Arguments Continue in Stadium Case

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HAYWARD-Almost two months after she was expected to issue a final ruling, a judge in the case over proposed development near Memorial Stadium heard two hours of supplementary arguments yesterday.

The case began more than a year ago when three groups-including the city of Berkeley-filed lawsuits against the University of California, citing concerns over the planning process of a proposed athletic performance center near the stadium.

In early December, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Barbara Miller requested that the parties submit supplementary evidence to help her decide if a law that governs construction near earthquake fault lines could prevent the performance center from being built.

If the center is an addition to the stadium-as the petitioners allege-which straddles the Hayward fault, then it can not be built. But the university claims the center is a separate structure and therefore 50 feet away from the fault, as the law requires.

The petitioners twice objected to the request for extra evidence. They said the case should only be based on the 40,000 pages of documents that were presented to the UC Board of Regents when they approved the plan in December 2006.

Miller ruled against both objections and heard arguments over the supplementary expert testimony yesterday.

Charles Olson, an attorney contracted by the regents, told Miller that it was necessary for her to consider the expert testimony because changes had been made to the building plans since it was approved by the regents.

He said since the plan was approved, it has become clearer that the center was a separate structure from the stadium.

"We find ourselves defending drawings that were drafted 17 months ago," he told the court. "Of course things have changed since then."

But the petitioners still maintained that it was inappropriate for Miller to consider changes to the plan after it was approved.

"The court's place here is not to sit as a super-engineer or architect," said Stephen Volker, an attorney for the California Oak Foundation, one of the petitioners.

Miller said she found the expert testimony from both sides to be relevant and useful.

"(The briefs) were very helpful, in fact, extremely helpful," she told the court at the end of the day.

Miller did not offer a timeline indicating when she expects to issue her final ruling. Although she has 90 days to issue her ruling, she said she would make an effort to issue it sometime before mid-June.

Tags: CITY OF BERKELEY, MEMORIAL STADIUM LAWSUITS, UC BERKELEY


Will Kane is the assistant city news editor. Contact him at [email protected]



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