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In The News

Mayor Responds to Concerns over Saltworks Project Transparency

Redwood City Patch
Stacie Chan 3/15/12

Mayor Alicia Aguirre assured residents that as soon as the formal environmental impact report process began, the city would be in complete control of the consultants, not the developer.

In response to concerns that environmental consultants of the proposed 1,436 acre Saltworks project were overseen by the developer—not the city—, Mayor Alicia Aguirre issued a letter to the Editor of the Daily News stating that the environmental impact report hadn’t even begun to be drafted yet.

In this initial scoping process, the developer, DMB Pacific Ventures, has hired consultants to help them with the application and its initial project description.

“At minimum, this creates the appearance of a conflict of interest that will result in studies that may be perceived by the public as biased,” wrote Dan Ponti, the co-chair of Redwood City Neighbors United, a group opposed to the development, in an op-ed to Patch. “At worst, it affords Cargill/DMB the clear opportunity to control the content and conclusions of reports before anyone, including the City, gets to see them.”

However, Aguirre assured that once the city reviews the application materials, staff would then begin to hire its own environmental consultants, sending DMB the bill, and draft its own environmental impact report.

DMB Senior Vice President David Smith explained that entire process was just a "starting point" in a protracted vetting process, he told The Daily News.

The developer has asked the city to halt any more environmental evaluation while it makes revisions to its proposal.

Mayor Aguirre said in her letter, “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,” she said.

 

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