Lagunitas tea purveyor reports progress in county settlement talks

By Anna Guth | POINT REYES LIGHT

Settlement discussions are underway between Marin County and David Lee Hoffman, the Lagunitas resident who faces mounting fines in his fight to preserve dozens of unpermitted structures on his property. At a hearing last Friday, both parties reported to Marin County Superior Court Judge Paul Haakenson that their negotiations over the past three months had been productive, though they have yet to reach an agreement. The court will reconvene in 90 days to hear their progress.

Paul Seaton, a San Rafael attorney who is serving as the executive director for the Lagunitas Project, updated Judge Haakenson on Friday that the group has more than $90,000 in promised donations. Mr. Seaton is working with the receiver—who has been in control of Mr. Hoffman’s property since 2015—and county counsel Brian Case to determine how to best bring the 36 structures and other features on the property into compliance with county code.

Meanwhile, Mr. Hoffman, who dismissed his lawyers earlier this year to take matters into his own hands, has been tackling the financial aspect of the settlement with Mr. Case. Transferring ownership of the property to the nonprofit will be a part of the settlement. Thanks to Mr. Seaton’s advocacy, the Marin chapter of the Sierra Club penned a letter to the judge this month in support of preserving the property, which it wrote was a model of sustainability.

Mr. Hoffman and his many supporters have long advocated for the county to apply a more lenient code, the California Historic Building Code, to the property, which they argue has architectural and historical significance. The Sierra Club’s letter favored the application of this code; doing so could involve the reinstatement of the Marin County Architectural Commission’s deci-sion from 2016 that the site is historically important. (The status of that designation is under dispute.)

“While the land use of the Last Resort property is unconventional, we acknowledge that unconventional approaches will be needed in order to over-come the global environmental challenges facing humanity,” wrote Judy Schriebman, chair of the Marin Group Sierra Club. “Under normal circumstances, the Sierra Club would be inclined to challenge property use that involved over-building. In this case, whatever its origins, we now feel there are vitally important overriding considerations in favor of preservation.”

Ms. Schriebman described the two overriding considerations, including that Mr. Hoffman has demonstrated a “nearly closed-loop cycle for waste treatment and food production, on a very small property. This is an extraordinarily powerful and unique working example of sustainability.” Second, Mr. Hoffman has treated the property “as a community resource, opening [it] to tours by international land-use designers, individuals interested in small-scale sustainable land use, and even local school field trips, as well as offering a meeting space.”

Judge Haakenson acknowledged the letter on Friday and emphasized that he has not taken the many opportunities that have come before him to order the property to be demolished. Mr. Hoffman, who now is well accustomed to speaking on his own in court despite his trouble hearing, raised an issue concerning a mysterious fee charged by the Bank of America during his settlement discussions. Judge Haakenson, speaking to a Bank of America representative who phoned in to the hearing, more or less resolved the issue, which proved to be a previous fine rather than a new penalty. The judge encouraged Mr. Hoffman to stay positive. “Step away from the ledge and do not put a damper on the negotiations,” the judge advised. “Your highest and best hope is to negotiate. and to bring the property in compliance with the law.”

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Sierra Club Letter of Support

Aug. 21, 2019

Supervisor Dennis Rodoni, Marin County Board of Supervisors
Judge Paul Haakenson, Marin County Superior Court

RE: The Last Resort/The Lagunitas Project

Dear Supervisor Rodoni and Judge Haakenson:

The Marin Group Sierra Club, representing 6600 members in Marin County, supports the reinstatement of the Marin County Architectural Commission resolution that all 36 structures on the 2-acre property of David Lee Hoffman in Lagunitas constitute a cultural and historic landmark of local importance.

The work of David Lee Hoffman’s architectural, ecological vision, The Last Resort, stands as a living model of what we can and should be doing in order to live in a truly sustainable way on the earth. As a representation of the “Back to the Land” movement of the 60’s, it is an outstanding example of regenerative design, and in line with directions that communities are calling for in efforts such as Project Drawdown Marin.

