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Port Unions Officially Oppose Cargill Development

Seaport unions said the potential development could significantly affect daily operations.

Labor unions have joined the or have expressed concern over the proposed Cargill development project. Members said that housing and other development in the area could threaten the current operations in the port.    

The Sailors Union of the Pacific and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 6 join the Teamsters Joint Council No. 7, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 10, and the American Federation of Teachers, Local 1493, in opposition to the proposed 1,436-acre development.

“Protecting our vital ports, by following common-sense zoning and land-use policies that keep housing away from heavy industry is a critical concern of our members,” said Sailors Union of the Pacific President Gunnar Lundeberg.  “We owe it to ourselves to protect our Port and this great waterway, for the benefit of our economy and future generations.”

These unions all together represent approximately 80,000 Northern California workers.

Rome Aloise, President of the Teamsters Joint Council No. 7, wrote to the San Mateo Central Labor Council, “Our concerns are not just about putting 12,000 homes and multiple elementary schools right next to our industrial work sites, but about clogging the key roadways we use to move materials.”

However, the San Mateo Central Labor Council has not taken an official position on the matter, according to Political Director Julie Lind. She said that the council supports the drafting of an environmental impact report.

The Seaport Industrial Association, representing several individual companies, wrote in a letter, “The project described in the [Notice of Preparation (NOP)] shows a surprising disregard for sound land use planning recommended by local and state agencies by locating sensitive residential uses in close proximity to existing heavy industrial operations at the Port and along Blomquist Street.”

The city finished its first Notice of Preparation on March 31. A second Notice of Preparation depends on how quickly and how substantially the applicant revises the project description, according to city Senior Planner Blake Lyon..

In a letter to the city written in March, the Port of Redwood City wrote, “The Saltworks project as currently designed is clearly incompatible with adjacent Port industrial uses. A considerable portion of the housing and office space development proposed by the Saltworks project is located within 300 feet from Port operations, without an adequate buffer.”

Applicant DMB Associates spokesperson Jay Reed said the developer is currently working with city planners to make refinements to its application.

The American Federation of Teachers, Local 1493, representing faculty in the San Mateo County Community College District, was another labor union that officially opposed the project.

Member Matt Leddy said that a developer should not be building on potentially restorable wetlands, but rather focus on other infill projects in Redwood City.

“We’re not going against what the [San Mateo Central] Labor Council officially said, but we are expressing our concerns over the project,” Leddy said.

Regarding the potential impact on current school faculty and education resources in Redwood City, Leddy deferred this comment to the . In a written comment made during the NOP period, the district wrote, “The District anticipates that this project, if it moves forward, could have significant impact to Sequoia High School in terms of increase student enrollment.” The District asked that potential impacts to the high school be examined “to determine if its existing facilities and services will be adequate to support the additional student population at .”

GD June 22, 2011 at 04:25 AM
Recently, this year there was an industrial fire across the road from the proposed Cargill development at a concrete manufacturing plant. Toxic smoke spewed out over the salt ponds. There was a huge fire a couple of years ago that could not be controlled for a day. Residents had to be evacuated in East Menlo Park and East Palo Alto. That is more than a mile away. Next to these activities is not a place for homes and schools. The industrial business and port will have to move away if homes move in.
Laura Whittaker June 22, 2011 at 06:50 AM
Considering that the City of Redwood City does not benefit financially "much" from the Port or the activities there. I think it is time to open the discussion of eliminating the Port as it is and building homes and retail/hotel there. Just consider the property tax dollars it would generate! I like most Redwood City residents are so tired of all these environmental outsiders trying to save us all. From what? Please put this proposed Cargill development on the ballot for us to shut them up. We need more housing and less Port pollution and more property/sales tax dollars!
GD June 22, 2011 at 07:12 AM
Well ...at least someone came out and said what is in the back of some minds "Let's get rid of the port". Is that part of a hidden agenda?
M_Manning June 24, 2011 at 05:35 PM
Laura, maybe you should haul yourself down there and see what our port has to offer. Judging by your comment I'd be surprised if you have been east of 101. The issue at hand is that THE AREA IS NOT SUITED FOR RESIDENTIAL. I live here, I am not an outsider, and am curious as to you whether you have the same disdain towards the "outsiders" trying to fill in our waterways as you do towards the 'environmental outsiders" trying to prevent that from happening?( I believe most of them are local, but for the sake of argument...) The bay and adjoining waterways do not belong to any one city or agency or company for that matter. That policy ended long ago for reasons similar to your suggested use of the area. Ignorant, unrestrained, greed.

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