Pauls Corporation, the developer Paula Uccelli is trying to sell Pete's Harbor to, has reportedly offered current and former tenants a list of enticements if they agree to no longer get involved with opposing the development.
A handful of members of Save Pete's Harbor (SPH) told Patch Wednesday that representatives from Pauls Corporation presented them with a five-page proposal last week.
The proposal offered them, among other things, $50,000 toward "towing and relocation fees" if they agreed to a number of terms, such as vacating the marina, and agreeing to no longer pursue an appeal of the Redwood City Planning Commission's approval of the development, nor continue communication with any involved parties such as the City Council, Planning Commission or California State Lands Commission (SLC), which owns the outer harbor.
Several members of both SPH and Occupy Redwood City, which has actively supported the efforts of SPH and the tenants of Pete's Harbor, vocally expressed outrage at both the terms of the offer, and that it was reportedly only made to a handful of SPH members, and that all current and former tenants were not given the chance to weigh in on it.
"This sub-group is not representative of the SPH coalition," said Leslie Webster, a Pete's Harbor live-aboard tenant and SPH member. "We are appalled at Pauls Corporation's attempt at hidden deals."
SPH member Alison Madden, an attorney who lived in a Airstream at Pete's Harbor and now has a boat in the outer harbor, confirmed the offer and told Patch that only a dozen or two out of the 184 current and former tenants were present when the offer was presented.
"Obviously we did not have enough time to contact all 184 people to attend the meeting and receive the deal," she said Wednesday. "But we feel that the group was diverse and inclusive," she added, explaining that a few of all types of tenants were there, including cruisers who had only docked temporarily at Pete's, as well as both RV and live-aboard tenants, some of whom had lived at Pete's for as long as 20 years, and some who were newer to the marina.
Madden said that, in addition to the $50,000 cash, Pauls Corporation said they were willing to budge and agree to keep some of the boat slips at Pete's Harbor commercial, or open to the public, versus the company's previous stance that all slips would be privatized and retained for residents of the 411-unit housing community it planned to build.
"They feel that the State Lands Commission is going to require that anyway," Madden said.
However, Madden said the group has rejected the offer, in part because, though Pauls said it would keep some of the slips commercial, the offer had not specified that live-aboards would be allowed.
She also said that $50,000 was "nowhere near enough for 184 people," insisting that, though the offer was only presented to a dozen or so of the tenants, it would be intended for all.
Regardless, Madden said she is encouraged that, at least, talk of keeping some of the slips open is taking place.
"I'm grateful that some of our arguments are being validated," she said.
Still, Webster said any sort of monetary offer was not the goal of Save Pete's Harbor, which only wants to advocate for "responsible development" and the preservation of Pete's Harbor as a commercial marina.
Occupy Redwood City member James Lee called the "backroom" negotiations "dirty dealing."
"This was never about money," Webster said. "We have no plans to drop the appeal, and we will continue to work toward our original goal."
Patch has reached out to Pauls Corporation for comment, and this story will be updated with their comments if and when they return our call.
Webster also said she and other members of SPH were upset and surprised when they learned that the hearing for the appeal they had filed against the Planning Commission's approval of the development, previously scheduled for this past Monday night Jan. 28, had been postponed until May.
Webster said, again, Madden had spoken for the group as a whole without getting everyone's input when she agreed to the City's and Pauls Corporation's request to postpone the appeal hearing.
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