Chamber Supports Senior Assisted Living Facility
Dear Mayor Phillips and City Council Members:
On behalf of the San Rafael Chamber of Commerce, which represents 625 Marin County businesses with over 26,000 employees, I write to express our support for the senior assisted living facility proposed at 800 Mission Avenue. The San Rafael Chamber agrees with city staff’s recommendation that the appeal should be denied and City Council should vote to uphold the Planning Commission’s conditional approval of the Use Permit and the Environmental and Design Review Permit to allow construction of a new 88-bed assisted living facility at 800 Mission Avenue.
This support does not come easy. As you are well aware, the Chamber has a long standing policy to support workforce housing. It is of our belief that, “without more workforce housing, we will be subject to a shrinking middle class, a struggling economy, loss of tax revenue, and less options for goods and services while paying more and more for what we need” in Marin. So, it does not come easy for us to support something other than workforce housing on this site. Many factors played into our decision; the need for the Chamber to support a full range of housing including housing for our aging population; the fact that we could not find anywhere within city code that states the parcel must be workforce housing only; and the fact that this project is consistent with the values of the general plan.
The Chamber leadership met with both the appellant and the applicant and they both have very compelling stories. Each proposal has merit but the Chamber believes that the current property owner followed proper processes, voluntarily offered to increase the affordable in-lieu housing fee and it is within the property owner’s right to build an assisted living facility at this location.
In addition, we received information from the care operator, Aegis Living that their residents and guests are very active on a regular basis and participate in outings visiting local shops, restaurants and other attractions. The project will create 75 new jobs and employ several other outside vendors all contributing to our local economy. In an economic impact brief produced by Marin Economic Forum it was concluded that the spending by the residents, staff and visitors would support millions in new spending dollars annually in San Rafael.
The lot at 800 Mission Avenue has sat vacant for several years and we now have an operator ready to build a much needed ALF for our aging seniors that will provide economic benefits to our downtown businesses.
The San Rafael Chamber of Commerce supports this project and respectfully asks City Council to deny the appeal.