Proposed Eight-Story Glass Office Towers Inappropriate for Wildlife and Community

Photo by Byron Chin

Committee for Green Foothills is closely monitoring a 1.4 million square foot proposal for five 8-story office towers directly adjacent to the Ravenswood Open Space Preserve in East Palo Alto. The project could have negative consequences for nearby wildlife and residents’ access to open space and the Bay.

The design for the proposed project is out of scale with the natural environment adjacent to it. The eight-story glass office towers would invite bird strikes and block views. Their height would severely limit the nearby neighborhood’s visual access to the Bay due to narrow and challenging view corridors.  And despite the towers being located 100 feet back from the edge of the Bay as required, this amount of open space will diminish as sea levels rise.

A view of the project site as it currently looks. Photo by Walking San Francisco Bay blog
View with the proposed development. Photo by the Daily Post

In addition, the project is located on the site of the former Romic plant – a hazardous waste facility that caused soil contamination on the site that is still being remediated. This is of great concern to local residents, who spent years fighting to shut down the Romic plant.

Committee for Green Foothills is advocating for an ecologically friendly development. We are encouraging the City to pursue more nature based architecture and height step backs so that the buildings would be more appropriate for wildlife and the community. We are also advocating for everyone to have full access to the Bay as it is considered a public resource.

There is already a dearth of green space in this planning area so increasing it here will be to everyone’s benefit. Finally, since this site directly abuts Bay tidal marsh and thus will need to address sea level rise, there should be a horizontal levee or other nature-based solution proposed for the site rather than a hard levee.

Committee for Green Foothills is closely watching a few key proposed developments on the Bay for ecological and community benefit reasons. While this proposal does meet many of the City’s requirements, these eight story towers are significantly out of character with the area’s mainly single story buildings. We are working with the community to ensure that this project truly meets the needs of the area.

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