County of Marin - News Releases - Preserving Housing Affordability

For Immediate Release
February 04, 2016

Board to Weigh In on Housing Preservation

Steps to implement new measures to be presented to Supervisors February 9

San Rafael, CA – After collecting feedback from three public workshops, the Marin County Board of Supervisors is poised to implement measures designed to preserve housing affordability in Marin, one of the most expensive places to live in the country. The topic is part of the Board’s February 9 regular agenda.

Community Development Agency Director Brian Crawford, at far left, speaks before the Board of Supervisors, right.Community Development Agency Director Brian Crawford (seated at left near door) speaks before the Board of Supervisors at a December 15, 2015, public workshop.
Planners from the Marin County Community Development Agency (CDA) presented policy options for unincorporated Marin last fall at the three workshops. While the Supervisors decided against any sort of rent stabilization mandates, they have indicated interest in pursuing other actions, including the following steps within the next year:
  • preserve and acquire housing to protect economic diversity;
  • develop building code amendments to encourage creation of affordable second units and junior second units;
  • create incentives for landlords to implement voluntary rent guidelines, and;
  • draft an ordinance to establish income protections for renters with third-party housing subsidies, including federal vouchers.

The topic will be brought before the Board at a 1:30 p.m. hearing February 9. The Board is expected to provide guidance to staff regarding next steps for the phased implementation of housing policy initiatives. No new policy options will be introduced at the hearing.

The median single-family detached home in Marin costs more than $1 million. A condominium or townhome averages more than $500,000 and rents average $2,500. Rental prices in Marin have soared in recent years, impacting thousands of renter households that comprise 30 percent of Marin’s population. Local housing unaffordability is hampering employee recruitment for local businesses, government bodies, school districts and nonprofits.

Based on community feedback, County officials have worked to create options aimed at preserving existing housing and finding new opportunities to make housing more affordable. For instance, officials have worked with local landlords to keep affordable units, promote development of second units, acquire existing rental housing for preservation of and conversion to affordable homes, and encourage multifamily housing.

The staff report for the February 9 agenda item is posted on the County website. The meeting will be in the Board chamber on the third floor of the Marin County Civic Center, 3501 Civic Center Drive, San Rafael. Can’t make it but remain interested? You can watch the meeting live on the Board’s webpage or on your Comcast local government Channel 27.

Comments on the topic may be submitted via email to CDA Planner Alisa Stevenson at astevenson@marincounty.org. Stay informed about scheduled meetings and other housing news by subscribing to free e-mailed notifications from the CDA staff.

All public meetings and events sponsored or conducted by the County of Marin are held at accessible sites. If you are a person with a disability and require information or materials in alternative formats – or if you require accommodation to participate in a county program, service or activity – please contact department staff at (415) 473-7331 or (415) 473-4381 (voice/TTY) or e-mail disabilityaccess@marincounty.org.

Contact:

Leelee Thomas
Planning Manager
Community Development Agency

3501 Civic Center Drive
Suite 308
San Rafael, CA 94903
(415) 473-6697
Email: Leelee Thomas
Affordable Housing webpage