February 2018 Update: Proposal Submitted, New Fairfax Website for updates

The Wall Property developer Marshal Rothman’s group has submitted an initial plan to the Town of Fairfax.  The plan, studies, and ‘official’ town updates can be viewed here:


The next steps are for the town and Mr. Rothman to schedule public feedback sessions.  The initial plan submitted will almost certainly change based on those sessions, so we encourage everyone to attend and offer your input and suggestions.

Session dates will be publicized on the town calendar, through email notices, on the above website, and here.  We encourage you to come out and make your voice heard to help shape the project and the future of Fairfax.


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November 2017 Wall Property Update

Greetings all.  Here is the latest as of Nov. 8,  as understood from discussions with Open Space, Fairfax Town Council, neighbors, and the developer.   There are a lot of rumors going around – we will try to address the facts here.

A full proposal will soon be available for public review, possibly November 10, so everyone will soon have access to the same information and all of the plans and studies.  I encourage you all to review them and bring up your questions to the Town Council and / or the developer, Marshal Rothman.

Marshal has also invited people to contact him directly at 415-272-5999 or drswami@earthlink.net.

Key Updates:

  • NO IN-LAW UNITS.  In-law units have been removed from the plan based on public feedback.  There are 10 houses in the current proposal on the ~99 acres across the 3 parcels.  Structures will be limited to a building envelope area, and the rest of the land will be ‘greenbelted’, meaning that it will not be developed nor fenced and will remain undeveloped as it is now in perpetuity, including if ownership changes.  Average house size is ~4000 sq.ft.
  • PROPOSAL DEVELOPED, FULL SUBMITTAL EXPECTED SOON.  Click here to read the proposal summary from the developer.  The linked document here is a summary.   An official submittal (1000+ pages) has been finalized and printed and will be submitted soon to the Town of Fairfax, and will be posted online for public review.  There will be a lengthy process to review the submittal, including opportunities for public comment and debate.  The process is designed to take time, maybe years, to address the many concerns that Fairfax residents rightly have, and to complete and review the required studies and make sure that if development has to occur, that it is done in a responsible and positive way or not at all.
  • ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT IS PLANNED.  The developer is requesting and paying for an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) (see page 8 of this document).  This appears to address the rumor that this step would be bypassed.
  • PUBLIC FOOT / BIKE / DOG ACCESS WILL REMAIN.  The area will remain publicly available in the form of a trail and open areas.  An 8-acre parcel on this land will be given to the town to allow this access.  The stone spiral area on an upper plateau will be left undeveloped and open for public use (the uppermost house is planned to be 2 plateaus below this area).
  • TREE STUDY COMPLETED.  A tree study was done by Urban Forestry.  They studied areas where development is proposed (the building envelope area around each proposed house site).  The area included 449 trees, of which 270 would need to be removed to allow for 300 feet of defensible space around each home (per recommendation from the fire department), or to remove diseased trees.  When asked about this, Marshal Rothman replied that any trees removed would be replaced by 2 planted trees of the same species in the landscaping plan, and that the vast majority of the property’s trees on the remaining 90%+ ‘greenbelted’ portion would not be removed unless required by the fire department for safety reasons, or for disease.  Trees near houses will be pruned (branches lower than head height cut back, understory removed) per recommendation of the fire department.
  • OTHER STUDIES COMPLETED.  Visibility, Wildlife, Hydrology, Geotechnical, Archaeological, Traffic, and other studies have been completed as part of the submittal and will be available for public review in the document.
  • HEARINGS TO BE SCHEDULED.  Public discussion of the submittal will occur at a series of future Town Council meetings and other meetings.  These will be posted on the Town of Fairfax website website and mailers will be sent to neighbors adjacent to the property.   We will also try to post any meetings or updates to this site.

Thank you all for staying interested in this.

(Posted by J.P. Rose, Marinda Oaks neighbor and regular Marinda fire road runner & hiker)

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July 2017 Wall Property Development Update

Updates on progress and timeline were provided by Marshal Rothman, property owner and developer, in early July. Marshal invites anyone with questions to contact him directly at drswami@earthlink.net or (415)383-1356.  


