Dateline: September 16, 2022
Today in a surprise breakneck move by the County of Marin, the plaza area of downtown San Anselmo known as “Creekside Commons” or “Creek Park Plaza” was closed to the public, citing public safety issues around the structural integrity of the platform. CLICK for VIDEO. This plaza “platform,” also referred to as a deck, a bridge or “Building Bridge #2” (former home to L’appart Resto and other businesses) is property OWNED BY THE COUNTY, but rented to the Town of San Anselmo as a temporary use until such time that the property is unsafe or the County Flood Project moves forward in accordance with the local, County, State and Federal flood mitigation master plan. (See Data below)
The Town of San Anselmo has always been focused on creating a long-term “commons” area in downtown, and the current plaza was only a temporary fix while a new community-friendly plaza could be created around the improved basin that flows under this plaza, and under Creekside Pizza, Flour Craft, See Saw, Sushi 69 and up to Baan Thai.. That being said, The Town of San Anselmo was completely blindsided by the County’s action today. Town employees, along with Town Manager Dave Donery plus Creekside staff quickly relocated all of the tables and benches as County Public Works employees wrapped the plaza in red hazard tape; Keep Out. No doubt, the Town will be in feverish discussions with the County on Monday. In the meantime…it’s Much ado about nothing, hurry up and wait, and shout at the rain. Creekside will work with our Town and all agencies for the best outcome for our community. This too shall past.
New Bench Location: All for the Town’s picnic benches have been relocated to the Redwood Grove behind Creekside and into the flats of Creek Park. It’s quite nice actually. Grab you takeout and picnics and have a party in Creek Park behind Gelato and Souvenir Bottle Shop; Good times are still ahead, weekend street closures and live music continue every Friday and Saturday night through mid October. Creekside will put tables and chairs in the street during weekend street closure.
Now, before everyone goes of half-cocked and starts marching on Town Hall (again, this is NOT the Town of San Anslemo who closed the plaza), we understand this is an emotionally charged issue: “It’s a lovely “park” and should stay” versus “this is temporary Band-Aid on a serious flood issue that will happen again.” Folks, here’s the deal; the next flood isn’t a question of “IF”.. it’s a question of “WHEN.” Did anyone notice that storms are fewer here, but now they’re like Category 7? Building Bridge #2, the Plaza, the Commons, is a 50% choke-point in the creek. 50% of the 100% of water flowing under Creekside will back-up into the storm drains, push water back uphill and into the streets, flooding our buildings, downtown, local merchants and residences. We had ONE storm last year and we flooded.
DO YOU WANT TO KNOW MORE? Here’s some data, official documentation and past videos for you.
- DATA: A LETTER TO TOWN COUNCIL by Pat Townsley (owner of Creekside Pizza) NOVEMBER 2020: CLICK HERE for Community Input to Town Council, Check out PAGES 3-10 (Source: Town of San Anselmo) READ THIS TO UNDERSTAND THE CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER, and the generally uninformed arguments For and Against.
- DATA: CLICK HERE for the History of San Anselmo Flooding (Source: San Anselmo Historical Museum)
- DATA: CLICK HERE for ReImagine Creek Park (Source: SACreeksideCommons.com)
- VIDEO: CLICK HERE for video from the 2021 Near Floods (Source: Kron4, Dec 2021).
- VIDEO: CLICK HERE Preparing for the Storm (Source: NBC News, Dec 2021)
- VIDEO: CLICK HERE for Atmospheric River in San Anselmo (Source: NBC, Dec 2021)
- VIDEO: CLICK HERE for video from 2017 floods in San Anselmo, L’appart and Creekside (Source: ABC7 News, 2017)
- VIDEO: CLICK HERE for 2014 flood decimates businesses on San Anselmo Avenue (Source: Kron4, 2014)
Let’s ask this question: Are global storms getting better or worse? Are weather patterns more severe and unpredictable? Is there a remote possibility the creek could flood again? Ever? Creekside and our local merchants are in an interesting spot. First of, noting that we chose to open business on or over or near a creek that historically floods, sure, that’s on us. If the Plaza remains, it’s nice for the dining and outdoor enjoyment, but then we could flood and we’re all out of business, destroying the downtown business district…and noting that many retail shops can clean up and rebuild after a flood, but restaurants have to demolish all their walls and floors to have mold inspections and clearance by Environmental Health Services, which also therefore triggers extensive building permits, which is LOTS of time and even more money. Then there’s the scenario where the plaza gets demolished and the water flows and the likelihood of flooding is dramatically reduced; that’s good. And if the plaza is removed, a new bridge, not in the flood path, could be installed next to Creekside, giving better pedestrian access to downtown and, a benefit to us, a serviceable bridge next to Creekside we could have dining like Cucina has… and then we would actually be CREEK-SIDE (now, we’re kinda more ‘creek-over’). Anyway. We hope you have a few more pieces of information, especially about the existing structural challenges and choke-point that this plaza is actually creating. If you didn’t read my 2020 Letter to Town Council (referenced above), it has some practical, real-world insights that might help some people understand the issue. CLICK HERE for the document.
Interesting times. Thanks for reading, and thanks for continuing to support our San Anselmo merchants and restaurants.