Upholding the Redwood City Planning Commission’s approval of plans to develop Pete’s Harbor into 411 residential units is a moot point because a recent substantial change to keep the commercial harbor open to the public requires an entire do-over for the process, according to city staff.
The staff is recommending the City Council at Monday night’s appeal hearing declare the matter not one for them to consider and send the project sailing back to the Planning Commission for review of the new proposal which adds 46 more parking spaces and allows for the commercial marina with 35 fewer slips.
New consideration by the Planning Commission would also allow more public involvement for the “unique project,” Project Planner Amie MacPhee wrote in report to the City Council.
Last month, the opposition group Save Pete’s Harbor and others fighting the development demanded a new approval process, saying a commercial marina requires more amenities than the original proposal addresses including parking, loading zones, paths and proper trash facilities. However, the commercial marina is one caveat the group and former tenants long argued for since developer Paul Powers first submitted the proposal.
Powers needs approval from the State Lands Commission, which owns the outer harbor, to approve the lease transfer from property owner Paula Uccelli if he followed through on plans to make the marina private for residents. Powers tried resolving the dispute with the opponents by offering some $50,000 to tow any remaining vessels and keeping public boat slips in the portion of state-owned harbor if they dropped their fight. The opponents declined and counter-offered with a $1.2 million request and the right of tenants to remain. Then earlier this year Powers decided to keep the marina commercial with 90 slips available for rent by the public and residents.
Between the two points, however, the Planning Commission’s approval of the original plan was appealed to the City Council which is why staff now says that request is dead in the water.
The plan change and likely return to the Planning Commission is just the latest in a long tug-of-war over the required permits to turn the quirky water community into high-rises. Tenants balked last fall after learning of the pending sale and several later sued Uccelli although the suit dropped after a judge refused to issue temporary restraining orders stopping the evictions. The suit claimed Uccelli’s plan to transfer the outer harbor lease to Powers and the Pauls Corp. was illegal because it did not include the commercial marina.
The Redwood City Council meets 7 p.m. Monday May 6 at City Hall, 1017 Middlefield Road, Redwood City.
(650) 344-5200 ext. 102.