Lagunitas man must demolish

05/31/2012

The Marin County Community Development Agency has ordered David Lee Hoffman raze his Lagunitas property and pay fines totaling more than $225,000. An innovator in sustainable design, Mr. Hoffman, who over the past 40 years has built a home, rare tea business, graywater system and vermicomposting toilet on two hillside acres, has been featured in documentaries and The New York Times. He has also ignored county warnings regarding unpermitted construction, and has produced a disgruntled neighbor by encroaching on his property line. Earlier this month the agency sent Mr. Hoffman two 22-page rulings outlining his offenses. Among other things, Mr. Hoffman was ordered to pay fines within 30 days, immediately vacate his property, demolish four accessory structures, retaining walls and renovations by the end of May, and, by the end of July, remove wastewater ponds and all tea from the property. Mr. Hoffman said to comply with the order would be impossible. “I’m almost 70. I’ve got two bad shoulders, I don’t have money to take it down, nor do I have the physical stamina,” he said. “People enjoy coming here, it bring some happiness into their lives. What the county has accused us of—killing the salmon, having raw sewage everywhere—it’s just nonsense.” Debbi Poiani of the development agency said Mr. Hoffman’s attorney has filed an appeal of the order.