San Rafael, CA – After another successful turnout at a public meeting, planning to convert a former U.S. Coast Guard property in Point Reyes Station into affordable housing will move forward with the County of Marin staff and community stakeholders.
An aerial view of the former U.S. Coast Guard facility in Point Reyes Station.
More than 150 people attended a public listening session July 12 at West Marin School’s large gymnasium, roughly matching attendance from an April 2018 workshop on the same subject. The meeting was hosted by the Coast Guard Advisory Working Group and the Marin County Community Development Agency (CDA).
The Coast Guard site, located on Commodore Webster Drive, is a half mile east of downtown Point Reyes Station. The Coast Guard designated the facility as surplus in 2014. The County’s goal is to gather community feedback to help inform proposals to convert the existing facilities to affordable homes in the next few years.
“It is important to deliver detailed information of the process and give the community time to communicate their concerns and ideas,” said Socorro Romo, Executive Director of West Marin Community Services and a Community Advisory Working Group member. “Most community members support this project and they deserved to have a voice.”
Topics brought up by participants included tenant selection, local preference for applicants, land use, and water use. Presenters addressed fair housing and marketing practices and discussed the development process and timeline. There was broad support for creation of affordable homes in West Marin and dedicating a percentage of them for agricultural workers and their families. CDA staff pledged to move the project forward as briskly as possible. An audio recording of the meeting is available on the County website.
“We followed the working group’s recommendations, and I think the community felt heard and were able to have their questions addressed,” said Leelee Thomas, County Housing Planning Manager.
The County plans to issue a request for proposals this summer to select a nonprofit housing developer to renovate and manage the affordable homes. The purchase of the property from the Coast Guard is expected to be completed in late 2019 or 2020. However, because of required environmental review and much-needed renovation to the property, it will be several years before families can move into the homes.
The West Marin community successfully advocated for the passage of federal legislation to require that the property be sold to the County of Marin for use as affordable housing. The property remains under federal ownership while the County negotiates a purchase based on a fair-market appraisal for the eventual transition to affordable homes.
The critical need for workforce housing in West Marin particularly effects people who work in tourism, local services, and in ranching and farming. West Marin communities face high costs for buildable land and a demanding regulatory environment, both of which serve as significant barriers in the development of affordable housing.
Anyone may subscribe to receive e-mailed updates from Marin CDA about the Coast Guard property. More information can be found at www.marincounty.org/coastguard.