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Bay Meadows maneuverings continue

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A group of residents continues to fight the redevelopment of the Bay Meadows racetrack, with a protest and a court hearing in an ongoing lawsuit both planned for the weeks ahead.

Friends of Bay Meadows, a volunteer group working to preserve the longtime racing venue, has been working since November to get a referendum on the ballot which would overturn the City Council’s unanimous decision to redevelop the property.

The group ran into a roadblock when the San Mateo County Elections Office disqualified some 1,200 petition signatures from the referendum, leaving them 136 signatures short. They filed suit against the Elections Office. Months of legal proceedings brought the group just 84 signatures shy of reaching their goal of more than 4,600 valid signatures, representing 10 percent of registered voters in San Mateo. The latest hearing, on the validity of 84 petition signatures, is scheduled for June 29.

A second legal battle began after the developer, Bay Meadows Land Company, filed suit against the Friends and the city of San Mateo earlier this year, alleging problems with the format of the referendum petition. A hearing on that issue is scheduled for July 19, Friends lawyer Stuart Flashman said.

Members of the group, along with referendum leader Linda Schinkel, plan on protesting Bay Meadows Land Company’s involvement in the referendum process on Saturday outside the company’s offices at 1100 Park Place.

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“If this is such a good redevelopment project, then why not let us vote on it?” Schinkel asked.

Bay Meadows Land Company spokesman Adam Alberti said he and developer affiliates probably will not observe the Saturday protest.

“I hope they will conduct themselves lawfully and appropriately,” Alberti said.

tramroop@examiner.com

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