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MARIN COUNTY COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT AGENCY


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FINDINGS FOR PROJECT APPROVAL AND FOR DETERMINATION OF PROJECT
CONSISTENCY WITH APPLICABLE COUNTY PLANS
(cont'd)

Lucasfilm, Ltd. Master Plan and Use Permit


 

WHEREAS the Board of Supervisors finds that the Proposed Project, subject to the mandatory EIR mitigation and monitoring measures and the recommended conditions of approval contained herein, is consistent with the goals and applicable policies of The Marin Countywide Plan ("Countywide Plan"), for reasons including, but not limited to, the following:

  1. Grady Ranch is located entirely within the City-Centered Corridor where public services, facilities and infrastructure would be available to serve the Proposed Project as set forth in Finding N below, and the project would be consistent with policies for designated resource protection areas, such as Stream Conservation and Ridge and Upland Greenbelt areas as set forth in Findings B, C, D and G below. Big Rock, McGuire and Loma Alta Ranches are located entirely within the Inland Rural Corridor, but immediately adjacent to the City-Centered Corridor, where agricultural land use and open space is emphasized along with other uses that are compatible with agriculture and enhance agricultural preservation in a significant way, such as resource and habitat preservation. The Proposed Project would enhance, support, promote, and preserve agricultural land uses through protection (and expansion) of the agricultural land base from conversion to non-agricultural uses and through the encouragement of sustainable agricultural practices as set forth in Findings P, Q and AA below. (Environmental Quality Policies EQ-1.1 and EQ-1.2; and Community Development Policies CD-1.1 and CD-1.2)

     

  2. The Proposed Project would be subject to Stream Conservation Area ("SCA") policies. The overriding objective of SCA policies is to preserve, protect, and enhance existing species and habitat diversity from erosion, sedimentation, pollution and habitat destruction. Streams and their riparian and woodland habitat are irreplaceable and should be protected as essential environmental resources because of their values for erosion control, water quality, fish and wildlife, aesthetics, recreation, and the health of human communities. Consistent with the SCA policies, a 100-foot SCA has been established on each side of the creeks through the Big Rock Ranch development area, and a 50-foot SCA has been established on each side of the creeks through the Grady Ranch development area. Grady Ranch is located within the City-Centered Corridor where 50-foot setbacks are applied but 100-foot setbacks are recommended where consistent with planning and environmental goals.
    A 50-foot SCA on Grady Ranch is appropriate because:
    (1) past land management practices have extensively degraded and damaged creek channels, increased erosion and sedimentation, reduced riparian vegetation, and limited wildlife access; and
    (2) extensive measures to naturally repair, stabilize and restore degraded and damaged creek channels to greatly enhance habitat value, improve water quality, reduce erosion and sedimentation, and maintain flood runoff capacities would be implemented by the project. Thus, the overriding objective of SCA policies would be met. (Environmental Quality Objective EQ-2; Policies EQ-2.1 and EQ-2.3; Program EQ-4.6e)

     

  3. Land uses permitted in SCAs include improvements in fish and wildlife habitat, maintenance of water channels for erosion control and other purposes, and road and utility crossings. Land uses prohibited in SCAs include new buildings and roadways and utility lines, except at crossings. Other than roadway and utility line crossings and the extensive creek stabilization, restoration and habitat enhancement measures proposed, the project would not encroach into designated SCAs. In addition, expansion of the reservoir on Big Rock Ranch would inundate two degraded segments of the SCA that do not contain riparian habitat. The reservoir expansion project would provide substantial vegetation enhancement and human access prohibitions to restore and enhance wildlife habitat. Accordingly, the reservoir expansion project also is considered a permitted use in the SCA, as are flood control projects, projects to improve fish and wildlife habitat, and water supply projects. SCA policies would no longer apply to the degraded segments that are inundated. (Environmental Quality Policies EQ-2.4 and EQ-2.5; Program EQ-2.3a)

     

  4. As encouraged by the Countywide Plan, the Proposed Project would implement extensive measures to naturally repair, stabilize and restore degraded and damaged creek channels that would greatly enhance habitat value, improve water quality, reduce erosion and sedimentation, and maintain flood runoff capacities. Appropriate native vegetation buffers would be planted in the SCA to control erosion, increase habitat value, create protected wildlife movement corridors, and enhance views. Native trees would be replaced at ratios of 3 to 1 or 5 to 1 with native species that naturally grow along creeks. Long-term monitoring of landscaping with in buffer areas would be implemented to ensure successful establishment and management of vegetation and habitat value. Proposed work within the SCA would be limited to the smallest surface area and volume of soil and extent of vegetation removal possible and for the shortest practical length of time. New roads and roadfill slopes would be located outside the SCA, except at stream crossings. Short- and long-term erosion control and surface runoff pollution control measures, such as implementation of an Erosion Control Plan during grading and oil and grease traps in parking areas during project operations, would be included in the project. Overall, water resources would be managed in a systematic manner that is sensitive to natural capacities and ecological impacts. Protection of watersheds, aquifer-recharge areas, and natural drainage systems has been given highest priority in the project. (Environmental Quality Policies EQ-2.8, EQ-2.9, EQ-2.10, EQ-2.11, EQ-2.12, EQ-2.13, EQ-2.14, EQ-2.18, EQ-2.21, EQ-2.22, EQ-2.23, EQ-2.26, EQ-2.27, EQ-2.28, EQ-2.29, EQ-2.31 and EQ-2.33; Program EQ-4.5d)

