I hope this letter finds you well and enjoying the fall. With almost four months under my belt as the new head of Marin Horizon School, and as a new resident of Homestead Valley, I am delighted to be part of both the school and the neighborhood. I have found the Marin Horizon community to be thoughtful, positive, and committed to helping the school thrive. My family and I have also fallen in love with Homestead Valley’s beauty, peacefulness, and community. We are lucky to be here.
Over the past few months I’ve also learned a great deal about our building project. I have enjoyed meeting many of you and am hoping to meet many more in the coming months. Hearing your thoughts, both positive input as well as concerns about the project, has helped me as I work to meet the needs of both the school and the neighborhood. My goal continues to be to provide transparency, consistent communication, and accessibility. To that end, I am in the process of setting a date for an upcoming joint committee meeting, which I believe is the best forum to hear directly from neighbors who have thoughts or concerns to share. I am interested in increasing the number of joint committee meetings if the need exists. To me, the more open and honest dialogue the better. A great starting topic for our next joint committee meeting would be a discussion of our plans to continue enforcing our Conditional Use Permit, including how to best use the joint committee.
I would also like to express my gratitude to the many of you who provided feedback on our project over the past few months. Because of this feedback we have made major changes to our designs, which we believe significantly address neighborhood concerns and improve the project. These changes are represented in the resubmittal package we sent to the County in June, and in this table
Over the course of discussions with many of you we also committed to implement a number of design and construction changes that may not be immediately apparent in the resubmitted plans, but that we will include in our permit/construction documents. These specific items are listed below. With regard to our neighbors to the north (Montford Avenue) we will:
1. Paint the exteriors of both the library and middle school buildings a dark green to blend in with the landscaping along Montford, as well as the distant trees in the background, minimizing the visual impact of the buildings.
2. Fill in the landscaping along Montford with new trees, shrubs and other plantings in accordance with fire and other codes in order to provide as much screening as possible of the new building, while also protecting views over the top of the school buildings from the houses along Montford. In addition, we will provide appropriate irrigation for plantings to ensure growth and sustainability.
3. Install mechanized window shades on all windows facing north (Montford), in both the new library as well as the existing middle school and set them with a timer and/or photocell to lower at sunset.
4. Reduce the glare as much as possible on both the existing middle school roof and the new library roof by modifying the color and texture of the roofs as much as possible while meeting the energy efficiency requirements of Title 24.
5. Manage the construction from the interior playground of the school property rather than through a combination of the interior and Montford.
With regard to our neighbors to the west (HVCC and Holly Court) we will:
1. Plant a landscaping buffer between the multi-use building and the fence/bathrooms of the HVCC with new trees, shrubs and other plantings in accordance with fire and other codes to provide as much screening as possible of the new multi-use building. In addition, we will provide appropriate irrigation for plantings to ensure growth and sustainability
2. Paint exterior of the multi-use building a dark green to blend in with the trees in the background, minimizing any visual impact.
3. Install and maintain a living “green” roof on the flat roof surfaces of the multi-use building to increase the plant coverage and soften the visual impact of the building from the HVCC deck.
With regard to our neighbors to the east (Melrose Avenue) we will:
1. Plant as many trees as possible at the interior of the project to minimize views of the multi-use building.
2. Break up the planes of the east façade of the library building and create a more residential scale massing, by utilizing small windows and different finishes and colors at the building’s east façade.
Thank you for all of your input. I look forward to continuing our conversations and being part of the Homestead Valley community.
Head of School