Homestead Terrace Redux
First published in April 2004
The January 2001 history article about Homestead Terrace quoted a March 1966 Homestead Headlines article written by W.G. which challenged those objecting to the county’s plans for “subsidized old-folks housing.” Incidentally, W.G. was Willa Gritter who in 1988 as Willa Kenoyer (her maiden name) was the Socialist Party’s candidate for president of the United States. She received 3882 votes.
Homestead Terrace is Federal Public Housing, Elderly/Disabled. Residents are generally at least 62 years old with a very low annual income. The complex on Linden Lane between Montford and Evergreen consists of 5 buildings with 27 studio apartments, each 374 sq. feet, plus a community building. Construction was completed in February 1969. It received the 1970 HUD Honor Award for Design Excellence and the 1974 Bay Area AIA Design Excellence Honor Award. Architect/Landscape Architect are Campbell & Wong/Royston, Hanamoto, Beck & Abey. Both Bob Royston and Eldon Beck live in Homestead Valley.
Project plans were announced in June 1966. Neighborhood reaction was immediate: density was too high and increased traffic would be a hazard to the elderly. There was even talk of Mill Valley annexing the flat portion of Homestead Valley to kill the county project. City council and planning commission members toured the site one Sunday.
In June, 1966, the Marin Housing Authority asked the County Zoning Administrator for a use permit for a 30-unit senior citizen home. It was granted, but only for 20 apartments. On appeal, this decision was upheld by the Planning Commission in August.
In September, 1966, the 17 board members of the Homestead Valley Improvement Club (HVIC) voted unanimously to support the 30-unit project. President Bernie Weinstein said, “We feel that the small group of loud opponents in no way represents the true feelings of the valley with regard to this project.” A week later, the Marin County Board of Supervisors approved a 28-unit project. The dedication ceremony was on April 24, 1969. By 1970, neighbors who had been opposed said it was “very nicely done” and an “asset to the community.”
If you have comments or questions about this article
or other topics pertaining to the history of Homestead Valley,
please feel free to e-mail Chuck Oldenburg.