Community Housing Meeting

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On Saturday, March 23 we held a BCLT Community Housing Meeting at the Bolinas Community Center.  The main purpose of this meeting was to update the community on our latest new acquisitions; Mesa Road (Tacherra parcel) and the downtown lot across from the Bolinas market.  In case you were not able to attend, here’s a brief recap. 

Arianne Dar (BCLT Executive Director) explained that both the Mesa Road parcel and the downtown lot was acquired through an anonymous donor with a few conditions.  The BCLT will be responsible for the pre-development costs within an 18 month time frame, but the donor will pay for all construction costs.  The donor also stipulated that eight units of rental housing will be provided at both projects.

Mesa Road

The Mesa Road parcel is 20 acres with one water meter and is identified for a six bedroom septic.  The property is currently used for grazing and pasture and approximately ½ - ¾ of the lot is marshy and WILL NOT be suitable for building. 

The obstacles we face on this particular project include, how to get enough water for 8 units, the zoning, wetland issues and habitat protection as well as the fact that it is currently in the Williamson Act.

Downtown lot

The downtown lot is on 2.5 acres with steep hillside on roughly ¾ of the lot.  This lot consists of two different zonings; multi-family housing and commercial space is permitted.  The property also has one water meter and one sewer hook-up.  Challenges we face with this property include making sure we can procure enough water for 8 units, planning adequate parking for tenants, Smileys and Coast Café staff and gathering community agreement in an area with lots of neighbors and high visibility.   Our Architect, John Lum spoke to the group about his design for the downtown lot and explained that he plans to maintain the character and spirit of Bolinas.  He showed a rough rendering of his vision for the front of the building, which has similar architectural elements to Smileys and the Museum building and is meant for cohesiveness with the downtown setting.

 Project Committees

The BCLT believes this opportunity is too big and important to be carried out by the BCLT alone and for this reason we will be looking for broad community representation on our project committees.  Committees will consist of three to five community members, two board members, Arianne Dar & John Lum.   These groups will work on topics like septic / sewer, water, environmental constraints, zoning and design.  We ask that committee members be willing to make a two-year commitment and be able to attend monthly meetings.  If serving on a committee is of interest to you, please contact us at info@bolinaslandtrust.org or (415) 868-8880.

Community Input

The meeting then opened up to community comments, in particular we asked to hear input in three main categories for both projects; excitement, concerns and ideas.  The main comments are included below (but there were others that have been noted and will be taken into consideration):

Mesa Road (Tacherra parcel):

Excitement

·         Mixed use Agriculture

·         General excitement for more housing opportunities

Concern

·         Wetlands/habitat

·         How project fits with water moratorium

·         Management of new property

(With the scope of the new projects coupled with ongoing property management, there is concern about the BCLT taking on too much with current staffing.  Specifically, the condition of the Gibson House was mentioned.  It was explained that grants for additional staffing have been applied for and the Gibson House is scheduled for a complete exterior paint job & other upgrades this Spring).

·         Financial constraints limiting beauty

·         How affordable it will be and who benefits

Ideas

·         Fog catchment for water

·         Microgrid/solar

·         Community garden

·         Creating a path to the school

·         Multi-agency project

·         Cobb housing for seniors

·         Healing center/cannabis farm

·         Well for water use

Downtown Lot:

Excitement

·         Collaboration with downtown businesses

·         Conceptual drawing and broken smile visual (meaning that the current empty lot downtown amongst the other buildings creates a broken smile effect like a missing tooth).

·         Communal Parking /space

Concern

·         Water

·         Impact and scale

·         Management

·         Quality of construction

·         Commercial space – size and viability

·         Protection of the Cypress

·         Sound proofing

Ideas

·         Interior courtyard

·         Buying additional water meters

·         Multi-agency projects

·         Gallery space


We were energized by the audience’s thoughtful responses and overall excitement and look forward to forming our working committees. If you were not able to attend and wish to give us your ideas, excitement or concerns please contact us. We are also happy to answer any questions associated with these projects. 

Evan Wilhelm