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Redwood City Approves Planned Parenthood Permit

City and planning staff determined that the health clinic met the city's parking, safety and noise requirements and could begin construction.

Updated Sunday 8:26 a.m. with Zoning Administrator's comment.

City officials have approved a conditional use permit for Planned Parenthood to operate a clinic at 2980 El Camino after and several . Planned Parenthood will be able to provide adequate parking and access to the facility, the primary concerns with the application, according to city spokesperson Malcolm Smith.

In reviewing the clinic’s application, the city was not reviewing the city’s services, but other issues such as whether the site was compatible with surrounding land uses and compliant with city regulations. The city deemed that Planned Parenthood could adequately meet these requirements and could move forward with construction.

“We are absolutely thrilled to being a medical provider for San Mateo County,” said Planned Parenthood spokesperson Patsy Montgomery. “We have been working with the county’s health department from the beginning.”

Construction could be completed as early as the end of 2011, Montgomery said. In the meantime, a mobile van will be at the location three times a week providing services.

The clinic will provide preventative health care services, family planning, reproductive health, prenatal and primary care services. At the moment, abortions will not be offered at the clinic, but Montgomery said if this operation is deemed a need in the community, the Board of Directors and medical services team will review that.

Since April 2010, Planned Parenthood staff have discussed with county officials the ideal location. Montgomery said they selected Redwood City because of the large number of residents in the surrounding communities that needed access to health care and services like cancer screenings and birth control. County officials indicated in zoning hearings stated that there are 100,000 people in the county who depend on public healthcare.

“We’re providing services from cradle to the grave,” Montgomery said. “We looked at where there was a gap in services and plan to fulfill those needs.”

Planned Parenthood was able to meet the city’s parking requirements with 27 total spaces, 18 on the property and nine spots off-site within 900 feet for employees.

In anticipation of possible future demonstrations at the location, the has requested a security plan that police officials, city staff, planning staff and Planned Parenthood will draft. Smith said this would need to be in place before any services at the clinic could be offered.

To provide safer access to the building, Smith added that sidewalk widening on busy El Camino was a possibility.

“We will definitely be making sidewalk improvements,” Montgomery said. “We just want to be a good steward to the community.”

The decision was made public about 4 p.m. Friday; less than an hour later Zoning Administrator Blake Lyon said he had already gotten a phone call from someone opposed to the project.

“This concerned individual had attended the public hearing (in April),” Lyon said. “I don’t know whether he will appeal, and without looking at a written appeal, I can’t speculate on whether the grounds for it would be valid.”

A valid appeal, Lyon said, would have to address the terms of the use permit, rather than generally oppose Planned Parenthood’s proposal on moral or other grounds. “It would be up to the city clerk and the city attorney to determine whether any appeal questioned the project on valid grounds,” Lyon said.

Residents can appeal the approval within seven calendar days, according to Smith. They will have to file a written appeal to the Clerk’s office at along with a $270 appeal fee. The city council will then review any appeals.

Barbara Wilcox contributed to this report.

Sharon Levin May 21, 2011 at 09:01 PM
So glad to see that logic has prevailed.
Jerry B May 21, 2011 at 10:57 PM
Definitely an asset to the community, hope there is no resistance filed for this project.

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