November 2017 Update Part 2

Dear Friends of Tiburon Open Space,

Based upon the flurry of activity that has recently taken place, and as a result of our discussions and email exchanges with many of you, we thought it wise to offer some clarification about Martha and her current status.

Now that the Marin County Board of Supervisors (BOS) has certified the Environmental Impact Report (EIR), several of you have asked us if it’s now all over. Is Martha lost?

View towards Angel Island © Jocelyn Knight

View towards Angel Island © Jocelyn Knight

To which we offer a resounding response: absolutely not! Our cause is alive, well, and energized. The BOS reluctantly certified the EIR, pointing to the power of the earlier federal judgment. Even the BOS have voiced their hopes that Martha will not be developed.

You should know that our mission has not changed: We want to buy the Martha Property so that it will remain open space that will remain open forever.

There are still years to go in this process: scores of approvals and regulatory steps, likely including legal action, and much negotiating to be done. We are even hopeful that there might be an opening, sometime in 2018, for us to get the property owners to sit at the bargaining table with us and other interested parties. In the meantime, there is much work to do.

Given the massive tragedy of the wine country fires, we continue to be greatly concerned about the overwhelming number of safety dangers that the proposed development creates.

There is the significant and awful possibility of fires in Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) areas as this project creates; the severe, dangerous limitations of the proposed construction road; the challenges of first responders to work their way towards danger as they attempt to navigate the narrow roads of Tiburon while citizens attempt to flee…these are all quite real dangers.  Another? The lack of water pressure…the estimates of pressure we have seen are woefully low for one house, let alone for multi-house fires. There are other significant safety issues across the spectrum of this project. They are very real, and the EIR certification has not made them go away.

This is the reason why TOS has filed suit against the BOS stating that the safety mitigations that Martha has proposed, and that the Board has certified, are not only inadequate, they will place residents of Tiburon in danger. We will keep you updated on this. We need your help with this.

We respectfully and hopefully ask that you please stay engaged, speak up!, comment, log on, speak to your friends and other interested parties, and keep the dialogue going. Help us greatly expand the number of people who will hear about and understand our actions as we attempt to save Martha.

And, as the year-end approaches, we humbly ask you to donate to this collective cause as much as you possibly can. We have retained legal counsel, and will soon be retaining additional subject matter, safety and construction experts. We need you.

Our thanks. Let’s talk again soon.

Tiburon Open Space Committee

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November 2017 Update

To Friends of Tiburon Open Space,
 
Today Martha and Marin County met in private to discuss the open issues and plan next steps. I was included.

Martha Property.jpg

The issues didn’t change:  there are still disagreements about the restrictions Marin County placed on the project when the Board of Supervisors certified the Environmental Impact Report on October 3rd.

Martha counsel will now file documents detailing their claims and Marin County will respond. The Federal Court date is now set for January 11, 2018.

Well before January, Tiburon Open Space (TOS) will retain water hydraulic experts to evaluate the Martha project’s ability to fight a grass/forest fire such as in Napa/Sonoma. TOS will also have legal bills assessing whether aspects of the project may not be safe.

We can really use your help. Please consider a donation as the year end approaches.  And, if you can, invite several of your friends, living nearby or far away, to like us on Facebook. We need more people sounding the call for saving Martha.

Ultimately, our goal is to buy the land for everyone forever. Thank you.

 All the best,

Jerry

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Marin Green Drinks

Dear Friends of Tiburon Open Space,

There are occasionally events that we think you would find enlightening and entertaining. We are happy to share one with you now that is particularly relevant given the recent developments concerning The Martha Property.

On November 14, 2017 you are invited to the free monthly Marin Green Drinks business mixer in downtown San Rafael.

Alignable-MGD.jpg

Jerry Riessen from the Tiburon Open Space Committee will be the guest speaker.

His topic will be "Save the Martha Property as Open Space.” Jerry will share his thoughts on the only major parcel of open land that remains on the Tiburon Peninsula — the magnificent 110-acre Martha Property. Marthais privately owned and, just a few days ago, the Environmental Impact Report was certified by the Marin County Board of Supervisors.

You'll also get a chance to mix and mingle with North Bay green business folks and taste some organic food, beers and wine.

