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Park News

Smart Train walking path

Many of us have seen the Smart Train sliding quietly along on its test runs, and are wondering; when is the walking pathway next to it going to be constructed? Here's the finished proposal for Phase 1 of a non-motorized pathway (NMP) that would extend from McInnis Parkway in San Rafael north to Guerneville Road in Santa Rosa, California. This includes construction of approximately 23 miles of paved pathway (with two 4-foot-wide bicycle/pedestrian lanes and two associated 2-foot gravel shoulders). Twelve prefabricated bridges, numerous culverts, safety fences, retaining walls, and other minor project elements such as signage and pavement striping are also part of the project. We're on Map Sheet 75. SMART-2015-08-28-COMPLETE.

The path had been planned for the west side of the tracks in 2004, and was shifted to the east side for three reasons: less wetland impact, since north of Miller Creek there are substantially more wetlands on the west side; many of the residents of St. Vincent's School have troubled pasts and the school asked that the path be put on the other side of the tracks; and there is no viable connection to Main Gate Road on the west side of the railroad nor for a connection to that SMART station, which is on the east side. So it looks like we will go up to that SMART station to access the path. Stay tuned!

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The Hamilton Federal Lands to Parks Exchange is final as of March 15! You can watch the Novato City Council meeting here: http://novato.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=4&clip_id=1148. Our part is about 39 minutes in; the PowerPoint presentation was informative and Mayor Eklund was eloquent. Buildings in the center of Hamilton Field including the old Bachelor Officers Quarters, Hamilton Theatre, and Officers Club will be rehabbed (this has nothing to do with the proposed Hamilton Sports Complex), and the beautiful hillsides that surround us will stay green and gold parkland forever. Next year the City will be talking with neighbors and assessing the need for more parking, perhaps at the turnaround at the bottom of the hill; since this is mainly a neighborhood park, it is assumed that the same people who walk on the informal trails there now will be the main folks enjoying the lands. They're planning on doing a bit of work repairing erosion on the trails, but no major trail development.

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Concerned about the proposed Sports Complex in Hamilton? Here's a post from Management Analyst Sherin Pourabedin from the City of Novato:

Dear Neighbors, 

Three technical studies were prepared for the City as part of our legally-mandated application review process. The studies were funded by the applicants, and the City hired the consultants and directed their work. Note that three of the studies: Fields Needs Assessment, Visitation Projections, and the Economic Analysis, are based upon anticipated revisions to the original application cited by the applicants, which include a reduction in the tournament baseball field from 1,000 to 500 seats, the elimination of field lighting, and the addition of another soccer field. A fourth study—a preliminary traffic analysis which was posted on the website in early 2015—was based on the applicant’s original submittal and will need to be updated based on the revisions, during the preparation of an environmental impact report. To date, the City has not received the revised application. 

These studies are all available at www.novato.org/hamiltonfields

The City plans to host a community meeting this summer to have the technical studies presented by the consultants who prepared them, and to answer questions. All community meetings on this project will be advertised to the public and posted on www.novato.org. Please sign-up to get an e-notification: www.novato.org/connectwithus. 

Please send questions or comments to planning@novato.org.

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The North Marin Water District has asked us to cut our water usage back 20%, and gives us ways to do that with a free home survey, rebates, and more here Water_Conservation_Tip_Sheet. MMWD's Top 10 Ways to Save Water http://thinkbluemarin.wordpress.com/2014/01/15/top-ten-ways-to-save-water/. Remember to store 5 gallons per person per day for a 5-day period in case of emergency!

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Weather station at MVMCC! Peter Dyke on Club View has a high-quality weather station on the side of his home that tells us all about our local weather, with links to forecasts. You can check it out here weather.mvmcc.org

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NovatoFireDistrictLogo(0413) no CFAIFire-safe MCMCC. Matt the Manager, plus several residents, secured money from the Fire Dept. to help us remove aging and flammable junipers. Replanting is going on, with plants the Fire Dept. recommends.

