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Planned Parenthood Proposal Goes to Zoning Officials

A decision is likely in a few days, now that the family-planning agency has responded to city concerns about parking and foot traffic.

Redwood City's zoning administrator is expected soon to issue a determination on Planned Parenthood - Mar Monte's , now that the family-planning agency has responded to concerns about parking and traffic at the site.

City officials are reviewing the information Planned Parenthood submitted Monday about how it will improve parking and sidewalk access to the site at 2980 El Camino, city Zoning Administrator Blake Lyon said Wednesday. Lyon's office will then decide whether to grant the proposed clinic permission to operate, a decision that can be appealed to the City Council.  

At issue now is how Planned Parenthood will provide enough parking spaces for an office its size. City zoning regulations call for one parking space for every 200 square feet that a medical office occupies. Under this rule, Planned Parenthood would need 27 parking spaces. Its proposed site, a former bank, only has 18.

Lupe Rodriguez, Planned Parenthood Mar Monte's director of public affairs, said her agency planned to solve the parking problem by leasing additional spaces from a nearby business that she declined to name.

"It's a really great relief for us," Rodriguez said. "We are working really hard with the city so we can come in and serve this population."

Lyon declined to comment on specifics of Planned Parenthood's response, saying his office hadn't had time to review it. He said Planned Parenthood had been given other options: to scale down the clinic's square footage; to provide convincing evidence that an unusually large percentage of clients would use public transportation; as well as leasing additional parking from neighboring businesses. Leased parking meant for clinic staff can be no more than 900 feet from the clinic; parking for clients can be no more than 400 feet away, Lyon said.

Planned Parenthood was also asked to improve sidewalk access that had been narrowed by a wheelchair ramp installed by a former tenant, Lyon said.

Rodriguez said the services planned at the El Camino site will include contraceptive exams and prescriptions, Pap smears, sexually-transmitted-disease testing, and other women's health care at low cost.

The El Camino clinic would also provide medical early abortions via the oral pill mifepristone, formerly called RU-486, Rodriguez said. This option is available to women no later than 63 days -- nine weeks -- after the first day of their most recent period, according to the agency's literature. Women more than nine weeks pregnant who requested an abortion would be referred to Planned Parenthood clinics in Mountain View, San Jose or San Francisco that perform the in-clinic procedure, Rodriguez said. People objecting to the abortion provision have .

If the El Camino clinic receives city approval, Rodriguez said, Planned Parenthood Mar Monte will bring a mobile medical van to the site as soon as possible to provide services 19 hours a week while the building work is completed. 

A  was held in January. Planned Parenthood was given until Monday to show how it would resolve the parking and traffic concerns.

The Redwood City proposal comes amid the recent closure of another Planned Parenthood affiliate, Golden Gate Community Health, due to financial problems. The March closure of GGCH's clinic near San Mateo's Expo Center left many uninsured and underinsured women without reproductive health care. Planned Parenthood Mar Monte stepped up to fill the breach, Rodriguez said.  

Mar Monte also provides low-cost contraceptive exams and other women's health services -- though no abortions -- 19 hours a week at San Mateo's Skyline College to Skyline students only, Rodriguez said.

San Mateo County women seeking Planned Parenthood services at Mar Monte's existing locations in Mountain View, San Francisco or San Jose should phone 650-758-6040. Redwood City women needing free health care of all kinds -- though, again, no abortions -- can find it at Menlo Park's weekly Arbor Free Clinic, run every Sunday at the Menlo Park VA Hospital on Marsh Road by Stanford University medical students.

RWC Resident April 28, 2011 at 02:50 AM
where are the protesters when another suspicious spa / beauty/ massage parlor opens on El Camino, only open at night
Sharon King April 28, 2011 at 03:42 AM
When Planned Parenthood was in Redwood City before on Brewster (I think) were they able to perform abortions? If yes, how and by whom will that be inforced this time to not be available? I believe a woman gets more support and information from First Resort.

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