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Revised Saltworks Application Pushed Back to Early 2012

Developer DMB had anticipated submitting a revised application by the end of this year.

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.

Jerry B November 12, 2011 at 04:44 PM
The issue is simple. It's zoned for wetlands and should stay as such. This still allows the building of athletic fields, ports, or other public uses which will help the area instead of destroying valuable bay land which could be easily restored. Let's get out and voice our opinions at the next round of scoping sessions!
Karen November 12, 2011 at 10:26 PM
As their urban planner, noted Peter Calthorpe, said, "If DMB can't get the water," (i.e., via paper rights from the Nickel Family LLC to be transferred up here from Bakersfield) "then the project is dead." Since Alameda and Santa Clara Counties have stated they are not willing to be involved in this transaction, it sounds like DMB has a long way to go to revive their project. Redwood City already uses more than its allocation, and we're not even talking drought years.
Lia November 13, 2011 at 04:38 AM
I have no idea why Redwood City's council would have ever entertained this project, since it so completely undermines responsible growth for the community. Unless it somehow makes sense to increase the population by 30,000 people in housing built on seismically unstable land, with no clear water supply, little infrastructure, and even more massive traffic on Route 101. All that, while at the same time destroying over 1,000 acres of wetland and undermining Redwood City's downtown development- what's not to like?
Trying to Find RWC Housing November 14, 2011 at 05:50 PM
Kudos to the City Council for moving with caution and insight on the Saltworks Project. It is the only logical way to ensure responsible growth. The housing, economic growth, jobs, and open space this project will provide is far-sighted. Obviously this project will not benefit the NIMBYs we're hearing from now, so they having nothing to lose by carping. The Salworks will benefit those who cannot now afford to live in Redwood City. And as to keeping it wetlands like things were originally... if they really want to be honest about that jingosim, then you''ll need to tear up RWC to about the Fox Theatre since that all used to be wetlands.
Julie Abraham November 28, 2011 at 07:24 AM
Questions about seismically unstable land, lack of water, and an additional 80,000 car trips per day on the 101 - along with no guarantee that any of the housing will be affordable (DMB specializes in luxury homes) - are rational concerns. When Saltworks lobbyists resort to personal attacks on RWC community members it deepens distrust in DMB and the City Council. As to trying to find RWC housing... the City Council already has a wonderful sustainable General Plan. If they focus, and follow through with it, you would find ample affordable housing on stable land (not behind a levee) along established public transportation corridors.
Doug November 29, 2011 at 08:29 PM
Great solution: blame the NIMBYs and propose to destroy infrastructure/housing whose building and planning took place in the 1920s and 30s (obviously, a much different time in many ways). And the comment about affordable housing is even more confused: you seem to think DMB and Cargill will be benefactors to all, handing out their condos/townhomes at below market prices to anyone -- I assure you they won't...
Lou Covey, The Local Motive December 30, 2011 at 05:23 PM
Julie, the planning process is how you answer those questions, but the previous submission dealt with all those issues you listed (and the number of car trips is 7,000, not 80,000). That is also why the proposal (not the plan) is being revised. this process costs the city absolutely nothing because DMB pays for it all. I've looked at the general plan and it is wonderful with the one problem that there are no developers willing to take on the issues related to housing. Moreover, the personal attack position you take goes both ways. My involvement with the discussion with this project began very positively, but even before Measure W, I was getting anonymous obscene phone calls from anti-Cargill people. And during the campaign, pro-Measure W people physically assaulted anti-campaign workers. Those actions did nothing to help the "environmentalists." We need to get this discussion back on the positive side and discuss the needs of Redwood City with concrete proposals, which include how we are going to finance the solutions. To do that means we have to move forward with compromise, not polemics.

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