The East Bay Regional Park District has closed Vargas Plateau Regional Park in Fremont after an Alameda County Superior Court judge ruled in favor of two neighbors concerned about the Park District’s improvements to the road leading to the park.
The closure is effective immediately and will remain in place until the matter is resolved. The Park District plans to appeal the decision requiring closure of the park.
“It’s extremely unfortunate we’ve had to close this new park due to a dispute with neighbors,” said Park District General Manager Robert Doyle. “We will resolve this issue and re-open this publically-owned park as soon as possible.”
The ruling stems from a lawsuit filed in 2008 by two neighbors concerned about traffic and parking on Vargas Road and Morrison Canyon roads, the two roads leading to the park. As part of the settlement, the Park District widened portions of Vargas Road, removed roadside vegetation to improve sightlines, installed “No Parking” signs, limited parking to 25 spaces and encouraged visitors to reach the park via Vargas Road from the east, instead of Morrison Canyon Road from Fremont.
Two neighbors filed a new suit in May claiming the Park District’s improvements were not sufficient and asked the Court to close the park until the case could be heard. Alameda County Superior Court Judge Frank Roesch ruled in favor of the plaintiffs.
The Park District purchased the 1,249-acre property in the mid-1990s and opened the park in May. Renowned for its sweeping views and level loop trail, Vargas Plateau includes an important link of the Bay Area Ridge Trail and great opportunities for bird-watching, picnicking, hiking and bicycling. Since the park opened, the Park District has received no reports of traffic accidents or other problems stemming from road access.
Although the Park District disagrees with the court’s ruling, it is closing the park and complying with the court’s order. The public is advised that the park is closed until further notice and will be patrolled to enforce the court’s order.
The East Bay Regional Park District is a system of beautiful public parks and trails in Alameda and Contra Costa counties east of San Francisco Bay, established in 1934. The system comprises 120,000 acres in 65 parks including over 1,250 miles of trails for hiking, biking, horseback riding and nature learning.