Responsible Growth, Not Saltworks


In May 2010, agribusiness giant Cargill and luxury housing developer DMB Pacific Ventures proposed a huge housing and commercial development on the salt ponds east of Hwy. 101—an area stretching from Woodside Road to Marsh Road.

Thanks to the vocal opposition of residents and neighbors like you, in May of 2012 Cargill and DMB withdrew their pending “Saltworks” proposal from further consideration by the City. However, at the same time, they announced they would return with a revised development plan for the salt ponds.

Saltworks Update - August 2016

There is still no news regarding Cargill's request for a jurisdictional determination on the Redwood City salt ponds. The federal Environmental Protection Agency has taken over the decision from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and EPA will now be making the determination on whether all or a portion of the Cargill site is under the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act. Once the decision is made, we have every reason to expect that Cargill will submit a new development application. We continue to remain vigilant, and will provide updates as soon as we receive reliable information.

So what does this mean for the future of the Redwood City salt ponds?  It doesn’t mean the project has been defeated. Assuming the EPA rules that the site is under Clean Water Act jurisdiction, Cargill will have to undergo the federal permitting process to be able to develop. This will be a significant regulatory hurdle, but the outcome is not certain.

Since the final decision on development of the salt ponds may ultimately rest with Redwood City, it is good to see that the political tide may be turning at City Hall. Rosanne Foust, who had supported the original Saltworks development plan, failed to win re-election in November 2015.  All four council members who were elected (Ian Bain, Shelly Masur, Janet Borgens and Alicia Aguirre) are on record in their RCNU candidate questionnaires as having serious concerns regarding residential and commercial development on this site.

We don't need to see a revised plan. 

RCNU maintains that the property is not a suitable site to build housing or businesses. The pursuit of any project that grows Redwood City on the salt ponds, regardless of its size, runs counter to good land use practices and our community’s vision. We remain vigilant and committed to protecting Redwood City’s future. We don’t need to see a revised plan to know that’s not where we want our city to grow.

Why is building on the salt ponds a bad idea?

Because our community cannot risk:

  • Traffic gridlock
  • Economic harm to local businesses
  • Placing more people and property behind flood levees
  • Increased costs to residents
  • Uncertain water supply
  • Loss of restorable wetlands

We have a choice!

Instead of allowing Cargill and DMB to go forward with their irresponsible plans, we should follow through on the General Plan adopted recently by the city. The General Plan follows the guidelines of responsible growth. It grows our city in a way that prevents sprawl, conserves our resources, and puts over 9,000 homes in our downtown and along transit corridors, near shopping and restaurants. The General Plan has broad community support, and developers are already lining up to make it happen.

We are committed to giving voice to our community’s concerns about the impacts of any project that would grow Redwood City irresponsibly—and we need your help! Visit our Issues pages, see what we’re talking about, sign up as a supporter of RCNU, and get involved.

We look forward to working with you to protect Redwood City’s future.

Redwood City Neighbors United



(Banner photos courtesy of Jill Clardy, Ed Bierman, (nz)dave,  Rebecca Williamson and Greenbelt Alliance)