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Stand Up for Our City by Joining Novato Homeowner's Association

Protect the value of your home and the fiscal sustainability of Novato.

It is time Novato homeowners stood up, spoke out and took a stand for balanced housing in their community.

The Novato Homeowners Association has two main goals:

  • To protect the value of homes in Novato.
  • To protect the character of the city of Novato.

Novato is under assault by special interest groups: developers, advocates, and institutional investors/profiteers. Their goal is to make Novato the affordable housing solution for all of Marin at the expense of the the homeowners of Novato.

We want the clarity of our voices and message to be heard in Sacramento. We need to join together and promote an agenda where balanced housing is made a priority. Without balanced housing goals, city- and state-funded services will be negatively impacted due to lack of sufficient property and sales tax revenue. If Novato homeowners do not stand up and speak out, the special-interest groups will decide what is to be built, and we will pay for it for years to come.

There is no cost to join Novato Homeowner's Association (NHA). We need to show HCD that the homeowners of Novato are committed to maintaining a financially viable community whose taxes support the individuals and families that live here.

To join and show your support for the goals and mission statement, please log onto www.novatohoa.com and go to the upper right corner to the word register. Fill out the user registration form and you will receive an email confirmation. 

What We Believe

Novato Homeowners are currently not well represented with respect to ongoing civic affairs. Decisions currently being made by City management have recently favored deep-pocketed special-interest groups; these decisions may result in a combination of reduced home values and escalating budget structural issues.

Homeowners are the backbone of any community, and Novato is no different. When the majority of residents are adversely affected by the actions of a vocal minority, the majority need to have their voices heard or accept the consequences. Novato has been plagued with budget deficits in recent years, and is projected to have structural budget deficits in the future (absent any changes to current taxes). Deficits affect the level of services that can be provided. Continuing to promote a strategy of allowing nonprofits to develop property tax-exempt, high-density housing will result in increased burdens on taxpaying property owners to either support existing service levels, or accept the effects of reduced services.

Homeowners Of Novato

In Novato, approximately 67 percent of residents live in owner occupied dwellings, and 33 percent live in rental units. Homeowner property taxes constitute the largest revenue source for the City's operating revenue. In addition to property taxes, homeowners contribute the vast majority of other revenues needed for the City to operate.

 If you agree we have attached a flyer you can use in your neighborhood.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

