Damon Connolly on Development

I share the concern of many District 1 residents that at least 70% of new development under the County Housing Element in the unincorporated portion of Marin is slated for District 1. Development decisions need to be made based on local Marin values, not on top-down mandates.

There is no question we need a range of housing opportunities in our community and for people to have a chance to live closer to where they work.  But the ABAG-driven approach, which came to fruition while my opponent was Vice President of ABAG, is not a good fit for Marin. 

Affordable housing should not be equated with high-density housing, and we need to look at other approaches such as converting more existing housing into affordable housing.  Moreover, the SMART train was approved by voters as a transit solution, not as a means of fostering high-density housing. 

Under my leadership, the City of San Rafael has been successful at encouraging affordable housing. San Rafael has relied on inclusionary zoning to ensure that any new development includes at least 20% affordable housing.  In San Rafael, we’ve been pushing strongly for opportunities to convert existing housing into affordable housing, as well as to utilize second units.  Infill housing near downtown and transit has been particularly successful.  I believe that mixed-use opportunities, renovations and conversions, and utilization of commercial spaces potentially for housing also holds promise. 

Regarding Play Bay Area, I do not approach it from an ideological perspective but rather from the standpoint of whether it makes sense for our local communities.  I voted against the Priority Development Area in the Civic Center Area because the high-density designation did not make sense for our community.  I led efforts with the community to come up with a station area plan that adds better circulation, bicycle and pedestrian opportunities and smaller mixed use. 

If you have more specific questions, please email Damon at damon@damonconnolly.com.

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