The owners of the San Geronimo Valley Golf Course on Sir Francis Drake Boulevard are looking to sell the 158-acre property, and Marin County seriously considering purchasing the property and transforming it into open space.
The property, which is worth over $1.8 million according to the county recorder's office, is zoned as a resort and commercial-recreation district. According to county’s development code, that zoning district “is intended to create and protect resort facilities in pleasing and harmonious surroundings with emphasis on public access to recreational areas within and adjacent to developed areas.”
If the county can raise the funds to purchase it, the vision is to disassembled the gold course and transform the 157 acres of land into open space with trails connecting all of the villages of the San Geronimo Valley, enabling hikers to move between these areas without using roadways. The land is adjacent to four open space areas, the French Ranch, Roy’s Redwoods, Gary Giacomini and tiny Maurice Thorner Memorial Preserves. Once protected, the land would create a wildlife corridor.
The Trust for Public Land buys land for permanent protection nationwide. It moved quickly on this opportunity, an except to the normal process, and hopes to transfer ownership to the county by late 2018. It will seek an independent party to continue to operate the business until that time. The Trust says the land is vital to the Lagunitas Creek watershed and to endangered salmon and threatened trout habitat and purchase of the property would allow for protections to be put in place and/or continued.
“The golf course could have fallen into the hands of a developer, but now we have an opportunity to purchase the property and to restore the land, preserve the green space, and protect it as a park,” stated director and general manager for Marin County Parks, Max Korten.
A San Francisco-based nonprofit has signed an agreement to purchase the property for $8.85 million from owners Jennifer Kim and her father, Robert Lee. According to Kim, one of the golf course's silent partners suggested selling the property.
The Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing this month to obtain public feedback on the acquisition of the golf course and its proposed metamorphosis to a preserve. Many avid golfers are sure to voice their opinions as the San Geronimo course is one of the few in the county. Once all input is gathered, supervisors will vote on whether to devote $4.2 million from a combination of Measure A and general funds to purchase the property from the trust. The remainder of the funds would be raised from state and private sources. If the board approves the open space project, the Trust for Public Land will move forward with its purchase before the end of 2017.
Article excerpts from Point Reyes Light.