Welcome to Belvedere
One of the oldest communities in the area, the city of Belvedere is also the smallest incorporated city in Marin County. Small in both size and population, the city of Belvedere doesn’t have much in the way of commercial development or economic infrastructure. In fact, there isn’t room for anything on the island that the city occupies except for homes and the local yacht club. That is just fine with the city’s residents though, because they also have a perfect view of San Francisco Bay, Angel Island, and uninterrupted perfection for miles.
Lay of the Land
Less than one square mile in size, Belvedere is located on an island in the San Francisco Bay just off of the edge of the city of Tiburon. The area is almost entirely single family homes and smaller rental units. The island is also divided into three primary neighborhoods based on natural geography: Belvedere Island, Belvedere Lagoon, and Corinthian Island. However, the island does lack a public beach or boat access. The vast majority of the city’s residents commute into San Francisco for work. This, in conjunction with the exclusivity of the city, has driven average home values well into the millions. Additionally, the city’s 2,122 residents generate an average household income of $176,567.
Belvedere is accessible via a short bridge from the nearby city of Tiburon. Beyond that, public and private transportation options are limited by the lack of transportation infrastructure that is the result of the general preservationist attitude held by most of Marin County. State Route 131 runs away from the city in a westerly direction where it eventually intersects with Interstate 101. The 101 runs north through Marin County and south into the Bay Area. Golden Gate Ferry services also provide ferries from the area to several locations within San Francisco. Additionally, Golden Gate Transit provides bus services to the majority of the eastern section of Marin County. Finally, West Marin Stagecoach shuttle stops are present to the west of Belvedere along the coast. The stagecoach provides limited shuttle services to the outer edges of the county.
Essentially, Belvedere is an extended residential district. The city has passed several regulations and ordinances prohibiting commercial zoning of any sort on the island. Additionally, the city, in conjunction with the local homeowners associations, works to enforce strict residential development and landscaping requirements. The general idea is to maintain the natural beauty of the island and to prevent any individual dwelling from encroaching on the general view or ambiance of the area.
One of the few nonresidential structures on the island is the site of the historic San Francisco Yacht Club. Founded in 1869, it is one of the oldest yacht clubs in the country and certainly the oldest on the Pacific Coast of North America. The club was originally housed in Sausalito, where it remained until the Belvedere facility was built in 1937. The primary focus of the San Francisco Yacht Club is to maintain the rich tradition of yachting upon which the organization was founded. To this end, the club organizes a variety of yacht races and junior sailing programs. Additionally, the club operates docking, storage, and maintenance programs for members.
Belvedere has an extremely active community. The emphasis of the community is a “hands-on” approach to community programs and restoration projects. This includes activities for the local schools group as well as several programs designed to assist in the maintenance and restoration of historical homes within the area.
Finally, Belvedere supports an extremely successful public education program. Students in the city attend elementary school and middle school in the Reed School District. The Reed School District also serves Tiburon and a portion of eastern Corte Madera. Belvedere funnels its high school students into the Tamalpais Union High School District. This district features 3 traditional high schools and 2 alternative setting high schools. The key aspects of both districts are their outstanding performance over a wide range of educational success metrics. Most notably, all of the buildings in both districts have historically scored near perfectly on the California Annual Performance Index.