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Friends of West Tam Valley comments on the Alta Way Extension development proposal - PART II

This is PART II of the comment letter by Friends of West Tam Valley sent to Brian Crawford, Director of Community Development, and Raul Rojas, Director of Public Works, Marin County, and copied to the Marin County Board of Directors, describing the concerns of the community and provides background information on the development project currently known as the “Alta Way Extension” (Project ID: GP-16-003), located in Tam Valley.

A complete copy of the letter and its Appendix A is attached, below.

Click HERE to read PART I


DISCUSSION OF SIGNIFICANT ISSUES & CONCERNS

I - The proposed Project relies on an antiquated an antiquated and non-compliant subdivision map of “paper streets,” dating back to 1919;

The proposed Project has gone through several iterations since its February 2016 inception as Brown Design Review, Project ID (1151), but neither the initial application nor any subsequent revisions have resolved the underlying flaws in the Project’s plan.

The proposed Project is based on an antiquated and non-compliant subdivision map that was created in 1919 without regard to current codes and geological conditions, natural resources, infrastructure, traffic circulation, wildlife habitats, fire safety regulations, and related riparian issues. The 1919 map contains multiple errors (when compared to observable existing conditions) and its veracity cannot be confirmed because of the lack of long-lost, critical surveying monuments.[23]

There was no assumption at the time the map was created that the State of California would designate the proposed site as a geographic and geologic hazard area, or designated as a Wildland Urban Interface (“WUI”) impacted by climate change, or subject to modern Fire Safety Laws and, in particular, the requirements for adequate emergency evacuation egress, and a host of other issues.

In fact, whether the “Map of Subdivision, No. One, Garden Valley Park, Being a Portion of Ranch ‘E’ as per Tamalpais Land and Water Company, Map Number ‘3’, Marin County, California 1919” (hereinafter “the Map”) was even a true and accurate depiction of the subject property at the time it was drafted is a fundamental question that cannot be confirmed.[24]

The 1919 map is not and cannot be affirmed an accurate representation of the subject property at this time. To suggest otherwise would ignore direct physical evidence. The physical environment has been altered, homes have been built in the surrounding area, and infrastructure has been constructed restricting access to the Project site via its “paper streets.”

In May 2011, approximately 120-foot of the length and unknown width of paper street Alta Way located in the Project site was excavated by a bulldozer, when an owner of vacant “parcels” began arbitrarily grading the Alta Way paper street, without a permit and in violation of Marin County Municipal Code § 23.08.026, “Paper streets, general purposes, and legislative findings.”[25]

This excavation was performed on a steeply-sloped hillside with homes beneath it.Marin County Code Enforcement and the Department of Public Works were alerted and later brought in to assess the damage.[26] We do not know the full extent of the damage nor do we know if critical survey monuments were destroyed by the owner’s actions.

A video taken in June 2011, shows the severity of this excavation to the Project site and is attached in APPENDIX A, along with all other documents referenced in this letter.[27]

II - The 1919 map of historic lots and paper streets were confirmed as substandard by the Marin County Municipal Code and The Tamalpais Area Community Plan in 1992

Under Marin County Municipal Code § 22.82.027I – “Paper streets, general purposes and legislative findings:” [28]

Within the unincorporated territory of Marin County, there exists a number of subdivisions which were plotted and recorded prior to the adoption of the county's first subdivision ordinance on April 3, 1953 (Ordinance 640) and which subdivisions created legal lots of record. However, portions of these subdivisions were not physically developed or improved. In numerous instances the designated streets have not been improved, were mapped without regard to topography, soil conditions, potential or actual slides, presence of drainage ways and other safety concerns; and such streets, where they exist, were not graded and paved and utilities including electric power, water mains, sanitary sewer lines and fire hydrants were never installed. [Emphasis added]

The Tamalpais Area Community Plan, 1992, acknowledges that the remaining twenty-eight (28) vacant parcels of all shapes and sizes in this historic subdivision are substandard. Under Historic Subdivision Development Paper Streets, Objective LU.7, III-47 it notes,

In addition, the streets were drawn on the maps to serve these subdivisions are below current width standards and are located on steep grades with numerous switch-back. Historic subdivisions were designed and recorded without regard for topography, geologic hazards, storm drainage or required infrastructure.

