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In The News

Groups oppose Bayside development

The Daily Journal, 5/20/09

A group of environmental organizations led by Save the Bay formally stated their opposition to a proposal to build up to 12,000 homes on thousands of acres of former Redwood City salt ponds.

DMB Associates, the developer working with property owner Cargill, released a map of its proposed development Tuesday in what begins a likely four- to five-year approval process. There could be up to 12,000 housing units, restored wetlands and more than 60 acres of sports fields where salt ponds currently reside if plans unveiled last week are approved by the Redwood City Council.

Cargill and DMB’s proposed project will destroy Bay shoreline open space that should be restored and put new development in the path of flood waters and rising sea level. This is not an infill site and it is not an appropriate place for housing and commercial development; Redwood City should continue its smart growth redevelopment downtown,” according to a statement released by Save the Bay yesterday.

The groups opposing the proposal includes the Sierra Club, Friends of Redwood City, Friends of Bedwell Bayfront Park, Committee for Green Foothills, Sequoia Audubon Society and  the Citizens Committee to Complete the Refuge.

The groups want the Redwood City salt ponds to be permanently protected for restoration to natural habitat that benefits people and wildlife.

If approved by the city and various state regulatory agencies, the seven-neighborhood project will be developed over the next 25 years, said John Paul Bruno, vice president of Redwood City Industrial Saltworks, the joint venture by Cargill and DMB.

The Saltworks site is a 1,433-acre parcel of land — the largest untouched area in the Bay Area outside the Presidio in San Francisco — whose potential development has long been debated in the community. Last year, the dispute erupted into a full-out war between organizations like Save the Bay, Redwood City and a smattering of grassroots groups who took no side other than opposing a ballot measure that would have significantly changed the city charter. Both ballot measures failed and the project is moving forward.

The plan calls for 8,000 to 12,000 attached housing units — like apartments and townhomes. It will include more than 200 acres of restored wetlands, 10 miles of recreational trails and a 3.3-mile pedestrian paths to be connected to the Bay Trail. The plan also calls for nearly 60 acres of sports fields, which includes nine baseball and softball diamonds and eight full-sized soccer fields. The fields will be closest to Highway 101. Wetlands will border Greco Island and Bayfront Park.


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