All studies are complete or being finished up except the Visual and Tree studies both of  which require story poles.

I have surveyors marking the corners of the houses and starting to place poles.

These studies should take a couple of weeks in July. At the same time my engineers and surveyors are preparing the detailed maps, cross sections proposed grading plans and all the other myriad of details required to be included on the maps.

Once I have everything in hand and am satisfied it is complete I will send the package out to be duplicated and bound for submittal hopefully in late July.

Fairfax staff will then place us on the agenda for a hearing before the planning commission and will send out notices to the public. There will likely be some weeks delay as I understand they are very busy at present.

This first hearing will consist of my presenting the project and answering questions along with public comment. The commissioners will go over all items submitted and either ask for more clarifications or find the application complete for processing. In all likelihood we will not be deemed complete at this hearing and so will be scheduled for another . This will continue until the application is deemed complete for processing . This is not approval but only allows the application to go on to the next stage .

Once the application is deemed  complete the planning commission will , after required ministerial duties, order an Environmental Impact Report (EIR). As we are requesting the EIR this process should be relatively short.

Once the EIR is ordered every thing goes onto hold until it is completed which can be up to a year. Once completed staff will set a date before the Planning Commission to consider its conclusions prior to accepting it. At this stage there will again be public notice and comment. In al likelihood this process will take multiple hearings with public notice of each.

If the Commission votes to accept the EIR, and after a 10 day appeal  period,  the Commission will begin the hearings as to approval or denial of the project. Here again every one of thee hearings will include public notice and comment.

As you can see we are still a long way from any kind of approval and there will be many more opportunities for public comment and input. Even if we are eventually approved there are appeal periods along the way that allow anyone who is not happy with any approval to challenge it.

So far we have found nothing of concern in any of our studies . Also it looks like the open space /trail parcel has grown to around 8.3 acres . I think people will be pleased with our result generally but there are always areas that are of concern.

Marshal invites concerned neighbors to contact him directly at drswami@earthlink.net or (415)383-1356.

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Clearing of vegetation on the Wall Property

Just a heads up that signs have been posted at the entrance to the Wall Property by the owner.  Text is included below for your information.  Questions can be directed to Marshal Rothman, contact info included at bottom of this message.

Notice Of Work To be Perfomed

Clearing Of vegetation for access on existing roads, Geotechnical investigation and surveying on “the Wall property”


In the coming weeks you will notice increased activity on our property as we investigate and prepare expert studies needed to examine the viability of subdivision as presented in our previous public study sessions before the Town of Fairfax Planning Commission


Starting approximately June 15th we will bring in equipment and begin to remove vegetation from and dress some of the existing roads.

This is to allow access for core drilling equipment needed for comprehensive Geotechnical Investigations and to insure Fire Equipment access.

These operations should take approximately two weeks barring any scheduling conflicts with subcontractors.  Work will be limited to the hours of 8am to 5pm Monday through Friday with no work on weekends. We will post updates on this notice as work progresses.

In addition, we will have various experts on and around the property collecting measurements and other information, as needed, for studies and reports in their specific areas of expertise. These activities should not be intrusive to surrounding properties with physical impact limited to collection of small samples requiring no equipment.

We attempt to avoid inconvenience or delays and expect none. If you experience any or simply have suggestions please contact;

Managing Partner- Marshal Rothman (415)272-5999     drswami@earthlink.net

The Town of Fairfax Building Department (415)458-2370

Or the Town of Fairfax Planning Department (415)453-1584


 For non- emergency contact call:

The Fairfax Police Department  (415)453-5330

Or the Ross Valley Fire Department (415)258-4686

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$3 Million for the Wall Property – going once…going twice…

As reported before, we asked Marshal Rothman (new owner of the property) if he’d give the town an option to buy and preserve the Wall Property.  He agreed that he would sell the 84 acre parcel comprising the majority of the property, provided that it was not to another developer, for $3 million.  The window for this buyout option is rapidly closing, as he is preparing to spend a good deal of money on moving the process forward as per town requirements.

