A Good Fit for Larkspur Landing (Marin Independent Journal – August 25, 2005)

(Marin Independent Journal – August 25, 2005)

Larkspur’s long-standing vision for Larkspur Landing has been a neighborhood where residents are within walking distance of taking the ferry to work and places to shop and dine.

The City Council’s preliminary approval of the 2000 Larkspur Landing Circle development is in keeping with that vision. The project , just east of the shopping center, also provides the additional community benefits Of providing 25 condominiums that would have price tags affordable for low- and moderate-income households and an 80-room hotel that should generate tax revenue for the city.

The development plan is scaled back from original proposals and reduced from the scope allowed under city’s planning guidelines. It calls for building 126 condominiums, an 11,000-square-foot administrative building for the Ross Valley Sanitary District and a five-story hotel. The city still needs to endorse the design of the buildings proposed by San Rafael developer Campus St. James, but last week’s approval was a key milestone toward approval.

The development should complement existing uses in the area and its transit-oriented location won the endorsement of the Greenbelt Alliance, a noted conservation group that supports in-fill growth as a way to curb suburban sprawl. The development will also contribute to the city’s fund for improving traffic flow along the busy stretch of Sir Francis Drake Boulevard.

The proposed development of the former sanitary district site has been on the city’s books for more than six years. It has gone through many changes, reducing the number of buildings and increasing conservation measures, from protecting more of the oaks that dot the site to improving access to Tubb Lake, a lake that was created by the Remillard brick kiln, the remnants of which still stand nearby.

There’s no question that it is a large development for any town in Marin. But as a proposed re-use of property that was already developed, its proximity to the ferry and its continuation of Larkspur’s vision for the Larkspur Landing area, it appears it should be an appropriate and beneficial fit.