July 12, 2012

Value is in the Land! No, really!

Let’s take a drive North again, courtesy of Burbed reader Tom Paine.  Tom’s got a real winner for us today, that is if by winner I meant something that is the exact opposite of winner.  So let’s check out this bitchen Bolinas back four thousand!

0 Birch Rd
Bolinas, CA  94924


120711-birch-welcome-to-bolinasBEDS:  –
SQ. FT.:  –
LOT SIZE:  4,008 Sq. Ft.
PROPERTY TYPE: Lots & Land, Single Family
COUNTY:  Marin
MLS#:  21214547
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN:  26 days

Flat lot in Bolinas:Not a buildable site under the current water moratorium and County Septic rules and zoning. For further info:Bolinas Public Utility District at Marin County Planning Environmental Health dept.

Here’s what Tom thinks about buying this lot.

I wonder if you can park your RV there for longer than 24 hours?

Ah, yes, a little slice of property in paradise!  Unfortunately we can’t tell you which slice, as there are several 4,000 square foot lots on Birch near Poplar.  But we can show you how awesome the area is!


And when you look for some of the lots, they look even better!


Booyah!  So are you going to let a little thing like zoning issues and no septic and no water meter stop you from buying here?


Comments (15) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:08 am

15 Responses to “Value is in the Land! No, really!”

  1. AstroWallaby Says:

    There’s an interesting little document on the Bolinas PUD’s web site talking about the background behind the water meter ban:


    The 4000 sq. ft size of the lot is interesting in light of this paragraph:

    “Around this same time (1925), an ambitious Manhattan developer, Arthur Smadbeck, hatched a scheme to turn several hundred acres of wind-swept grass land into an ocean side enclave of 6,000 individual lots, each measuring 20 by 100 feet. He subdivided the property and entered into a promotional venture with the now defunct San Francisco Call-Bulletin newspaper to sell the lots for $69 each…”

    Someone’s grandpa obviously forked out $138 back in the day and never got around to building his dream cottage before the moratorium hit in 1971. (A moratorium issued by an activist board composed of *hippies*, no less.) Apparently they’re able to continue legally justifying this moratorium by intentionally keeping their water and sewer systems in a perpetually antiquated, dysfunctional, and environmentally hazardous state of disrepair. That’s green livin’ for you!

  2. Crissa Says:

    The moratoriums have their uses – only so much septic can be put into each acre of land – but most seem to be really completely outside of reality.

    It’s really hurting some of the towns on the edge of the bay area because our villages have moratoriums because of their density, which means the villages rot and we end up with no businesses – but the giant mansions get built instead, heavily taxing our water and watershed’s ability to absorb the septic issue.

    The state, of course, says we should build sewers but then gives us no way to do that.

  3. SEA Says:

    “only so much septic can be put into each acre of land”

    This depends on the percolation rate. In sandy soils the percolation rate is high. If the soil is clay, then the percolation rate is very low, so the drain field must be larger, for a given load.

  4. AstroWallaby Says:

    Judging from a link that was in the other thread about the water moratorium it looks like the one *tiny* chance you’d have for building in this area would involve buying at least 20 contiguous lots. (Assuming they’re still 20×100.) The rule handed down the last time was to build a residential well and septic system without impinging on your neighbors “property rights” it had to be at least 100 feet from any property line. So obviously a 10×2 grid should do it assuming you can sink both in the dead center. (You don’t mind pumping water from straight under your septic tank, right?)

    This lot is actually a “double wide” for 15k, but even if we assume that you’ll be paying the same 15k each for the other 18 plots the total spread comes in *just barely over* “not a lot of money”. That’s a bargain!! Someone should get right on that.

  5. AstroWallaby Says:

    … and actually, if I could do math in my head today I would have realized the total for your 20 lots is actually exactly the same price as the water meter, well *under* “not a lot of money”. Heck, your average Silicon Valley Tech Guy could put that on his Mastercard. Buy now or be priced out forever!

  6. mabeldu Says:

    my head hurts from all the scratching on this one.

    what’s the point of buying land if you can’t do anything on it/with it/beside it/near it? it might be big enough for a grow site, assuming this location counts as part of the emerald triangle (?). but you can’t get water there, so nevermind.

    i’d rather have the desert lot that was featured a couple weeks ago. at least you could do something with that one; an alien landing site named Nazca North.

  7. Crissa Says:

    This depends on the percolation rate. In sandy soils the percolation rate is high. If the soil is clay, then the percolation rate is very low, so the drain field must be larger, for a given load.

    Yes and no. Yes, it does depend on that. And other things, such as decomposition rate, organic composition of the ground, and proximity to open or deep water sources. But there is still a maximum for every particular acre, even if it varies. None are infinite.

  8. Crissa Says:

    The town I lived on in Washington allowed camping on lots that size a certain number of days a year. They also built out water service to the entire town, despite there not being many homes, which is pretty much the opposite of here.

    But yeah, I don’t know why we don’t just start passing laws that make this sort of abandoned land revert to public or raise absentee taxes or something to reduce the huge load of cruft there is in the real estate biz.

  9. SEA Says:

    “But there is still a maximum for every particular acre, even if it varies.”

    There are other options, such as lagoons.

  10. Crissa Says:

    That is so not ‘another’ option. It’s a worse option.

  11. madhaus Says:

    That is so not ‘another’ option. It’s a worse option.

    You say that like it’s a bad thing.

  12. SiO2 Says:

    I looked at this on Google Maps, and the whole area is shown as a Quail Refuge.

    A home for a certain ex-Vice President?

  13. Real Estater Says:

    Take a look at this one:

    “Phenomenal opportunity to rebuild”

    “Value mainly in the land”

  14. Mole Man Says:

    Relative to modern technology this whole situation is completely unreasonable. There are now small sewage processing options that can turn the flushwater into drinking water, more or less. So the issues are money and deciding who pays and also educating people with heads full of 70s era technology to understand what is possible now.

    The sewer issue is really just a handle that people are using to keep the area low density for their pleasure. The same kind of thing keeps nearly the whole state of Vermont in a pastoral state regardless of what individuals and communities there might actually want.

  15. slot games Says:

    Hi there, i read your blog occasionally and i own a similar one and i was just curious if you get a lot of spam comments? If so how do you reduce it, any plugin or anything you can suggest? I get so much lately it’s driving me insane so any help is very much appreciated.

    One suggestion we have is to remove URLs from posts like yours. –ed.

Leave a Reply

Please be nice. No name calling, no personal attacks, no racist stuff, no baiting, etc. Let's be nice to each other in the true Bay Area spirit! (Comments may be edited/removed without notice.)