Newsletter sent to subscribers on 2/5/2023: We’re writing with an update on last week’s Board of Supervisors meeting, and some thoughts on what comes next for new housing in Lucas Valley. First and perhaps foremost, we were pleased to report to the Board at the meeting that there are now over 270 Lucas Valley residents who have signed the petition this website's homepage. Our supervisor, Mary Sackett, also referenced our group at the meeting and her intention to work closely with us. Thanks to all of you who have signed on. Together, we will have influence. We were also very pleased to learn that our collective advocacy has already made it likely that future developers will not build on our treasured Lucas Valley Park. The final version of the Housing Element states regarding the Jeannette Prandi site, “Marin County owns the site and facilities and will pursue affordable housing on a maximum of 10 acres of land on the site, while preserving recreational areas.”
Since future negotiations are unpredictable, we will not let our guard down on this issue. However, it appears to be a huge win for the work that we have done to organize in our community!
In a more general sense, the meeting was very long, frustrating, and unsurprising. Unlike the Planning Commissioners, the Board of Supervisors voted to approve the flawed Housing Element, Safety Element and Environmental Impact Report, all put forth by Marin County’s Community Development Agency and its consultants. It is important to note that the Board was effectively forced, by a range of state laws, to make the decision to approve a flawed plan. The consequence of non-compliance with the state deadline is called the “builder’s remedy.” This term means that a developer could have proposed any housing project, regardless of existing zoning and land use codes, and it would have been automatically considered approved, as long as it didn’t present a clear danger to public health or safety. In Santa Monica, for example, non-compliance resulted in developers proposing 16 projects using this builder's remedy, totaling over 4,500 new units of housing, with more than 800 of these designated as affordable for low-income households. If all these projects proceed, the city could soon witness the construction of more than twice as many housing units as were produced over the past two decades. So, while it was frustrating to have the Board of Supervisors approve the proposed plan, we believe that the alternative would likely have been worse. So, what happens now? The staff at the Community Development Agency will review developer proposals as they are submitted for the approved sites. The Leadership Team at Lucas Valley for Responsible Growth will follow this process closely and offer input to the CDA staff on the proposals. Should we have concerns, we will escalate them to our Supervisor, Mary Sackett. Likewise, if and when developers come forward, we will review their plans, and consider how to address them.
Community engagement during the coming phases will be critical to the best possible outcome for Lucas Valley and our goal of growth supported by adequate infrastructure which preserves the highly-utilized community resource, Lucas Valley Park, and the rich wildlife it supports.
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, Shep Burton, Kelby Jones, Marge Kathrein, Meehyun Kurtzman, Susan Morgan, Tina Pfeil and Ginny Pheatt