High Density Housing Proposed in Tam Valley

By Jackson Gathard

The Marin County Board of Supervisors approved new zoning areas in Tam Valley for affordable, high density housing in a 4-1 vote on September 24. State law requires local governments to meet the needs of housing projections in their community every eight years.

This proposal has been met with resistance from some residents who think Tam Valley is no place for affordable housing. A website called savetamvalley.org has been created to protest the proposed high density housing.

“I agree with savetamvalley.org in the sense that dense housing in our community is not appropriate, as well as the sites selected are not appropriate due to the environmental impact,” said Curry Elckelhoff, President of the Tam Valley Improvement Club, an organization that acts as an informant for Tam Valley residents.

Not all of the community is concerned with the new zoning for Tam Valley. “I would love to see affordable housing in Tam Valley,” sophomore Mattie Fritz said. “It would bring new students to Tam and add diversity to our school. Affordable living options could assist families that wish to move their children to a great school district with huge educational opportunities.”

The zoning plan allows for the construction of up to 433 affordable housing units to be built on 17 different sites within unincorporated Marin County. The sites in Tam Junction are at the corner of Flamingo Street and Shoreline Highway (.74 acres), which has been zoned for about 22 units. The other location is the Armstrong Nursery site behind TJ’s Gym on Shoreline Highway (1.77 acres) which has been zoned for 20 units an acre.

“There are no plans to build at this point. The county is not proposing to build anything,” Elckelhoff said. “It is up to the private property owners who own the selected sites to decide if, when [and] what they want to build. The zoning says new construction has to be mixed-use, meaning commercial development on the ground floor and affordable units above on a second floor; something we see everywhere.”

“If the housing in Tam Junction brought more diversity to Tam it can only benefit our students and staff,” English teacher Jessica Variz said.

Private developers will have to go through a thorough a rigorous review before building.