Redwood City denies appeal for tall buildings 

A lawyer’s effort to block a plan that would allow taller buildings next to his downtown property has been rejected by the City Council.

The City Council on Monday rejected an appeal from Joe Carcione Jr., who claims that city officials have ignored the effect those buildings’ shadows would have on his two-story office building at 601 Brewster St.

Redwood City is moving forward with the adoption of a downtown precise plan, which will guide future development in the city’s urban core and new buildings up to 12 stories tall, and eight stories near Carcione’s property. After the Planning Commission adopted an environmental review of the precise plan Feb. 6, Carcione appealed its decision to the City Council.

"It’s not about whether shadows are cast, but whether they are significant," said Valerie Young, contract planner for Redwood City. Under California’s environmental laws, proposals like the precise plan are not required to consider the effects of shadows.

Redwood City has been inconsistent in considering the effects of building shadows, and took them into account with the 21-story Marina Shores Village project, according to Greg Reichen, an attorney who represented Carcione in his appeal.

Redwood City examined shadow effects for Marina Shores because the towers would have shadowed existing nearby residences and open space, while new downtown buildings were less likely to do so, according to Planning Manager Jill Ekas.

Carcione could not be reached for comment on the City Council’s decision. However, in his appeal, he suggested an alternative that would allow up to eight stories along Fuller Street, farther away from the footprint of his building.

Shadow studies performed by the city showed that while the precise plan would leave 601 Brewster in shadows for part of the shortest day of the year, Carcione’s alternative would cast shadows on the adjacent Mezesville neighborhood.

"His alternative ... transfers his perceived problem across the street," Mezesville resident Peggy Bruggman said.

Meanwhile, developers continue to refine plans for a condominium building next door to Carcione’s property.

Applications for the project, formerly known as Tuscan Towers and now called the Renaissance, will likely be submitted after the City Council votes on the downtown precise plan March 12, according to architect Kurt Anderson.

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