If you're replanting your yard yourself, here are two resources for you:

1) Check out Charles Conaway's detailed, professional, and beautiful map of plants for the new Demo Garden next to the Clubhouse, at the front desk.

2) On the computer in the Clubhouse library, click on Mike Krupp's MVMCC Plant Catalog on the desktop. He gathered recommendations from the UC Davis extension, and some of the excellent gardeners in the park picked their favorites from lists of fire- and drought-resistant plants; they will need minimal or no watering after they are established, and do well in clay soil. These suggestions are provided as a service to MVMCC residents by the volunteer Tree & Shrub Committee

Here is a Fire Dept. doc on how to create your own Defensible_Space and here is a list of plants that ignite readily and burn intensely, and a list of fire-resistant plants UC_Plant_list. The Fire Department website is www.novatofire.org.

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Homeward Bound is building 14 units at 5394 Nave Drive

Oma Village will become home to families fighting their way toward economic sustainability according to this article, http://www.marinscope.com/novato_advance/news/article_9f299874-faf5-11e2-97d7-001a4bcf887a.html.Carrie Strahan, project manager for Homeward Bound, is at 415-725-7820.

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The poolroom renovation is complete, the refurbished pool & billiard tables are state-of-the-art, and there are rumors that some of the pool...experts...in the Park are going to be teaching a class through HOL. A few recent shots:

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Fun and funny! What you can recycle (wigs?), and how, here

http://www.elementalled.com/pdf/san-francisco-bay-area-recycling-guide.pdf

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Lots of help available to help us stay independent and active!

Find out more about the Margaret Todd Senior Center and the Novato Independent Elders Program, and all the free services they provide, here NIEP_flyer_pg1_2013 and NIEP_flyer_pg2_2013

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Speeding, stopping, and supporting the State

A gentle reminder that we have new 20 MPH speed limit signs for the park, and that we all need to stop at stop signs. One resident got a ticket for running the stop sign up by Costco, and after the $400 fine plus traffic school, he ended up about $600 poorer. The wise person learns from other people's mistakes...

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Current legislation that affects mobile home owners

Golden State Mobile Home Owners Assoc. has a list HERE

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About parking in the park: letter from the management.

Please remember

  • Only park on the street for short periods, not permanently.
  • Never park on-street or in a cul-de-sac in a way that would make it difficult for a large fire truck to maneuver. If two cars parallel park opposite each other, on opposite sides of the street, the fire truck could have a hard time getting through.
  • We are not allowed to park within 20 feet of an intersection (especially the intersection of View Ridge and Marin Valley during events at the clubhouse).
  • Give your neighbors ample room to back out of their driveways.

Please help by parking responsibly and safely. Together we can all make Marin Valley a safe community for everyone.

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Exploring park ownership possibilities in 2012

The Forum Committee (Jim Olson, Mike Read, Larry Cohen, and Ray Schneider) received three requests from residents to make presentations about options for future ownership of MVMCC. These are the residents' opinions and personal research; the committee does not vouch for their accuracy. It's an opportunity to brainstorm and ask questions. With all of our input, perhaps we can put together a plan that works for everybody.

Their outlines are attached here, and we will have the video of the presentations up as soon as we figure out the technical details.

Monday, January 23, Jim Harais presented on owning individual shares of the park. Jim gave a very friendly and professional presentation. Ask a neighbor who attended if you can borrow the extensive notes he passed out, or click here to see his MARIN VALLEY PowerPoint presentation.

Tuesday, January 31, Henry Frummer on a 99-year lease. Henry gave an easy-to-understand and succinct presentation and took many thoughtful and insightful audience questions. Here is his outline: 99_Year_lease_presentation_1-31_2012.

Tuesday, February 7, Ann Gronvold on a Mutual Benefit Organization. Fascinating possibilities, many questions and resources! Here is her presentation: Mutual_Benefit_Corp_Ownership_option.

The Forum Committee decided to make the presentations available for resident information and as a resource for Novato City staff.

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...The Way We Were...