John Sammons February 06, 2013 at 05:43 PM
T Allen - what information do you have to make such an inappropriate and blatantly racist comment.
Ventress Dugan February 06, 2013 at 06:16 PM
The only requirement for inclusion in this group, is ownership of your home and a desire to protect it....you can be of any ethnicity, gender, heighth or width. I love Novato and have seen many changes in the last thirty years and feel this organization has the best of intentions to work with the city council to maintain the quality of life we all moved here for. It is very easy to say " if you don't like the way the city is run, run for office and change things" but it is hard for a lot of people to do. It takes time and plenty of money. It however, does not mean we should not be vocal about our views. That is our right and responsibility.
Tina McMillan February 06, 2013 at 06:42 PM
If you have read the response to the draft housing element then you know that SUNN sandbagged the element before it even reached Sacramento. They do not agree with the city's assessment of which properties to develop, of a starting base for multifamily housing, with the number of properties suggested, that Novato has provided sufficient property to develop in previous elements and all in all they do not agree that what we have done, what we can do and what we will do is ever enough. If they had waited and allowed HCD to create its own response then at least there would have been a fair chance of being heard in Sacramento. Katie Crecelius sits on multiple panels and commissions. Her influence in this debate represents her interests and not the whole of the city of Novato. If you have a chance read the recent budget adopted by the city of Novato. Then you will understand why every homeowner and resident needs to be concerned. Page 62 compares Novato's per capita revenue to the revenue of other cities in Marin and Sonoma County. Just to see the difference in revenue available to support city services consider that our per capita is $442.70 while Fairfax is $619.54, Sonoma is $802.44, Corte Madera is $1510.51and Ross is $1854.10. The cities whose per capita fall closest to our own are Rhonert Park at $446.44 and Petaluma at $431.87. Both theses cities have a designation of suburban for purposes of base density. http://www.cityofnovato.org/Index.aspx?page=1619
Tina McMillan February 06, 2013 at 06:46 PM
Reading the budget and understanding how we derive our revenue is critical to making reasonable choices when we take on more responsibility associated with housing without a tax base. Most of our revenue is derived from property taxes and yet our property taxes are insufficient to support our schools. Both the school district and the city are struggling with a multimillion dollar structural deficit. The city's draft housing element represented a compromise. It allowed development of additional AH to meet RHNA for the last cycle. It's only request was a lower density base for multifamily housing which would still have bonuses attached based on properties developed. Support our city planners. Let the council know that you agree that 20 units per acre and a Suburban designation for purposes of RHNA is an accurate description of our community.
Mark Schoenbaum February 06, 2013 at 06:52 PM
bud light weighs in with his stale mantra
JBW February 06, 2013 at 07:20 PM
More sad than stale... Suggesting that one must run for office or hold office to make a difference and support the community is sad. Lots of people don’t have the time or interest in being part of government, but should we all just give up and follow the herd? Sometimes it’s the circles of influence of involved community members that reflect the majority better and can get more completed. Community involvement can be as little as maintaining your house and yard, watching out for your neighbor, voting and paying attention to important decision made by our elected officials. I believe more can be done by active, involved and caring citizens than most politicians. Simply being negative or remaining silent doesn’t help but hinders our potentially great little city.
Tina McMillan February 06, 2013 at 07:56 PM
Here is the link to the budget document. http://www.cityofnovato.org/Index.aspx?page=1619 Page 62 compared cities in Marin and Sonoma by taking the total population and the total revenue to come up with the per capita or per person revenue available by city. Although this statistic is not yet provided what we need to see is in each city how much affordable housing has been developed and what is the range of market rate housing and who does it serve. So for example, if you use Ross's per capita of $1854.10 you realize that they have the highest revenue per person and they serve the fewest needy individuals. San Rafael has more than double the revenue of Novato with only 6000 more residents. These numbers paint a picture where the cities that are taking on the greatest debt and the most responsibility are also functioning on the lowest revenue. You can't operate a city or a school district using this formula or eventually you will go bankrupt.
Al Dugan February 07, 2013 at 01:33 AM
Tina, very susciently articulated. The numbers tell it all. We have much lower revenue per person and every tax free affordable housing unit deteriorates the number. It is no accident we match up with Rohnert Park and Petalums, two other suburban cites that only have a density per acre designation of 20. Novato needs the 20 acre density approved to maintain fiscal sustainability.
Kim February 07, 2013 at 02:04 AM
Hi, I've tried to register on the site but after entering in all my info, when clicking on the register button nothing happens. I also tried to send an email message on the site re: the problem I am having and same thing the 'send email' does not work.
Al Dugan February 07, 2013 at 04:46 AM
Make sure you complete the span question at the end, and click agree. It will not register without both.
DavethePragmatist February 07, 2013 at 06:38 AM