Marin Green Drinks is hosted by Jody Ceniceros and Alex Kahl. The event is held at Lotus Cuisine of India. This restaurant is a certified green business which is consistently rated one of the best restaurants in the Bay Area.
 
Join us on November 14 at 5:30 PM. Bring business cards, a colleague or friend, and be sure to RSVP here.

The Tiburon Open Space Committee

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October 2017 Update

Dear Friends of Tiburon Open Space,
 
Last Tuesday the Marin County Board of Supervisors (BOS) certified the Martha Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for 43 large houses on the Martha Property at the southern end of Tiburon Peninsula. The 3-2 vote was driven by a federal court order dating back to 2008, which mandated this outcome and an 14-month time line to achieve it. The fact that it actually took over nine years is a testament both to the difficulties facing this project as well as the formidable citizen concern and involvement.

Martha Property view to southeast ©Jocelyn Knight

Martha Property view to southeast ©Jocelyn Knight

Under the now-certified EIR, the BOS generally approved lot locations of approximately 1/2 acre in size. However, they moved three locations far downhill, closer to Paradise Drive. They also restricted the remaining 24 upper-ridge houses to 18’ in height above grade. The house sizes requested by the applicant were denied. Smaller houses seem likely, but those decisions won’t come until design review - long after the required infrastructure is constructed.

How the numerous traffic and dangerous road safety issues will be managed remains a considerable challenge.

The developer has proposed that the homeowners association (HOA) will have a host of incredibly complex responsibilities including special plant protection, landslide management and repair...forever! These are very daunting tasks for a HOA and we will monitor the arrangements.

Additionally, the recently filed TRUST (trails) lawsuit and potential water rights litigation also cast a cloud over the project.

Here is the Marin IJ link for more details about the meeting.

We plan to keep all of these issues front and center. They have not gone away.  And, by the way, neither will we. So we continue to ask for your support.

Please stay tuned…and involved as we continue to pursue our real goal - the purchase of the Martha Property for all and forever.

Let’s talk soon.

The Tiburon Open Space Committee

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Reminder: Board of Supervisors Meeting is Tomorrow

Dear Friends of Tiburon Open Space,

Tomorrow is the Board of Supervisors meeting when they will publicly consider certification of the Martha Property Environmental Impact Report.  

And here is the promised reminder: we hope that you can join us in the Supervisor's Chambers for the hearing. This isacritical milestone as they consider certification, and as we work to keep Martha open. Your support will be noticed by the Board, and it will be gratefully appreciated by all of us who want to save Martha from development.

Date:     Tomorrow, Tuesday September 19
Time:     1:30 PM (not 1:00 pm)
Place:    Supervisors Chambers 3rd Floor
              Marin County Civic Center
              10 Avenue of the Flags. San Rafael

Thank you. It will be great to see you there.

Tiburon Open Space Committee

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Tiburon Open Space: Save Martha Property

Dear Friends of Tiburon Open Space,
 
The Board of Supervisors meeting is next Tuesday September 19. We hope that you can join us there to voice your concerns about the Martha Property and, among other issues, the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) document certification which we oppose.

In preparation for the meeting, we thought that we'd take a quiet moment to remind ourselves about why we are doing this. Why it is so important to save Martha from development for our town and this region, for its plant and animal inhabitants, for our sense of home and place, for our children, and theirs.  

We also thought that you might appreciate a moment of quiet to consider the stakes...there is so much to gain. And there is so much to possibly lose forever.

So click the link below and enjoy a message that reminds us of all of these things. Please enjoy Martha Property and this view from above in this YouTube video.


Barry Wilson is to be deeply thanked for his efforts in conceiving, filming, shooting and interviewing for the video. Barry's countless hours of determination and care gave voice to Martha and our desire to keep her as she is. Thank you for it all, Barry. Jacob and Doriane of the agency LAtelier in Tiburon helped complete the story and did a great job of editing. Thanks.... Thanks to you both for your work and raising your hands.  

We hope to see you Tuesday the 19th @ 1:00 in the Supervisor's chambers @ the Marin Civic Center.  It's worth it.

We'll talk again soon.
 
