Originally posted at New Geography.
By Richard Hall.

Marin County is a a picturesque area across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco of quaint walkable towns, with homes perched on rolling hills and a low rise, unspoiled feel. People typically move to Marin to escape the more urbanized South and East Bay and San Francisco. Eighty-three percent of Marin cannot be built on as the land is agricultural and protected open space.

This is not stopping ABAG, developers, social equity, housing and transit advocates from pushing for high density housing near transit in Marin. Plans for high density housing have sprung up the length of the county – multiple Marin communities found themselves declared Plan Bay Area “Priority Development Areas” (PDAs) making them targets for intense high density development. These designations occurred with little or no consultation by the elected officials that had volunteered them, and without any clear understanding of obligations to develop or impact.

Residents finally came together and said they’d had enough after an unsightly 5 story, 180 unit apartment complex appeared adjacent to an existing freeway choke-point – the city that allowed it had little choice due to onerous ABAG housing quotas that if unmet left the town open to litigation by housing advocates with crippling legal bills and penalties. The last straw was the publication of a station area plan to generate transit ridership that suggested 920 more high density units be built in nearby Larkspur – another freeway bottleneck.

This video, put together by Citizen Marin, a coalition of neighborhood groups seeking to restore local control, was put together to drive awareness of this accelerated urbanization. For Marinites the video serves as a wake up call – most moved to Marin to live in a more rural / suburban location. Marin offers some of California’s most walkable and attractive downtowns already: Sausalito, Mill Valley and San Rafael. All offer the kind of small town charm that are a model for others to emulate and attract visitors and residents.

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The video was written and produced by Citizen Marin’s Richard Hall. The video’s narrator is from San Rafael – not San Rafael in Marin County but San Rafael, Argentina, and the animation was put together by a team from Kathmandu Nepal.