Residents favor housing at controversial marina site 

Residents are showing support for a new plan to build 796 condominiums on Peninsula Marina, the site of a controversial 1,900-condo proposal rejected by voters in November 2004.

Developer Paul Powers offered three development concepts at a workshop last Thursday, including one with a 300,000-square-foot "super retail" center; another with 200,000 square feet of retail and four new office buildings; and Peninsula Park, with nearly 800 condos, a 200-room hotel, 10,000 square feet of retail and a two-acre community park on the 33-acre site adjacent to Pete’s Harbor.

More than 70 people attended the workshop. While some preferred an all-commercial option and others rallied for open space, the majority favored Powers’ mixed-use residential proposal. Current zoning would allow for either of the all-commercial options, according to planner Jill Ekas. The 796-condo proposal would require re-zoning.

"Putting housing here would tie Redwood City to the Bay," said resident Fred Grosser. Some workshop attendees said the marina currently feels cut off from the rest of the city, even though it is about a half-mile from downtown, and argued that building a Bayside neighborhood would change that.

Others thought that separation could harm the project and place housing too far from the city’s urban core and transit corridor.

"Other cities, like Palo Alto and San Jose, have put commercial uses by the Bay," resident Adrian Brandt said. "I’m not saying they’ve done it right, but I don’t want to see housing that’s cut off from the city."

Adding an all-commercial project on the property would involve filling the entire Peninsula Marina and building on top of it, according to sketches provided by Powers. By contrast, the housing option would fill about half of the 14-acre marina, leaving the other half open to boaters.

Powers previously proposed a development at the same site that included 1,900 condominiums, but it was defeated by voters in 2004 amid complaints that it would be too big and too dense.

Early traffic analysis shows that an all-commercial site would generate more than 14,000 car trips per day, compared with 4,576 per day for the mixed-use housing proposal, according to Ekas.

Two more Peninsula Park workshops are scheduled, for Sept. 28 at the Veterans Memorial Senior Center and Oct. 17 at City Hall. Both are scheduled for 7 p.m.

bwinegarner@examiner.com

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Beth Winegarner

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