SB 1316, a bill designed to enable the state to sell the 3100-acre Tesla Expansion Area of the Carnegie State Recreational Vehicular Area (SRVA) for open space purposes, has been making its way through the Legislature.
A hearing was scheduled in the Assembly Appropriations Committee on Aug. 16, after landing in the Committee Aug. 8.
The bill passed the Senate floor 24-13 on April 30. It cleared two Assembly policy committees in June on 5-2 and 8-6 votes.
State Sen. Steve Glazer, whose district includes the Valley, and Assemblymember Catharine Baker were co-authors of the bill.
Baker agreed to an amendment of the bill to address concerns raised by several members of the committees through which it passed. They were worried that the state would not receive enough money for the property to make the Off Highway Vehicle (OHV) fund whole again, replacing the money spent on acquiring the property for SRVA expansion.
The amended bill prohibits the Department of General Services (DGS), the state’s business manager, from selling the property if the proceeds from the sale are less than the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) paid for the expansion, that is, $9 million.
The DPR acquired seven pieces of property between 1996 and 2000 to create the 3100 acres. However, with increases in property value and inflation, “it is unclear if the OHV fund is truly being kept whole with this amendment,” noted an Assembly Appropriations Committee staff member, who wrote a summary report about the bill.
The bill would require DGS to sell the expansion area only to a local agency or nonprofit organization for use as a park, or other open space use.
The Altamont Landfill Open Space Advisory Committee sent a letter in support of SB1316. The committee has funds for acquisition of open space lands in eastern Alameda County as a result of a legal settlement in connection with expansion of the Altamont Landfill. The Committee, composed of representatives from Alameda County, the City of Livermore, the City of Pleasanton, and the Sierra Club, decides which properties receive funding.
Glazer is quoted in the Appropriations Committee report as saying the expansion area contains important cultural and biological resources. The expansion plans have been litigated for about 20 years, and it would be better to sell the land for conservation purposes, said Glazer.
Baker said in a prepared statement, “We will learn soon enough if the bill makes it to the Governor’s desk, but SB 1316 has already played a good role in furthering the conversation between both sides of the issue on how we find a solution for the property that avoids years of costly litigation.”
The bill is supported by 32 agencies and organizations, and opposed by four motorcycle and ORV groups.
Among the supporters are the Alameda County Board of Supervisors, the Alameda County Resource Conservation District, Center for Biological Diversity, City of Livermore, EBRPD, Friends of Livermore, Friends of Tesla Park, Friends of the Vineyards, Greenbelt Alliance, LARPD, four chapters of the National Audubon Society, the Nature Conservancy, Sierra Club California, Society of American Indians, and Tri-Valley Conservancy.
The other side of the story is that the bill died. Governor Brown’s office made it known that he would not support (veto) the bill. It didn’t move out of the last committee.