Portola Valley council rejects Cargill development

The Portola Valley Town Council is not waiting for completion of an environmental impact report to take a position on the proposed Cargill development, which would build as many as 12,000 new homes and a million square feet of commercial space on a 1,436-acre salt flat off Redwood City.

Rather than making the salt flat home to a housing project, it should be home to creatures that lived there before it was a salt flat, the council said in resolution it adopted on Dec. 8. The area should be returned to its natural state and made a part of the adjacent Don Edwards National Wildlife Refuge, the council declared.

Though Councilwoman Ann Wengert was absent for the 4-0 vote, she has said she favors a "strong statement opposing" the project.

The council's resolution staked out positions in favor of environmental values, against increases in traffic and population, skeptical of a proposed fix to Redwood City's anticipated drinking water shortage, and concerned about the effects of climate change.

"We, as current elected officials, understand the pressures cities face to solve the housing and jobs imbalance in San Mateo County," the council said, but this proposal is not the answer and over 100 current and former elected officials from throughout the Bay Area agree.

"The Bay belongs to all of us and we all must protect it," the resolution said.

"The Bay doesn't belong to Redwood City," chimed in resident Derry Kabcenell during the public comment period. Rather than wait for the project applicants -- Minneapolis-based Cargill Salt Corp. and an Arizona developer -- to dramatically modify this proposal, as is expected to happen, Portola Valley should recommend that it be thrown out and the project re-designed, Mr. Kabcenell said.

Councilman Steve Toben, the council's only attorney, said he was skeptical as to whether Redwood City could do that. In the end, the resolution was approved essentially as drafted.


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Posted by Advocate for Nature
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Dec 14, 2010 at 1:29 pm

FIVE STARS GOES TO PORTOLA VALLEY'S COUNCIL FOR THEIR WISDOM!!! The bay belongs to the creatures that call it home, and to all of us. The Cargill project must not be built based on the greed of those who would profit from it.

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Posted by Gene Chaput
a resident of Portola Valley: Westridge
on Dec 14, 2010 at 4:46 pm

Great. Way to go PV Town Council. We're behind you 100%. What a nice Christmas present.

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Posted by larry
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Dec 16, 2010 at 7:01 pm

It's Redwood City's decision. It doesn't matter what PV wants or doesn't want.

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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Dec 16, 2010 at 8:11 pm

"It's Redwood City's decision. It doesn't matter what PV wants or doesn't want."
[Portion removed, terms of use.]

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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Dec 16, 2010 at 9:14 pm

"It's Redwood City's decision. It doesn't matter what PV wants or doesn't want."

[Portion removed. Terms of use.]

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Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of another community
on Dec 30, 2010 at 12:07 pm

At a time when thousands of people are *still* commuting into local jobs from as far away as Modesto and Stockton, spewing who knows how much car exhaust and wasting precious natural resources (most notably Time, the most precious and finite resource any of us have) the myopia of a good many "environmentalists" is stupefying.

To say nothing of how many critters were displaced by development out in the remote San Joaquin Valley, rather than here in an already urbanized area.

In short, fill in the swamps, let another Foster City bloom, and give your children (and by extension your granchildren) a chance to live near you, rather than many miles away.

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