The Coastal Post - November 1999

Too Much Monkey Business

By Judy Borello

On Thursday, November 11, I attended a meeting concerning the Pt. Reyes affordable housing project.

Midway through the meeting it was asked of the 200+ people who attended if the non-residents would stand up, and over half the crowd stood up! Still belly-aching and showing a definite disregard of facts and reasoning. They want what they want at any cost to the town and its character. The facts are: 1) the town of Pt. Reyes Station has to have at some point in time room to grow commercially. If this project is allowed to be stuck smack dab in the middle of what little property is left for the downtown, we will have made a big mistake by putting any residential development there-be it low-cost, mid-cost, or high-cost-and stifling and suffocating commercial growth in the only section it has to expand in, and we'll lock it in forever for generations to come, to say little about the impact aesthetically, population-wise, environmentally, or the moral obligation to do what is right for the generations that follow.

2) The people who clamor, become over-bearing and pushy, and come from other towns surrounding West Marin should definitely consider working within their own town plans to construct affordable housing if they believe in it as much as they say. Inverness, Stinson Beach, Bolinas, Marshall, Tomales, etc. Hypocrisy reigns supreme on this subject! A few months ago in the Pt. Reyes Light, we, the opponents of the project, were accused of being NIMBYs. Well, we've been there and done that, and I feel it's time that the people from the other towns who are hell bent for leather to destroy Pt. Reyes Station because of their noble ideology, get off their arrogant and selfish attitudes and put similar projects in their own town, but they are the real NIMBYs, because they'd rather stuff it in Pt. Reyes and then go home to their little pristine palaces or shacks on the hill or by the bay.

As I have stated before, it's piss-poor planning to put residential housing of this magnitude in the middle of the commercial village and not see the common sense of placing this size project on the outskirts of town. We had the sensibility in the early '70s to put the Coast Guard project off to the side, where it wouldn't disrupt the town, and the good judgment to place senior housing and low-cost housing to the other side of town near the Red Barn. What happens when the hand-picked chosen few get this housing and the other 200 people who applied are left out? Do we erect skyscrapers in downtown Pt. Reyes?

3) Can you imagine what Bolinas or Inverness would do if other people from outside their own town started telling them what to do? They'd have a shit fit tizzy! Of course, the ones that are inflicting their will on Pt. Reyes Station are always yapping, "We shop in your town or we work in your town and therefore we are disempowering Pt. Reyes Station's autonomy and taking over the town with what we want!"

First of all, doesn't this fly in the face of logic and respect!? We, being the citizens of Pt. Reyes Station, supply you, the people of other towns, with your needs and jobs. Otherwise, you would have to go "over the hill."

It's a two-way street, folks, and because I shop sometimes in Petaluma or my daughter works in the hub of Marin County (San Rafael) doesn't qualify us to vote there!

4) I've heard the rip-roaring contention that the Pt. Reyes Village Association isn't qualified because they are not elected officials by the whole town. Well, neither is the Inverness Association, the East Shore Planning Group, etc. They are all voted in by the membership of their separate associations. Just by its official title, the Pt. Reyes Village Association qualifies as much as any other town organization to be the forum for the town.

The only thing that I disagree with is when Chuck Eckart, a member of the board of directors of the Pt. Reyes Village Association was quoted as saying in the Pt. Reyes Light (November 18) that he hopes to encourage the EAH (Ecumenical Association of Housing) to proceed, and he speculated that the "No" vote came from "new" members of the Association.

The voting turned out to be by the Pt. Reyes Village Association that night of November 11. Thirty-one members (55%) to 25 members (40%) opposing the project.

Being a member of the board of directors of the Pt. Reyes Village Association, Chuck Eckart should be reflecting the Association's vote, and for him to speculate that the "No" vote were new members was out of line because, first of all, the vote was by secret ballot, and it makes no difference who voted for what-old members or new members. In fact, the "new" members of the Pt. Reyes Village Association are a majority of the older established families of Pt. Reyes Station who were irked when people outside their town were being allowed to inflict their will on the town.

Also, why is Peter Woolsey of Inverness guaranteed the most prized spot in a project that may or may not go forward through the county hurdles?

Nothing personal against Woolsey, but why should he garner a home, a guest house and a room for organic farming when a lot of people from Pt. Reyes Station would like to do that, too. If I was EAH and money seemed to be a dreaded concern, I'd handle that part of the project by making it open to bid. Otherwise, it's sure shaping up to be an "inside straight," with hand-picked favorites, before the project is even off the ground.

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