In 1949 George Zaro turned over his restaurant, Sabella”s, to Enrico Pastori so that he could work on his plan to develop a yacht harbor in the estuary behind the restaurant near the north end of the Richardson Bay Bridge.
His plan called for 100 yacht slips.
Access would be by the existing drawbridge and a new channel to be dredged to Sausalito.
In 1952, Don Urquhart proposed constructing an earth fill dam parallel to the bridge. The estuary would become a lake comparable to Oakland’s Lake Merritt. The tidal barrier would keep flood waters out of the lake during very high tides.
Floodgates would enable rainwater to be drained off during low tides. The tidal barrier would prevent major flooding of Mill Valley when high rates of rainfall and very high tides coincide.
Such was the case in the floods of 1925, 1935 and 1945. Marin County granted Zaro a use permit to build his yacht harbor in 1952. The result was the Shelter Bay Condos subdivision, but there would be no dredged channel. And there would be no tidal barrier and no lake.
In 1965, the Mill Valley Harbor project was completed. Dredging spoils were spread on marshlands. The result was Bayfront Park with no yacht slips.
(This snippet of Marin history is compiled by the Mill Valley Historical Society. To support one of Marinscope’s community newspapers, subscribe by calling 415-898-7084.)