By definiition, you also are a special interest group. And why do you feel that this gives homeowners any different voice? I am a homeowner and my voice is heard as often as I would like. I applaud your initiative, but please don't say you represent the majority of Novato Homeowners - as far as I can tell, you appointed yourself, were not elected, and were not selected by the majority of Novato Homeowners. In fact, you have a very specific initiative that may not be supported by the majority of homeowners in this town.
DavethePragmatist February 07, 2013 at 06:47 AM
Maybe you should focus on reality. What you do has no bearing on the value of homes in Novato. That is market and regional driven. Bring in business such that more people need to move here, and values go up because inventory goes down. Pretty simple. And why is your definition of town "character" the only one that seems to matter (though it is not clear how you define such "character"). Character is a community effort, not a directed one. You cannot force the character of an established community. You can take advantage of what already is here, however, and that might work. For example, how many of you here really understand the incredible branding that something like the Buck Center brings to Novato? One of only a handful of major research facilities (compared with the best Academic Intitutions in the country), and have any of you used that to help define Novato? Of course not. Instead you are focusing on small insolar potatoes. Look in the mirror - this is the 21st Century if you haven't noticed.
Tina McMillan February 07, 2013 at 07:00 AM
DaveP I am not a group, just an individual with a strong point of view. I am not sure if you are directing your comments at me personally or at NHA but since they are in the reply to my post they appear to be directed at me, so I will respond. The NHA website is supporting Novato city planners who devised a draft housing element that represents reasonable and balanced growth. It was designed to give a voice to Novato homeowners. It is straight forward. If you want to support it, there is no cost to join, as long as you own a home in Novato you can register. The special interests beginning with SUNN's Katie Crecelius, drafted a letter to HCD before the element had even arrived in Sacramento saying it was not enough to meet their needs. Their letter criticized the work of the city planners. They claim to represent Novato residents. They say that they are not specifically advocating high density housing and yet that is exactly what they are asking for. I am not sure that I understand what it is that you are suggesting. As a member of NHA I support balanced housing. I did not appoint myself or suggest that I represent the majority of homeowners. I am a homeowner that believes we need revenue to support services. I suspect your comments have more to do with my support of the Core Knowledge Charter School. I would be glad to discuss that issue with you on another thread. I think it strays too far from the purpose of this Blog.
Lloyd February 07, 2013 at 07:10 AM
And what is your view of what the Housing Element should be? I hear a lot of complaint but not much constructive suggestions. The town did speak out in mass last year at the City meetings on this issue and the City Council heard and agreed. They sent a proposed Element to HCD and this petition supports that proposal. If you don't have anything useful to say except being condescending to others who try to effect a positive change please don't waste my eye sight with your vitriol.
Lloyd February 07, 2013 at 07:23 AM
Actually home values are very much driven by local issues and perceptions. As for bringing in business and having market forces taking control that is fine for market rate properties. This effort involves dealing with density issues that affects the character of the town in a large way. If you drive through downtown San Rafael and then compare to Novato I suspect you will notice a stark difference. I'm not suggesting which is better but that is choice and it gives all of us an opportunity to decide if we want to look like San Rafael or not. I think Novato is a great place. I just don't want it to be turned into a downtown San Rafael design and density. btw our school district is struggling and bringing more people without tax base funding for them is a formula for disaster for our kids and for our home values. Lastly I hope all residents, not only home owners are very welcome to this group. we all have a stake in the health of our town.
Tina McMillan February 07, 2013 at 07:27 AM
Here are excerpts from Novato's General Plan: "The General Plan was developed through an extensive public participation process, including a community survey. Early public comments created a foundation of goals adopted by the City Council. Preserve and improve the quality of life in Novato. Retain and promote the small town character of Novato including preservation of the historic features and landmarks. Keep Novato relatively compact in physical size by establishing firm urban limit lines. Provide areas where land uses, densities and intensities create a gradual transition from the developed suburban area to the surrounding rural area. Maintain and revitalize Downtown Novato as the heart of the community. Provide for a variety of housing opportunities through new construction and maintenance of existing housing for an economically and socially diverse population, while preserving the character of the community. Low and moderate income housing of all types will be given special consideration. Encourage local job opportunities to avoid the need to commute out of Novato for employment. Manage growth by requiring the coordination of development with adequate infrastructure, public facilities, public services and promoting conservation, reuse and recycling strategies while meeting the needs of the community with the limited land available for development." http://www.ci.novato.ca.us/cd/gp/GPSUM.HTML
T.Sprocket February 07, 2013 at 02:15 PM
Thank you Tina. Thank you Al.
Al Dugan February 07, 2013 at 03:14 PM
Well Dave, we don't agree on much but we do agree on the Buck Center. Research on a world class level. This, and more technology and life science/biotech business is exactly what would work well in Novato. This will also allow Novato to maintain its small town character that people chose when they moved here and bought a home. They had a choice of living in Sa Rafeal if they wanted that model.