We have spoken with the town, the Fairfax Open Space Committee, and MOST (Marin Open Space Trust) but there does not seem to be the means or funds to take this option or a clear path forward.  This is a call for anyone who may know someone (a wealthy environmentalist / philanthropist / etc.) or a group that would be interested in this option to preserve 84 acres of Marin land.  If you’re good friends with George Lucas, this is the time to call him 🙂

Mr. Rothman needs to award contracts to a number of different groups to assess the sites to comply with town requirements.  Per an email from him this includes traffic, archeological, botanical, zoological , greenhouse gas & carbon footprint , Hydrological , trees , visual , nighttime illumination , daytime reflectivity , energy , H2O use, waste impact both sewer and trash , infrastructure burden , socioeconomic impacts, etc.

Once these contracts are awarded, he will have invested significantly more money in the property and this offer will likely expire unless someone comes forward with a legitimate path forward.  He indicated that the timeframe would be in the next month – he expects to award contracts in early July.

If you have any thoughts or leads, please get in touch with us at fairfaxwallproperty@gmail.com or you may contact Marshal Rothman directly at drswami@earthlink.net.

Thank you for any leads you may have.

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Wall Property Update @ March 17 Planning Commission Meeting

There will be a Wall Property update from current owner and developer Marshal Rothman on Thursday, March 17 at 7pm at the Fairfax Planning Commission meeting (Women’s Club, 46 Park Road).  Per the town of Fairfax, no formal applications have been submitted for the Wall Property;  there will be no decisions made on this item at the meeting.  The meeting will be a chance to hear Mr. Rothman’s updated plans and ask questions.

Here is the text from the agenda provided by the town:


Presentation by the owner of the Wall Property on a potential future project submittal­:

The property owner plans to present a revised vision for the use of the property (the original vision was presented at the October 22, 2015, with a revised version presented at the January 21, 2016, Planning Commission meeting.

The purpose of the workshop is to provide an opportunity for an informal community discussion with the property owner; Assessor’s Parcel Numbers 001-150-12, 001-171-51, 001-251-31 and 002-160-09; Marshall Rothman, property owner.


Please attend if you can.  The town calendar is at http://www.town-of-fairfax.org/html/calendar.html

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Jan. 21 Meeting Update and Maps of Draft Development Proposal

Mr. Rothman presented his latest thinking at the Jan. 21 Fairfax Planning Commission meeting.  A summary is provided below, and two maps are included at the bottom of this post.

View a recording of the entire meeting here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KYEqCnRE8i0.  The discussion starts around 0:14:30 and ends at 2:10:00.

His proposal included a development option as well as a buyout option for a non-development Open Space type organization.  This meeting focused primarily on the 84 acre area surrounding the Marinda Fire Road. Here is a brief summary of what was said:

Option 1 (shown on maps below) would involve:

  • One house on the ~16 acre Ridgeway lot.  This house would be in the flat area above St. Rita’s / Fairfax Market, set back out of sight lines.  Access would be via Ridgeway.  There are still some questions as to the details of this access that Mr. Rothman is discussing with the town.  More information is forthcoming.
  • One house on the small lot off Marinda Drive (zoned the same as the rest of the neighborhood as Upland Residential 7.5).  Access would be via a driveway coming off what is currently the Marinda Fire Road (which is on Rothman’s property).
  • Eight 10-acre lots with 1 house each (all “in-law” units have been removed from the proposal) on the 84 acre area along the current Marinda Fire Road (see map below).  These houses would all be on 10 acre lots, but the building envelope would be small and defined on the existing ‘pad’ areas.  The rest of each 10 acre lot would be green-belted meaning that nothing else (including fences) could be developed; and that greenbelting provision would “run with the land” whenever the properties were sold.  According to Mr. Rothman, this would in effect preserve open space for over 90% of each lot in perpetuity.
  • The last (highest) house along the fire road would be on the 2nd pad below the stone spiral / labyrinth / spirit circle.  A road would be paved up to the last house for access and would stop there.  Beyond that it would stay as the existing trail that heads uphill past the spiral and up to the saddle where San Anselmo open space begins.
  • The remaining 4 acres would be donated to open space for the creation of a trail.  One part of this trail would run parallel to the current Marinda Fire Road (which will be paved to provide access to the houses being built) but ideally will be built far enough from the road to feel secluded.  In addition, a newly created trail would climb from the right side of Marinda Drive through wooded areas of the property, eventually meeting up with the existing trail on the Ridgeway property (see map) connecting to the Open Space area where Fairfax meets San Anselmo on the ridge, which eventually drops down the existing trail toward the stone spiral / labyrinth, thus creating a loop.

