Surprise! Mooring Field Scrapped

Map of proposed mooring field. You can bid it good-bye! | Illustration from Sausalito Currents | post by Larry Clinton

The recent front-page headline in the Marin IJ, “Richardson Bay agency scraps mooring field plan” took most of us by surprise, including Sausalito councilmember Jill Hoffman, who has been a vocal opponent of the plan since it was first suggested by the RBRA in 2014.

Hoffman reiterated her concerns with the anchor-out mooring field concept in an email for the public comment portion of an RBRA meeting in May:

  • Residential moorings conflict with the McAteer-Petris Act, which prohibits residential fill in the bay.
  • Although the mooring field is supposedly temporary, there is no re-housing plan. Further actions by RBRA must be preceded by a specific plan that transitions people off of open water and into slips or housing.
  • There are no provisions in the agreement for disposal of garbage, sewage, and trash from the vessels.
  • Where will these people come ashore, obtain fresh water, and use restrooms and where will they charge radios and phones? There have been no provisions for these impacts.

In addition, Jill had objected to the proposed placement of the mooring field in waters right off the Spinnaker and Sausalito Yacht Club. This placement was decided in private by the RBRA, without consultation with Sausalito, which dropped out of the RBRA Joint Powers Agreement in in 2017 and has a separate agreement with the Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC) to phase out anchor-outs on Sausalito waters (a small sliver of Richardson’s Bay) by 2026.

In her May email to the RBRA, Jill submitted a long list of local stakeholders opposed to the plan, plus a petition recently signed by people from Mill Valley, San Rafael and Tiburon.

Nevertheless, she told the Floating Times, the RBRA pushed doggedly ahead with the mooring field proposal until this abrupt 180° reversal.

Instead, according to Sausalito Currents: “RBRA now estimates that only six vessels from its ‘Safe and Seaworthy’ program would be eligible to move to the mooring field, which has a projected cost of $165,000. RBRA believes that the funds will likely be better spent elsewhere such as a vessel buyback program or paying slip fees for anchor-out vessels that transition to a marina.”

The challenge, of course is to provide alternative housing for anchor-outs and homeless people. Jill Hoffman says that Marin County has $2.2 billion in its budget for this purpose, “but the process of grading applicants for suitability for subsidized housing is so complicated, very few get vouchers.”

Stay tuned for the next chapter in this saga.