In the spirit of “waste is not waste until it’s wasted”, The Last Resort is an environmental model of sustainable and harmonious living. It attempts to assimilate both natural methods from the past with modern know-how to create a living system that effectively demonstrates possibilities of thriving in a non-polluting healthy environment. Its mission is to discover and perfect practical low-cost sustainable methods for waste management, water re-use, and food security. To this end, a unique integrated bio-management system has been successfully developed.

While the land use of The Last Resort property is unconventional, we acknowledge that unconventional approaches will be needed, in order to overcome the global environmental challenges facing humanity.

Under normal circumstances, the Sierra Club would be inclined to challenge property use that involved over-building. In this case, whatever its origins, we now feel that there are vitally important overriding considerations in favor of preservation.

In the case of The Last Resort property, we feel that there are two main overriding considerations in favor of preservation:

1. On The Last Resort property, Mr. Hoffman has demonstrated a nearly closed-loop cycle for waste treatment and food production, on a very small property. This is anextraordinarily powerful and unique working example of sustainability, from which, we believe, many individuals and land-use designers can learn, to the benefit of humanity.

2. Mr. Hoffman has freely treated the property as a community resource, opening the property to tours by international land-use designers, individuals interested in small scale sustainable land-use, and even local school field trips, as well as offering a meeting space. This is precisely how we feel the sustainability aspect of this property should be regarded – as a living, working model that attempts to demonstrate possibilities for small-scale, closed-loop sustainable living – one that shares its efforts and lessons learned with others, while remaining a real-world residence.

We are very grateful for your recent efforts to reach a compromise that preserves this property as a historic landmark. As the process of working with Mr. Hoffman progresses, we also express the imperative to reinstate Marin County’s own Architectural Commission’s ruling that David’s site is historically important. This would allow the use of the California Historic Building Code asa guideline and protections this code offers. Reinstating the Commission’s ruling is ethical and allows for long-awaited progress in complying with reasonable code  upgrades and an ultimate resolution.

We feel that Mr. Hoffman is a visionary who has pioneered solutions to climate change. These solutions lie in the very structures and systems that would be destroyed if the Commission’s unanimous ruling continues to be discounted or ignored. We believe the demolition of thiswork would be a black mark on the face of Marin County, and a significant lost opportunity to protect and preserve this unique site and its historical import, past and  future. We do not want to lose The Last Resort.

We request that Marin County, through their receiver, reinstate their own Commission’s unanimous ruling, which declared that David’s property deserves local historic status. The reinstatement of the County Architectural Commission ruling would be the final step in bringing closure to the issue of preserving as much of The Last Resort site as possible without interfering with the work of the receiver.

We believe that if Mr. Hoffman loses The Last Resort, we all lose — and we believe that the solution is outlined by the steps presented to you by The Lagunitas Project.

We are truly thankful to have you addressing these issues.

Sincerely,
Judy Schriebman, Chair, Marin Group Sierra Club

MARIN COUNTY GROUP
Protecting the Marin environment since 1968, scmaringroup@gmail.com
2530 San Pablo Ave., Suite I, Berkeley, CA 94702 sierraclub.org/san-francisco-bay/marin

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OPINION Marin Voice: Commercial developers are threatening Lagunitas’ Last Resort

David Lee Hoffman pours cups of tea he brewed for visitors over an open fire on Wednesday, July 18, 2012, in Lagunitas. He has been building exotic, Tibetan and Chinese inspired structures on his Lagunitas land for 40 years without permits from Marin County. He now faces $460,000 in fines and a court order to tear everything down. (IJ photo/Frankie Frost)

 

By MARI SEREBROV | August 19, 2019 at 10:33 am

An outgrowth of the back-to-the-earth movement of the 1960s and early ‘70s, the Last Resort in Lagunitas is a testament to one man’s ingenuity and his dream of developing a practical, low-cost ecological system that could serve as a demonstration project for his community.

Now, nearly 50 years after David Lee Hoffman began turning his two acres of hillside into an artistic environmental model of living sustainably, Marin County officials are threatening to destroy everything he’s created by reneging on old agreements and assessing penalties approaching $1 million. That includes hundreds of thousands of dollars to mitigate off-site environmental damage that has nothing to do with the Last Resort.