Development in the Tam Valley neighborhood followed the pattern of the historic subdivisions. As a result, residential streets were constructed to substandard widths with steep grade and insufficient provisions for emergency vehicle access.[29] [Emphasis added]

And that antiquated paper streets must be evaluated,

To insure that the development and subdivision of historic subdivisions which contain paper streets does not result in less-than adequate access and turn around facilities for fire suppression vehicles, and other service vehicles, or result in inadequate provision for on-street parking, fire hydrants, drainage facilities, existing vegetation management, soils conditions, landscaping and water courses.Furthermore, to insure that developments served by paper streets do not result in traffic burdens to adjoining and nearby established residential areas due to the absence of a traffic circulation plan when the historic subdivision was plotted. [30] [Emphasis added]

Also, as recently as of July 10, 2017, the CDA Planning Division recommended in the Staff Report to the Marin County Planning Commission, regarding a merger of vacant parcels in the Map[31], that

“the lots do not conform to the standards for minimum lot size under the lot-slope ordinance.”[32]

Regarding the validity of antiquated maps, in his memorandum of September 8, 2016, land use attorney Edward Yates[33] writes,

“Since that time, Marin County adopted the Paper Streets Ordinance, which essentially determines that pre-1953 parcel and subdivision maps do not adequately comply with current SMA requirements. This 1919 Map is an “antiquated map” that does not comply with current SMA requirements. Mere recordation of ancient maps does not in itself create a lot; the recordation must be accompanied by subsequent conveyance of a depicted lot by deed.1 These deeds must be verified by a county or city through the application for and issuance of a certificates of compliance. (MCMC § 20.84.050.) Apparently, no such certificates have been issued for the remaining undeveloped Garden Valley Park lots.” [Emphasis added]

And regarding conveyance of a depicted lot by deed, Yates refers to relevant case law

“Gardner v. County of Sonoma (2003) 29 Cal. 4th 990,991, in addressing an 1890 map found that a landowner cannot grandfather in “ancient” maps (e.g. 1907) where modern Map Act “design and improvement” standards were not required for those maps. See also Witt Home Ranch, Inc. v. County of Sonoma (2008) 165 Cal.App.4th 543,558 found that a subdivision created by a 1915 map did not create legal lots because that version of the SMA did not comply with the SMA’s and Gardner’s requirements that all such subdivisions take in to account design and improvements.“

The CDA has suggested in the past, that “a new subdivision map is not required because the applicant is not proposing to create any new lots.” However, the contemplated lot mergers do, in fact, create new lots that can accommodate much larger structures, so that argument is equally untenable.

Finally, it is interesting to note that in an April 5, 1996, letter from Johanna Patri, a planner at CDA, she opined about an application by a lot owner to restrict access of paper street Fairview Avenue in the Project site as part of the proposed development of APN 049-044-01, 07. The applicant requested an abandonment of paper street Fairview Avenue, which would have resulted in restricting future access in and out of this subdivision.

Her commentary at that time about that application is relevant to our discussion today. Patri stated,

“It is my opinion that Objective LU.7 (Historic Subdivision of Development on Paper Streets) discourages the abandonment of paper streets and the potential for development.”

She continued by saying,

“Abandoning the paper street at this time would eliminate any possibility in the future for the development of this paper street, improvement to circulation in the neighborhood, and use of the paper street for emergency vehicles.”[34]

A similar attempt to restrict the same paper street access appears on the proposed Project plans. The plans show the narrowing of 40-foot wide paper street Alta Way to 16-foot to access APN 049-044-08 for development. APN 049-044-01, 07 were part of a County initiated merger in 2017 and are now represented by APN 049-044-08, a parcel identified in the Project description.

