GREAT NEWS!!!

Martha Property.jpg

Martha seems to have stopped pursing the 43 lot plan as no developer will pay anywhere near $110 million. Far too many permitting/environmental risks remain.

Their new approach of pursuing a single residence will likely reduce environmental impacts and may result in increased public use. Encouraging but details are needed.

Stay tuned.

We never completed the appraisal data gathering. We only want to do that if Martha works with us collecting the data. To date Martha has declined to participate in an appraisal. Likely Martha doesn’t want to be paid appraised value - they want to be paid more.

See also:

Marin IJ:

Tiburon developer offers litigation-snarled property for $110 million

The Ark:

BREAKING: Undeveloped 110-acre Tiburon Ridge property for sale for $110 million

And:

Wall Street Journal

A $110 Million Bay Area Property Offers Views—And Some Unhappy Neighbors

TIBURON OPEN SPACE UPDATE

Martha Property.jpg
  1. The TRUST trails court trial has concluded and final briefs must be submitted by both parties by October 15th. The judge will then rule, perhaps a few weeks later.

  2. The CEQA environmental issues challenge is moving slowly. TOS has claimed that the document certified by the county in October 2017 does a poor job of analyzing and mitigating the traffic safety and biology and fire risk issues. The record which includes every comment letter and every study still has not yet been fully collected. The trial will likely be early in 2019.

  3. Meanwhile TOS is gathering the needed data to arrive at an accurate appraisal for the fair market value of the property.

    Please donate to help TOS with these important tasks.

A Brief History of Martha Property

A Brief History of Martha Property.png

August 2018

1. Tiburon Open Space (TOS; originally the Last Chance Committee that led the 1990’s efforts to purchase and create Old St Hilary’s Open Space), is leading the efforts to save the 110 acre Martha property from development. TOS wants to increase the environmental protections on the property believing that the approved restrictions are insufficient for the impacts that development will have on biology, traffic and fire safety.

2. 1976. Marin County approves restrictions against ridge top development.  Martha sues the County.  A legal settlement ultimately allows 43 half acre lots, allowing some on ridge if no other options exist. It will be 20 years before the first development proposal is submitted. Of note, there are 26 landslides on the property, and both protected fauna and wildlife species.

3. After withdrawing the first two, the third development proposal is approved by the County October 3, 2017 with the same number of lots and ridge restrictions. The County’s approval comes with restrictions based upon its power to lessen environmental impacts: house height restrictions are imposed, and 3 lots are moved from the ridge to near Paradise Drive.

4. July 2018, Martha challenges the imposition of these restrictions, but a Federal Judge confirms them.

5. TRUST—Tiburon Belvedere Residents to Support the Trails—awaiting September 4, 2018 trial as it has sued Martha to protect community access to its trails, trails that have been open and used for decades.

6. July 2018, The Town of Tiburon joins TOS in its environmental impacts legal challenge.  Trial is set for January 30, 2019.  (See www.TiburonOpenSpace.org).

A Brief History of Martha Property (1).png

Tiburon Open Space seeks to purchase the Martha property at full appraised value, with the goal of keeping Martha open space, for all, and forever.  Full appraised value includes the cost to mitigate impacts (e.g., two new large water tanks are required to provide domestic water as well as a fire flow for fires; protection of sensitive habitat on the property; and the repair of many of the landslides areas). These costs, and many others, are similar to the repair costs that a seller must bear when selling their home.

Help Save Martha Property

Help Save Martha Property

To the friends of Tiburon Open Space.

Have you got a minute?  Or maybe just a few more?
 
On Tuesday, August 7th, an important, informational meeting will take place at Tiburon Town Hall.
 
Tiburon Open Space and TRUST — Tiburon-Belvedere Residents United to Save Trails — will come together for an informational workshop to update the community on the developments taking place in both crucial efforts.  While the two initiatives are separate and legally distinct, they do share the ultimate objective of keeping access to Martha for us all:
 
     TRUST will update on their upcoming state trial that will determine whether the long-used Martha trails will remain open; and
        
     TOS will update on developments that have occurred as the Town of Tiburon has now joined in the effort to address remaining environmental impacts relating to biology and traffic safety.
 
If you care at all about this work and community effort to save this property, please, please come and join in this event.

Meeting details:

        Tiburon Town Hall
        Tuesday, August 7th
        7:00 PM

We really hope to see you there.
 
Thank you for supporting this work and efforts to keep beautiful Martha open to all and forever.

Tiburon Open Space

Martha Property: Ruling and Development

Tiburon Open Space

We have some very good news!

Federal Judge Saundra Brown Armstrong, Senior United States District Judge for the Northern District of California, has issued her ruling regarding the disposition of the Martha Property.

And the judge ruled 100% against Martha’s demands.

Jerry Riessen, the Tiburon Open Space President, captured our thoughts rather succinctly: “The decision could not be better for us!"

Every one of the restrictions the County imposed upon the development were fully upheld. As a result, three houses must be moved off the ridge line, and many houses will now have height restrictions. The lot lines along the ridge will be moved to retain the current ridge trail, and house square footage will not be determined until the Design Review phase, long after all the infrastructure is built.

This is a significant ruling and development. It brings new life to our hope of one day purchasing Martha.

