The Coastal Post - February, 1999

Moo Town News - Development Isn't Always Logical
By Judy Borello

Where have all the real environmentalists gone? Long time passing. They're truly not anywhere to be found. The town and its surrounding territory are becoming a grab-bag for what is fashionable in today's world. I really don't care if it's low-cost, medium-cost or high-cost housing, 50-plus homes on 18 acres smack dab in the middle of town is a development, sure enough! When I came to Point Reyes Station 34 years ago, I fell in love with the character and quaintness of this little town. I'll probably stay here 'til I die and I sure as hell don't want to witness it being destroyed by locals themselves who put their own needs in front of the preservation of the beauty of our town.

There have been many personal, illogical decisions in the past regarding certain kinds of development. For instance, Mr. Varlow wanted to build a large house on 90 acres of land. He was turned down. Why? Because some jealous twits thought he was building a "trophy house" and some Marshalites insisted it was not in keeping with their 1,500-2,000 sq. ft. homes in the town of Marshal, which is four to five miles away. When in reality, he paid taxes for years, his home was nowhere near Marshall, it was in the middle of ranchland and open space. Even if the ranchers developed their land from Point Reyes to Tomales (which they really can't do), there probably wouldn't be as many homes spread over a 20 mile area, as with the planned conglomerate right in the middle of the town.

It's the same old scenario that causes this vicious cycle that throws the ranchland into parkland and then the remaining land goes sky high. Then, the working people can't afford a house here and then they scream "low-cost housing." This problem has been compounded over the years and now we're back to square one. Over a decade ago, Point Reyes Station put in low-cost and senior housing and now it's 10 years later and the public is crying for more. What's going to happen 10 years from now when the public cries for more? And is this really low-cost housing when some of these homes are going to sell for around $250,000 plus?

My solution for this is to spread the low-cost housing all around the Bay in every town. Homes that are on one-three acres plus should be allowed to build second units to rent or sell at a reasonable price so that working people can afford them. The government could grant low-interest loans for the landowners to build these units in exchange for the promise of a reasonably-priced rent for a term-limit or lease/sale option. This would be a win-win situation and all of the currently planned housing wouldn't proliferate the town of Point Reyes, thus retaining its charming character.

P. S. I like a lot of you people and I don't want to make any enemies, but in my soul I couldn't live with myself if I didn't speak out...and you know I always do.

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