Developers Near and Far Eye Grady Ranch Site for Affordable Housing

Although the Marin Community Foundation has not selected a developer for the site, organizations as far as the east coast have expressed interest.

Marin County residents can expect to hear more on the future of affordable housing at the former Grady Ranch site off of Lucas Valley Road come this fall.

Due to the recent media attention regarding the location, which was originally planned to house a production studio for filmmaker George Lucas, affordable housing developers as far as the east coast have been inquiring on property, according to Marin Community Foundation President Thomas Peters.

While foundation has over 25 years of experience funding the development, rehabilitation and restoration of over 2,600 affordable homes in Marin, the level of interest in the Grady Ranch site is "in a category of all of its own, because of the magic of Lucas' name," Peters said.

"We have not made any set decisions on the size of the project or the developer," he said. "But we do know that we want the project to be beautiful, green, affordable and accessble."

Under current zoning, county officials told the Marin Independent Journal that the 236-acre property could fit 240 units of low-income housing. It could also fit a 48-home market-rate subdivision.

Lucas's original plan for the area was to build a 269,000-square-foot film studio, which was approved in 1996,

Even though the , Lucasfilm stunned the county when they decided to pull his permits and applications for the project after .

Skywalker Propertues, LTD. said that the opposition from neighbors was too great to continue with project in a timely manner.

"We have several opportunities to build the production stages in communities that see us as a creative asset, not as an evil empire, and if we are to stay on schedule we must act on those opportunities,"

The motion picture company also met resistance from the California Water Board over the a reduction in creek fill from the construction as well as coordinating an new environmental review.

Bruce Wolfe, executive officer for the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board, wrote in a letter:

"From my review of the record, it appears that the time Skywalker and its consultants spent trying to justify the appropriateness of a design the agencies had already indicated could not be permitted would have been better used finalizing a design that would have minimized impacts and allowed the agencies to approve the project long before Skywalker felt it needed to withdraw its application."

, the Lucas team began discussions with Peters regarding affordable housing for the site.

Before Lucas' company proposed a film studio on Grady Ranch, the county originally planned for the area and the adjacent community to be housing, according to Brian Crawford, Director of the Community Development Agency.

Peters says that the foundation will be active with getting community feedback in the late fall once plans and a developer are selected.


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