Impact report concluded for Redwood City campus

March 14, 2012, 2:43 a.m.

Discussions on the public environmental impact report for the Stanford in Redwood City project closed Monday. The project will now move on to seek a recommendation from the Redwood City Planning Commission in May and a final vote from the Redwood City Council anticipated for sometime in August, according to Redwood City Community Development Director Bill Ekern.


“I think the city administration sees this as a positive project for the city,” Ekern said. “It’s my impression and the hope of the city that Stanford desires to be a good neighbor and become good citizens supporting Redwood City.”


The Redwood City campus project is a result of Stanford’s General Use Permit with Santa Clara County, which limits Stanford’s expansion of its main campus. Seeking to reserve as much of the main campus as possible for academics, the University, along with Stanford Hospitals and Clinics, purchased a 48-acre site in Redwood City near Highway 101, hoping to relocate some administrative buildings to a satellite campus.


The project has been in progress since 2005, and Stanford Hospitals and Clinics has repurposed some existing buildings into outpatient clinics since then. However, the proposed project would tear down eight existing buildings on the satellite campus in order to construct as many as 13 new ones.


Between now and the Planning Committee vote in May, Stanford and the committee will respond to questions from Redwood City residents about the project, allowing Stanford an opportunity to address any issues.


One of the major concerns brought forward so far has been the potential increase in traffic to the area, according to Ekern. However, he noted that Stanford is making strides to alleviate the issue.


“The impacts have been identified and can be addressed,” Ekern said.


Stanford Assistant Director of Community Relations Lucy Wicks said in an email to The Daily that Stanford is “providing substantial funds” to help Redwood City create a neighborhood streets enhancement program to reconfigure some streets and promote alternative transportation.


Wicks also noted the economic benefits of the campus for Redwood City, as Stanford’s presence would add thousands of permanent jobs in addition to temporary construction jobs.


“Stanford is proposing a major investment in the area,” Wicks wrote. “Stanford’s presence in Redwood City would provide a major, consistent and stable employment base that would benefit the downtown retail establishments as well as other Redwood City businesses.”


At this time, no concrete plans are in place for Stanford administrative departments to move to Redwood City. Stanford currently leases office space on the site to third parties and will continue these leases after construction. However, the University will have the authority to use the space itself at will in the future.

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