III - The newly released Report of Wildfire Preparedness, by the Marin County Civil Grand Jury, underscores the irreconcilable problems with the proposed Project

As noted above, the proposed Project fails to adequately address significant concerns regarding wildfire preparedness, evacuation, and emergency response. These concerns were recently underscored by a Marin County Civil Grand Jury Report entitled “Wildfire Preparedness: A New Approach,” published in April 2019 (hereinafter “the Report”).[35]

The Report states at the outset,

“Marin County has been warned repeatedly that it stands one spark away from a major conflagration, but many of the county’s governments continue to conduct business as usual. Uncoordinated pre-ignition planning, jurisdictional rivalries, and a glacial pace for implementation of improvements has left the public in grave danger.”[36]

The Grand Jury Report continues,

“In the WUI, many residential communities are in steep, box canyons with only one entry or exit road. Houses built on hills are frequently connected to safety only by narrow, winding roads that lack shoulders and have a steep drop to one side. Roads in these areas also snake through hills covered by dense vegetation. The topography and overgrown vegetation of the county makes us vulnerable to catastrophic evacuation failures.”[37]

Both the Southern Marin Fire District (“SMFD”) [38] and the Marin County Board of Supervisors responded to the Marin County Civil Grand Jury’s Wildfire Preparedness Report in their letters to Pat Randolph, Foreperson on June 16, 2019, and Judge Paul Haakenson on July 9, 2019, respectively agreeing with the Wildfire Preparedness Report’s finding “F14 – Evacuations” which states,

“In the WUI and in many town centers, infrastructure and roads are inadequate for mass evacuations.”

In addition, the Marin County Board of Supervisors agreed that “Mass evacuation was not included in the original design purpose,” and this was again corroborated by the Southern Marin Fire Protection District.[39]

Fire districts throughout Marin County, including the Bolinas Fire Protection District, the Novato Fire District, and the Tiburon Fire Protection District also “agreed” with the F-14 finding.[40]

The Novato Fire District stated,

“The existing roadway system was not designed specifically for mass evacuation.” Similarly, the Tiburon Fire Protection District added, “Often, historical roadways may lack the necessary width for rapid evacuations.”

The State, similarly and recently, recognized these concerns, and, in turn, enacted new Assembly Bill 2911, Fire Safety.[41] The bill requires that the board of supervisors,

“in consultation with the State Fire Marshal, shall survey local governments, including counties, cities, and fire districts to identify existing subdivisions located in a state responsibility area or a very high fire hazard severity zone . . . without a secondary egress route that are at significant fire risk.”

This Project site has been recognized for decades as an extreme high-risk fire zone by County fire officials. In a letter written by Robert L. “Mike” Stone, Deputy Chief, Tamalpais Fire Protection District to County Planner Johanna Patri in 1996, regarding the proposed development of APN 049-044-08 on “Garden Valley Drive,” which is a reference to paper street Fairview Avenue,[42] Deputy Chief Stone recommended:

“Because this project is located in the heart of a wildland/urban interface area. It is imperative that access and egress not be limited to a single dead end road. Therefore, it shall be a requirement of the Tamalpais Fire Protection District that an emergency access road (dirt) be constructed from the end of Garden Valley Drive, and connect to Shoreline Highway.”

Deputy Chief Stone recognized the magnitude of the risk in building on the Project site without a secondary egress.The proposed development in 1996 did not move forward. The risks and circumstances today are even greater than in 1996, and current, more stringent mitigation standards are addressed in the Marin County Fire Department, Minimum Project Requirements for residential projects located in a Wildland Urban Interface. Some of these include 16’ to 20’ wide driveways, end of driveway turnarounds, maximum grades, and other such restrictions.[43]

In addition, the risk of significant environmental impacts, wildfires, and egress fire safety impacts due to climate change, as described in the Final Statement of Reasons for Regulatory Action – Amendments to the State CEQA Guidelines: OAL Notice File No. Z- 2018-0116-12, also directly apply to the proposed development site.[44]

IV - The applicant has failed to adequately address the requirements of the Initial Study

According to the information presented at the Public Scoping Session for that Initial Study, held on October 12, 2017 (see FWTV Public Scoping Letter dated October 11, 2017[45]) and as indicated in the Alta Way Extension Initial Study, dated April 25, 2018, it was determined by CDA that an EIR was required. TDRB also submitted their notes of the scoping session, to the Marin County Department of Public Works, which corroborated FWTV’s comments.[46]

Here are excerpts of findings from that Initial Study.

