Last November, Redwood City announced that the Inner Harbor Specific Plan will be put on hold indefinitely. This plan would have changed Redwood City’s zoning and General Plan to allow over 1 million square feet of office space in four 9-story buildings out by the Bay, plus dredging of a shallow-water wetland habitat to create a private marina. In addition, the proposed dredging would have occurred near an area where testing had shown alarmingly high levels of contaminants in the sediment, including mercury, polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).
Committee for Green Foothills opposed the Inner Harbor Specific Plan due to its unacceptable impacts. Legislative Advocate Alice Kaufman worked with a coalition of Redwood City residents and local environmental groups to submit detailed comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Report and speak at Planning Commission meetings concerning the IHSP.
We’re happy to report that our efforts were successful. In August 2016, the Planning Commission decoupled the massive 9-story office development from the rest of the IHSP. In November 2016, the Planning Commission rejected the office developer’s request to proceed independently with their application for a zoning change, citing the inconsistency of the project with the General Plan and with the expressed desire of Redwood City residents not to locate huge developments out by the Bay. The city then announced that the IHSP would be shelved indefinitely. This means that any further development proposals in the IHSP area will have to proceed independently, allowing the public to examine any such proposals on their own merits rather than as part of the IHSP.
We will continue to monitor any development proposals in the IHSP area that could result in negative environmental impacts, including impacts to wetlands and Bay waters. We will also continue to urge Redwood City to adopt a comprehensive citywide plan to address how to protect buildings and infrastructure from sea level rise.