Saltworks drops off the drawing board

Redwood City salt pond development may return in smaller form

Environmental activists rejoiced after developer DMB Associates announced last week that the controversial Saltworks project has dropped off the drawing board, at least for now.

The developer proposed building as many as 12,000 homes as well as office buildings, schools and other community facilities on approximately 2.2 square miles of Bayfront wetlands formerly used for salt harvesting by Cargill.The site lies within Redwood City boundaries, but opponents have argued that it would have a Peninsula-wide impact.

The proposal proved divisive enough that one city official, Councilwoman Rosanne Foust, who is also CEO of a county economic association that endorsed the project, speaking as an individual, reportedly urged putting the project on the ballot for a public vote.

The idea didn't seem tremendously popular. Last week DMB announced it would withdraw the project after realizing that the odds of a veto were high.

"I'm shocked and delighted!" Portola Valley Mayor Maryann Moise Derwin said. "Such a nice demonstration of democracy in action where the elected officials were actually listening to their constituents."

Menlo Park Mayor Kirsten Keith said since DMB withdrew the proposal, there wasn't anything to consider or comment on.

The developer released a statement saying it might propose a smaller version of the plan, designed to fit into a portion of the land it claims is zoned to allow urban development.

David Lewis, executive director of Save the Bay, which fought the project, said that contrary to DMB's statement, the entire area is zoned as open space that prohibits significant development. "We think they should not come back with another proposal," he said. "We think the city should say no."

He saw the withdrawal as an opportunity for use of the land to follow a different path, perhaps allowing complete restoration of the wetlands.


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Posted by Altitude
a resident of another community
on May 8, 2012 at 2:18 pm

Excellent news. While I am certainly not opposed to development, this was never really viable from the start. To every community and municipality that opposed this proposal publicly. Thanks......It is the way things are supposed to work. Of the People, for the People, by the people.......

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Posted by Flatland
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 8, 2012 at 3:00 pm

Great news!! Thank you to all who opposed it!

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Posted by Ol' Homeboy
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on May 8, 2012 at 3:11 pm

Menlo Park Mayor, Kirsten Keith, needs to grow a pair if she wants to be a good, county supervisor. Not commenting on perhaps this county's biggest environmental issue - the Saltworks development, because the developer, DMB, has pulled out, tells me Kirsten will be a fence straddler. She's more than happy to give an interview to USA Today about new MP resident Facebook, though.

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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 8, 2012 at 3:57 pm

Good! It was a stupid idea.

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Posted by Cheer and Jeers
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on May 8, 2012 at 4:16 pm

On the one hand, to Cargill's withdrawal of this mega city within the Bay, I say -- it's about time!
***CHEERS! and congrats to those who opposed it.

2. What has been the impact of allowing such a long pendency of this proposal on the City of Redwood City. Looks like a lot of wasted time and attention on a plan everyone could see was DOA as it was way way too big with WAY too many severely harmful impacts. (E.g., anyone could see, even without an EIR that gridlock on 101 would result from putting so many homes so far from the transit corridor.) Thus, it seemed every City in the surrounding area opposed it.

JEERS to the Redwood City Councilpeople who, in their greed, stuck with this ridiculous proposal and allowed their City's staff time to be focused on it rather the many pressing things like getting more housing along the ACTUAL transit corridor.

Hopefully Redwood City will not make the same mistake twice, but Cargill seems hell bent on coming back with a "monster minus something" proposal, so stay tuned and keep your political ammo dry everyone.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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