The City Council has authorized up to $75,000 to prepare a lawsuit against UC Berkeley.
The action taken in closed session Monday comes after the latest round of town-gown negotiations last week ended in stalemate.
“A lawsuit is all but certain,” said Cisco De Vries, chief of staff to Mayor Tom Bates.
The suit would challenge the adequacy of the university’s Environmental Impact Report for its recently approved Long Range Development Plan.
City officials argue the plan, which guides UC Berkeley development through 2020, neglects to specify precisely where the university intends to build and fails to account for the impact of the construction, especially of up to 2,300 new parking spaces.
In negotiations, the city has tried to use the specter of a lawsuit to settle its demand that the university increase payments for city services it provides such as the fire department and sewer system.
The city has retained Michelle Kenyon, of the Oakland firm McDonough Holland & Allen to prepare the lawsuit.
Berkeley has until Feb. 18 to file suit against the university. A legal battle is estimated to cost the city $250,000.