Setting the Record Straight
The City of Redwood City puts a top priority on providing accurate, up-to-date information to the community. This is true of the materials we distribute through our various means, such as news releases, email blasts, social media, and our website.
When media or others publish information that may have factual errors or information which is not entirely accurate, we strive to correct them; this page will be dedicated to doing just that. We'll provide factual information and clarifications about City procedures, practices, and activities, as well as corrections that we have requested from the media.
If you know of something that's been published about any of Redwood City's many issues and activities, please feel free to let us know by sending us an email and we'll follow up.
March 27, 2013
At several recent City Council meetings, there have been comments made by some members of the public, concerning Redwood City’s efforts to provide for affordable housing. We want to take this opportunity to provide a more complete perspective on this critical issue.
First, it’s important to assure the community that Redwood City supports and seeks to create housing opportunities to accommodate all income levels in the community, with a variety of housing types including below market and market‐rate housing
Over the last 25 years, the City has invested over $26 million in below-market housing programs resulting in 663 rental units and 72 for-sale units – illustrating our commitment to find and activate opportunities at that level. Redwood City is also a leader in the County for numbers of Habitat for Humanity below-market units – we have 51 units, currently the most units of any city in San Mateo County.
We also work to maintain that existing below market housing in our community, through granting CBDG and HOME funds to organizations which support the needs of low and very low income households – that work includes homeless assistance activities, human services, and below market housing construction, land acquisition, rehabilitation and capital improvements. In addition, the City maintains a home improvement loan program for low and moderate income homeowners.
More recently, Redwood City had accumulated $10 million through our (now defunct) redevelopment agency, funds which were earmarked for below-market housing. When the State took action to dissolve all redevelopment agencies in California, it demanded that those funds be turned over. The City is filing a lawsuit against the State to retain those funds, and if successful we will use them as intended - to facilitate below market projects. Click here to see the news release about the City’s action on this issue.
It’s also important to point to the overall level of housing unit construction going on right now in Redwood City. In 2012, the City issued permits for nearly 800 units, most of those comprised in four large-scale projects.
Recent construction includes 40 low or very low income units and 36 moderate income units (approximately 10%), and this was after the affordable housing powers granted by redevelopment agencies was taken away from the City by the State.
All cities face significant challenges to providing for very low, low, and moderate income level housing. The elimination of redevelopment agencies, as noted, has removed the key tool that we can use to provide for the variety of housing needed. There has also been a reduction in Federal and State funding sources for below market housing.
Providing a wide range of housing opportunities is an integral part of the long term vision for Redwood City, and part of our General Plan. Without the “traditional” tools, We work to create opportunities for that wide range of additional housing through a variety of General Plan land use designations offering density which makes them most appropriate for the variety of housing that promotes below market rates; the Downtown Precise Plan; and designation of “mixed use corridor” districts (including El Camino, southern part of Broadway, sections of Veterans Blvd.).
And in all cases, the City works and negotiates with developers to obtain below market units through precise plans and development agreements, and has worked with the County, with nonprofits, and with the community college district to facilitate below market units. We will continue to work with these and with developers to provide the range of housing types, sizes, and variety that will support our community.
March 25, 2013
Last fall, a “Setting the Record Straight” item was posted here to correct inaccurate statements in a media op-ed concerning the proposed Inner Harbor Precise Plan, and its relation to Pete’s Harbor. Comments made at recent City Council meetings have prompted us to reiterate and provide additional information.
The Inner Harbor Precise Plan the City will be contemplating does not include Pete's Harbor. Rather, as a bayside property Pete’s Harbor is included in the area identified as “Inner Harbor Stakeholders,” which is an area wider than the Inner Harbor Precise Plan area.
The Stakeholder area (recently expanded per City Council direction) includes those property owners (or agencies) who have an interest in the Inner Harbor Precise Plan and who would likely want to comment on or be engaged in that process, but who may be outside the Plan area’s narrower boundaries.
See the Inner Harbor Precise Plan Study Area map, and the Stakeholder Area map.