Section 1. Land Use and Planning

b) Conflict with applicable environmental plans or policies adopted by Marin County?”

Overall Findings: Page 23: “Significant Impacts”

Finding: Page 28: “Potentially inconsistent” with the Tamalpais Area Community Plan Policy LU15.1 Wildlife Corridors and that this issue “should be further examined in an EIR. [Emphasis added]

Finding: Page 29:”Potentially inconsistent” with CWP Policy EH-4.5 Regulate Land Uses to Protect from Wildland Fires and that “These issues should be further examined in an EIR to ensure consistency with these policies.” [Emphasis added]

Considerations and requirements noted on page 31, which are all determined to be “potentially inconsistent” and recommended to be examined further in an EIR, including:

Re: “Tamalpais Area Community Plan Policy LU3.1 Historic Lots. Promote resubdivision, where feasible, of historic lots of record to ensure that future development is responsive to the inherent physical constraints and environmental amenities of the site.”

Re: “Tamalpais Area Community Plan Policy LU4.1 Lot Mergers. The County shall encourage owners of historic substandard legal lots of record to merge them to create new lots which conform to the current required minimum lot size, including the minimum lot sizes required by the County's Slope Ordinance.”

Re: “Tamalpais Area Community Plan Policy T11.1 To require the dedication or provision through easements of additional land for roadway construction when an existing paper street does not have adequate width or alignment to serve proposed development.”

Re: “Tamalpais Area Community Plan Policy T11.2 To provide for adequate access, particularly emergency vehicles on private roads through the enforcement of parking standards.”

This Section concludes by saying on Page 32, “Because the project is potentially inconsistent with CWP and Tamalpais Area Community Plan policies regarding control of storm water and emergency access, this impact could be significant, and these issues should be further examined in an Environmental Impact Report to determine whether they can be avoided or mitigated, and if so, whether the Project would then be consistent with CWP and TACP policies.”

Section 3. Geophysical

(a) 2, 3 Landslides or mudslides, slope instability and ground failure.

Finding from page 40: “The upper portions of the spur ridge above the developable lots and including Lot 38 is in Zone 2, which is described as areas underlain by relatively competent bedrock but that are flanked by potentially unstable slopes (CGS, 1976).” [Emphasis added]

And from page 41:“As the proposed Project would be developed over an extended period of time with no established schedule, a meaningful geotechnical analysis for the individual lots cannot be completed until each lot is proposed for development, and the design and proposed development features are established.” [Emphasis added]

Section 2. Water

(a) Substantial changes in absorption rates, drainage patterns, or the rate and amount of surface run off.

Finding from page 46: “However, the Study did not assess the potential for the net increase in storm water runoff to exceed the capacity of the conveyance culvert directing existing and proposed storm water to the tributary. More critically, the Study did not assess the capacity of the tributary to accommodate the estimated increases in runoff volume and rate without increasing off-site flooding or other impacts relating to channel stability and hydromodification (e.g., bank erosion within the tributary or further downstream).” [Emphasis added]

b) Exposure of people or property to water hazards, including, but not Unless Impact necessarily limited to: 1) flooding; 2) debris deposition; or 3) similar hazards?

Finding from page 48: “.”[Emphasis added]

(d) Substantial change in the amount of surface water in any water body or ground water either through direct additions or withdrawals, or through intersection of an aquifer by cuts or excavations?

Finding from page 51: “this issue should be further examined in an EIR.” [Emphasis added]

Section 7. Transportation / Circulation

b) Traffic hazards related to 1) safety from design features (e.g. sharp curves or dangerous intersections; 2) barriers to pedestrians or bicyclists; or 3) incompatible uses (e.g. farm equipment)?

