Housing report

Marin Communities Reject Affordable Housing Report Recommendation

MARIN COUNTY – The cities and towns of Fairfax, San Rafael, Ross and Larkspur in Marin County will submit their responses to a civil grand jury report released in June titled “Affordable Housing: Time to Collaborate in Marin.”

The jury wrote a strong rebuke from the county for rejecting an earlier affordable housing report that a civil grand jury had submitted five years prior that made essentially the same recommendation – a manager or entity should be tasked with expediting and to coordinate the county’s move toward more low-to-middle income housing.

Not only has Marin’s affordable housing situation not improved, according to the civil grand jury, but a law that took effect in 2018 – Senate Bill 35 – states that if a local government does not meet the thresholds increased state-mandated affordable housing, then a city, town, or county loses local control over the process and the state can greenlight new developments without their approval.

“The task ahead of the county and municipalities of Marin is to build more affordable housing while maintaining local control,” the jury report said. “Achieving these goals will require increased county-wide cooperation at the highest levels of government.”

Marin County doesn’t just have a housing problem, it also has a labor problem, the jury said. Many low-to-middle-income workers in the county cannot afford to live there, which has also impacted hiring. Only about 45% of Marin County government employees live in the county, the jury said, and less than 25% of new county government hires do.

“Local governments are struggling to fill the positions needed to provide needed public services,” the jury said. “Companies are also struggling to attract workers in many sectors, from retail to hospitality to construction trades.”

Municipalities in Marin have been asked to respond to the report, and several cities and towns will submit their responses within the month. While most communities broadly agreed with the report’s findings, they balked at the jury’s only recommendation to create a regional authority to oversee affordable housing by December 31.

“This recommendation will not be implemented as it is neither warranted nor reasonable,” the City of Ross said.

Fairfax, San Rafael and Larkspur agreed.

Fairfax’s response was a sentiment shared by others: “Forming a joint powers agreement with 12 jurisdictions would require a significant investment of time, funding and energy that would likely harm current housing efforts,” said Fairfax. said the city. “Doing so by December 31 is not a realistic timeline, particularly as each jurisdiction in Marin is currently working to meet statutory deadlines to submit their housing item by January 31, 2023.”

The Board of Supervisors, the cities of Mill Valley, Novato, Belvedere and Sausalito are also asked to respond by September 22, as are the cities of Corte Madera, San Anselmo and Tiburon.