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UC Berkeley Web Feature

UC Berkeley's settlement offer on Memorial Stadium project

4 September 2007

Following is the text of a settlement offer, submitted Tuesday, Sept. 4, by UC Berkeley to the City of Berkeley, regarding the campus's planned construction of a Student-Athlete High Performance Center just west of California Memorial Stadium. The project has been challenged by lawsuits filed by the city and other plaintiffs. The settlement proposal, and a broader offer to negotiate, were rejected on a 7-1 vote (with one abstention) by the City Council Tuesday evening. (This letter from Kelly Drumm, university counsel, was sent to Harriet Steiner, an attorney for the city.)

Dear Ms. Steiner:

The University of California is committed to maintaining and enhancing its cooperative relationship with the City of Berkeley and values this opportunity to present for the review and consideration of the Mayor and members of the City Council the following proposal for settlement of the referenced litigation. The University fully expects and welcomes anticipated responsive dialogue and negotiation (preferably face to face) with regard to how a mutually acceptable agreement which advances both the City's and University's goals and objectives can be achieved.  If an agreement in principle is reached with regard to the below outlined settlement concepts, a formal enforceable settlement agreement will be drafted by counsel.

California Memorial Stadium (CMS) seismic retrofit:  The Campus is committed to the expeditious renovation and seismic retrofit of California Memorial Stadium.  As evidence of its commitment, the Campus is currently developing design plans for the retrofit and aggressively pursuing a financing plan, in consultation with the Office of the President, which will not rely exclusively on donor funding. The Campus expects to submit a financing plan for review by The Regents at the November meeting. 

Parking.  Although the Campus 2020 Long Range Development Plan and the 2005 City of Berkeley/UC Berkeley agreement authorizes the Campus to develop additional parking beyond current supply (which includes the Underhill parking facility), the University offers to limit the parking proposed as part of the SCIP projects to only those numbers that would replace parking spaces lost due to SCIP implementation.  The Campus will add no net additional parking spaces as part of the SCIP projects and further, will not develop such parking until after completion of phase II of the CMS project at the earliest.  The University is also committed to exploring opportunities for the City and Campus to jointly develop, improve, and/or share public parking facilities on the west side of Campus and in downtown Berkeley.

Replacement of Trees; Landscaping:  In addition to the University's commitment in the SCIP project EIR to preserve as many existing trees as possible and to replace specimen trees removed as part of the SCIP projects on a 3:1 basis, the Campus further commits that in replacement of existing specimen oaks, one of the three replacement trees shall be a large nursery quality oak, approximately 72" box.

Additional CMS events: As set out in the SCIP project EIR, up to 8 football games are scheduled each year at California Memorial Stadium, and after the completed seismic retrofit of the stadium the University may schedule up to 7 events that exceed 10,000 attendees. Beyond the commitments set out in the EIR for consultation with the City and to advance planning for traffic control and emergency access, the Campus is open to further discussions with the City of Berkeley on protocols and parameters in scheduling such events. At a minimum, the Campus commits to the policy on use of CMS previously articulated by Chancellors Bowker, Heyman, Tien, Berdahl, and Birgeneau. The Campus also commits to no sound amplification supplementing that provided by the permanent sound system implemented at the stadium, which precludes scheduling of rock concerts or similar commercial high-amplification events.

Emergency/Neighborhood access: The University reiterates its commitment in the EIR to provide land to the City of Berkeley to widen the access road at the southeast corner of the Stadium for improved emergency and neighborhood access at all times. As further reflected in the EIR, upon completion of phase III of the Stadium retrofit it is expected that the capacity of CMS will be reduced by approximately 10,000 seats from the Stadium's existing capacity. In addition, the City and Campus have jointly agreed to fund a study of the feasibility of developing a second access road into the Panoramic Hill neighborhood to facilitate emergency access and evacuation.  Following that study, the Campus will work with the cities of Berkeley and Oakland and the Panoramic Hill neighborhood on an implementation plan, if a second access road is deemed feasible and desirable. Further, completion of phase III of the Stadium retrofit will enable the Stadium Rimway to remain open during football games, further improving access for residents and emergency vehicles.

The University requests that this offer of proposed settlement terms be transmitted to the Mayor and members of the City Council for immediate review and consideration, and further requests a written response to this offer by close of business on September 14, 2007.  We look forward to the City's constructive response to our offer and in the meantime if you have any questions, please call.

Sincerely,
Kelly Drumm
University Counsel