SACRAMENTO, California — The city of Sacramento is seeking approval from the Superior Court to become a party in two lawsuits against UC Davis' Aggie Square project, leading the group behind the litigation to respond.
Sacramento Investment Without Displacement (SIWD), a community activist group, sued the UC Board of Regents over its Aggie Square project in the Oak Park and Tahoe Park area in late December. The group said in their lawsuit that the development will cause many Sacramento residents to be displaced, and will contribute to increased pollution and gentrification. The other lawsuit was filed by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3299.
"I am in disbelief that City Council would vote to voluntarily join a lawsuit against an institution that has not addressed the Displacement their project will bring to residents of color," said Gabby Trejo of SIWD in a press release.
In a previous release from the city, Mayor Darrell Steinberg and Councilmembers Jay Schenirer and Eric Guerra were critical of the lawsuits, saying it threatened to delay "the biggest economic investment Sacramento has received in decades." If approved by the Superior Court, the city would potentially fight the lawsuit on the side of the UC Regents.
“We’re seeking to intervene because this is the single largest economic development opportunity in a generation in our city, and we must fight to prevent it from getting bogged down in unproductive litigation that doesn’t help anyone,” Mayor Steinberg said.
The project is scheduled to break ground in 2021. City officials said the project could bring up to 10,000 jobs between the construction and economic growth resulting from the UC Davis expansion.
"We can have it all," Steinberg said. "We can have job creation and new industries at the same time keep the neighborhoods affordable."
The lawsuit is reportedly meant to address some of the provisions that SIWD says the Aggie Square Environmental Impact Report did not adequately address.
"SIWD demands that UC Davis assure the community that the project will prioritize the health of the local residents by adhering to legal environmental requirements, ensure affordable housing options for residents, and equitably redistribute the economic gains from the development to the numerous low-income families that reside in the area," the group said in a press release.