Straightening the record
While I found Peter Seidman’s recent piece [“Upfront: The Future of Strawberry,” March 20] to be thoughtfully written, there is one glaring misperception that needs correction: the Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary campus is not zoned for 300 “housing units.” That statement alone doesn’t accurately explain what’s allowable at the site. The fact is, the Seminary is only zoned for 300 units of “student and faculty housing”—200 of which have already been built.
Not only is the Seminary’s Master Plan crystal clear on this distinction, the Marin County Planning Commission reaffirmed the site’s limitation to only student and faculty housing back in 2011. The Seminary made this deal with the county, along with the neighborhood, back in the ’80s to get their Master Plan approved.
Granted, the history of the Seminary is a rather complicated one for those unfamiliar with it. However, the distinction between student and faculty housing vs. market-rate housing units is drastic. Just consider the differences in traffic patterns between students who live and study on campus with hundreds of new residents who commute in and out of the neighborhood each day. Not to mention the different impacts these uses have on neighborhood schools and open space.
The future of Strawberry will be shaped by what happens at the Seminary, and the issue will be hotly debated for some time. So as we anxiously await for the developer to tell us his plans, we at the very least must all be able to agree on the facts. And the fact remains that student and faculty housing is all that’s currently allowed at the Seminary.
Esther Shafran, Seminary Neighborhood Association