RCNU’s City Council Candidate Questionnaire

Check out the 2020 candidate responses here

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. That time has arrived.

Saltworks Update - April 2019

Last month, the Trump administration overruled the findings of EPA's Region 9 and declared that the Redwood City salt ponds are not “waters of the United States” -- in spite of the fact that they are part of San Francisco Bay.

Congresswoman Jackie Speier, whose district includes the salt ponds, blasted the Trump administration for putting politics ahead of science, saying “I refuse to stand by as the President and his lackeys work to further undermine our environmental protections and the health and stability of our natural resources for the benefit of special interests.”

But it’s important to note that the EPA does not have the final say on this. And, the EPA’s awful decision regarding Clean Water Act jurisdiction doesn’t make the site any more suitable for development. Nothing can get built on the salt ponds without action from several state agencies and, most critically, the Redwood City City Council.

Nearly 10 years ago, Cargill and DMB foisted their ill-conceived development plan on Redwood City, and community opposition forced it to be withdrawn. With the ink barely dry on the EPA’s Clean Water Act decision, Cargill and DMB are already talking about a new proposal for developing the salt ponds. We are not going to let that happen. RCNU will be opposing any attempt to develop the Cargill salt ponds because they are simply the wrong place for residential or commercial development - even more so now than they were 10 years ago.

Mayor Ian Bain has come out strongly against the notion of developing on the Cargill salt ponds: “I’d like to see Cargill donate or sell the land so that it can be restored to wetlands some day, as they have done around the Bay Area,” Bain said. “It’s not zoned for housing. It is zoned for harvesting salt. It would require a general plan amendment to allow housing out there. There is very little appetite in our community or on our city council to do that.”

Mayor Bain's statement is a powerful one. If other City Council members and elected leaders follow his lead, Cargill will know that its development plans will go nowhere, and they may finally be ready to sell or donate the property so that it can be restored back to tidal marshlands. Please sign our petition asking other City Council members to go on record opposing changing our General Plan in order to fill our Bay.

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)