The County of Alameda’s recent legal ruling has blocked the proposed construction of beach volleyball courts for the UC Berkeley women’s beach volleyball team.
The court found the Regents’ proposed construction to violate the covenants UC Berkeley agreed to in 1982 regarding development on the Clark Kerr Campus.
The facility would have replaced the recreational softball field and resulted in partial demolition of Building 21 on the Clark Kerr Campus. Building 21 has been left unoccupied since 1979 and is now used for storage, according to UC Berkeley’s Capital Strategies website.
First proposed in 2018, these new facilities would have addressed inadequacies in the two courts currently available at the Clark Kerr Campus.
“The proposed project would involve the construction of a … beach volleyball facility with four courts, a support building with team rooms, locker rooms, restrooms, coaches’ offices and storage, new lighting and scoreboard, a public address system, and a lawn area for spectators attending matches, to support UC Berkeley’s ongoing compliance with Title IX,” the website reads.
The women’s beach volleyball intercollegiate athletes would have been the primary users of this facility for practice and competitive games. However, other intercollegiate teams, sports camp attendees and the general public would have been able to use these courts year round.
The court’s ruling also denied the UC Regents’ requests to modify the current covenants.
“There exists a change of circumstances that warrants the Regents’ departure from the plans, provisions, goals and objectives of the Dwight-Derby Site Plan pursuant to Section 2 of the Covenants, amongst others,” the ruling reads. “The Regents seeks reformation of the Covenants, declaratory relief, and other equitable relief deemed appropriate by the Court.”
The proceedings were held from Feb. 27 to March 2, 2023 and focused on three legal actions, according to a newsletter from the Claremont Elmwood Neighborhood Association, or CENA. However, the project has faced legal jeopardy since its conception. Firstly, in 2019, the court found the proposed facility to violate the California Quality Act .
UC Berkeley then filed a cross complaint attempting to remove the covenants in order for the volleyball courts to be compliant with the new amendments. CENA filed their own cross-complaint seeking to enforce “existing covenant violations,” according to the CENA newsletter. The current ruling denied both CENA and campus’s cross complaints.
The court ruled that CENA’s complaint was past the statute of limitations. However, they also denied campus’s attempt to remove the covenants, ultimately preventing construction of the new volleyball courts.
“We have won a significant victory against UC’s attempts to remove the covenants from the CKC and against their attempt to build an intercollegiate volleyball facility,” the CENA newsletter reads. “However, the judge ruled against us on UCB’s current violations of the population limits on the CKC, finding that we had waited too long to sue UCB for those violations.”
Cal Athletics has publicly supported the court’s legal ruling and said they are unlikely to appeal the decision.
The organization also expressed their ongoing commitment to gender equity and said the search for a new site for the proposed facility is underway.
“The campus has always intended to abide by the terms of the Clark Kerr covenants until they expire in 2032, and has never intentionally engaged in, or planned for anything considered to be inconsistent with the covenants,” said assistant director of Cal Athletics Communications Daniel Moebus-Bowles. “There was a legitimate legal controversy regarding whether the new beach volleyball project would comply with the covenants.”