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January 24, 2020

Tiburon resident Amanda Stephens has come full circle as an advocate for sexual-assault survivors. Two decades ago, she volunteered as a hot-line counselor for the Washington D.C. Rape Crisis Center, serving as one of the first points of contact for people who have experienced sexual violence. Today, the 47-year-old Stephens works to change nationwide policy on sexual assault as a board member of the Joyful Heart Foundation. The foundation, which was created by actress Mariska Hargitay, works to address sexual assault in the U.S. through policy change, awareness campaigns and healing retreats for survivors. In particular, Joyful Heart has become the banner carrier for an effort to end a massive backlog of untested rape kits throughout the country, with a goal of reforming rape-kit laws in all 50 states by the end of 2020.

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January 24, 2020

As Belvedere’s flood-fix plans continue to take shape, city officials are reaching out to property owners who would be directly impacted by the developments to get their feedback on the proposed design. Early last month, several West Shore Road residents were invited to meet with the city to discuss the construction of short seawalls on their properties, followed last week by representatives from the San Francisco Yacht Club and the Belvedere Land Co., which own properties that would be outside the Beach Road seawall. 

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January 24, 2020

Tiburon has loosened its rules on second units in response to new state laws that aim to make the structures even easier to build but further restrict the control local jurisdictions have in reviewing and approving the structures. The new state laws build on regulations passed in 2017 that removed several of the zoning and permit requirements for the units. 

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January 18, 2020

John Scarborough is working to leave the world a better place than he found it. Between his efforts helping raise millions of dollars for the Belvedere-Tiburon Library expansion, contributing time and money to an expanding Bay Area education program for first-generation college students and supporting his wife Betsy’s documentary film projects in Russia and Ireland, Scarborough is doing what he can to affect positive change. The 30-year Belvedere resident has been named the city’s Citizen of the Year for 2019. He will be honored at Belvedere’s 41st annual Town Meeting, set for 7 p.m. Jan. 27 at City Hall. In a departure from past years, the city did not name a Citizen of the Year Emeritus for 2019.

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January 18, 2020

More than 70 angry live-aboards packed a Jan. 9 Richardson Bay Regional Agency meeting at Tiburon Town Hall to protest the agency’s latest drive to remove derelict boats from the anchorage between Belvedere and Sausalito. The outcry came just as the agency voted to hire part-time help for the harbormaster — and as it’s receiving new pressure from the state to be even more aggressive and remove all anchored-out boats from the bay starting March 31.

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January 18, 2020

The owner of The Hilarita apartments is asking the town of Tiburon to help it become eligible to borrow up to $50 million to finance a long-planned renovation of the affordable-housing complex. At the request of EAH Housing, the Town Council at its Feb. 5 meeting is expected to vote on whether to join the California Municipal Financing Authority and whether, as a new member of the authority, to approve the issuance of the bonds. The move from Tiburon would give Marin nonprofit EAH Housing access to tax-exempt bonds to pay for upgrades to the 102-unit complex. 

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January 11, 2020

Lines stretched out the door and phones rang off the hook throughout the day Jan. 5 as residents sought out their last lick of frozen yogurt from Woody’s Yogurt Place, a fixture on the Tiburon Peninsula for 21 years that shut its doors for good on Sunday. Shop owner Michael “Woody” Woodson, 78, of Tiburon, who ran the businesses with 40-year-old son Brian, cited rising rent and soft winter business as the primary reasons for the closure.  Woodson said annual rent at the business, which first opened on Tiburon’s Main Street in 1998 but relocated to the Strawberry Village Shopping Center in 2000, is set to rise to $105,000 from $100,000 per year, or $6.60 per square foot per month, a figure Woodson asserts was already double what he should be paying. (Frank Fennema photo / For The Ark)

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January 1, 2020

LOOKING BACK AT 2019: TIBURON — For land use and business, Tiburon saw a year of transition in 2019. Seven years after the project’s initial approval, construction on the Belvedere-Tiburon Library expansion got underway. The town reopened McKegney Green field, which had been closed for a $2 million renovation after decades of use had left it run down and full of uneven, torn-up surfaces. And some 45 years into plans to build a subdivision on 110 acres on the southern Tiburon Ridge, the property owners have agreed to allow an appraisal that could protect the land as open space. (Elliot Karlan photo / For The Ark 2019)

