126-unit senior living facility approved for Marinwood
Author: Richard Halstead
Publication: Marin Independent Journal
In a rare occurrence, a Marin County housing project received final approval from the Board of Supervisors Tuesday without public opposition.
The supervisors unanimously approved the project that calls for a 126-unit senior living facility and five affordable housing units on 9.6 acres in Marinwood along the west side of Highway 101 between Lucas Valley and Miller Creek roads.
“It’s really noteworthy for the relative lack of public objection,” Supervisor Damon Connolly said in his concluding remarks, “but again that is a reflection of the quality of the process and the final product.”
Two buildings will be built on the site, a main building measuring 75,937 square feet with a 22,952 square foot underground garage and an attached memory care building with a floor area of 25,853 square feet. The affordable housing units will be located on the ground floor of the memory care building.
“I am personally in support of this project,” said Marinwood fire commissioner Ron Marinoff, the only member of the public to comment.
No one commented on the 50 trees that will be removed, 39 of which are considered protected under county code. The project’s landscape plan calls for replacing every tree cut down with two new trees.
The supervisors removed the final obstacle to the project by approving amendments to the Oakview Master Plan, which was approved by county supervisors in 2005. The plan covers 106 acres located at the northwest corner of the intersection of Highway 101 and Lucas Valley Road.
The amendments consisted of increasing the floor area of the main residential care building above the allowable 94,400 square feet to a total of 101,794 square feet; reducing the total number of approved senior units from 150 to 126; and adding five affordable housing units to the development.
Explaining the reason for the increased floor area and fewer units, developer Robert Eves said a previous plan for a senior living facility at the site that was approved by supervisors 14 years ago called for 150 studio apartments “the size of small roadside motel rooms.”
“When the development entitlements were in hand, the property owners put the property on the market for sale but nobody wanted to buy it,” Eves said. “Senior living companies knew that folks don’t want to move out of their spacious homes and live the rest of their lives in apartments the size of college dorm rooms.”
Eves said he increased the size of the units, which now call for a mix of studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments, while reducing the number to minimize the total size of the project. Seventy-five of the units will be assisted living apartments and the remaining 51 will be either assisted living or independent living apartments, depending on market demand.
The facility will include a large dining room, a movie theater, media room and fitness center.
Eves opted to build the affordable units rather than pay a jobs/housing linkage fee, which would have amounted to about $1.8 million.
Initially six affordable units, each 571 square feet in size, were proposed in a separate building on the site. At the county Planning Commission’s recommendation, Eves combined the affordable units with the memory care building and increased the units in size. Four of the five affordable units will measure 740 square feet and the fifth will measure 760 square feet.
Despite the reduced number of affordable housing units, there was a net gain of 294 square feet of affordable housing space added, which allowed Eves to fulfill his affordable housing obligation without paying a small additional fee.
Eves said the units will be priced to accommodate a mixture of low and very low-income buyers. Employees at the facility will be offered the opportunity to buy the units first; any left over will be available for purchase by the general public.
Supervisor Kate Sears said, “I think there could be a benefit to limiting the availability of those units to employees who are working on site.”
The supervisors approved the master plan amendments without including such a requirement.
The genesis of the Oakview Master Plan dates back to the 1980s.
In 1995, the property owners proposed subdividing the 106-acre property into two parcels for future residential and office building development. A draft environmental impact report for the project that circulated for public review in September 1996 included up to 71 single-family detached housing units and two office buildings providing a total of 94,400 square feet of office space. Processing of the EIR was suspended at the request of the property owners before a final EIR could be prepared.
The approved Oakview Master Plan envisions 28 single-family homes being built on 19 acres along an extension of Erin Drive off Las Gallinas Avenue. The Planning Commission in 2009 approved a precise plan for the 28 homes, to be developed by Lafferty Communities of San Ramon.
County Planning Manager Jeremy Tejirian said this 19-acre lot must go through an additional subdivision process, however, before any development can occur.
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