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A publication of the American Planning Association, California Chapter, Northern Section

Creating great communities for all

San Quentin site could go from gun range to teacher housing, with state support

By J. K. Dineen, San Francisco Chronicle, May 15, 2022

“On a former San Quentin gun range overlooking the Larkspur Ferry Terminal, a team of nonprofits is planning to build … Marin County’s largest affordable housing development in half a century.

“The project is on state-owned land and not subject to the approvals of local Marin County officials, who are notorious for delaying and killing proposed housing.

“While 17 [government-owned properties] are in the planning stages of [housing] development statewide, perhaps none are as spectacular as the 8-acre hillside property on Sir Francis Drake Boulevard in Larkspur, a city where homes average $2.3 million.

“The project is undergoing environmental review and the developers hope to open by 2025.

“A total of 135 units of the 250 units [in the proposed project] would be available to low to moderate income educators at rents that would be … about $2,100 in the current market. The remaining 115 units would be available to extremely low to low income households

“Robin Pendoley, who works on education equity issues for the Marin Promises Partnership, said the dearth of affordable places to live has exacerbated the difficulty of creating a diverse workforce. Students of color make up 43 percent of the total Marin student body but only 11 percent of teachers are educators of color. Creating affordable housing ‘is an important component of competing for and retaining educators of color,’ he said.

“[Larkspur resident David Herr said,] ‘There was no open and transparent process to determine what makes sense there in terms of zoning [for 250 housing units]. The ‘mandate’ from the state was created by the developer’s winning RFP proposal — it’s zoning by RFP.’ ”

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