Friends sue to save racetrack

More than a week after a large crowd of horse-racing fans bid goodbye to the Bay Meadows Race Track, a citizens group at the frontlines of saving the storied venue has filed a lawsuit against the city of San Mateo, challenging the city’s environmental review of the racetrack’s redevelopment.

Bay Meadows is slated to host San Mateo County Fair’s races in August and then be demolished. As proposed, the 73-year-old track will be transformed into 750,000 square feet of commercial space, 100,000 square feet of retail and 1,067 housing units.

Friends of Bay Meadows claims in its lawsuit, filed Tuesday with the Superior Court of San Mateo County, that it disagrees “with the City’s curtailed environmental review for such a significant project. Specifically, there have been several significant changes since the 2005 EIR was approved that simply shouldn’t be ignored.”

The group is seeking a supplemental review and wants the city of San Mateo to conduct additional analysis to changes in traffic, air quality and other impacts as a result of the redevelopment.

Last year, a petition by Friends of Bay Meadows to subject the redevelopment to a public vote was disqualified. The group had gathered more than 5,500 signatures supporting a referendum of the City Council vote in favor of the Bay Meadows development agreement. A Court of Appeals panel upheld a decision to invalidate close to 100 signatures from the petition.

Linda Schinkel, leader of Friends of Bay Meadows, said Tuesday that the redevelopment is not “a world class project.”

“San Mateo deserves better,” she said. “There’s going to be major consequences for future generations if this building isn’t done right.”

Various San Mateo city officials could not be reached late Tuesday.

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