.Housing Brouhaha: Listen to Marin City residents

With its 825 Drake development project, the Board of Supervisors has again taken action that impacts Marin City without consulting, and over the objection of, Marin City residents. This is both a moral failure and a failure of representative democracy.

Marin City is the most diverse community in Marin County. It is a strong and vibrant community on a relatively small but beautiful patch of land in Marin County. Marin City is a half-square-mile community of 3,094 people—with only 1.2% of the total county’s population and .1% of the county’s land area.

Shockingly out of proportion to Marin City’s relatively small size, the county has concentrated its higher-density housing there. It has concentrated in Marin City 60% of the county’s public housing and nearly half of its publicly assisted multi-family rental units.

music in the park san jose
music in the park san jose

To this over-burdened community, the Board of Supervisors has now decided to add more high-density housing, reviving the previously shelved 74-unit 825 Drake project. There was no communication with the Marin City Community Services District—who have now voiced their strenuous objections—before pushing through a $40 million bond to support the developer.

This action is just the latest in a long history of initiatives that the Board of Supervisors has undertaken without consulting the residents of Marin City. For far too long, the Board of Supervisors has announced projects without seeing the need to listen to input from the residents. Like all Marin County residents, the residents of Marin City deserve representatives who listen to their concerns before deciding issues that impact their lives and community. They deserve the dignity of self-determination in the community that is their home.

The 825 Drake development project should be stopped immediately. The property should be conveyed to an entity committed to working on behalf of—and not against—the interests of the Marin City community. The Board of Supervisors should recommit to living up to their affordable-housing responsibilities in a way that does not perpetuate and increase racial disparities in Marin County.

Rev. Scott Clark is a pastor at First Presbyterian Church of San Anselmo.

18 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you for writing in support of the Marin City residents.
    Well-said: “The property should be conveyed to an entity working on behalf of the interests of the Marin City community.”

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  2. I’m sure that many people, including myself, are deeply grateful to you for writing this, Rev. Clark. Sadly, the developer has already brought excavation equipment to the site, intensifying people’s sense that “It is a done deal.” Precisely because this is at core a morale issue and a plan that flies in the face of community opinion and interest, we, the voters of Marin, cannot allow the deal to be done. Raise your voices, friends. Let the Commissioners/Supervisors know that they will pay a price at election time for wiping their hands of responsibility on this issue, as they did for so long at Golden Gate Village.
    Harriet Barlow

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  3. I agree with pastor Scott Clark. 825 Drake is a moral outrage. We as marin citizens have an obligation to stop this development and developer promptly. YIMBY for well designed affordable housing everywhere else in Marin.

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  4. Thank you for heightening the awareness of this unjust and moral issue at 825 Drake Ave., Marin City. Let the Supervisors know the bypassing of consultation with the residents is racial discrimination. Marin City is a community.
    They deserve and want self determination in the last few acres of land left in Marin City. To learn more, visit https://thehannaproject.org/saveourcity.

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  5. Thank you, Pastor Clark. Indeed 825 Drake is a moral outrage and sadly is representative of the pattern of policies, decision and actions which have harmed residents without regard for their input, needs, safety, children, health, education and quality of life.
    Decades of intentional neglect and extraction have left broken lives and dreams in their wake. 825 Drake the line in the sand. No More.

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  6. Thank you, Pastor Clark, for opposing the development proposed at 825 Drake. The developer has behaved in a disrespectful, deceitful, and morally bankrupt manner. Marin City residents rightly expect to have input in what happens in their community and representatives who work on their behalf.

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  7. Pastor Clark represents the best in spiritual leadership in our community. Has this Board of Supervisors lost both its compassion and moral compass? We hope that other leaders in Marin’s religious community will join Pastor Clark in guiding their flocks in unison against this developmental travesty that is knocking at Marin City’s door. Laurel and Jerry Spolter

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  8. Thank you, Rev. Scott Clark, for shedding a light on this moral failure in Marin City.

    I join the Marin City SAVE OUR CITY coalition who are standing up to fight the massive development at 825 Drake Avenue. It is out-of-scale with the rest of the community, too dense with limited parking and dangerously close to the only public park in Marin City where children play. It will not be affordable for most of Marin City residents thereby accelerating gentrification.

    I am ashamed of our Board of Supervisors for approving the funding for this monster development. They didn’t listen to Golden Gate Village in Marin City when they wanted of form a co-op to own and manage their own housing. And now they are not listening to the citizens of Marin City who do not want this monster development and these greedy developers who have demonstrated only contempt for the Marin City community.

    Now is the time. The Board of Supervisors can either continue to perpetuate the institutional racism that has caused the social and economic disparities in Marin City or they can listen to the Marin City residents and use their power to right this wrong. Now…before it is too late.

