Wednesday, January 24, 2007

SF Chronicle: Judge to rule on plan to fell grove of oaks near stadium

City, neighbors fight proposed sports center

A judge said Tuesday that she will rule by 5 p.m. Monday on whether a contested UC Berkeley development can proceed.  The judge's pronouncement came after five hours of arguments about seismic safety and the value of an oak grove next to Memorial Stadium.  As tree-sitters maintained their well-publicized protest in the grove of trees, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Barbara Miller questioned attorneys for the defendant, for UC and for the three plaintiffs -- the city of Berkeley, the Panoramic Hill neighborhood association and the California Oak Foundation -- about the project, which includes a $125 million sports training center that would uproot the oaks.  The plaintiffs claim that UC's plan violates state laws on the environment and building in seismic zones. UC denied the claim.  "It's been a very long day," UC attorney Charles Olson said as he was leaving the Hayward courtroom. "The judge was paying close attention to a very complicated issue. Hopefully, she'll have enough time to review everything and make the right decision."

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