California Supreme Court allows housing project to proceed

 June 10, 2024

The Supreme Court of California is allowing a housing project to proceed. 

In other words, the justices, according to San Francisco Gate, have dismissed the legal challenge that attempted to put an end to the project.

This is the same housing project that U.C. Berkeley is putting on the historic People's Park located in Berkley, California. This park was widely used for political activism during the 1960s.

Now, however, U.C. Berkley is looking to erect student housing there, as well as some housing for homeless people.


This case has been ongoing since 2021.

The Times of San Diego reports:

The saga began in 2021, when UC Berkeley, as part of a broader development plan, proposed a new student housing complex at the site of the historic park, along with a supportive housing project for homeless Berkeley residents. Local historic preservation activists, under the dual banners of the People’s Park Historic District Advocacy Group and Make UC a Good Neighbor, sued.

According to the outlet, the groups made a somewhat unusual argument in their lawsuit, namely, that the housing project ought not to be allowed to go forward because the noise that would likely come from the student housing would be a pollutant to the neighborhood.

The Times of San Diego explains:

California’s Environmental Quality Act requires public agencies to study the environmental consequences of any project they embark upon and to report those findings to the public in a comprehensive study. UC Berkeley, the suit argued, had failed to assess the effect of student noise in that study.

In 2023, an appellate court ruled in favor of the challengers. But, then, California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) and the state's legislature came up with a law that states, "noise generated by project occupants and their guests” does not have “a significant effect on the environment for residential projects” under the California Environmental Quality Act.


Now, the Supreme Court of California has reversed the appellate court ruling.

Chief Justice Patricia Guerrero wrote in her opinion, "This lawsuit poses no obstacle to the development of the People’s Park housing project."

So, the project will now proceed.

The challengers are, obviously, not happy, but U.C. Berkeley is.

It has released a statement, saying:

We are pleased and relieved that the Supreme Court’s decision enables the campus to resume construction at People’s Park. The housing components of the project are desperately needed by our students and unhoused people, and the entire community will benefit from the fact that more than 60% of the 2.8-acre site will be revitalized as open park space.

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