negotiations with the county, the land was zoned for 221 houses
in 2007. But developers have not bitten, partly because the lim-
ited number of homes would make it hard to turn a profit.
The other property, the 110-acre Martha Property, lies
on the Tiburon Peninsula off Paradise Drive. As we go to
press, the county is still considering whether to zone the
property for 43 or 32 homes, says Smith, who represents
the owners, the Martha Company. Either way, 60 acres will
remain as open space. But community opposition to the new
housing is fierce, and at least one group, the Tiburon Open
Space Committee, is trying to raise money to buy the land
and designate it as open space.
This is not to say that there are no desirable vacant lots at
all in Marin. There are, but they tend to go off market and even
when you find one, the road to a dream home is challenging.
There is a zoning review, which can take a year, and then a
design review, which can take six to 12 months — and that’s
before you even break ground. “You’re not calling the moving
company for at least two years,” Strodder says.
Lionel Achuck, a Tiburon developer, can attest to how long
and complicated the process is. He owns a 10-acre parcel in
Tiburon, also off Paradise Drive, which he bought off market in 2006. It then took five years to get approval from the
town to turn the parcel into two lots. He sold the two-acre lot
recently and is now deciding whether to build an approved
9,000-square-foot home, with a tennis court and pool, for
his family on the eight acres that remain. Buyers have come
courting, and the most promising one is from China, which
is little surprise. The Chinese place great value on land. And
our land, it turns out, is about as valuable and rare as gold. M
Either they’re too steep or they lack
the necessary utilities or there’s no road
access, or all of the above.
The St. Vincent’s/Silveira property.