Tam Valley Improvement Club
P.O.Box 1446
Mill Valley, CA 94942
Message line: 415-383-3691

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What's Up With That??

Have a question about something you've seen or heard around the Valley?
Ask it here and we'll get an answer posted for everyone to see . . .

Bones found beneath the Fireside!!

The big, white landmark called the Fireside has stood as a gateway to Mill Valley for 92 years, a symbol of a rough, rollicking era when the Bay Area was awash in rum running. But the celebrants who caroused inside the former speakeasy never knew they were dancing on Indian graves.

Read the story by Peter Fimrite in the San Francisco Chronicle, April 21, 2008

There's a car alarm going off on Marin Drive . . .


On Marin Drive between Spring Drive and Alta Vista somebody's very loud car alarm is going off almost every night. The alarm usually goes off between midnight and 3AM. It stays on long enough to wake us and some other neighbor's but not long enough for us to identify the car or the owner. We have tried to identify the owner but by the time we run outside the alarm has stopped sounding. This has been happening for months now. We have asked neighbor's from all around who say they have heard it but also don't know who's alarm it is. We are not sure what to do and were wondering if you had any ideas.

Is there a newsletter or somewhere that we can post to ask whoever is doing it to please stop?

Anyone know anything about this one? Please let us know.

What will we be able to put in the new gray recycle can? Different from the blue can?

Put the same 'stuff' in the new gray can that you previously put in the blue can. The TCSD will be sending out a detailed flyer in the next couple of weeks, but the list is essentially unchanged from what was allowed in the blue bins.

Here's the flyer - please excuse the bad quality - this is a scan of a fax. It's also large, so it may take a while to download if you're on a slow internet connection.

What's happening with the other [proposed] low income housing project in place of Videodroid?

2/4/07 Update: More questions are being asked about the possiblity of housing in and around Tam Junction. Here's Curry's latest response:

Ah, the rumors are really flying!!

The County does not intend to buy anything let alone raze all the existing buildings/businesses.

The possible proposal for behind the Video Droid site is not even on paper yet. Ecumenical Association Housing (EAH) would like to build some senior housing units there but to this point there is no idea of how many units and their architect has not drawn up any plans yet.

The Countywide Plan [CWP], which is being reviewed at the County level, calls for 75 units for Tam Junction. They are studying a Housing Overlay [HOD] which would give more units than zoned for if it is 'affordable housing'. But all of this, even if approved by the County, would be done by developers, not the County.

There has been a thought that there could be a development in the area surrounding Bell Market similar to what is being done in Marinwood, where a whole little community center made up of shops, maybe a few small living units upstairs and a grocery store beautifully designed could be located. Hard to explain but a beautiful concept. There is going to be a meeting hosted by our Tamalpais Community Services District and the Marinwood Community Services District on February 15 at 8pm in our Tam Valley Community Center. The idea for a proposal like that will be presented. However, nothing is being proposed---only a possible concept that may happen someday.

Don't let the rumors get to you. Many of us in the community are on top of what is going on. If you would like to be on my email list to be notified of meetings regarding this issue, send your email address to president@tamvalley.org.

Curry Eckelhoff President TVIC

Earlier post: It is proposed by EAH [Ecumenical Association Housing] on the site behind VideoDroid. The proposal calls for affordable housing for seniors, but may have some low income housing also. The plan is in the very preliminary stages and in fact nothing is on paper yet. They don't even know how many units will be there. The Tam Planning Area Bayfront Coalition [TPABC], which is the local grass roots planning group, had them to a meeting to give us their ideas. No renderings etc. We told them to stay in touch. The site they have picked has many drawbacks and environmental constraints which we told them about. We will have to see what they come up with before we can respond.

If you would like to be on the email notification list regarding this project,
send your email address to president@tamvalley.org.

What's happening with the Chevron station on the corner of Flamingo and Shoreline?

