Residents request price for Cargill site

More than a hundred locals who met Sunday to discuss the future of one of the largest undeveloped parcels of bayshore land only wanted to know one thing: How much will it cost to take the land back?

Cargill owns 1,433 acres of Bayfront property that was used for commercial salt mining. The company announced in 2006 that it would shut down the industrial salt plant in Redwood City but then hired DMB Associates — developers known for creating large-scale communities in Arizona and other parts of the U.S. — to study the possibility of housing on the property. The idea has been opposed by environmentalists who said the property should be protected.

On Sunday, more than a hundred locals gathered for the first community-sponsored forum to discuss the Cargill-owned site. While Sunday’s panel included several proponents of restoring the site, currently zoned as tidal plain, residents asked repeatedly: How much would it cost for the city, a grassroots group or the government to buy the land?

“Clearly, some amount of restoration is called for on some portion of the site,” said David Kunhardt of the Mid-Peninsula Housing Coalition. “But who pays for it? Do we all pay?”

Nobody knows exactly how much it would cost to purchase and restore the property, according to Save the Bay president David Lewis. He said the 40,000 acres of Bay wetlands currently being restored would cost $1.43 billion over 50 years for full restoration.

Cargill has not made any formal plans to develop, but its developers have maintained that according to a public survey, 80 percent of Redwood City residents support a mixture of housing, commercial, recreational parks and open space on the property.

Restoring the property as tidal marsh would provide habitat for local wildlife and protect the rest of the city from flooding, storm surges and global warming-related sea-level changes, said Lynn Trulio, lead scientist with the South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project.

Restoring Bair Island and other Cargill lands has cost local taxpayers “next to nothing,” because those projects were funded with private, state and federal funds, Lewis added.

“If the City Council says no to development on this property, and keeps saying no, then the price comes down,” said Peggy Bruggman, representative with the Friends of Redwood City.

bwinegarner@examiner.com

Bay Area NewsLocal

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

A server greets diners in a Shared Spaces outdoor dining area outside Napper Tandy’s Irish pub at 24th Street and South Van Ness Avenue in the Mission District on Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020. San Francisco could choose to resume outdoor dining in the wake of a state decision to lift a regional stay-at-home order. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Regional coronavirus stay-at-home orders lifted as ICU capacity improves

Change in rules could allow outdoor dining to resume in San Francisco

A statue of Florence Nightingale outside the Laguna Honda Hospital is one of only two statues of women in The City. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
S.F. still falling short of goal to represent women in public art

City has few streets or public facilities not named after men

Methamphetamines (Sophia Valdes/SF Weekly)
New search launched for meth sobering center site

Pandemic put project on pause but gave health officials time to plan a better facility

Hasti Jafari Jozani quarantines at her brother's San Francisco home after obtaining several clearances to study at San Francisco State University. (Photo courtesy Siavash Jafari Jozani)
Sanctions, visas, and the pandemic: One Iranian student’s bumpy path to SF State

Changing immigration rules and travel restrictions leave some overseas students in limbo

Woody LaBounty, left, and David Gallagher started the Western Neighborhoods Project which has a Balboa Street office housing historical items and comprehensive website dedicated to the history of The City’s West side. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Outside Lands podcast delves into West side’s quirky past

History buffs Woody LaBounty and David Gallagher have been sharing fun stories about the Richmond and Sunset since 1998

Most Read