County of Marin - News Releases - Measure W Grants

For Immediate Release
January 13, 2020

West Marin Housing to Benefit from Tax Revenue

Application period open for Measure W transient occupancy tax funds

San Rafael, CA – For a year now, an increased transient occupancy tax (TOT) for short-term renters has been in place for West Marin, with the goal of generating revenue to address the effects of tourism on coastal Marin County. A group of West Marin residents helped the County of Marin establish priorities for projects in West Marin that would put the revenue to beneficial community use, and now the application period is open.

An aerial photo of homes along Stinson Beach very close to the water.Tax revenue from short-term rental visitors will be put to community use through Measure W.
The Measure W tax rate increase in West Marin became effective January 1, 2019, and County staff has focused on getting short-term rental operators – especially those using online reservation platforms such as Airbnb, HomeAway, or VRBO – to register, report and pay the TOT. It is estimated that Measure W will generate about $1.3 million each year, about half of which may be devoted to housing-related projects.

Measure W’s TOT increased West Marin’s tax rate from 10% to 14% for hotels, bed & breakfasts, and other short-term rentals and applied a 4% tax to commercial campground visitors. The geographical boundaries affected by the tax rate increase include all of coastal West Marin from Muir Beach to Dillon Beach and inland communities including Nicasio and the San Geronimo Valley. Approximately 840 rental operators in West Marin are registered to pay TOT.

The Marin County Community Development Agency (CDA) is the department that oversees the Measure W Fund for Community Housing.  CDA works with a community working group that advises on the distribution of tax revenues. An application for the 2020-21 funding period is now available on its webpage.

Nonprofits providing services in West Marin are invited to apply to address the following priorities identified by the working group and approved by the Board of Supervisors:

  • a housing needs study;
  • housing production, including permanent rental housing, homeownership, and transitional/temporary rental housing; and
  • rental assistance and security deposit assistance.

Each priority was assigned an approximate percentage of available funds with about 5% of funds slated to be held in reserve as a set aside for future larger projects.

When evaluating applications, staff will consider the priorities recommended by the working group and accepted by the Supervisors, along with project viability, feasibility, and likelihood to provide community housing in the West Marin TOT area. That will include, but won’t be limited to, housing for West Marin public safety employees, teachers and other members of the West Marin workforce, housing for families, housing for persons with disabilities, and housing for seniors.

Questions about the funding application and the Measure W Working Group on Community Housing may be emailed to the Housing and Federal Grants Division. General answers about TOT can be found on www.marincounty.org/TOT.

Contact:

Molly Kron
Planner
Community Development Agency

3501 Civic Center Drive
Suite 304
San Rafael, CA 94903
(415) 473-7549
Email: Molly Kron
CDA Website