A proposed law that could end a long dispute about controversial plans to expand the motorcycle and off-road recreational park southeast of Livermore is making its way through the legislature.
The State Assembly appropriations committee is scheduled to hear Democratic Sen. Steve Glazer’s Senate Bill 767 early next week.
If approved, it would allow the property along Tesla Road to be put on the market, provided the sale price is equal to the amount the state paid for it. Proceeds would go into a state trust fund for off-highway vehicle recreation.
Dick Schneider, chairman of the Tri-valley Sierra Club, said he’s hopeful the bill will pass. He said the group is thankful for Assemblywoman Rebecca Bauer-Kahan’s help moving SB 767 forward. The Democrat from Orinda is serving her first term after defeating Republican incumbent Catherine Baker in 2018.
Glazer, also of Orinda, introduced a similar measure last year that died in committee. This year, he said, supporters believe the Assembly will approve the bill if it makes it onto the floor for a vote in September.
More than three dozen organizations support the sale. Among them are Native American groups who want to protect artifacts on the site. The area was later used for coal mining.
Alameda County and conservation groups have sued the state to try to halt the 3,400-acre expansion due to environmental concerns. Many groups, including Save Mount Diablo, the Sierra Club, Greenbelt Alliance, the Ohlone and San Joaquin Audubon societies, and the California Native Plant Society are backing the bill because they’re concerned motorcycles and ATVs could hurt native wildlife and plants.
Governments and public agencies are also on board with the sale. The City of Livermore, Alameda County, and the East Bay Regional Park District and Livermore Area Recreation and Park District are also supporters.
Advocates of allowing the park expansion argue the area provides a place for recreation and gets people outdoors. They say there’s plenty of open space around the site.
Even so, Glazer said, state records show fewer people are using the park, which has seen a decline in visitors since 2007.