County of Marin - News Releases - Luiz Ranch

For Immediate Release
November 08, 2017

Parks, MALT Partner to Preserve Agricultural Heritage

With private donor, 1,000 acres of Lucas Valley land would be preserved

San Rafael, CA – The Marin County Open Space District is working with Luiz Ranch Inc. in Lucas Valley to create a 1,000-acre agricultural conservation easement that will preserve the agricultural and open space character of Marin and could be transferred to the Marin Agricultural Land Trust (MALT).

Luiz Ranch in Lucas Valley.Luiz Ranch in Lucas Valley.

The proposal goes before the Marin County Open Space District Board of Directors on November 14.

The Open Space District owns two adjacent easements over private property registered with Luiz Ranch Inc., which is owned by James and Francesca Hetfield. In late 2016, Luiz Ranch Inc. approached the Open Space District and MALT with a proposal to transfer the property rights to 240 additional acres and connect it to two existing easements held by the Open Space District, which combined account for 760 acres of preserved private open space. 

Authorization from the Open Space District Board would retire the development rights for the easement property. The easement would require that the land be used for economically viable agriculture. Once combined with the other two easements, the requirement would apply to the combined 1,000-acre private easement. 

“Should we receive approval of this agreement, it would be a significant step in agricultural land preservation and be consistent with our mission to preserve, protect and enrich the natural beauty of our open spaces,” said Senior Open Space Planner Craig Richardson. “This transaction will further MALT’s mission of preserving the agricultural lands of Marin, so we see this three-way partnership as good for all parties.”

In a statement, the Hetfields said, “Our family is very happy to work with MCOSD and MALT on re-establishing agriculture and maintaining the scenic corridor of the ranch. We believe this is a huge community benefit, and one of our goals is to keep agriculture on the ranch for a very long time.”

The properties are in a rural, rolling hills area about six miles northwest of downtown San Rafael and about four miles west of Highway 101. They are not far from the privately-owned Skywalker Ranch, directly across Lucas Valley Road from the Lucas Valley Open Space Preserve and just north of the Loma Alta Open Space Preserve.

If the Open Space District Board the approves the transaction, Parks staff would return in January 2018 with a request for the Board of Supervisors to amend and restate the new agricultural conservation easement and transfer it to MALT. There is no fiscal impact to the County as a result of the transaction.

The Open Space Board of Directors, which doubles as the Marin County Board of Supervisors, plans to take up the topic no earlier than 9 a.m. November 14. The meeting is to take place in the Board chamber of the Marin County Civic Center, Suite 330, at 3501 Civic Center Drive, San Rafael.

All public meetings and events sponsored or conducted by the County of Marin are held at accessible sites. If you are a person with a disability and require information or materials in alternative formats – or if you require accommodation to participate in a county program, service or activity – please contact department staff at (415) 473-7331 or (415) 473-4381 (voice/TTY) or e-mail disabilityaccess@marincounty.org.

Contact:

Max Korten
Director
Marin County Parks

Marin Civic Center
Suite 260
San Rafael, CA 94903
(415) 473-6387
Email: Max Korten
www.marincountyparks.org