Al Dugan February 07, 2013 at 03:16 PM
Well Dave, it is a simple formula. The goals and mission are supported by the people the sign up. We are not trying to represent you.
Al Dugan February 07, 2013 at 03:53 PM
Glad you asked, we are never going to ask for a donation. Thanks for asking the question.
Trish Boorstein February 07, 2013 at 04:40 PM
In regards to the Buck Center, I think they should help steer a committee to find out if a New Science Discovery Museum could be a good fit for Novato. Carole Bennett has been involved with Buck C. organizing an annual Children's Educational Science Fair at Sears Point Raceway. Every year it has been a huge success! Why not set something permanent here in Novato in conjunction with Buck C. to bring much needed foot traffic and help cement Novato as a destination city?
Ventress Dugan February 07, 2013 at 05:47 PM
Dave, we do have something common! Not only is the Buck Center a world class research center but the building was designed by I.M Pei, a world renowned architect (also designed the glass pyramid in the entryway of the Louvre Museum in Paris. Not only do we get the prestige, but a great deal of business from the employees of this organization.
Tina McMillan February 07, 2013 at 05:49 PM
The purpose of the General Plan is to define community goals with respect to local government. Together with the Housing Element they represent a contract between the city and the state and the city and its residents. We are currently updating both the Housing Element (2007-2014) and the General Plan (1996 last updated). Getting involved with this process as a resident is part of the reciprocal dialogue between local government and the people it represents. Novato Homeowners Association is but one of many grassroots neighborhood groups that support the Draft Housing Element and the view that Novato is indeed a Suburban Community for the purpose of creating base density in Affordable Housing Plans.
Al Dugan February 07, 2013 at 07:43 PM
I see old and grouchy remove his post. No donations will be requested.
Tina McMillan February 07, 2013 at 07:57 PM
What a great idea. If there was a way for Buck to become a larger part of the community. Now that San Marin has started the STEM program we have the COM campus at IVC, the Buck Center, the game design companies at Hamilton and other places where we can connect education to experience. Novato is a treasure trove of local companies that are very successful. Toys For Bob, a subsidiary of Activision, made the new Skylander video game. http://venturebeat.com/2012/10/05/a-insiders-photo-tour-of-the-toys-for-bob-game-studio-where-skylanders-are-born-photo-gallery/ It is a great game. IVC currently has a two year certificate program in Multi Media Studies including 3D game design classes. When I think of all the opportunities to put together education with experience here in Novato it makes me hopeful that we can create a stable revenue base to support city services. It all starts with being realistic about what we build and what we need.
Ventress Dugan February 08, 2013 at 12:05 AM
"My Opinion as a Voter" try to follow the post, Tina is stating this as a resident of Novato, which I believe we all are. I believe all of this is the planning stage. Follow?
Harry V Lehmann February 08, 2013 at 12:35 AM
Al Dugan and Bob Silvestri have done the best composition yet done on the subject of forced high density housing. If the real stakes were helping people, not massive tax-free developer profits, second units would be encouraged, not rendered financially unfeasible. There is a latent Equal Protection issue in the facts Al has reported: Novato is the favored landing area for expensive societal problems which should directly involve the whole county. Ross got away with naming, ridiculous, the Marin Art & Garden Center as part of its Housing Element. Tiburon got away with supposed Nanny Units. Belvedere, Liberal as all the world in so many ways, isn't facing any Projects soon. Nor Mill Valley. But Novato, where so many, including myself, have worked to stay, not being, in comparison, a wealthy community, is singled out by self righteous southern Marin citizens of the NIMBY variety. Beyond that, as so many factors show, and Silvestri's book The Best Laid Plans so well documents, high density low income housing is failed model, often doing more harm than good. The only way that we will ever have real effect, though, is to have a majority of the City Council concerned about maintaining reasonably low densities, and maintaining the position that, in good faith, we have done enough. If we don't control the Council, the rest of it is of little effect. The lawyers hired by those complicit in this ABAG vision will only do as told. Harry Lehmann
Tina McMillan February 08, 2013 at 09:10 AM
We meaning the city and the residents. We are a part of all that happens in Novato. Voting is not the beginning and the end of our participation in local government. It is our job as residents to participate fully. If you go to the city of Novato website you can receive updates and you can attend committee meetings even if you are not a committee member. The resident committee that supports the general plan update provides an email address where you can write in with questions. There is also a schedule of meetings so residents can attend. Council members are only one part of local government. Residents are the much larger part if they choose to get involved.
Trish Boorstein February 08, 2013 at 04:50 PM
Once again, thank you Tina for epic educational contributions to Patch and to these matters regarding Novato. Talk is never irrelevant if someone's eyes are opened by it. Imagine waking up a whole community! I remain hopeful.
Al Dugan February 08, 2013 at 05:34 PM
Thank you Harry, I hope you sign on to NHA. We would value your clear thinking and intellect on this matter moving forward as time would allow for you.

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