What could be lost, if the county doesn’t back down in court later this month, is a unique integrated bio-management system that uses vermiculture, composting and healthy gray water processes to produce a natural fertilizer that enriches the soil for growing high-grade organic food. Also at stake are more than 35 buildings that the Marin County Architectural Commission has cited for their architectural significance.

So what is the Last Resort?

“It’s an important and significant example of East-West folk art,” according to sustainable architect Sim Van der Ryn, who was appointed California State Architect by former governor Jerry Brown and is on the architecture faculty at the University of California at Berkeley.

Others consider it a quintessential living history – a prime example of the do-it-yourself, back-to-the-land, Mother Earth ethos of the 1960s put into practice.

For Hoffman, the Last Resort is his home. It embodies three principles: water is precious, soil is sacred and human waste is a resource. Following those principles, Hoffman, who has an engineering and physics background, designed all the systems at the Last Resort to be completely isolated and self-contained so there is no chance of polluting the environment.

Considered a leading global authority on pu-erh teas, Hoffman is known in the tea world for introducing and popularizing fine handcrafted artisanal teas to the West. With his extensive background in vermiculture and soil fertility, Hoffman worked with China’s prestigious National Tea Research Institute, the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences and the Department of Agriculture to help them implement organic and sustainable tea-farming practices.

Hoffman has argued that the buildings, including the original house that was built in the 1920s, should be held to the historical building code. He admits that as he developed his compound, he didn’t bother with building permits. Back in the 1970s, no one in that part of the county did. “We were pretty much left alone,” Hoffman said. Even when the county started handing him red tags years later for not having a permit, there was a tacit agreement that everything was OK.

That all changed about 10 years ago when a new generation of building inspectors came into county government. The county initially agreed to settle the permit violations for $60,000 but then reneged on that offer, Hoffman said. Its latest settlement offer was $700,000 in penalties.

The costs escalated when a judge appointed a receiver to determine the property needs. With Hoffman expected to pay for the receiver’s time and all expenses, the receiver has called in multiple experts and agencies to identify violations that “could” be occurring at the Last Resort. Hoffman’s struggle to preserve his vision “got more complex and more convoluted with all these agencies,” he said.

Hoping to pass the ecological lessons he’s learned to future generations, Hoffman is working with the Lagunitas Project to preserve the Last Resort property in a Public Benefit Trust.

“I set out 46 years ago to create a living model of sustainability. I succeeded,” Hoffman said.

Meanwhile, commercial developers are circling.

The public is welcome to attend the case management conference in Marin Superiour Court at the Civic Center in San Rafael, 9 a.m. on Friday. Go to TheLagunitasProject.org for more information.

Mari Serebrov, who lives in Arkansas, is an award-winning journalist and author. She originally wrote this article for TheLagunitasProject.org.

 

Marin Voice: Commercial developers are threatening Lagunitas’ Last Resort

I Stand With The Last Resort

Dear Supervisor Rodoni and Judge Haakenson,

We immensely appreciate your recent efforts to, at long last, reach a compromise that preserves The Last Resort, David Lee Hoffman’s property, as a historic landmark. As the process of working with David progresses, we must express the imperative to reinstate Marin County’s own Architectural Commission’s ruling that David’s site is historically important. This would allow the use of the California Historic Building Code as a guideline and protections this code offers. Reinstating the Commission’s ruling is ethical and allows for long-awaited progress in complying with reasonable code upgrades and an ultimate resolution.

This is a work of art, as well as a vision of sustainable architecture and living. It exemplifies principles of the Green New Deal and the 60’s Back to the Land movement, bridging the decades with thoughtful, truly intelligent ecological design.

We do not want to lose The Last Resort, nor do we want to lose David  as a friend, neighbor, and contributor to our community.

