You Be the Judge: Terrapin Crossroads

Project proposal for Phil Lesh-backed music venue submitted to town.

As promised, plans for a at to on Sir Francis Drake Boulevard were submitted to the town last Monday.

At right, you can view the plans, description and see a rendering of what the project will look like when completed. (The project plans are not loading right currently. If you can't see them, click here to be taken to the plans on the town's website.)

You be the judge. Let us know what you think of the proposal in the comments.

Key aspects include:

  • The building will be three floors, with an approximately 8,250 square foot footprint and main floor, and a smaller basement and second floor.
  • Along with performances from Phil Lesh & Friends and Phil's Ramble Band, the space will be used for youth workshops, dinner seminars, art exhibits and fundraising events. It will also be made available to local nonprofit organizations.
  • There will be between 50 and 100 performances per year, operating no later than 12:30 a.m. Food and drink will be served from Thursday through Sunday, from 5 p.m. to midnight. There will be some activities during the week.
  • When there are performances, there will be between 8 and 11 security guards hired, 2 ushers, 3 managers, and 7 waiters/busboys.
  • All parking will be off-site and established per written agreements with other venues.
  • If approved, construction will begin in the summer of 2012 and be completed in the summer of 2013.

The Fairfax Town Council will consider the scope of the traffic plan at its meeting on Aug. 17. If the council approves the scope of work, then the project manager will hire a traffic consulting firm to conduct a traffic study. The entire proposal will have to go through the regular permitting process, being reviewed by the Design Review Board and the Planning Commission.

Check back later this week for updates from the town on the permitting process and updates from the Leshes on their vision for the project.

We've also created a Terrapin Crossroads column header to group all the stories about this project as it is ongoing. To see all the stories on the Terrapin Crossroads project click on the column header at the top of this article or view additional stories below.

