Floating community in Redwood City to be closed, city funded relocation costs soar

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. (KGO) -- The last floating community in Redwood City is set to be closed, but the city's relocation costs are soaring.

"I think about docktown dying and that doesn't make me feel good at all."

That's what's on Ellen Savage's mind when she looks at the floating house she called home for some fifteen years - a home at "Docktown" on the waters off Redwood City.

But as she said, Docktown, once a floating community of some 100 residents, is nearly dead.

Most have already left or agreed to leave.

Their photographs now adorn the cyclone fence in protest.

No trespassing signs and locks identify vacant homes.

A lawsuit two years ago by a resident in a newly built condo across the Marina alleged that Docktown violated public land use laws.

Redwood City settled the suit, saying it would provide relocation assistance to boat owners.

Lee Callister owns three houseboats here.

"Originally it was going to be $3 million, then it was going to be ten and believe me it's not through at 20," Callister said referring to the $20 million the city estimates its paying to get the residents out.

Last night, the City Council said that's how much relocation may cost - double what it estimated last year.

All of that is at taxpayers expense - $20 million of taxpayers money to get rid of perfectly good homes, a lot of them providing affordable housing at a time when there's a terrible shortage.

Savage says Docktown, a half century old, is now becoming an expensive ghost town.

"The fix was in and looking back on it, we were naive to think we would prevail," Savage said.

The City declined our request for an interview, however there's a chance the remaining residents will be spared.

There's still several lawsuits pending in court challenging the evictions. But, it may be too little too late.
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