Option 2 is a buyout option for the 84 acres for $3 million.  Mr. Rothman has offered this as an option only to non-developers (for example, if a Marin or other Open Space organization wanted to purchase and preserve the land).

Two maps are linked below.  If you open or download the PDFs, you can zoom in to better see street names and landmarks.

Map 1:  


This topographical map shows the 8 lots as well as the building envelope for each home (in blue) and greenbelted areas (in green).  It also shows the proposed Open Space loop trail area (in red).  Please note that you may need to download the file to see the color overlay.  To download, right click the link below and click ‘download’ or a similar command, depending on your browser.

Map 2:


This is a satellite “Marin Map” that shows the surrounding area and the potential building sites.

No formal proposal has been submitted, but these maps represent Mr. Rothman’s latest thinking.  Studies are required to address concerns with landslides, wildlife, and other impacts, and we’ll keep an eye on those.  Another workshop to discuss updates will likely be held in the March timeframe.    We will post details when we have them.  Thanks for keeping up with this process and please sign up on the email list for updates.

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Jan 21 Wall Property Mini-Workshop at Fairfax Planning Commission

Note from this site: The meeting below is currently scheduled for 7pm at 46 Park Road, Fairfax.  Please check before you go, as updates may not make it to this site.  The most up to date info about town meetings is always on the official town calendar here:  http://www.town-of-fairfax.org/html/calendar.html

From Jim Moore, Fairfax Director of Planning & Building Services:  

At the request of Mr. Rothman, Fairfax is putting the Wall property on the Planning Commission (PC) agenda for January 21, 2016 as a “discussion” item so that Mr. Rothman can present his latest thinking on the number and size of “parcels” that he intends to apply for.  We anticipate that this item will not take a great deal of time to discuss – perhaps 45 to 60 minutes maximum.

Please note that no formal applications are pending – and no decisions will be made at the meeting. It is just a chance for the Planning Commission –  and public via the PC meeting – and Mr. Rothman to keep in touch on the direction he is headed.

Please help get the word out on this PC meeting and date!

James M. Moore

Director of Planning & Building Services



Phone: (415) 453-1584


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Wall Property General Updates – November 2015

Here is a high level summary of where things stand.  There are a lot of questions and rumors going around, so these are the facts – to the best of our knowledge – to hopefully help clear things up.  Bottom line, there is no formal proposal from the developer, there is no current “in flight” effort to change any Fairfax ordinances, and development is very likely but there is the potential to preserve a good bit of the land, preserve public access to it, and influence the process every step of the way.  Stay informed and involved but please verify what you hear before becoming alarmed!  Thanks!

The details:

