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DID YOU KNOW that Redwood City is spending more than $800,000 on consultants for the Inner Harbor plan and yet spent only 250,000 for the Downtown plan?

Inner Harbor Area Map
Inner Harbor Area Map
Most cities have very formal processes for planning and development.   The first step for most cities is to develop a General Plan.  Then from the General Plan they drill down and create area specific plans that conform to the top down General Plan specifications.  

Redwood City last adopted a General Plan in October of 2010.  Since then the City has been involved in various visioning plans to determine the details of various neighborhoods and areas. Back in 2011, the City of Redwood City produced the Downtown plan a plan that cost the residents about $250,000 in consulting fees.  That plan encompassed 183 acres loosely bounded by Brewster Avenue, Veterans Boulevard, Maple Street and El Camino Real.  

Just two years later, we now have the Inner Harbor plan which so far already has planned consultant expenditures of $425,730 for Moore, Iacofano and Goltsman Inc (MIG) and $376,855 for Environmental Science Associates (ESA) for a total for these two contracts alone of $802,585.

Two items are worthy of note. 

First of all the Inner Harbor area is an area of in this context only about 100 waterfront acres bounded by highway 101, Redwood Creek and Seaport Blvd not including the Granite Rock property east of Blomquist (for exact detail see map picture above.)

 In addition, this plan is barely six months into its work with a currently planned completion date of end of 2014.

Simply put:
Downtown Plan  ( 183 acres)  $250,000 complete
Inner Harbor Plan (approximately 100 acres) $802,585 still ongoing

This data gives rise to a lot of questions.  Why is the City willing to spend so much more money on the Inner Harbor then on the Downtown plan?   Is this the most effective use of these funds?  Or are there other services such as police and fire that should instead be the recipients of these funds?

These are your tax dollars are work.  How do you think they should be spent? 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Lou Covey, The Local Motive December 10, 2013 at 11:24 AM
The lack of investment in the Downtown Plan end up costing the city millions in litigation costs. The increased investment is designed to mitigate the possibility of people suing the city over shadows.
Lou Covey, The Local Motive December 10, 2013 at 11:27 AM
Beyond that, the inner harbor area is more environmentally sensitive than the downtown and there are multiple federal, state and county agencies that hold jurisdiction of some part of the area. None of those agencies needed to be involved in the downtown plan.
bahamondes.nancy December 10, 2013 at 12:17 PM
I sure hope that these "contractors" are providing in-kind services or providing pro bono hours for their work. It is amazing how money seems to be no object when it is not coming our of their pocket, with $800K we could have more teachers, police and fire that could benefit our community. I hope this is not another bridge to nowhere.
JoAnn December 10, 2013 at 03:27 PM
I know the city is trying to fix the complex issues in the inner harbor. It seems this whole inner harbor process is RWC and it's paid consultants directing the folks on the committee towards the city's preferred option. Since the committee's recommendations to the city council are just that, recommendations, does the inner harbor committee actually have any say at all, or is the city directing this whole process from beginning to end? We will know that RWC is actually listening and participating in the process if they show a response to all of the public comments and include a floating community and a response to concerns about sea level rise.
Lou Covey, The Local Motive December 10, 2013 at 06:23 PM
Bahmondes, actually a lot of the cost is being paid for by the developers. Also, keep in mind that NO MONEY goes to schools through the city. Joann, I know there is a natural prejudice to believe that our city government is working in opposition to the people. but I've spent a lot of time with these public servants and they put in a HUGE amount of time listening to citizens, responding to questions and incorporating public comment. It may not be exactly what one citizen wants, though.
Reality Check December 12, 2013 at 07:30 PM
Hmmm, land-use plans being paid for by developers? How is that not like tobacco companies paying for studies on smoking? If you're like me, I get nervous when studies and plans relating to the promulgation or formation of public policies are funded by entities with a major financial self-interest in the outcome.
Lou Covey, The Local Motive December 12, 2013 at 10:35 PM
Because the city hires the consultants and uses city staff... then it sends the bill to the developer. It's kinda like taxes. You gotta pay and you don't get a say in how it is spent, but at least it's not from you RC, so you should be happy ;)
JoAnn December 13, 2013 at 01:40 PM
No, the bill for the consultants is paid from our taxes, so it does come from us. While developers pay large fees to do their projects, it is not tied to the amount the city is paying for the consultants.
Ralph Garcia December 13, 2013 at 06:10 PM
If the city does not turn every rock and listen to every citizen's concerns then they are accused of not listening or not looking at all possiblities. So no matter what a city does there are those that will complain that nobody listened to them even if that persons information was wrong.
bahamondes.nancy December 16, 2013 at 11:38 AM
Hi Lou, no these fees are paid by the city not the developers. Paid by our tax dollars. It is a shame that so much money is used to pay "contractors" instead of using this for making our city better. Harbor is such a small portion of our community. If we want more people doing business in RWC they need to spend the money in downtown and creating more ways for companies to move here and do business here.
Lou Covey, The Local Motive December 17, 2013 at 03:09 PM
Turns out that the original information that this blog post was based on is completely erroneous. See the letter to the editor from the city.
Ralph Garcia December 18, 2013 at 07:18 PM
It just proves folks will step forward and not have a clue of what is real.
Reality Check December 19, 2013 at 09:13 AM
Right on Ralph, churches are full of 'em!
JoAnn December 19, 2013 at 03:37 PM
The article by Tania mentioned the amount of money RWC has spent since they started the inner harbor plan. The amount of money cited in the response by RWC goes back to the time of the general plan. Of course they are a different set of numbers.
Lou Covey, The Local Motive December 19, 2013 at 05:12 PM
Actually, the article by Tania claims the city spent ONLY $250,000 on the downtown plan, but the city's letter states it ACTUALLY spent $2 million on the plan and never stated ANY cost for the harbor plan. If Tania's number for the downtown plan is off by factor of 16, I can only imagine that her number on the harbor is at least equally inaccurate.
Barb Valley December 19, 2013 at 10:57 PM
Ms Sole's article states $802K has been spent on the Inner Harbor Plan. Redwood City's LTE says $800K has been spent on the Inner Harbor Project. Plan. Project. Tomato, tomahto? I would be interested in learning when these contracts were signed and the period of time covered by them.

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