City Council has a Decision to Make: Will They Operate with Transparency?
City Council seems to be ready to move forward with their meetings without in-person public participation. This is very worrisome regarding the future of the Marinship.
The City Council's current plan seems to be to limit public participation to electronic input only. Although temporary changes in the law suspend portions of the Brown Act and makes this legal, it is far from acceptable for such a politically engaged community such as Sausalito facing the most important decisions in over 20 years. Why is this even being considered? We are experiencing the most significant crisis of our lifetime!
The scheduled completion date for the General Plan Update is September 30. Why can't this be pushed backed several months as members of the Planning Commission, General Plan Advisory Committee and Historic Preservation Commission requested? Why must this process move forward in darkness of council chambers without residents present?
It seems that perhaps there may be other pressing needs to be addressed by City Council. Like fiscal belt-tightening. Either way, the light of community participation must be shone on this process. We are watching.
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We Love Our Marinship Community!
But it is under threat!
Marinship is such a special place with a tradition of innovation.
Did you know that when you drive from one end of the Marinship to the other you pass the west coast’s largest metal cutting waterjet, a startup that created an energy-saving non-toxic electronics cooling fluid that is revolutionizing the lithium battery, server farm and crypto-mining industry? A medical equipment production facility for calibration of cancer biopsy laboratories? A micro-manufacturing company where sonar apparatus, and whale tracking equipment is fabricated? The studio of a world-renown wildlife-painter? The largest capacity shipways haul out ramp on the West Coast other than Alaska? The only floating home concrete foundation fabricator in California? And the first tall ship built in the bay area in 85 years with a propulsion system more complex than a Tesla auto?
Zoning amendments are being considered that would alter the look and feel of the Marinship forever. These changes will move boundaries of the industrial zone and perhaps the Waterfront zone.
Now certain non-resident landowners want City Council to include new uses allowed in the Marinship. Whatever these new uses are...hedge funds, real estate offices, law firms or marketing offices, they will drive up rents and displace our traditional uses of maritime, art and light industry. Or they will argue that under-utilized space can be converted to other uses. But we have enough office space and already have diverse uses.
Marinship still has a legacy power capacity from its days as a World War II shipyard, making the under-utilized areas of the industrial zone uniquely qualified in Marin County to house many industrial micro-manufacturing companies that are re-patriating from overseas.
Subscribe below and join us in protecting Marinship’s tradition of innovation in art, light industry and maritime and prepare to see a better vision forward, coming soon….
Dear SWWC members,
This week the Marinship continued to be discussed by the City Council.
It has become clear that industrial business activity is no longer desired by City Council.
How do we know this? Because, although they are not advocating for displacing the very successful and thriving existing businesses, they are putting in place policies and programs that do not allow these businesses to expand. And nearly every industrial company is seeking additional space. There is a desire that eventually they will be unable to find available square footage and be forced to leave the Marinship. Thirty years of un-enforced zoning ordinances has driven this phenomenon for decades. Now however, City Council is looking to make this process legal and accelerate it.
How will they do this? City Council has already stated that the Marinship Specific Plan (MSP) will be retired once the General Plan Update is adopted later this year. Although they may include the MSP goals and objectives, they have signaled that they will not carry over the protections and restrictions of the Plan.
Besides driving out our Industrial Businesses, what other effects will this have? Unfortunately, this will also dramatically affect artist studios and workspaces. If the MSP restrictions and protections are not included, artists will be forced to compete with higher-revenue businesses that may include hedge funds, real estate offices, and law firms. Landlords will no longer be required to match applied art spaces (like architects) with the same square footage of artists.
How can they justify this? They have hired a Los Angeles based Economic Consulting firm, named Kosmont and paid them $59,000 to do a land economic study. The study was fraught with inaccuracies, omitted, incomplete or erroneous data and nonsensical strategies such as insufficient retail activity Downtown and Caledonia Street businesses need more foot traffic to support businesses, but they recommend retail activities in the Marinship that would draw foot traffic away from those areas. Or a recommendation to accommodate a “Funk Zone” similar to Santa Barbara’s. Billed as commercial and entertainment area within an active industrial zone, a simple Google search reveals that there is no industrial activity in this commercial/retail/hotel zone. Instead one property owner there says, “It’s a nationwide trend of people wanting to shop and drink wine in an industrial warehouse type of building.” The author of the article indicates, “The Funk Zone is currently the hot haven for hipsters.” Clearly, Kosmont does not understand Sausalito. At this point we do not know if they will be awarded the second phase of the contract estimated to $150,000 to formulate an implementation plan.
Why are they doing this? We don’t really know. Some think they agree with landowners who want rezoning so that they can sell their properties at greatly inflated valuations. Others think when they look at Marinship and see a mess, unable to relate to a blue-collar ethos of skilled craftspeople, fabricators and technicians. Think about how many times you have seen City Council members in the Marinship? Among the many shifting justification for going down this path is the unsustainability of the properties because of their failing infrastructure. Large scale development is envisioned to justify the cost of large-scale infrastructure improvements. They do not seem to embrace the other option, small scale development that requires small scale, nature-based low impact infrastructure.
What has this attitude done to the Marinship over the years? Its clear to see. Industrial warehouse conversions to office space, zoning regulations that go unenforced, property obsolescence, and re-zoning speculation that drives up lease rates.
And now with specialized micro-manufacturing companies returning from Asia, we are at a tipping point. Our City council will choose the path forward for the Marinship. Will it be a continuation of willful neglect? Accelerated displacement? Or an embracing of the innovation that Marinship has celebrated since before World War II?
