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In The News

Cargill files development application
Controversial Bayfront housing project submitted to city

By Shaun Bishop,
Daily News Staff Writer  5/20/09
The long-awaited application for a massive development that includes thousands of housing units and restored wetlands on 1,433 acres of salt ponds in Redwood City was submitted to the city on Tuesday.

The controversial project on a large swath of Bayfront land owned by Cargill Inc. — the Peninsula’s largest proposed construction project in decades — was delivered to city officials late Tuesday afternoon, said Pete Hillan, a spokesman for the Arizona-based development firm DMB Associates, which drew up the plans for the site.

City officials say they will review the developer’s application to make sure it is complete so they can begin in-depth studies of the project, a process that is likely to take years.

At a briefing last week, DMB officials said the plans call for the construction of 8,000 to 12,000 units of housing over a period of 25 years, adding some 25,000 new residents to Redwood City, which currently has a population of roughly 76,000. DMB also wants to build at least five schools, 200 acres of parks and open space, and a 50-acre sports field complex.

The project includes restoring about 450 acres of the site to natural wetland habitat at the developer’s expense, but opponents of the project say that’s not enough.

Anticipating the development plan, leaders from seven Bay Area environ mentalist groups released a joint statement Tuesday reiterating their view that the en tire Cargill site should be restored.

Among the groups opposed to the project are Save the Bay, the Sierra Club’s Loma Prieta chapter, the Committee for Green Foothills and the Friends of Red wood City.

“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,” the joint statement said. “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.”

DMB officials said the new housing will allow employees of Peninsula companies to live closer to work and avoid longer commutes. The developer said 15 percent of the housing would be sold at below-market rates.

Mayor Rosanne Foust said last week that the city’s planning staff won’t devote its full attention to the Cargill proposal until near the end of this year, when the city expects to finish work on its new general plan.


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