Oakland Tribune article re SCIP 2006/11/01

FYI, this piece appears in today’s Oakland Tribune.

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UC BERKELEY RELEASES REPORT ON IMPACT OF STADIUM PLAN

Environmental Study Says Project Would Mitigate Risks From Fault Line

Michelle Maitre and Kristin Bender, Oakland Tribune, 11/1/2006

University of California, Berkeley on Tuesday released the final
environmental impact report on renovation plans for the campus’
southeastern quadrant, including improvements and seismic retrofits at
Memorial Stadium.

The document, which can be viewed on the Internet and at some area
libraries, lays out impacts and mitigation measures of the long-term
project.

The multiyear project, to be tackled in stages, also includes construction
of a
high performance athletic center along the stadium’s western wall, a new
academic building serving the law and business schools, a new parking
structure
at the current site of Maxwell Family Field and improvements along
Piedmont Avenue and Gayley Road.

The EIR says some aspects of the plan will cause significant environmental
impacts that cannot be mitigated, including increased noise from stadium
events, changes to the area’s historical character, and changes to
“limited scenic vistas” in the Panoramic Hill neighborhood.

The document also says the student athletic center does not face excessive
risk
of damage from being constructed near the Hayward Fault. The fault line
bisects
the 80-year-old stadium. Seismic retrofits at the stadium will upgrade the
facility’s seismic rating from “poor” to “good,” the EIR said.

Berkeley city officials have threatened to sue the university over the plans.

The city has the right to sue under the state’s Alquist-Priolo Act and
other laws, which forbid construction of public buildings near earthquake
fault lines.

The city has 30 days to file a lawsuit after the UC Board of Regents votes
on the plan. Regents will discuss and vote on the plan Nov. 14 at UCLA.

City leaders have raised concerns over the student athletic center, the
safety of MemorialStadium and the parking lot, which will include spaces
for 911 cars.

After reviewing the draft EIR, Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates called the
proposed garage a “traffic disaster.”

“It’s bumper-to-bumper now, you can hardly move on the east part of the
campus … it’s going to be even worse when the development is stuck in
there,” Bates said. He had not reviewed the final impact report Tuesday.

Copies of the EIR are available at the Central and Claremont branches of
the Berkeley Public Library, the Rockridge branch of the Oakland Public
Library, and the UC Berkeley Environmental Design Library in Wurster Hall.
Visit http://www.cp.berkeley.edu/SCIP/EIR.html for more information.

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