A proposed development as large as 1,426 acres to house approximately 30,000 people is going to solicit a lot of comments. So many, in fact, that the team of DMB, Inc., will not submit a revised project proposal of the until January of next year, rather than the end of 2011 as anticipated, according to DMB Vice President John Bruno
The first scoping session was completed in March, during which the developers engaged with the community at several meetings and encouraged comments and suggestions. These sessions are mandated by the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) to assess the potential impact of any development project.
“We’re more focused on getting it right that getting it quick,” DMB spokesperson Jay Reed wrote in an email.
The developers will conduct a second scoping session, atypical for most development projects, but a step viewed as necessary by the developers for a project of this magnitude.
“We’d like to get the same thing as the first round: robust and comprehensive community,” Reed said.
Because of feedback from residents hoping for solutions to the following issues in Redwood City: flood protection, increasing the variety of housing options, creating parks, and wetland restoration, the developers need to head back to the drawing board to see how one development can simultaneously address these issues.
Yet many residents, including Dan Ponti of the , a neighborhood group that opposes the project for several reasons, are skeptical about this delay and said it proposes more questions than answers.
“If they’re listening to us, it’s the project based on the number of comments,” Ponti said. “Hopefully they’re thinking about the viability of this project as a whole.”
Many residents like Ponti argue that saltponds are not suitable places to build housing because of sea level rise and the that comes with building homes. He argued that area is appropriate for a ferry and port facilities, whereas DMB is in the housing construction business.
However, in February 2010, the city analyzed three areas in the proposal: jurisdictional issues, water supply/demand, and transportation. City staff determined that there were no fundamental insurmountable issues. Thus, DMB was allowed to move forward with their application.
But like all residents in Redwood City, Ponti will have to wait to see exactly what changes DMB makes to its application.
“They’ve had quite a bit of time to review the comments so we’ll see what they come up with,” he said.