Activists to challenge permit for Planned Parenthood site in Redwood City 

Anti-abortion activists plan to challenge a zoning permit allowing a new Planned Parenthood clinic in Redwood City.

Ross Foti, a Belmont resident, said he will submit an appeal of the permit, which was issued Friday, along with San Mateo lawyer Cyrus Johnson and other activists.

“That permit was issued without even caring about the consequences of the neighborhood itself,” Foti said. “If they open up, I will be their worst nightmare.”

The clinic, which will be operated by San Jose-based Mar Monte Planned Parenthood, would eventually move into a 5,333-square-foot space at 2890 El Camino Real. In the near term, the group hopes to open a limited-services clinic inside a mobile vehicle on the property.

The clinic would not conduct abortions, but would administer abortion pills.

The appeal must be submitted by 5 p.m. Friday. Opponents must convince the city’s seven-member council that the new facility violates land-use regulations — issues such as hours of operation, number of employees, parking and compatibility with surrounding properties, according to Blake Lyon, Redwood City’s zoning administrator.

Lyon said he is “confident” about his decision to approve Mar Monte’s application. Mar Monte was required to agree to conditions such as paying for sidewalk expansions to safely accommodate protesters.

But Foti said zoning officials had not adequately reviewed concerns that the clinic could cause nearby shops to lose business, as customers might be deterred by protesters carrying graphic posters, he said.

Foti also questioned the need for another Bay Area Planned Parenthood clinic.

However, Patsy Montgomery, a spokeswoman for Mar Monte Planned Parenthood, said there is local demand for the organization’s varied services. The proposal to open a clinic in Redwood City followed the closure of a clinic in San Mateo in February. That clinic was part of Golden Gate Community Health, which shut down after being dropped from Planned Parenthood’s network in September for failing to meet the parent agency’s budget requirements.

“We have been working very closely with the health department in San Mateo County and there is a real need for more medical providers for people who depend on the safety net,” Montgomery said.

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Niko Kyriakou

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