     

  5. The EIR considered the impact of the Proposed Project on species, special-status species, and habitat diversity and recommended implementation of several programs to ensure the continued health, survival and diversity of plants and animals and enhancement of their habitats to the greatest extent possible. The Proposed Project would implement long-term erosion control, surface runoff pollution control, landscaping management, tree replacement, native grassland restoration, special-status plant protection, wildlife protection, invasive exotic vegetation removal, and wetlands protection, replacement, and restoration programs. (Environmental Quality Policies EQ-2.87 and EQ-2.88; Programs EQ-2.87a, EQ-2.87b, EQ-2.87c, EQ-2.87d, EQ-2.87e, EQ-2.88a and EQ-2.88b)

  6. The Proposed Project would ensure proper management of the built environment within the context of the natural environment and available resources by minimizing air, water, and noise pollution; repairing, stabilizing, and restoring unstable and eroding portions of the Project Site that would enhance natural hydrological and biological processes; preserving significant natural features and resources, including unique geological and ecological sites, such as serpentine rock outcroppings and related grassland habitat; maintaining diversity, abundance, protection and enhancement of wildlife habitats; minimizing hazards from earthquakes, erosion, floods, and fire; providing a healthful, safe, quiet environment that is functionally pleasing for employees; avoiding significant adverse impacts related to water supply, fire protection, waste disposal, schools, traffic and circulation, and the financial or social environment of the community; minimizing visual impacts and tree damage and removal to the greatest extent possible; implementing a solid waste recycling program as provided by Marin Sanitary Service; avoiding use of aggressive, exotic landscaping; balancing grading on site and adhering to County grading standards; stabilizing and restoring creek channels to enhance habitat, prevent water pollution, and minimize flood hazards from stormwater runoff; providing lighting that is subtle and harmonious with the rural environment; and replacing, restoring and enhancing on-site wetlands at a ratio of approximately 2 to 1 to ensure no net loss of wetlands. (Environmental Quality Objective EQ-3; Policies EQ-3.2, EQ-3.4, EQ-3.5, EQ-3.6, EQ-3.7, EQ-3.8, EQ-3.9, EQ-3.10, EQ-3.11, EQ-3.12, EQ-3.13, EQ-3.16, EQ-3.21, EQ-3.26 and EQ-3.27)

     

  7. A significant portion of Grady Ranch is designated by the Countywide Plan as Ridge and Upland Greenbelt; however, with exception to the northwest corner of the Main Office Building and a 120,000-gallon water tank, all development on this ranch would be located outside the mapped greenbelt area. Because the Ridge and Upland Greenbelt is mapped only in the City-Centered Corridor, Big Rock, McGuire and Loma Alta Ranches located in the Inland Rural Corridor are entirely outside the mapped greenbelt area. Development in greenbelt areas is evaluated for its potential impact on visual resources and amenities. Development on Grady Ranch would meet the design criteria of Ridge and Upland Greenbelt areas, including staying off visually prominent ridgelines, clustering development on the lower slopes and ridge spur valleys of the ranch near Lucas Valley Road, and minimizing the prominence of construction by such techniques as placing the buildings so they would be screened by wooded areas, rock outcroppings, and depressions in the topography. Specifically, the buildings would be clustered well over 1,000 feet below the ridgeline on 52 acres, or 5%, of the total acreage of the 1,039-acre ranch and would not present significant visual impacts. Measures would be implemented through project landscaping and tree preservation and replacement programs to ensure the maximum retention, salvage and replacement of any trees removed. Further, the project would improve the overall visual quality of the site by implementing extensive habitat restoration, native landscaping, and restorative grading measures that would blend in with the natural setting and control erosion, enhance habitat value, restore unstable and degraded portions of the ranch, and provide adequate visual screening of the project. Therefore, site improvements to Grady Ranch would result in an overall enhancement to the natural visual resources and amenities of the site. (Environmental Quality Policies EQ-3.18, EQ-3.19 and EQ-3.20, Program EQ-3.18a; Community Development Policy CD-8.12)

     

  8. The EIR evaluated short-term and long-term air quality impacts and measures would be implemented into the Proposed Project that ensure compliance with the most stringent Federal and State air quality standards. (Environmental Quality Policies EQ-2.75, EQ-2.78)

     

