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Judge rules UC Berkeley can build student housing on People’s Park

Mural at Berkeley's People's Park
Wally Gobetz
Flickr / Creative Commons
Mural at Berkeley's People's Park

Judge Frank Roesch denied the petitions by three groups including two citizen groups following three-and-a-half hours of testimony in Alameda County Superior Court in Oakland.

At least one citizen group has obtained a stay of demolition to keep the university from starting construction. Otherwise, the groups could be arguing in court while the university starts building. An appeal of Roesch's decision is likely.

Harvey Smith, president of Peoples Park Historic District Advocacy Group – one of the three groups suing the university over its plans – told Bay City News that opponents of the project would appeal the judge’s decision.

UC Berkeley wants to build 11-hundred units of student housing at People's Park and housing for disadvantaged groups including homeless people. Part of the park would remain as open space and part would honor the park's historic significance.

At least part of the significance derives from the role it played during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s and '70s.

A spokesperson for UC Berkeley said they were pleased with the judge’s decision, adding that they hoped construction could begin at the site this summer.

Sunni M. Khalid is a veteran of more than 40 years in journalism, having worked has in print, radio, television, and web journalism.