Waterfront-housing boom lands in Redwood City 

Two major projects that would bring upwards of 900 new town houses to the city’s waterfront could win approval this month, though some in the city maintain that housing does not belong near the Bay.

Peninsula Park, a scaled-down rendition of the high-rise Marina Shores Village project overturned by voters in 2004, includes a plan to build 796 town houses, 10,000 square feet of retail space and a 200-room hotel near Pete’s Harbor, located a mile east from the Whipple Avenue exit.

Its developers have agreed to provide 40 affordable units, funding for a Redwood Creek bridge crossing, a child care center and a public park, in a contract the Planning Commission will vote on tonight. The City Council is slated to vote on the entire proposal, including the developer agreement, Monday.

Opponents said Marina Shores Village, which was planned to include 1,930 condominiums in buildings 17 stories tall, was simply too big and dense — and lambasted the city at the time of the proposal for not inviting more public input.

"We got a number of comments this time from people saying they were more pleased with the outreach, and felt that their comments were reflected in the plan," city planner Blake Lyon said. "Some who opposed Marina Shores Village have come out in support of Peninsula Park."

The Friends of Redwood City, which masterminded the Marina Shores referendum, will not overturn Peninsula Park if it’s approved, member Ralph Nobles said.

However, "I think it’s the wrong place for a housing development. It’s not transit-oriented and the traffic situation here is terrible," Nobles said.

Meanwhile, the Preserve at Redwood Shores, a plan to construct 144 to 158 town houses, a new elementary school and more than 90 acres of restored wetlands in Redwood Shores, goes to the Planning Commission for a vote Dec. 18. If approved, the project from developer Max Keech could go before the City Council in January, planner Tom Passanisi said.

Early on, opponents argued that town houses on the site would threaten wildlife. Now, residents are seeking assurances that the city will not use its new recycled-water pipeline to irrigate the K-8 school planned for the property.

Redwood City water experts have asserted that the recycled water, which comes from treated wastewater, is safe for contact, even with kids.

"The City Council adopted a policy in 2004 that recycled water would not be used in schools, parks or playgrounds," resident Christina Lai said. "We want the Planning Commission to indicate whether recycled water will be used or not at our new school and park."

bwinegarner@examiner.com

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