New Redwood City project meets with mixed reaction

A new, scaled-down proposal on the site of the controversial Marina Shores Village project — which was rejected by voters in a contentious 2004 referendum battle — was greeted with mixed reactions Tuesday in its first presentation to the general public.

If approved, the development, named Peninsula Park, would be located on 33 acres of land surrounding the Peninsula Marina, sandwiched between U.S. Highway 101 and Pete's Harbor on San Francisco Bay. While some residents applauded the conceptual designs’ waterways, public boardwalks and the creation of new housing, others said its 120-foot height is still too tall, and that the project will draw precious water from downtown development and create traffic on Bair Island Road and Woodside Road.

Mostly due to Marina Shores' densely-packed, 240-foot-tall towers, more than 54 percent of Redwood City voters voted against Measure Q, a November 2004 referendum on the issue. The “No on Q” campaigners formed a new group, the Friends of Redwood City, to keep tabs on city projects and politics.

“I approve of the fact that it's scaled down, but it certainly still has problems,” said Ralph Nobles, co-founder of the FORWC. “Should we increasehousing east of 101, away from the transit corridor?”

Locke and Chandrama Anderson, who live across Redwood Creek at Docktown Marina, fear that any development on the site will affect their peaceful, private way of life. Hilary Paulson was the only planning commissioner to vote against Marina Shores Village before it went on to gain City Council approval. When she got her first look at the Peninsula Park sketches, she was skeptical.

“It doesn't look hugely different, but I'm interested to see what [the development firm Glenborough Pauls] comes up with,” she said.

City officials are treating the new public process carefully in an effort to show they learned from the rejection of Marina Shores Village. For Peninsula Park, officials hope to collect public input before going through a series of regulatory hurdles, including environmental review.

“It's not perfect, but it's a beginning,” said Mayor Barbara Pierce. “This is an opportunity to take some of what we learned and put it into play, and it's also an opportunity for the developer [to do that].”

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