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Blithedale Terrace Developer to Host 'Chat Session' About Project

Tiburon resident Phil Richardson says that before his 20-unit project heads to the Planning Commission on June 25, he wants to speak with neighbors in an informal setting.

Although the history of his proposed 20-unit Blithedale Terrace residential project dates back to 2004, developer Phil Richardson has been quick to point to anyone who will listen that his oft-debated proposal has yet to have an actual public hearing over its specific merits.

That is set to change next month, when the Mill Valley Planning Commission is scheduled to both make a recommendation to the City Council regarding certification of the project's final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and deliberate over the project itself.

Before that happens, Richardson hopes to sit down with the project's neighbors, many of whom are vehement opponents of it, to discuss the project in a less formal setting than a public hearing. He's hosting a get-together about the Blithedale Terrace project in the Forest Room of the Mill Valley Community Center this Thursday, June 14, at 7 p.m.

"Let's just sit around a room and chat," Richardson said. "I'm happy to answer people's questions in a relaxed setting."

The project calls for the construction of 20 homes between 1,100 and 2,000 square feet arranged along three parallel rows up the hillside in the Kite Hill area near the intersection of East Blithedale Avenue and Camino Alto. Richardson bought the 1.2-acre parcel of land in July 2004. Of the 20 units, two would be reserved for lower-income households and two for moderate-income households. Richardson said he expects the development to house around 45 people.

The project is the subject of  for a variety of reasons, including its possible impact on traffic and safety in the area. The Blithedale Terrace property was included in the city’s 2003 Housing Element update as a place for a 20-unit residential development as part of the city’s efforts to meet housing allocation requirements from the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG).

David Edmondson June 13, 2012 at 05:21 PM
You misunderstand - I know why condos get converted to apartments; I just don't get why developers build condos they suspect will need to become apartments. As an apartment dweller myself, it's a good fit for my lifestyle. I don't want a yard or a home to maintain, my work life is enough and I don't want to go home to more work. I don't want a car. I like the busy downtown areas, and most of the rest of the problems you mentioned (crime, fumes, privacy, noise, traffic [no car!]) don't apply to me. I can walk most places, bike where it's too far to walk, and bus where it's to far to bike, which is why I like the central location. But this is my lifestyle, not yours. I know you like the quiet of the hills, the privacy of your own yard; you'd never like to live where I do, though you'd appreciate visiting, and I'd find the same about your home. I like this project because it gives people a choice to live in a commercial area and walk to do a lot of their errands. I don't like this project because it's greenfield and I'm concerned about transit access, which is another way of saying I'm concerned about the traffic impact for longer-distance travel.
Rico June 13, 2012 at 06:51 PM
When you think about, the residents of Blithedale Terrace will be trapped by traffic. The street has such a high volume of traffic most hours of the day, they would have to put in a new traffic signal for a safe crosswalk there. And think about the residents pets. The risk of their pets being hit by cars is extremely high, so the animals will also be trapped by vehicle traffic. And what kinds of errands do people walk to do ? Certainly not shopping for groceries or supplies for the family, home business, hobbies or art projects. They won't need any landscape supplies because they will not own the grounds, and will be restricted from doing their own custom modifications to the building, except for maybe paint for the inside walls, as long as management approves the color ! Maybe a walk along busy E.Blithedale down to the bank, or to RiteAid for a cheap bottle of booze and a pack of cigarettes, but that's about the extent of errands
David Edmondson June 13, 2012 at 07:01 PM
People without cars do fine getting groceries, I see them every day. If they can't carry it all, they get a basket on wheels. It's really not a problem. The bar isn't far, the bank isn't far, schools aren't far, RiteAid is better for non-food items than Whole Foods (though Whole Foods does have better booze, which could be carried home easily), cafes, restaurants, parks, doctor's offices - all within a 5-10 minute walk, and downtown is just a 20 minute walk up the street.
Rico June 14, 2012 at 12:06 AM
Whole Foods sells booze ? I don't drink booze, but I thought that Whole Foods only sells beer and some wine. I know a person who does not drive a car, lives in a flat area and has a basket on wheels like you say. It does work most of the time, but for serious shopping I sport her in my car to go shopping at Trader Joe's. I most seriously doubt that anyone who can afford to move into a new condo at the Blithedale Terrace would be seen pushing a basket on E. Blithedale for groceries. Do you sport a basket David ?
RJ June 14, 2012 at 01:34 AM
Leaving aside any other thoughts I have about the Blithedale Terrace project, I must agree with David regarding the walkability of the area. I live in the flats of MV, just a few blocks from the proposed Blithedale Terrace, and I have been walking to Whole Foods to get my groceries for years (no pushcart, just a few sturdy reusable bags over my shoulders:-). I walk to downtown MV several times per week, to my children's schools, the parks, the pediatrician, restaurants, the post office, the library, etc. My husband walks to the bus stop to pick up the commuter bus into SF. One of the very best things about Mill Valley is that our family of four only needs one car and it still sits in the carport most of the time! The flats of MV are extremely walkable if you choose to take advantage of it.

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