It's a harmonic convergence of two epic issues in Novato: school district properties and future housing development. Tuesday's meeting of the Novato Unified School District could be pretty darned interesting.
Here's why: People who want to keep a 21 1/2-acre property from being developed are being challenged to step up and figure out a way to preserve it. Otherwise it could end up as a housing complex at some point down the road.
The vacant greenbelt parcel in Novato's San Marin neighborhood will be among land-use topics to be discussed at the NUSD board meeting. According to a school district staff report, City Manager Michael Frank has suggested a proactive move by the district to start conversations with neighborhood groups to negotiate a sale of at least half the land as a nature preserve.
The city is mandated to pinpoint locations that could be rezoned for future housing developments a part of its general plan update. The housing element of the general plan for 2007-2014 has generated tons of controversy because, for the first time in state history, municipalities had to identify parcels that could be developed rather than just estimated the number of housing units that should be built to accommodate population growth.
The San Andreas site, just south of San Marin Drive, is not on the city's list of developable properties but remains the school district's largest asset of vacant land. To say that some neighbors don't want development would be an understatement. Officially, the San Marin Improvement Association has not stated a position on the matter, but the city has been — and will continue to be — under pressure to include part of the property on its list of potential housing development properties.
Meantime, the grassroots group called San Marin Compatible Housing Coalition is circulating an online petition to voice support for the city's draft housing element for 2007-2014, which does not include the San Andreas site.
What do you think ought to happen with this property? And is that different than what you think WILL happen?
The NUSD trustees also will discuss other buildings, properties and assets at the Tuesday meeting, which starts at 5 p.m.