Packed community meeting in Hayward over undeveloped land

HAYWARD, Calif. (KTVU) - Residents packed a community meeting Thursday night to learn about the City of Hayward's plans to acquire hundreds of acres of undeveloped land. 

The land spanning 300 acres north of Mission and Foothill Boulevards near Cal State East Bay, originally was bought by Caltrans in the 1960's to create an expanded state route 238 freeway.

After plans fell through, Hayward officials negotiated a deal to buy and develop 10 parcels of the Caltrans property.

The question now is how to use it. "Affordable housing. because there's just such an influx of people here now," said Arnold Daniels, who says he has lived in Hayward 53 years. He and his son say housing costs are rising and they say more low-cost housing options might help them stay in their neighborhood. 

"A lot of friends here, growing up, memories, don't really want to move out," said Nathaniel Daniels, Hayward

THe City of Hayward held a community meeting that drew more than 150 people, who crowded into the community hall to hear the Deputy City Manager Jennifer Ott lay out some initial plans for the land.

"The idea is for the city to sell the property to private developers or in some cases non-profit developers that build affordable housing, schools," said Ott. 

Picture boards showed residents the various ideas, such as mixed new housing, including rentals and home ownership units.

There are also ideas for open space and trail extensions, retail and commercial space, as well as a new charter school and an auto dealership. 

Four of the parcels are already in contract negotiations, with construction on one site already underway to build new homes. 

Some residents who've lived on other parcels for years ay they are worried they'll be kicked out when the city sells to developers. 

I'm in a single family apartment, me and my son. and I've lived there for 8 years," said Ida Alvarez, a resident in unincorporated Hayward who lives on parcel 8. 

"Where are we going to go when they do this? What are we going to find new places to live? They say it's affordable housing but what does that mean?" said Katherine Matthew, another resident in the same housing unit in unincorporated Hayward. 

Residents also raised other concerns.

"These are our homes, there's a potential traffic problem that will be created by any  building done," said Amber Jayanti of Castro Valley.

Residents were also asked to leave messages on the picture boards, voicing their opinions and concerns.

The city plans to compile a report and present results at  the next community meeting in early 2019 

They will need to finalize plans and sale of the land by 2022, or else the land will revert back to Caltrans.