Finding from page 74: “The inconsistencies of the proposed roadway design with County and Caltrans roadway standards, the potential for the roadway not to accommodate emergency vehicles, and the lack of clarity regarding driveway access, pose potentially significant traffic safety hazards. This issue should be further examined in an EIR.” [Emphasis added]

c) Inadequate emergency access or access nearby uses?

Finding from page 75: “The known and unknown design features of the roadway extension and driveway access, including roadway width, lack of turnouts, only one means of ingress and egress, and uncertainties regarding driveway access and provision for parking, pose a potential for inadequate emergency access to the new residences constructed under the Project. This would be a significant impact, and should be further examined in an EIR.” [Emphasis added]

Section 8. Biological Resources

a) Reduction in the number or endangered, threatened or rare species, or substantial alteration of their habitats including, but not necessarily limited to: 1) plants 2) fish; 3) insects; 4) animals; and 5) birds listed as special status species by State or Federal Resource Agencies?

Finding from page 81-82: “Section V.4, Water, discusses the potential for the Project to increase stormwater runoff, and identifies a potentially significant impact because this could destabilize stream channels, possibly resulting in bank or bed erosion and sedimentation. If this were to occur, it could degrade aquatic habitat in Coyote Creek and Bothin Marsh. This could result in a significant impact, and should be further examined in an Environmental Impact Report.” [Emphasis added]

Finding from page 82: “Significance with Mitigation. The potential for the Project to contribute to degradation of aquatic habitat in Coyote Creek should be further examined in and EIR” [Emphasis added]

Section 10. Hazards

b) Possible interference with Significant an emergency response plan or emergency Impact evacuation plan?

Finding from page 89: “According to the Fire Marshall, this presents a potentially hazardous situation for emergency responders and could inhibit the ability of residents to evacuate the area in the event of a wildfire or other emergency (Hilliard, 2018). This would be a significant impact that should be further examined in EIR.” [Emphasis added]

Section 13. Utilities and Service System

e) Storm water drainage?

Finding from page 106: “The Study, however, did not assess the potential for the net increase in stormwater runoff to exceed the capacity of the existing conveyance culvert that discharges just downstream of the Alta Way Bridge. This culvert directs stormwater flow from Alta Way and Blue Jay Way into the Coyote Creek tributary. Exceedance of the capacity of this culvert could require replacement of the culvert, which could have significant direct and indirect environmental effects related to construction activities that would be required to replace the culvert. This issue should be further examined in an EIR.” [Emphasis added]

Section VI. Mandatory Findings of Significance

Pursuant to Section 15065 of the State Environmental Impact Report Guidelines, a project shall be found to have a significant effect on the environment if any of the following are true.

Findings from page 118: “As described in Sections V.4, Water, and V.8, Biological Resources, the Project could result in increased storm water runoff, which would increase peak flows in receiving waters, including Coyote Creek, potentially destabilizing the creek channel and resulting in degradation of aquatic habitat in the creek and in Bothin Marsh. This issue should be further examined in an EIR.” [Emphasis added]

b) Does the project have the potential to achieve short term, to the disadvantage of long-term, environmental goals?

Findings from page 119: “These issues should be further examined in an EIR.” [Emphasis added]

(c) Does the project have impacts that are individually limited, but cumulatively considerable? ("Cumulatively considerable" means that the incremental effects of a project are considerable when viewed in connection with the effects of past projects, the effects of other current projects, and the effects of probable future projects).

Findings from page 119: “The potential for the Project to result in increased stormwater runoff, as discussed in Section V.4, Water, and the potential for the Project not to provide adequate emergency ingress and egress, as discussed in Section V.7,transportation/Circulation, and in Section V.10, Hazards, could contribute to existing cumulative impacts on aquatic habitat and on public safety. These issues should be further examined in an EIR.” [Emphasis added]

d) Does the project have environmental effects which will cause substantial adverse effects on human beings, either directly or indirectly?

