Marina project is mired in delays 

click to enlarge An amended environmental impact report has been requested for a plan to bring 411 apartments and a new marina to the Pete’s Harbor site in Redwood City. - MIKE KOOZMIN/THE S.F. EXAMINER
  • Mike Koozmin/The S.F. Examiner
  • An amended environmental impact report has been requested for a plan to bring 411 apartments and a new marina to the Pete’s Harbor site in Redwood City.

A Colorado developer’s plan to rehab a Redwood City harbor is encountering delays on many fronts.

On May 6, the City Council concluded that the Denver-based Pauls Corp.’s altered plan to redevelop Pete’s Harbor — a small commercial marina a couple of miles from downtown Redwood City — requires an amended environmental impact report, Redwood City Planning Manager Blake Lyon said.

The proposed waterfront development would include 411 apartments, a seven-story parking garage, a commercial and private marina, and a boat launch dock. Pauls Corp. refined the original proposal to include the boat launch dock and commercial docking slips.

Amending the environmental report is just one of many hurdles confronting the Pete’s Harbor project. Since Pauls Corp.’s initial proposal to the City Council in July, the company has faced vocal community opposition and, more recently, legal difficulties.

Former tenants and their supporters say the company’s amended plan constitutes a significant change from the original. Because the changes require amending the environmental report, the group Save Pete’s Harbor argues that the project’s planning should start from scratch.

The legal issues surround the terms of the harbor’s lease. On May 1, the California State Lands Commission sent Pete’s Harbor a letter outlining seven violations of the lease agreement’s terms. The letter granted the marina 60 days to comply, according to documents obtained by The San Francisco Examiner.

In addition to the lease violations, the marina evidently owed the state an undisclosed amount of back rent. Sheri Pemberton, chief of external affairs for the California Sate Lands Commission, said rent was recently paid in full — but not willingly.

Pete’s Harbor attorney Ted Hannig noted in a letter to the commission that it had paid the rent under duress, Pemberton said.

“Paula Ucelli overpaid all rent due, under duress, and is evaluating all of her options about the disputed amounts paid,” spokesman Adam Alberti said of the marina’s owner.

The project also must overcome several environmental challenges, said Mike Ferreira of the Sierra Club’s Loma Prieta Chapter. Chief among those challenges: rising sea levels in the Bay. According to a recent report from the National Research Council, Bay waters may rise as much as 2 feet by 2050.  

Brad McCrea of the Bay Conservation and Development Commission said his agency and Pauls Corp. are already discussing how to prepare for an increase of up to 3 feet.

“We don’t have an analysis of their adaptation strategy yet,” McCrea said, “but it’s a conversation that will continue, and we have every confidence that they will meet our policy goals.”

“The viability of shoreline access, the public’s ability to move along the shoreline, is clear for the next couple decades,” McCrea said. “After that it’s unclear. We know the water’s going to rise, we just don’t know how fast and how far.”

The Planning Commission will meet with commission officials to determine what must be done to facilitate the lease transfer. Following that review, the commission will conduct public outreach before rendering its final decision. That will take three to five months, Lyon said.

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