  9. An archaeological and historical records search and two field surveys were conducted within the development areas of Grady and Big Rock Ranches. This work revealed three previously recorded prehistoric archaeological sites on Big Rock Ranch, including two petroglyph sites and one midden site. No resources were found on Grady Ranch. As part of the EIR, a subsequent subsurface testing program was conducted to determine the significance of the sites on Big Rock Ranch. Before commencing the program, the California Native American Heritage Commission was advised of the planned excavations and a local Native American consultant and Most Likely Descendent was retained to monitor the excavation. Since each of the sites was determined to meet criteria as an important cultural resource, the Proposed Project is required to situated or designed to avoid impacts to the sites. Alternatively, a qualified archaeologist with experience in North Bay prehistory and research considerations would develop an alternative plan to comprehensively document the petroglyph sites in their original condition and conduct an excavation program in compliance with State CEQA Guidelines Appendix K ("Archaeological Impacts"). Whether avoidance or an alternative plan is implemented, the archaeologist would monitor all grading and building activities in the vicinity of the sites. In the event archaeological resources are discovered, all work would halt for further evaluation by the archaeologist. (Environmental Quality Policies EQ-3.29, EQ-3.30, EQ-3.31, EQ-3.32 and EQ-3.34)

     

  10. A total of 3,283 acres, or 97% of the entire Project Site, would be permanently preserved as open space through dedication of an agricultural conservation easement over 2,296 acres of the Big Rock, McGuire and Loma Alta Ranches located within the Inland Rural Corridor, a fee-ownership gift of 800 acres of Grady Ranch to the public located within the City-Centered Corridor, and recordation of a private, non-development deed restriction over 187 acres of Grady Ranch. The majority of these protected lands would be used for continued agricultural purposes, subject to the provisions of an Agricultural Management Plan that would implement extensive agricultural management practices to maintain or improve the long-term productivity of the site. In addition, long-term erosion control, surface runoff pollution control, landscaping management, tree replacement, native grassland restoration, special-status plant protection, wildlife protection, and wetlands protection, replacement, and restoration programs would be implemented. (Environmental Quality Policies EQ-4.1 and EQ-4.6; Programs EQ-4.1a, EQ-4.1e, EQ-4.5a, EQ-4.6b and EQ-4.6d)

     

  11. The Proposed Project would provide jobs near housing in the Las Gallinas Valley planning area and increase the jobs to housing ratio in the West Marin planning area. In addition, temporary housing, such as guest cottages and accommodations would be provided on site for out-of-town production personnel that would lessen traffic commutes and traffic congestion. New jobs would be available to local residents at all income levels in a business industry targeted by the Marin County Economic Commission to be retained and/or expanded. Targeted businesses include those that provide employment opportunities for residents, diversify and strengthen the economic base, and contribute to the quality of life. (Community Development Policy CD-2.2)

  12. The Proposed Project would minimize dependence on non-renewable energy resources, foster energy conservation, and minimize circulation impacts because it would implement Transportation System Management ("TSM") measures to reduce transportation-related energy consumption; meet minimum State standards for energy efficiency; incorporate passive solar energy design to the extent feasible; and meet minimum County and Marin Municipal Water District water conservation measures, such as use of native landscaping and water-conserving fixtures and irrigation. TSM measures are necessary to ensure that the project would not result in significant traffic impacts and to ensure consistency with Countywide Plan policies which recommend and encourage commercial development to be mutually coordinated with the transportation network and transit systems in order to foster energy conservation and to minimize traffic circulation impacts of new development. The TSM measures could include a van/buspool or shuttle bus for employees to off-site parking areas served by public transit or extension of public transit to the Project Site in addition to measures already established at Skywalker Ranch, such as assisting employees in establishing carpools, guaranteeing transportation to registered carpoolers who miss their ride, providing financial incentives in the form of redeemable vouchers, providing on-site services to minimize the need for additional trips (daycare center, restaurants, check-cashing, mail, and fitness center), and providing the use of bicycles on site. (Community Development Objective CD-4; Policies CD-2.3, CD-2.4, CD-3.1, CD-4.1, CD-4.5 and CD-4.6; Programs CD-4.4a, CD-4.4b, CD-4.5b and CD-4.6a)

     

  13. The Nicasio Valley Community Plan ("Community Plan") is adopted as part of the Countywide Plan to further detail policies of the Countywide Plan as they pertain to the Nicasio planning area. Big Rock, McGuire and Loma Alta Ranches are located within the Nicasio planning area. Development proposed on Big Rock Ranch is consistent with the goals of the Community Plan as set forth in the following "Nicasio Valley Community Plan" analysis section of this staff report. (Community Development Objective CD-6; Policy CD-6.1)

     

