The Coastal Post - May 1999

Here We Go Again!

By Judy Borello

Dave Mitchell's editorial of March 4, in the Point Reyes Light, accuses those of us who are raising relevant questions about the proposed EAH affordable housing project of being NIMBYs.

First of all, Dave, where's your sense of history? How can concerned citizens of Point Reyes be considered NIMBYs when we've had affordable housing here for over a decade near the Red Barn? Been there, done that!

This project is being presented by its supporters as the solution to the affordable housing problem in West Marin, but it's far from that-it's merely a stopgap. Where's the housing for those who aren't one of the chosen few who are selected to rent or own one of the units? Are we going to have to go through this exercise again next year? In five years? In ten years? The first time was a decade ago. Now what?

As I've said before, we do need more affordable housing in West Marin, but why does it always have to be Point Reyes? What about Inverness, Olema, Marshall and Stinson Beach? Doesn't it make more sense to have a special West Marin waiver that allows those who own parcels of one acre or more to build second units on them? Plus, wouldn't dispersing affordable housing throughout West Marin, rather than concentrating it in downtown Point Reyes, ultimately be more beneficial in our already environmentally sensitive area?

And let's also understand that questioning the viability of this project is in no way a reflection of our high regard for Toby Giacomini. I've lived in West Marin for 35 years, and Phil Fradkin's letter in the April 15 Point Reyes Light doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of all Toby's done for this community-without fanfare!

If you'd like to be well-informed about the real concerns surrounding this project (questions the steering committee should be addressing), you couldn't do better than reading Jeanette Pontacq's article (Coastal Post, March 1). Questions about: a continuous fresh water supply, lack of storm drains, lack of adequate infrastructure, lack of job opportunities, exacerbation of already serious traffic circulation, parking problems, etc.

And how come there is no one on the steering committee who owns a business in the downtown section, so that balanced opinions from all sides of those who would be most directly affected by the project can be heard?

What kind of piss-poor planning is going on here, guys? And when the last viable piece of commercial property in town is so heavily weighted for residential uses, where will existing or new businesses go to support all the new folks in town? Commercial zoning parcels should be safeguarded in order to keep the business section healthy, so it has the opportunity to grow and expand all in good time!

We know Charlie Morgan (Point Reyes Light, March 18) has been openly vocal about wanting to have a home in this project, so it would be irrational to expect him not to want a quick resolution of the issues. But the issues that have been raised must be addressed because of their far-reaching consequences for all of us, before the project can go forward. This is the biggest project laid in our lap since the Coast Guard base.

Finally, every year during our inevitable winter rains, the sump pumps in the basement to the Old Western saloon work overtime to discharge the clean water that runs off the hill behind Toby's Feed Barn. We all know shit runs downhill, so where do you think the effluent from 80 or more new toilets on that hill is going to end up? And where am I supposed to pump it to? Better believe, guys, that if I'm faced with this problem, there will be a piper to pay!

P.S. Earth to Charlie Morgan: the Declaration of Independence states our right to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." It says nothing about rights to property!

Silence implies acceptance. Let your voice be heard by casting your vote on this project.

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