September In September 2021, we experienced a brush fire in the hills to the north of Juvenile Hall. Though that was a relatively small fire with a very limited number of residents notified to evacuate, our escape route along Lucas Valley Road was overloaded and traffic came to a stop. Additional housing in our valley could exacerbate our wildfire evacuation challenges. We are organizing an event at Lucas Valley Elementary in late September or early October to inform residents about wildfire preparedness, evacuation routes and to prepare for a fire evacuation drill. An invitation to that event will be sent out in a few weeks. Please join us! We believe that having a practice evacuation drill will help residents prepare for a potential fire evacuation and provide critically important data relative to how much more housing we can support and/or what improvements are needed to improve our fire evacuation routes.

Housing developments in Lucas Valley What we’ve learned about the housing development sites: On 7/24/23, we met with our County Supervisor Mary Sackett and Sarah Jones, Director of Marin’s Community Development Agency (CDA) to discuss the approval processes for, and status of, these developments. A Key Concern: “Builders Remedy” If a developer can establish that a locality’s plan to add affordable housing (called a Housing Element) does not substantially comply with state law by the deadline established by the state of California, and they have at least 20% of their housing units qualify as affordable housing, then they can avoid local zoning requirements and the city or county must approve the housing development project, regardless of the local zoning. As reported in the Marin IJ, the developer of 1501 Lucas Valley Road made a statement saying the county did not meet that deadline, and used the Builders Remedy clause as a threat, trying to convince the community that we should not object to their proposals or they could build as many as 150 units on that site. In our meeting with Mary Sackett and Sarah Jones, they informed us that the affordable housing plan for unincorporated Marin (Lucas Valley’s planning designation) that was approved by the deadline substantially complied with Housing Element requirements and therefore Builder’s Remedy would not apply. A developer may choose to take this to court and the County’s position on this may need to be resolved in litigation. 1501 Lucas Valley Road This property is across Lucas Valley Road from Mt. Muir Court, to the west of the horse barn. The Marin County Development Agency (CDA) identified this site as being appropriate for 26 homes. The developers have submitted a proposal to the CDA seeking to build 36 homes, a 38% increase in units. The developers might propose to include some affordable housing units as a justification for approval of the 38% increase in units. The developers shared their current proposal for those affordable units. We reviewed those unit plans with Mary and Sarah. Mary and Sarah agree with us that their current proposal for affordable units (JADUs) does not qualify as affordable housing under the County’s requirements. 7 Mt. Lassen Drive This property is right next to Big Rock Deli. It was recently put on the market for sale. It is likely that there will be developers interested in converting this site from commercial/office space to housing. The Marin County Development Agency identified this site as being appropriate for 58 housing units. We will be monitoring the status of this site and will update newsletter subscribers on the status of development proposals. Juvenile Hall (also known as the Jeannette Prandi site) This property is right next to Rotary Valley Senior Village and to the north of Lucas Valley Park. The Marin County Development Agency identified this site as being appropriate for 80 housing units. Thankfully, our advocacy has contributed to a commitment from the County that no development will be allowed in Lucas Valley Park, and its widely-used accessible asphalt walking path. Mary described the process for relocating Juvenile Hall as being complicated and may take years to find an alternative location. Both Mary and Sarah have noted that as a County-owned site, Juvenile Hall would be subject to a public process for determining future development. Though development on this site may not be an immediate concern, we will be monitoring the status of this site and will update newsletter subscribers on the status of development proposals. We will be vigilant in making sure that the commitment to not build in Lucas Valley Park is upheld. Oakville Housing Development This site is on the northside of Lucas Valley Road near Kaiser San Rafael Park Complex. This development was approved prior to the affordable housing requirement and is under construction. It will have 71 detached, market rate single family homes and no affordable housing units. We include this site in the list of housing developments to follow because these units contribute to traffic, water consumption, reduction of natural landscape and increase evacuation load on Lucas Valley Road. We will continue to keep you apprised of new developments and opportunities for engagement. Please also help us grow our base of supporters, by sharing our website, lvfrg.org, with your friends and neighbors and asking them to sign the petition on the homepage. More petitioners means more local influence and a better outcome for Lucas Valley! Thanks so much for your support! The LVFRG Leadership Team - Kristen Brooks,, Kelby Jones, Marge Kathrein, Meehyun Kurtzman, Susan Morgan,, Ginny Pheatt and Gervais Tompkin Share on social Check out our site This email was created with Wix.‌ Discover More

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