Finding from page 120: “As described In Section V.7, Transportation/Circulation, and in Section V.10, Hazards, the Project could result in inadequate emergency access and egress potentially posing a threat to human life. This issue should be further examined in an EIR.” [Emphasis added]

V – The application fails to adequately address the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and the consequent need for a “Master Plan”

Any proposed development on the Project site, or any similar sites in the WUI, need to be evaluated and planned as a “whole” and not on a house by house basis in order to properly assess all environmental impacts, as required under CEQA to ensure the safety of all residents in the event of a catastrophic wildfire event and mass evacuation.

Please note that CEQA code 15378 defines a “Project” as

Project means the whole of an action, which has a potential for resulting in either a direct physical change in the environment, or a reasonably foreseeable indirect physical change in the environment…

As such, this explains why TDRB and FWTV have both requested that the County require Alta Way Partners to submit a Master Plan for the Project, indicating all proposed development, both at present and in the future, and for their proposal to be subjected to a proper and comprehensive EIR under CEQA. This was a key finding of the 2018 Initial Study.

Regarding the Project’s CEQA assessment, FWTV sent a letter to Rachel Reid, Environmental Planning Manager asking for clarification of the CEQA process for the revised Project on May 31, 2019.[47]

FWTW contends that the revised applications, dated May 1, 2019, June 28, 2019, subsequently, are not significantly different from the Initial Study Project description:

As clearly stated in the Initial Study, page 37[48], the proposed Project “is likely to induce growth.” The CDA cannot ignore the potential for the development of additional homes that might be induced by the site improvements proposed.

It goes on to say, “By extending the road network and utilities to the intersection of Alta Way and Fairview Avenue, the Project would facilitate future development of Fairview Avenue north of the intersection, which would then provide access to other vacant parcels, potentially enabling their development. Alternatively, the proposed easement across Lot 44 to access Lot 38 could be extended further north to access other parcels on Fairview Avenue. All of these parcels have the same CWP land use designation, TACP land use designations, and zoning as the proposed Project lots.”

The California Court of Appeal, in City of Antioch v. City Council, 187 Cal.App.3d 1325, 232 Cal. Rptr. 507 (1986), considered and rejected precisely the argument made by CDA and the applicant, i.e., that cumulative and growth-inducing impacts may safely be ignored because future projects will receive their own environmental review.[49]

In its decision, the Court notes,

Construction of the roadway and utilities cannot be considered in isolation from the development it presages. Although the environmental impacts of future development cannot be presently predicted, it is very likely these impacts will be substantial. As we stated in City of Livermore, supra, 184 Cal.App.3d 531, in the related context of determining whether a Local Agency Formation Commission's (LAFCO) sphere-of-influence guideline revisions fit within CEQA's broad definition of a "project": "It is true that the precise effects [of the revisions] are difficult to assess at this stage, but it is because impact is so easily foreseen that the revisions must be considered a project under CEQA." ( Id., at p. 538.)

5b) In sum, our decision in this case arises out of the realization that the sole reason to construct the road and sewer project is to provide a catalyst for further development in the immediate area. Because construction of the project could not easily be undone, and because achievement of its purpose would almost certainly have significant environmental impacts, construction should not be permitted to commence until such impacts are evaluated in the manner prescribed by CEQA.

As Justice Rouse explained in our opinion San Franciscans for Reasonable Growth v. City and County of San Francisco (1984) 151 Cal.App.3d 61 [ 198 Cal.Rptr. 634], the fact that a particular development which now appears reasonably foreseeable may, in fact, never occur does not release it from the EIR process. ( Id., at p. 75.) Similarly, the fact that future development may take several forms does not excuse environmental review.

FWTV contends that the subject property should be evaluated under the same criteria, including the new 2019 CEQA Statute and Guidelines, before any further determinations are made or any further action is taken.[50]

In particular, the revised 2019 CEQA Guidelines include “Appendix G,” which has been revised to specifically address wildfires.[51] Per those Guidelines, among the considerations that must be examined are:

If located in or near state responsibility areas or lands classified as very high fire hazard severity zones, would the project: [Emphasis added]

a) Substantially impair an adopted emergency response plan or emergency evacuation plan?

b) Due to slope, prevailing winds, and other factors, exacerbate wildfire risks, and thereby expose project occupants to, pollutant concentrations from a wildfire or the uncontrolled spread of a wildfire?

c) Require the installation or maintenance of associated infrastructure (such as roads, fuel breaks, emergency water sources, power lines or other utilities) that may exacerbate fire risk or that may result in temporary or ongoing impacts to the environment?

d) Expose people or structures to significant risks, including downslope or downstream flooding or landslides, as a result of runoff, post-fire slope instability, or drainage changes?

