City of Berkeley Sues to Stop Stadium Expansion at University of California

Sun February 18, 2007 - West Edition
CEG



BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) The city has sued the University of California (UC), bringing to three the number of legal challenges against its expansion plans for Memorial Stadium.

All the lawsuits allege the Berkeley campus is violating seismic-safety and environmental laws in its plans to build a new 142,000-sq.-ft. (13,192 sq m) training center and a 900-sq.-ft. (83.6 sq m) parking garage next to the stadium, which straddles an earthquake fault.

The city, which filed its lawsuit Dec. 19, is seeking a temporary restraining order to block construction from starting in March. A hearing on the case was scheduled for Dec. 21 in Alameda County Superior Court.

City Councilwoman Linda Maio, who’s serving as Berkeley’s acting mayor while Mayor Tom Bates is out of the country, said the city is open to negotiating with UC. City leaders and other community groups have proposed locating the athletic complex closer to downtown or the waterfront, rather than at the stadium.

“We value the university a great deal. We are the town we are because the university is here,” Maio said. “But to intensify development on a fault is simply unsafe.”

The UC’s Board of Regents unanimously approved the training center and stadium projects in early December.

UC Berkeley Spokeswoman Marie Felde said a multi-volume environmental impact report thoroughly examined the project’s seismic, safety and ecological issues.

On. Dec. 19, a group of 12 plaintiffs filed a separate lawsuit against the university to save a grove of oak trees that would be cut down to make way for the athletic complex. Local residents who form the Panoramic Hills Neighborhood Association also filed suit to stop construction.