This story is part of Scout’s ongoing coverage of riverfront land development.
Responding to the City of Redding’s requests for public input into the possible sale or development of key riverfront land, locals have primarily voiced concern and opposition to a proposal received by the city. They did so through responses to online surveys, emails sent to the city council, and public comments made during four city council workshops held in October and November.
City staff have made survey responses and many of the public’s emails available on a city site. Shasta Scout analyzed available comment, including additional emails received in response to a public records request. Here are key takeaways.
Relatively Few Community Members Have Publicly Commented on the Proposed Land Use
Shasta Scout found a total of approximately 550 responses to city calls for public input, including public comments, online survey responses, and emails; a number that represents roughly 1 percent of Redding residents who voted in the 2020 general election. While any decision to sell the land is likely to be made by a vote of the council, that same land was originally bought after a citizen vote to do so, in 1966. That vote passed narrowly, with a margin of only 288 votes out of a total of 5,000 votes cast, according to reporting by the Record Searchlight.
The Majority of Public Comment Has Opposed The Proposed Land Sale; About Half Has Objected to Further Development At The Riverfront
City surveys asked a clear, if broad, question: “Do you think there should be further development of the area including the Civic Auditorium and Rodeo Grounds?” Comments during public workshops also mostly addressed the issue of possible further development of the land. In contrast, email responses focused primarily on the specific D&D group proposal, although many respondents also expressed opinions regarding sale or development of the land in general.
However, most of the statements made in emails or public comments by their nature require subjective interpretation in order to be grouped into simple categories of opposition to, or support for, the D&D group proposal for riverfront development. Shasta Scout separated responses based on the distinct questions of whether further development should occur and whether the D&D group’s proposal should be adopted into two separate tables.
Roughly fifty percent of respondents expressed significant opposition to further development of the land, and seventy-three percent indicated opposition to the D&D group’s proposal.
|Source: Public email comments|
|Should the city accept the D&D proposal?||Responses||Pct. of total|
|Yes (supports proposal as-is)||16||9%|
|Conditional (generally supports proposal, with some caveats)||10||5%|
|TOTAL (does not include multiple emails from same address)||187||100%|
|Opposition to development and/or sale of undeveloped city land||92||49%|
|Source: Public meeting comments and online survey responses|
|Should there be further development?||Responses||Pct. of total|
Opposition to the D&D Group’s Proposal and Further Development Centered on These Themes
Overall, opposition to the D&D group’s proposal and further development centered primarily on environmental factors (48%). Concerns about inadequate public input into the development process were also significant (43%,) and revolved around the belief that the city’s process of receiving and considering the proposal had not been adequately transparent and that a decision on land sale might be made too quickly.
Continued public access to the river and surrounding land was cited in 40% of opposition to the land sale proposal. Protecting Wintu people’s cultural, historical, and spiritual connections to the riverfront (26%) was also an important motivating factor in community opposition to the D&D proposal and further land development.
|Source: Public email comments|
|Areas of Concern||Responses||Pct. of total|
|Need for public input||81||43%|
Many Public Comments Were in the Form of Questions, Some of Which Remain Unanswered
Community members asked more than a hundred questions about the proposed land sale and development throughout public comment, on surveys and via emails to the city. Shasta Scout has not yet conducted an analysis of which questions have and have not been answered by the city but some questions have already been answered during public workshops, or via City of Redding podcast episodes.
The Redding City Council is scheduled to take further action on a proposed riverfront land sale on either January 18 or February 1, 2022.
You can read more from the city about the proposed riverfront development and see the D&D group’s proposal, survey responses and a portion of emails submitted to the city, here. You can contact the Redding City Council here. Do you have a correction to this story? Let us know.