valeri hood August 15, 2011 at 06:18 PM
People car pool to spriit rock- because they got 'with the spirit'- i have a feeling that lesh can bring that vibe to his place and accomplish the same thing- from what i understand he is a community minded person, and i welcome him to fairfax! no reason why they can't have a ride board on their website- with parking rides set up for a location in each town- that would cut down on traffic as well as building up relatonships within each community- if only the school transiting parents would do the same thing, we could do so much more for the day time morning traffic commute- and afternoon as well- i think all in the ross valley are dreading the return to school because of that on-going impact. Every year i see latte sipping, cell phone yakking moms/dads taking one kid to school on the road- to drake, to manor, to whitehill, to wherever- now that's a problem i would like to see addressed!
Sierra Salin August 15, 2011 at 07:28 PM
2 minor details about White Hill, and the # of cars. Mostly people drop off, or pick up the kids. They do not park and stay. It is a mess, especially getting in or out morning or afternoon. And you should check it out at open house, or back to school night. The neighborhood is severely impacted when people actually do park and stay. You want to add this many cars on weekends, when folks are massing back from the beaches, etc? This could be a great thing for the town, or a mess. It needs to be done right, and it will take time, communication, willingness,and compromise on all sides. Granted, most of our kids can bike or bus most of the time, and too few do. We all seem to want S.U.V's
Sierra Salin August 15, 2011 at 07:38 PM
People carpool to Spirit Rock, because they charge $10 (perhaps more by now) per car for parking if there is only one person in it. I don't believe they have caught the spirit more than any other group, and it is all about education.
Mimi Newton August 17, 2011 at 05:13 AM
Just heard that some jerks plastered Phil and Jill Lesh's home in Ross with banners and signs warning them to stay out of Fairfax. This is just wrong. People may be opposed to this idea (I am NOT! Terrapin Crossroads sounds like a fabulous fit for Fairfax to me and MANY of my friends here in Fairfax --) but the appropriate place to voice their concerns is through posts like this, or better yet, the Town's planning process, NOT through intimidation and midnight skulking around somebody's home. Come on, Fairfax is better than this! I hope the Leshes understand that the VAST MAJORITY of Fairfaxians are not creepy stalking freaks, but peace loving folk willing to at least hear them out in a civilized way about their plans for Terrrapin Crossroads. Whoever these anonymous sign strewers are, they have no guts or class and I hope their friends and families or anybody else who knows them or knows who they are hold them accountable.
valeri hood August 17, 2011 at 05:45 AM
reminds me of the folk who participated in the oust egger campaign- there are always a few in every town- they call them 'the Klan' in the south hope the conversation will stay civil- i guess if it doesn't we'll know who these clowns are! the bullies and intimidators
Kelly Dunleavy O'Mara August 17, 2011 at 05:48 AM
That is terrible, Mimi, and I'm going to look into it in the morning to find out what happened. I'd like to think it's not really anyone involved in this discussion who would do anything crazy; the arguing has been relatively civil I feel like.
Sierra Salin August 17, 2011 at 05:50 AM
Sigh. Jerks is the right word. Folks should and need to know that just because something is proposed, especially in Fairfax, that it is not necessarily going to happen as planned, and certainly not without a lot of discussion and compromises. Fairfax has a great Town Council which will take into consideration all sides of this proposal and act for what they think the best plan is. Go ahead and voice your support, concerns, or non support, but vandalism, and faceless, cowardly mischief do not help anybody. We are a better community than that, and I hope the folks responsible get a chance to make amends and become better people.
Mimi Newton August 17, 2011 at 05:51 AM
Thanks Kelly - I don't know for sure what happened, just word of mouth information going around town, so if you could look into it, I'd be grateful(!) ~
keo August 17, 2011 at 01:13 PM
Wow- How incredibly pathetic. Is that what Marins entitled do, go and TP someones house. My thought is, seriously could ADULTS do this ? Then my next thought was, maybe they sent their kids out to do this.....either way, how pathetic ! I think the Leshes know what a great community Fairfax is, they lived here many years ago for many years and Phil has always patronized local establishments. BUT I am sure they, like myself, are wondering what happen in the last 10-12 years that has changed this town.....oh an influx of $ and entitled people, moving into town completely unaware of what this town has ALWAYS been about and trying to make it into the mini east coast town they came from. If you wanted perfect yuppie town you should have stayed on the other side of the border in San Anselmo ( I grew up there, so I can say this), it's quiet and there is nothing going on at night, perfect for those who don't want more music and culture in town ! I know I have been at the border with the civility thing in my posts, but I don't believe in PC at all costs so ...Civility, might be about to go out the door or may have with this post. Sorry, Phil and Jill, such an embarrassment for our town, but just know that this is definitely not any long time Fairfax residents that did this !
