October 4, 2018
In 2011, the Mill Valley City Council approved a mixed use “Von der Werth” project located at 500 Miller Avenue consisting of nine attached market-rate condominium units and a separate two-story, 4,948 square foot commercial building on a 1.2 acre site located at 500 Miller. In 2017, the owner sold the property and the new owners recently began construction of the approved project, specifically site grading and a retaining wall. The retaining wall is expected to be completed in October 2018.
Mill Valley resident Agustin Maxemin, the owner of 500 Miller Avenue, is interested in pursuing possible alternatives to the approved project, including a different design, changing the number and size of units, and location of the commercial space. Any such alternative requires City review, including new public hearings to evaluate design and environmental issues associated with project alternatives based on the City’s development rules, regulations and standards.
On September 17, 2018, the Planning Commission held a Study Session to provide feedback and guidance to the developer on two alternative design concepts presented by the developer. Concept design option 1 showed 19 residential condominium units ranging from 610 to 1,725 square feet each, including three affordable below-market rate units and a singular retail space totaling 4,450 square feet. Concept design option 2 showed 28 residential condominium units ranging from 430 to 1,465 square feet each, including seven affordable below-market rate units and four retail spaces throughout the building totaling 4,031 square feet.
Comments from community members were varied. A number of community members expressed support for the project to bring increased housing to Mill Valley, inclusive of below-market rate options. Several commenters expressed concern about the project design, including size, massing and scale of the building, potential traffic impacts, parking design and vehicular circulation.
Direction by the Planning Commission
Following public input, the Planning Commission provided feedback and direction to the developer on various design issues including size of building, residential unit composition and affordability requirements, materials and colors, parking design, and various design features.
The Commission recommended that the developer create a new design that scales the overall size of the building to be generally consistent with the approved 9-unit project. The Commission stressed the need for a new design that includes smaller residential units designated for affordability and attainable housing as a prime concern of the City. The Commission expressed the importance of the project and that concept revisions would be prioritized to enable the project to move through the process quickly.
The applicant will need to revise project plans that respond to comments and guidance received at the September 25 study session and return to the Planning Commission with another study session on the revised project design option. The date of the next study session has not been scheduled at this time. To stay up to date on this and other projects in the City, please sign up to receive Planning Commission agendas here.
Questions and comments may go to Danielle Staude, Senior Planner at (415) 384-4812 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.