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Blithedale Terrace Sign Battle Reaches New Heights

After the developer of the 1.2 acre East Blithedale Ave. lot erected a fence to cover up signs protesting the project, local opponents strike back, raising the height of the anti-development signs.

For both developer Phil Richardson and the of his proposed at the base of Kite Hill, the stakes are high.

They got a bit higher this week when those opponents raised the height of the that have overshadowed the debate about the project itself in recent weeks. 

The fate of the , located at 575 East Blithedale Ave. at Camino Alto, may not become apparent until this fall, but strong local opposition, which involves six local neighborhood associations, continues to ensure that signs protesting the development remain visible, despite by erecting a fence on the Blithedale lot. 

, which read “20 Houses Here = Daily Gridlock” and “Help Save Kite Hill,” are posted on the property of Stephen Gregoire, whose home stands next to the property at the base of Kite Hill near Camino Alto on which Richardson has proposed to build 20 homes arranged along three parallel rows up the hillside. Members of the "Friends of Kite Hill" organization raised the signs higher to avoid being blocked by Richardson's fences along the edge of Gregoire's property and to make them clearly visible to East Blithedale drivers.

Richardson, who believes the signs may not be legal, originally decided to build the fence because he was "tired of seeing them." His project hit a delay as opposition rose, so he decided to do something about the signs. He said he didn't have much of a reaction to opponents' decision to move the signs up.

"I just put up the fence - that's it," he said.

Richard DiMaio, a board member of the Freeman Park Neighborhood Association, confirmed that the signs were repositioned by "The Friends of Kite Hill." He said the group represents more than 1,200 Mill Valley households, the Friends of Mill Valley organization and 1,500 people who have signed a petition to save Kite Hill.

"As the signs were being repositioned, many people gave the thumbs up and honked supportively," said DiMaio. "Some people stopped to chat, and some even offered to help. It was an outpouring of support."

Magoo August 10, 2012 at 03:31 PM
Maybe the aggregate groups should have outbid the developer 10 years ago for a cheap 1.1 million
RD August 11, 2012 at 05:22 PM
That would have been great! But you can make an impact, now: https://www.wepay.com/donations/friends-of-kite-hill
kbf August 13, 2012 at 05:12 AM
Developer Phil Richardson continues his campaign of misinformation regarding his proposed 20 unit project rising the equivalent of 8 stories above street level, on the 1.2 acre site that is adjacent to the most congested intersection (E. Blithedale/Camino Alto) in Mill Valley. Richardson falsely claims that opposition to his project is driven by just a handful of immediate neighbors. In fact, in a show of unprecedented unity in recent Mill Valley history, five neighborhood associations, together with the citywide Friends of Mill Valley citizens’ organization, sent a letter to the Planning Commission opposing the project. Two other concerned neighborhood groups have subsequently joined the Friends of Kite Hill. Opposition to the project is based on well founded concerns regarding traffic congestion and safety, environmental compliance, code compliance, and General Plan inconsistency. The Friends have also circulated a petition opposing the project on these grounds which has garnered more than 1,100 signatures , and more people are steadily joining citizen efforts to encourage the City to consider a substantially smaller project alternative.
kbf August 13, 2012 at 05:14 AM
In a CBS local news segment, Richardson falsely claimed that he "finally got permission to build" and that he "had documents from the City that say that I'm to build 20 units of housing on that property." In fact, the site is zoned for a commercial property, and requires a General Plan Amendment to even be able to allow housing on the site. Not only is this project in conflict with Mill Valley’s General Plan in several ways, it has not yet been issued any of the required City permits and the Environmental Impact Report for the project has not been certified. Approval of the EIR must precede any project approval. The City has every right to consider a much smaller project. Such a project would lead to far fewer traffic impacts, less aesthetic impacts and would be consistent with the General Plan and City Code. The project must also pass the scrutiny of Design Review before proceeding. Thus, it is entirely premature to make any claim that there is permission to build, there is not. The Friends’ position is simple. We do not oppose housing on the site, we simply believe, and the greater community overwhelmingly agrees, that 20 houses are far too many for the small site and the location. The project has insufficient access. The entryway to the project has been determined to operate at Level of Service F and the project will add to the number of cars illegally using the "keep clear" zone which will increase the already heavy traffic congestion and lead to safety impacts.
kbf August 13, 2012 at 05:15 AM
The Friends of Kite Hill encourage all Mill Valley citizens to visit our website: http://www.facebook.com/SaveKiteHill to learn about the project and the issues it poses not just for nearby neighborhoods but for the City of Mill Valley overall, to sign the petition, and to contribute toward the expenses incurred retaining expert legal, environmental and traffic advisors.

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