Rezone? Good Trade-Off?

The San Rafael City Council is under pressure to rezone a flood-prone, eco-rich site to allow high intensity development next to an airport runway. Now it’s a pay-for-play sports complex far from most neighborhoods. What’s next?

The 1983 trade-off permitted rights to develop lands east of the freeway, keeping this area free from all but light recreational use.

Contrast this proposed mega complex, with parking for 280 cars and a Walmart-sized building (amplifying hazards for pilots), which creates multiple risks:

  • Monetary Value
    Per “The Value of New Jersey’s Ecosystem Services and Natural Capital” report “Wetlands provided the largest dollar value of ecosystem services…$1.2 billion/yr for saltwater wetlands…(for) disturbance regulation… buffering of floods, storm surges…”. Contrast this value versus paying to maintain levees, mitigate noise and light disturbance from sports complex 8 a.m. – 10 pm or pay compensation for lawsuits after City received amply safety issue and environmental warnings.
  • Safety
    Citing dangers of a mega sports building that is “unreinforced against major impact” and fields located extremely close (160 feet – 350 feet) to airport runway, California Division of Aeronautics AND the California Pilots Association strongly recommend against this project
  • Environment
    Lacking public transportation, expect increased daily ghg emissions from 100+ vehicles, “Bay degradation” per US Fish and Wildlife Service, and degraded habitat for two endangered species, putting them further at risk by noise, night lights, trash, etc.

Are there alternative sites for sports?

Yes! Find these, documentation of the above, links and more: https://gallinaswatershed.org/places-to-play-soccer-in-san-rafael.html.

What can you do?

Write or call San Rafael City Council. They vote to approve or deny rezoning Monday, Dec 17.

Katherine DaSilva Jain , San Rafael

Report quoted above is from:
The Value of New Jersey’s Ecosystem Services and Natural Capital

Another quote from this report:

Wetlands provided the largest dollar value of ecosystem services: $9.4 billion/yr for freshwater wetlands and $1.2 billion/yr for saltwater wetlands.

The most valuable services were disturbance regulation ($3.0 billion/yr), water filtration ($2.4 billion/yr), and water supply ($1.3 billion/yr) for freshwater wetlands, and waste treatment ($1.0 billion/yr) for saltwater wetlands.
(Disturbance regulation means the buffering of floods, storm surges, and other events that threaten things valued by individuals or by society as a whole.)