The filmmaker who created a certain galaxy far, far away is turning his attention to a problem that is trickier than defeating Darth Vader: bringing affordable housing to one of the most expensive real estate markets in California.
Yahoo! News reports that ‘Star Wars’ creator George Lucas is seeking to install affordable housing on his Grand Ranch property in Marin County, outside of San Francisco. Lucas' original plan for the property was to build a film studio, but the Force was not with him – despite 25 years of repeated attempts to obtain permits for that project, his efforts were repeatedly thwarted by the successful lobbying of his neighbors.
‘We plan to sell the Grady property, expecting that the land will revert back to its original use for residential housing,’ Lucas wrote in a public letter. ‘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.’
Lucas adds that 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.’
Lucas' plans received praise from the nonprofit Marin Community Foundation, which notes that many people working in the county are unable to live there because of high-priced real estate.
‘We are thrilled that George Lucas is seeing this as an opportunity to address one of the most critical issues in Marin County – making it possible for a broad range of individuals and families to afford to live in Marin,’ says Marin Community Foundation President Thomas Peters.
(Photo courtesy of Lucasfilm)