keo August 17, 2011 at 01:22 PM
I say all of the above, also knowing that many lovely people move to town and fall in love with Fairfax, for all that it is, good and bad ! They stay because they have found "their people", those people I fully appreciate !
Sierra Salin August 17, 2011 at 02:37 PM
There have always been all kinds o folks in Fairfax, just like everwhere else. I like to think that we generally deal with thigs a bit differently, including, when we do find out who did it, not stringing them up or the usual "John Wayne"shooting or jailing, etc, but some appropriate resolution/restitution, community service, and inclusion within the community. If that fails, we can ship em off to Bolinas for further reconditioning.
Syd August 17, 2011 at 06:09 PM
Just looking at the facts....18,358 sqft venue for 500 hundred people and only 30 current parking spots? How is this even being considered? Why in the small town of fairfax where people are trying to live peacefully and escape the craziness of the big city. There are much better locations for Terrapin...like a place not surrounded by residential streets. I am wary of the Lesh's...this is being pitched as a family friendly/community hub...a "gift" to the town of Fairfax...but in reality is just another source of income for the already wealthy Lesh's. If this is truly about community why don't they build it in their own community of Ross. Also, how many family friendly venues apply for a liquor license? The people of Fairfax need to read between the lines and look at what Terrapin will really bring to our community...traffic jams, parking gridlock, drunks, etc. I vote no thank you!!
keo August 17, 2011 at 06:36 PM
That's the whole thing Syd your view that people came here to escape the craziness of the city to live peacefully is your weird "not from here dot com / financial guy" view of what this town is. A lot of us are grew up here and are excited about the prospect of, quite frankly "one of our own", opening what could be a really exciting, vibrant addition to our town. Fairfax has always been a hub of nightlife in Marin, way back before any of us were around. If the Leshs were in it to make money, they would be operating it , every night of the week, like a night club would need to operate to make money. One of the greatest things about this whole thing is that we get the benefits of what a venue of this size and this type has to offer WITHOUT it having to be a influx of people EVERY single night. There are concerns that need to be addressed for sure, but your wariness reads more like paranoia !
Wijsen August 17, 2011 at 06:47 PM
I just don't understand all the uproar over the amount of people and the impact TL will have on the town? Is it really expected that 500 people are going to show up for every event? The movie theatre can accomodate that many peoople and has parking for less than 15 cars. The farmer's market brings in 250-350+ people and that doesn't seem to be an issue. The town hosts events on weekends that bring at least 500 people regularly not counting the hundreds of cyclists that ride to Fairfax daily. No one seems to have an issue with them or the many other businesses. Is there really going to be more noise and drunks than we already have with Peris and 19 Broadway? Why do they get a free pass? A lot of people live in Fairfax or visit Fairfax because it is a vibrant, lively town especially after 6pm. This project is a great opportunity to rid the town of an eyesore and create some beauty and culture at the same time. I vote yes thank you!!
John William Wright August 17, 2011 at 07:33 PM
Wijsen - It is safe to assume that when a venue is designed to accommodate 500 people, the managers/owners are going to try an fill it as often as they can. They have already said that they plan on doing 50 - 100 shows a year, as well as allow others to hold events that may draw as many people on a regular basis. Every geographical area has a carrying capacity for various elements, whether they are people, cars, bicycles, etc. Only so much can fit in a certain space. Fairfax is no magic solution to this reality. While the downtown area presently seems to accommodate the current loads fairly well, I think it highly unlikely that adding the number of cars and people called for in this project, two or more times a week year around, is sustainable without serious negative impacts on the downtown and adjacent neighborhoods. Remember that this venue would be in addition to all the things you cite, thus it is cumulative. Would you support another theater complex in Fairfax? (keep in mind that movie start times are staggered for more than one reason) Do you think another theater the size of the existing one would even be viable? Would you support adding four more 19 Broadways to the downtown? Please don't get me wrong here, I love 19 Broadway and would love to see one or two more clubs that size (or one twice that size) in Fairfax. How much can a small downtown hold before the quality of life is seriously impacted? John W. Wright San Anselmo, CA