Mike Read, a former resident who is the head of the Novato Historical Guild, shared these photos of what the valley looked like before the park was built, and more. You can pick out View Ridge with all the trees on its right side, a little to the left of the center.

1948:

A closeup:

From Hamilton Field, 1970.

Flyer for the new park:

Here's an early lot plan MVMCC_grading_plan. Wonder what happened to that putting green...

And a hearty round of applause to all the loving homeowners over the years who planted the trees and bushes and flowers we enjoy now!

Mike researched these published articles about the Park:

Sept. 30, 1964 – Novato Advance

Planners Approve Rezoning Of 120 Acres For Trailer Homes.

Marin County is still in the “dark Ages” so far as mobile home park construction is concerned. This is the opinion of the half dozen local trailer owners who happily watched the city planning commission recommend the rezoning of 120 acres at the southern city limits for the establishment of a plush mobile home park.

Asking for and getting the rezoning approval by a 6-0 vote was John A Lydden, owner of the property which sprawls through two valley and over several knolls east of Highway 101 and immediately south of Hamilton Air Force Base.

Lydden told the commissioners that 45 of the property’s acres are proposed for a mobile home park of some 350 units. Also planned for the facility are two swimming pools, two laundry rooms and a recreational building.

One Of Finest

Saying that the park would not be visible from Highway 101 because of an intervening hill. Lydden described the park plan as “one of the finest mobile home designs in northern California.” He reported that the trailer homes would be placed along 30-foot wide streets in “two primary valley” on the property. He said that the design would avoid having the trailers “stacked in rows like so many soldiers.”

Henry Arana, representing San Francisco’s Trans American Engineers, designers of the plan, told the commission that the mobile home pads would range from a minimum of 3200 square feet to a maximum of 4200 square feet.

Arana claimed that the park, proposed for adult tenants only, would be the best in design ever made by his company, which has planned mobile home parks for several other California areas.

Support for Lydden and Arana came quickly from the half-dozen mobile home residents.

Earl Head, of 7530 Redwood Highway, who described himself as a longtime mobile home dweller, said, “We need a development like this. It is hard to understand why Marin County is still back in the dark ages so far as mobile home parks are concerned.”

Head claimed that the county is losing the spending power of many trailer owners who must go to Sonoma and Vallejo to find good parks. He concluded, “This is a fine plan, and I would like to see it approved.”

Mrs. A.T. Lambden, also of 7530 Redwood Highway, said “My husband is a construction worker. We have to move around because of his work. It’s discouraging to bring a mobile home to an area and then have no place to put it.”

Mrs. Harry Whittaker, of 7466 Redwood Highway, argued for the rezoning and the proposed park by saying “There should be a means for older people in lower income brackets to live here in Marin County.”

Lydden and the mobile home owners got limited support from the commission.

Commissioner Richard Alcorn said, “I think we need a development of this sort in Novato, and I think this will be a fine development.”

Commissioner Al Bellucci said, “I feel the area is acceptable for a mobile home park … I would like to see a real first-class development on the site. It will set the precedent for future mobile home development in the city.”

But the Commissioners, despite these first words of support, held certain doubts about the feasibility of the site for trailer use.

They worried about the steepness of grade of certain of the proposed streets and the roadway entering the park from 101. They wondered about the adequacy of street widths for handling incoming and outgoing trailers. And they called for a second exit for use in emergencies.

Problems

They agreed with Bellucci that these and other problems should be investigated and resolved when a more precise plan of the development is presented to them.

Such a plan, they said, will have to be presented in the wake of an approved rezoning, for city ordinance requires that developers in a mobile home zone obtain a use permit prior to any construction.

The commission – on the motion of Bellucci and with a second from Alcorn – approved the rezoning. Voting in favor of rezoning were Alcorn, Bellucci, Chairman Robert Johnson and Commissioners Wayne Hathaway, Samuel Young and Frank Valim. Absent from the meeting was Commissioner Dr. Merton Shelton.

The recommended rezoning now goes before the city council on October 20, for final action.

