Apartment building approved even though it violates height limit

A developer is seeking approval to build this apartment complex at 353 Main St. in Redwood City.
A developer was granted approval to build this apartment complex at 353 Main St. in Redwood City.

By the Daily Post staff

The Redwood City Planning Commission yesterday (March 6) approved a seven-story apartment building on Main Street even though it surpasses the height limit and some commissioners wanted more low-income housing.

The project, slated for 353 Main St., will have 125 apartments, with 19 set aside for renters with low and medium incomes.

Commissioners Ernie Schmidt and Muhammad Safdari both asked representatives from Santa Clara-based developer ROEM Corp. if they would increase the amount of low-income apartments from 19 to 25. But ROEM’s representatives said because they had to redesign the proposal after FEMA flood zones changed, they are constrained in what they can do.

The building will be taller because flood-plane construction rules prevent them from building underground parking. As a result, parking will be on the first and second levels.

The commission approved the project 5-0, with commissioners Shawn White and Giselle Hale absent.

The development will be 78 feet tall at its highest point, which is 18 feet above the height limit in the area. But the project was granted a waiver because it included low-income housing.


  1. Good!! These made-up nonsensical rules in the name of public safety is hugely responsible for such massive housing crunch. Increase heights, relax zoning, open up all these idle lands and let people build as much as they want/can. Well paid people here are going homeless because there is just not enough housing!!

    • Self-absorbed blowhard, you think housing rules are responsible for the housing crunch? Insane. Ever heard of mass immigration? What was California’s population 25 years ago? Where did the ten million people who arrived since come from?

  2. Go to Tokyo and see for yourself how high one can build even in high earthquake areas. Technology exists to build much higher. Anything that helps building more houses and lower housing cost needs to be done!

  3. Older generations need to be more empathetic and support their city’s plans to allow building new houses or extending old housing. They can enrich their lives by having more younger people live among their neighborhoods. Younger people are again leaving the area in droves only because there is no affordable housing, even for highly paid ones. Please tell your city officials to relax rules and allow more home building.

  4. I like this. I don’t have a problem with going higher if it means more homes. We need more of this in order to increase the supply of homes. Good job, Redwood City.

  5. Yes we need more housing… for the people who are from here, already here, and are struggling here. The transplants with their 250k household income choose to move here, and therefore don’t need help. Redwood City is amazing because of the last 30-40 years of resident & community building. The peninsula happens to be such a great amazing place that the biggest tech companies now want to enjoy it too… bringing with them an onslaught of economic growth. The City sees this economic growth as great, which it is… they all pay more taxes, BUT the elected officials seem to forget the people who voted them to office. It’s not the person from Indiana who moved here to work for a tech giant… it’s the couple who’s lived here for 20 years. And by taking sides of the business, and those holding the money, they undercut their own constituents every time. Clearly these ideas are over simplified for a comment thread, but doing basic math – 19 affordable housing units, and 106 market rate doesn’t sound like a whole lot of solution for the population the elected officials should really be caring for. Why not be dramatic and say 50-50? Everyone knows the housing market is in a position to demand dramatic change.

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