A Southern California law firm representing over 40 clients has appealed the city’s to establish a clinic at 2980 El Camino Real. City Attorney Pamela Thompson will review the appeal's validity, then ultimately submit the appeal to the city council for final decision.
The Planned Parenthood permit has faced controversy since it first filed for a location on the busy street. have congregated around the site, citing moral reasons for their demonstrations. City staff approved the permit Friday, May 20, and gave the public seven days to file a written appeal along with a $270 appeal fee.
The appellant, Palmieri, Tyler, Wiener, Wilhelm & Waldron, LLP, claimed that there are several holes in the city’s designation of the project as exempt from certain California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) provisions.
Because the former land use was a financial institution, the transition to a medical clinic does not fall under “categorical exemption," according to appeal writer Gregory Weiler.
Weiler also rebuked Zoning Administrator Blake Lyon's statement that “the proposed medical clinic providing abortion services will not… be detrimental to the public health, safety, peace, morals, comfort or welfare of persons residing or working in the neighborhood.” Weiler wrote that several protests could cause unusual disruption in the area. This would require more staffing from the Police Department, a concern raised by the department itself.
Lastly, there is some dispute over the sufficient provision of parking. The appellant writes that there is a shortage of on-site parking and no off-site parking. However, Lyon approved Planned Parenthood’s permit on its ability to provide enough parking, on-site and off-site.
Redwood City resident Ezia B. Villegas wrote, "The opening of this clinic is a step backward for our community... it will bring division and hostility into our community."
Another Redwood City resident, Clinton Ward, who lives one block from the proposed site wrote, "This particular location recently went from being a quiet area housing a bank and then a quiet vacant building, to a storm of activity and noise which is not well-suited to this area."
Lyon said he could not comment specifically on the appeal’s statements, which is now the city attorney’s jurisdiction, but he will help prepare a staff report to present to the city council.
The city attorney needs to analyze the appeal in greater detail and submit a report in advance of a city council meeting. Lyon said the council date hasn’t been set and will be determined by available space on future agendas as well as the appellant’s time. The report will need to be submitted by the Thursday before the Monday city council meeting.