Unquestionably, all of these circumstances exist at the proposed Project site. Therefore, it necessarily follows that for the reasons discussed in this letter and prior communications between FWTV and County officials, that the CDA must require the applicant to submit a full EIR to adequately assess the proposed Project’s potentially unmitigated significant impacts.

This requirement would necessitate the drafting of a new and complete Master Plan for proposed and future development.

VI. OTHER Notable Omissions from the Initial Study:

The following are a list of undertakings that must be included for the CDA to properly assess the risks posed by the proposed Project.

Conclusion

How the CDA chooses to address this Project will determine the direction of future development in much of Marin County in high-risk fire and hazardous geologic zones with limited access. The failure of the CDA to do either would compromise the safety, well-being, and security of Marin County residents, put lives and our environment at further risk of irreversible and catastrophic harm, and be an abdication of the CDA’s responsibility “to protect public health and safety, preserve environmental quality, and plan sustainable, diverse communities.”[57]

It is beyond question that climate change is an existential threat to us all. Throughout California, we have seen this threat manifest in the form of extreme wildfires, landslides, and flash flooding that have ravaged communities, not unlike our own. It is critical that we understand the nature of this threat as we make decisions that impact our environment and our planet.

For all these reasons, FWTV has endeavored to outline the major issues and suggest the next steps to ensure that the CDA’s and DPW’s evaluations of the Project adequately protects the health and safety of West Tam Valley residents and assesses the impacts on the environment.

We ask that the proposed Project be thoroughly scrutinized based on the regulations, codes, and principles of contemporary land use planning in Marin, and by fully assessing its potentially unmitigated, cumulative impacts, and that the TDRB’s inclusion in the planning process be ensured. To do any less would be to fail to uphold the responsibilities and obligations the Marin County Community Development Agency has to the Tam Valley Community.

To that end, FWTV respectfully requests a meeting with both Director Crawford and Director Rojas as soon as possible to discuss our concerns regarding the Project as outlined in this letter.

Respectfully,

Friends of West Tam Valley Executive Committee: /s/ Lee Budish, /s/ Roger Brown, /s/ Michael Burns, /s/ Heidi Engelbrechten, /s/ Art Yow

Community Venture Partners, Inc. /s/ Bob Silvestri

Cc:Marin County Board of Supervisors, Tam Design Review Board

Attachment: APPENDIX A


Support the efforts of FWTV - Donate to the West Tam Valley Preservation Fund HERE

Click HERE to read PART I



[23] See 1919-00 00 1919_Garden Valley Park Parcel Map - RECORD OF SURVEY, LANDS OF BREEZE, D.N. 2001-80817 & 2001-80818, BEING LOTS 3, 4, &13, BLOCK 2, MAP OF GARDEN VALLEY PARK, SUBDIVISION, RECORDED OCTOBER 8, 1919, Book 5 of maps page 5, Marin County Records. Carruthers Land Surveying.

[24] See 01-00 00 01_Record of Survey-Garden Valley Park Map of Subdivision No. One, Garden Valley Park, BEING A PORTION OF RANCH “E” AS PER TAMALPAIS LAND AND WATER COMPANY, MAP NUMBER “3,” MARIN COUNTY,CALIFORNIA, 1919

[25] See 19-08 02 19_Marin County Municipal Code 23.08.026 - Paper Streets – General purposes and legislative findings.

[26] See 11-05 26 11_R.Klyce-M.Moheb Dept. of Public Works--Clandestine Grading on Watershed-Alta Way Mill Valley

[27] See 11-06 13 11_Video, Illegal Grading Alta Way paper street Alta Way

[28] See 19-08 02 19_Marin County Municipal Code 22.82.0271 - Paper Streets, general purposes and legislative findings.

