Developer also wants to build large health facility at waterfront site, but city must first study environmental impacts
A plan to build 338 residential units and a 100,000-square-foot fitness center along a section of Redwood City’s waterfront where the Century Park 12 theaters once operated got its first airing this week.
Before the project can proceed, an environmental review must be conducted of the 14.6-acre site at 557 East Bayshore Road, also known as the Syufy site, because it is not zoned for residences. The site contains parking lots and is surrounded by auto dealerships and light-industrial firms.
The Planning Commission on Tuesday night held a session to receive input and provide comments on the scope and contents of the review. Comments can be sent to the city and added to the review through Aug. 21.
The greatest concern raised at the meeting was traffic, which residents said is gridlocked at the Whipple Avenue/Highway 101 interchange during the morning and evening rush.
“It’s already a huge backup on 101 to get off to come to where we live on the east side of the freeway and where they live on the west side of the highway. A lot of apartment buildings have been put in there, too,” Nancy Crampton said. “This does not even includ e the 400-and-some units that are at Blu Harbor who are not yet using the exchange because no one lives there … (and) most of the activity at the health club will happen at rush hour. People coming to the health club before they go or coming to the health club after they go to work.”
Blu Harbor is a 402-unit residential development under construction on the former Pete’s Harbor site. A 177-room hotel is being built nearby at 650 Bair Island Road and a 131-unit townhouse development is planned at 1548 Maple St. Two nearby residential communities — One Marina Homes and The Villas at Bair Island — also use the same entrance and exit off Whipple, added Kelly Radetich.
“We are seeing a major traffic mess with just one way in and one way out,” Radetich said. “We really don’t know what the impact of what has already been accepted will do (to access).”
Crampton also asked where the surrounding cluster of dealerships will park their vehicles when the surface parking is taken away.
“What’s going to happen to the car dealers? There are an awful lot of things to consider before letting anybody to build anything on this area.”
Lou Covey said there hasn’t been a discussion about bringing public transit to the area east of 101 and suggested the developer, San Rafael-based SyRes Properties LLC, could pay for transit improvements.
“My concern is … health clubs are generally big users of energy and water … (but) there are ways to deal with that. They can also deal with public transit, getting people in and out of there,” Covey said.
Commissioners assured the public that traffic concerns would be addressed through the California Environmental Quality Act process and city staff members also would conduct a transit study.
Commissioner Giselle Marie Hale noted that SyRes’ project is so dense that whatever public transit goes to the site would be used.
The draft environmental review is expected to be released late this year or early 2018. A 45-day public comment period will follow and a final draft eventually will go before the planning commission and city council.