In The News
Cargill site taken off general plan
Council embarks on separate effort to determine fate of salt flats
By Shaun Bishop
Daily News Staff Writer
San Mateo Daily
Redwood City will plot out the future of the controversial Cargill
salt flats in dependent of its effort to produce a new general plan by
this fall, the city council decided this week.
The council voted unanimously Monday to launch a separate effort to
determine what should be done with the 1,433-acre property, which has
been at the center of an intense debate over whether it should be
developed or restored.
By excluding the Cargill land, council members said they hoped to
avoid delays to the general plan, a broad planning document that
designates a particular land use for every parcel in the city.
“We’re so far from consensus, I don’t see it happening yet,” said
Council Member Diane Howard. “I don’t believe we can do Cargill and
the general plan both at the same time.”
Council Member Jim Hartnett said the city should not let one
property dominate discussion of a plan that affects the entire city.
“I just don’t think the Cargill land should be the tail wagging the
dog,” Hartnett said.
City staff also said they were concerned that delays to the general
plan could prevent the city from submitting a state-required housing
plan by July 1.
The city launched its effort to draft a new general plan last
January with the hiring of a $1.5 million consultant team. The last
time its general plan was updated was 1990.
Cargill’s developer, DMB Associates, has said it intends to reveal
its plans for the site in the next few months, though they are
expected to contain a significant amount of housing.
It is not yet clear how the city will eventually address the
Cargill land, but it will likely put it aside for at least a few
months. Senior Planner Tom Passanisi said the entire focus of the
general plan team will be on finishing the rest of the document.
Last year, environmentalist groups backed a ballot initiative that
would have required two-thirds of voters to approve any development on
open space land, including the Cargill site. They said Measure W would
help protect the property from inappropriate development, but the
measure was defeated by a wide margin on the November ballot.
When Measure W was proposed, Mayor Rosanne Foust said it was
“hijacking the community input” on the Cargill site, which she said
should happen through the general plan process. But she agreed Monday
with her colleagues that it should be separated.
Steven Knight, the political director for Save the Bay, which
backed Measure W, argued Monday that the Cargill site should be left
in the general plan process, saying his group and many residents
prefer an existing proposal that would leave the land as open space.
E-mail Shaun Bishop at firstname.lastname@example.org.