The Tiburon Open Space Committee

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September 2017 Update

Dear Friends of Tiburon Open Space,

The time to act has arrived. The Board of Supervisors have announced that there will be a hearing to consider certifying the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the Martha Property. The date is Tuesday, September 19th. We need you there.

You will recall that the Martha property owners submitted a modified Master Plan. There are a significant number of new impacts for the development that resulted. County staff have prepared a summary report that is 100’s of pages long. It was released on September 5th. They have given four days for comment. This is plain and simply insufficient time to consider their document and provide meaningful feedback.

It is our view that the EIR should not be certified at the September 19th meeting. The stakes are too high; the unresolved issues too complex.

We remind everyone that the environmental review was created to involve the public. This process has been going on for more than 20 years. Given the scope of these comments, four days does not allow reasonable response time.

Martha Trail by Jocelyn Knight.jpg

So, how can you help?
 
1. We have only until September 9th to offer the Supervisors written comment. We ask you to write a note to them stating your concerns.  Is it fire safety? Water issues? Traffic safety implications? Environmental (endangered flora and fauna) concerns? Let them know!

The email should be addressed to Mr. Curtis Havel at the Marin County Community Development Agency: chavel@marincounty.org

2. Please come to the meeting. We need to fill the Supervisor’s Chambers on the 3rd floor of the Marin County Civic Center at 1:00p on Tuesday, September 19th. The address is 3501 Civic Center Drive, San Rafael. We need to fill the Chambers. It matters.

Please write a note, and then plan on attending on September 19th. That’s what it’s going to take.

We thank you. We appreciate your support. Please pass this along to other interested parties. Call us with questions. And look for another note in the days ahead.

The Tiburon Open Space Committee

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July 2017 Update Part 2

Dear Friends of Tiburon Open Space,

A curious thing has happened. Remember this?

The gate to Spanish Trail is now gone. No one has claimed responsibility. Was it an angry lover of open space? The sewer district doing maintenance work? We don’t know.

 Now, remember this?

private property large 2.jpg

We sure do. This also represents the destruction of property. Tragically, this sign still stands as a stark symbol of what lies ahead for Martha.

We respect private property. We do not condone its destruction in the case of a gate that restricts access. Nor do we condone it in the case of a solitary and ancient rock.

This is terribly troubling. In our minds, it unquestioningly confirms that the best outcome is to keep Martha as open space for all and forever.

There is increased activity on and about Martha. Consequential decisions lie ahead. We are in the process of screening subject matter experts to assist us as we respond to the complex environmental, engineering and construction questions raised by the recently submitted plan revisions.

And it is all very serious. Please make a contribution to help us in our efforts. We need it and will be most grateful for it.

Give us a call. Like us on Facebook. Pass this story and your thoughts along to friends near and far. We are endeavoring to grow this community of citizens dedicated to keeping Martha open. Thank you. We’ll talk again soon.

The Tiburon Open Space Committee

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July 2017 Update

Dear Friends of Tiburon Open Space,
 
There has been movement on Martha. The developers have submitted a revised plan to Marin County. We believe that the revision raises more questions than answers. We will need to engage environmental, construction and legal counsel in order to fully assess the proposal and its implications. Some initial observations:

There are still 43 large mansions proposed, many of them located on the now pristine ridge line that we all enjoy. Many would destroy the views from Old St Hilary’s Open Space. And many others. This should not happen.

The water tank has been lowered a scant 20 feet. It will still disturb those remarkable, precious views. What’s more, it will now be partially cut into the hill, resulting in an 18 foot, cliff-like hazard to anyone who happens by. Remarkably, many of the proposed homes have not been lowered. This means that the serious questions about dangerously inadequate water pressure remains.

A few houses have been relocated, but several remain inside areas that havethreatened and protected plant species. They propose to build several homes extremely close to them. We wonder why.

The construction road, already deemed too dangerous for the Tiburon Fire Department to use, has been re-routed. It appears that the new road is steeper than the original.

Martha Private Signs 1.JPG

Each of these proposed changes requires that we engage subject matter experts throughout the summer.  We need solid information as we prepare for the revised proposal’s public comment hearing, which will soon be scheduled before the Marin County Board of Supervisors.
As ever, we very much need your assistance to take up this critically important work. We would be grateful.

Your contributions will constitute further investment towards our collective goal: to some day make Martha open to all and forever.