We feel that David is a visionary who, during the past 40 years, has created solutions to climate change issues that we face as a global community. These solutions lie in the very structures and systems that stand to be destroyed if the Commission’s unanimous ruling continues to be discounted or ignored. We believe the demolition of his work would severely endanger the health, safety, beauty and tranquility of Marin County – and the potential for large-scale solutions that David’s innovation provides.

We request that Marin County, through their receiver, reinstate their own Commission’s unanimous ruling, which declared that David’s property deserves local historic status. You, too, recently stated in your January 31, 2017 letter to the appointed receiver, “Furthermore, please consider this an official request from my office to include architectural and cultural value determinations on the Hoffman property in your final recommendations.”  The reinstatement of the County Architectural Commission ruling would be the final step in bringing closure to the issue of preserving as much of David’s site as possible without interfering with the work of the receiver.

We believe that if David loses, we all lose — and we believe the solution is outlined by the steps in this petition.

We are truly thankful to have you addressing these issues.

We support the reinstatement of the Marin County Architectural Commission resolution that all 36 structures on the 2-acre property of David Lee Hoffman in Lagunitas constitute a cultural and historic landmark of local importance.

Sincerely,

Judy S.
San Rafael, CA 94903

Jeanette Freudenberger Letter

Dear Judge Haakenson,

I just have a simple question to consider.  At some point David’s money may run out and then what would happen?  He will be 75 this year and is also suffering from Lyme.  If there is any way to draw this whole situation to an end, for the benefit of his physical and financial health and have some peace in the later years of his life, that would be most helpful.  As I’m sure the County wants to be done with this too.

Sincerely,

Jeanette Freudenberger

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Jxxx Mxxx Cxxx Letter

On Jun 9, 2019, at 6:47 PM, Jxxx Cxxx <jxxxcxxx@XXX> wrote:

Thank you, Dxxxx. Here is a more prolix summary of what I told Dunker Donuts Sxxxx, based on reporting he sent me:

1. Judge has generously and subtly shifted the terms to the less rigorous historical preservation standard away from the more rigorous county standard. Big win.
2. Historical standard does not supersede county environmental and sanitary mandates. This is now about optics, as receiver suggested. You see “pioneering sustainability,” they see “worms” and “pooh.” You will never ever ever change that narrative. And you give openings to NIMBYs if you plant your flag on that worm hill.
3. Continue your compost toilet and water reclamation innovations at another location or video document them for future researchers and showcasing at store. The storefront in town becomes the resource center for information about all that you accomplished at the Last Resort. Docents lead small, highly selective tours of small groups to the Last Resort, once it is fully gussied up for John Q. Public without killing its inimitable appeal. Large groups cause invocation of assembly requirements and a quick descent into the worm hole of regulatory hell, from which few arise.
4. Build a new narrative. As Don Draper [Madmen] said, “If you don’t like what people are saying, change the topic.” Get this off “pooh and worms” and onto “art, architecture, and the glories of tea.”
5. “Sustainability” in normally progressive Marin in this unregulated context raises red flags for politicos. “What, you protected the pooh guy? Why do I have to abide by your dang septic tank ordinance?!” David, brother, you need to drop this part of your work as an olive branch to Caesar. No more composting toilets or water reclamation. Document it professionally before you shut it down.
6. Having done number 5, you have suddenly changed the narrative from “David Hoffman is creating unsanitary water for our kids and denying water to the salmon” to “Hey Big Brother, why you shutting down the life’s work of this master artist, architect, craftsman and guru of tea?”
The tide has turned. Something has shifted. Maybe it was the letter. Not sure. But the judge was also dead serious. Your Lagunitas Project team needs to get the nonprofit terms exactly right to hold off the receiver. The rebranding I discussed above happens in that document and in all public-facing presentations.
If the judge gives you an A-plus in 60 days, and puts you squarely inside the historical framework, you can then cordon off the debt, and begin building the reality of the newly conceived Lagunitas Project. Any backsliding, any hesitation, the judge calls in the cavalry. He made that very clear.
You can do this!
 

