Big news on the Redwood City Cargill Saltworks project! At the May 7 Redwood City Council meeting, the Council announced that developer DMB Associates had officially withdrawn its application for development of the Cargill salt ponds. While this is very good news, the bad news is that DMB and Cargill are already planning a new development proposal to submit in place of this one. So we can’t relax our vigilance just yet!
After Councilmember Rosanne Foust requested that the City Council look into putting an advisory vote about Saltworks on the November ballot, Mayor Alicia Aguirre announced formation of an ad hoc Saltworks Committee to explore the City Council’s “options” regarding the development. The ad hoc committee recommended that the City Council deny the existing Saltworks development application. The committee’s reasoning was that the application had been pending for 3 years, was still incomplete, and was taking up too many City resources.
The report simultaneously acknowledged that developer DMB has made clear its intention to submit a revised project application, and that the City would have to determine whether and how to proceed on that application if/when it is received. Various options suggested in the report included: conducting a poll of residents via phone, postcard or online survey; holding workshops for public input; and holding an advisory vote on the new project.
DMB announced immediately after the City published its committee report that it would be withdrawing its application and focusing on preparing the new, revised project application, to be submitted at a later date.
The Cargill/DMB Saltworks project would be the largest Bayfill development since the 1960’s. The site is over 1400 acres of former wetlands that could be restored. Even in their current state, the salt ponds provide valuable habitat to migratory waterfowl. The area is highly unsuitable for development, being below sea level and requiring levees to protect it from sea level rise, as well as being located in an earthquake liquefaction zone. Any development on this site, especially development involving housing that would place residents in this unsafe area, is a bad idea!