We hope to hear from you soon. Thank you.

The Tiburon Open Space Committee

See also this Marin IJ article.

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June 2017 Update

Dear Friends of Tiburon Open Space,

© Rick York and CNPS

© Rick York and CNPS

We hope this finds you well. The majority of our chats with you have been about the land, the legal and our lament and deep concern about the proposed development of Martha. Today we’d like to share with you a bit about what grows on that land. The property, and the land that surrounds it, is also the home of some rare and endangered native plant species.

The rare black Tiburon Jewelflower, in bloom in May and June, is an odd member of the Mustard family that is darkish maroon, almost black, in color. This might explain its scientific name, Streptanthus Glandulosus Niger. We think that Streptanthus Glandulosus perhaps sounds more like a disease than a flower. But it is not the only rare or endangered plant that lives in the open spaces of Tiburon. You can also find Tiburon Buckwheat, Tiburon Paintbrush, Tiburon Mariposa Lily and Marin Dwarf Flax. An entire Tiburon family, you might say.

© Mark W. Skinner

© Mark W. Skinner

These rare beauties are not limited to Tiburon. Marin County has about 129 rare, endangered or threatened native plant species. It seems that rarity in the natural world is not that, well, rare. Thirty-five percent of the native plants in the United States are considered rare and this only counts those plants which have already been found. We like to imagine all those yet to be discovered.

© Ben Solvesky

© Ben Solvesky

© Aaron Arthur

© Aaron Arthur

This is another important reason why we’re fighting this fight for Martha. As ever, we need your help in our efforts to continue to engage and prepare for the battle to keep this rare and remarkable open space…open. For the land, and for all the beasts and beauties that live upon it.

Please like us on Facebook, encourage a friend to join us, and, if you can, send us a check so that we can continue this important work.

Thank you. We’ll look forward to talking again soon.

The Tiburon Open Space Committee

To learn more, click here.

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May 2017 Update

Welcome to Déjà vu.  All over again.

Yes, there has been yet another extension granted to the owners of the Martha Property.  Didn’t this just happen, you ask? It sure did.  This is the third extension. It has stretched on for years. The next new date is September 28th, 2017.  

The extension speaks of “…proposed potential revisions to their previous plans.”  Perhaps the proposed revisions will actually address the many and substantial environmental challenges.  We shall see.

In the meantime, we know this: further revisions will result in the need for us to hire expert consultants to confirm the accuracy of what is proposed, whatever it may be and whenever it occurs.  When the plans become public, we will keep you informed.

All of this will, of course, require resources.  And for those we need you.

Please log onto our website and make a donation. Like us and follow us on Facebook, too.  The longer this goes, the more help we will need. We’ll be grateful, as always.

It has been nice talking to you.  We’ll look forward to the next time.

Tiburon Open Space Committee

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April 2017 Update

Dear Friends of Tiburon Open Space,
 
We hope that this finds you well. It’s a great time of year. Spring has sprung. The hillsides are lush and green. And our work to save the Martha Property from development continues.  

As we mentioned in our last note, and at the request of the Martha Property owners, we find ourselves in the midst of a 90 day legal delay. Should that change in any way, we will immediately let you know.

In the meantime, we thought we would introduce you to a good friend of ours. The Greenbelt Alliance is a 60 year old organization that many of you will not have heard of. They are focused on a single challenge: how the Bay Area handles growth. They work very hard to shape the rules that govern growth to protect the region’s open spaces, and to insure that neighborhoods within cities and towns are amazing places for everyone. It is little wonder, then, that we at Tiburon Open Space would like for you to know more about them.

They author an important report called At Risk: The Bay Area Greenbelt. You can find it here and we are included on page 14. It is the definitive research on the area’s farms, ranches, and natural areas at risk of being lost forever to sprawl development.

Sunset across Martha Property from existing open space  2.jpg

Additionally, you can find their take on the mission to save the Martha Property, one that features our leader, Jerry Riessen. It’s a good read, and, we hope, will be additional stimulus for you to get involved, send this along to a friend or neighbor, send us a contribution to help us do our work and, of course, like us on Facebook. There cannot be too much of your support.  And we are grateful for every bit of it.

We appreciate your time, too. And look forward to talking again soon.