Jxxx

Pecked, Poorly Thumbed from iPhone of:
Jxxx Mxxx Cxxx

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Letter from David Lee Hoffman to Jxxx Mxxx Cxx

June 19, 2019

Hello Jxx,

1) I’m hearing the hearing was good news. Even the judge said I should be jumping up and down with joy. Yeah. Sure. Any good news must have resulted from your letter. Thanks to you and Duncan and a half dozen others who worked on it. So a big thanks and a pat on the back to us all. Yet another reprieve, albeit a short one, two months.

2) Maybe I’m a product of the sixties but I thought it was a good thing to deal with ones own shit. This could have many interpretations. Shit is an important link with sustainable living. It’s actually the backbone of all my biological systems – worms, or more specifically worm casts, is what powers them. Worm casts is a polite way of saying worm shit. Even Charles Darwin recognized their importance and wrote his last book on earthworms: The Formation of Vegetable Mould throughthe Action of Worms. “Vegetable mould” is another polite way of saying worm shit. I say…

Support Your Local Underground Movement!

Worms work. This has been my focus of my life for nearly a half a century. Worm casts is nature’s finest fertilizer and brings healthy life back to the soil. My tasty garden food is living proof of it’s magic. Yes I’m proud to “plant my flag atop Pooh Hill”.

Le Grand Pissoir

-a self-contained bio-digestive toilet system

I have built Le Grand Pissoir responsibly to guarantee that what goes on inside, stays inside, until harvest. It is completely self-contained and isolated from the environment beyond its footprint. Even another deluge as we had in ’82 would not cause the systems to spill into the environment. So bring out the lab folks in white coats with their testing vials before screaming environmental health hazard.

The mountains of paperwork that has been generated by the County over The Last Resort is staggering. One does not become more informed by reading their reports, rather you will be misinformed (example: they claim the lake where Titanic II is moored is “sewage water from the toilet” – in fact it is 100% rain water!) If any guest does not feel comfortable feeding our worms through Le Grand Pissoir, they are welcome to use the indoor conventional sanitized white porcelain toilet that is hooked up to a tested, inspected, and approved concrete septic tank (and all documentation is on file with the County).

3) Of course you’re not the first person to suggest I abandon my grey water systems and composting toilets, that Government and County Health would never never never ever condone such systems. Toilet and turds are taboo and best left to others who make protection of our lives their livelihood. Unfortunately septic tanks are archaic, obsolete, and can never be made sustainable. The whole concept is wrong. Annual inspection, pumping, disposal, and regulatory fees are all unnecessary expenses incurred by residents. Waste is not waste until its wasted.

I’ve never suggested others should live their lives like I do. Heaven forbid! But I am shouting out as loud as I can, that the way we’re currently living on earth has brought our planet into a major crisis. We are in the midst of the Sixth Mass Extinction (but unlike the other five, this one is human caused). Shouldn’t our government at least be having a discussion on some alternatives?

No Jim. I’m too old and too tired to start anew at another location. Besides it would set me back 45 years with only just an idea that I once believed in but failed miserably because I couldn’t convince the authorities its worth. When I sold my last business for a million dollars I thought I was on the road to retirement. Because I didn’t have a clever tax person, I ended up paying $450,000 in taxes to the government. Oh well I thought. Now that I’ve paid into the system at least that makes me a good citizen, right? (I resented that most of that money went to our war machine.) Mark Twain said it best, “patriotism is loving your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it!”

Our poop is a resource.

Our water is precious.

Our soil is sacred.

(and no one can scare me into believing otherwise.)

I have no compassion to help those who suffer from acute fecalphobia. My reaction to this is a question. Why do we shit into our drinking water and think its a good thing? It is so difficult and expensive to get it back to drinking water again (and why is flushing with grey water still illegal?)

No. I’m a dreamer. Le Grand Pissoir has far exceeded my original expectations. The results are quite remarkable. The system is easily scalable to service several homes or an entire community. My system could resolve the problems on the Woodacre Flats. It is said our minds are like parachutes; they only work when open. I have no desire to get involved with  local politics over the failing septic tank issue.

Yes TLR is needing to be gussied up. I’m constantly working on that one.