  14. In order to properly manage growth so that public facilities, services and infrastructure are available to adequately serve the Proposed Project, the project would be required to pay its fair share of the cost of public facilities, services and infrastructure, including but not limited to transportation, water, sewer, solid waste, schools, and fire and police protection. Further, a fiscal impact study was prepared for the Proposed Project that examined the costs and benefits of the project on public services and facilities and concluded that the project would create a positive net fiscal impact. Lastly, increased vehicle use on Lucas Valley Road could create more accidents and result in a secondary impact of potential additional loss of life due to increased delay in extricating trapped accident victims. As a result, the Applicant would be required to provide a "jaws of life" rescue tool to be stationed with the Marinwood Fire Department that would improve emergency services and enhance capability to prevent loss of lives. (Community Development Objective CD-7; Policy CD-7.3; Program CD-7.3b; Community Facilities Policy CF-5.2; Program CF-5.2a)

     

  15. The Countywide Plan land use designation for Grady Ranch is Planned Residential ("PR") with a maximum residential density of one unit per 1 to 10 acres and a maximum non-residential floor area ratio range of 0.01 to 0.09. The proposed non-residential floor area ratio of 0.01 (456,100 square feet/1,039 acres) for Grady Ranch is within the maximum range of 0.01 to 0.09 established by the Countywide Plan. The existing RMP zoning is deemed by the Countywide Plan as a consistent zoning district with the PR land use designation. Non-residential uses deemed consistent with the PR land use designation include, but are not limited to, commercial offices, lodges, and day-care facilities that would be provided adequate public services and facilities, convenient access, and connection to transit. Under RMP zoning regulations, offices and related accessory uses are permitted by Master Plan and Use Permit approval. (Community Development Policies CD-8.5 and CD-10.3; Lucas Valley Environs Land Use Policy Map 2.3)

     

  16. The Countywide Plan land use designation for Big Rock Ranch is Agricultural 2 ("AG2") with a maximum residential density of one unit per 10 to 30 acres and a maximum non-residential floor area ratio range of 0.01 to 0.09. The proposed non-residential floor area ratio of 0.004 (184,700 square feet/1,117 acres) for Big Rock Ranch is less than the maximum range of 0.01 to 0.09 established by the Countywide Plan. The existing ARP zoning for the property is deemed as a consistent zoning district with the AG2 land use designation. Uses deemed consistent with the AG2 land use designation include primarily agricultural uses that preserve and protect agriculture; however, the Countywide Plan states that land use designations are generalized groupings of land uses and titles that only define a predominant land use type. Some uses are conditional uses under zoning, require a Use Permit, and may be allowed only in limited areas or under limited circumstances. Under ARP zoning regulations, certain limited commercial uses under limited circumstances are permitted by Master Plan approval that are compatible with agriculture and include a plan for continued agricultural activities on site. The Proposed Project would result in permanently preserving 1,061 acres of the 1,117-acre Big Rock Ranch (95% of the acreage) under a dedicated, permanent agricultural conservation easement with development clustered on the remaining 56 acres. The protected land would be used for continued agricultural purposes, subject to the provisions of an Agricultural Management Plan that would implement extensive agricultural management practices to maintain or improve the long-term productivity of the site, such as those implemented under a similar program at Skywalker Ranch. The Skywalker Ranch model demonstrates that the Proposed Project would be compatible with agricultural land uses and enhance the economic viability of agricultural operations. (Community Development Policies CD-8.2, CD-8.3, CD-8.8 and CD-15.15; Nicasio Land Use Policy Map 7.6)

     

  17. The Countywide Plan land use designation for McGuire Ranch is Agricultural 2 ("AG2") with a maximum residential density of one unit per 10 to 30 acres and a maximum non-residential floor area ratio range of 0.01 to 0.09. The land use designation for Loma Alta Ranch is Agricultural 1 ("AG1") with a maximum residential density of one unit per 31 to 60 acres and a maximum non-residential floor area ratio range of 0.01 to 0.09. The existing ARP zoning is deemed as a consistent zoning district with the AG1 and AG2 land use designations. Uses deemed consistent with the AG1 and AG2 land use designations include primarily agricultural uses that preserve and protect agriculture. No development is proposed for either one of these ranches. The Proposed Project would result in permanently preserving the McGuire and Loma Alta Ranches in their entirety (1,235 acres) under a dedicated, permanent agricultural conservation easement. The protected land would be used for continued agricultural purposes, subject to the provisions of an Agricultural Management Plan that would implement extensive agricultural management practices to maintain or improve the long-term productivity of the site. (Community Development Policies CD-8.8 and CD-15.15; Nicasio Land Use Policy Map 7.6)

  18. The Proposed Project would meet the intent of traffic policies that call for a Level of Service ("LOS") D or better for peak-hour traffic along U.S. Highway 101 and at all studied intersections within the project area at buildout through payment of local and regional "fair-share" traffic mitigation fees, construction of various area-wide traffic improvements, and implementation of Transportation System Management ("TSM") measures, such as those implemented at Skywalker Ranch, including establishment of a van/buspool or shuttle bus for employees of the Grady and Big Rock Ranch facilities or construction of traffic improvements and/or a combination of traffic improvements and other TSM measures that meet the required Level of Service standard. TSM measures are necessary to ensure that the project would not result in significant traffic impacts and to ensure consistency with Countywide Plan policies which recommend and encourage commercial development to be mutually coordinated with the transportation network and transit systems in order to foster energy conservation and to minimize traffic circulation impacts of new development. The Skywalker Ranch TSM measures include assisting employees in establishing carpools, guaranteeing transportation to registered carpoolers who miss their ride, providing financial incentives in the form of redeemable vouchers, providing on-site services (daycare center, restaurants, check-cashing, mail, and fitness center), and providing the use of bicycles on site. (Transportation Objective T-1; Policies T-1.1 and T-1.3; Programs T-1.1b and T-1.1e)

