Opponents of development of the Redwood City salt ponds say there are “glaring omissions” in a review by the city.
David Lewis, executive director of Save the Bay, said the documents presented to the City Council, which examined water, transportation and jurisdictional issues, fail to refer to the California Climate Adaptation Strategy, which says development should not be allowed in shoreline areas vulnerable to sea level rise, where there is not already existing development and where restoration is possible.
“These salt ponds are the best example of that,” Lewis said. “These salt ponds are not land and not subject to development. They are Bay that was borrowed for salt making.”
The project, which was submitted by Cargill and DMB Associates, has spurred controversy statewide. Nearby homeowners, and even the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association, which represents terminals and shipping operators in the Port of Redwood City, have voiced concerns over the Cargill project.
The federal Environmental Protection Agency sent a letter last month to the Army Corps of Engineers warning that the site could be restored to wetlands and that sea level rise should be considered in evaluation.
The Redwood City City Council discussed the project at the end of January. Documents presented to elected officials found no reason for the project not to move forward. City officials may move forward with an environmental review before spring.
The project could potentially build 12,000 homes on the 1,436-acre salt pond site, east of Highway 101 in Redwood City off Seaport Boulevard. The plan presented to the city last summer, known as the 50/50 balanced plan, also allows for athletic fields, a business park and 436 acres of restored wetlands.
David Smith, vice president of DMB Associates, said the documents released by Redwood City would allow the full environmental process to proceed — they do not constitute the final document.
“The city process was precursor to launch of CEQA,” he said. “We all are advocating for a careful consideration of the project. The city did a very thorough analysis and they found no insurmountable hurdle. Now we expect more detail to be conducted in the next analysis.”
Allen said the documents also refer to the 19 jurisdictions that would need to approve the project before it moves forward. Allen said Redwood City’s analysis omits the fact that these 19 agencies have never before allowed a development of this size to be built on wetlands.
Smith said these 19 agencies will be able to analyze the project thoroughly in the environmental review.
The 50/50 balanced plan to develop the 1,436-acre site was presented to Redwood City last summer.
200 Acres of park
50 Acres in sports complex
436 Acres of restored wetlands