Memorial Stadium has been called many names — for example, a stadium with one of the most scenic views in college football and an icon of UC Berkeley — but it will never be regarded as quiet.
Especially now with the stadium’s ongoing renovation, the noise and activity emitted from the construction zone has fueled contention among neighbors. The campus’s plans and prior poor decisions only feed the flame. The most recent changes to the plans, approved Tuesday, include two previously rescinded items and creating Friday night games. Neighborhood groups are already up in arms.
We acknowledge that the campus made imprudent decisions previously which resulted in a lawsuit with neighborhood groups. We also sympathize with the stadium’s neighbors who are subjected to the clamor and dust of the construction. But because the campus followed the proper procedures for the most recent approved changes, grumbling neighbors should simmer down their complaints.
After a court ruled that the campus improperly used an addendum to add an Athletic Service Center and simulated crowd noise during football practice to construction plans, a UC committee rejected the additions. The campus then sought a Subsequent Environmental Impact Report to cover the changes. These elements were approved Tuesday, along with the implementation of at most three Friday night games over the course of four seasons. The university has also had two public hearings regarding the construction.
When the UC rescinded the two controversial items, we applauded the decision because the campus had executed inferior oversight and planning. But with the new changes, the campus adhered to procedure, and these efforts should be recognized. The complaint that Friday night games will disrupt those commuting back to Berkeley is feeble. Memorial Stadium has stood its ground for nearly 90 years — those who move to a college town, let alone close to a stadium, should realize that they are not immune from disturbances.
By all means, neighbors should air their grievances going into a major construction project. But after officials took the right course of action, to continue to bemoan the detriments of living near the stadium is unfair.