Residents of Marin City will protest the new housing development on Drake Ave. which will create a “nightmarish situation”

MARIN CITY, Calif. (KGO) — Residents of Marin City continue to push back against a new Marin County-approved subdivision, saying the five-story, 74-unit apartment building set to be built on Drake Avenue will create a “nightmarish situation” for the community.

Local community organizers have launched a petition against the project and say they plan to protest the housing development at the supervisory board meeting on Tuesday afternoon.

“It’s totally unsuitable, inappropriate for this site,” Betty Hodges Shelmire, a community activist, told ABC7 News of the project at 824 Drake Avenue. “The density of the project, the limited parking spaces, the scale of the project all create safety issues for the entire community.”

The apartment development, which will primarily consist of low-income housing, was first approved by the county in 2020 and Shelmire says the community felt caught off guard. They have since tried to prevent development, but the county says it is beyond their control.

MORE: In one of the Bay Area’s wealthiest towns, residents push back on mixed-income housing proposal

“The project had previously been approved in late 2020 under SB 35, a state law that removes discretion from cities and counties over land use decisions involving housing development projects that meet specific needs. specified criteria,” Marin County spokeswoman Laine Hendricks said in a statement. .

She said Tuesday’s hearing would be about bail for the project, not land use approval.

But community members say they feel their voice is being ignored, which they say happens all too often in Marin City — one of the few racially diverse communities in the county.

“There’s a historic disregard for Marin City and what’s going on here,” Shelmire said.

Among the concerns is congestion. There’s only one way in and out of Marin City, a community that already has the highest housing density in the county.

MORE: Marin County approves homeless housing project despite residents’ objection

“If there’s a natural disaster, we won’t be able to get out, no one will be able to get out,” said community activist Tiawana Bullock. “And so to build additional units where we have infrastructure issues, as well as an entrance, is a disaster for the community right now.”

Critics also point out that while the apartment complex will have 74 units, it should only have 23 parking spaces. The development is directly across from popular Rocky Graham Park, and naysayers say it will likely leave many residents looking for street parking in an already crowded and cramped neighborhood.

“I don’t know where they’re going to park,” Shelmire said. “It will just create a nightmarish situation for the region.”

Shelmire said that in the two blocks where the new apartment complex will be built, there are already 143 homes. New construction could double that. She wonders why development has to be built there compared to other parts of the county.

“We already bear the brunt of most affordable housing in the unincorporated area,” Shelmire said. “And Marin City is not against housing. What we’re against is not having our voice heard on what kind of homes, what kind of development to put on this site.”

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