The ongoing legal battle surrounding revisions to the building plans for the renovation and retrofit of California Memorial Stadium continued at the May UC Board of Regents meeting this week, with a board committee and the board itself unanimously voting to partially rescind their previously accepted stadium project approval.
On Nov. 29, 2010, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Frank Roesch issued an order that determined UC Berkeley had improperly used an addendum to detail changes to the stadium renovation project, which included a 15,000-square-foot servicing and ticketing facility and a 546-spot parking structure located next to Maxwell Family Field.
Roesch ruled that the addendum — approved in January 2010 by the board — did not adequately analyze the environmental impacts of the proposed changes to the project and that the campus should not have updated the original environmental impact report through an addendum because it did not follow California Environmental Quality Act guidelines.
According to those guidelines, major changes in the building projects require a new Environmental Impact Report to be issued, and local residents should be allowed to view and comment on the changes. Though the campus did make the addendum available for public review, the court ruled the new analysis should have been presented as a subsequent EIR.
While the campus eventually released a subsequent EIR for the project in January and held a public hearing in February, the court requested March 25 that the campus provide further documentation of the changes made to the addendum because local groups, including Stand Up for Berkeley!, challenged the legality of the addendum used to make changes to the project.
Though both parties approved the partial rescission of the board’s original approval at the meeting on Wednesday, no further decisions will be made until the regents reconvene in July.
“Construction continues apace and we are confident that as a result of this process, the Court’s concerns will be fully addressed without stopping or delaying the construction activities that will fulfill our commitment to improve the seismic safety of the Stadium,” said campus spokesperson Dan Mogulof in an email.
According to UC spokesperson Steve Montiel, both the Committee on Grounds and Buildings and the board unanimously approved to rescind some components of the January 2010 design approval. This includes the use of simulated crowd noise for temporarily relocated football practices at Witter Field and the construction and the use and occupancy of the Athletic Service Center — which will house gameday ticketing, loading, solid waste, service, recycling and minimal storage needs for the Student Athlete High Performance Center and the stadium project — and to set aside and vacate portions of the addendum until they can re-examine the issues in July.
At that time, Mogulof said in an email that according to the regents’ agenda item on the project, the subsequent EIR could be considered by the committee for certification along with a request for reapproval of the portions of the rescinded design approval and adoption — or re-adoption — of the CEQA findings.
Katie Nelson is an assistant news editor.