Oct. 1967, Novato Advance

The city planning commission for the second time approved a use permit for a 334-space trailer park on 121 acres located south of Hamilton Air Force Base. The use permit had been originally approved more than two years ago, but had lapsed. Developer John A. Lyddon explained that a “financial squeeze” had delayed construction of the trailer park. It is located on the east side of Highway 101 and the trailer park area will be obscured by a hill.

Dec. 1967, Novato Advance

The opposition threw in its big guns to shoot down the proposed 230-unit mobile home park proposed by Paul Sade for a 50-acre parcel on Olive Avenue near Atherton Avenue. By a 3-2 vote the proposal was defeated by the Marin board of supervisor’s which overrode the planning commission’s 6-1 recommendation for approval of the plan. The county planning staff had recommended denial of the plan and the Novato planning commission, acting only in an advisory capacity earlier split 3-3.

October 24, 1969, Novato Advance, Ground breaking for the club house

Looking very immobile, this $250,000 recreational complex will become the center of living in the new Marin Valley Mobile County Club located south of Hamilton Air Force Base. Groundbreaking for the center was held on Friday, October 24, 1969. Overlooking San Francisco Bay, the 18,000 square foot community center will have social rooms, card and billiard rooms, a gymnasium, sauna baths, shuffle board, a putting green and therapeutic and swimming pools for 600 adult families for which the Mobile Country Club is designed. Financed by Bank of America and its venture capital subsidiary, Small Business Enterprises Company, the multi-million dollar project is being developed by Julio V. Dougherty Realty of San Mateo. The contractor is Page Construction Co. of Novato. Settled on 160 hillside acres between two oak-studded valleys away from the highway, the County Club has 170 completed home sites and plans for 430 spaces to be added by next spring. A large selection of mobile homes priced from $11,000 to $35,000 are on display at the park site. Homes are located in angled fashion in separate little neighborhood clusters of five spaces to an acre, all serviced by underground utilities. Landscaping will provide large green areas, shrubs and expansive lawns to enhance the setting of the mobile home park.

1971, Novato Advance, Mobile Home park Wants Hookups

A form of TV “snow blindness” threatens the eyesight of Marin Valley Mobile Country Club residents because they don’t have cable TV service, their attorney complained to the council last night.

He said occupants of 60 pads in the mobile home park were and had been ready, willing and able to pay for cable TV service for a long time. Without cable TV service, reception is awful, said attorney Thomas C. Moroney of San Mateo. Residents of Marin Valley have been denied such pleasures as seeing all the best football game, he said, and presented a petition with 14 signatures urging the council to instruct G’TEC Cable TV “to proceed immediately with the installation of the necessary coaxial cable to provide TV service to this area.”

Edward H. Fifer, 8 Wild Oak Drive, said a cable TV hook-up is available right outside his mobile home door, but he can’t get the service. He said the mobile home park will have 150 pads occupied by next summer.

Moroney charged that G’TEC has made “unfulfilled representations” to Marin Valley Mobile Country Club and that delays have cost $2000 in forced installations of temporary antennae for each resident.

May 3,1983, Novato Advance

About 100 Marin Valley Mobile Home Park tenants, hopping mad, overflowed City Council chambers last night and won a promise of attempted mediation for a series of problems. Tenants told the council that rents have been routinely raised by eight percent a year since in 1975. In the past, inflation was used as the reason for rental increases, tenant and attorney Walter E. Pose testified. But CPI dropped, rents continued to rise. He characterized the pattern as “gouging the tenants.”

Co-owner Eleanor Sade responded that this year, for the first time in years, she and her husband were “catching up a little bit. We have said that next year is the CPI is down we will certainly consider (changing the rent increase),” she said, to chorus of disbelieving groans from tenants.

Mike has pulled together the following info about the park acquisition process so far: Notes_on_process_of_Park_acquisition_by_residents

Bill Crozier, resident since 1972, shares his History of the Park: History_of_Park_by_Bill_Crozier

 

 
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