City Manager Sends Letter to Tamalpais Union High School District Regarding the Tamalpais Union High School Facilities Master Plan

The following letter was delivered today to the Tamalpais Union High School District:

April 25, 2017

Laura Anderson, Board of Trustees President
Dr. David Yoshihara, Superintendent
Tamalpais Union High School District
395 Doherty Drive
Larkspur, CA 94939

Re: Draft Facilities Master Plan

Dear President Anderson, and Superintendent Yoshihara:

The City of Mill Valley became aware last week that the Tamalpais Union High School Facilities Master Plan was scheduled for introduction to the Board of Trustees on April 25th. We have obtained a copy of the Master Plan from the District's website and have had the opportunity over the weekend to give the document a cursory review. It is handsome and exciting in the modernization ideas it presents. Unfortunately, the City of Mill Valley has not had a chance to participate in the process which produced the Draft Facilities Master Plan.

Being part of the same community and having many shared interests, the City of Mill Valley wishes to be involved as a stakeholder in overall Master Plan planning process.

The City kindly requests an opportunity to meet with Superintendent Yoshihara, his staff and the Master Plan consultants before the Board of Trustees adopts the Facilities Master Plan to understand the Plan and its assumptions and the policies behind the recommendations. We would also very much like to discuss the options available to address existing site deficiencies and reoccurring problem areas of noise, traffic circulation and parking needs. We would appreciate the opportunity to participate in brainstorming ideas for consideration regarding needed facilities to serve not just our students and the staff at Tam High, but also perhaps the broader community. Attached to this letter are relevant General Plan programs that the District may wish to address as further guiding principles as part of the Mill Valley community.

Key areas of interest. Clearly, traffic circulation, parking deficiencies, the need for pedestrian and bicycle facility connections, and noise issues are existing matters of interest. Certainly, the proposal to construct a multi-level parking garage with tennis courts on the top level will raise aesthetic concerns which will require attention. Also, the potential for joint development and use of facilities is an exciting opportunity to explore at this early point in the Master Plan.

We believe that further analysis and recommendations from a Traffic Engineer, in conjunction with the consideration of the Master Plan, is essential to understand the existing conditions and the range of options and mitigations necessary to accommodate the improvements contemplated. The City would like to be involved in defining the scope of evaluating travel patterns and circulation, and has traffic data that could be collectively shared and incorporated into such analysis.

Additional planning needed. The City of Mill Valley has recently worked with the Almonte community to address the Miller at Almonte intersection, as has the Safe Routes to School group. As the school may know, there are many safety concerns at the Almonte intersection,including a lack of sidewalk connection from the School to Almonte for pedestrian and transit users.In addition to the parking garage concept, the Master Plan should evaluate safe passage to and from school via all modes of transportation to maximize access for all students and teachers.The Miller Avenue Streetscape Plan is making improvements to the area, including a bike lane in and outbound up to Almonte, but more can be done to improve the connection at Almonte with the assistance of the School District.

The Master Planning process is also a key opportunity for the School District to consider teacher and employee housing as the region continues to work towards addressing creative solutions in providing affordable housing.

Clarification of Next Steps. The City requests that the School District make clear the next steps of the Master Plan process, including public hearings, City and community involvement,additional analysis such evaluation of alternatives or site locations (particularly in terms of circulation and parking at Tam High), timing of environmental review and project funding ideas.

Thank you for considering our request to become involved in the Master Planning process; we look forward to working with you in partnership for the benefit of the community.


Jim McCann, City Manager City of Mill Valley