Located in the Northern San Francisco Bay Area, the extremely wealthy neighbors of filmmaker George Lucas, who were opposed to his 1996 plan to expand on his production company studio and build a sizable movie-making workspace on Marin County Skywalker Ranch, have now found themselves dealing with another situation that they most likely will not be happy about. Lucas has left those plans of studio building back in 2012 and has made new altruistic plans for Skywalker Ranch with his new project– building one of the city’s largest affordable housing developments. Before, Lucas Valley residents were against the filmmaker’s studio expansion plan saying it would create traffic and environmental issues, as well as pose a monumental threat to the wildlife that inhibits the valley within their community, but now it seems Lucas Valley residents will be dealing with another proposed plan that they most likely will not be happy about.
When the Star Wars creator first came up with the idea, he was going to sell part of his land to a developer, who would then build the affordable housing plan he had in mind. His housing development proposal caused further anger and frustration from his neighbors, who just finished battling against his studio expansion plan. They claim that his housing development plan would only litter their wealthy community with low-income facilities. According to a Lucas Valley Estates Homeowners Association board member, by bringing affordable housing units into the Lucas Valley community, it would only be seen by outsiders as an open invitation for drug dealers and low-life criminals to come right in.
Although Lucas did have some residents and officials that were quite supportive of his affordable housing idea in 2013, costs for completing the project were estimated between $120 million and $150 million, causing the project to lose its key financial backing. Now, two years later after so much project stalling, the billionaire has decided to take matters into his own hands. Lucas has chosen to use part of his own personal property for the development and instead of turning to state, federal or other grant aid to fund the project, he plans on spending all of his own money to get the job done.
Lucas’ altruistic plans for the 224-unit housing project on Skywalker Ranch, which is where he had originally intended to build his studio, will be submitted to the Marin County Development Agency within the coming days. This development will take up 52-acres of land, and is being created for both workforce residences, estimating about 120 living accommodations with two and three bedrooms, as well as housing for senior citizens, estimating about 104 living accommodations with one and two bedrooms. In addition to the plan, there are four parking garages, an orchard and a community pool, all of which, the entire housing development included, cannot be seen from Lucas Valley Road. If the proposal gets approved, then Lucas’ housing development has a good chance of being completed by 2019.
The truth of the matter is, San Francisco is in a state of crisis. Builders are struggling to find areas in the pricey city to build units, but they are hard-pressed to find many vacant areas that offer enough space to build. It has become so problematic that Oakland proposed a plan to allow developers to begin building over the bay in order to meet their affordable housing requisites. If Lucas’ plans to altruistically build affordable housing on Skywalker Ranch go through, that would release a lot of the tension, while simultaneously give those individuals who are forced to live outside the city, an opportunity to reside in a more tranquil location that is only a short distance away from the city.
By Kameron Hadley
Photo By Red Touch Media-Flickr License