Planning Commission OKs BayMeadows design plan

It is said that the devil is in the details, but some residents continue to have big picture concerns about the Bay Meadows redevelopment despite the approval of the design guidelines by the San Mateo Planning Commission 4-1 on Tuesday.

The guidelines approved by the commission after five study sessions and two hearings include changes requested at a Nov. 28 meeting to better define the project, which when completed would include 1.25 million square feet of office space, 150,000 square feet of retail space and 1,250 residential units. Among other things, the extension of 29th Avenue will be realigned to create better pedestrian and bicycle flow.

While opponents have largely lost their fight to stop the redevelopment of the 83.5 acre racetrack property, the Friends of Bay Meadows’ efforts to petition for a local vote on the development continues. The group filed an appeal after the county Elections Office refused to recognize almost a hundred signatures, and according to Friends’ legal counsel Stuart Flashman, that appeal could be in court within six months.

“It’s a piece of a big cumulative thing that is happening in San Mateo with high-density development. It’s going to change the quality of life around it significantly,” said Mike Germano, president of the Beresford Hillsdale Neighborhood Association.

Germano said the most significant change to the area will be the increase in peak-hour traffic generated by employees, shoppers and residents. The racetrack generates off-peak traffic of racing fans. Beyond traffic increases, Germano said the Bay Area will lose an important piece of its history when the 72-year-old track is destroyed.

jgoldman@examiner.com

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