Site for new jail a no-go

A county plan to purchase a site within city limits for a new jail, a proposal that has angered city officials, has now been abandoned.

Following a closed session meeting Tuesday morning, Supervisor Jerry Hill said the county is no longer in negotiations with Cemex Inc. to purchase its Maple Street property, which sits several hundred feet from the current women’s jail.

“The Cemex site is off the table at this point in time because the seller is no longer negotiating with us,” he said. The property owner appears to have found another buyer and is no longer interested in selling to the county of San Mateo, he said.

The dispute betweenRedwood City and county officials flared up last month when Redwood City Mayor Rosanne Foust sent a letter to supervisors blistering them for a lack of communication with the community about a possible jail on city land. Foust said she wasn’t aware the county was in negotiations to purchase the Cemex site until she saw the matter on the supervisors’ closed session agenda.

The location alarmed City Council members, who worried the jail would threaten the city’s plan to build thousands of units of housing nearby.

Hill said the supervisors would continue to look at other sites to build a new jail, both in Redwood City and other places in the county. Hill said supervisors were exploring the ideas of putting the jail somewhere on the sprawling San Mateo County government campus in Redwood City.

“We will look at the sites and put together an analysis,” he said. “The public will be involved in the review. We’ll certainly outreach to the community that may be affected.”

On Tuesday, Foust said she was pleased the site was no longer an option.

“It’s very encouraging,” she said. “I think our community is going to be happy.”

tbarak@sfexaminer.com

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