Marin County finalizes purchase of former San Geronimo Golf Course for new fire station development

April 8, 2024

Marin County supervisors approve $4.5 million purchase

Marin County supervisors have finalized the $4.5 million acquisition of the former San Geronimo Golf Course, concluding a seven-year debate over the property’s future.

Alongside the purchase, an environmental study was approved, paving the way for the construction of a new fire station on a 22-acre portion of the 157-acre site.

The decision faced opposition from local residents who favored the golf course’s preservation and the construction of a wastewater treatment facility on the premises.

Community and legal challenges shape the project’s journey

The purchase process was marked by significant community involvement and legal hurdles.

Supervisor Dennis Rodoni expressed gratitude to the Trust for Public Land for its crucial role in the transaction, highlighting the organization’s patience and support during the county’s efforts to secure the property.

The Trust for Public Land initially acquired the golf course in December 2017 to prevent its sale to a private entity, following Marin County’s request.

This move was aimed at preserving the land for public recreational use and protecting local wildlife habitats.

Legal challenges emerged when opponents of the land conversion filed a lawsuit, resulting in a Marin Superior Court decision that mandated an environmental review before the county could proceed with the purchase.

Despite these obstacles, the county moved forward, and in 2022, the Marin Open Space Trust acquired a conservation easement for a portion of the land, ensuring its use for passive recreation.

Environmental considerations and community response

The approved environmental study assesses the impacts of the proposed purchase and the development of a county fire headquarters.

Environmental Planning Manager Rachel Reid indicated that potential impacts could be mitigated, suggesting that a more extensive environmental impact report was unnecessary.

However, the project faced objections from the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria, emphasizing the need for thorough consultation on tribal cultural resources.

Marin County Fire Chief Jason Weber outlined the necessity of a new headquarters, citing the inadequacies of the current facility and the strategic benefits of the golf course location.

Plans for the new headquarters include a state-of-the-art fire station and administrative offices, with a commitment to community engagement in the design process to ensure the project aligns with local values and aesthetics.

FSJA Comment

The resolution of the San Geronimo Golf Course saga marks a significant milestone for Marin County, balancing environmental preservation, cultural sensitivity, and the essential needs of the local fire department.

This decision reflects a comprehensive approach to land management that considers the ecological, cultural, and operational dimensions of public land use.

While the project has navigated complex legal and community challenges, the outcome demonstrates a commitment to serving the broader interests of the Marin County community.

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