In Summary: We are starting to hear hints of a path forward where the Industrial Zone is eliminated, additional uses are allowed, and "innovation" gets re-interpreted to mean a big tech company to build a green innovation campus with a huge seawall.
Why should you care?
1. Maritime will die without industrial - the Matthew Turner alone required electricians, welders, machinists, cabinet makers, etc all sourced in the Marinship.
2. Artists will have to compete for space with new Marinship tenants (hedge funds? real estate offices? law offices? marketing firms? software firms?) and get pushed out as more landlords claim financial hardship.
3. TRAFFIC... traffic already backs up northbound on Bridgeway to near Dunphy Park on bad traffic days. Can you imagine the congestion from a big tech campus?
What can you do? Write to your City Council members:
1. Let them know you believe in the 3 driving forces of the Marinship: maritime, industrial, and arts.
2. Remind them that the community at the Marinship workshop last year overwhelmingly voted against a Seawall in the Marinship.
3. Ask them to actual visit the Marinship and speak to business owners with thriving industrial, maritime, and artistic businesses and not continue to ignore their requests.
4. Remind them that an Identity and culture of interesting, creative, and eclectic makers and doers is the innovation backbone of Sausalito. Allow them to expand and encourage new industrial businesses to locate in the Marinship.
5. Tell them no more traffic!
6. Tell them to maintain the gentrification protections and restrictions in the Marinship Specific Plan.
Thank you for the support.
Your fellow neighbors and friends at the SWWC
Together, the Sausalito Working Waterfront Coalition can make a difference.
Tuesday Jan 14th, 6pm, Joint City Council/Planning Commission Meeting
Location moved to IDESST Portuguese Hall, 511 Caledonia Street
What is in our future?
A visitor destination complete with tourist shops, hotels, bars and restaurants and all the traffic that goes with it? This option will enrich certain property owners and developers to the detriment of residents that will be left to deal with the our new "quality" of life.
A Marinship that is uniquely positioned to become a world class innovation zone for sea-level rise mitigation, climate change and high technology fabricators that attracts expert micro-manufactures and maritime services with a community arts and makers space?
Can certain city council members be convinced that we do not want to become the next Pier 39? Perhaps the Planning Commission can help....come on Tuesday and find out.
Movie at Spaulding tonight!
(A Documentary Film)
Friday, September 20th
6:30PM to 8:30PM
At Spaulding Marine Center, Sausalito
Is your seafood caught with slave labor?
Ghost Fleet follows a small group of activists who risk their lives on remote Indonesian islands to find justice and freedom for the enslaved fishermen who feed the world's insatiable appetite for seafood.
Bangkok-based Patima Tungpuchayakul, a Thai abolitionist, has committed her life to helping these "lost" men return home. Facing illness, death threats, corruption, and complacency, Patima's fearless determination for justice inspires her nation and the world.
Please join the Spaulding folks for a screening of this groundbreaking film, followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers.
Tuesday September 24, City Council Meeting
Agenda Item 7C - Marinship Vision Alternatives will be discussed
M-Group reported their summary of the Saturday Sep 7th Workshop to GPAC last Tuesday. GPAC provided revisions and discussion. A Vision is emerging that preserves and enhances maritime, light industrial and artist character of the Marinship. The challenges of including live/work or senior housing are also being addressed. Now City Council will opine on the Vision.
Agenda Item 7C. Monthly General Plan Progress Report/Marinship Workshop Overview and General Plan Advisory Committee Considerations - 8:35pm
Below is the link to the M-Group summary
Congratulation to all who showed up to the Marinship Community Meeting on Saturday, Set 7th!
Your voices were loud and clear:
Protect and enhance the working waterfront. (Protect with new floating foundations and other technologies, not development) enhance with more of the same existing uses (maritime, light-industry and art).
No significant advocacy for increased office FAR or additional uses.
Another Galilee Harbor type affordable housing area for Marinship workers.
Focus on expanding Marinship's tradition of innovation in fabrication, technology and sea-level rise technologies utilizing the facilities and expertise of Marinship businesses to attract new complementary businesses.
No seawalls. Daylight creeks in the Marinship.
Better more holistic land use planning.
What is Ordinance 1022, The Fair Traffic Initiative?
"The people of the City of Sausalito hereby find that it is in the best interests of the present and future residents of the City to reduce the increase in automobile traffic generated by new development in the City’s commercial and industrial zones and to preserve the maritime character of those areas by reducing permissible density in commercial and industrial areas.
This reduction is necessary to protect property rights and to ensure orderly development in commercial and industrial zones in the City in a manner that will not generate excessive traffic, air or noise pollution, nor diminish the public health and welfare."
What is the General Intent of the Marinship Specific Plan?
"1. To promote the waterfront area and promote water-dependent uses."
"2. To promote the development of other lands in the Marinship with industrial uses and uses compatible with an industrial area"
The Sausalito Working Waterfront Coalition would like to thank our past residents and city leaders for having the vision to put in place these two regulatory frameworks.
Without these, the artists, artisans, craftsmen and women, maritime workers and technology innovators would have been priced out of their work spaces, unable to service our boating and houseboat community and instead Marinship would be filled with even more sterile office parks than there are today.
Marinship - A Legacy of Innovation
Marinship Corporation Wartime Operations Documentary
GENERAL PLAN MEETINGS
The new Work Plan for the General Plan Update process has significantly reduced the input from the Committee. M-Group Consultants will work with less with representative of the residents and more with city staff. Only 2 GPAC meetings are planned for 2020, one in March and one in May. We are cautious as less resident input is rarely a good idea.
CITY COUNCIL MEETINGS
Tuesday, April 14, 7pm
City Council Meeting
Closed Session starts at 6pm, Open meeting follows