Controversy expected in Redwood Shores school proposal

Board will take input on wetlands plan this week

REDWOOD CITY — Supporters and opponents of a controversial plan to build a new Redwood Shores school in an area with wetlands are expected to sound off in a school-board meeting Thursday.

School officials are exploring whether it makes sense to build a new school on seven acres of land in Area H, a parcel that is part of region of undeveloped land on the northeastern tip of Redwood Shores. While the school board accepted that recommendation in September, made by a citizen committee, the district is pursuing geologic and transportation studies before it takes a final vote, according to district business manager Joe DiGeronimo.

Redwood Shores residents approved a $25 million bond last November to build a new school aimed at relieving overcrowding at Sandpiper School. Developer Max Keech, who holds 114 acres of land in Area H, has offered the district a parcel of seven acres for $12 million and hopes to also build 110 townhomes and restore 95 acres of wetlands, pending approval by the school board and Redwood City Council.

“We know there’s people for and against the recommendation,” site committee member Joe Foust said. “It’s in the school board’s hands right now and we would like to see it move forward.”

Some neighbors, such as Terry Anderlini, a San Mateo attorney whose home borders Area H, say Keech’s proposal will destroy habitat and put the school district through a lengthy environmental review and approval process. Anderlini believes the wetlands area is sensitive and should be left alone.

Other school proponents disagree.

“When you look at the fact that there’s 114 acres, only 14 are proposed for development and the remainder are going to be restored into viable wetlands to sustain endangered species, it’s a win-win for Redwood Shores,” said Bonnie Wolf, who led last November’s school-bond campaign.

The Belmont-Redwood Shores School District meets Thursday at 7 p.m. at Sandpiper Community Center, 801 Redwood Shores Parkway.

bwinegarner@examiner.com

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