Final Hearing Set Friday in Memorial Stadium Lawsuit

By Richard Brenneman
Tuesday March 11, 2008

Lawyers in the battle over the UC Berkeley Memorial Stadium-area projects will have their last courtroom say on Friday. 

That’s when attorneys representing the UC Board of Regents, the City of Berkeley, the California Oak Foundation, Panoramic Hill Association and other plaintiffs will gather in Alameda County Superior Court Judge Barbara J. Miller’s Hayward courtroom.  

The final session had been set for last Friday, but was continued for a week. 

Originally scheduled to end in December, the case was prolonged after Judge Miller agreed to take additional expert evidence on a key factual issue in the case: whether or not a planned high-tech gym next to the stadium is in fact an addition to the aging landmark. 

The ongoing tree-sit next to the stadium is being conducted in trees destined for the ax if the judge says the university’s plans are legal. 

But if she rules the gym is an addition or alteration to the stadium itself, as plaintiffs contend, then the project would be governed by the Alquist Priolo Act, which restricts construction within 50 feet of active faults. 

The university acknowledges the stadium itself sits directly atop the Hayward fault, which state and federal geologists say is the most likely source of the Bay Area’s next major earthquake. 

But if Miller rules the buildings are separate, the university could probably move forward with construction of the Student Athlete High Performance Center and other structures in what the school calls the Southeast Campus Integrated Projects, which are all covered in the same environmental impact report.