MARINWOOD (KPIX) — On Monday, Marin County will hold the first of three public hearings on low-income housing. Many homeowners, perhaps predictably, are concerned about what would happen to their property values if the project is approved.

Marinwood, just off Highway 101, is one site being considered for the development.

John McCrory, a homeowner here, worries that low-income housing will bring overcrowding to area schools and much more traffic.

“On a Saturday it’s just stop-and-go and that’s not contributing anything to air quality or quality of life,” he said.

LeeLee Thomas, whose county government team designated 87 of the 185 undeveloped parcels of land available for low-income housing, dismisses such fears as overblown.

“Traffic is a concern in Marin in general. Across the whole Bay Area we have traffic issues but the numbers that we’re talking about are really minimal,” Thomas told us. “What we’re doing … is saying ‘here are some parcels, here is some land that has the development potential, it’s zoned so it could accommodate some additional housing’.”

McCrory suggests a better idea might be to legalize “in-law” dwelling spaces for additional housing.

“I think if there is a government-mandated number of low-income housing that’s necessary, we’ve already got that — it’s just ‘underground.’ If they were to fast-track the legalization of the second units, we would have the numbers that are necessary.”

Monday’s hearing is local residents’ chance to weigh in and LeeLee Thomas wants to show them that low-income housing is nothing to fear.

“Folks can take a tour of existing affordable housing developments and they’ll see it does fit in. And most people don’t even know it’s there in their communities,” she said.


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