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France Resident Stalls Homestead Homeowner's Construction Project

Bizarre battle over Homestead Valley residential deck and fence to be heard at Marin County Planning Commission Monday.

Google Map image of 16 Madrone Park Circle, Mill Valley
Google Map image of 16 Madrone Park Circle, Mill Valley

The Marin County Planning Commission will address an appeal of an approved deck permit, that has a resident of France outraged, and a 40-year Homestead Valley resident frustrated, at their regular meeting Monday at 1 p.m.

The Sands Appeal of the Storek Variance and Design Review will review the conditionally approved rebuild of a deck and steps, while denying a fence, at a Madrone Park home, after a former neighbor resident says the owner lied.

Charles Sands, stated in a letter to Marin County, “the new fence, built without a permit, approved by Tejirian's and Greeley's Notice of Decision VR 13-7 Conditions of Approval # 7 does not comply with the Development Code as it is 6' high, built in the front setback violates 22.20.50's requirement that it be 50% open above 4' and the portion of the length of new fence that extends into Madrone Park Circle's 12'-6" access easement on Storek's parcel violates 22.20.090.C.1's mandatory requirement that in no case shall it extend into an easement.” 

Sands, an architect urban designer now living in France, told Patch in an email, that he “cannot let this disgusting community planning travesty stand unchallenged.”

While Sands stands to say the decision was based on blatantly fraudulent false statements, and accuses Marin County of unethical conduct tolerance, stating that the “fence was built originally without a permit in 1962, demolished and rebuilt without a permit in 2004 and demolished and a totally new design built in 2013," the homeowner is calling the accusations a “bewildering campaign to prevent my completion of the project.”

Rich Storek says his three-year home renovation construction project was suddenly halted eight-months ago when an "error" in issuing a building permit, dated in excess of 50-years ago, was dug up by Sands.

Storek claims, “this error was discovered and fervently brought to the attention of the County by one Charles Sands, who proceeded to mount a bewildering campaign to prevent my completion of the project as permitted in 2012, culminating, so far, in his appeal of the Variance approved October 15, 2013. Sands claims to represent two neighbors who join in his appeal. Both have disavowed his representation and have no objection to the Variance.”

He also explains, in a letter to the Marin County Planning Commission, that Fire Chief Jim Irving and Fire Prevention Officer Fred Hilliard visited the project and were satisfied with it, stating "County staff has responded [to Sands] repeatedly, and dismisses him as 'paranoid, irrational and irrelevant'.”

According to the agenda, the in-kind replacement of the deck is located within the easement for 16 Madrone Park Circle and a pedestrian easement that runs along the eastern side property line. The deck and steps currently extend to within five feet of the front property line and seven and one half feet into the Madrone Park Circle access easement. The deck also extends up to a low retaining wall proposed along the eastern side property line and five feet into the pedestrian access easement.

The Design Review for a new solid fence on a low retaining wall along the eastern side property line within the 25-foot front yard setback was denied. 

Storek says that he only asks that the Variance as granted now be upheld, without further delay, so that he may put this sad saga behind him and complete his project.

Matt Bianco January 13, 2014 at 01:44 PM
It is what makes living in this village so interesting. Retired people with idle hands searching for a way to be active, but only finding that all they can do is manufacture their own causes, without regard to their validity. Sands should find other ways to keep himself busy. Nearly every home on Madrone Park Circle has some issues with respect to the current codes, not to mention, few of the lots have proper driveway access. That road was cut wrongly into the hillside and nearly every boundary is compromised. Add that the neighbors were too cheap to fix their (private) road, and "Circle" has not been a circle for 25 years or so. They should red-tag every home for access issues there, or all should stop throwing stones. Sands should move back if he wants to have a say
Barry W. Young January 14, 2014 at 02:05 PM
Since everyone "in the village" has flaunted the easements and permit processes, then every proposal should go forth despite the impact on others? If the property owner has acted improperly for fifty years its high time he be stopped for again acting only for personal advantage. Throw out all county requirements if not to be adhered to!
Scott January 15, 2014 at 11:51 AM
This guy is unbelievable! Having witnessed him in action for several years it is clear his interpretation of laws and regulations are frequently in contrast with their actual stipulations and always to his benefit. He seems to think his 50 yr old credentials give him the credibility no one else has but it makes him even more laughable since he's so frequently incorrect despite those credentials. And now he's raising a big stink yet doesn't even live in the neighborhood, county, state or country?!?! I can only imagine the surprises in store for the poor folks of Homestead written in his will....

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