The Coastal Post - June 2000

Destination-Pt. Reyes Station

By Judy Borello

San Rafael's non-profit EAH has applied to county planners to build an affordable housing complex smack dab in the middle of the commercial little village of Pt. Reyes Station. On the last section of commercial land ever, they are planning a 36-unit mixed residential project. The intention is right but the location is wrong. We will lock the town up forever from future commercial growth. I believe housing projects should be to the outskirts of the commercial village. Or better yet, since the National Park has approximately 80,000 acres of land that they can't maintain without asking for donations, they should sell 210 acres for the price of the 18 acres and allow the people of this community to have a home of their own. (Never happen unless there's such a public outcry it's heard all the way to Washington, and on top of that, it makes too much sense.)

What really rubs me the wrong way is that the EAH project wants to break a lot of the rules. In addition to amendments, the Countywide Plan Land Use designation, Pt. Reyes Community Plan and the local coastal program, the proposed development includes the following rezoning actions: 1) rezoning of the easterly portion of the property which encompasses the Papermill Creek apartments and homes from the Coastal Suburban Agricultural 20,000 sq. ft. minimum lot size zoning district, to a Coastal Residential Multiple Planned or equivalent zoning district; and 2) rezoning the westerly portion of the property from the Coastal Commercial Residential, 10,000 sq. ft. minimum lot size zoning district to a Coastal Residential Multiple Planned and Coastal Residential Multiple Planned Commercial or equivalent zoning district. The final component of the project includes a proposed Vesting Tentative Map to divide the property into 14 lots that correspond with the individual project components. What all this malarkey means is that some people are forced to play by the rules and others break the rules with an arrogant air of "do good" philosophy.

Why have a county-wide plan or community plans?

Here is where the real hypocrisy sets in, when individuals spend a fortune for their land (asked no taxpayer to subsidize them) and cannot build a home to suit their own tastes. Cases in point: the Marlowe house on 90 acres of land and the rules say you have to leave 95 percent of your land in open space, he did but couldn't build it. The McBurney's home in Nicasio, same thing, and now in Bolinas, the Michael Moritz project to build a 7,453 sq. ft. of new construction on a roughly 84-acre parcel on Horseshoe Hill.

All these projects add up to 180 acres of land with three large homes and the rest of the land in open space, while trying to cram 36 housing units on 18 acres of land right in the middle of town seems completely distorted, with no common sense.

People who are playing by the rules don't get their homes and people who don't want to play by the rules (trying to change them to suit their own needs) get their homes.

Don't tell me there are no shenanigans going with EAH's fair and well-meaning project. Take for instance: One market in the residential farm lot with a single-family residence, a cottage, and a barn. It has already been decided that this should go to Peter Worsley. Why wasn't that special lot put out to bid in a fair way so that some Pt. Reyes citizen could have a chance to acquire it? Could it be that Worsley is a friend of Michael Mery and there's a lot of inside manipulation and favoritism?

I've had the Old Western saloon and hotel for 30 years, and most normal-to-heavy rain years, the two sump pumps in my basement are going strong taking out the underground water from the hill across the street which is where the project is going to be. Now at least it's good clean water, but what happens when 36 units consisting of family homes and apartments (100 people at least) start flushing their toilets and my basement starts to stink with brown dirty turdy affluent. I don't think my customers or the people who rent rooms in the hotel are going to be too happy when they start to smell ca-ca!

And who do I sue, the County or EAH?

P.S. Don't worry-be happy!

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