Revitalized Redwood City downtown in sight 

Revisions to Redwood City’s Downtown Precise Plan were given the green light to proceed last week, more than one year after a court ruling from a lawsuit that challenged the original plan’s environmental impact report.

Dan Zach, Redwood City’s downtown development coordinator, said city officials are ready to move forward with plans to create a vibrant, walkable downtown.

“The focus of it is geared more toward pedestrians, with cars accommodated,” he said. “It lays out a vision to make the public realm nicer.”

The Downtown Precise Plan was first presented to city officials in April 2007, but after presentations and approval, community groups challenged the environmental impact report for the plan, saying it did not properly address shadowing or consider historical buildings.

In February 2008, Zach said, the courts ruled that Redwood City would need to revisit those areas of the plan.

Zach said by doing so, the city was able to revisit the entire plan and make minor changes to the whole document while also focusing on the requests made by the court.

“It gave us an opportunity to revisit some of what we’d already done and make it better,” he said.

The document lists zone guidelines and codes in the downtown area. Zach said that what is done with buildings is up to the owner, but how the building looks will be dictated by the precise plan.

The new plan, though, includes a rewritten historical resources preservation section and provides more thorough preservation standards, according to city documents.

Redwood City’s precise plan labels the area between Brewster Street, Veterans Boulevard, Maple Street and El Camino Real as the downtown area subject to the rules in the plan.

The new plan also includes shadow impacts and policies, according to city documents.

A new environmental impact report on the plan is currently being conducted. A draft copy is expected to be released this summer for public comment. A final draft and implementation are expected this fall.

Zach said several projects are waiting for the precise plan to be completed before starting work.

Though he would not give details on the potential projects, he said they range from commercial use to mixed use with commercial on the bottom floor and housing above.

“It will be nice to get new housing and new businesses to keep this revitalization going,” he said. “We’d like to do it as quickly as possible while still doing it right.”

Precise design

Details of Redwood City’s downtown revitalization plan:

Location: Area bounded by Brewster Street, Veterans Boulevard, Maple Street and El Camino Real
Impacts: Zoning, construction for businesses and housing
Implementation date: Fall 2010

Source: Redwood City officials

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