Monday, July 29, 2013

Have you signed up for yet?

Have you signed-up yet? In addition to this website maintained by the Santa Margarita Neighborhood Association, the relatively new, but increasingly popular Nextdoor website is a great way for homeowners and residents of Terra Linda to get to know your neighbors and share information about garage sales, neighborhood events, break-in alerts, or anything you and your fellow neighbors may have in common!

Sign-in or get a free account Some information from the website will be shared with the NextDoor Terra Linda site.   

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Open Position on San Rafael Citizens Advisory Committee on Economic Development and Affordable Housing - Applications are due August 13

San Rafael is accepting applications for one 4-year position on the citizens advisory committee on economic development and affordable housing.

Although the committee was announced at the last council meeting, perhaps someone did not work out. 

For all of us expressing dismay that there was no notice when we learned after the fact that applications were solicited, this is your notice. 

Applications due 8/13 and interview 8/19.  See Marin IJ, 7/26, page A4.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Housing Element of Marin County Wide Plan

There are several land use issues now being decided by the County that will greatly impact Marin and our community.

The Housing Element is one of the seven mandated elements of the County’s local general plan, the 2007 County Wide Plan (CWP). Housing Element law requires each city and County to identify and designate “inventory sites” that will allow for the development of high density affordable housing.

The Housing Element must detail a concrete “program of actions” the local government commits to carry out so that its fair share of new affordable housing can be built. These actions include designation of “inventory sites” and implementing programs, and the rezoning of sites to allow for development of 30 housing units/acre, or more.

The current proposed Housing Element designates and calls for the rezoning of several properties in Lucas Valley, Marinwood and St. Vincent’s to allow for high density affordable housing. The identified sites are as follows:

  • St. Vincent’s: 221 units
  • Marinwood Plaza: 100 units
  • Grady Ranch: 240 units

Other sites that have also been identified, and may be included in the next planning period 2014-2022 are:

  • Rotary Village: 60 units
  • Big Rock Deli: 80 units
  • Los Ranchitos: 60 units

In addition, the (City of) San Rafael General plan provides for 620 additional units of housing by 2020. These sites are all to be developed at 30 – 45 units/acre or more

Further, in accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), the County has performed a Supplemental Environmental Impact Report (SEIR), which identifies and studies various impacts the inventory sites would have on traffic, schools, air quality, etc. if built. The SEIR is a “Program EIR” meaning that future development on any identified inventory site will be allowed to use the SEIR to facilitate future environmental review, and thus development.

The Housing Element and its SEIR will become County Law if approved by the Board of Supervisors. The vote is anticipated in late (August – September) summer or early fall.

The Housing Element and its SEIR as currently proposed could have serious impacts to our community. Some of the impacts are:

  • School capacity and funding: The cumulative impacts on schools of 546 proposed (tax exempted family household) units from the County unincorporated area and an additional 620 units for San Rafael, have not been studied. Funding for schools has not been considered.(to assess if the School District can absorb students from 1,166 new family households without any new revenue / exempted from annual school funding)
  • Properties up-zoned to 30 units/acre in otherwise single family resident neighborhoods;
  • Increased costs for all community services, (paid by local, not county, taxpayers)
  • Traffic congestion
  • Funding shortfall and for services (fire, police, sheriff)

Vegetation Biodiversity Management Plan released and seeking public comment

The Marin County Open Space District (MCOSD) and members of the Parks and Open Space Commission heard a report on July 16, 2013 from parks staff on a draft Vegetation and Biodiversity Management Plan (VBMP). The district owns and manages 34 open space preserves that are managed for both natural resource protection and recreation. Vegetation management has been focused on clearing fuelbreaks as impediments to the spread of potential natural or human-caused fires, but the clearing has led to an unforeseen infestation of invasive nonnative plants.

The MCOSD has experienced an increase of more than 500% in vegetation management responsibilities over the past decade. This is largely a result of increased fuelbreak construction, and the expansion of weed infestations. The MCOSD has not experienced a corollary increase in staffing or budget. Consequently, many of the weed infestations are going untreated, and displacing rare species and native habitats throughout the preserve, resulting in the degradation of the quality of MCOSD lands. As a result, MCOSD is less able to reduce fuel loads and preserve biological diversity on its preserves.

