Back in June 2013, the City of Redwood City announced the creation of the Inner Harbor Specific Plan task force. For over ten months this task force has wrestled with issues such as preserving or moving Docktown, creating open space and increasing access to the water, determining development density guidelines, resolving dependant transportation issues such as the Blomquist extension, maintaining and creating bicycle and pedestrian paths and even considering and properly planning for sea level rise. For much of the time task force members have not had a chance to really debate the issues because unfortunately the City Council and City Staff have had their own agenda.
Among other things at this last meeting the task force members agreed not to make any residents of the area homeless either by closing the homeless shelter before it finds a new home or closing Docktown before doing all that can be done to preserve it where it is on Redwood Creek or transitioning the community to what is known as the Ferrari pond. There were basically three options discussed. The first, Scenario A, had a floating community sometime in the future at Ferrari pond but no guarantees of anything in the interim. The second, Scenario B, had a downsized floating community in Steinberger Slough and a potential expansion sometime in the future at Ferrari pond. And the third, so called Orlene Scenario, had Docktown staying where it is on Redwood Creek but creating some view corridors and more public access. The voting was a bit complicated with feelings of 1-6 being presented where 1 represented essentially full support and option 6 cannot live with it. Seven task force members voted 1-3 for Option A and also for the Orlene Scenario.
The reality is that Docktown is now part of the ecosystem of the creek itself, residents are responsible for organizing regular creek clean ups and have always welcomed the general public not only for these events but on an ongoing basis. One of the public access pearls of the community is or was a public launch ramp that allowed anyone to visit and not just stroll along the water but get in the water. Unfortunately one of the first things, the City Council and City Staff in their haste to close Docktown did, was close the ramp. No longer can the general public nor even the residents use the ramp.
It is a supreme irony that the very staff people that have recently been quoted as saying that they are reclaiming the marina for open space and recreation were the exact same staff people who made the decision to close the launch ramp.
In addition, potential newcomers to the community have been turned away. Dr. Tsvi Achler (MD/PhD), a computational neuroscientist with medical training, has been offered a local short term post and had been hoping to live on his houseboat at Docktown. When Dr. Achler got turned down by City Staff citing an informational letter from the CA State Lands Commission as the reason and not a lack of space; he appealed to the City Council. Unfortunately both City Manager Bob Bell and Mayor Jeff Gee responded and concurred with the decision not to let anyone new in. As Mayor Gee explained in an email:
“My colleagues and I are looking forward to the vision being created, and hope that access to the waterways is not limited to boaters and residents, but to everyone in our community.
So why did they close the launch ramp? And why aren't they letting new people in?