CLAM wins bid to develop Coast Guard property for affordable housing

04/15/2020

The Community Land Trust Association of West Marin has won the bid to develop the former Coast Guard property in Point Reyes Station, in partnership with Eden Housing. The Board of Supervisors unanimously supported the joint proposal over EAH Housing because of CLAM’s dedication to community involvement. “While there are technical reasons that one may be better than the other, I think the community part of this proposal is really, to me, one of the most important elements,” Supervisor Dennis Rodoni said on Tuesday. Hundreds of commenters echoed the sentiment. “CLAM is the community in structure, function and people,” said Mark Switzer, who managed EAH’s 14 duplexes, called Point Reyes Family Homes, from 2007 to 2016. He said EAH, as an ever-expanding organization, is unable to create community. “EAH is inherently disconnected, an agency forever adapting generalized policies to diverse localities,” he said. Inverness resident Marshall Livingston, a founding member of CLAM’s board, argued that EAH, despite owning multiple local properties, has not had a visible presence in community affairs. “On the other hand, CLAM is built from the ground up by this West Marin community, from conversational concept to fully operating housing organization,” he said. Though some raised concerns about the joint venture, Andrea Osgood, Eden’s vice president of real estate development, said the groups have a memorandum of understanding and emphasized that Eden has partnered with community-based organizations 14 other times. Eden, based in Hayward, will have 51 percent ownership of the property, and plans to build a septic system based on recommendations in a county wastewater study contracted last year. EAH had argued that it had a quicker path to realizing housing because it owns the neighboring Point Reyes Family Homes, whose septic system could be shared with the Coast Guard property through a secondary treatment system. But Supervisor Rodoni was skeptical of this advantage. “I do know enough about septic work in West Marin and the region to know that the regulatory requirements can be quite restrictive, and it doesn't always work out that you get what you had set out to do,” he said. With a developer selected, county staff will work with CLAM and Eden to reach a development agreement, which could differ from the original proposal. The agreement could be delayed, with county staff stretched for time due to Covid-19, planner Leelee Thomas said. And although the agreement is a priority, there are still many steps before the project is complete. “We’re in this for the long haul,” she said.