Marin County may delay oyster suits

A preliminary ruling in Marin Superior Court last week paused a lawsuit between the California Coastal Commission and Drakes Bay Oyster Company and its supporters after a judge decided to wait for a resolution to pending litigation between the oyster farm and the federal government. In April, both oysterman Kevin...

County staff call for more flexibility in LCP

A new county staff report on the program that will regulate development in Marin County’s Coastal Zone reveals some of the environmental, agricultural and procedural issues still being hammered out before a July 30 public meeting, when the Board of Supervisors could decide to send the plan to the California Coastal Commission for approval. The Local Coastal Program amendments, five years in the making, will affect development, agriculture and the environment from Dillon Beach to Muir Beach. They constitute the plan’s first overhaul since Marin’s LCP was created in 1981, and their authors must weigh a host of considerations—though balancing environmental concerns and the hardships of agricultural producers presents the primary struggle. The staff report, released last week...

Plastic bag ban upheld in court

Retailers in unincorporated Marin are still banned from giving out single-use bags after the First District Court of Appeals ruled in favor last week of the county’s 2011 ordinance against dispensing bags for one-time use. About 40 retail stores in unincorporated areas of Marin are affected by the ban, according...

Marin Organic hires new director

Marin Organic announced on Monday the appointment of Jeffrey Westman, a Sebastopol resident, as executive director. The Point Reyes Station-based nonprofit promotes sustainable organic agriculture in a county that has grown its organic acreage from 200 to 20,000 since the group’s inception in 2001. Mr. Westman has broad goals of...

Writers’ retreat gets fresh energy

Mesa Refuge, a writers’ retreat in Point Reyes Station, announced the appointment of a new executive director this week. Susan Page Tillet formerly led a Chicago retreat for writers, where she raised more than $10 million to diversify the program, restore historic structures and develop community outreach, according to the...

Bank bends to village complaints

Wells Fargo has acceded to requests from the Point Reyes Station Village Association to modify the look of the only corporate-owned presence in town. To the bank’s plans to make a number of changes to the building, including the color of the awnings and outside walls, the association had two...

Snowy plovers, with helping hands, increase in seashore

In spite of ravens, wind and sprawling invasive grasses, Western snowy plovers’ nests have nearly tripled at Point Reyes National Seashore since last year. Still, the seashore’s snowy plover biologist, Carolyn Campbell, worries. Half of the federally threatened birds’ 20 nests have failed this breeding season, which began in March. Just two of seven failed last year. Ms. Campbell surveys a roughly six-mile stretch from Kehoe Beach to North Beach five days a week, combing the sand for nests, called scrapes. Around the most vulnerable sites, she sets up a 5-foot-wide by 5-foot–high circular cage, known as an exclosure. Though the breeding season ends in September, it can take 60 days for a snowy plover’s offspring to reach maturity: about three to nest, three to mate and lay eggs, 28 to incubate the eggs, and...

Midwives hope for autonomy from state bill

Legislation passed by the state assembly in May and by a senate committee on Monday would ease some restrictions faced by midwives in California but would not lift a requirement of physician oversight. That law, though currently unenforced, effectively bars Medi-Cal recipients—25 to 30 percent of Marin’s pregnant women—from midwifery services. Pushing to allow licensed midwives to operate independently and lawfully are both midwives themselves and a coalition representing families. They say home birth offers a holistic model of pregnancy that empowers women during the nine-month journey to motherhood as well as during birth. Assembly Bill 1308 would ensure that licensed midwives have access to medical supplies, lab tests and other necessities to serve women seeking to give birth in their homes; it would also allow...

County will sit on Chicken Ranch 

Restoration plans for a popular section of beach on Tomales Bay don’t appear to be in the cards in the near future, but the proposal to recreate a floodplain and wetlands system at Chicken Ranch Beach has garnered two different price tags. Tomales Bay Watershed Council in May sent a proposal to restore a section of Third Valley Creek, which bisects the beach on the southern end, to the parks department and Board of Supervisors. The plan, developed with county involvement over eight years, addresses an intractable water quality problem that plagues Channel B. The strip of land often dries up during the summer but fills during storms and the rainy season; it also acts as an end point for much of the animal feces and waste in the nearby watershed. Neysa King, coordinator for the council, pegs the cost of the restoration...

Cob oven puts a finishing touch on Bolinas park

The latest incarnation of a parcel of land in downtown Bolinas long known as Burnt Park received a finishing touch this weekend as volunteers installed a steel barrel oven covered in a natural building material called cob. Though the long-term maintenance plan for the lot remains unclear, the park has come a long way. The roughly 50,000 square-foot lot was purchased by the Mesa Park Board with funds from Michael Moritz, a Welsh venture capitalist who owns a house in town, from Ernie and James Tacherra. The Tacherras had owned the land since 1971, a few years before the lot’s former owner burned...


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