Controversial SF Bay Development Plan Dead in the Water — For Now

Saltworks, in Redwood City, would have built thousands of homes in salt ponds on the Bay

Salt ponds in Redwood City where the new Saltworks development is proposed.

The low-lying land along the Bay in Redwood City has been the center of a climate controversy: should the salt ponds that have been producing salt for Cargill for decades be turned into housing, or back into wetlands? Supporters of the development point out that Silicon Valley needs more housing. Supporters of the wetlands respond, birds need a place to land, too — plus, the wetlands will provide a much-needed buffer as the sea level rises.

Now, the fight is on hold: DMB Associates, the developer that is working with Cargill on a plan to turn nearly 1,500 acres of salt ponds into Saltworks, has officially withdrawn its application from the City Council of Redwood City. That’s after an ad hoc subcommittee of the council recommended that the application be denied at this coming Monday’s meeting.

The recommendation is included in the agenda for the upcoming meeting:

Direct staff to prepare findings and a resolution denying the current application, on the grounds that after being on file with the City for three years, the developer has yet to submit a complete project description and the application remains inactive. If and when the developer presents a new and complete project application to the City, the City will determine whether and how to proceed on the application at that time.

“They are putting it to bed for now, rather than letting it drag out,” Malcolm Smith, the Public Communications Manager for Redwood City told me. He emphasized, this doesn’t mean the salt ponds won’t be developed, just that that it won’t be happening under this particular plan.

KQED’s Lauren Sommer reported on the controversy surrounding the development for Climate Watch last year.

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Controversial SF Bay Development Plan Dead in the Water — For Now 4 May,2012Molly Samuel


Molly Samuel

Molly Samuel joined KQED as an intern in 2007, and since then has worked here as a reporter, producer, director and blogger. Before becoming KQED Science’s Multimedia Producer, she was a producer for Climate Watch. Molly has also reported for NPR, KALW and High Country News, and has produced audio stories for The Encyclopedia of Life and the Oakland Museum of California. She was a fellow with the Middlebury Fellowships in Environmental Journalism and a journalist-in-residence at the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center. Molly has a degree in Ancient Greek from Oberlin College and is a co-founder of the record label True Panther Sounds.

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