In addition to Pete’s Harbor, the other Stakeholders that are included in the Stakeholder area but whose properties are NOT within the Precise Plan area include:
- Granite Rock
- One Marina HOA
- Lyngso Garden Materials
- Boardwalk Auto
- Marina Pointe Townhomes HOA
- Villas at Bair Island
- Seaport Industrial Association
- Seaport Business Park
- Alan Steel
- Syufy Property (former Century Theatre)
- Toyota 101
The area under consideration for the Inner Harbor Precise Plan includes areas largely owned by the City. Those include the Docktown Marina, Cemex Property and the Police Headquarters. In addition, the County Women’s Jail facility, a homeless shelter, the planned County Jail, Bair Island Aquatic Center, Malibu Grand Prix entertainment complex, and other vacant properties owned by the City are in the actual precise plan area.
March 22, 2013
The following letter to the editor was submitted to the Daily Post, to provide some additional perspective to their 3/22/13 article entitled, "Red-light camera tickets down"
We’d like to offer some perspective to your 3/22/13 article on Redwood City’s use of red light cameras at the intersection of Whipple Road and Veterans Boulevard in Redwood City.
The article said that 2010 was the system’s “best year” (most tickets issued), and that since then “things have gone downhill” (fewer tickets issued).
The purpose of the red light camera system is to reduce red light violations and improve safety, so the “best year” for red light violations is the one where the fewest tickets are issued. This year is the best year.
The decreasing number of tickets at that intersection is actually an indicator of success, in that motorists are changing their behavior. There are fewer red light tickets issued because fewer drivers are running red lights at that location. There are also fewer collisions attributed to red light violations at that intersection (12 were reported in the five years prior to installing the system; three reported in the five years since).
When the Redflex contract comes before the council in the near future, there will be discussion of the overall effectiveness of the program, the level of safety of motorists as a result, and the statistics related to use of the cameras. Revenue from the system is not a factor in whether the program is deemed a success.
Robert B. Bell
Chief of Police
December 3, 2012
Information: Guidelines on City Council Communications and Business
The City would like to offer the community some information regarding the City Council’s recently-adopted “Guidelines on City Council Communications and Business,” particularly the guidelines for public participation at Council meetings.
One of Redwood City’s adopted Core Values is Integrity, and public participation and civic engagement are absolutely fundamental to that value. To this end, the City Council encourages community involvement in their decision-making processes, and an important aspect of that is public participation during City Council meetings.
The guidelines adopted by the Council describe both the rights and the obligations of individuals who wish to speak during City Council meetings, and are intended to ensure that everyone gets the opportunity to participate. In large part, these guidelines simply organize and clarify in one comprehensive document the manner in which the City Council has always conducted its meetings and provided for public comment.
One need only look at some of the very controversial items the City Council has brought to the public for lengthy discussion (recycled water and Saltworks, for example) to see that the Council welcomes, encourages, and greatly values community participation. These guidelines (and past practice) help create an environment of mutual respect during City Council meetings, and help ensure that everyone wishing to speak feels comfortable and welcomed to do so.
The guidelines also provide a clear picture of how official meetings work, and what a community member can expect, if they wish to speak. As in past practice, the Mayor has the flexibility to modify the time limitations, in order to most effectively conduct the meeting and provide for additional comment as circumstances may require.
In developing these guidelines, we found that a number of other cities have similar policies in place for their councils, for example Berkeley and Palo Alto.
It’s important that the community understand it is essential that people participate and join the discussion of critical issues before the City Council. The City Council’s past practices, and now these guidelines, help to foster that discussion and participation. We encourage community members to participate in our meetings, share their perspectives, concerns, and ideas, and work with the Council in making it comfortable for all members of the public to do the same.
October 26, 2012
On October 24, 2012, an opinion piece was posted on the Redwood City Patch website, concerning the proposed development at Pete’s Harbor. This article contained a number of inaccurate statements about the City’s work toward an “Inner Harbor Precise Plan.”
