Saturday, September 5, 2015

Homeowners paying for open space, facing fire danger

Marin Independent Journal/Politics/Stephanie Weldy, 9/1/15.  "Vigilante mower takes to Pacheco Valle open space in Novato."

Thanks vigilante weed wackers!
Pacheco Valle Medow
Open space, but careful what you wish for.
"One or more vigilante mowers have done what the Marin County Open Space District would not.  An additional 20-foot-wide patch of dry grass in Novato’s Pacheco Valle meadow has been mysteriously trimmed — most likely with a weed wacker — just weeks after Marin open space officials said they would not mow beyond the 10-foot trim required for public lands. The response came despite nearby residents’ concerns of the fire hazard posed by the grassland.

Early last month, county open space officials, along with the Novato Fire District and Marin County Fire Department, sent a letter to Pacheco Valle residents denying a request the land be mowed in entirety, as it had when it was owned by Gannett Corp. The land for years included the former home of the Marin Independent Journal.

The land was purchased by residents for $550,000 under a 15-year financing plan in an effort to save it from commercial development. Those living in single-family homes in the area pay $20.67 a month, residents in condos and townhouses pay $6.58 each month, and owners of commercial buildings pay $325.50 monthly."    Read article.

Related -  Marin Open Space Trust, last modified 2/17/15. "Likely Development If We Fail to Act. At least three developers have sought to build on the meadow, which is presently zoned for light industrial/commercial development. Pacheco Valle residents first organized to purchase the meadow in 2002, but Gannett was not interested. In 2008, residents from the condos, townhomes, and single family homes formed the Preserve Pacheco Valle Meadow Committee (PPVMC) and have been fighting rearguard actions to protect the meadow from recent attempts to develop the property. Despite the recession and the crash of the real estate market, one commercial developer retained an option to purchase the property for three years, finally relinquishing his claim last year. Earlier this year, another developer was in talks with Gannett to purchase the property, and Gannett has continued to actively market all three parcels. With the real estate market reviving, if we do not make the purchase ourselves, it is just a matter of time before another builder acquires it. Time to Act: Vote to Save the Meadow. We must face facts. Flat, buildable land in Marin situated right next to the freeway and public transit is at a premium. If we want to keep our meadow free of development, along with the attendant automobile traffic and parking lots, we need to act now, and we need your support."

Posted by Kathy Meeh

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