Community involvement is critical to the success of the VBMP process. We have hosted public workshops at different stages of the project to convey information, and to solicit input and answer questions. The Marin Parks website is the place to find information about the VBMP project including public workshop dates, locations, and agendas as well as related documents as they become available. Throughout the development and implementation of the VBMP, we will work closely with the Marin County Fire Department, local and regional fire districts, and other partners and entities, including local fire departments, cities, and stakeholders to ensure information sharing and participation in the development and implementation of the VBMP.

To see the plan, have an opportunity to comment, go to: The comment period runs for 30 days. Please use this online form to let us know what you think about the Preliminary Draft VBMP. Your feedback must be submitted by 5:00 p.m., August 16, 2013.
Contact Natural Resources Program Manager Mischon Martin or (415) 473-2056 for more information.

Fence Policy

This policy statement addresses the current height regulations for fences/walls located in front yard and street side yard setbacks of the residential zoning districts, as they apply to the replacement of existing fences/walls.


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

California Fire Service Safety Stand Down July 3, 2013 High Priority

All Personnel:

Flag are at half-staff at San Rafael Public buildings in honor of the 19 fallen Arizona Firefighters.

In addition, the California Fire Service has issued a "Safety Stand Down" on July 3, 2013. (see attached)

Regular non-emergency activity on July 3, 2013, should be limited to essential functions.

The time is being set aside for individual company or multi-company activity to discuss safety and awareness among personnel.

Some additional resources are available in the work file \\sr_fs1\WorkFile\Fire- WorkFile\Line\Safety Stand Down July 3, 2013
Along with a couple of additional attachments Wildfire notes, WUI Exercises and Causes of Entrapments.

There is some excellent resource information available here:

Letter from California Fire Service

"The recent loss of nineteen courageous firefighters from Arizona is a grounding reminder of the dangers faced by firefighters everyday. While we mourn the loss of our fallen, it is imperative that each of us take this opportunity to review the basic wildland fire safety principles that help protect California's firefighters.

As we head into a very hot and dry Fourth of July holiday weekend, a coalition of California Fire Service partners is coming together to announce a Safety Stand Down for July 3, 2013. The purpose of the Safety Stand Down is to encourage all members of the California Fire Service to take the necessary time to review and discuss critical policies
and procedures.

Many agencies have already completed their annual wildland training refreshers with the essential information that will help keep everyone safe. This included the Ten Standard Fire Orders, Eighteen Fire Situations That Shout "Watch Out!", LCES, Common denominators of wildland fire fatalities, and a focus on wellness that includes physical training, adequate nutrition and hydration, adequate sleep and stress management.

The July 3, 2013 Safety Stand Down is focused on a review of these safety procedures in the wildland and wildland-urban interface. The focus for this review should not be on tactical skills but should be on informal discussions around the firehouse to encourage each crew to review their plans for staying aware and safe.

The following links are included as a resource list but should be augmented by each department's SOPs:

We stand together with the hope that every department and every member will join with us for the Safety Stand
Down on July 3rd to continue to make safety our number one priority. Safety is everyone's responsibility; together we
can help ensure that everyone goes home at the end of his or her shift."

Be safe.Remember CREW Protection


Christopher Gray

Fire Chief

Rare but real: break-ins of houses and cars

One of our neighbors writes:

Vigilance. Ask the Sheriff for extra patrol, talk to your neighbors, talk to your friends and family, let them know what is going on. The best way to avoid getting your house broken into or your car stolen is to 
1. Break your rut, vary the times you leave and return to your home, 
2. Talk with your neighbors and walk outside more often, if you can wake up a bit earlier and just walk around your block and ask your neighbors to do the same, talk to the newspaper delivery guy and the dog walkers ask them to keep their eyes peeled. 

It doesn't take much to break into a car or a home. Take a different route home, keep your eyes peeled and DON'T BE AFRAID TO PHONE THE POLICE IF YOU SEE SOMEONE SUSPICIOUS, most people are reluctant to phone, don't be, the police would rather bother 100 folks only to find them just neighbors, than to let 50 people who were up to no good get away. I was a Police Dispatcher and I am writing from experience. 

Don't leave doors or windows open (especially at night during heat waves) lock up everything as if you lived in a high crime neighborhood. There is nothing worse than the feeling of being ripped off, if you have a garage, clean it out and park the car in there, if you can, get a security camera, if someone does break i to your home or steals your car, or your neighbors place gets hit, the camera will help catch the perp. 

We live in a different world today and need to take extra measures to protect our things.