| Alternatives for St Vincents:-
It might cost as much as $100 million, but Barbara Salzman said she
thought the price tag would be less if the development option failed.
Two years ago, when the Las Gallinas Valley Sanitary District attempted to
buy the Silveira Ranch, the fair market price was set at $75,000 an acre. At
that rate, the two parcels would be worth about $90 million.
Preserving the St. Vincent's and Silveira properties would mean saving a
large area of tidal marsh filled with endangered and special-status wildlife
and plants, Salzman said. Not much of the undeveloped bay shore is left, she
"It's great that Marin has all the open space that it does, but the open
space is all in West Marin and all along the ocean," Salzman said. "There is
very little along the bay. The county planners didn't realize years ago that
the bay was the important resource that it is. So now we have to fight the
battle to protect it. We need to protect what little tidal marsh we have
Don Dickenson, president of the Citizen Advocates for the Preservation of
St. Vincent's/Silveira, said he would love to see the Audubon Society buy
"The environmental organizations for the last 15 years have argued that the
lands should be largely preserved," he said. "To preserve it, we need to
purchase it. St. Vincent's needs the revenue and there is the possibility of
selling to conservation organizations. It will take a complex funding
package from various sources, but it is possible."
Agricultural Conservation Easement, ACE.
The California Farmland Conservancy Program (CFCP) was established in 1995.
The program provides funding for a local public agency or nonprofit land
trust to purchase ACEs. An ACE is a voluntary legal agreement that allows
a farmer to sell or donate a farm's development rights to nonprofit land
trust or public agency so that the land remains in agricultural
production. The landowner retains all other property rights to the
farm, including the right to hold title; to rent, sell, or transfer
title; and the right to restrict public access. A conservation easement
provides the farmer with either a cash payment for the amount of the land's
potential development value or an income tax deduction when the
conservation easement is donated, as well as reduced estate and property
taxes due to the land being assessed based on agricultural value rather than
development value. ACEs under the CFCP seek to permanently protect
agricultural uses. The 2000-01 State Budget allocates $6.5 million for CFCP
grants, including $5 million in Proposition 12 bond funds.
It is true that water and soil quality are limiting factors, however the
1998 St. Vincent / Silveira Ag. Feasibility Study did not conclude that
agriculture was impractical as a result. The analysis evaluated several
different crop scenarios, and screened them through three different water
pricing structures. At the mid-range of water pricing($540/acre-foot), both
an organic vineyard and an organic vegetable farm with a farmstand could be
economically viable; $213,000-346,000/yr.
I believe that there is an opportunity to diversify agriculture on those
lands. Agriculture could actually help the Las Gallinas Sanitary District
meet its regulatory requirements as Bay discharge opportunities for treated
water are eliminated over the next decade.
Furthermore, the site is ideally situated to showcase Marin's ag tradition
and to trumpet its present focus on high quality, fresh produce to all those
who drive up and down 101. Additionally, the site could accomodate other ag-support
activities such as Ag. Commissioner's offices
and the UC Ag Extension facilities http://cemarin.ucdavis.edu/ .
It's possible that a Northbay wholesale farmers market could also be
successful. Any ag use of the site would be dependent upon the
entrepreneurial determination of an individual or a business group
determined to make it happen, along with a supportive community effort.
That's a lot different than saying the soil is too poor, the water too
expensive, and the idea therefore, is impractical.
Steve Kinsey , Marin County Supervisor
What happened at the Sep 10th "EIR
Abandon EIR till Traffic is projected? Dont include SMART
rail. 100,000's of affordable houses already exist a mere
7-12 miles away.
IJ Arcticle on Scoping
The Environmental Impact of the project would
generate additional traffic to an already
congested freeway and increased noise and
air pollution associated with traffic.
It would result in an increase in demands for services
and utilities in the community.
The quality of the environment, aesthetics and
beauty of the area would be degraded.
There would be incremental reduction of open,
Cumulative reduction of native habitats.
Impact sensitive wetland, oak woodland, and riparian
woodland habitats, and wildlife corridors.
Deface important examples of California History
or prehistory (St Vincents Cathedral, etc).
Commercial space with a potential for 1,500
jobs significantly reduces the justification for the
residential part of the development to meet EXISTING job needs when 39,000
Marin workers commute from out of county daily.
the scope:-"Conflict with the provisions of an adopted
Habitat Conservation Plan, Natural Community Conservation Plan, or other
approved local, regional, or state habitat conservation plan?"
No regional Habitat Conservation Plan or Natural Community Conservation
Plans exist for the project study area.
The Planning Commisioners
The George Lucas development approval precedent. "traffic policies that call
for a Level of Service D or better for
peak-hour traffic along U.S. Highway 101"
Click here to see why this development should
be rejected because of the traffic impact, alone
A Referendum saved Novato from Development
Novato voters soundly rejected a developer's proposal for a 424-home development
at the mouth of
the Petaluma River, Bahia. The referendum result was 31% to 69%.
This is a message to the City Council that they can't continue to approve every
development in front of them. The people in Novato are angry at all of the
development going on." The project had been previously approved by the Novato
City Council on a 4-1 vote.
Opponents immediately took the issue to residents, quickly gathering signatures
to force the referendum.
"The proposed subdivision was too large, would destroy part of the blue oak
woodlands and would increase traffic on Highway 101".
It is hoped that the land will be purchased by the Audubon Society who have
offered the developer/owner $18 million.
All the Funding (incl. A $5.75 million
grant from the state Coastal Conservancy).
