The Bolinas Community Land Trust is busy these days.
After over a decade of owning two residential properties (as well as three commercial properties and the downtown gas station) that house 22 people, the group is acquiring properties that will significantly boost the number of people living in affordable housing in town.
Last year, the trust purchased a house on Aspen Road and received a donation of three contiguous lots. In January, it bought a water meter to serve those three lots (the group now owns two meters), and it is in the process of purchasing another property, too.
That’s all in addition to two more homes that will one day belong to the trust, as Bolinas residents Joe Koppal and Harmony Maia promised last year to bequeath their respective abodes to the group.
To fund the projects and “create a revolving fund to have funds to draw from in order to start projects,” as executive director Arianne Dar put it, the nonprofit kicked off a capital campaign in the fall to raise $2 million in two years. So far, the trust has received $300,000, as well as $400,000 in loans, to support ongoing projects.
On May 17, the group will hold a major fundraiser for the campaign. The money raised is specifically to pay for renovations to the Aspen Road property, which will cost an estimated $300,000.
“The property needs to be brought to code compliance: a new septic, foundation, sprinklers, upgraded windows, landscaping, and a second unit,” Ms. Dar said.
The trust hopes to rent out the property by the fall, though an ultimate move-in date is contingent on the county planning process, she said.
Once the Aspen Road home is finished, the nonprofit will mortgage it to fund future projects. “The $2 million…is going to be spent over and over and over again, to allow us to acquire properties quickly and efficiently,” Ms. Dar said.
At next week’s fundraiser, hosted by land trust board member Frances McDormand—of Oscar-winning fame—and Mark and Susie Buell, author Jaron Lanier will give a talk about his book “Dawn of the New Everything: Encounters with Reality and Virtual Reality,” which mixes memoir with discussions of V.R.
Mr. Lanier is a computer scientist, author and composer who founded one of the earliest companies to sell virtual reality apparatuses, VPL Research, in 1984.
He writes about technology from numerous angles: the data we give away freely to large tech firms, the perils intrinsic to the internet’s design, and, in a book to be released this month, about why you should delete your social media accounts.
When Time Magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2010, they wrote of Mr. Lanier, “With an expertise earned through decades of work in the field, Lanier challenges us to express our essential humanity via 21st century technology instead of disappearing in it.”
Jaron Lanier speaks about his new book, “Dawn of the New Everything,” on Saturday, May 19 at the Peace Barn, in Bolinas. A cocktail reception starts at 5 p.m. Tickets for the spring benefit, which includes a musical set by Thao Nguyen, an open bar and locally sourced appetizers, are $250 and can be purchased in advance at brownpapertickets.com.