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Vintage Oaks Shopping Center
208 Vintage Way, Novato, CA 94945

Located just north of Highway 37 and just east of Highway 101 in Novato, Vintage Oaks Shopping Center has a couple ofMore flagship stores including Costco, Target, Marshall's, Ross and Macy's Furniture.  Popular restaurants include Chevy's, Pasta Pomodoro, Jennie Low's Chinese, Fresh Choice and Sushiholic. There are over 55 stores, restaurants and service shops in this shopping center, the largest in Novato. Other businesses near Vintage Oaks include a Toyota dealership, Moylan's brewpub, Staples and a theater complex.

The center, which backs up to marshland, was the subject of much civic debate before it was built in the early 1990s because it was deemed a negative influence on non-corporate businesses around the Old Town area about a mile away. But today Vintage Oaks is by far the biggest source of sales tax revenue in the city and a key attraction for shoppers from both within Novato and outside of town.

Bel Marin Keys Community Services District
4 Montego Ky, Novato, CA 94949

The district, founded in 1961, is the governing body for this waterfront neighborhood. The neighborhood, which doesMore not have a homeowners association, is amid the marshlands east of Highway 101 and south of Highway 37 and is just outside the Novato city limits.

A community services district is the smallest form of local government. The Bel Marin Keys CSD has five board members elected by residents within the district. Ernie Ganas is the CSD board president for 2010 and Madeline Thomas is the district manager. The CSD manages all the public facilities with the district borders, including parks, streetlights and undeveloped lands. Services are contracted out independently for garbage, water, sewage and public safety and paid via property taxes.

The district facility, formerly a real estate office, serves as a community center with a full kitchen and bar that doubles as the clubhouse for the Bel Marin Keys Yacht Club. There are lots of tables and chairs available, and the view of the waterfront homes out the eastern windows is wonderful. It is available for rent only to Bel Marin Keys residents.

Keys residents receive a community newsletter from the district every other month, and the Web site is a wealth of information for updates on meeting schedules, tides, wildlife, environmental impact reports and nearby developments.

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