     

  19. Lucas Valley Road would be maintained as a rural, two-lane roadway through the Project Site with improvements limited to those that enhance safety only, such as a new eastbound acceleration lane out of Grady Ranch. No improvements to this stretch of roadway would be constructed to increase traffic capacity, such as a road widening project to accommodate an additional through lane. (Transportation Objective T-7; Policy T-7.1)

     

  20. The Proposed Project would not displace existing affordable housing. With exception to Big Rock Ranch, the entire Project Site is vacant. Big Rock Ranch is developed with a Lucasfilm employee residence that would be demolished as part of the project, but this residence is not subject to affordable housing requirements. (Housing Objective H-1)

     

  21. The EIR concluded that existing and proposed ambient day-night average noise levels on site are below the maximum levels recommended by the Countywide Plan noise level guidelines for office development. The Proposed Project, as sited and designed, would not be exposed to excessive levels of transportation-generated noise. (Noise Objective N-1; Policy N-1.1; Programs N-1.1a and N-1.1b)

     

  22. The EIR concluded that the Proposed Project would not significantly increase ambient day-night average noise levels recommended by the Countywide Plan noise level guidelines within adjacent residential areas. Transportation-generated noise from the Proposed Project would not raise the day-night average noise level by more than 3 dBA and, therefore, a change in the noise level would not be perceivable. In addition, short-term construction-generated noise impacts would be minimized by limiting the hours of construction, maintaining and muffling powered construction equipment, and notifying residents within 800 feet of construction areas before construction-generated noise occurs. (Noise Objective N-2; Policies N-2.1 and N-2.4; Programs N-2.1a, N-2.1b and N-2.4a)

     

  23. The final project design, based on extensive geotechnical investigations by civil engineers with soils engineering expertise and soils certified engineering geologists, would employ engineering measures that avoid and minimize against life and safety risks from slope instability, landslide and seismic ground shaking hazards. Detailed Slope Stabilization and Grading Plans would be prepared based on the geotechnical investigations that describes how each landslide or area of unstable slopes would be repaired or removed by identifying the area of slide debris to be excavated and reconstructed, the methods to be used to engineer the slopes with compacted fill, the surface and subsurface drainage improvements, retaining walls and other structures to be installed in order to stabilize slopes. All grading and structures would conform to applicable minimum earthquake design standards. (Community Development Policy CD-2.7; Environmental Hazard Objectives EH-3, EH-5 and EH-6; Policies EH-3.1, EH-3.2, EH-3.3, EH-5.1, EH-5.2, EH-5.4, EH-6.1 and EH-6.3; Programs EH-5.2a and EH-6.3a)

     

  24. The Proposed Project would ensure that adequate capacity for the safe handling of flood runoff would be provided in stream channels. Based on detailed hydrologic and geologic studies that meet minimum County Code requirements, proposed stream restoration, stabilization and enhancement measures would reduce or eliminate local erosion and sedimentation and maintain flood runoff capacities. Neither existing watershed conditions create nor post-development conditions would cause stream overbank flooding during 100-year storm events. Peak flow rates would not increase significantly after development. (Environmental Quality Policies EQ-2.19 and EQ-2.20; Environmental Hazards Policy EH-8.6; Programs EH-8.6a and EH-8.6b)

     

  25. The design and location of the proposed dam on Big Rock Ranch would be in accordance with all applicable design standards and specifications and accepted state-of-the-art design and construction practices to protect the public from the consequences of a dam failure. A registered Civil Engineer would prepare a detailed dam plan for approval by the County and State Department of Water Resources -- Divisions of Dam Safety and Water Rights. (Environmental Quality Policy EQ-2.37; Environmental Hazards Objective EH-9; Policy EH-9.1; Program EH-9.1a)

     

  26. To minimize the risk of wildland and structural fires and ensure adequate fire protection, the Marin County Fire Department and Marinwood Fire Department would ensure that the Proposed Project meets minimum fire safety codes and standards and incorporates into its design adequate water resources, fire suppressant systems, fire-resistant materials, vegetation clearances from structures, irrigated landscaping, access, and emergency communications. Adequate water for fire protection on both Grady Ranch and Big Rock Ranch would be available. Grady Ranch would have a 120,000-gallon water tank on site available for fire suppression, while Big Rock Ranch would have a 90,000-gallon water tank and reservoir. The Applicant would develop a Vegetation Modification Plan for the initial thinning or removal of flammable vegetation and a Vegetation Management Plan for on-going annual vegetative maintenance. Adequate emergency communications for proper fire fighting capability could include local cellular repeater stations or similar equipment, including an independent power supply. The need for additional communications would be evaluated during review of the Precise Development Plan. (Environmental Hazard Objective EH-11; Policies EH-11.2, EH-11.3, EH-11.5 and EH-11.6; Programs EH-11.1b and EH-11.2b)