Jan. 11, 2007: From Curry Ecklehoff, President, TVIC:
The Yates Chevron site is zoned Commercial so affordable housing is not an option without a rezoning and a rezoning would call for our Tamalpais Area Community Plan to be amended and we would not be in favor of that. Our Tam Plan is our Bible in Tam Valley. All proposed projects must conform to the Plan and that is specifically what the TPABC group see to. An architect has contacted me about the possibility of a small cluster of businesses, well designed architechturally, for the Chevron site. It is an architect I have worked with before and he knows what we like in style etc. and he also knows that it is the better way to go to propose a project that the community likes and is encouraging.

Dec. 7, 2006: Well, it's going, going, gone. We'll let you know more when we know more . . .

Nov. 29, 2006: Still no real information available about what will happen on this site. Chevron has a lease with the property owner until April 2007. What will be done with the site then is unknown. It has been a gas station since the 50's.

Nov. 2, 2006: Last I heard, the former mechanic at the station, Felipe, who had been with Yates' station for 38 years, was trying to buy the station from Fred Yates' daughter. However, he would have had to replace the BIG underground tanks - a very expensive proposition. So, the next thing I heard was that Chevron was planning to reopen the station under Chevron ownership.

Today I drove by and see HUGE dirt moving equipment parked at the station. Are they replacing the tanks or are they removing them so another use can go in there??? I will look into it further and keep you posted.

What's happening to the Fireside?

Posted Mar. 7, 2006:

July 29, 2003 Document:


Nov. 29, 2006: Citizens Housing description of the project

Oct. 18, 2006: The old Fireside motel will become 50 units of affordable housing - specifically it is planned for elderly and single parents. ( All cities and the unincorporated areas of Marin are obligated to fulfill a quota of affordable housing. ) Most of the units are small, but several will have 2 and 3 bedrooms. Citizen's Housing Corp. is building the project, and they are noted for the excellent quality of the projects they propose and build. They always have an onsite manager and the property and landscaping are maintained impeccably. Only one acre of the site will be built on. The old Fireside will be restored to it's original style, and will house a meeting room downstairs and a living unit for the manager upstairs.

What's that pile of dirt in front of Frantoio?

Oct. 18,2006: I'm sure many of you are wondering what the pile of dirt is in front of Frantoio. Caltrans is using it for the spoils, tree trunks and dirt from different projects going on in Southern Marin. The dirt from the work on Almonte Blvd. was put there during the road work and then taken back when the pipes were laid. In years gone by, when there was a project that needed to have dirt stored while a project was in progress, it was stored on Martin Brother's property. But the Martin's were reluctant to allow it this year, as the County might not have liked it. Also, Flood Control used to allow private contractors to dump their spoils temporarily on the small triangle located on Tennessee Valley Road and Marin Avenue. This was not a good thing for the residents in the Flamingo Road/Marin Avenue area as the dirt would fly every afternoon during the windy part of the day. Complaints from many residents stopped this practice, and now the triangle will only have the spoils from the Coyote Creek dredging - which happens every ten years. (The triangle can now be used for parking for events at the TCSD Cabin on Tennessee Valley Road.) Unfortunately, we now have all the spoils from Southern Marin at the entrance to our beautiful Tam Valley, Mill Valley and all of West Marin.


What's all the construction on Almonte Blvd?

Oct. 18,2006: It is a water district project to replace the water mains and it still has a way to go until completion. I believe it will be another few months before it is completed. I'm sure you've noticed that the roadway is now worse than ever. In fact, there used to be a pothole on that stretch that looked as though it could swallow up a small car, and now it's worse! I know the Fire Chief is trying to find out if the roadway will be repaved when the work is done - we'll let you know when we have an answer. If it can throw out the alignment of a fire truck, just think what it can do to our cars!

How can I get a copy of your design guidelines, specifically which portions of a residence must be included as floor area (to be counted toward the County maximum of 4000 before design review is necessary), and which may be excluded.

Jan. 3, 2007: Tam Valley guidelines are in the Tamalpais Area Community Plan. If my memory serves me the garage is not included in the Floor Area Ratio but the rest of the house is. If you are discussing a single family residence then it does not go through Design Review unless you are requesting a variance for FAR or set backs. I'm not sure where you got the 4000 sq. ft. number, unless that is when you reach your maximum FAR without needing a variance.

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