Redwood City: Organizers collecting signatures for Initiative to Protect Open Space

Associated Press Newswire
April 12, 2008

Redwood City: Organizers collecting signatures for Initiative to Protect Open Space

The Open Space Vote Coalition will formally start collecting signatures from voters throughout the city Saturday for an initiative that will amend the Redwood City Charter by requiring a public vote on future developments slated to take place on existing open space.

The coalition must get signatures from 15 percent of the city’s registered voters for the initiative to be placed on the November ballot. Then, if the measure is placed on the ballot, it must be approved by a two-thirds majority of voters in the Nov. 5 election.

“The open spaces in Redwood City are precious and limited,” Save the Bay Executive Director David Lewis said. “Open Space Vote will ensure that this valuable land is protected for Redwood City residents and their quality of life.”

At a March news conference announcing the initiative, Lennie Roberts of the Committee for Green Foothills and Ralph Nobles from Friends of Redwood City spoke in support of the measure, and compared it to the fight in the 1980s to save Bair Island from development.

Lewis characterized the amendment as a way for citizens to halt the assault on open spaces by out-of-town developers. However, he said this is not in response to DMB Associates Inc. proposals regarding development of the Redwood City Saltworks industrial salt factory along the city’s bay coastline, an area that used to be open tidal planes.

Vice President and General Manager of the Saltworks John Bruno said DMB will take the initiative seriously and deal with it appropriately.

DMB has been engaging with city residents for almost two years to find out what they think the future use of the 2-square-mile area Saltworks should be, Bruno said.

The company is hoping to submit what they call a “50/50” plan that will turn half of the land into a new habitat consistent with the natural habitat of the bay, and the other half will be developed to include athletic fields and housing.

The Open Space Vote Coalition is comprised of local and regional environmental and grassroots organizations including Save the Bay, Friends of Redwood City, Committee for Green Foothills and Sequoia Audubon Society.

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