Paradise Cay

To those who’ve been in Marin for a while, it’s Paradise Cay—the yachting enclave on the northeast side of the Tiburon Peninsula. However, to many who live there, it’s “Moseleyville.” In the 1960s, the community was developed by patriarch Tim Moseley, and now his son Tom Moseley and grandson Jeff Moseley live there and, as it were, work the land.

Then of course, there is Jonny Moseley, he of 1998 Winter Olympic gold-medal-winning fame (and bronze, in the 2002 winter games). The family members all reside, in their own respective homes, in this unincorporated community of just over 200 homes (Belvedere-Tiburon zip code 94920).

Call it what you will: to those who live, here Paradise Cay does seem like a bit of paradise. “During the holidays, there’s Caroling on the Cays, when people get on their yachts and sing as they cruise through the lagoons,” realtor Penny Wright-Mulligan reports. And “in the summertime, for Tiburon’s Friday Nights on Main street parties, most of us get there on a neighbor’s yacht—we call it Harry’s Ferry.”

In the early 1960s, Paradise Cay was one of the last landfills allowed in all of San Francisco Bay. But then, the Bay Conservation and Development Commission proclaimed that “there shall be no use in the bay for which an alternative upland location is available.” From then on and to this day, Paradise Cay has continued to emerge. In fact, it’s one of the rare Marin communities still having newly constructed homes for sale. Currently New Homes in Tiburon is offering three townhomes, all with bay views, starting at $1,590,000. And five spacious recently constructed single-family homes, on large level lots facing a lagoon, have docks that can accommodate up to a 60-foot yacht; those houses start at $2.5 million.

Besides Marin’s Mediterranean climate, Paradise Cay’s chief attractions include level terrain where kid bike riding and adult walking and jogging are a way of life; a deepwater harbor, dredged every three years, where large yachts are readily accommodated; and a single route in and out where crime is anything but accommodated. But “oh my gosh, there’s so much more,” says Marin public relations maven Pam Hamilton, a proud Paradise Cay resident of three years. Tops on her list is proximity to Paradise Foods, the southern Marin gourmet’s version of Disneyland. Then there’s one of the county’s highest participation rates in Get Ready, the disaster readiness program; a strong neighborhood watch program; a viable home owners’ association (annual dues: $24); and an informal but active networking system wherein Paradise Cay attorneys, doctors, CPAs and other professionals refer business to one another.

One resident not quite fitting that cozy mold is confrontational talk-radio shock jock Michael Savage, whose family owns several Paradise Cay homes. Still, when it comes to this community’s version of controversy, it’s not the Savages but rather the mighty Moseleys who are involved. “I just wish they’d finish it and clean it up,” says a local leader who wishes to remain anonymous; she’s referring to a large portion of Paradise Cay marina near the approach to the Tiburon Yacht Club, the community’s sole gathering spot. For years the otherwise lovable Tim Moseley has engendered the wrath of many Paradise Cay neighbors by refusing to clean up and abandon his strategically placed construction and material storage yard. Marin County has fined him thousands of dollars for this demurral, but the clutter remains.

Still, people clamor to get a piece of Paradise Cay. As to what that costs, for a new home “right now the generally acknowledged ‘buy-in’ price is about $1.9 million,” realtor Wright-Mulligan says. In a recent low-ball sale, a three-bedroom home with few upgrades and no boat dock sold in 21 days for $1.25 million. On the high end, “a four-bedroom, three-bath, completely upgraded and with a great location and a boat dock, recently sold for $2,875,000,” she adds.

And going even higher, in mid-March Susan Kolb and Howard Wynn of Pacific Union’s Strawberry office listed a remarkable five-bedroom pool home on a half-acre bay-front lot with a 154-foot dock for $8,995,000. “You’re living the dream in this home—it’s truly the ultimate,” Kolb says.

In other words, no telling what’s around the next corner in Paradise Cay.