Redwood City violated state environmental requirements and its own zoning ordinances and general plan by approving a 16-house development on steeply sloped lots at the end of Laurel Way that may be prone to landslides, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday by project opponents.
Save Laurel Way, the entity fighting the Laurel Way Joint Venture Project, also claims the city violated its own law by issuing a so-called master planned development permit because it is not defined or allowed by the zoning code. Instead, the city “improperly” used the planned development permit process to “shoe horn a dense, cookie-cutter subdivision into a small, semi-rural area, defer [California Environmental Quality Act] analysis and shied from public review the design and construction of 16 houses,” the suit stated.
The city cannot comment on pending legal matters at this time, said spokeswoman Sheri Costa-Batis.
The suit names the city, the City Council, Laurel Way Joint Venture and Oded Haner. LWJV is 14 property owners, included Haner, who joined together to prepare the environmental impact report and seek city approval. The proposal calls for 16 new houses, a 28-foot-wide road and 50-foot-wide cul-de-sac.
The battle over the undeveloped, 4.75-acre site dates back several years from the first proposal to the city in 2007 leading up to the January 2014 approval of the master planned development permit. The Planning Commission approval was predicated on limiting the house sizes from 2,400 to 3,432 square feet which led both Save Laurel Way and the developer to appeal. The City Council denied both and further scaled the size range from 2,000 square feet to 3,432 square feet.
Opponents argue the revised final EIR used to approve the permit is inadequate because it understated or failed to look adequately at the ramification. The site’s slopes, for instance, are “unusually steep” with “geologically unstable” soils but the revised final EIR deferred studies of possible landslides until after the project’s approval, according to the suit.
The suit also contends the city violated its own stormwater treatment ordinance by allowing a project that constructs roads and homes within 30 feet of a protected creek.
Project opponents also cite concern about the destruction of heritage trees, construction noise and traffic impacts, increasing soil movement and damage to neighboring properties.
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