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In The News

DMB may slim Saltworks plan
Major tweaks possible in controversial Redwood City housing proposal, developer says

BONNIE ESLINGER, Daily News 11/5/11
Substantial changes will be made to the controversial Redwood City Saltworks plan, including a possible reduction in the number of houses, a top official with the project’s developer said Friday.
“A material evolution of the plan is what people will see,” said David Smith, vice president of Arizona based DMB Associates. “We’re looking at everything— how many people are going to be out there, how much traffic, the schools, levies, wetland restoration, we’re looking at all of that.”
DMB Associates’ original plan envisioned 8,000 to 12,000 residential units on 1,436 acres of salt flats long owned and mined by Cargill. The project also calls for office buildings, stores, schools, playing fields and restoration of some marshes.
Earlier this year, Redwood City asked the public to tell it what concerns about the project should be addressed by a state-required environmental impact review. A report summarizing nearly 900 pages of public comments was released in August. Although DMB Associates intended to submit a revised project description to Redwood City by the end of this year, Smith said the company needs more time to rework its plan as a result of all the public responses received.
“I’d love to say weeks, but I don’t think months is out of the realm,” Smith said. “We want to take the time to make sure we’re bringing forward our best thoughts in light of all the feedback we’ve received.”
Among other questions asked during the “scoping” period, people wanted to know how the development would affect air and water quality, wildlife species and their habitats, utilities, transit, traffic and the nearby port.
Any alteration to one aspect of the development is sure to have ripple effects, Smith said. If changes are made to address concerns that some homes would be to close to the port’s industrial activities, for example, other components of the plan would need to be moved as well.
“It’s not one single thing, it’s interrelated,” Smith said.
Blake Lyon, Redwood City’s acting principle planner, said the city also wants more details from DMB.
“We’ve been asking them for clarity around project details, transportation issues, water issues, a lot of things that have come up in the course of the scoping comments,” Lyon said.
When the revised proposal is submitted, the public will get another chance to comment before it is submitted for the official environmental review, Lyon said.
David Lewis, executive director of Save the Bay, an environmental group that opposes development of the salt flats, said he views DMB’s delay as a sign that the company finally recognizes the “massive and growing opposition to their project.”


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