HAYWARD — Today, Thursday and next Wednesday, residents living in or near the place known as "Caltrans land" will have an important say in the massive property's future.

The California Department of Transportation began buying a roughly 300-acre ribbon of contiguous land through the Hayward foothills about 50 years ago for a freeway that was never built. Beginning next year, the state agency will dispose of the land, much of which is already occupied by rented houses and apartments. But Caltrans has pledged not to sell its surplus property until Hayward decides exactly what it wants to see there next.

"None of the land is going to be disposed of until after our land-use study is complete," said Sara Buizer, a senior city planner.

In order to gather community comment for the study, the city has organized three meetings this month, each emphasizing a different area of the Caltrans land:

-The first meeting will happen from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. today at City Hall, Council Chambers, 777 B St., and its focus will be on the northern stretch of the Caltrans land — an area that includes both unincorporated and incorporated Hayward and stretches from Second Street to where Interstate 580 empties onto Foothill Boulevard.

-The second meeting will happen from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday at the Bret Harte Middle School Library, 1047 E St. Its focus will be on the middle portion of the study area, from Second Street to Harder Road, including an old quarry that some residents are pushing to turn into an environmentally friendly housing development.


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-The third meeting will take place from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Feb. 13 at the UFCW Local 870 Union Hall at 28870 Mission Blvd. Its focus will be on the southern portion of the area, from Harder Road to Industrial Parkway, including parcels near the South Hayward BART station.from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Feb. 13 at the UFCW Local 870 Union Hall at 28870 Mission Blvd. Its focus will be on the southern portion of the area, from Harder Road to Industrial Parkway, including parcels near the South Hayward BART station.