Former Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh is continuing , though it won’t be coming to after the natural food store .
The musician is now eyeing the former gas station and car repair shop right next door, according to one of the property's owners.
Plans for the music venue are moving forward at the property next to Good Earth, between the grocery store and , said Al Baylacq, one of the partners at Good Earth. Baylacq, Mark Squire, and Edwin Cariati, all partners at Good Earth, co-own the property that Lesh is considering, which is currently used for excess parking for the grocery store.
“It’s got a lot of legs to it,” said Baylacq of the project.
According to people who live in the neighborhood, Jim Rosenfield – a representative of the Leshes – has approached residents around Claus Drive with a proposal to build a barn-style music hall at that property. Rosenfield even met with about 18 of the neighbors on Sunday afternoon to answer questions and present architectural renderings of the possible music venue.
Town Manager Michael Rock said the developers haven’t yet submitted any plans or specifics to the town, but that the developers are attempting to work with neighbors to address concerns before putting together an application to the town, “which is the right way to do it,” he said.
The proposed venue would be two-stories and 5,000 square feet with a 500-person capacity and would hold 50-100 shows per year, according to multiple residents in the Claus Drive area who spoke with Rosenfield. It would also sell beer and wine, possibly hard alcohol, and have a small catering kitchen, but wouldn’t serve food at concerts.
Rosenfield, a developer who bought Larkspur Landing in 2009 and turned it into Marin Country Mart, told residents that Lesh originally approached him to bring Terrapin Landing – as the music venue will be known – to Marin Country Mart. But, when that didn’t work out, Rosenfield told the Leshes that he would be their representative and work with them to find a suitable location.
Rosenfield declined to comment on the proposal.
The actual Good Earth building, said Baylacq, wouldn’t work because of the costs of retrofitting and the amount of seating available in the space. Baylacq also said a large New York bank is interested in the car repair/gas station property, but the three co-owners felt Lesh was a better fit for the town.
Some of the key issues to the venue have yet to be worked out.
Brad Clark, who lives in the neighborhood behind Good Earth, said parking, traffic and security remain concerns for residents in the area.
Rosenfield told the neighbors that the space would be required by the town to have 75-80 parking spots, but that the developers would want to provide 200 spots, so they are talking to and nearby to provide additional parking. In addition, there is the possibility the neighborhood area around the venue could become permitted parking only or that private security from the music venue could be positioned at the entrance to Claus Drive. Ten to twelve security guards would be provided for each show at the soundproof building. Tickets would only be sold online. There is also the possibility that for overflow crowds the concerts could be streamed to nearby bars in town and the space could be used as an auditorium during the day.
“Phil doesn’t want to do it if there’s resistance from the community,” said Clark.
Right now, there are still a number of questions locals want addressed before the proposal goes to the town, including a traffic impact report and concerns about large crowds in the small town.
“We are concerned about the noise, trash, vagrancy, crime, traffic, parking -- the list can go on and on. Five hundred people in one location is almost equivalent to all the downtown venues combine,” said Adrianne Peixotto, who lives nearby. “When a big name comes to one of the current music venues we tend to have the issues all listed above, now double or triple the number of people and have that happen every weekend, some twice, and we are looking at a neighborhood I don’t want to live in, would you?”
“Most of the families I talk to in Fairfax are extremely against another live music venue in our town. The venue is right next to a street with children and families,” said Dawn Lillington.
However, no proposal has even yet been submitted to the town, which would have to approve a use permit.
“They don’t even own any property in town,” said Rock, who said town staff has met a couple times with the Leshes and their representatives for “brainstorming sessions” to explain the process for a permit application.
An application for a use permit would be submitted to the town before escrow closes on the property, as is standard for buyers to insure the property can be used the way they intend.
That application would come to the Planning Commission and would then be reviewed by the Town Council if it required an environmental impact report or traffic study – as the .
Rock said no specific plan has been submitted to the town and the town and council members don’t yet know if they would support the project or not since they have no plan to form an opinion based on.
Clark said, though, that he was told the town is “100 percent behind it.”
But, don’t expect the music to play too soon. After Rosenfield met with the group of neighbors this past weekend, the hope for the developers (and the neighbors) is that certain mitigation measures would address any concerns and bring opponents on board. Taking those concerns into account, an application will be submitted to the town, an approval and hearing process will be followed, and, if approved, only then would construction begin.
Then, the fans will come to listen to Lesh and friends perform right in downtown Fairfax.
“It could be a big deal for the town,” said Rock.