     

  27. The Proposed Project would enhance, support, promote, and preserve agricultural land uses through protection (and expansion) of the agricultural land base from conversion to non-agricultural uses and through the encouragement of sustainable agricultural practices. The Proposed Project would result in permanently preserving 1,061 acres of Big Rock Ranch, 674 acres of McGuire Ranch, and 561 acres of Loma Alta Ranch (2,296 acres of 2,352 acres or, 97.6% of the total acreage of these ranches within the Inland Rural Corridor) under a dedicated agricultural conservation easement with development clustered on the remaining 56 acres (2.4% of the total acreage). These protected lands would be used for continued agricultural purposes, subject to the provisions of an Agricultural Management Plan that would implement extensive agricultural management practices to maintain or improve the long-term productivity of the site, such as those implemented under a similar program at Skywalker Ranch. The Skywalker Ranch model demonstrates that the Proposed Project would be compatible with agricultural land uses and enhance the economic viability of agricultural operations. In addition, approximately 800 acres of Grady Ranch within the City-Centered Corridor would be permanently preserved by dedication of fee ownership to the Marin County Open Space District or by deed restriction with public trail easements with a provision that at least a portion or all of the land with agricultural potential be made available for long-term, properly managed agricultural uses, subject to the terms of the Agricultural Management Plan. Therefore, the agricultural land base in Marin County would increase as a result of the project by re-establishing agriculture on Grady Ranch. (Agriculture Objective A-1; Policies A-1.1, A-1.4, A-1.5 and A-1.10)

    BB. Grady Ranch is located within the Sphere of Influence of the City of San Rafael, but it is not contiguous to the corporate limits of the city. Grady Ranch is, however, adjacent to the San Rafael Urban Service Area boundary and the service area boundaries of the Las Gallinas Valley Sanitary District ("LGVSD"), the Marin Municipal Water District ("MMWD"), and the Marinwood Community Services District ("MCSD"). In order to receive sewer service from LGVSD and water service from MMWD, the San Rafael Urban Service Area boundary would be amended to include the 52-acre development area of Grady Ranch and this area would be annexed into the service areas of these districts. In order to receive fire protection services from the Marinwood Fire Department, Grady Ranch would be annexed in its entirety into the MCSD service area. The Marin Local Agency Formation Commission ("LAFCo") dual annexation policies adopted by the County and Cities call for annexation of a project into a city when a project is annexed into service area districts, such as for fire protection and sewer and water services. However, the City of San Rafael has indicated that it is not interested at this time in annexing Grady Ranch because it is not contiguous to the corporate limits of the city. Accordingly, the City of San Rafael waives the dual annexation process at this time. Applications to amend the San Rafael Urban Service Area boundary and to annex portions or all of Grady Ranch into the LGVSD, MMWD and MCSD service areas would be processed by LAFCo. Coordination and timing of these annexations are essential to ensure compliance with LAFCo policies and applicable policies of the Countywide Plan. Accordingly, development of Grady Ranch would be contingent on LAFCo amending the San Rafael Urban Service Area boundary and annexing portions or all of Grady Ranch into the LGVSD, MMWD and MCSD service areas before building permits are issued for Grady Ranch. (Community Facilities Element Objective CF-4; Policy CF-4.3)

    CC. The Proposed Project would result in the permanent preservation of combined use trails designated for public pedestrian, equestrian and bicycle access over the entire Project Site through trail easement and fee-ownership dedications offered by Lucasfilm. Consistent with the adopted Trails Element maps, the preserved trail network would provide public access to approximately 11 miles of trails throughout Grady, Big Rock, McGuire and Loma Alta Ranches and 800 acres of Grady Ranch, connecting the Lucas Valley Open Space and Loma Alta Open Space Preserves of the Marin County Open Space District. New trails would be located to avoid sensitive habitat areas and private development areas to protect environmental resources and minimize trail user conflicts, respectively. The Marin County Open Space District is responsible typically for maintenance of the trails acquired through offered easement and fee ownership dedications. (Trails Objectives TR-1, TR-3 and TR-4; Policies TR-1.3, TR-1.4, TR-3.1 and TR-4.1; Programs TR-2.1d, TR-3.1a and TR-4.1a)

