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Marin School's Plan for Campus and Housing Meets Resistance

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Local news outlets report that The Branson School, an institution that has long been known as one of the best private schools in the Bay Area, wants to build a new campus and housing in Marin County's Strawberry neighborhood, but some community members object. Currently, the school is located in Ross. But they want to relocate to the former site of the Golden Gate Theological Seminary. The San Francisco Business Times and the Marin Independent Journal report the the development is proposed by North Coast Land Holdings, the entity that bought the 127-acre parcel from the seminary for $85 million. Plans include a new, and larger, school campus and 304 homes (60 of which would be dedicated senior housing). This morning, in a SFBT article, an attorney for Strawberry residents and the leader of the neighborhood association voiced disapproval, saying the project is out of scale and has no community support.

Josh Sale, head of the Strawberry Neighborhood Association, told the Marin IJ: "The residents of Strawberry overwhelmingly oppose this intense development proposal. While change is inevitable, a proposal of this scale is not only out of compliance with the law, it goes completely against the Strawberry vision plan that was completed in partnership with Supervisor Kate Sears."

On the other hand, a school representative told the SFBT the institution needs the space to gradually grow enrollment, increase diversity, and interact "more directly with the Marin community." That last statement may refer to a more central location, one that's closer to more densely populated Marin communities and San Francisco. According to the SFBT, the school hired architect Mark Cavagnero of Mill Valley to design what they call a visionary campus.

The Branson School was recently slotted in the ninth place on a list of the top private high schools in the Bay Area by

· Marin's most exclusive private school plans huge campus, new homes [San Francisco Business Times]
· Strawberry plan: 304 homes, new campus for Branson School [Marin Independent-Journal]
· Niche Ranking: Best private high schools in the Bay Area [San Francisco Business Times]