The following letter has been sent to the Mill Valley City Council:
Mayor Wickham, Council Members et al:
A community member brought Item 8. on your Agenda to my attention just yesterday. I had scanned the Agenda and confess that I had missed the last piece. I had noted "Urgency Ordinance" and "Second Units", but not the incongruous add-on of the garage exemption. I assure you that the community is entirely unaware of that proposal and will react aggressively when informed, as neighbors did the last time the elimination was proposed. The reaction will exceed the push-back on the "3 foot rule" of the vegetation management plan.
"Eliminate the 500 Square Foot Garage Floor Area Exemption" is a zoning change akin to a taking - without a public process! And there is certainly no "urgency" surrounding that decades-old provision.
The Council would be wise to de-couple second unit issues and the garage exemption. One may have some "urgency" in the context of State legislation, but the other clearly does not and warrants a public process. I urge you to do so. I'm dumbfounded that the Council would attempt a down-zoning of property rights by burying the change as an add-on to another issue. I'm equally dumbfounded that the Council doesn't seem to be aware of the storm of protest a taking would incite.
I urge you to table the exemption for future study and discussion. I understand the concern, but the issue is more complex than an afterthought at the end of an Agenda Item.
I would offer more considered thoughts, but lack the time to prepare a more thorough analysis.
Thank you for your consideration.
Burton Miller, FAIA