The following was submitted for publication by the County of Marin and originally appeared on their Patch blog here:
The Marin County Board of Supervisors will consider three options regarding the Priority Development Area (PDA) designation that overlays part of the unincorporated Strawberry neighborhood at its Feb. 25 meeting.
To address public concern over the impact of the existing Strawberry portion of the PDA, the County’s Community Development Agency (CDA) will present choices that the Supervisors requested in December 2013. PDAs are a key element of Plan Bay Area, the Bay Area’s regional growth-control strategy aimed at reducing auto-related greenhouse gas emissions and preventing further sprawl by focusing growth on infill sites within urbanized areas and near transit opportunities.
In his report to the Supervisors, CDA Director Brian Crawford recommends that the Board maintain, remove or modify the Strawberry portion of the PDA. He also plans to provide background information about the creation of the County PDA and what a PDA means for transportation and housing.
For more than 40 years, the Marin Countywide Plan has established a growth-control strategy directing housing and commercial development to urbanized portions of the county along Highway 101 and major arterial roadways in order to preserve open space, agricultural land and bayland areas. Following that pattern, the Strawberry Village Shopping Center and commercial areas along the Redwood Frontage Road provide a spine of retail, social and transit activity for the neighboring residential areas of Strawberry. If the Supervisors vote to modify the PDA, the boundaries could be contracted to more closely reflect the commercial center of the Strawberry community.
None of the options would result in a change to the existing land-use designations or building densities for Strawberry. Modifications to existing PDAs are subject to review and approval by the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG). If the Board pursues the elimination or modification of the current PDA, County staff would be directed to submit a resolution to ABAG with revised maps and an updated application, Crawford said.
Communities near Highway 101 with a PDA designation are eligible to apply for 50 percent more federal transportation funding, creating opportunities to achieve safer walkable, bikeable communities with more transit options and less dependence on automobiles.
In July 2013, the Supervisors requested a modification of the County PDA to remove the Marinwood and Tamalpais Valley/Manzanita areas following appeals by local residents and a series of public discussions.
The Strawberry agenda item is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. or shortly thereafter on Tuesday, Feb. 25. Residents may watch a live webcast on the County website or a live airing on Comcast public access television Channel 27.