[29] See 92-09 21 92_Tamalpais Area Community Plan-Tam Valley Neighborhood pg. III-11

[30] See 92-09 21 92_Tamalpais Area Community Plan-Objective-LU.7 pg.III.47 - Historic Subdivision Development Paper Streets

[31] 17-04 20 17_ Alta Way Partners, LLC County Initiated Merger- APN 049-042-01 7 8

[32] See 17-07 10 17_ CDA-Planning Commission--Porter LLC Lot Merger Application (County Initiated)

[33] See 16-09 08 16_E.Yates-FWTV--Garden Valley Park Proposed Development

[34] See 96 04-04 96_J.Patri-D.Pinkston-- Memo G & MLL Corp/Michael Gottlieb Request for Abandonment of Two Portions of Fairview Avenue, Mill Valley, Assessor’s Parcel Numbers 049-042-01 and 049-044-07

[35] See 19-04 25 19_Marin County Civil Grand Jury Report – Wildfire Preparedness at: https://www.marincounty.org/-/media/files/departments/gj/reports-responses/2018-19/wildfire-preparedness--a-new-approach.pdf?la=en

[36] See 19-04 25 19_Marin County Civil Grand Jury Report-Wildfire Preparedness pg. 2

[37] See 19-04 25 19_Marin County Civil Grand Jury Report-Wildfire Preparedness pg. 12

[38] See 19-06 17 19_SMFD-Marin County Civil Grand Jury--Response to Wildfire Preparedness Report

[39] See 19-07 09 19_BOS-P.Haakenson Marin Superior County-Response to Marin County Civil Grand Jury Wildfire Preparedness Report

[40] See 19-07 00 19_Bolinas-Novato-Tiburon Fire Districts-Marin County Civil Grand Jury--Comments on Marin Grand Jury Wildfire Preparedness Report

[41] See 18-09 21 18_Assembly Bill-2911--Fire safety, CHAPTER 641.Fire safety.

[42] See 96-10 02 96_R.Stone Tam Valley Fire District-J.Patri CDA--Comments on fire safety egress

[43] See 19-00 00 19_Marin County Fire Dept. Residential -Minimum Requirements

[44] See 18-11 00 18_CA Natural Resources Agency--Final Statement-Amendments to the State CEQA Guidelines OAL Notice File, NO. Z-2018-0116-12 at http://resources.ca.gov/ceqa/docs/2018_CEQA_Final_Statement_of%20Reasons_111218.pdf

[45] See 17-10 11 17_FWTV-R.Reid CDA-Multiple--Public Comments On Notice of Public of Scoping Session-Alta Way

[46] See 17-10 12 17_TDRB-J.Wong-DPW-BOS--Initial Study for Alta Way Extension Project w attachments

[47] See 19-05 31 19_FWTV-R.Reid--CEQA questions regarding Alta Way Extension Project

[48] See 18-04 25 18_CDA--Initial Study-Alta Way Extension

[49] See 86-12 16 86_City Antioch v City Council-CA Court of Appeal

[50] See 19-11 00 19_2019 CEQA Guidelines and at http://resources.ca.gov/ceqa/docs/2019_CEQA_Statutes_and_Guidelines.pdf

[51] See 19-11 00 19_CEQA-Appendix G 2019

[52] See 19-01 17 19_Malibu Times-Mullholland Bridge Woolsey fire

[53] See 03-03 05 03_BOS minutes, Open Space Easements

[54]See 18-07 14 18_M.Ina-J.Wong-K.Sears-CDA-Muliple--Public Comment on Alta Way Extension Project Initial Study

[55] See 18-11 07 18_L.Budish-R.Reid-K.Sears--Alta Way Extension-Responsible Agency - MMWD

[56] See 16-12 08 16_Caltrans Press Release--Storm Damage Restoration Funding Hwy.- $236 Million Allocated to Maintain and Upgrade Transportation Infrastructure, District 4

[57] See 19-08 08 19_Marin CDA Mission Statement at https://www.marincounty.org/depts/cd