Tiburon Open Space Committee

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March 2017 Update

Dear Friends of Tiburon Open Space,

Here’s a bit of an update.
 
At first glance, there doesn’t appear to be much to report.  There has been yet another delay.

The owners of the Martha Property have requested that the long scheduled hearing before a Federal judge scheduled for March 16th be postponed a full three months. Their request was granted. Be reminded, however, that Martha had previously requested a one month delay that resulted in the March 16th court date.

We guard against the shrugged shoulders that the delay might produce. In our view in fact, it represents both an interesting and provocative development. For the longest time, Martha’s owners have been highly and vocally critical of the time it has taken all parties to thoroughly examine the plans for developing Martha.  But now comes their request to slow things down.  Yet again.

While this request is well within their rights, it raises many questions. All of which we are attempting to answer, by the way. Why another delay? Why now?  What’s ahead?

From open space across Martha Property.jpg

We’ll keep you posted on the now scheduled June 15th court date. Or please feel free to call us or check us out on Facebook. And send this note along to a friend.

We ask for your help in raising awareness about what is at stake. We ask you to go to our website and make a financial contribution.

Help us keep this magnificent space open to all and forever. We are grateful for your support.

Thank you. It was nice talking to you. Let’s do it again soon.

Tiburon Open Space Committee

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Video of Tiburon Ridge

Dear Friends of Tiburon Open Space,

We thought it might be an opportune time to take a brief pause from legal updates and the provocative developments of recent days (drilling, fences, signs, patrols).  We wanted to remind ourselves, and you, about why it is we are working so hard to save the Martha Property from development.  

Below is a link to a video that features a beautiful dream: the creation of Tiburon Ridge. Tiburon Ridge can become a rare, open expanse of undisturbed land that, in perpetuity, could connect the Martha Property with the protected Old St Hilary’s Open Space and the Tiburon Uplands Preserve to its west, and the protected Romberg Open Space property to its east. (If you would like to see a map click here)  

By securing the Martha Property, 292 acres of contiguous open space would be created. This would be a wonder unlike any other in the world: a grand open space that is close enough to look out across the Bay and literally within minutes of one of the world’s great cities.

But we must save the Martha Property.
    
The film is set in the unique and natural theatre of each property. It stars a brilliant, talented cast of actors who call this land their home.  The stars were most gracious, and received no compensation for their appearance.  Through their representatives, however, they did respectfully request that their homes remain intact.
    
If you enjoy this inspiring moment as much as we do, imagine what it will be like, years from now, when the sequel is released, and the land remains just as beautiful and undisturbed as it does today.

We hope you enjoy this little reminder. With your help, we just might be able to make this dream come true.

Thank you for your time.  We hope to talk again soon.

Tiburon Open Space

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A Martha Property Update: Legal Developments

Dear Friend of Tiburon Open Space,

We appreciate your continued and vocal interest in our efforts to save the Martha property. There has been a legal development that we thought you would be interested to know more about.

Last July, the owners of the Martha Property initiated legal proceedings against Marin County arguing that the County was moving too slowly on their application to develop Martha.

In August, the Federal Magistrate Judge determined that Martha was in fact responsible for the delay as they had not responded to the County’s questions. The ruling stated “Martha Co. will submit revised plans responding to the mitigation measures identified following the Marin County Board of Supervisors’ March, 2014 hearing.”

Martha has not yet submitted revised plans.

The parties were to have met next Monday in Federal Court. Last week, Martha requested a delay until March 16th, which was granted. Should Martha submit revised plans as required, then a Marin County Board of Supervisors’ hearing would be scheduled in February or March, prior to the rescheduled hearing in Federal Court.

We will keep you apprised of further developments. We will encourage your participation when that meeting is scheduled.

We are grateful for your support. Please like us on Facebook, visit our website or make a contribution to this effort as we work towards the objective of saving this remarkable place from development.

Thank you. We hope to speak with you again soon.

Tiburon Open Space

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Who would like to explain this to him?

TOS 5.png

Hikers are not the only ones shut out from the Martha Property.

Its owners are taking aggressive steps towards construction of their proposed housing development. The signs were first, then the dirt bike patrols. Now this.

