The Point Reyes Station Village Association is concerned that the method used to produce the Marin County Housing Element Sites Inventory has resulted in a flawed document that is not in the best interests of the citizens of the county, the residents of Point Reyes Station or our millions of visitors. The rubric for determining development potential based on lot size does not take into account the values and motivation of local residents. It reflects the common economic thinking of the commercial real estate/developer industry and does not allow for local solutions that involve creative community building. We recognize that historic opposition in some communities has resulted in exclusionary policies based on race and/or income. However, Point Reyes Station community members are a mix of low, moderate and above moderate income people who welcome neighbors of all economic classes and ethnicities, and we are confident that there is a process that will allow our village to expand in an appropriate manner without sacrificing its rural community character.
For us, rural "community character" is not code for exclusion, but rather a set of objective features, many specifically noted in the Point Reyes Station Community Plan, such as varied densities distributed throughout a large area; buildings of varied sizes; more open spaces between buildings; and significant space devoted to agricultural-related support functions, work vehicles and other mixed uses, spread throughout the town. Extensive impervious surfaces should be minimized and curbs and sidewalks discouraged in order to maintain the rural nature of the village.
These objective features of a rural community:are in conflict with the results of the county's site selection which basically forces the same urban/suburban outcome on a rural, largely undeveloped area rather than using guidelines for site selection that are more appropriate to a rural environment. High density development that follows the urban/suburban approach will necessarily translate into negative impacts on rural infrastructure (and rural community character) than would be the case in urban and suburban Marin communities where new development can rely on the existing infrastructure. Roadways, parking, sidewalks, water supply and sewer systems as well as public transit make concentrating new density in the existing urban areas of Marin more cost effective, sensible and less impactful than would be the case if sited in a small village like Point Reyes Station.
Community character in coastal Marin, and Point Reyes Station particularly, is an agreed upon value recognized by the millions of people who visit here annually as well as by the California Coastal Commission. Adding all the state mandated new units only within the village will at best diminish and possibly destroy this existing value that benefits so many.
To begin a more democratic inquiry into what the Marin County Housing Element should be, the PRSVA will devote most of our July 14th meeting to developing a community response to the existing Site Inventory and suggestions for its modification. We invite the community to participate in this meeting and welcome your feedback. This July meeting will be a Zoom gathering, the link for which will be found on our website (pointryesstation.org) . Our goal is to stimulate a discussion about alternatives to the present plan which places too many units in unincorporated parts of the county without the infrastructure to support the concentrated multi-units proposed.
To prepare your specific suggestions for additions or deletions to the Site Inventory, please view Appendix C of the Draft Housing Element. Additionally, Sections 1. 2 and 5 provide background information from the Marin County Community Development Agency (CDA) and its out-of-county consultants. Although your assumptions and selection parameters may differ, our common goal is to prioritize the creation of affordable housing units throughout unincorporated Marin County. (Incorporated municipalities have their own housing quotas to meet.) We do not agree with the County's premise that viable affordable units can only be developed on parcels larger than 1 acre. This assumption has severely limited the number of lots available for lower income units shown in Appendix C. The resultant concentration of multi-unit housing on just a few lots degrades our core rural village areas. To counteract this, we hope to replace the numbers proposed with smaller individual, decentralized site units across a wider area..
Please join us via Zoom on July 14.