Redwood City condo plan goes to council

One hundred new condominiums could soon be approved on a Main Street site near Redwood Creek, although many in the city say new housing belongs closer to the core of downtown.

The condominium proposal was approved 4-2 by the Redwood City Planning Commission in March and will go to the city council for a vote tonight.

While those who approved the project say it will create much-needed housing close to downtown, those who voted against it say it doesn’t match with the city’s new downtown guidelines, which are due to be reviewed and adopted in the fall.

The site, at 333 Main Street, is not included in those guidelines, which are aimed at creating a dense, urban downtown core with plenty of retail and multifamily homes.

In order for housing to be built on the 2.3-acre site, which houses mold-infested office buildings once used by the Redwood City School District, the city council will need to rezone the site and make an amendment to the general plan, according to a report from planner Jill Ekas.

“It’s outside the [downtown] precise plan and outside current zoning,” said Planning Commissioner Hilary Paulson, who voted against the proposal.

Developer John Baer disagrees, siding with planning commissioners who said the precise plan’s boundaries are meant to be flexible.

“I think [that argument] is without merit. It’s a seven-minute walk from downtown. The planning commission agreed with us and I think the city council is going to agree with us,” Baer said.

The city’s downtown plan calls for 3,600 housing units to be created, which will be difficult due to the area’s small parcel size, Baer said. He said he feels that broadening the boundaries of that plan will create more housing opportunities.

If the proposal is approved, 15 percent of the condos would be priced affordably for those with very low, low and moderate incomes.

The complex is due to be completed in September 2009.

The Redwood City Council meets tonight at 7 p.m. at City Hall, 1017 Middlefield Rd.

bwinegarner@examiner.com

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