Nearing the end of an initial public comment session for a major mixed-use 8.3-acre development in Redwood City, planning commissioners welcomed public input of the environmental impact report which noted the development would have a significant impact on resident’s quality of living.
Community members expressed concerns during the remote Planning Commission meeting held Tuesday evening over the potential traffic impacts of the major development. While some residents said they’d like to see greater incorporations of bike and pedestrian friendly paths, others noted the development would greatly hinder residents traveling south out of the neighborhood.
Alvin Asper, the president of the 1090 Main St. Homeowners Association, spoke on behalf of 34 homeowners who he said would be affected by the construction. He asked that Greystar, the development agency proposing the plan, assist in revamping the exterior of 1090 Main St. to better match the new building in exchange for residents managing through the massive project.
“This construction is something that we’ve never seen before in terms of magnitude and scale. ... My fellow residents and I have deep concerns about the scale of this project and the negative impact that it’s going to cause its residents in terms of traffic,” said Asper. “Our building has stood here since 1983 and has seen the ups and downs of Redwood City. ... A project this magnitude, you need to think more than those seven parcels of land that they’re going to develop. You have to think outside of that and we are immediately outside of that.”
Asper noted the construction would possibly hinder accessibility to highways due to entryways in that direction being blocked off during development. Within the draft of the EIR, the project was rated to have no impact on traffic due to access to amenities such as a downtown area existing closely to residents.
Adrian Brandt, a speaker at the remote meeting, echoed many others when encouraging the inclusion of pedestrian and bike pathways linking the new development to the Sequoia Station on El Camino Real. He, as many others, noted the development would place residents on foot or bike in a busy area with traffic-filled cross streets.
“I would really encourage some hard thoughts towards ensuring that there is a high-quality pedestrian and bike corridor between linking this site with the transit center and train station,” said Brandt.
Despite concerns, most speakers praised the proposed plans for incorporating public spaces and affordable housing. The proposed plans would include seven new structures, three primarily reserved for residential use and the other four mainly planned for commercial office space.
Of the 540 multi-family residential units incorporated in the plan, 147 would be marked as affordable housing ranging from below- to very-low-level market rate. Also incorporated into the development would be 40,000 square feet of public open space spread across the proposed plan. The existing dog park located on Main Street has been included in the plans with an additional public creek walk and a park on Shasta and Chestnut streets.
Lindy Chan, the acting planning manager for the city, noted the EIR shows many areas such as biological resources, noise and utilities and services would experience significant impact, however, 27 mitigation efforts were identified which could be implemented to lower the significance of residential quality of life.
Of the nine areas that would be significantly affected by the proposed development, air quality and cultural resources would experience the greatest impact. Mitigation efforts would lower the effects on air quality. The effect on cultural resources would be “significant and unavoidable” due to the potential demolition of Perry’s Feed Shed. Current plans reflect possibly creating a replica of the pink metal building currently on Shasta and Chestnut streets.
An entertainment space included in the plans brought community feedback as many speakers implored developers to consider including a skating rink following the closure of Redwood Roller Rink, a frequent source of community entertainment that closed three years ago. The rink was not included in the cultural impact assessment though speakers noted its 60-year existence makes the entertainment center a historical site for the city.
Public comment on the development will conclude on Monday, July 13. Staff and the development team will evaluate the raised concerns and prepare responses in a final draft of the EIR to be presented in September or October. After an additional 10-day public comment session, the City Council will take action on the proposal, potentially late fall.