preserve and improve People's Park as the heart and soul of a historic district
Contact: Harvey Smith
People’s Park Historic District Advocacy Group
August 20, 2021
For Immediate Release
Community Groups Sue UC Berkeley for Excessive Growth
Lawsuit Says UC Development Plans Will Add to Displacement and Homelessness, Destroy Historic Buildings and Neighborhood Character, and be a Drain on City Services, Fire and Police
Berkeley, CA—Two Berkeley neighborhood groups today filed a lawsuit against UC-Berkeley and the UC Regents alleging expansion plans at the Berkeley campus violate state environmental laws and will lead to displacement of longtime residents, destruction of historic buildings and neighborhood character, and increased expenses for City of Berkeley taxpayers.
The community organizations Make UC A Good Neighbor and People’s Park Historic District Advocacy Group filed suit today to address and mitigate excessive burdens faced by Berkeley residents from the recently approved UC-Berkeley Long Range Development Plan (LRDP), according to the lawsuit filed in Alameda County Superior Court.
“UC’s plans are a reflection of the university’s indifference to the impact its plans will have on all Berkeley residents for many years to come. UC’s corporate growth model monetizes public assets with little care given to its host community,” said Harvey Smith of People’s Park Historic District Advocacy Group.
The suit challenges the LRDP on grounds that the approval violates the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) certified by the Regents includes the overall LRDP, Housing Project #1 (Anchor House) and Project #2 (People’s Park). Each of these projects will entail destruction of historical and cultural resources, as well as having a number of destructive environmental consequences due to projected massive enrollment increases.
UC-Berkeley’s expansion beyond previous enrollment limits has already resulted in student homelessness, skyrocketing student housing rents, and substantial displacement of long-term residents, along with a significant drain on city police, fire and emergency medical services resources, the lawsuit sponsors said.
Make UC A Good Neighbor was formed to provide education and advocacy related to the impacts of UC Berkeley on the surrounding environment. People’s Park Historic District Advocacy Group was formed to establish a People’s Park Historic District to protect, preserve, and enhance public understanding of the significant architectural and cultural landmarks and historic events unique to the Southside campus area of Berkeley, through outreach, research, and educational and cultural community projects.
We call on the chancellor to join us in celebrating the significant historic and cultural landmarks woven into this unique neighborhood and invite everyone to work together with us to support the People’s Park Historic District as a creative, grassroots, community-based, user-developed initiative. Other sites are available for housing; we oppose construction on the open space of People’s Park.
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Historians, preservationists, students, neighbors and concerned citizens have come together to form the People’s Park Historic District Advocacy Group to document and preserve the open space of People’s Park and the historic resources encircling it.