Sausalito's Open Space

Sausalito’s Open Space Addition

For over twenty years there has been a debate in Sausalito over a 2-acre parcel of land that is now part of Open Space Sausalito. This was the largest parcel of zoned residential, undeveloped property in the city. Zoned for mulit-family dwelling and located between Lincoln and Butte Streets abutting Highway 101, this land has been attractive to both developers and affordable housing advocates. Also active in the debate were area neighbors. They enjoy the open space and the enrichment it adds to their lives. There are also frequent visitors and inhabitants here that often have no voice in these debates and in this instance, it was their voice that carried the most weight.

Area wildlife have discovered in this small slice of undeveloped land, an important refuge. Biologist Jennifer Berry used motion-detection cameras to record wildlife traveling to the property in search of water. It was determined that this small parcel has one of 2 area riparian zones running through it is connected to other area open spaces.  Waldo Creek is a year-round waterway and feeds into the Bay. It is also documented in U.S. Fish and Wildlife National Wetlands Inventory. As a natural waterway, it is the lifeline for grey fox, squirrel, deer, and other area wildlife. There are also numerous resident and migratory bird species such as owl, quail, red-tailed hawk, and falcons who frequent this small haven.

Butte Street Task Force was formed and mandated to examine the available options and make recommendations to the city of Sausalito as a means to resolve the issue. In 2014 they recommended that the city find a land trust to buy the land and keep it as open space. In 2016 Open Space Sausalito came up with $225,000 to purchase half the property from the Hunt Family Trust — fueled in part by an $82,000. grant from the Transportation Authority of Marin and Caltrans. These funds were made available as a mitigation project to compensate for work elsewhere that affected the environment.

Marin Open Space Trust played a key backup role in the preservation of the Sausalito property. Early in the local efforts to preserve the property, MOST provided technical support to the neighbors who were organizing to purchase the land to prevent its development.  Later in the acquisition process, MOST offered to hold a conservation easement and accept responsibility for its permanent preservation as open space to satisfy the City’s requirement for additional assurance  that the property would remain undeveloped. By providing the means to meet these requirements, the city has now transferred its interest in the parcel to the local non-profit, Open Space Sausalito.