UC Berkeley Web Feature
Campus officials respond to city lawsuit over LRDP
BERKELEY – Berkeley city officials today (Wednesday, Feb. 23) announced they have filed a lawsuit against the University of California, challenging the Environmental Impact Report for UC Berkeley's 2020 Long Range Development Plan (LRDP). Campus officials released the following statement:
The University of California, Berkeley, believes that the 2020 Long Range Development Plan and Environmental Impact Report are strong documents that meet all requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act.
The documents reflect nearly two years of engagement with the campus community, the city of Berkeley, numerous state and local agencies, and the general public. There has been extensive public comment on the documents, and changes to the plan have been made in response to that comment. As a result, the UC Board of Regents unanimously certified the EIR and approved the 2020 LRDP in January.
In addition to hundreds of pages of analyses of transportation and traffic, air quality, noise, geology, among other issues, the documents establish baseline standards for land use, design, and protection of environmental and architectural resources.
The 2020 LRDP's approach does not preclude further environmental review of any specific project and is an approach that is encouraged under CEQA.
The university is sympathetic to the financial challenges facing the city and, as a member of this community, the campus wants to enhance the city's neighborhoods. That is why the campus offered to increase significantly its direct annual payments to the city, earmarking funds for city services and neighborhood improvements. Unfortunately city officials rejected our offer.
The university, whose educational mission is supported by taxpayer funds, is dealing with financial constraints of its own. UC Berkeley believes that our offer was a generous one.
Each year, the campus spends approximately $70 million on goods and services purchased through Berkeley-based businesses; students, faculty, staff, visitors and vendors generate millions more in sales tax revenues for the city of Berkeley; additionally, the city gains a wealth of free services from the volunteer community work provided by students and staff members and through the technical advice that faculty members offer the city. When all contributions are considered and accurately calculated, the campus's financial support far outweighs its cost to the city.