valeri hood August 17, 2011 at 07:43 PM
It's interesting that a San Anselmo resident should care so much about the impact of a new development in Fairfax. That aside, thanks to John for bringing up the theatre and the bars. Fairfax had an agreement with the theatre about expansion- that it would limit to the current internal space, preserving parking and also bringing in alternative films to the main hollywood pap. Those agreements seem to have gone out the window- we now have a new small theatre addition under way, less parking and rarely have alternative movies. Where is the outrage around that? Perhaps John could push for 'one or two more clubs that size (of 19 Broadway) (or one twice that size)' in the town of San Anselmo. We have enough problems with alcohol and it's affects on the streets of Fairfax as it is. How about a theatre in San Anselmo and take some pressure off Fairfax in that way as well? I hope Fairfax residents will show up tonight to participate in some solutions.
Syd August 17, 2011 at 07:50 PM
Does the farmers market and the movie theater have two full-service bars? And you don't invest in a 500 person venue with out the intent to sell it out. If Terrapin will not increase vagrancy then why does the Terrapin plan include 8 to 11 security guards? Like I said earlier read between the lines people...things are not always as they seem...be careful for what you wish for. And btw...not sure about the "dot com/financial guy" perspective...I'm just a hippie mama trying to raise healthy babies who love music but not alcohol...in a community where they don't have to live with security guards to be safe.
valeri hood August 17, 2011 at 08:14 PM
the farmer's market doesn't sell booze- if the bars were affording private security guards, it would save fairfax $200,000/year-terrapin is offering to take care of any problem that could arise, ON SITE- rather than letting problem people wander off to cause problems on the road, pkg areas etc. Let's urge Lesh to limit the booze and say no to hard alcohol! right now our cops are serving as security guards to the bars- what's the difference?
John William Wright August 17, 2011 at 08:21 PM
Ms. Hood - As I have said before, I have been dancing in Fairfax since 1973 and patronizing 19 Broadway and Peri's since 1981. At one time there were as many as five small venues with live music on weekends. I visit Fairfax on a regular basis and love the town. When I was a senior at Drake HS I designed a small nightclub for a vacant lot near the hub. The lot is still vacant and, if I had the money, I would apply for a permit to build it. FTR - I am not pushing for more clubs in Fairfax, and if someone were to build a live music venue with a good dance floor in San Anselmo I would undoubtedly patronize it on a regular basis, in addition to my beloved venues in Fairfax. I almost never drink alcohol when I go dancing, btw. I'm sure that you are aware that there was a theater in San Anselmo. It was in need of massive seismic upgrades and was not considered financially viable, due in part to the proximity of the theater in Fairfax. I, too, would love to see more "alternative" films presented in the Ross Valley, but I think the proximity of the Rafael Theater undercuts the economic viability of doing that to a significant degree. I share your hope that the residences of Fairfax will engage each other and the town government on issues that they care about. This can only make the town better and improve everyone's quality of life, even those of us in San Anselmo. John W. Wright San Anselmo, CA
keo August 17, 2011 at 08:39 PM
Syd- You ain't no hippie mama. And you are paranoid ! security guards to be safe ? Come on, he is doing that to quell the "fear" of those of you who fled the city and are making incredible gestures about who you fear might show. A theater or performing arts center is not the axis of evil. The teaching of your kids to love music and not alcohol are going to have to take place inside your house. There are liquor stores and bars everywhere and Marin is a hot bed of pill popping hippie mamas. There are bad things EVERYWHERE, this venue is not going to spell your childrens doom , give me a break !
keo August 17, 2011 at 08:55 PM
Valeri- http://www.thefreight.org/ could be a good model in many respects. They used to only serve refreshments in an older funky warehouse now that they worked really hard with a really supportive community and upgraded their space and now serve beer and wine only.
keo August 17, 2011 at 09:01 PM
John- 19 Broadway probably has a capacity of about 225-250......so Terrapin would be double that size. So if you are saying you would support two new venues the same size as 19 or one twice the size of 19.....here you go John...that is exactly what Terrapin is. Facts John Facts !
keo August 17, 2011 at 09:08 PM
John- To me having another club or two the SAME size as 19 Broadway would be a very bad idea. That would be a direct competition to 19B. Having a venue at another size that can accommodate larger acts that simply could not play at 19 due to size is adding to what the town already has to offer. I guarantee people going to and from these shows will stop in Sleeping Lady for some dinner and music or Peris for a drink before the show.
