Tag Archives: 135 Balboa

Factsheet: 135 Balboa


This information was supplied by Tim Westergren and Smita Singh. owners of 135 Balboa Ave. Locally they are represented by Chris Stanton of Inverness Construction Management. Their design staff includes Olson Kundig architects (Seattle) ; Lutsko Associates (Landscape architects) James MacNair (arborist); Adobe Associates (engineer); WRA (biologist); Historical architecture (Marjorie Dobkin)



A single family home and a caretaker’s unit with an artist’s studio is being proposed for a 16.9 acre lot. The total proposed building area for the entire project is 8,297 sf, with a main house of 5,494 sf, creating a building ratio to lot size of just 0.011. In fact, this parcel will continue to have significantly more open space that all but a few residential properties in Inverness and Point Reyes.

The home is being designed to the highest environmental and healthy home standards (LEED Platinum and Living Building Challenge). By separating the house into three structures, the architects are minimizing mass and maximizing energy efficiency, while being able to accommodate the owners’ large extended family for lengthy visits-which is the primary purpose of the project.


Both the house and caretaker’s unit were sited to minimize removal of native and healthy trees, while preserving the privacy for neighbors and the owners that the community values.

Further, the owners have employed licensed arborists to assess the health of more than 250 trees on the property, all 250 of these trees have been tagged for identification purposes. The tags mean the trees have been studied, not that they are marked for removal. After the home is built, this will remain one of the most densely forested parcels in the area with an estimated 1,000 trees on the lot.


Supporting details:

Structure Sizes:

Main House: 5,495 sf: 6 bedrooms/9 bathrooms/2 half baths

The main house is solely designed for the owners and their visiting extended families- thus the size and numbers. Until the owners retire, it will serve as a weekend/vacation home. Marin Environmental Health services defines any room that is NOT a kitchen, bathroom, dining room, living room, or mechanical room as a “bedroom”, for the purposes of determining the size of the septic system(s) for the property. Therefore, they list the main house and caretaker’s unti (sic) as having more “bedrooms” by including specific rooms, such as a study, as “bedrooms”.

Intensive consideration was given to the overall impact of the footprint, massing, and energy efficiency in the design of the three-structure design. Single car garage of 335 sf.


Caretaker’s Unit: 750 sf: 2 bedrooms/1 bathroom; with an adjacent artist studio that is 1,316 sf:, 1 bedroom and 1 bathroom (no kitchen).The property caretakers are young artists with a 3-year-old son. The intention is to make the caretaker’s unit, at the north end of the property, an attractive place to live year round, raise a family and look after the property-hence its design and siting. This area will be permanently designated as Affordable Housing in a deed restriction.


Meditation Hut: 294 sf


Pool 480 sf (water will be brought in to fill the pool)

There is no planned perimeter fencing around the 16.9 acres.


Water uses:

The existing well has sufficient water draw to serve the property. Water use will not impact nearby wells, as the “range of influence” in these geologic conditions is less than 100 feet. The closest neighboring wells are 228’ and 350’ from the 135 Balboa well. Two hydrological reports will confirm the limited range of influence. The well at Balboa was under constant use by year-round residents of a religious sisterhood and then the St. Eugene’s Hermitage (12 full-time resident monks) from 1980 to 2008 with no detrimental impact on neighboring wells.

The owners are planning to implement state-of-the-art green water storage methods for domestic use, irrigation, and fire safety for the property (and neighborhood).



More than 250 trees have been studied and tagged for identification purposes on the property. They are not marked for removal. Most of the trees on the property have Protected (at least 10 inches in diameter) or Heritage (at least 30 inches in diameter) designations. The proposed structures are sited as sensitively as possible to minimize tree removal while preserving our privacy as well as our neighbors, and improving the overall health of the woodlands.

46 trees-14 of which are Heritage-are scheduled for removal on almost 17 acres of woodland with an estimated 1000 trees. According to a detailed arborist report, of the 46 trees scheduled for removal, only 3 are considered to be in good health. 28 native Oaks, Maples and Buckeyes are scheduled for planting. Working with the County, the owners’ intention is to gradually increase the number of trees. The project biologist has determined there will be no significant damage to wildlife. This private property has significantly more trees per acre than just about any other in the Inverness/Point Reyes area. Thus, the proposal meets the governing guidelines.


Environmental Sensitivity:

The proposed development exceeds all the environmental standards of the Coastal Zone. The proposed sustainable design and construction practices are equivalent to LEED Platinum standards and establish new Healthy Home standards for the removal of toxic materials from the building process, and enhanced workplace and safety practices.


Existing Structures:

There are currently six non-conforming and dilapidated buildings on the property (e.g., all but one have no foundations), including a large, steel shipping container. None of these structures are in any way useable and will have to be removed.


Future use:

There is no intention of ever renting the property or using it for a business retreat, B&B, or other form of hotel. The owners plan to keep this property in the family, for family use, in perpetuity.


The Russian Orthodox group that had inhabited the property decided to relocate to new land in Oregon. After they already relocated, the church accepted a purchase offer by the current owners. The owners agreed to the church moving the consecrated chapel structure to Oregon in 2008.