From The Grio – Legendary filmmaker George Lucas‘ latest weapon isn’t a sleek lightsaber or a blast of Force lightning, but rather affordable housing. For over 20 years, Lucas has been trying to convince his neighbors in a wealthy valley of Marin County, California to get on board with his plan to build a 300,000 square foot movie studio that he estimates would bring in hundreds of jobs. He’s even throwing in 50 to 70 million dollars worth of work to restore a stream in the area. That was the plan anyway, until Lucas finally decided to fold after two decades of fighting.Since his neighbors seemed to prefer residential use for the land, Lucas has decided to sell the property to an affordable housing developer.
“The level of bitterness and anger expressed by the homeowners in Lucas Valley has convinced us that, even if we were to spend more time and acquire the necessary approvals, we would not be able to maintain a constructive relationship with our neighbors…We plan to sell the Grady property expecting that the land will revert back to its original use for residential housing. We hope we will be able to find a developer who will be interested in low income housing since it is scarce in Marin. If everyone feels that housing is less impactful on the land, then we are hoping that people who need it the most will benefit,” said Skywalker Properties in a released statement.
That press release reads more like sour grapes than a gracious gesture to help out Marin County’s less well-off population, but if it comes to fruition, it could genuinely make a positive difference in people’s lives as opposed to just being a steel-framed middle finger to current residents.
“If affordable housing is eventually included in a future development proposal, it would help us meet our housing goals,” said Brian Crawford, director of the Marin County Community Development Agency in an interview with the Marin Independent Journal.