Can a Referendum save St Vincents & Silveira? I'm told that St Vincents alone is worth $90 mil, but $90 mil. is its
"to be developed" value, no doubt.
St Vincent's in 1990 was almost voted to remain "Agricultural":-
Citizen Initiative Measure L was on the November 1990 Ballot.
Sponsored by the non-profit Citizen Advocates for Preservation of St.
Measure L would have prezoned both properties so that if annexed to the City
they could only be used for limited agricultural or institutional uses
unless other uses were approved by the voters in San Rafael.
While L was opposed by almost every politician and business organization in
Marin except the 4 major environmental organizations (Sierra Club, Marin
Conservation League, Marin Audubon and Marin Environmental Forum), the vote
was 48% yes and 52% no. The freeway
was not a parking lot THEN.
Time for more initiative? (Otherwise
its 451 more $900,000 homes and up to 500 more jobs - only justified by a
mere 182 "affordable" homes)
The current County zoning for St
Vincents is A-2 (Agricultural - 1 unit per 2 acres) and has never been
anything other than that. The current County General Plan designation is
Agricultural - 1 unit per 100 acres.
|It appears that a vote for
as County Supervisor could
radically improve the possibility of saving St Vincents.
About Paul Cohen
Commercial Development: Part of
the development allocates Commercial space with a potential for 500 jobs - this
significantly reduces the justification
for this development to meet EXISTING job needs.
And there is no School in the plans, yet, to meet the needs of the expected 300+
kids. (An area of Silveira land is hoped to provide this - if not, some of the
houses need to be removed from the plan to make way for a school)
All of THIS development is on ST Vincent's property, a
"Concept" plan for Silveira development has been submitted (July 22nd).
924 residential units plus an unspecified number of units on the Honor Farm
property. In addition, 190,000 sq. feet of Non-residential space providing up to
700 jobs. PLUS unspecified space for a Hotel + Restaurants closer to the
freeway. A 13 acre School site. A 9 acre "Future Transit Hub" next to the old
railroad. And a Golf Course.
Directly across the freeway on the Oakview property, 94,400 sq feet of Office
Buildings are proposed. This would provide up to 370 Jobs.
So all 3 developments total 500 + 700 + 370 = 1,570 New Jobs where we
have an existing excess ratio of jobs to residents to the tune of 39,000
out-of-county daily commuters.
Annexation of St Vincents to the City of San Rafael will not be by public vote.
A CA Bill was attempted that would Freeze City
Boundaries for 20 years
Bob Brown - SR City Manager
Greg Zitney - SR Environmental Impact Revue
Kristie Richardson - SR Princ Planner
Anne Moore - SR Consultant firstname.lastname@example.org
www.sanrafaelplanning.org/stvincents I asked them to start a discussion
board, but no luck, so here's one to use:-
Discussion Board: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MarinRescue/messages
||$200,000 for 25 years
||$500 / month for 25 years
||up to 500 jobs
||mixed use jobs
||766units, 500 jobs
Affordability: The 102 townhomes cannot be sold at
a profit (and the 80 rentals remain at $500/mth) for 25 years (cost
adjusted). Preference will be given for these units to those employed in
Marin County. All 80 proposed apartments will be for
"very low" ($500/mth right !) and low
income households. All units will
be price restricted for 55 years for rental units and 40 years, with this
term renewing upon each resale of ownership units. 25
years is what I was told.
In addition to the affordability proposal from the applicant, the City and
Chamber of Commerce SAY they are pursuing a program under which larger local
employers would purchase market rate units and subsidize their repurchase or
rental by their employees.
Approximately 76 acres (9%) of the St. Vincent's lands are proposed for
development. The proposed development area excludes the School for
Boys campus, the pastoral parcel, equestrian area, parks and ballfields,
public plaza area, school site and collector and arterial streets, as set
forth in the May, 2000 Recommendations of the St. Vincent's/Silveira Task
A total of 766 homes are proposed, including 451 single family homes, 181
townhomes, 54 triplex units and 80 apartments. 90 single family homes
will have second units ("granny units") built above detached garages, which
can be used for family members or as a small rental unit to increase the
amount of affordable housing.
The unit sizes will range from 1,630 to 2,970 square feet for single family
homes, from 1,000 to 1,720 square feet for townhomes, from 821 to 997 square
feet for triplex units and from 993 to 1,150 square feet for apartments. All
detached homes are on relatively small lots, with most averaging 3,000-4,000
1.2 million cubic yards of fill and grading are
required (info recently submitted by Shappell)
A ten acre parcel near the entry way into the project is proposed for a
range of commercial uses, including 124,000 square feet of general office
space or a country inn (hotel)/conference center/restaurant facility.
Building designs have not been submitted for this parcel, but a general land
use designation and zoning is sought at this time. A range of commercial
uses will be analyzed in the environmental impact report.
Additionly a 134
housing scheme in Terra Linda has been approved, right next to the railway
Expand ACEs. Given the large amount of
farmland threatened by urbanization, California's ACE program is modest,
particularly when compared to other states. The California program had protected
nearly 19,000 acres and spent $11.2 million of state and local funds since its
inception in 1996. The state program will spend an additional $29 million over
the next three years, due in large part to voter approval of a $2 billion parks
bond measure in March 2000. When all these funds have been spent, California
will spend about $1.11 per capita on ACEs. In contrast, Pennsylvania and
New Jersey have spent $20 per capita, Maryland $38, Delaware
$52 and Vermont $70.