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Livermore Moves Closer to Annexing National Lab Properties

Expanded city limits linked to economic development efforts.

Livermore Moves Closer to Annexing National Lab Properties

A plan to bring the campuses of and national laboratories inside the city limits of Livermore moved closer to reality Tuesday with a unanimous vote of the city’s planning commission to recommend the proposal to the City Council.

The annexation plan would expand Livermore’s southeastern boundaries to cover 15 land parcels covering 1,057 acres east of Vasco Road, south of Patterson Pass Road and west of Greenville Road.

The property includes the 627-acre campus of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the 390-acre site of Sandia California National Laboratory. The land is now in an unincorporated area of Alameda County. The labs' campuses are owned by the federal government.

Two privately-owned parcels covering five acres composed of a private residence and vacant lot, and Greenville Road right-of-way between Patterson Pass Road and about 400 feet south of East Avenue to the South Bay Aqueduct also would be included in the city limits.

The proposal drew few comments and no opposition before Tuesday night’s vote, though several members expressed support for arguments favoring annexation in a 15-page analysis by the city’s planning staff.

It said annexation could aid economic development through the , a long-term collaboration between lab scientists, and private businesses. The report estimated that i-GATE could create more than 5,000 jobs and add more than $1 billion to the local economy in less than 10 years.

The Livermore Valley was identified by California state government in February 2010 as one of six inaugural hubs to warrant i-GATE iHub designation.

Though more than 30 East Bay agencies and organization are involved, the participation of LLNL and Sandia was considered pivotal for the initiative. 

LLNL and Sandia California fulfill broadly based research and development roles for the Departments of Energy and Defense, and intelligence communities. Their scientists design nuclear weapons for the Department of Defense and assure the integrity of the nation’s nuclear arsenal. Their missions recently have shifted in step with the expanded mission of the DOE into alternative-energy development  and strategies to fight global warming.

The Livermore annexation effort was first proposed in mid-2009, about the same time city officials began lobbying the state for iHUB designation, according to Rob White, Livermore’s economic development director and iHUB coordinator.

If adopted, the annexation plan would set aside about 200 acres of LLNL property at the intersection of Greenville Road and East Ave for a Livermore Open Campus,  as a site devoted to public-private research collaborations, White said in an interview after the vote.

“Annexation is consistent with the laboratories’ goals, the city’s goals and the Innovation Hub’s goals,” he said.

The annexation plan will assure appropriate transportation access to the open campus along Greenville Avenue and that research facilities built on campus meet the needs of its lab, academic, and commercial collaborators.

“We want to make sure that everyone is on the same page,” White said. “(Annexation will) allow us to coordinate this in a way that Alameda County was unable to coordinate.”

The  will hear public comments about the annexation proposal at its March 14 meeting. An expanded staff report will be available for review at City Hall on March 10 after 3:30 p.m.

If adopted, the plan will be forwarded to Alameda County’s Local Agency Formation Commission for final action.

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