Thursday, May 10, 2007

Group Declares War on NIMBYist Marin

And there it was, like a dream come true, top, front, and center of the Marin IJ -- "Group Declares War on NIMBYism" in Marin. Thank God; it's about time; but good luck. People here are quick to talk the talk as if they really care about affordable housing, the pollution it causes, being a responsible denizen of the Bay Area, the social stresses the lack of affordable housing causes, etc. but when it comes down to it, Marinites always hide behind their environmentalism to mask the real issue in their minds -- property values. It's all about property values in Marin.
The Marin Community Foundation has launched a major offensive to rid the county of NIMBYism*.

The foundation's board has invited nonprofit advocates and developers of affordable housing to submit grant proposals for changing the "Not In My Back Yard" mindset that the board says swamps proposals for affordable housing in Marin.

The foundation has also signaled its willingness to turn up the heat on local governments, using legal means, if necessary. State law requires counties and municipalities to foster the creation of a specified amount of affordable housing by identifying appropriate building sites and removing red tape that might block construction.

Giacomini [chairman of the foundation's board and a former Marin County supervisor] said recent decisions by the Marin County Planning Commission to scale back incentives for affordable housing in the draft Marin Countywide Plan were "sad and pitiful - not exactly profiles in courage."

Opposition to affordable housing ranges from those who fear it will hurt their property values to those who are concerned that increased housing densities will cause traffic gridlock and exhaust water supplies. Housing advocates say many of these concerns are misplaced.

"A lot of people believe that the right thing to do for our quality of life and our environment is stop any housing, when in fact data shows the opposite is true," Pagett said. "If we're going to reduce traffic, we need to house more of our workers in sites that are near transit along the Highway 101 corridor."

Pagett said more than 30,000 people commute into Marin every day to work because they can't afford to live here. These people include teachers, police officers, firefighters and retail workers.

Coury said that between 1995 and 2005, Marin's population grew less than 2 percent while vehicle miles traveled in the county increased about 17 percent.

Roger Roberts [president of the Marin Conservation League's board of directors] said some Marin residents are worried that low-income housing in their neighborhood will ruin their property values.

"It may well be that some of those folks use environmental arguments to hide behind. We don't do that," Roberts said.

*NIMBY, an acronym for "Not In My Back Yard," describes an attitude by residents who oppose development, especially public projects, as inappropriate for their area. Though needed for the larger community, the projects are usually considered unsightly, dangerous or likely to lead to decreased property values. Spinoff terms include CAVE People (Citizens Against Virtually Everything), BANANA (Build Absolutely Nothing Anytime Near Anybody) and NOPE (Not On Planet Earth).
I hope they succeed at breaking Marin's NIMBYist ways as I've blogged before (here and here). And I hope they don't stop there. Take on the Marin Agricultural Land Trust (MALT) and Proposition 13 while you're at it.

I know I am a traitor and a heretic in the eyes of most Marinites for saying so, but something has got to be done. Sensible, intermediate solutions exist and, if pursued, would have mitigated the urgency today. Hiding behind pseudo-environmentalism is specious and assuming the worst possible outcome as the most likely one is inane. It's time that self-absorbed Marin gives up its inward-looking stance and embraces change.


Blogger Matthew said...

"I hope they succeed at breaking Marin's NIMBYist ways as I've blogged before"...

I'm with you on this sentiment Marinite.. good post and thank you again for all you do as our fearless leader.. part of the housing pricing solution is more housing in Marin no question..

"I know I am a traitor and a heretic in the eyes of most Marinites..."

That's why we bloggers love ya..


May 10, 2007, 11:20:00 PM  
Blogger mountainwatcher said...

Yeah, we love ya!

Marinite, you are great!

Back to the topic........

There is so much unfair stuff for those who aren't in.

The comfy fat cats are happy with the status quo.

Wouldn't you be?

I want to own, but own has turned into such a huge owe.

I love the beauty and preservation of nature here in Marin.

This is my home and I want to keep it protected from development.

I walk the trails daily and watch the mountain.

This land is my land.

It is special here.

I think I own it by living it.

I still wish I could buy a small piece of this beautiful pie.

I'm wondering if the NIMBY thing is a blessing or a curse.

If I could afford to live here, I might not want to?

May 11, 2007, 1:54:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just got a new site through real estate website design they told me it takes time to gain rankings or even be listed on the search engines. Is that true? Please advise.

May 11, 2007, 3:37:00 AM  
Blogger Matthew said...

Take a gander at this little gem by Charles Hughes Smith. Titled, "Housing Affordability: Crushed by Debt"

All I can say is.. EXACTLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


May 11, 2007, 5:01:00 AM  

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