.Housing Brouhaha: Listen to Marin City residents

With its 825 Drake development project, the Board of Supervisors has again taken action that impacts Marin City without consulting, and over the objection of, Marin City residents. This is both a moral failure and a failure of representative democracy.

Marin City is the most diverse community in Marin County. It is a strong and vibrant community on a relatively small but beautiful patch of land in Marin County. Marin City is a half-square-mile community of 3,094 people—with only 1.2% of the total county’s population and .1% of the county’s land area.

Shockingly out of proportion to Marin City’s relatively small size, the county has concentrated its higher-density housing there. It has concentrated in Marin City 60% of the county’s public housing and nearly half of its publicly assisted multi-family rental units.

To this over-burdened community, the Board of Supervisors has now decided to add more high-density housing, reviving the previously shelved 74-unit 825 Drake project. There was no communication with the Marin City Community Services District—who have now voiced their strenuous objections—before pushing through a $40 million bond to support the developer.

This action is just the latest in a long history of initiatives that the Board of Supervisors has undertaken without consulting the residents of Marin City. For far too long, the Board of Supervisors has announced projects without seeing the need to listen to input from the residents. Like all Marin County residents, the residents of Marin City deserve representatives who listen to their concerns before deciding issues that impact their lives and community. They deserve the dignity of self-determination in the community that is their home.

The 825 Drake development project should be stopped immediately. The property should be conveyed to an entity committed to working on behalf of—and not against—the interests of the Marin City community. The Board of Supervisors should recommit to living up to their affordable-housing responsibilities in a way that does not perpetuate and increase racial disparities in Marin County.

Rev. Scott Clark is a pastor at First Presbyterian Church of San Anselmo.


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