Filmmaker and billionaire George Lucas has withdrawn plans to build a 263,700-square-foot digital production studio in Marin for which he originally got approval in 1996 due to the ongoing resistance from neighbors. Since getting approval for an even larger version of the project in Lucas Valley, connected to his existing Skywalker Ranch, a group of NIMBYs in the Lucas Valley Estates subdivision have gone to war trying to characterize the project as an eyesore and out of character with the bucolic surroundings of Lucas Valley.

Lucas' decision has stunned Marin County officials, who have long banked on the project being a big economic and jobs generator. Lucas now says he'll be looking for another municipality in which to relocate the project, which he wants to be up and running by 2013. "We have several opportunities to build the production stages in communities that see us as a creative asset, not as an evil empire," Lucas said in a letter to the county. "The land will revert back to its original use for residential housing. We hope we will be able to find a developer who will be interested in low income housing since it is scarce in Marin."

Many in Marin have seen Lucas as a good neighbor who has done much to shore up the environment in and around his properties, and who has prevented the "march of ugly subdivisions along Lucas Valley Road," according to the Chron. But ugly subdivisions they shall have!