Awesome George Lucas Plans Low-Income Housing in Bougie Enclave Marin County

 Here's where we see exactly how progressive the residents of Marin County, that fancy haven for the super-wealthy in the Bay Area, actually are. Their neighbor, Star Wars don George Lucas, has been trying build a Lucasfilm movie studio on his vast estate for 20 years, but his fellow Marin residents have blocked him at every stop, complaining about the change in scenery. The San Francisco Chronicle:

Lucas, whose "Star Wars" films ushered in the digital arts age, withdrew his plans last month to build a large mission-style movie-making studio on Grady Ranch, blaming the Lucas Valley Estates Homeowners Association for being Nimbys and torpedoing it.

Several Lucas Valley Estates homeowners had, in fact, said that they considered the historic Lucas-owned farmland  their back yards. They claimed the proposed 263,701-square-foot digital technology production complex was too large, would displace too much dirt, would change the course of a creek going through the area, create too much traffic and hadn't been studied enough.

In other words, some of the richest people in California don't want to obstruct their view, despite the fact that they don't own the land and that such a film complex would bring in a potential $300 million in revenue to the neighborhood. So, after years of fighting, Lucas has decided to give up the ghost—and, presumably to the chagrin of his well-heeled neighbors, will instead cash out and use the land to build low-income housing! The official Grady Ranch statement, which points out the hypocrisy of Marin residents allowing another project to be built (via

The level of bitterness and anger expressed by the homeowners in Lucas Valley has convinced us that, even if we were to spend more time and acquire the necessary approvals, we would not be able to maintain a constructive relationship with our neighbors.

We love working and living in Marin, but the residents of Lucas Valley have fought this project for 25 years, and enough is enough.  Marin is a bedroom community and is committed to building subdivisions, not business.  Many years ago, we tried to stop the Lucas Valley Estates project from being built, but we failed, and we now have a subdivision on our doorstep.

Instead: Lucas and the Marin Community Foundation are working together on the new housing plans, planning to put good use to the valley of his namesake. According to MCF President Thomas Peters: "In many instances, this is housing for people who work in the county but can't afford to live here and for people who grew up here but who now cannot afford safe, secure housing in their home county. And we have always paid particular attention to the need for affordable housing by the county's expanding senior population." Awesome.

AlterNet / By Julianne Escobedo Shepherd

Posted at May 14, 2012, 6:12am

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