Message from Supervisor Kate Sears re: Seminary Property

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October 20, 2015

Dear Interested Residents of Strawberry, Southern Marin and Marin County:

My office has just been informed by Marin County Community Development Agency planning staff that the owners of the Golden Gate Baptist Seminary property have submitted an application for development at that site. I understand the deeply felt concern we all share in the community about changes to this large property which, as a Baptist seminary, has been a quiet neighbor and a campus with little change to its buildings and grounds.

I am away from the office but wrote this message in case the owner of the property came forward during my absence. I want everyone to understand that this is just the beginning of a long process for our review and study together.

Let’s all take a moment to step back from our concern over change to this campus and remind ourselves of the long process ahead. After a lengthy public review and hearing process in the mid-1980s, the prior landowner, the Baptist Seminary, pursued and obtained approval for a Master Plan for various campus building and housing upgrades that followed earlier amendments to the Strawberry Community Plan. That Master Plan entitlement exists today. Variation from those approved development regulations for the property may require plan amendments, bringing many opportunities for community review, analysis, comment and formal input. Changes, if any, proposed at the Seminary site will be carefully examined first by County planning staff and then by the Strawberry Design Review Board, Marin County Planning Commission, and then the Marin Board of Supervisors, to be sure that what is proposed fits the land use, zoning and other regulations, and comports with the goals of the governing Strawberry Community Plan and Marin Countywide Plan. All along the way, the community and wider public will be invited to be heard and provide detailed input and comment.

This is to say that the process for examining any land use proposal for the Golden Gate Baptist Seminary site is long, deliberate, exacting and inclusive of the community. This is an opportunity to engage with a property owner to help bring forth a proposal that meets the long held aspirations of the local Strawberry and Southern Marin community while at the same time meeting the owner’s desired, legitimate goals. The overarching goal should aim to bring forth the best possible collaboration of community and owner that nurtures both the built and natural environment.

If you wish to stay informed about this application, please sign up for my news and information here. The Community Development Agency will set up a page on its website where you can also sign up to receive important notices and updates on the status of this matter. When that page is set up, my office will send you a link to subscribe to the project page to stay informed.

Thank you for caring about the future of this very special property on the Strawberry peninsula. Your participation and commitment to the integrity of this process is important and valuable.

Best regards,

Kate Sears