Bay Meadows Backers Win Round in Court

Bay Meadows Backers Win Round in Court
Photo: Vassar Photography
A group trying to prevent the redevelopment of the Bay Meadows race track won a round in court and gained a delay in a hearing of the petition it has brought against the developer and the city of San Mateo.

The developer, Bay Meadows Land Company, sought to have the case dismissed Aug. 25 by a San Mateo County Superior Court judge, who ruled against the motion and granted a continuance of the hearing date until Dec. 5. The hearing had been set for Oct. 10.

The Friends of Bay Meadows contends in its lawsuit, filed in May, that the environmental impact report for the 83.5-acre plan is insufficient in several aspects due to numerous changes since the EIR was originally approved in 2005. It also argues that the city has not properly assessed the track's historical signficance.

Linda Schinkel, coordinator for the group, said she is pleased that "we will have our day in court."

She added, "We have felt all along that there are significant problems with the EIR and its addendum, problems that deserve a court review--history, water, trafffic, funding problems with needed infrastructure, underpasses, and a train station. And we feel even stronger about the lawsuit after surviving a dismissal challenge by the land company."

The delay, granted by Judge George Miriam, was to give their attorneys more time to prepare the case, she said.

"Our attorneys asked for more time, partly because it has taken some of their time to prepare an argument against the dismissal request. The evidence for the case is very large."

Adam Alberti, a spokesman for the developer, did not respond to requests for comment. He earlier told the San Mateo County Times that the extension would have no effect on BMLC's plans to move forward with the project.

Demolition of the aging Bay Meadows grandstand and the infield barn area is expected later this year, although no specific date has been set. The plant is to be vacated by horsemen by mid-October.

The BMLC sold off the track's assets during a three-day auction held Aug. 23-25.

Starting next month, the developer plans to change the racecourse into office space and parks with some shopping and residential units.

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