    DD. A fiscal impact study was prepared for the Proposed Project that concluded the project would create a positive net fiscal impact. The EIR analyzed potential short-term and long-term fiscal impacts of the project on the County and various public services with consideration given to one-time revenues and costs and annual revenues and costs. The EIR concluded that the economic impacts of the project would not result in significant physical change to the environment. This information is provided in the EIR so that County decision-makers may appropriately evaluate the economic impacts of the project. (Economic Objective E-3; Policy E-3.2; Program E-3.2a)

    EE. Movie production, entertainment, and artistic production are types of businesses that are on the initial list of targeted business industries developed by the Marin County Economic Commission which the County should retain and/or expand. Targeted businesses include those that provide employment opportunities for Marin residents, diversify and strengthen the economic base, and contribute to the quality of life. According to the fiscal impact study, the Proposed Project would generate new revenues in excess of new public service costs, pay better than average wages, provide a large proportion of higher paid employees, produce products and services that can be exported, provide long-term sustainability, minimize resource and energy use, and attract highly-educated residents. (Economic Objectives E-5 and E-6; Policy E-5.1; Program E-5.1a)

     

Findings Table of Contents

WHEREAS the Board of Supervisors finds that the Proposed Project, subject to the mandatory EIR mitigation and monitoring measures and the recommended conditions of approval contained herein, is consistent with the goals of the Nicasio Valley Community Plan, for reasons including, but not limited to, the following:

 

  1. The Proposed Project would be located nearly 1,000 feet below the ridge on a portion of Big Rock Ranch that is generally not visible from Lucas Valley Road. The project, which exemplifies agrarian architecture, would be adequately screened from Lucas Valley Road views by berms planted with native vegetation. The open, spacious attributes of the Nicasio planning area and its agricultural heritage would be preserved. (Goal 1)

     

  2. Approximately 1,061 acres of Big Rock Ranch, 674 acres of McGuire Ranch, and 561 acres of Loma Alta Ranch (2,296 acres of 2,352 acres or, 97.6% of the total acreage of these ranches) would be permanently preserved under a dedicated agricultural conservation easement with development clustered on only 56 acres of Big Rock Ranch (2.4% of the total acreage). Lands to be protected by the agricultural easement would be used for continued agricultural purposes, subject to the provisions of an Agricultural Management Plan that would implement extensive agricultural management practices to maintain or improve the long-term productivity of these ranches, such as those implemented under a similar program at Skywalker Ranch. (Goal 2)

     

  3. Adequate water, sewage disposal and access are available and would be provided to serve the Proposed Project. (Goal 3)

     

  4. The Proposed Project would improve Nicasio Reservoir water quality by implementing short- and long-term erosion control and surface runoff pollution control measures and by extensively repairing, stabilizing and naturally restoring degraded and damaged creek channels that would greatly enhance habitat value, reduce erosion and sedimentation, maintain flood runoff capacities, and improve overall water quality. Also, the Applicant would be required to enter a Watershed Protection Agreement with the Marin Municipal Water District to ensure no increase in the background sedimentation level of Nicasio Reservoir. (Goal 4)

     

  5. Overall, as set forth in Finding VI above, the Proposed Project would meet the ARP design and site preparation standards, specifically ensuring that development would be clustered where the least detrimental environmental and visual impacts would occur while maximizing the amount of potential agricultural land for grazing. (Goals 1, 2, 3 and 4)

     

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WHEREAS the Board of Supervisors finds that: (1) the entire Project Site is zoned currently for a maximum residential potential of 206 units; (2) the Countywide Plan land use designations establish a maximum residential density range of 173 to 1,236 total units for the site; and (3) it is difficult, and somewhat speculative, to estimate the total number of housing units that ultimately could be approved if the ranches were developed residentially without a specific proposal and environmental review. The current residential zoning of 206 units is at the low end of the maximum residential density range called for by the Countywide Plan land use designations for the Project Site. The Board of Supervisors further finds that a 206-unit residential alternative would not offer significant environmental advantages over the Proposed Project. Generally, this alternative would also mitigate related environmental impacts, but the overall level of development and site disturbance most likely would be greater. This alternative would likely have greater geology and soils impacts than the Proposed Project as a substantially greater area of grading would be required. While it is unclear if certain impacts of this alternative would be significant as no site plan has been formulated, it is probable that this alternative also would create greater biotic, visual, archaeological, traffic, air quality, noise, and public service demand impacts than the Proposed Project due to the greater amount of development and site disturbance. As suggested by the EIR, this alternative would likely eliminate or further restrict agricultural uses over Grady, Big Rock, McGuire, and Loma Alta Ranches.

