Pandora cofounder Tim Westergren has big plans for the property he purchased near Point Reyes Station, California in 2008.
According to a proposal submitted by Hidden Dragon LLC to the Marin County Community Development Agency, Westergren and his wife, Smita Singh, plan to build an 8,297-square-foot complex on a 16.9-acre lot.
The home, which will have a total of nine bedrooms and 14 bathrooms, is meant to be a vacation home until the Westergrens retire. In addition to a 5,494-square-foot main house, there’s a separate meditation hut, caretaker’s cottage, and a lap pool planned for the property, which for years was a Russian Orthodox monastery called St. Eugene’s Hermitage.
But the residents of nearby Inverness, a small unincorporated community with a population of 1,300, don’t seem to be too excited about the plan. This particular part of Marin County is largely rural and sparsely populated. Inverness is close to the Point Reyes National Seashore, a protected nature preserve with dramatic cliffed beaches and headlands.
According to SFGate, residents have sent more than two dozen letters to the county’s office, complaining about the massive scale of the construction project.
“Our own house is 900 square feet, as are many of the houses here, and while that may seem small, a development that approaches commercial, rather than residential, at over 8,000 square feet is totally out of control,” neighbours Doug and Kathy Gower wrote in a letter to the county, SFGate reports.
“If you’re someone who doesn’t have an insane amount of money, then you build sensibly,” Nancy Stein, who has lived in the neighbourhood for 40 years, told Inside Bay Area. “But because the money out there is insane, people are able to do outlandish things. I would like this place to stay open to musicians and artists, people who don’t have a lot of money.”
There has been some debate over how many bedrooms and bathrooms the home will have, and community members worry about the large amount of water the home will potentially use.
Though some outlets have reported that the house would have as many as 17 bedrooms and 14 bathrooms, a spokesperson for Westergren tells Business Insider that the main house will have six bedrooms and the guesthouse will have three. There will indeed be 14 bathrooms, but two of those will be half-baths.
And while some descriptions have drawn out a complex of buildings connected by decks (not unlike a boutique hotel), the spokesperson stressed that the main house, garage, meditation hut, and guest house are all free-standing buildings.
Westergren had alerted his neighbours to the construction plans in an October 2013 email, according to Inside Bay Area.
In the email, the couple wrote, “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. 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 — minimising the disturbance of both the land and the surrounding community.”
The proposal is currently being reviewed by the county, with a decision on its future to be decided after a public hearing in January. Westergren and Singh hope to move in by 2016.