The Inner Harbor Precise Plan we are contemplating does not include Pete's Harbor. The area under consideration for this precise plan includes the Docktown Marina, the County Women’s Jail facility, a homeless shelter, the City’s Police headquarters, the planned County Jail, Bair Island Aquatic Center, and several vacant properties owned by the City (see map).
The purpose of the City Council’s initial discussion of an Inner Harbor Precise Plan, at their meeting of June 25, 2012, was to provide staff with general guidance as to the desired public process for developing the precise plan for that area. As a bayside property, Pete’s Harbor is considered a stakeholder in the process – but that property does not lie within the boundaries of the contemplated precise plan. At that meeting, it was stated that it would take at least a year to produce a precise plan. That estimate for completion, as a minimum, still stands.
The June 25, 2012 Inner Harbor Precise Plan staff report, as well as minutes and video from that City Council meeting, are available online (scroll down to the June 25 meeting and select Agenda, Minutes, or Video).
October 23, 2012
Here is City Manager Bob Bell's letter to the editor of the Daily News sent October 23, 2012, correcting some erroneous statements made in an earlier letter to the editor that day by a resident, in regards to the development proposal for Pete's Harbor.
I am correcting some erroneous statements in an October 23 letter to the editor regarding Pete’s Harbor.
2004’s Measure Q referendum asked voters if they wished to approve or overturn the Council’s re-zoning of the area including Pete’s Harbor. The voters decided to overturn the re-zoning and return the zoning to its earlier designation, where it remains to this day. The City’s role is to ensure that any development there is in compliance with that existing, voter-ratified zoning. The current development proposal for Pete’s Harbor does not request or require a change to the voter-ratified zoning.
The City is not involved in private transactions between a seller and a buyer/developer, nor does the City have a role in issues of leases, whether they are month-to-month, as is the case with the majority of them at Pete’s Harbor, or long-term leases.
The City Council and the Planning Commission are having discussions on development proposals for Pete’s Harbor (as well as all other developments) in fully-noticed, open public meetings as is required by law, and as the cornerstone of Redwood City’s commitment to transparency and community engagement.
Robert B. Bell
City Manager, Redwood City
March 14, 2012
This is a March 14, 2012 letter to the editor from Mayor Alicia Aguirre, responding to an opinion piece published in the Redwood City Daily News on March 12, 2012, by a community group called Redwood City Neighbors United. The City feels that some clarification of that article's conclusions would be beneficial.
I want to assure our community that Redwood City will have complete control over the preparation and drafting of an EIR document for the Saltworks proposal. We are in the early “scoping” period, and have not yet begun development of the EIR itself. That won’t begin until after our thorough review and evaluation of the application materials.
Since the application was submitted in 2009, the City has retained experts to assist the City in evaluating the application and its initial "project description” (the project the applicant wants evaluated). These top consultants conducted independent analyses of the project description and other information submitted by the applicant, DMB, in a lengthy, exacting, and detailed process, extensively involving City staff, City consultants, and significant community/stakeholder input and comment.
Now, it’s expected that DMB will be submitting a revised project description. The City’s extensive review / evaluation / input process will begin again, including the use of the City’s independent consultants overseen by City staff.
The technical reports being written by DMB’s consultants are for the purpose of defining and clarifying their project description. While the City's consultants will use the information provided by DMB, it will only be a starting point. The City and its consultants will conduct a great deal of independent research and analyses, and only when the new review and scoping process is complete, and the project description is finalized and ready for environmental review, will the City begin preparation of the EIR document, independently, with the City’s own consultants.
It’s a fundamental responsibility of Redwood City to analyze the project description in a transparent, impartial, detailed manner, and bring it into the public review process, including in-depth examination by the regulatory agencies involved, to identify any insufficiencies, omissions, or areas where additional work must be done.
The final content and conclusions of the EIR will be those of the City. The multiple rounds of scoping meetings and the resulting hundreds of thoughtful public comments are evidence of our commitment to the ongoing open, transparent, and independent review process of the Saltworks proposal.