The Marin County Community Development Agency (CDA) has scheduled a public scoping session May 18 to collect feedback about potential environmental impacts that could result from a development proposed on the unincorporated Strawberry peninsula.
The scoping session will start at 6 p.m. on Zoom (ID 941 6082 6487, passcode 506440; callers may dial (669) 900-6833 and use the same ID and passcode to participate. The session is being held pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and will be hosted by an independent environmental impact report (EIR) consultant, an arrangement managed by the County and fully paid for by the applicant.
In addition, the County will provide a brief overview of the development plans for the 127-acre property at the former Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary. The property owner, North Coast Land Holdings, LLC, submitted an application for redevelopment of the former seminary location, and CDA is preparing an EIR.
North Coast proposes to redevelop portions of the property located in unincorporated Strawberry to provide a residential care facility for seniors, a preschool and fitness center both open to the public, and residential housing that would include units considered affordable according to Marin’s median household income statistics. As Marin’s largest private development project in many years, the proposal includes the replacement of existing residential units and the construction of new residential units on the project site, with a total of 336 residential units. Under North Coast’s plans, more than 75% of the property would remain as open space, athletic fields, pathways, and plazas.
North Coast has applied for a Community Plan Amendment, Master Plan, Design Review, Master Use Permit, Vesting Tentative Map, and Tree Removal Permit approval with the CDA. Those discretionary planning approvals are required to develop the site.
The County will prepare a full-scope EIR that includes all of the topical impact areas required by CEQA. Some of the topics to be addressed include aesthetics, biological resources, cultural resources, energy, greenhouse gas emissions, land use and planning, noise, population and housing, recreation, transportation, and wildfire. CDA staff plans to initiate the EIR work and remains eager to collect feedback about environmental issues, mitigation measures, and potential project alternatives.
CDA will accept written comments about the scope of the environmental report until 4 p.m. May 25; mailed comments must be postmarked on or before May 25 and sent to Rachel Reid, Environmental Planning Manager, 3501 Civic Center Drive, Suite 308, San Rafael, CA 94903. Comments can submitted by email as well. All comments, both oral and written, will be treated the same and included in the record for consideration in the EIR.
In 2015 the Seminary had an enrollment of about 600 students when its leadership decided to close it permanently and enroll students in seminary programs elsewhere. North Coast proposes no changes to the existing conditional use permit issued by the County in 1953 allowing higher educational use of the site, with an enrollment limit of up to 1,000 students. County attorneys have determined that the 1953 use permit is considered valid even with an expired master plan.
Starting in September 2020, public agencies and residents were invited to submit concerns on the potential environmental impacts of the proposed project that should be included for evaluation in the project EIR for the current application. That comment period was extended through January 2021 with the Supervisors’ November 10 decision to deny a challenge to the proposal by the Seminary Neighborhood Association seeking to halt work on the EIR. With the scheduling of the May 18 scoping session, the written comment period is further extended to May 25. A draft EIR for public review and comment, prepared by the EIR consultant in coordination with CDA staff, is anticipated for release in early 2022.
North Coast’s latest proposal was reviewed by the Strawberry Design Review Board in September 2020. After holding a public hearing, the board recommended denial of the proposal.
Requests for accommodations may be made by calling (415) 473-4381 (voice) 473-3232 (TDD/TTY) or by e-mail at least four work days in advance of the event. Copies of documents are available in alternative formats, upon request.