New residents were scheduled to move into Sausalito's Alta Mira Hotel on Sept. 10, sparking opposition from neighbors and officials who said they weren't notified about the change. Owners Michael and Ray Blatt are converting the hotel and adjacent homes into a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center, due to open with 18 beds this month; 30 more will follow. Monthly charges to stay there are expected to run $42,000&–$48,000. Under state law, facilities with six or fewer beds are licensed without local review. The Blatts obtained permits for eight contiguous sites, each with six beds. Together, they form a 48-unit rehab center, which neighbors charge is too large. The city of Sausalito has hired a San Francisco law firm to pursue legal opposition. "We just think this is a perversion of the law by the developer," says Sausalito mayor Mike Kelly. About 200 people showed up at a Sept. 6 meeting sponsored by state Sen. Carole Migden. According to a spokeswoman, Migden has contacted the attorney general about stopping the project and is also drafting legislation to limit the number of rehab sites in one neighborhood.
Timber Plan Delayed
The Bohemian Club continues to pursue approval of a timber-management plan allowing logging of up to 1 million board-feet annually from the Bohemian Grove near Monte Rio. As reported in these pages July 4, club officials contend that their plan will reduce the hazardous fire danger. Opponents argue that it will have the opposite effect. The plan was tentatively scheduled for a meeting in August, but that has been pushed forward until mid or late October while officials review endangered species information. "It's just taking time get the work done," explains state employee Ron Pape, who's overseeing the approval process. A Sept. 5 letter from State Assemblymember Patty Berg urges officials to deny the club's application.
Red Tape Rescue
The County of Napa recently upped its budget from $60,000 to $140,000 for Maximus Inc., a consultancy firm assisting the county in its bid for more than $5 million in federal funds for damages sustained during the 2005 New Year's Eve flooding. Maximus offers expertise in navigating the application and approval process. The County of Napa has already received some money, but is seeking $1.9 million for applications that are currently in the second appeal process, and another $3.9 million in which federal cost estimates were significantly lower than those by county engineer.