Community needs a say in seminary plans
If you go back to the original IJ article on April 1, 2014 when the Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary property was sold, you will find promise-filled quotes that talk about a collaborative and open community process for the site’s future. The architect spoke of “engaging the community to see what is sustainable” and being truly interested in “a process that really wants to engage the community.”
Call me naïve, but doesn’t that sound like something a responsible developer might actually follow through on — especially when it’s a proposal that’s as ambitious as building 300 new residences and planting a 1,000-student high school into an existing, quiet neighborhood like Strawberry?
Well, fast forward to where we are today. Neither the developer, North Coast Land Holdings, nor the primary tenant, The Branson School, bothered to even ask the Strawberry community for their thoughts or feedback on their plans. That’s right, not a single public community meeting was ever held.
Now, we have a development proposal on the table that simply doesn’t reflect Strawberry’s character.
In my opinion, if you want to join a community, you must be willing to stand up to explain your project to the neighborhood — not huddle behind closed doors to shield yourself from tough questions.
Perhaps the developer needs to go back and re-read that original IJ article to see what they had promised. They should also pay particular attention to what our supervisor, Kate Sears, had to say back then: “What matters most is that (new owners) have a good public process and talk to the community.”
— Esther Shafran, Mill Valley