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CVP comments to the Army Corps regarding recent statements about the Corte Madera Inn Rebuild

The following letter has been sent to Roberta Morgenstern at the Army Corps of Engineers, and copied to the San Francisco Region Water Quality Control Board and the Region 9 office of the Environmental Protection Agency, regarding recent statements made by Town of Corte Madera officials and the developer of the proposed Corte Madera Inn rebuild project. The news article referenced was published in the Marin IJ and can be read by clicking here.

Dear Roberta:

I am writing to apprise you of recent statements made by Town of Corte Madera officials and Garrett Grailou, the developer applicant for the Corte Madera Inn rebuild proposal, reported in an article in the Marin Independent Journal on November 25, 2016, entitled "Corte Madera hotel developer set to pave the pond." A copy of this article is attached, for reference.

In writing, I'm assuming that as you recently reported to me, the applicant's proposal is still on inactive status and has not been approved.

The Town and the developer, working in concert, have hired yet another environmental consultant, recommended and paid for by the developer, in a blatant attempt to avoid the issue of practicable alternatives and to argue that the biological impacts of filling the pond are less than significant, even though that new opinion in fact indicates that the impacts are actually more environmentally significant than have been assumed.

In this article, both the Town and the developer openly flout the authority of the Army Corps and the San Francisco Bay Region Water Quality Control Board to approve this project, and the letter that was submitted by Jennifer Siu of the Region 9 office of the Environmental Protection Agency, June 16, 2016, criticizing the developer's incomplete application. The Town and the developer are now clearly assuming the project is approved.

Referring to a private consultant's comments, which the developer bought and paid for, the developer is quoted as saying, "This is good news... Of course, we are frustrated by the delay, but now we can move forward." And, the Mayor's comments suggest that he believes that the project now only needs approval by his Town Council.

I am writing to express our extreme displeasure with these "announcements" by the develop and the Town, and to reiterate the comments and research we've previously submitted, and to again remind the Army Corps of its regulatory duty to demand full and impartial consideration of all other practicable alternatives, evidence of which already abundantly exists and has been submitted to your agency by our organization and our consultants during your public comment period in June of 2016.

I am also writing to affirm that CVP and a significant number of concerned residents will be monitoring the approval process to ensure that no special treatment or undue political influence will come to bear in favor of this developer's grossly inadequate application.

We trust that our vigilance will assist in your charge to protect the environment to the fullest extent possible, pursuant to the Federal Guidelines promulgated at 40 SFR 230 under Section 404(b)(1) of the Clean Water Act, and particularly in instances such as this where a wide variety of equally feasible and practicable alternatives exist.

We remain available to comment and provide more detailed analysis to assist you in your decision process, if required.

Best regards,
Bob Silvestri
Community Venture Partners