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Sausalito Working Waterfront Victorious Over Housing Threat

Over the recent years we’ve brought you various updates about the future of Sausalito’s working waterfront, and the efforts of those determined to preserve its thriving and creative industries and its history. On January 30, hard work and community outreach were rewarded when the City of Sausalito voted to shift its area of focus for housing away from the Marinship District’s working waterfront to an area on the other side of town.

The Sausalito Working Waterfront Coalition (SWWC) wrote in its newsletter yesterday, “The decision was reached during a marathon 6.5 hour joint Council and Planning Commission meeting where representatives raced against a state-imposed deadline of January 31 to adopt a new Housing Element for Sausalito. Failure to meet that deadline would have empowered developers to strip citizens of key controls over housing development.”

Aside from affecting existing businesses, what could possibly go wrong with building housing in a flood-prone area?
© 2023 Sausalito Waterfront

Sausalito’s former council members had been eying the Marinship as the location for around 720 housing units as its share of a statewide mandate that aims to create up to 3.5 million additional homes by 2025.

The SWWC rallied community support and gathered around 1300 in-person and virtual signatures in support of preserving the Marinship waterfront, and these were presented to the meeting. “… [H]eavy stacks of petitions were presented at the live meeting while another board member forwarded the website signatures.

“It was also good to see Council members who previously voted against the working waterfront last year, shift toward helping the working waterfront survive and thrive in a new future that welcomes Blue Economy companies and zoning protections that will also help Sausalito’s legacy maritime and industrial businesses and artists,” the SWWC wrote in its newsletter.

The SWWC says the takeaway from this decision is that “a significant and growing number of Sausalito residents are recognizing the value of their working waterfront and are ready to take action to help it survive and thrive.”

Sausalito was one of California’s shipbuilding hubs during the 1940s. Although much of the pictured infrastructure is gone, much still remains and has formed the heart of the town’s attitude toward its heritage and its future.
© 2023 Sausalito Historical Society

“Sausalito has something special that we can’t afford to lose due to misguided development schemes and the pursuit of short-term profits that would harm our community in so many ways — not just economically but spiritually as well.”

Congratulations to everyone involved with the SWWC, the Sausalito council members who recognized the significance of the working waterfront, and the community that rallied to preserve its own heritage, industry and future.

As the SWWC concluded, “Many challenges remain, but all can be overcome by working together with your help.”


  1. Brian Richards 1 year ago

    Now if we can only convince Alameda.

  2. Nancy Hird 1 year ago

    Special congrats to SWWC for their win from the leaders of Alameda’s Save Alameda’s Working Waterfront (SAWW). We couldn’t be happier for you!

  3. Memo Gidley 1 year ago

    Being raised as an anchor out and living in the various gate’s area, nice to try to keep some of the original flavor of the Sausalito Waterfront area! But still, as with all counties, big plans or requirements to keep building houses which means. For sure we will be like and then even worse than LA as far as overcrowding and traffic…and all the negatives that go with this in a short time.

  4. milly Biller 1 year ago

    Given that human population is the overreaching issue than few are willing to face, I am thrilled to see this tiny victory. The State Housing Mandate is shortsighted, given transportation , geography,

    and other basic infrastructure shortfalls

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