Almanac

Viewpoint - June 23, 2010

Letter: Cargill should find a location zoned for housing

As the house-building boom and subsequent mortgage-foreclosure disaster have shown, an economy cannot be built on construction alone.

Several towns in the Central Valley had what appeared to be booming economies for several years, only to find it was all a mirage when the housing bubble burst.

A serious discussion of any possible economic benefits of Cargill's proposed Redwood City Saltworks construction has to include the costs of the demand for city services created by the residents of that construction. I seriously doubt if Cargill's project would attract as many upscale residents to high-density housing in that relatively remote location as Cargill would have us believe.

Residential development in ordinary circumstances seldom pays in taxes what it creates in demands for city services. Cargill's difficult and isolated site threatens to be a fiscal disaster to the city even during development and for long after Cargill has walked away with their profits.

If Minneapolis-based Cargill and Phoenix-based DMB were truly interested in the economics and environment of Redwood City, they would be proposing projects such as developing the old Dodge dealership site on Veterans Boulevard, a site already zoned for the high-density use they are proposing to build in the Bay, and which has the urban infrastructure in place.

Bryan Beck, Redwood City

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