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January 1, 2020

LOOKING BACK AT 2019: BELVEDERE — Disaster planning remained a primary focus in 2019, with Belvedere pushing through one of its final utility-burying districts and identifying flood fixes for the city’s seawalls. The city was also challenged with a forced power outage that left residents in the dark for three days and revealed gaping holes in Belvedere’s emergency preparedness. Tragedy struck when a Belvedere boy was killed during a boating accident near Angel Island. His father, a wealthy land developer, was the subject of a police investigation following the boy’s death. (Elliot Karlan photo / For The Ark 2019)

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January 1, 2020

LOOKING BACK AT 2019: STRAWBERRY — Discussion of the proposed development at the former seminary site in Strawberry cooled off considerably in 2019 — until December, when the owner of the property unveiled a revamped plan sure to spark conversation throughout this year: the prospect of a University of Oxford affiliate as the anchor tenant. Meanwhile, the Strawberry Recreation District spent the better part of 2019 grappling with internal challenges that complicated its attempt to define a long-term vision for the agency’s future. The district terminated the contract of its general manager and was subsequently hit with a pending wrongful-termination lawsuit; conducted an unsuccessful search for a replacement leader before pushing the hiring process into 2020; and struggled to fill an unexpected board vacancy. (Image via Via North Coast Land Holdings LLC)

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December 25, 2019

Belvedere’s extensive flood-fix proposal now includes an array of public amenities — including beach access, multiuse paths and parks — to mask the seawall developments and connect residents and visitors with the shoreline along Beach Road and San Rafael Avenue. The refined design was unveiled at the Belvedere City Council’s annual retreat on Dec. 18 at the China Cabin on Beach Road — one of two arterial roads that city officials are working to protect against rising sea levels, major storm events and seismic damage with a project that could cost up to $26 million. (Image via One Architecture)

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December 25, 2019

A formal appraisal of the 110-acre Martha property on the southern Tiburon Ridge is underway — the first step toward the possible acquisition of the property by a local grassroots group that wants to preserve it as open space. Tiburon Open Space last June enlisted the San Francisco nonprofit Trust for Public Land, which helps communities preserve open space, to negotiate with property owner the Martha Co. to acquire the land, which was put up for sale for $110 million in 2018 after decades of failed efforts to redevelop it as a subdivision. The price has since dropped to $95 million.

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December 25, 2019

There was once a galaxy of thousands of tiny sea stars strewn over the rocky beaches of West Marin. But over a period of six years, Leptasterias pusilla, or the six-rayed sea star, vanished from Marin County beaches — and scientists are trying to find out why. Biologists at the Estuary & Ocean Science Center at the Romberg Tiburon Campus recently published a research paper looking at the disappearance of this tiny sea star, an important player in the marine ecosystem. Scientists suspect genetics and disease played a role. But the death of the tiny stars might also signal disturbing changes in the bay environment. (Todd Fitzgerald photo / Creative Commons)

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December 18, 2019

The owner of the former seminary site in Strawberry has unveiled a revamped plan that would bring a graduate school with some 350-700 students as well as 234 units of housing and a continuing-care facility to the property. Among the rumored prospects is an Oxford University affiliate for advanced learning. Oxford is one of the world’s most prestigious universities and, at more than 900 years, the oldest in the English language, with more than 70 Nobel Prize laureates. (Image via North Coast Land Holdings LLC)

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December 18, 2019

Homeowners who want to build a second unit or junior unit on the Tiburon Peninsula will have a much easier time getting approval under new state laws aimed at creating more affordable housing by streamlining the local review process. The new rules further restrict the leeway local jurisdictions must have when reviewing permit applications for second units and junior units, also know as accessory dwelling units and junior accessory dwelling units. Proposed units that fit the outlined standards must be approved within 60 days — half the time currently allotted for that approval.

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