BioMarin and Whistlestop

999 Third Street




999 Third Street

Project No.: 



BioMarin, Shar Zamanpour

Project Planner:

Sean Kennings

(415) 533-2111




biomarin whistlestop

Project Description

The subject project is being referred to the Design Review Board (Board) for conceptual design review of three new buildings.  Two buildings would be constructed by the property owner, BioMarin, for the purposes of laboratory/R&D and general office spaces, and a third building would be constructed by Whistelstop/Eden Housing for a five-story senior center / senor housing development.  BioMarin’s buildings would each be four stories but with large floor to ceiling heights to accommodate infrastructure and facilities for their laboratory/research & development needs.  The proposed components of the project are not covered by the 1998 San Rafael Corporate Center (SRCC) master plan approvals (per PD 1936). Following conceptual review, the project would need to pursue formal review and approval of the building and site modifications for the campus master plan.  The formal entitlements would require review and approval by the Design Review Board and the Planning Commission and ultimate approval by the City Council for in order to proceed.

The project will require the following approvals:

  • A ‘major’ Environmental and Design Review Permit, for the new R&D and senior residential buildings;
  • A Use Permit to allow: 1) Residential uses in a commercial (2/3 MUE) zoning district; and 2) A Parking Modification to allow: A) The reduction in on-site parking, from 293 required parking spaces to 50 proposed parking spaces; and
  • A possible PD and General Plan Amendment to create one contiguous PD district such that 999 3rd Street would be included in PD 1936, which governs the development of the SRCC. Parking requirements could also be evaluated if the PD amendment for the SRCC includes the BioMarin portion of 999 3rd Street.

The BioMarin portion of the project is requesting a 16’ height bonus as a requirement to facilitate the four-story laboratory floorplates of 17’.  Per the SRMC Section 14.160.190 (A)(3) the project would be allowed a maximum height bonus of 12’ contingent on providing affordable housing, public parking, or skywalks over 2nd/3rd street.  In 1998, the SRCC campus plan was approved with a height bonus of 24’ (54’ to 78’) based on concessions as required by the San Rafael Municipal Code Section 14.160.190(A)(2) for development in the Lindaro Office district.  However, as proposed, the Applicant appears to be requesting a General Plan Amendment to incorporate the subject property into the existing SRCC campus (and the Lindaro Office Plan area) such that the proposed laboratory buildings would qualify for the proposed maximum heights. 

The Whistlestop portion of the project would include a requested 12 ft height bonus as a concession under the State Density Bonus law and under the City’s density bonus provisions and is considered a minor concession. Minor concessions are granted if a project provides the required affordability and the concession does not require the submittal of a financial pro forma by the applicant. The project’s planning entitlements would typically require Planning Commission review and approval, based on the recommendations of the Design Review Board (Board). However, the proposed project is located within the parent BioMarin parcel and is not proposed for a subdivision at this time.  Whisltestop’s portion of the project also proposes:

  • Density bonus to allow up to 54 units;
  • A waiver of the required 5’ front setback to 0’.
  • Landscaping reduction from 10% to 0%

Current Status

The project design will be discussed at an upcoming Planning Commission meeting: 

Tuesday, February 27, 2018, 7:00 p.m.

City Council Chambers

1400 Fifth Ave at D St, San Rafael, CA


Past Meeting Information

Meeting Type
February 6, 2018 Design Review Board Staff Report
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