For 32 years, Sausalito has protected its scrappy industrial waterfront, banning both housing and offices in the 225-acre Marinship district, which stretches for about a mile north of downtown.
And, for the most part, it’s worked. Instead of expensive condos and trinket-filled tourist shops, Marinship remains a place where vessels are hauled out and repaired, houseboats built, sails sewn and outboard motors tuned up. Hundreds of maritime workers and artists live and toil on the water, a world apart from the glass towers visible across the bay.
But with the Black Lives Matter movement forcing cities to confront historic racial, social and economic inequality, Sausalito officials are debating whether some land in Marinship might be appropriate for low-income or senior housing. In July, during a contentious, eight-hour meeting that focused on both racial justice and a new, 20-year general plan — a state-mandated document meant to guide development — the City Council voted 4-1 to erase language that barred land-based housing there.
At the meeting, Vice Mayor Ray Withy said: “We cannot hope to increase diversity in Sausalito if you don’t increase the diversity of available housing for a multitude of income levels.”