Point Reyes is one of Northern California's premier natural treasures, and Pandora's Tim Westergren wants a piece. The 48-year-old co-founder wants to retire on the peninsula. But his new neighbors aren't thrilled with his plans to clear a plot of forest to construct a mansion.
Nearby residents are complaining that what Westergren wants to build is too large for the area—and the constructions risks making the low-key community trendy amongst the wealthy.
Westergren originally purchased the property, which formerly housed Russian Orthodox monks, in 2008. But in 2013, he reached out to his neighbors, letting them know that his family was ready to start building on the land. Via the Marin Independent Journal:
"We wanted to check in, say hello and let you know how excited we are to begin the process of building our home in your lovely neck of the woods," they wrote. "Our program will be light on the land, and will be sustainably designed and built. We are big believers in integrating a home with its natural environment — minimizing the disturbance of both the land and the surrounding community."
The proposal, submitted by Hidden Dragon LLC to Marin County's planning department, lays out what would be one of West Marin's biggest homes, according to county officials, with a six-bedroom, 10-bath residence connected by decks to a pool house, a meditation hut and a caretaker unit.
Point Reyes is popular with artists and outdoorsy types. Because Westergren's 8,297-square-foot compound is strikingly larger than surrounding homes (many are less than 1,000-square-feet, the Chronicle reports), there are concerns that his home will usher in a wave of gentrification:
"It's putting a toe in the water for McMansions in this area," said Ellen Shehadeh, a writer and editor for the weekly West Marin Citizen. "I feel like it could be a precedent, the beginning of something that we would not want here. The next person with a lot of money could do the same thing."
Residents tell the Marin Independent Journal that they are preparing to fight the development. Westergren is starting to feel the backlash, and has indicated he's willing to listen to their objections.