Dear Pacheco Valle Neighbors, All of us who live in the Valle cherish the large, open meadow at the entrance to our community. It is a critical component of the Valle’s ecosystem, providing forage and access to the creek for native birds, deer, and other wildlife. It shelters a 3,000 year old Native American burial ground, one of the oldest in the state. It affords us natural beauty, seclusion, and a buffer from the outside world. And yet, our beautiful meadow is the only portion of the open space that encircles the Valle that is not protected.
Preservation in Perpetuity
We are writing to you today because we have a wonderful opportunity to fix this problem and permanently protect the meadow as open space. The owner of the property, the Gannett Corporation (former owner of the Marin IJ), has finally agreed to sell the meadow and two nearby parcels to Pacheco Valle residents for $550,000, about 25% of the commercial list price. As you will see below, we can finally preserve these three parcels – all subject to development – at a reasonable cost to homeowners.
Likely Development If We Fail to Act
At least three developers have sought to build on the meadow, which is presently zoned for light industrial/commercial development. Pacheco Valle residents first organized to purchase the meadow in 2002, but Gannett was not interested. In 2008, residents from the condos, townhomes, and single family homes formed the Preserve Pacheco Valle
Meadow Committee (PPVMC) and have been fighting rearguard actions to protect the meadow from recent attempts to develop the property. Despite the recession and the crash of the real estate market, one commercial developer retained an option to purchase the property for three years, finally relinquishing his claim last year. Earlier this year, another developer was in talks with Gannett to purchase the property, and Gannett has continued to actively market all three parcels. With the real estate market reviving, if we do not make the purchase ourselves, it is just a matter of time before another builder acquires it.
Time to Act: Vote to Save the Meadow
We must face facts. Flat, buildable land in Marin situated right next to the freeway and public transit is at a premium. If we want to keep our meadow free of development, along with the attendant automobile traffic and parking lots, we need to act now, and we need your support.
The PPVMC has partnered with the Marin Open Space Trust (MOST), a non-profit organization, to acquire all three properties from Gannett. Final purchase requires Pacheco Valle voter approval of a Community Facilities District along with a 15 year parcel tax. The special election is tentatively scheduled for April 8, 2014, with 2/3 approval of voters required for passage. (Please note: Owners and renters residing in the Valle are eligible to vote.)
With interest rates at historic lows and the highly discounted sale price to which Gannett has agreed, we will never have a better opportunity to acquire this land. Based on current interest rates, and factoring in the costs associated with creating the district, we estimate the annual tax to be:
Condominiums / Town Homes: $ 6.58 per month
Single Family Homes: $ 20.67 per month
Ocusun (former IJ building): $324.42 per month
Marin County Open Space District
If the election is successful, we will have insured that the land is preserved in perpetuity as open space. The Marin County Open Space District intends to assume responsibility for the meadow – including annual mowing – at no cost to Pacheco Valle residents.
Preserve Pacheco Valle Meadow Committee
- Frants Albert
- Leslee Budge
- Patrick MacLeamy
- Judith Strong
- Albert Margie Goodman
- Kathy Schlegel
- Rikki Baum
- Peter Logan