SAN RAFAEL (CBS SF) — A new plan for development and preservation of open space in Marin County proposed by Metallica’s James Hetfield is being welcomed by North Bay homeowners.

Hetfield abandoned his previous project after meeting with resistance from locals, but now he’s gone back to the drawing board.

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The land is in San Rafael just south of Lucas Valley Road.

The people who live in the area are fiercely protective of the open spaces that surround them. Back in 2012, they geared up for battle when the county got a request to build about 34 homes across the street from the neighborhood.

“A lot more construction, a lot more homes over a greater area,” said local homeowner and activist Liz Dale. “And that was not very well received.”

Metallica front man James Hetfield, who owns a huge swath of land next to his Rocking H Ranch, had put forth the plan.

He further angered locals when he built a fence blocking public access to the open space.

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But the county recently received a new proposal from Hetfield that is being met with a more positive response.

“To develop approximately a 40-acre portion of the remaining, unprotected 280 acres,” said Carl Somers, Chief of Planning and Acquisition for the Marin County Parks Department

On this smaller parcel, Hetfield proposes building only four large houses — up to 8,000 square feet.  The rest of the land around the parcel, approximately 240 acres, would stay private but would be designated as a “conservation easement,” protected from further development.

“By definition, conservation easements are perpetual, so the protection would be permanent,” explained Sommers.

The details remain to be worked out, but if the deal goes through, the compromise could be that the public would not be allowed on the land, but no more homes would be built on the space ever.

The most remarkable thing about this story is that here in Marin County — a place where everybody argues about everything, especially development — nobody seems to be against the plan.

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“We were very, very happy. And maybe it is a victory to have been heard,” said Dale. “I think there’s a lot of owners and developers who don’t maybe pay attention to what the local community wants.”