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In The News

Council OKs resolution against Cargill project

Vote comes week after Redwood City gave nod to environmental review

By Jessica Bernstein-Wax

Daily News, 2/10/10

The Menlo Park City Council on Tuesday night took aim at a proposed massive development on the Cargill salt lands in Redwood City.

After almost two hours of discussion and public comment, the council at 11 p.m. voted 4-1 in favor of a resolution opposing Cargill and DMB Associates’ plans to develop a 1,436-acre site east of Highway 101.

Council members Kelly Fergusson and Andy Cohen first proposed the resolution last October to the irritation of some of Redwood City’s elected leaders who saw it as meddling too early in the process.

“I don’t need to know very much about a project if a project’s going to fill in the Bay,” Fergusson said at Tuesday night’s meeting. “It’s not something I’m willing to consider.”

Vice Mayor John Boyle cast the sole dissenting vote, saying he would prefer to send a letter and participate in Redwood City’s process.

“We are telling Redwood City by this resolution that they made a mistake,” Boyle said. “This is going to be seen as not a collaborative effort.” Last week members of the Redwood City council indicated they are open to proceeding with an environmental review of the plans, which call for 8,000 to 12,000 homes, athletic fields, commercial developments and 436 acres of restored wetlands.

“Redwood City is doing what responsible governments do,” Cargill/DMB spokesman Pete Hillan said in a statement Tuesday afternoon. “It is following an open, transparent and comprehensive process so it can be informed about the Saltworks property before it makes a decision. We encourage the Menlo Park City Council to do the same.”

On Tuesday, a dozen Peninsula residents and environmentalists waited until as late as 10:30 p.m. to urge the Menlo Park council to take a public stance against the development.

“We don’t build in San Francisco Bay anymore,” said Stephen Knight, Save the Bay’s political director. “This is not an infill site, and it is not the place for housing and commercial development.”

Menlo Park council members emphasized that the resolution isn’t intended as an insult to their Redwood City counterparts.

“Projects such as the Cargill project and actually projects of any individual city do not normally draw input at the early stages, and to my way of thinking that is a regional shortcoming,” Cohen said.


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