Proposed building height, density worries downtown neighbors

City officials are aiming to turn downtown into a bustling neighborhood and retail center by boosting apartments, retail and building heights, but nearby residents are afraid of what that urbanization will do to their neighborhood.

A new set of guidelines for downtown, called a precise plan, proposes building 3,600 new homes, 200 hotel rooms, 115,000 square feet of retail space and 600,000 square feet of office space. This summer, city planners will study exactly how those additions will change Redwood City’s core.

At a sparsely attended meeting last week, the Planning Commission hammeredout the details of that study. Major concerns include the transition between a new urbanized core and adjacent neighborhoods, as well as the shadows and wind that could be created by building more 10- or even 12-story buildings, according to Planning Director Tom Passanisi.

“We are very concerned with the height discussion,” said Judy Buchan, president of the Centennial Neighborhood Association, which is located cheek by jowl with downtown. “I’m hearing from folks in general that if they wanted to live in San Francisco they’d go there.”

In particular, those neighbors are keeping an eye on a proposed 10-story condominium project at 439 Fuller St., which was granted a separate precise plan in December of 2005. Putting a tall building on the edge of Redwood City’s downtown goes against the recommendations of the proposed downtown precise plan, which would keep the tallest buildings near the center of downtown while tapering heights downward toward its periphery.

“We have serious concerns that it’s going to wall us off from the rest of the world,” Buchan said.

Redwood City is embarking on a thorough environmental review of the new downtown guidelines, according to Planning Commission Chairman John Seybert.

“If the public looked at the document, they would see we aren’t leaving anything out,” Seybert said. “Of course height is going to be studied.”

Other hot topics include the creation of open space or parkland downtown, and whether nearby schools will be affected by an influx of new residents.

A draft of the environmental review document, along with a draft of the precise plan itself, is expected to be ready at the end of the summer, according to Passanisi.

bwinegarner@examiner.com

Redwood City seeking food vendors

Redwood City is courting food concessions — and other vendors — to become a permanent part of the new public plaza in front of the 1910 Courthouse building.

Although the plaza won’t be ready to open until October, the city will begin accepting bids on four concession spaces June 9. Although food and coffee sellers top officials’ wish lists, they will consider unique vendors of all kinds, according to city planner Jeannie Young.

“We’re very open to what type comes in,” Young said. “We want something that would create foot traffic.”

Currently the city only allows concessionaires at city parks, issuing permits for up to a year. Permits for the downtown spots would be more long term.

Interested vendors can find out more about the process by attending a workshop June 9 at 10 a.m. at City Hall, 1017 Middlefield Road. The deadline for applications is July 13.

Bay Area NewsLocalneighborhoods

Just Posted

A felled tree in Sydney G. Walton Square blocks part of a lane on Front Street following Sunday’s storm on Monday, Oct. 25, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
After the rain: What San Francisco learned from a monster storm

Widespread damage underscored The City’s susceptibility to heavy wind and rain

Plan Bay Area 2050 is an expansive plan guiding the region’s growth and development over the next three decades. The regional plan addresses progressive policy priorities like a universal basic income and a region-wide rent cap, alongside massive new spending on affordable housing and transportation infrastructure. (Shutterstock)
$1.4 trillion ‘blueprint’ would address Bay Area’s housing, transit woes

Analyzing the big ticket proposals in ‘Plan Bay Area 2050’

A felled tree in San Francisco is pictured on Fillmore Street following a major storm that produced high winds and heavy rains on Oct. 24, 2021. (Photo courtesy of Philip Ford)
Storm updates: Rainiest October day in San Francisco history

Rainfall exceeded 10 inches in parts of the Bay Area

On Sunday, California bore the brunt of what meteorologists referred to as a bomb cyclone and an atmospheric river, a convergence of storms that brought more than half a foot of rain to parts of the Bay Area, along with high winds, concerns about flash floods and the potential for heavy snow in the Sierra Nevada. Much of the Bay Area was under a flash flood watch on Sunday, with the National Weather Service warning of the potential for mudslides across the region. (NOAA via The New York Times)
Bomb cyclone, atmospheric river combine to pummel California with rain and wind

What you need to know about this historic weather event

The Department of Building Inspection, at 49 South Van Ness Ave., has been mired in scandal since since its creation by voter referendum under Proposition G in 1994. (Courtesy SF.gov)
The Department of Building Inspection, at 49 South Van Ness Ave., has been mired in scandal since its creation by voter referendum under Proposition G in 1994. (Courtesy SF.gov)
Whistleblowing hasn’t worked at the SF Dept. of Building Inspection

DBI inspectors say their boss kept them off connected builders’ projects

Most Read