4) When the County issues me an experimental permit for Le Grand Pissoir, we can change the conversation and focus on giving visitors new and creative ideas. May they return home with a little bit more hope for the future and may they plant their own seeds for a better tomorrow.

5) Shut down and document? Isn’t that the same principle they use with documenting species on the verge of extinction?

6) Jim, I certainly don’t have the political experience as you to draw on and I respect your perspective. I’m certainly not savvy with Washington politics and I’m really at a loss in how to proceed. Still, I have my dignity and I know I didn’t do a bad thing here. Isn’t it enough that I’m willing to give up ownership of the property and donate my life’s work to the San Geronimo Valley Community through The Lagunitas Project? Must I really come up with a million dollars as well for the County in order for my gift to be accepted?

I certainly can’t predict the future, nor change the past, but I certainly am not going limp away with my tail between my legs. I have to face my own reality that I’ve probably been scofflaw all my life, and at 75 I’m not to easily rehabilitated. I’m putting my hope with the non-profit The Lagunitas Project.

I’m still in disbelief that someone can simply sign a piece of paper and all of a sudden my home of 46 years is no longer my home. My last two attorneys kept telling me to remove all tea, art, and any valuables off the property; that the Receiver could show up any time with an empty 20 foot van and just start hauling stuff off the property. Really!! And all this just because I didn’t have a building permit? Cruel and unusual punishment? Elder abuse? Or just the way of the world?

Please excuse my rambling. I struggle with difficulty writing letters. The last time I looked there were some 1600 unanswered emails in my inbox. Well now I have one less. Thanks again for your support.

By the way, if you’re still willing to drop into Jared Huffman’s office, we can certainly use some high-powered catalyst to help sanity prevail…

Best,

David Lee Hoffman, CDO

The Last Resort

Point Reyes Light News Article, June 20, 2019

Marin Independent Journal News Article – June 9th, 2019

Marin judge grants ‘Last Resort’ compound another temporary reprieve

Marin County Superior Court Judge Paul Haakenson warned, however, that this might indeed be Hoffman’s last resort.

Hoffman, who gained notoriety as an importer of exotic teas, has been battling with Marin County for many years over some 36 buildings he constructed without proper permits on his property at 2 Alta Ave. and 230 Cintura Ave.

Hoffman settled on the property in 1973 and modified existing cabin-style residences that had been built in the early 1900s. He also added storage buildings, ponds, retaining walls and ornamental structures — including a full-size replica of a fishing boat suspended in a pond of rainwater — all without permits.

“It is a work of art; it is my life’s work,” Hoffman, who represented himself in court Friday, told Haakenson.

County health inspectors were not impressed, however, by Hoffman’s unpermitted outdoor composting toilet or his kitchen composting system that used worms and a series of open-air moats. They said the moats were a breeding ground for mosquitoes and the toilet threatened the aquifer and nearby streams with contamination from sewage.

Hoffman owes the county close to $1 million in unpaid taxes, fees and penalties, and the cost of retrofitting the structures to bring them into compliance with county code has been estimated at $2.2 million.

In 2015, Haakenson appointed a receiver to manage the property and make the necessary changes, including, if needed, demolishing the unpermitted structures and selling the property to recoup associated costs.

On Friday, Haakenson told Hoffman that a day of reckoning is swiftly approaching. He gave Hoffman 60 days to talk with the county about the possibility of dismissing the receiver and mapping out a plan for paying the money owed and making the necessary changes to make the structures legal.

Haakenson said no matter how sympathetic he might be to Hoffman’s plight he can’t ignore the outstanding violations.

“Unfortunately, this robe doesn’t give me that kind of power,” Haakenson said.

There is, however, a ray of hope for the Last Resort. Last fall, a group of Hoffman’s supporters created the Lagunitas Project, a nonprofit whose main mission is to preserve the Last Resort by transferring ownership of the property to a charitable trust. The Lagunitas Project would serve as trustee.

“We would hope the receiver would step down once the penalties and fees are resolved and the property goes into the trust,” said Paul Seaton, the Lagunitas Project’s executive director.

