Hearing for Lawsuit Against Renovation of Memorial Stadium Begins

Photo: Preliminary hearings were postponed in a lawsuit against the UC Board of Regents regarding the California Memorial Stadium renovation project.
Anne Marie Schuler/File
Preliminary hearings were postponed in a lawsuit against the UC Board of Regents regarding the California Memorial Stadium renovation project.

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Correction Appended

Preliminary hearings were scheduled to begin Tuesday for a lawsuit filed Feb. 22 by members of Stand Up for Berkeley! and the Council of Neighborhood Associations accusing the UC Board of Regents of illegally adding major changes to the current California Memorial Stadium renovation project.

Citing current standards set by the California Environmental Quality Act, the plaintiffs claim that the regents erroneously approved the use of an addendum to the building project outline in December 2009 to allow UC Berkeley to add new features to the project, including a new 15,000-square-foot servicing and ticketing facility and a 546-spot parking structure located next to Maxwell Family Field. The addendum would also raise the current press box in the stadium by three feet and lower the stadium play field by two feet.

According to CEQA guidelines, should major changes in the building project be implemented, a new Environmental Impact Report must be issued and Berkeley residents should be allowed to view and comment on the changes. The campus did not file an additional report after the changes to the project were submitted and approved by the regents.

Campus officials have stated that the additions to the building project are not major and, as a result, the addendum to the project outline was legal.

The plaintiffs also claim that the campus was unlawfully exempt from the Alquist-Priolo Earthquake Fault Zoning Act, which prohibits certain additions and modifications from being made to structures - such as the stadium - that are located on top of earthquake faults.

According to university's attorney Charles Olson, the campus set appropriate standards with informing Berkeley residents about the changes and following current CEQA guildelines.

"We anticipate (Alameda Superior Court Judge Frank Roesch) will review the briefs and evidence and issue a decision in the next several weeks," he said. "There is nothing in place to prohibit the campus from going forward with this project."

Stephan Volker, legal representative for Stand Up for Berkeley! and the Council of Neighborhood Associations, could not be reached for comment.

Correction: Wednesday, November 10, 2010
A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that preliminary hearings began Tuesday. In fact, preliminary hearings were scheduled to begin Tuesday, but were postponed at the courtroom by the judge.

The Daily Californian regrets the error.

Katie Nelson is the lead academics and administration reporter. Contact her at [email protected]



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