The developer who wants to build a waterfront apartment complex at Pete's Harbor in Redwood City has dropped plans to build a private marina on the site's state-owned outer harbor.

And project opponents are quickly seizing on that decision to argue that the revised plan should get a new, full-blown hearing before the planning commission.

Pete's Harbor has long been leasing the outer harbor from the California State Lands Commission and operating it as a commercial marina. In September, Pete's Harbor owner Paula Uccelli informed marina tenants they would need to leave by Jan. 15 to make room for a 411-unit residential development with private boat slips. A handful of boaters remain anchored at the marina in open defiance of the eviction deadline while others who left have continued their fight to prevent the marina from turning into a private operation.

The tenants have long-argued that Uccelli didn't have the right to transfer the state lease to developer Paul Powers for private development. In December, Uccelli's lawyer, Ted Hannig, told the State Lands Commission there wasn't parking space to accommodate the housing development's residents as well as public boaters without sacrificing some of the proposed homes.

But in February, attorney Edgar Washburn sent a letter on behalf of Powers informing the state agency that although the developer would continue to seek the lease transfer he agrees to operate the outer harbor as a commercial marina, according to a copy of the letter recently obtained by tenants group Save Pete's Harbor through a public records request.

Washburn told The Daily News on Tuesday that although he doesn't know specifics, "the parking situation has been worked through with the city."

The Save Pete's Harbor appeal was scheduled to go to the city council next month, but because the State Lands Commission won't take up the lease issue April 26 as initially assumed, it's unclear whether the appeal will be postponed. Redwood City officials were not available for comment late Tuesday.

Leslie Webster, one of the founders of Save Pete's Harbor, said if the project has been revised it needs to be resubmitted for planning commission approval.

"This was pushed through in October," Webster said. "Let's do it right this time."

Email Bonnie Eslinger at beslinger@dailynewsgroup.com; follow her at twitter.com/bonnieeslinger.