And, of course, our work goes on through each subsequent phase.

The challenge to the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) is ongoing. We need your help with that.

This ruling will allow us to begin the necessary, expensive appraisal process. We will need your help with that.

When that is accomplished, we will finally be close to making a full, appraisal-based offer to purchase  the Martha Property.

When successful, we will keep our promise to keep her beautiful and open forever.

Please help us if you can.

We look forward to that, and to hearing you.

Tiburon Open Space Committee

“We applaud Tiburon’s intervention to protect its residents.”

Tiburon developer loses appeal to salvage 43-home plan.png

“We applaud Tiburon’s intervention to protect its residents.”

With those words, Jerry Riessen, the leader of Tiburon Open Space Committee, announced a new challenge to the development of the Martha property.  The Town of Tiburon has petitioned to join our lawsuit against the County that challenges its approval of the environmental impact report and revised master plan.  

Here's the full story in the Marin Independent Journal.  We urge you to read this brief article in its entirety.

Greg Chanis, Tiburon's Town Manager, said that the town’s involvement is "…to protect its citizens from potential adverse effects that may result from developing the Martha property.”

This is great news, and we are grateful for their joining hands with us.

To those of you who have been on this journey with us, the joining of the Town of Tiburon and the Tiburon Open Space Committee in this suit will bring much needed and additional resources and clout to bear on the County.  For those of you who may just be learning of the planned development, and the significant threats posed by fire, environmental and traffic safety threats, we hope that you will join us in our efforts to save Martha from development.

For all of us, with big legal challenges come big legal bills.  We are asking you to dig deep for donations.  Both small and, hopefully, large.  We are encouraged by this development, but we realize the uphill battle we face.  We’d ask you to explore the depths of your pockets if you possibly can.

Thank you.  Let’s keep talking and working and keeping this issue front and center.  And, thanks Tiburon! 

Together, we can save Martha.

Got a minute?

The feelings you just enjoyed have been brought to you by Martha.

They are a reminder to us all of what we are fighting for.

And why.

As court rulings approach, we ask you to deeply consider what this property means.

Please look at the images again.
They are real and, quite possibly, lost.

Don’t let this momentary silence deceive.

We ask for your active and continued support to save her.

More than ever, she is worth fighting for.

 

March 2018 Update

Dear Friends of Tiburon Open Space,

Hello.  It’s been a while.  We have some very good news.  

Yesterday, United States Federal Magistrate Judge Maria-Elena James ruled against the Martha Company, denying their moves to enforce the stipulated judgments of 1976 and 2007.  Judge James wrote:
 
Having considered the parties' arguments, the relevant legal authority,
and the record in this matter, the Court RECOMMENDS
the District Judge DENY the Motion.

Said differently, the court ruled 100% in our favor!  And 100% in favor of Marin County, the other party in the legal action.  This order is actually a recommendation to Federal District Court Judge Saundra Armstrong who will then make the final order.  We are optimistic that she will accept Judge James’ order in its entirety.  The Martha Company can choose to appeal. They have 14 days to do so. 

Martha Property

We, of course, hope that they will not choose that option. In fact, we will encourage them to come to the table, sit with us and other parties, and begin a meaningful discussion to determine a fair purchase price for the land.  

While we would love to, we’ll host no party just yet.  There’s still a long way to go. There will be considerable expense involved with the effort to determine that fair price.

So, yes, we are asking for your continued public, emotional and financial support.  We need money to take a major step closer to the ultimate finish line: a Martha open space that will be open, forever.

We welcome your enthusiasm, questions and support.  Thank you.

Tiburon Open Space

TOS, etc.
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Marin Green Drinks

Please join us on March 13 at Marin Green Drinks, where we will hear from Richard Wodehouse, President of Tiburon/Belvedere Residents United to Support the Trails (TRUST) who will talk about Public Trails and Private Land: a Legal Approach to Save Open Space Trails.

Marin Green Drinks is a free business mixer held every 2nd Tuesday of the month, 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM at Lotus Cuisine of India, a certified green business in downtown San Rafael that offers excellent organic food and drinks and a great event location. Don't forget to bring your business cards and come network with us people living and working as green as we can!

TOS Says Thank You Jon!


Let’s all congratulate Jon Welner for his selection to the Tiburon Town Council and thank him for his years of pro bono service to Tiburon Open Space helping in their efforts to preserve Martha for everyone forever.

Read more in the Marin IJ article.

It’s not quite sitting down at the table, but it’s a start.

Mark&Jerry.jpg
That’s Mark Reed on the left. He's the representative of the Reed Family who owns and wants to develop the Martha Property. On the right is the leader of Tiburon Open Space, Jerry Riessen. Jerry represents those of us in the region who want to buy the Martha Property from Mark, and then keep it as open space forever.
These two gentleman shared the podium the other night at Marin Green Drinks, an organization in San Rafael that sponsors social events about important environmental issues.

It seems to us that talking is a pretty good way to bridge the gap between the two sides. So this felt pretty good.

We wish you all good things as you sit around a table with your family to eat, drink and talk this week.  We hope that, soon, Mark and Jerry and their counsel will find the opportunity, and a table, to do the very same.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Your friends at Tiburon Open Space.

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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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