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Delayed but not Denied

This is my feeling about the Marin Housing Authority’s decision to move forward with a plan that will never come to fruition. Everyone agrees that the Golden Gate Village Resident Plan is the best plan.

The first step of our plan was to get the Golden Gate Village on the National Historic Registry as a Historic District. One purpose, of the General Services Administration’s Renewable Energy Lab, is to take historic buildings on the Historic Registry and renovate and retrofit them to become energy efficient buildings. The Aspinall Court house in Denver, Colorado is the precedent that we have used for the deep green renovation and retrofitting of Golden Gate Village.

This has always been part of the Resident Plan. In fact, in the words of the Sr. Project Manager of the GSA – Office of Design and Construction, “Overall, the content is presented very well. I’ve found documents to be clear, concise, and at a high level.”

The reason the people who designed and managed the Aspinall project want to work with us is although they balance modernization and preservation, we added something – Economic Development to make sure that residents are not priced out. If the Resident Plan was followed, CVR would have talked to these experts who we talked to and not go to websites!

This takes me to “the process.”

The process was to equally vet the Resident Plan and Mixed Income plan. The process was not followed. There were two different standards used; the Resident plan was critiqued while an opposing plan was created drawing the best elements of the Resident plan. Daniel Rothchild, a CVR consultant, rather than help us implement the Resident Plan, he moved Resident Plan elements into a mixed income plan which destroys the very historic district that we just protected

Guiding Principles were written down and agreed upon but were not followed; primary points in these principles are to protect legacy of the community, residents at the front of the process, promote high quality open space and restore Golden Gate Village economic sustainability. Golden Gate Village Resident Council plan for Deep Green Restoration and Renovation has been guided by these principles and holds the means to reach the ends they prescribe.

Lastly, Marin City is more diverse both in income and ethnicities than any community in Marin County. Marin City is 2 to 3 times denser than neighboring communities. Marin City in the 1990’s built 300+ affordable housing apartments and Town Houses. We also agree that there is a need for more affordable housing in Marin County, but more affordable housing needs to be where it is absent.

There are reams of evidence of how such measures have led to gentrification nationwide. And, this certainly would. There is also no guarantee of housing affordability with RAD after the 20-year HUD contract expires. This goes against the legacy of Vera Schultz and her vision, hard work, and efforts to acquire the land for the development of permanent affordable housing for the people who were “left behind.”

“Delayed but not Denied”

Royce McLemore, President, Golden Gate Village Resident Council