Guest Blog | Redwood City Residents Stay Vigilant

Had Redwood City residents not put a stop to it, this map shows the proposed expansion of recycled water service to the Cargill salt ponds – an area designated as open space, where development is prohibited. The ponds are included in what City staff call the “Greater Bayfront Area.” What would have been next – drinking water, electricity and roads? (Source: City of Redwood City)
Had Redwood City residents not put a stop to it, this map shows the proposed expansion of recycled water service to the Cargill salt ponds – an area designated as open space, where development is prohibited. In this map, the ponds are included in what City staff call the “Greater Bayfront Area.” What would have been next – drinking water, electricity and roads? (Source: City of Redwood City)

Below is a recent news update from Redwood City Neighbors United, a local community non-profit dedicated to preventing residential and commercial development on the over 1,400 acres of open space that comprise the Cargill salt ponds.

Although it’s been nearly two years since DMB withdrew its controversial proposal to build a massive housing development on the Cargill salt ponds in Redwood City, members of Redwood City Neighbors United (RCNU) remain vigilant, believing that any actions taken by local agencies to modify the status of this highly sensitive area has the potential to facilitate development when Cargill inevitably returns with a new proposal.

In early February, this attention to detail paid off. RCNU noticed an item on the Redwood City Council’s February 10 Consent Calendar that was designed to expand recycled water service to include all of the Cargill salt ponds.

While RCNU strongly supports the use of recycled water throughout the developed portions of the city, the expansion of services to an area designated as open-space under the General Plan signaled an intent by the City to construct infrastructure, a growth-inducing action that would pave the way for future development of the site. Particularly egregious was the fact that the proposal to expand recycled water service to the salt ponds was being pushed through on a consent calendar vote (meaning no Council discussion or public comment) and without any environmental review.

In a letter to Redwood City staff, RCNU requested that the City remove the item from the Council agenda, and asked that the Cargill salt ponds be excluded from any future amendments to the recycled water service area. Staff responded quickly, pulled the item from the Council agenda, and agreed to the need for “additional meetings with members of our community before we move this forward to our City Council”.

RCNU was gratified to receive a timely and responsive withdrawal of this proposal, and appreciated the promise of a more inclusive process moving forward. The neighborhood group will continue to monitor developments and changes to local and regional maps relating to the Cargill site.

For more information:

  1. Staff report on the recycled water service area (Click on item 7A to see a list of supporting materials, including the proposed new map boundary)
  2. RCNU Letter to the City – February 10, 2014

For more information about Redwood City Neighbors United, visit their website and sign-up for updates at www.RCNU.org

Dan Ponti, RCNU Steering Committee Member