|By Jim Staats, The Marin Independent
Journal, Novato, Calif.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Jul. 9, 2008 - One man's 30-year quest to develop a hotel on the Richardson Bay shore in Tamalpais Valley is simmering again.
San Rafael developer Jack Krystal said his latest effort to develop a site he called "the gateway to Marin" has been "squeezed down to its limit."
The $10 million proposal for Whaler's Point at the 240 Redwood Highway heliport site includes a four-story, 71-room hotel and one-story spa and restaurant on 69,000 square feet just south of the Richardson Bay Bridge.
The proposal appeared before the Tamalpais Design Review Board last week for its third review since plans were re-filed last year.
Krystal has sought approval to develop the site for three decades, but county agencies have repeatedly turned him down.
Nevertheless, Krystal said, "It's seldom in Marin County you have a local who happens to be a property owner and wants to develop the property based on local point of view and vision."
The project, originally rejected by Marin supervisors in 1977 when a 300-room, 12-story convention complex with several restaurants was proposed, was sidelined for years amid a protracted dispute with state officials over development issues.
"This has been going on for a long, long time," said county planner Christine Gimmler.
Though Gimmler considers the proposal incomplete, she expects it to come before the county Planning Commission soon "to see if this is something we should pursue."
She noted "there's a lot of environmental review, costs and traffic analysi for this to go forward."
Gimmler said that although the project has shrunk in size and scope over the years, "at the same time all the regulations are getting more and more stringent.
"The hotel exceeds a number of standards of the Tamalpais area community plan," she said.
Krystal said he "had given up and thrown in the towel" on his hotel crusade a couple years ago, and scrapped a deal for a hospital at the 3.3-acre site in the wake of community opposition.
His various proposals through the years have provided a fair share of theatrics for county officials.
At a 1978 meeting before the Board of Supervisors, Krystal lit a match and torched a model of his 12-story hotel plan, saying he would come back with a scaled-down version. Subsequent proposals of eight-story and six-story buildings also were rejected.
Bill Cullen, who has served on the five-member Tam Design Review Board for 12 years, said the "high-profile project" has drawn community concerns about building height and bulk, traffic and parking.
Cullen said he liked the plan "but I tend to be one of the more liberal members of the board.
"The only reservation I have at this point is the height," Cullen said.
IF YOU GO: The Tam Design Review Board will continue its discussion of the Whaler's Point proposal at 7 p.m. July 16 at the Log Cabin, 60 Tennessee Valley Road in Mill Valley.
Contact Jim Staats via e-mail at email@example.com
Read more Mill Valley stories at the IJ's Mill Valley section.
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