Lagunitas local John Torrey’s LETTER TO THE EDITOR

LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Point Reyes Light, August 27, 2015
Hoffman’s site is historic


Regarding the “Tea Purveyor” article, the piece makes no mention of the legal framework behind historic documentation which is to protect the property from demolition acknowledging the site’s historic status protection from CEQA. A report documenting the property’s potential as County historic landmark was provided to Supervisor Kinsey almost 3 years ago.

I put it together. Kinsey simply sat on it.

The County needs a demolition permit in order to proceed with any destruction of the property. Even if the county waives the need for a demolition permit they are still liable to a CEQA challenge if there is any threat to potential historic structures on the property.

The property in its entirety is, like Watts Tower, a folk art environment and is, according to three historic experts, protected by two criteria of the California Register of Historical Resources. It should be noted that if the property is not listed but nevertheless meets the criteria specified in California Public Resources Code section 5024.1 (defining eligibility for listing in the California Register of Historical Resources), then it is presumed to be “historically significant.”

Nor did the article make any mention of perhaps the most egregious example of local political betrayal. A 1,000 person petition was provided to Kinsey along with the historic report. Speaking for the petitioners, I can state unequivocally that the petition makes clear that San Geronimo Valley residents want a cooperative plan developed to save the property. Kinsey never even acknowledged the petition. Again, he just sat on it. He doesn’t get it. We don’t work for him. He works for us. We’re the boss, not him. Obviously, ignoring petitions sets a very dangerous precedent for the entire county.

Kinsey has said many times to me and others that “he has always wanted to save Hoffman’s property.” Yet like a lot of politicians he has no intention of saving the property at all. He simply says things like that to make himself feel good. It’s a pure giveaway line. David, his attorney Paul Smith and I have worked tirelessly to come up with the basics of a cooperative plan to be developed in conjunction with the County to save the property based on the following:

Removal of tea from the site. Presentation to the County of an independent hydrology report documenting the site’s grey- water, blackwater, and drainage systems. A revision to the financial obligations of the property that will provide for necessary future maintenance of the property and payment of fines while not at the same time creating unsustainable debt. A third party professional agreeable to the County to act as an alternate to the receiver for the property designated by the County. This person would have the ability to evaluate and execute necessary health and safety upgrades on the property. Recognition of the property as an historic resource in accordance with criteria of the California Register of Historical Resources.

Will the County meet with us or will they simply ignore Valley residents and the state’s environmental law? Hopefully the Point Reyes Light will pursue this issue head on in the true spirit of investigative journalism and its Pulitzer Prize reputation.


John Torrey
Lagunitas

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