County of Marin - News Releases - North Coast Land Holdings

For Immediate Release
December 13, 2017

Board Upholds Denial of Master Plan Extension for Seminary Site Project

Owner would like to make improvements to Strawberry campus

San Rafael, CA – A 33-year-old Master Plan for a former theological seminary property in unincorporated Strawberry will expire at the end of December 2017 and not receive an extension now that the Marin County Board of Supervisors has denied a property owner’s appeal.

Following a recommendation from the Community Development Agency staff, the Board upheld an October 2017 decision by the Marin County Planning Commission not to extend the 1984 Master Plan for the property owned by North Coast Land Holdings. The 127-acre property is the largest single piece of property held by one owner in Southern Marin.

The Board also upheld the Planning Commission’s decision to suspend further work on an environmental impact report (EIR) for a new project application. Allowing the Master Plan to lapse opens the door for North Coast Land Holdings to file a revised application for the site that includes a new Master Plan.

The property is the former home of the Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, which moved its campus to Southern California several years ago. The now-vacant property has 211 dwellings, built mostly in the 1950s. The new owner’s initial plans called for a total of 304 housing units, including 93 new units and replacement of 198 of the existing units. North Coast Land Holdings would like to redevelop the site. It proposes 304 housing units and a graduate school, replacing the seminary, of about 1,000 students. 

Many neighbors in Strawberry were opposed to the proposed property improvements. District 3 County Supervisor Kate Sears, who represents Strawberry, acknowledged resident concerns about the plans for the site and noted the shared neighborhood goals of addressing Marin’s housing crisis and traffic impacts. She urged the property owner, residents and other parties “to engage in an honest, open conversation about what’s possible on the property, what’s desirable for a variety of stakeholders, what will benefit the community now and into the future, and what the property owner needs.”

“We need to get a clearer more specific sense of what North Coast Land Holdings is really proposing,” Sears said. “I hope to see an open conversation guided by a spirit of compromise and collaboration.”

A Master Plan extension would’ve given the County time to process the new application and start preparing an environmental impact report (EIR) for the new application for the property.

The owner was seeking amendments to the Master Plan and the Strawberry Community Plan to not restrict use of the housing exclusively to students, staff, and faculty so that they may be rented to the public.  

The public may review the staff report on the County’s website


Tom Lai
Deputy Director
Community Development Agency

Marin County Civic Center
3501 Civic Center Drive
Suite 308
San Rafael, CA 94903
(415) 473-6292
CRS Dial 711

Email: Tom Lai
CDA website