Seaton said the Lagunitas Project has raised $100,000 so far.

Deputy County Counsel Brian Case told Haakenson on Friday that the county is willing to discuss the possibility of dismissing the receiver and once again working directly with Hoffman on creating a plan to bring the property into compliance.

Haakenson told Hoffman he should appreciate the county’s generous offer to consider turning back the clock.

“If I were you, I’d by crying out in joy,” Haakenson told him.

Haakenson told Hoffman he should also be grateful for the efforts of the receiver, Eric Beatty, who has secured a tentative agreement with federal, state and local regulatory agencies to accept off-site mitigation, instead or requiring him to move his structures out of Cintura and Alta creeks.

To demonstrate that he is serious about negotiating, Hoffman took what he said was $60,000 in cash out of his briefcase and put it on the table in front of him. Hoffman said he has already spent half a million dollars on attorney fees.

Hoffman is hoping that Marin County will accept his bid to apply California Historical Building Code rules to his structures instead of the county’s more stringent building code. Last year, Haakenson rejected a request to validate the Marin County Architectural Commission’s determination in 2016 that all 36 of the Last Resort’s structures have “architectural significance.”

In his tentative ruling, Haakenson wrote that he was not opposed to allowing the restoration of the property under the less onerous regulatory requirements, but the county would have to sign off on such a plan.

While Case said the county is open to discussion of the matter, he said Hoffman has not presented it with any substantive proposal.

Case noted that in a June 7 court filing, the receiver, Beatty, wrote that “The Lagunitas Project does include any discussion of restoration of the altered watercourses across the properties or preservation of the water retention basins or retaining walls at the properties.”

Beatty also wrote in the filing that “The Lagunitas Project provides no offer of funding to the receivership estate for the receiver to complete any of the work needed to move forward with a plan of rehabilitation for any structures or improvements.”

He added, “It is not financially feasible for the receiver to undertake the complicated assessment and documentation process unless the delinquent property taxes are paid in full and the receivership estate is supplied with at least $425,000 in immediate funding.”

David Hoffman Letter to Supervisor Dennis Rodoni

The Last Resort
June 3rd, 2019

Dear Supervisor Rodoni,

Thank you again for meeting with me. I greatly appreciated your making time for discussing the situation at the Last Resort and wanting to help us move to a resolution in the best interests of all concerned.

We both know the history of the situation, and agree that mistakes were made. And we both agree that the current situation with the Receiver will not take us to a satisfactory conclusion.

As Supervisor, you are in a position to help move us to a more positive path, and anything you can do to make that happen would be most welcome.

I implore you to write a letter to the Court making concrete suggestions on how the situation can best be resolved. Please use any of the points made below.

My next court date with Judge Haakenson is this Friday, June 7th at 9 a.m, Courtroom F. It would certainly help our situation to have a positive letter from you to show the judge. Many of our supporters are also anxious to hear your position.

While I respect the need for legal representation, after having nine attorneys represent me without success, I am representing myself. Having spent more than $500,000 onlegal fees, the situation is not resolved.

I am proposing a new approach:

  • I admit my responsibility for past violations and will renegotiate all outstanding fines, penalties and taxes to make a reasonable payment plan to the County over aperiod of years.
  •  As you know, a non-profit corporation, The Lagunitas Project, has been established to create a “Regional Environmental Model for Sustainable and Harmonious Living” as a way to continue my vision for a sustainable environment and benefit the Marin community and beyond.
  • The non-profit received seed funding which has allowed the organization to hire professional staff, develop a strategic plan, and create a capital campaign to meet the County’s requirements.
  • With your help in securing the future of The Last Resort, I believe we can create a new path to resolution without the oversight of the Receiver.
  • Once all the legal details are in place, I will sign ownership of the property to The Lagunitas Project and they will work directly with the County.
  • We will also seek to reinstate the property with the historical significance as was voted by the Marin County Architectural Commission.

We hope a commitment to the points above will settle all legal issues and ensure the continued existence of my life’s work!

Sincerely,

David Lee Hoffman, CDO

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