Viewing entries tagged
Martha Property

The appraisal process accelerates. It is up to Tiburon Open Space to pay for it. Can you help us do that?

Image Credit to Jocelyn Knight

Image Credit to Jocelyn Knight

You will recall the recent and exciting announcement that the owners of the Martha Property have agreed to an appraisal process with The Trust for Public Land to determine the property’s value. We continue to be single-mindedly focused upon seeing that process through to completion.

Appraisals of this nature are complex, they often take months to complete, and they require specialized, highly skilled firms. It is critically important that both parties be satisfied with the firm and the process so that there is a comfort level with the ultimate conclusions. So that we can then move forward to purchasing the property at fair market value.

Appraisals such as these are expensive. Current estimates suggest that the cost could be nearly $60,000. The Trust for Public Land needs our help. Our role, as the champions of keeping this property open forever, will be to foot that bill. It is important that we do.

TRUST is helping raise funds for the appraisal costs. TRUST is the organization working to keep the Martha trails open.

We really need your help. This process is ready to begin and it needs to be paid for. It’s as simple as that.

Can you help us do that? We will thank you for your generosity. And so will the generations of people and kids and open space explorers who will walk upon and enjoy that land. Forever.

Thank you.

Tiburon Open Space

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There’s some news we’d like to share with you

Image Credit to Jocelyn Knight

Image Credit to Jocelyn Knight

Martha has agreed to an appraisal!

Yes, the owners of the Martha Property have agreed to obtaining an appraisal to help determine the property’s actual value. We couldn’t be more delighted with this exciting development. Jerry Riessen, the leader of Tiburon Open Space:

This is great news. Really great news. We have all been working hard to help make this appraisal happen, a necessary step in arriving at a fair purchase price. We now enter a delicate phase. The appraisal will be as complex as the long journey to get us to this point. It is precisely what is needed to continue towards the goal of purchasing Martha and allowing her to be open forever.

Specifically, the Martha Property owners have agreed to commence an appraisal, working with The Trust for Public Lands, an organization trusted by both the property owners and Tiburon Open Space.

Now what?

The temptation to offer a toast, while real, is premature. A breakthrough? In many ways, yes. A victory? No. Not yet. There is still much work to be completed. The parties will have to identify and agree on the appraisers, the process, the timeline. And then agree on the appraised value to effect an actual purchase.

Although there has not been any interest expressed thus far to purchase the property on the open market, it will remain for sale during an appraisal.

There will be a significant cost to completing this process. We’ll need all kinds of help with that. We are, of course, very grateful to those of you who have made contributions to keep this process alive thus far. "Thank you” cannot possibly convey how we feel about your help.

As you read this, we would ask you to consider the fact that this breakthrough moment is the culmination of years and years of work, endless hours, many buckets of frustration and, at times, grave worry about outcome. But here, today, that work has paid off in the form of an agreement to proceed; an agreement to appraise. We take a deep breath, find some comfort in the magnitude of this agreed next step, then resolve to push ahead with renewed energy: a forever open Martha feels like she is within our grasp.

Stay tuned. Help us if you can.

Tiburon Open Space

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The Beautiful Scene of Martha

Sunset-across-Martha-Property.jpg

This is the scene we want to save.

There’s a whole lot going on behind it.

How we love this place. This is Martha.

Each day we look up to that ridge which we are now forbidden to walk upon, leaving us to imagine Spring’s green becoming Summer’s gold. In these moments we are reminded that Martha is worth saving; that Martha must be saved.

We offer another reminder: behind that beautiful scene, we are working to save her trails from concrete, and her views of city lights and the bay from the unnatural disruption of fences, automobiles, and fire’s danger.

While you may not hear specific news at the moment, we hear the phone ringing, the meetings gathering, and the constant call of bills to be paid.

We are working with attorneys to challenge the County’s Environmental Impact Report (EIR), a report that we view as woefully inadequate and potentially tragic. The Town of Tiburon has joined us in that challenge, by the way. We have committed countless hours and expenses to this effort. As we must.

We are working tirelessly to get an objective appraisal for Martha. Not just any appraisal, but one that reflects the realities of both parties…something that we view as an essential step given a transaction of this magnitude. Her owners don’t want to contribute or cooperate yet, but we hope they will have a change of heart.

Lastly, we are working to engage and activate more of our neighbors in this cause. More of us united will strengthen our position with The Trust for Public Lands, and other potential donors when the time comes to purchase Martha. Perhaps you know of someone who might join in?

Behind Martha’s scenes, her waving grasses, lonely trails, the worry of forever loss, and those views we all cherish, we are working…we are working very hard. Please join us in our work. Please tell everyone you know and meet about Martha, and why she must be saved. We will thank you.

And that is what our kids, theirs, and all who walk upon this treasured land will do as well…and forever.

Tiburon Open Space

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Martha got a response to its $110 million listing. There wasn’t one.

Martha got a response to its $110 million listing. There wasn’t one.

Hello, again. Happy Spring! It’s good to catch up.

View-from-Angel-Island.jpg

You haven’t heard from us for some time as we have awaited word of the Martha property listing (October 2018). There hasn’t been any interest. The county has not received a single inquiry. Not one. The likely reason? No one is interested in that beautiful land at that ugly price.

Enter Tiburon Open Space. Surprise. Our interest in purchasing Martha to keep her open, forever and to all has not wavered. Not for a moment.

Since July of 2018, when Martha lost their case in Federal Court choosing not to appeal, we have strongly, kindly, hopefully, and persistently asked Martha to explore the possibility of purchase. Martha ignored our offers. Martha wouldn’t pay for an appraisal.

An appraisal is precisely what is needed. It’s the next, obvious and critical step. We need help to do it. We need you.

It won’t be easy. Much of what makes us love Martha will also make it difficult to appraise. Why? For starters, the conditions of approval mandated by Marin County are 35 pages long. That’s a novel. It is the very definition of an expensive appraisal.

While this is, yes, another appeal for your generosity, it is also another step closer to realizing the dream of keeping this treasure open to us all and forever. It also has the appealing scent of specificity. An appraisal is real and tangible and, we believe, can provide us with the tool necessary to productively (and positively) move things closer to achieving the goal.

Can you help us out? Appraise this idea: in a few years time we might have Martha’s beauty and wildlife and unparalleled vistas to visit, to see with our kids, and theirs, and look back at how truly important all of this work will have been. That would be a priceless appraisal.

Thank you. We hope to hear from you.

Tiburon Open Space

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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

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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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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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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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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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“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