The battle for hearts and minds to build an 8,000- to 12,000-home development on salt ponds in Redwood City has been on a continuous slow burn — but yesterday 125 current former Bay Area office holders (re-)sent a firm letter to the Redwood City city council asking them to send the evil project back from whence it came. Looks like opponents of the massive project are keeping count on a chalkboard somewhere: the letter was actually sent back in February with some 92 signatures, meaning that in the intervening months it has since gained about 30 new supporters. The number of mayors and councilmembers on the letter add up to a pretty formidable army of high-level opponents, though without a similar chalkboard for supporters, it's hard to say how many invisible, uncounted officials are out there in support of the project. Art Agnos could be feeling a bit lonely right now!
Opponents say the crux of the matter is that the development would be using land that could be restored to wetlands, rather than turned into housing that sits in the path of rising sea levels. "The era of filling in San Francisco Bay is over — we stopped that destruction forty years ago," the letter says, going on to note that "nothing so breathtaking in size or misguided in scope has been proposed in half a century." Compare and contrast with former SF mayor Agnos, who said that "this project does not put one shovel of fill into the bay," and, "The more I've learned about this project, the more I'm convinced it's worthy of being evaluated on the merits." As one state senator writes, however, Redwood City's in the clear to reject the project even before an environmental impact report, if it's "inconsistent with a city's general plan and zoning, has obvious flaws, or is unlikely to receive regulatory approval. This project meets that criteria and Redwood City should feel no obligation to formally study any proposal to build on an area its general plan designates as Tidal Plain where development is prohibited."
· To the City Council of Redwood City (PDF) [Letter]
· Redwood City's Saltworks Project Bracing for a Pretty Epic Battle [Curbed SF]