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Saturday, August 30, 2008

Tree supporters appeal ruling on UC stadium plan

Two days before the football season starts at UC Berkeley, a group of oak tree supporters and Memorial Stadium neighbors filed an appeal to stop the university from building an athletic training center next to the 75,000-seat bowl.

The appeal, filed Thursday with the state Court of Appeal in San Francisco, comes two days after an Alameda County trial judge lifted an order preventing the university from beginning construction on the $125 million project.

"There are some basic legal and procedural issues we'd like to see resolved by a higher court," said Michael Kelly, president of the Panoramic Hill Association, representing the stadium's neighbors. "It's not surprising we had to go to the appeals court - the university has never lost in the lower courts in Alameda County."

The plaintiffs, who filed suit in December 2006, want the project scrapped because of its proximity to the Hayward Fault and the planned removal of 38 oak trees next to the stadium.

The court is expected to decide next week whether to lift the injunction preventing the university from beginning construction. If the court decides to hear the appeal, the injunction could be extended for a year or so, attorneys for both sides have said.

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