Use the Force … against NIMBYs

In a twist, George Lucas has pledged to develop affordable housing in Marin County in response to NIMBY opposition to his commercial development plans – probably not what the local homeowners expected to hear. In an April 10th letter to the Marin Independent Journal  Skywalker Properties stated that instead of continuing to battle NIMBYs over building film production facilities on their Grady Ranch property (see map here), Lucasfilm would instead look to sell the property to an affordable housing developer because “low income housing … is scarce in Marin.”

Rendering of now-canceled Grady Ranch

The story has made the big time – coverage in the San Francisco Chronicle (and here), The Telegraph, and even the New York Times.

And the neighbors have responded as  NIMBYs often do when affordable housing is proposed – irrational, emotional attacks on low-income families (from the New York Times). 

The staunchest opponents of Lucasfilm’s expansion are now being accused of driving away the filmmaker and opening the door to a low-income housing development. That has created an atmosphere that one opponent, who asked not to be identified, saying she feared for her safety, described as “sheer terror” and likened to “Syria.”

Carl Fricke, a board member of the Lucas Valley Estates Homeowners Association, which represents houses nearest to the Lucas property, said: “We got letters saying, ‘You guys are going to get what you deserve. You’re going to bring drug dealers, all this crime and lowlife in here.’ ”