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    February 1, 2016

    City of Novato
    922 Machin Ave
    Novato CA

    Honorable members of Novato City Council;

    On behalf of the Novato Chamber of Commerce the Board of Directors has voted to SUPPORT the Council’s decision to pursue a Downtown SMART station. The Chamber believes that a Downtown SMART station could bring many benefits and opportunities; First, Business Activity and Economic Stimulus; Second, Business Attraction and Retention and Third, Environmental alternatives for commuters and residents alike.

    With a centrally located station, local small businesses would see increased foot traffic from commuters and visitors, thus creating more economic benefit for the business and the city. We also believe that all of the events held in downtown Novato would also benefit from train riders. Whether it be; Nostalgia Days, or Fourth of July Parade, or Novato Art Wine & Music Festival, or future events at the Novato Theater.

    We also believe a downtown station would retain and attract business looking to locate in and near downtown. They could recruit employees from farther away, offer commuter tax incentives, or just want to be in the charming town of Novato with all of the amenities a contemporary downtown provides.

    Lastly we see opportunity to promote environmentally sensitive alternatives for residents and commuters alike to get out of their cars, and off the roads easing greenhouse gas emission and traffic congestion. It also would allow the visitor or commuter connectivity to our region’s largest economic engine San Francisco.The Novato Chamber recognizes there are aspects of the proposal that require the Council to study the funding options, we understand the responsibility is the council’s to determine the communities solution to funding such a sizeable expenditure to the City will not be an easy decision.

    It is the opinion of the Chamber, that this opportunity may never come again, and that the City should take a Long-Term mindset in evaluating both the return on investment and also the community benefit to all members of the community, residents and businesses alike. A Downtown SMART station has potential to positively impact and contribute to our local economy, and because of that, and how a downtown station could serve ALL in our community, both residents, commuters, employers, and visitors this is a worth exploring further; the possibilities are many, but only if the downtown stops exist.

    Respectfully yours,

    Don Cliver, President Board of Directors
    Novato Chamber of Commerce

    September 17, 2015 Contact: Coy Smith, 415-897-1164

    As part of the Novato Chamber's role in representing the interests of the business community to Government, the Chamber's Board of Directors has voted to endorse three candidates for the upcoming City Council election in November of this year.

    As part of the endorsement process, the Chamber conducts individual interviews with each candidate and holds a public Candidates Forum. Then the Chamber's governmental affairs committee evaluates each candidate and makes a recommendation to the Board of Directors on which candidates to endorse.

    Novato is fortunate to have so many well-qualified candidates running for election to the City Council. After extensive consideration, the Chamber endorses incumbents Jeanne MacLeamy and Eric Lucan for City Council. Their experience in leading our community and their thorough grasp of the issues -makes them ideal candidates to address the challenges facing Novato in the years ahead.

    The Chamber also endorses Gary Butler for City Council. Gary’s many years of public service in Novato is evidence of his strong commitment to our community. In addition, we believe that his experience serving on Novato’s Planning Commission and as a Board member of the Novato Sanitary District make him the best qualified candidate to join with the incumbents in leading Novato into the future.

    Coy Smith
    Novato Chamber of Commerce
    Chief Executive Officer
    Sept 17, 2015

  • North Redwood Corridor Position

    Novato Chamber of Commerce Proposal:

    Innovative Retail for the North Redwood Corridor (NRC)

    The Novato Chamber of Commerce (NCOC) believes that the easternmost 21-acres of the North Redwood Corridor (NRC), from Redwood Boulevard east to the 101 Freeway should be dedicated to commercial use.

    NRC Geography

    The NRC is geographically divisible into three distinct parts:

    1. Eastern Portion: 11+acres between the RR tracks and 101
    2. Western Portion: 3.6 acres west of Redwood Blvd
    3. Core: central 10 acres running north of Trader Joes to Rush Creek Place



    The NRC is the last major developable commercial property in Novato and the entire Marin County 101 corridor.   Only five-percent of Novato is zoned for commercial use and the NRC core comprises less than one-tenth of one-percent of Novato’s land area.  Community surveys show a strong preference for retail in the NRC to provide goods and services and for sales tax generation as means of mitigating the City’s fiscal crisis (see City of Novato General Plan Update (2009), EMC Research, Inc., and North Redwood Corridor Study, Issues and Options Report (2009), Design Community and Environment). In 2010, the Chamber held a forum for developers, economists and others, which concluded that retail development of the area was economically feasible (NCOC White Paper available on request).

    If We Plan It, They Will Come

    The major challenge facing developers is the “entitlement process,” i.e., obtaining zoning and design review approval.  NCOC believes that the City of Novato can incentivize and mitigate risk to developers by pre-approving entitlements and specifying concepts such as uses, broad design parameters (such as massing, height, style), and amenities (e.g., landscaped walkways connecting to SMART and the downtown, public open space/concert areas, public art, etc.).

    Innovative Life Style Center

    A lifestyle center combines the traditional retail shopping mall with leisure amenities oriented towards upscale consumers (Wikipedia).  It is a destination for residents who want quality retail in a wide range of options.

    We believe the retail environment is evolving toward smaller footprint retail spaces in an attractive, welcoming setting coordinated withproprietary retail internet sites. This is what we believe Novato wants now and that it will serve our community for decades. 

    We also believe the Eastern Portion could be dedicated to a Friedman’s type larger footprint store and that the Western Portion should be allocated to housing, including at least some affordable, but all consistent in style with the existing 115 unit town house development to the west.

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  • Is creating a strong local economy

    Works to advocating business' interest to government

    Fosters a competitive edge through education

    Helps build business relationships

    Influences political action

    Serves as the region's principle tourism promoter through VisitNovato