Association Concerned By Stadium Retrofit Plan

University, Panoramic Hill Association Officials To Discuss Plan's Impact

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As UC Berkeley puts together its plan to retrofit Memorial Stadium and some observers express concern that the campus has not adequately planned the process, representatives from both sides say they hope to avoid a protracted and expensive legal battle.

Officials from the Panoramic Hill Association, which represents the neighborhood that overlooks the stadium, said they would need the campus to consider all of the impacts of the proposed construction before they would fully support the plan.

The association sued the university in 2006-along with the city of Berkeley and the California Oak Foundation-to prevent construction of a controversial athletic center next to the stadium.

After delaying construction for more than 20 months, a judge ruled in the university's favor, but the association and the foundation are appealing that decision.

Mike Kelly, the president of the association, said he wanted to avoid another expensive and time-consuming legal battle with the campus over the proposed retrofit of the stadium.

"It's at the top of the list to sit with the campus and get more information to see what is going on," he said.

Kelly said he wanted the campus to consider all of the effects of construction in an Environmental Impact Report for the project, which would allow public input on the plan but delay construction.

He said his association was concerned campus officials would not fully address public safety or seismic concerns if allowed to plan without public input.

But campus officials said that because a 2006 impact report covered the proposed retrofit, it would be redundant to do a new one unless they dramatically changed their plans.

The campus has been meeting with representatives of the association recently to listen to their concerns, said Dan Mogulof, the campus's executive director of public affairs.

"The campus is committed to finding new ways in working with the community," he said. "We can't have these kind of delays."

Berkeley City Councilmember Gordon Wozniak, whose district includes Panoramic Hill, said he had encouraged the two sides to meet.

The two groups are closer to an agreement than they may realize, he said, adding that he saw both sides making progress.

Mogulof said he thought campus officials had learned to be more direct and open with concerned community members since the controversial plan for the center was approved in 2006.

The campus will be more responsive to residents' concerns this time, he said.

Kelly, who said he planned on contacting campus officials about his concerns over the proposed retrofit tomorrow, agreed that the relationship between the two groups seems more open than before.

"The campus appears to be interested in trying to have a real dialogue," he said. "We've seen that and we hope that it continues now."

Tags: PANORAMIC HILL ASSOCIATION, DEVELOPMENT AND CAPITAL PROJECTS, MEMORIAL STADIUM


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



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