The Coastal Post - August 2000

An Open Letter To The Pt. Reyes Village Association

By Judy Borello

In the July 13th issue of the Pt. Reyes Light, Hank Barnar was quoted as having said, "I would like to see and make sure the Village Association has their input on this..." Added Commissioner Ross Herbertson, "I've really come to depend on the Pt. Reyes Village Association for everything that goes on out there."

It seems to me that the Association has attracted a lot of creditability, which I am glad to see, because this is the only organization which represents Pt. Reyes Station solely.

Has anyone in the hierarchy of the Association ever imparted the knowledge that there was a vote taken by the Association of its member and that the vote was "No" on the project? That is significant if they're interested in what the association has to say, especially the Pt. Reyes Association membership.

The E.A.H. (low-cost housing) is a temporary bandage for what lies ahead. As you all know, putting this project right in the middle of the commercial part of our town will impair the aesthetics, the viewshed, let alone what else it will do.

The Pt. Reyes Village Association should have a feeling of responsibility for what is done today and how it would impact the future. I would like the Association to consider these reasonings:

1) Low-cost housing is a big problem, and should be shared by other towns. Pt. Reyes Station has already done it once before and I've hear that one of the low-cost owners has since moved out and is renting it for $1,200/mo.

2) Fifty years or 100 years from now, where will the commercial ventures have a chance to grow? Since Pt. Reyes Station is considered the hub because of its businesses, it certainly isn't congruent to stick housing right in the middle of it and lock up the town forever for no commercial growth. Don't you feel we owe it to our town to not suffocate it for a temporary fix? We owe it (the right to grow commercially) to the future generations, plus it's piss-poor planning to not go to the outskirts of our town for housing development or organic farming. Those 19 acres are the only commercial land left for business.

3) The rezoning of the 19-acre property will cause such a precedent that I agree with whoever said "It would be like opening Pandora's box. This project (E.A.H.) should deserve a full-blown EIR instead of a negative declaration, because of its density and environmental impact on the creek and the proximity of it towards the other businesses in town.

4) What is organic farming doing in this project? I thought it was low-cost housing. Why has the organic farmer been pre-selected before the plan ever bid the County?

5) I know myself that if this project were to go forward, a lot of people from Pt. Reyes township would be interested in farming a couple of acres, and they have phoned me and complained that it is unfair for them not to get a chance to bid on it, if the farming comes to fruition.

There has been about four or five nasty notes left for me in the Old Western Saloon and outside of it, penned on the bulletin board. Signed by Citizen X, because the writer is a coward, I presume. The notes always start off with some low-life reptilian verbiage such as, You fat cow, you slimy pig, or other finely written expletives. I'm, not looking for sympathy for these notes, because when you are in the business of writing a column every month, you must expect some consternation, even if the person is of whacko vintage. What I would like to clarify is the fact that I've been accused of being "greedy," or I don't care about the people in Pt. Reyes Station that can't afford a home.

I do care, since a lot of my friends and bartenders would like to have homes or rentals in Pt. Reyes Station or the town nearest to it. I just don't think that the middle of town (the commercial part) is the appropriate place for this project.

And as for as being greedy, I would benefit more if the project went in, because the Old Western building would become more valuable due to of the scarcity of commercial property, and the possibility of pumping out more septic and hauling it to Borello Ranch would also be a benefit to me.

My prime concern is that I have had the Old Western Hotel and Saloon for 30 years, and our big bay window in the Saloon overlooks the property in question, and I have grown quite fond of the view along with many other patrons of the Saloon. Along with that statement I would like to add that the town and its people have been very good to me and I don't want to hurt the town in any way, and I believe this project will do just that.

I also have one major concern that if 100 toilets are flushing four or five times a day and I already pump good clean water out of the basement of the Saloon during some winters, what happens when the offices upstairs and the patrons start smelling stinky septic from across the street? We all know without being rocket scientists that "shit rolls downhill." Well, who do I sue when it rolls right into my business?

To impact the town forever over a temporary bandage is not worth it. There are so many needy people who want low-cost housing that if the E.A.H. project is approved, it will only be a drop in the bucket. I find another solution much more reasonable. Take the land close to the town that is zoned A-2 and A-3 (one home per acre and one home per 3 acres) and let them build second units bigger than 750 sq. ft. Try to attain low-interest loans for these owners with the promise in writing that they rent them out for a reasonably low rent. This solution would be more practical because it would spread the low-cost housing around, and other towns like Inverness, Olema, Marshall, Tomales, Dillon Beach, and Bolinas would have to share in their own people's need. Think responsibly and carefully, not just for today's needs of maybe 100 people (the project's population), but think about the little town's future for generations to come. Many people such as Phil Franklin, Dave Mitchell and Charlie Morgan should think twice about what they promote, because if they don't move away, they will certainly pass away and leave behind them for the "noble" deed of a few, a town in ruins.

P.S. The power play of the month goes to Roseanne of the Coast Cafe in Bolinas for 86ing my bartender Helen Skinner from her establishment. Helen has worked at the Saloon for over six years, and has been a great friend and very loyal employee, and she has never set foot in the Coast Cafe and more than likely never will. All Helen told Roseann is that the Old Western saloon doesn't have tabs, and I would guess this statement infuriated Roseann so she went home to her establishment and 86ed Helen. Helen was insulted, as well she should be, and many of us at the Western have vowed not to go the restaurant, even though the class acts of Dave Cook, Rob Prokopec, Wim and the rest of the wonders there are totally talented and well-liked people, and I should know this because some of them have worked for the Saloon, and they are the cream of the crop. It's too bad that this ridiculous power play ever happened, because it's caused a lot of dissension among the troops!

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