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City of Sausalito

The Sausalito Housing Element and the Fair Traffic Initiative of 1985

Questions remain about potential conflicts between the Sausalito Housing Element "opportunity sites" list and the regulations and restrictions under the Sausalito Fair Traffic Initiative that was passed by the voters in 1985. With that considered, the following correspondence has been to the Sausalito City Council on July 14, 2022.


Dear Sausalito City Councilmembers,

I am writing to request that the City Council carefully consider the implications and requirements of the 1985 Sausalito Fair Traffic Initiative ( Ordinance 1022; the "FTI") in its ongoing discussions and upcoming decisions regarding the new 2023-2031 Housing Element (the "HE"). As such, I am writing to ask the City to request a formal opinion from the City Attorney regarding the potential conflicts with the requirements of the FTI that may have been created by the designation of certain housing "opportunity sites" in the HE.

Detailed discussions of some of my concerns are found in my email to the Housing Element Advisory Committee ("HEAC") of May 8, 2022, and my letter of May 4,2020 to the General Plan Working Group (copies of both attached).

As I stated in the 2022 email, "I think the case can be made that rezoning areas in the Marinship to high-density residential categories with greatly liberated development standards should trigger the need for voter approval."

To date, the HEAC and the City Council appear to have proceeded toward the finalization and approval of the HE and its opportunity sites list without any regard for the potential conflicts with the requirements of the FTI, including but not limited to the potential legal jeopardy that could result from ignoring the FTI zoning and planning and development restrictions without the public's approval at the ballot box.

I respectfully request that any further consideration of the opportunity sites list be paused until the public is presented with the aforementioned formal legal opinion from the city attorney regarding the Fair Traffic Initiative ("FTI") and its relationships to the HE.

Sincerely, Pat Zuch


EMAIL to the Housing Element Advisory Committee:

Dated May 8, 2022;

Re: Town Hall: Rezoning the Marinship and Ordinance 1022;

I note that large parcels in the Marinship area have been designated as housing "Opportunity Sites: Increase Capacity (General Plan Amendment /Rezone required)". On May 4, 2019 I submitted a letter to the General Plan Working Group, which included a comment specifically focused on this possibility. I've attached it to this e-mail: see the highlighted Item 2 (below).

Aside from my comments in Item 2, the Initiative may have additional application as regards a) increased density b) expansion of development standards contemplated by the HEAC.

By way of background, Ordinance 1022 was enacted as implementation of a successful 1985 citizens’ initiative called the "Fair Traffic Initiative," was applicable specifically to commercial and industrial zones, and specifically endorsed the zoning map from July 15, 1980.

I think the case can be made that rezoning areas in the Marinship to high density residential categories with greatly liberated development standards should trigger the need for voter approval.

Sincerely, Pat Zuch


Letter of May 4, 2020 to the Sausalito General Plan Working Group

Dear members of the General Plan Working Group –

I am writing to request that the consideration of the General Plan, specifically as to the land use and waterfront elements, be paused until we have a formal legal opinion from the city attorney regarding the Fair Traffic Initiative (“FTI”) and its relationships to the General Plan update.

The following issues are threshold concerns regarding the applicability of the Fair Traffic Initiative and may create legal issues for the City.

1. Expanding office ancillary uses in the Marinship is in conflict with the FTI

Several months ago, at the joint CC/PC meeting, Geoff Bradley from the M-Group stated that in his experience, no more than 15% of an industrial space is utilized/designated for office in planning.At that same meeting, the Mayor suggested that this number was too low and wanted it increased. It appears that the Mayor’s request has been added but has not been vetted for consistency with the FTI.This is problematic for 3 reasons:

2. Rezoning the Marinship (to include housing or otherwise) would require a ballot measure

It is generally acknowledged that the FTI mandated the development standards in the specified “Floor Area Ratio Table (2)”. In addition, per the FTI: "10.200.2 (c) The zoning map of Sausalito effective as amended July 15, 1980 shall govern the zoning categories." If the 1980 zoning map calls out the zoning districts, then the question is whether any change - including a prior letter to the City Council suggesting moving the waterfront zone to an underwater area ending with the high tide line - would require a ballot measure. [Emphasis added]

Furthermore, in a July 1985 "Clarifying" resolution (Resolution 3407), Item 3, the city deemed "zoning categories" to be interchangeable with "classifications". That implies that housing, as a category, if not already in the 7/15/80 map, should not be added to "industrial" or "waterfront.”

3. The FTI also protects the C-R Zone

The FTI ballot measure and the enabling ordinance 1022 references the C-R district, which is also ignored in the proposed language of the General Plan Update. Section 10.200.2(e): "In the CR zone, residential uses existing as of December 1, 1984 may not be converted into any other uses."

Note that the language does not say residential buildings, it says residential uses. This is re-iterated by the 2014 "Clarifying" resolution 3407, in Item 8: "Section 10.200.2(e) limits the conversion of residential uses in the C-R (Commercial-Residential) Zoning District which existed on or after {underlining as written} December 1, 1984." This means that second floor residences, for example, should not be permitted to convert to offices.

Conclusion:

The General Plan Update is an opportunity to look forward to our City’s needs, while taking into account many of the same issues that have plagued us for years; namely, traffic and congestion, the loss of City character, an overconcentration on one industry (tourism), and the loss of unique and useful industrial/maritime/art zones to uses which may yield more profit to specific property owners but less utility to either our town or the broader bay area.

Consider this statement drawn directly from the Marinship Specific Plan:

“…Zoning categories are created in response to General or Specific Plans, not vice versa.However, the 1985 Sausalito Traffic Initiative fixed the existing boundary lines in their current locations and that does not permit the realignment of those boundaries or zone designations except when changing to a less development intensive category…..

“The current FAR standards in the Zoning Ordinance were approved by the voters of Sausalito in the 1985 Traffic Initiative and cannot be exceeded without another majority vote of Sausalito voters…One of the Specific Plan guidelines is to limit the potential northbound traffic increases in the area, especially on Bridgeway, during the weekday evening Peek Hour.”

This iteration of the General Plan blatantly ignores an Ordinance on the books, and must be reconciled before the update can proceed further at the risk of legal action.

Respectfully, Pat Zuch