CLAM effort on the Coast Guard Neighborhood: 2014-2016
In mid-2014, the US Coast Guard had designated its Housing Facility in Point Reyes Station as surplus property. It planned to sell this 32-acre neighborhood, with its 36 town homes, to the highest bidder on an online governmental auction.
Seeing that this property presented an unsurpassed, once-in-a-generation opportunity for the community to gain dozens of affordable homes, CLAM worked with Congressman Jared Huffman and Marin County Supervisor Steve Kinsey to prevent an auction sale. The goal was to direct the site to be sold to the County of Marin, which would then work with CLAM to repurpose the property for affordable homes.
In late 2014, Congressman Huffman introduced legislation to direct the US Coast Guard to sell the property to the County. CLAM invited letters of support for the legislation from our local community, ultimately sending more than 150 letters to Congressman Huffman, California Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, and to Supervisor Kinsey, who worked with the Marin County Board of Supervisors to pass a resolution that supported the federal legislation.
Although the legislation did not pass in 2014, Congressman Huffman redoubled efforts early in 2015, and CLAM followed suit by garnering and submitting additional letters of support. This time, the legislation moved successfully through both the House and Senate, with CLAM demonstrating extensive community support for this property to be used as affordable homes. In August 2015, CLAM learned that the Coast Guard and General Services Administration (which acts as a broker in sales of property) were so surprised and impressed by the support shown by the West Marin community, County of Marin, and Congress that they decided to enter into negotiations with the County — even before the legislation was passed! One staff member for the General Services Administration, commenting on the community and political support for this property, said, “We have never seen anything like this!”
The County and US Coast Guard began conversations in August 2015, and CLAM staff and Board joined the County in a first-ever formal tour of the property. Then, in February of 2016, the legislation that Congressman Huffman introduced was signed into law by President Obama.
Now, in 2016, the US Coast Guard is completing its environmental evaluation, necessary before an appraisal and negotiations can begin. Meanwhile, the County is preparing studies for its due diligence procedures. CLAM is conducting a feasibility study for the re-purposing of the site, and clarifying its role with the County of Marin for next steps of the project. The conversion of the Point Reyes Coast Guard property to affordable homes is still several years away, as environmental evaluation, negotiations, and project development efforts unfold. CLAM will update the community at significant junctures during the unfolding process, including conducting a community engagement process as the appropriate time arrives.
About the Community
Community support for this possibility draws from the following issues:
• Escalation of home and land prices in the Point Reyes National Seashore area have dramatically reduced the rental market, escalated rental prices, and made affordable home ownership for working families impossible. There is widespread recognition that the communities surrounding Tomales Bay are in danger of being hollowed out by market forces that promote displacement of local residents and those who work locally. Community ownership of this site would provide affordable homes that are the anchor of community health.
• The creation of affordable homes and community assets at the site will not involve any additional building footprint; rather, it will involve the wise re-use and ongoing stewardship of existing buildings.
• The site provides additional community space that is needed and rare in a County and Coastal Zone regulatory environment in which there are multiple barriers to new construction.
Community support includes the following organizations:
Black Mountain Artisans
Coastal Health Alliance
Coastal Marin Fund
Cottages at Point Reyes Seashore
Community Land Trust Association of West Marin (CLAM)
East Shore Planning Group
Environmental Action Committee of West Marin
Gallery Route One – Artists in the Schools Program
Gallery Route One – Latino Photography Project
Inverness Association Board of Directors
Inverness Park Association
Jack Mason Museum
Tim Kehoe, owner/operator of Kehoe Dairy Inc.
KWMR Radio Station Board of Directors
Main Street Hair Salon
Marin Agricultural Land Trust (MALT)
The Mesa Refuge
Perry’s Inverness Park Grocery
Petition of Support by local individuals
Point Reyes Animal Hospital
Point Reyes Books
Point Reyes Farmers Market
Point Reyes National Seashore Association
Point Reyes Station Village Association
R&J McClelland Dairy
Saint Columba Episcopal Church
Shoreline Unified School District
Toby’s Feed Barn
Tomales Bay Resort & Marina
Tomales Bay Watershed Council Foundation
West Marin Citizen
West Marin Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors
West Marin Commons
West Marin Community Services
West Marin Fitness
West Marin Fund
West Marin-Inverness School
West Marin Senior Services
If you or an organization you are involved with would like to ensure this site is acquired locally, please see the “sample letter of support” on the sidebar and email your letter of support to us at email@example.com. We are happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have – please call us at 415-663-1005.