Suit Against Blackpoint Developers Is Constitutional BY JOAN REUTINGER The Marin Conservation League, the Sierra Club, the Black Point Forest Rescue Project and the Marin Audubon Society have all joined together to launch a legal challenge to Novato's Black Point Golf Links project. The Black Point Golf Links project will take approximately 240 acres, formerly used by the Renaissance Pleasure Faire, and construct 53 luxury homes and an 18-hole golf course, which would require removal of literally thousands of native oak trees and convert 115 acres of diked historic baylands and seasonal wetlands. In March of 1995 the developer sued the City of Novato, seeking $16 million in damages and claimed that the City's action in denying the master plan constituted a "taking." In October the City and the developer entered into a stipulation which allows the developer to build his luxury homes and his golf course, and provided that no matter what changes might occur in city planning policies, he would have that right. In other words, it cuts off any right to initiative or referendum for the public to take part in. The stipulation with the developer was reached behind closed doors, without public involvement. These groups are now suing because the stipulation violates constitutional and statutory rights of the public, because if the agreement is allowed to stand it would establish a precedent. If all developers sue for millions each of the suing group agrees that a precedent would be established to eliminate public participation in land use decisions and ultimately eliminate the power of citizens in a democracy. Various groups have long been at variance with the Black Point project. In 1993 the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission wrote "the project conflicts with the Commission's advisory policy which recommends: (1) maintaining agricultural use of diked historic baylands as long as feasible, and (2) avoiding developing areas that can feasibly be enhanced to have high wildlife values or can be opened to tidal action. Later in 1993 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wrote "Because of the high wildlife habitat values provided by the seasonal wetlands and native oak woodland on the proposed project site, the Service recommends the selection of the "no project" alternative. We recommend that it is most appropriate for the General Plan to designate these areas for conservation purposes. We also recommend that the best use of the Rowland area is wetland habitat, and the best use of the oak woodland is to maintain it in its natural state. The proposed mitigation is inadequate to assure no net loss of wetland habitat functions, values and acres. It is also inadequate to offset the significant negative impacts to native oak woodland habitat... Golf courses and wetlands are not compatible uses." The decisive ruling on the effort to protect the people's right to take part in land use decision-making is set for a hearing on June 7 in Superior Court. 9 mmmmmmmmmmmmmm5G ysmgy@$Gbg  0 vmmmmmmmiv      !"(56  5