John William Wright August 17, 2011 at 09:34 PM
Keo - I just called 19 Broadway and the legal capacity is 250 people, which they acheive only a few times a year, NYE being one of those times. If you have ever been there on NYE, then you would know that it is way too crowded and there is no room to dance. This is the main reason I stay away on NYE and for other shows that draw 250 people. Most of the time I go there it has 125 or less people, which is what I consider to be a comfortable capacity for the actual size of the venue. Thus, when I think of 19 Broadway, I think of a club that has no more than 125 people in it, not one that has 250 people a few times a year. So, after acknowledging the factual correctness of your assertion, let me revise my statement to say that I would love to see one new establishment that could accommodate up to 250 people or two that would hold a combined total of about 250, on a regular, week in week out, basis. I stand by my opinion that a single 500 person venue putting on live music shows as many as 100 times a year (and other events which may draw as many people who know how often), is simply too large for downtown Fairfax and would adversely impact the adjacent businesses and neighborhoods. Do you really want the equivalent of two 19 Broadways on NYE, one to two times a week in Fairfax? John W. Wright San Anselmo, CA
keo August 17, 2011 at 09:56 PM
John, they achieve that more than just on NYE. They achieve that when a lot of the rap acts are there including Too Short. When the Mother Hips or Vinyl , probably when Chrome Johnson used to play. They do well with all the 80's bands they book, cause that's what the new Fairfax/San Anselmo 30-40 somethings like to go see...they feel safe ! Wonderbread 5 etc. Point is your "perception" and that of many others of what 500 means is way off and you just proofed that by thinking that 19B was much smaller than it actually is. And to answer your last question, yes I would like to see Fairfax as vibrant as it is on NYE especially if it was because of some fabulous music that was being played !
Scott Baldwin August 18, 2011 at 03:10 PM
How about buying the abandoned grocery store next door and turning it into a parking lot for the venue? Include parking fees with ticket prices to encourage patrons to park in the lot.
keo August 18, 2011 at 03:16 PM
I think that building is being leased still either by the GE or someone else that will use it once GE is gone, but the idea (once the parking has been identified) of some sort of system, when you buy a ticket you get a parking pass as well is something to be discussed. There would be identified lots where those passes would work.
global August 18, 2011 at 04:28 PM
WOW! The passion. I think someone should talk to the National and State parks and ask them to shut down the beaches on weekends, if you guys really are worried about traffic impacts on the town. Concerned with people it might attract, who has been to the parkade(sp?) on any given Friday night? Did not some old guy get his face smashed in, oh yeah he was from out of town..right? Build it, don't build it, but all you all get your emotions in check and get the facts,then make your decisions. I am this or I am that..Exactly why our country crumbles.Right, left -Dem or Rep how about the way your grandparents lived -all rise the common sense party! Put the venue in San Rafael we'll all be happy and let the site sit vacant, the town certainly does not need the tax revenue. Maybe the neighbors should purchase it and make it into a community /neighborhood park. Maybe when I lease the GR for an international tattoo and piercing academy (you think I am kidding?) I will file a adverse impact to my buisness with the town that the neighbors are adversely effecting my business with all their constant passing traffic.
Richard Pedemonte September 02, 2011 at 09:23 PM
One idea on controlling parking in the adjacent neighborhood: The town could issue parking permit stickers to their Terrapin Station neighbors residents and post signs saying "RESIDENT PARKING ONLY ON SHOW NIGHTS" The residents would also be issued a handful of temporary parking permits for visitors. Everyone else could be subject to a hefty fine or even tow away. Richard Pedemonte
sam September 05, 2011 at 11:08 PM
$timulating growth, at what costs?? 50000 more visitors per year? In a town of 7500 people? Why not put a 10 story casino there? Already parking is hard to find during events in town on a much smaller scale. People block driveways. Now imagine 500 people arriving every weekend night!! Many will want to avoid parking fees, and park in our adjacent neighborhoods & parkade. There was a lot of whitewashing going on at the Pavilion meeting, and the old lady speaking for the 70 seniors behind the lot had a very good point. Subject these old folks to all the noise of 500 people arriving and leaving after midnight. There has got to be a more appropriate location, like the old Borders by 101 with tons of parking and no residential neighbors.


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