County of Marin - News Releases - Golf Course Voter Initiative

For Immediate Release
February 27, 2019

Golf Course Initiative to Appear on Ballot

Board sends resident petition on San Geronimo Golf Course property to voters

San Rafael, CA – A voter initiative aimed on restricting the use of the privately owned former San Geronimo Golf Course property will appear on the March 2020 ballot in Marin County. The Marin County Board of Supervisors voted February 26 to order the Registrar of Voters to place the initiative on the next statewide ballot. All registered Marin County voters will be eligible to cast a vote on the issue.

Tom Lai of the Community Development Agency speaks to the Board of Supervisors about the San Geronimo Golf Course voter initiative.Tom Lai (center) of the Community Development Agency speaks to the Board of Supervisors on February 26, 2019, about the San Geronimo Golf Course voter initiative. At left is CDA Director Brian Crawford; at right is County Counsel Brian Washington.

Staff from the Community Development Agency issued a report, requested by the Board, to evaluate the impacts of the initiative petition that would require voter approval for any change in use of the golf course property that eliminates golf as the primary use. In coordination with County Counsel, staff concluded that the property owner – currently The Trust for Public Land – cannot be forced through a voter initiative to operate with golf as a primary use on the property.

In November 2017, the County sought to purchase the golf course property and preserve it as a park and a greenbelt link to the valley’s rural villages. The motivations were to preserve the area's character, preserve recreation and environmental and other uses, and in long-term consideration of public uses of property subject to the community planning process. The purchase agreement was rescinded in a decision in Marin County Superior Court, and the golf course operator closed the course in December 2018.

A community group advocated for a ballot measure that would allow a majority of countywide voters to approve the use of the 157-acre former golf course to anything other than golf. The initiative would amend the San Geronimo Valley Community Plan and the Marin County Development Code to mandate retention of the golf course use as the property’s primary use.

The staff report addressed potential impacts of a voter initiative on the San Geronimo Property, including on property tax revenue, property values, land use impacts, potential economic development, election costs, and the terminology of the Countywide Plan and more specific community plans.


Brian Washington
County Counsel
Office of the County Counsel

Marin County Civic Center
3501 Civic Center Drive
San Rafael, CA 94903
(415) 473-6117
Email: Brian Washington