  • There is no formal development proposal from the developer (Marshal Rothman) yet.  He held a public workshop with the town to hear feedback and is in the process of coming up with a proposal that will satisfy many of the concerns while also being viable for his investors.  He has said he would like to hold another workshop before presenting a formal proposal to the town.
  • The “Wall Property” has 3 main areas that have the potential to be developed.
    1. An 84 acre large area that surrounds the Marinda Fire Road and extends up to the ridgeline by Oak Springs / border of Fairfax and San Anselmo.  This is zoned UR-10 (Upland Residential with 1 house permitted every 10 acres).  (8 potential houses)
    2. A small lot that borders Marinda Drive on one side and the 84 acre parcel uphill from it on the other.  It is zoned RS-7.5, which allows 1 house for every 7500 square feet, like the other existing houses in Marinda Oaks. (1 potential house)
    3. A 16 acre parcel zoned as UR-10 that is accessible from the town maintained road at the end of upper Ridgeway and extends from there toward the hill behind St. Rita’s school (now Cascade Canyon school).  (likely 1 potential house)
  • There are a few options that are being considered.
    1. The developer is likely to pursue 1 house on the Marinda parcel and 1 house on the Ridgeway parcel.  This would comply with current zoning and therefore has the least hurdles, so is likely the first action to be taken after the appropriate studies, applications, etc., are completed.  It is not a ‘done deal’ but is most likely where things will start.
    2. For the 84 acre parcel, one option would involve ‘clustering’ houses to allow them to be closer to each other than the legally required 10 acres.  The Fairfax General Plan states clustering as a generally preferred option for the town, as it can be used to allow for the preservation of more undeveloped land.  For example, if the 8 houses on the 84 acres can be clustered into 20 acres total, the remaining 64 acres can be donated as a parcel to open space, as opposed to 8 lots owning 10 acres each leaving only 4 acres for open space.  However, since this goes outside of the regular UR-10 zoning, it requires a ‘development agreement’ that would require an amendment to the Fairfax General Plan, which would require the same public process that any General Plan amendment would require.  (in other words, it will not happen overnight and you will have a say in it)
    3. Another option would be to divide the 84 acres into eight 10-acre lots, then set aside the remaining 4 acres as open space to allow for public access from Marinda to the open space parcel beginning at the Fairfax-San Anselmo border.  This 4 acres would likely be set aside for a public access trail near the current fire road.  This scenario does not require a General Plan amendment and is therefore easier for the developer, but the Open Space parcel would be much smaller than in a ‘cluster’ scenario.
  • There is currently no “in flight” effort on the part of Fairfax to change zoning or ridgeline ordinances.  The only change that has been discussed is what is described above to create a ‘development agreement’ to allow clustering with the intention of creating more open space.
  • In discussions with Mr. Rothman, we have suggested that the following be part of any agreement, and he has stated his willingness to try and provide them :
    • Continued public access.  We would like for neighbors to be able to continue to use the area for recreational purposes if possible via a trail. Given that the current fire road will likely become the paved road to access the houses, we propose that a separate wooded trail away from the road be created.
    • Houses out of sight lines.  To maintain the natural beauty of the area, all houses should be situated back from ridge lines and out of sight lines from below.  Mr. Rothman has stated that he intends for the houses to be single story and less than 3500 square feet to help accomplish this.
    • Stay low.  Keep development below the stone spiral ‘spirit circle’ area, as low on the hill as possible.
    • Pay attention to aesthetics.  Houses should be designed to blend with the landscape and with aesthetics in mind.
  • No matter what is proposed, there are studies that must be done (soil, landslide, erosion, trees, traffic and more will be considered) and a public process that will be undergone.  There will be no action behind closed doors and none of this will happen overnight.  Click here for a document from the town of Fairfax that details this process and the potential timeline.

The next steps will likely be another workshop / public forum when some of the above is resolved.  Hopefully the information above helps provide some context in what is an important issue to everyone in this area.

We will try to provide more information as it is available.  If you have info to share, feel free to email us at fairfaxwallproperty@gmail.com.  Thanks for staying informed!

(join our email list here )

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Wall Property Discussion & Workshop – October 22, 7pm @ the Women’s Club in Fairfax, 46 Park Road

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The Fairfax Planning Commission is hosting a workshop to discuss development options for the Wall Property on Thursday, October 22, 7:00 – 9:00pm at the Women’s Club, 46 Park Road, Fairfax.  Marshal Rothman, owner of the property and developer, will be there to present his vision for development, hear your concerns and ideas, and answer questions.

The Workshop will give the community a chance to hear from the owner about his intentions, for the owner to hear from the community about their concerns, and for staff to explain the entitlements process and relevant town policies.  Please attend if you can and help us make this a productive discussion.

Questions about the workshop can be directed to Jim Moore, Fairfax Director of Planning & Building Services (jmoore@townoffairfax.org).

Thanks for your support,

Preserve Fairfax

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