Over the objections of community activist groups, Redwood City's seven member city council on Monday voted unanimously in support of a controversial development.
The council's approval of the Finger Avenue project culminates a eight-year battle between a development firm and a coalition of environmentalists and neighborhood groups who say the project is an eyesore that doesn't fit the historic community's character and imperils treasured creeks.
The council vote followed a two-month delay intended to give the developer and community groups who've filed a lawsuit against the city in the hopes of blocking the project, to find common ground.
With no such compromise at hand, the council took matters into their own hands, green-lighting the developer to build nine single family homes on the 1.7 acre parcel.
Mayor Alicia Aguirre said she believes the community will benefit from the additional housing stock.
"It's a well constructed project," Aguirre said. "The developer did meet all the requirements set by the city."
A spokesman for developer Kirk McGowan said his group must still clear some administrative hurdles, but that they expect to break ground on the project within six months.
"We think that the project has a lot of community support and we believe it will be an asset to the neighborhood and Redwood City," McGowan spokesman Jay Reed said.
Dan Ponti, a spokesman for the Finger Avenue Pride Committee, one of the groups involved in the coalition seeking to block the project, acknowledged he was disappointed but not surprised by the council's decision.
"Our goal is to is to find a good project at the site that is compatible with the neighborhood character and our values," Ponti said.
"We don't believe what was approved is there, but I think we have an opportunity to work with the developer."
Ponti said he's hopeful that the developer will be cooperative with his group's concerns, noting that one of the developer's new partners has shown what he believes to be genuine interest in meeting their concerns.
"Our goal is to work positively with the city and with the developer to achieve our goals," Ponti said.
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