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WHEREAS the Board of Supervisors finds that the overall parking to employee ratio proposed is excessive for the Applicant's needs, especially when consideration is given to the requirement herein to implement Transportation System Management ("TSM") measures, including assisting employees in establishing carpools, guaranteeing transportation to registered carpoolers who miss their ride, providing financial incentives in the form of redeemable vouchers, providing on-site services (daycare center, restaurants, check-cashing, mail, and fitness center), providing the use of bicycles on site, and/or establishing a van/buspool or shuttle bus. Specifically, the Board of Supervisors finds the number of parking spaces to be excessive under the Main Office Buildings on both Grady and Big Rock Ranches. Additional parking under the other buildings is acceptable as it is accessory to these main buildings and is a function of on-site building and population distributions. TSM measures are considered successful if a 6 to 10% daily reduction in single occupant vehicle use is achieved. Numerous studies by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District further show that if the number of available parking spaces are reduced in an office project, that TSM measures are more likely to be successful. Therefore, in order to encourage the success of the required TSM measures, the number of parking spaces under the Main Office Buildings on both Grady and Big Rock Ranches would be reduced to 306 spaces under the Main Office Building on Grady Ranch and to 270 spaces under the Main Office Building on Big Rock Ranch. These reductions, which assume a 10% daily reduction in single occupant vehicle use to both facilities due to implemented TSM measures, are acceptable to the Department of Public Works. The excess garage area, approximately 15,000 square feet on Grady Ranch and 10,000 square feet on Big Rock Ranch, could be utilized for storage and/or mechanical space.

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WHEREAS the Board of Supervisors finds that the use of hazardous materials on site would not result in any significant, adverse impacts based on the small quantities of hazardous materials that would be stored and used at the proposed facilities and on existing County regulatory requirements. Acutely hazardous materials, if any, would likely be below threshold planning quantities. Pursuant to Chapter 7.90 of Marin County Code, the Applicant would be required to file a Hazardous Materials Disclosure Form with the Marin County Office of Waste Management prior to the handling of any hazardous materials on site. An application for a building permit would not be approved until the disclosure form has been reviewed and certified by Waste Management staff. Based on the amount of hazardous materials or acutely hazardous materials used, the project would fall into one of three categories: (1) a non-regulated business, (2) a regulated business, or (3) an acutely hazardous material handler. Like Skywalker Ranch, the Proposed Project would likely be certified as a regulated business. A regulated business must submit a Business Plan to the Office of Waste Management prior to commencing business operations which addresses emergencies and contingencies for accidental spills of hazardous materials and includes hazardous materials inventories and locations, detailed floor plans of the facility, labeling and identification procedures, employee training measures for immediate response, and coordination with local emergency service providers. Business Plans are updated and monitored annually by Office of Waste Management.

Findings Table of Contents

WHEREAS the Board of Supervisors finds that, based on the project description in the application, only employees and overnight guests are to be counted in proposed on-site population limitations. As defined herein, "employees" or "service personnel" include all employees of the Applicant, such as office employees for digital film production and contracted employees for various services (e.g., restaurant and landscaping services). "Overnight guests" include clients or guests of Lucasfilm that stay overnight at the proposed guest accommodations. The number of overnight guests permitted should be based ultimately on the eventual number of guests units provided on Grady Ranch. All other persons, including guests or visitors, clients, vendors, and delivery personnel, should not be included in on-site population counts.

The Board of Supervisors further finds that a maximum of 340 employees and overnight guests on Grady Ranch and 300 employees on Big Rock Ranch are proposed based on the project description in the application. Populations may vary from building to building but not from ranch to ranch. Big Rock Ranch is more constrained than Grady Ranch regarding on-site population limitations and is limited specifically to 300 persons for the following reasons:

 

  1. Big Rock Ranch is located in the Inland Rural Corridor of the Countywide Plan, and McGuire and Loma Alta Ranches were included specifically in the current Lucasfilm project "so as to observe the 'Inland Rural Corridor' population/acreage ratios earlier utilized at Skywalker Ranch." (Application Narrative -- Description of the Proposed Development, no date, page 8) The approved population/acreage ratio at Skywalker Ranch is 1 person for every 8.1 acres (300 persons/2,429 acres). For comparison, the population/acreage ratio of Big Rock, McGuire and Loma Alta Ranches combined is a comparable 1 employee for every 7.84 acres (300 persons/2,352 acres).

     

  2. A total of 300 underground parking spaces are proposed on Big Rock Ranch. As recommended by conditions of approval, this number would be reduced to 270 spaces. Based on the Institute of Transportation Engineers parking demand rates for a general office building (0.79 spaces per employee), 270 spaces would be an adequate number of parking spaces for a workforce of 300 employees only on Big Rock Ranch.

     

  3. Development on Big Rock Ranch would utilize an on-site septic system for wastewater disposal. The applicant prepared a septic system design, including site profile inspections, percolation tests, and leachfield locations, that assumed a sewage flow of 6,165 gallons per day based on a workforce of 300 employees only.

     

The Board of Supervisors further finds that on-site population limitations would be monitored by reference to company records respecting the total number of employees and overnight guests on site on a daily basis. This information would be compiled quarterly to provide an accurate profile of the average daily site occupancy during the quarter. Consistent with the environmental analysis conducted in the EIR, fluctuations in the daily on-site population limits for both ranches may be permitted as long as the fluctuations are not significant and the average daily populations during the quarter do not exceed the stated population limitations.

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October 27,1996 sm


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