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  9. Thank Rev. Clark for speaking out in support of Marin City and against this ridiculous project planned at 825 Drake. Our county leadership simply does not represent the residents of Marin City, and after the votes and approvals that lead to the approval of this project, its amazingly obvious they really don’t care. Unfortunately the history of systemic racism in this county is so prevalent that this outcome, Marin County getting dumped on again, is considered normalcy. To the point where the board of supervisors can continue to make decisions year after year that propagate this racism in a way that almost makes it seem normal and OK. Certainly to the residents of Marin City, it is expected. I hope one day we will have county supervisors who care enough to start correcting this. Clearly not the case with the existing board members.

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  10. It is shocking and shameful that our government representatives in Marin County are continuing to neglect, disrespect and abuse the people of Marin City and their legitimate concerns and wishes. It’s no coincidence that Marin City just happens to be home to the only concentration of African Americans in the entire county. The rest of us must stand up against this injustice, by speaking up to the Board of Supervisors and demanding either a course correction or a replacement of them by Supervisors willing to stand up for long-denied justice and self-determination for our neighbors in Marin City.

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  11. By pushing this project though, our Supervisors have demonstrated once again a serious lack of understanding regarding racial disparity in the county and their responsibility to address it. It’s difficult to understand why they would choose to favor an out-of-County, big developer’s request in Marin City shortly after withholding support regarding a similar situation at Golden Gate Village. the Marin City residents’ voices must be heard. There is still time to turn this injustice around.

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  12. Thank you Rev. Clark for speaking up for Marin City residents and their opposition to the inappropriate and harmful development project at 825 Drake.
    Our county supervisors again fail to value the voices of this vibrant community in its quest for self-determination. Jamming more residential units into this small lot is ill-advised on so many fronts and morally indefensible in light of the actual cultural and recreational needs of Marin City.

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  13. The Mill Valley Seniors for Peace supports Rev. Scott Clark’s call to end the proposed development of 825 Drake Ave. We believe the community at large, and not just Marin City, feels that this idea is a terrible mistake. Collectively we need to work together to (1) stop the development, (2) change the underlying State law that facilitates and perpetuate the housing discrimination that exists in a number of areas throughout the State but perhaps most obvious in Marin County, and (3) encourage our Board of Supervisors to offer the local leadership we expect.
    Nancy Miller for the MVSF

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  14. I am Bridget Harris, Resident of Marin City over 50 years. I Was so Appalled when I heard about this 825 housing Project, I am sure we have covered low income housing quota. It is a shame how the Board of Supervisors voted for this Project, knowing 825 is ridiculous. We do not have the room for such a project, we don’t have room for parking, we are dealing with the problem of water
    contamination with the age of our pipes. Plus we already have Senior Apartments built on that property, they will lose their view and the noise of this Project will cause harm to these Seniors. PROJECT 825 MUST NOT HAPPEN!!!!!

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  15. Again Thank You Reverend Scott Clark for Loving and Caring about The Marin City Residents, MUCH LOVE ? Bridget Harris

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  16. Thank you Pastor Clark, Not mentioned is the appalling architecture of this proposed project. It is a cold, institutional looking, pile of concrete. It will be dehumanizing to live in, and to look at. The citizens will have to deal with this for many decades in the future. They deserve better, more imaginative, tasteful, architecture. Not some developer’s quick and dirty, thrown up, concert box.

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  17. First, as Servant of God in the Mighty Name of Jesus, I say, “Amen in Jesus name!”
    Second, I am waiting on the Almighty God in Jesus name. I prayed on “that land” about “this situation” The answer “NEVER HAPPEN in Jesus name!!!! So, they need to start packing up and count this a LOSS!!!!
    Lastly, God DOES answer the prayers of the Righteous in Jesus name!!! GLORY!! AMEN!!!!

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  18. First of all, the apartment complex is an architectural disaster. It resembles a prison, not a decent housing comlex. It was cheaply designed to be cheaply built AND its income qualifications exclude people who most need affordable housing. Further, statistics show that such poorly designed housing complexes–aka ghetto highrises–become dangerous areas to live because they attract crime. The building is an atrocity–an
    eyesore looking more like a prison than housing development. It has NO architectural merit. It clearly was cheaply patterned after ghetto highrises to be built as cheaply as possible. Shame on Marin County who clearly by passed the people guided by their personal real estate investments.

    I oppose the project because there is only one way in and one way out of Marin City. This is a MAJOR safety concern. Also, the public schools are still dealing with the EVIL of the willful corruption of segregation. The children, especially our black children, need resources to be encouraged, nurtured, and safeguarded NOT inundated with people who have no care and understanding of the slow healing grievous wounds continually inflicted on us.

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