Martha is closed. It’s tragic. It’s provocative. But it’s not over yet.

We are Tiburon Open Space.  We have taken on the task of working to prevent the Martha Property from becoming a tract housing development. We want to buy it from its owners, fair and square. And then we will leave it in its natural state. For alltwo- and four-legged creatures. Forever. No gates. No signs.

We’d appreciate any assistance that you can provide. We welcome any contributions to help in our work. If we all pitch in, we just might be able to kiss that gate good bye.

Thank you for reading this. We hope to talk soon.

Tiburon Open Space
 
How about it? Will you help?  Let’s save Martha.

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This is not a cop. (But he does play one on Martha.)

This fellow has certainly made his mark. For the last several weeks he has been patrolling above Tiburon demanding that unsuspecting hikers stay away from Martha Property trails, the very trails that have been open to everyone.
 
Along with years of construction, miles of new roads and fences, large houses and unprecedented traffic congestion, it appears that we now have this type of greeting to look forward to if the proposed housing development moves forward.
 
Tiburon Open Space is working hard to avoid all of that. We believe in property rights, so our goal is simple: we want to purchase the property, and keep the open space open. No patrols required.
 
If this sounds like a good idea to you, we would appreciate your help. And a financial contribution. We are moving into complex new legal and environmental territory that will require new and expanded levels of expertise. And that takes resources.
 
If this matters to you, please get involved. Like us on Facebook…the link is below. Or send this note to some friends. Spread the word. Stop by our website. Give us a call.
 
Thank you for reading this. We hope to talk soon.

Tiburon Open Space

Let’s save Martha.

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Construction has begun on Martha. (That is not a typo.)

Construction has begun on Martha. (That is not a typo.)

A few weeks ago they drilled into this ancient rock on the Martha Property. Old didn’t matter. Natural didn’t matter. Nothing mattered save the desire to keep people away. This unquestionably foreshadows the owner’s regard for this land, and is an ominous warning of the development that is to come. 

Make no mistake: construction has begun on Martha.

We are Tiburon Open Space and determined to do what we can to see that this will be the only construction that takes place on the Martha Property. 

In preparing for that future, we ask for your help.  The ongoing legal wrangling continues, and a most difficult and complex appraisal process is next. 

Please make a contribution to help us keep this magnificent space open to all and forever. 

Here’s another idea: like us on Facebook. Drop us a line. Give us a call.

Thank you for reading this. Let’s talk again soon.

Tiburon Open Space

Let’s save Martha.


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“It’ll never happen” just happened.

TOS Nov Newsletter_edited.jpg

Read it and weep. The 110 acres of magnificent Martha Property open space above Tiburon are now closed. No more hikers. No more dogs. No nothing save the owner’s plan to build houses and miles of fences and roads. This is the very definition of irreparable loss.

We want the owners to sit down with us and agree on a price so that we can purchase Martha. Fair and square. We will then invite you to celebrate with us as we remove that sign…and all of the others like it.

We are Tiburon Open Space and we are preparing for that moment. First, we need your help. Legal arguments continue; difficult environmental and appraisal issues lie ahead. We need funds to keep it all going.  

One day we hope to say, “It’ll never happen,” and be certain that it won’t.

Thank you for reading this. We’ll speak again soon.

Tiburon Open Space

Let’s save Martha.

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November 2016 Update

private property large.jpg

Hello, again.

(A lot has happened since we last spoke.)

At Tiburon Open Space, we care about saving our remaining open space from development. You may remember our work to save the Old St. Hilary’s open space, right there next to the church in Tiburon.  

The Martha Property is 110 acres of the most beautiful, diverse urban area open space in the world. It sits atop Tiburon, and shares a property line with the Old St. Hilary’s open space.

Martha should not become a housing development. The photo above? The ominous first step in that process.

The owners have their rights. We would like to conduct a third-party appraisal, agree a fair market value for and then purchase Martha from them. We have work to do.

We ask for your help in raising awareness about what is at stake. We ask you to go to our website and make a financial contribution. There are complex legal and environmental issues ahead that demand subject matter expertise. We need your help.

We hope to speak with you again soon.
 
Tiburon Open Space

Let’s save Martha.

Facebook, Instagram, 415-789-8945, tiburonopenspace@gmail.com