Much of Marin has been kept in a natural state. Marin has one of the most biodiverse ecosystems in the world, with a lot of natural beauty. Agricultural land and open space has been preserved. It is a respite from city life.
Another reason Marin is not more built out is because of natural constraints — steep slopes, marshes, and flood plains, and serious fire hazard areas, without evacuation access. Many roads are old, windy, and narrow. Adding density increases risks, especially as fires have become increasingly severe as climate change intensifies.
The population of California has actually slowed, and the RHNA numbers assigned by the state are unsubstantiated and outdated, according to the department of finance.
Despite these indisputable truths and drawbacks, the state of California mandates that the county grow by about 15% over the next 8 years.
Marin county has been assigned 14,405 new living units. Theyre not to be built by the cites or state. They are to be buily by forcing towns to change zoning and make bad decisions to allow building -- massive building -- in areas that cannot support it.
Cities filed cogent appeals when they got their numbers (below) All appeals were denied without comment. All of that Information and more is on the city’s page here.
The housing affordability issues we have will not be solved by trickle down development. But that’s what is planned. Massive amounts of expensive housing, with a small percentage of affordable units thrown in.
Whether or not a wet winter is punctuating our 1200 year drought, water storage capacity in Marin, even at the current population, has left us within months of literally running out of water. Rain is our main source of water, and our reservoirs need major upgrades to catch the water we’re lucky to get in wet years
Many old areas have little evacuation access in the event of fire. The original narrow roads. They are densely built around, and run through hazard areas.
The RHNA was doled out city by city, but the county has an interrelated set of hazards that flow though each area, which are interdependent on each other.
The geography of the area and how it is built does not work with a conventional transit model. To get from area to area -- from many neighborhoods to a downtown for instance, you have to either plan hours to walk the trails or along steep, narrow roads. The reality is that only the super fit who aren’t on a schedule (job, schools, etc) can get by without cars.
Marin has unique hazards and restrictions. The state made a conscious decision to not take appeals seriously. They intend to density us into an urban area.
Below you can see the numbers and how they are split between income categories. Median income here is $160,000, which is where moderate priced housing falls. Low income is $100,000 to $140,000. With costs to build at a minimum $500,000 per unit, there are serious flaws in this method.