After three years of controversy surrounding the proposed Saltworks development project, the city council’s is recommending that the council deny the current application of an up to 12,000-house development on the 1,436 Saltworks flats at its Monday, May 7 meeting. But this doesn’t bar the developer, , from submitting a revised application in the future after it formally withdrew its currently application today.
The ad hoc committee explained that this was the logical step because the developers had instructed the city back in November 2011 to on the current project. The developer said in a statement that it would begin a revised and scaled-back plan according to community feedback.
“[The developers] have rejected it, we’ve rejected, let’s start over,” said ad hoc committee member and Councilmember Jeff Ira. “It’s not that big of a deal because we haven’t even drafted the EIR [environmental impact report] for the project.”
The committee also recommends not proceeding with by Councilmember Rosanne Foust at the April 9 meeting, on the current application as it doesn’t have a complete description.
City Manager Bob Bell added that rather than devoting more time to the project, which has been incredibly divisive amongst the community, the city could start anew if and when the developer submits a new application.
“It was such a controversial project yet we didn’t even know what it was anymore,” Bell said. “Now we can put this to bed and decide once there is a new application, if any.”
The developer plans to work on a scaled-back project that provides for restoration of the majority of the site and restricts development to the property already designated as urban use under the city’s general plan, or blueprint for the city, said John Bruno, Senior Vice President and General Manager for DMB Redwood City Saltworks.
“We believe it is important to make our intentions clear and to respect the city council’s need for formal resolution on the 50/50 Balanced Plan,” Bruno said in a statement.
As the landowner, Cargill, Inc., still has the right to submit an application to develop on its own property.
However, the group, Redwood City Neighbors United, on the Saltworks site, said in a statement that it hopes Cargill and developer DMB “will respect the community’s wishes and will refrain from submitting any additional development proposals for the site.”
Ira said that the council would evaluate the application in full and make any decisions, from an advisory vote to public opinion polling, depending on what the developer submits.
“So it’s out with the old, —maybe, maybe not— in with the new,” Ira said. “And I’m predicting it’s not going to be a tweaking of the application, but a major revamping.”
Bell said the denial of the project would allow the city to focus on other significant projects like the Stanford project and the potential development of the Inner Harbor area, a discussion scheduled for June.
“There’s so much going on in downtown that now we can say ‘alright, these are our priorities and we’re going to devote our time to them,’” Bell said.
Redwood City Neighbors United said that it “applauds the city council’s ad hoc committee” so the city can stay “focused on implementing our Downtown Precise Plan and award-winning General Plan which meets our housing needs, revitalizes our downtown, and protects our environment.”