Coastal Commission will hear neighbor’s appeal of brandy farm

02/28/2013

A Marshall resident’s attempt to stop Lagunitas Brewing Company founder Tony Magee from attaining a permit to develop a brandy distillery will head to a California Coastal Commission hearing in April. Adjacent neighbors Scott Kivel and Lia Lund said the 7,000 square-foot development on Mr. Magee’s 150-acre Highway One property near Marconi Cove could block views, harm the endangered red-legged frog and introduce new fire risks.

The appeal was originally filed in 2010. Mr. Magee said that Mr. Kivel’s complaints are the preoccupations of a not-in-my-backyard property owner. “What they continue to do is pick at every part of the project, even things that are not material,” Mr. Magee said. “He’s using the Coastal Commission process to try to stymie things he doesn’t want to see happen. He’s a bastard; he just wants what he wants, and he’s very willing to use the public process as his tool.”

Neither Mr. Kivel nor the property’s co-owner responded to requests for comment. “My consistent position has been that I am not opposed to a development, but there is not enough information to make a considered judgment on what would be for Marshall a major environmental change,” Mr. Kivel wrote in a 2010 article in the Light.

The Marin County Board of Supervisors and Planning Commission have approved the viticulture project, and the Coastal Commission approved a conditional permit. Mr. Magee said the grape-growing and winemaking operation, which cannot get off the ground without permits granted under the California Coastal Act, has already cost him around $700,000 in legal, consulting and impact-assessment fees.