: San Anselmo’s vote to address housing need

Editorials Marin IJ Editorial: San Anselmo’s vote to address housing need POSTED: 08/03/16, 12:14 PM PDT | UPDATED: 1 DAY AGO0 COMMENTS San Anselmo doesn’t get many chances to create new affordable housing. The town is mostly built-out and there aren’t many large parcels on which housing is possible or practical. But when a developer proposes converting a small strip of shops into a three-story apartment complex with 16 units, the project deserves fair consideration. The development will mean a change in the local landscape, but a change that responds to an important need. The Town Council’s recent 3-1 vote to approve building an apartment complex at 754 Sir Francis Drake Blvd. took advantage of a rare opportunity. Councilman Matt Brown is correct: The plan is far from a local version of the apartment complex that the Corte Madera Town Council approved — and for which it has been criticized — on the site of the former WinCup plant. Comparing the 16-unit project to Corte Madera’s 180-unit complex is hyperbole, but there’s no question that Marin residents are protective and defensive when it comes to preserving lower building densities. Perhaps the only comparison may be the use of state-issued building bonuses that enable the builder to add five units because two units will be reserved for low-income housing. The state’s goal is a good one — to meet a growing need for housing. But its bonus formula sidesteps local control over size and scope by hamstringing decision-makers’ say-so. The same dilemma evolving from the Sacramento-imposed housing bonuses played a part in Corte Madera’s much-criticized approval. It is up to the towns, however, to make sure the design fits its location. Councilman John Wright stressed the local need for housing and the town having an opportunity to add to its housing stock. His logic is right. There isn’t enough housing and the lack thereof is driving up home prices and rents, making living in Marin beyond the incomes of many workers and households. The project is an opportunity to do something about it. Although the town also needs to protect its commercial base, opportunities for redevelopment and even for mixed-use development that are well-designed and the right size could help provide more housing. The dissenting vote was cast by Councilman Tom McInerney, who worried the building density is “very overwhelming” for the site. It’s the job of council members, planning commissioners and staff to make sure the development’s design fits its location. They also need to promote development that helps address an important local need — and housing is one at the top of Marin’s list. Advertisement TOP STORIES Marin IJ Readers’ Forum for July 31 Marin Voice: Conventions offered voters two distinct world views Marin Voice: Rethinking Hillary Clinton; I’m (almost) with her Marin IJ Editorial: San Anselmo’s vote to address housing need Marin IJ Editorial: Nicasio digital progress is a promising first step Marin Voice: Motorists need reminding they have to share the road Marin IJ Readers’ Forum for Aug. 3 Marin IJ Editorial: Marin farms grow products and revenue David N. Swaim Tam Realty Inc Owner DRE#1070789 415-710-5504 609 San Anselmo Ave San Anselmo CA 94960 www.tamrealty.com Serving all of Marin County

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