The legal tussle continues between the City Council and The Santa Monica Bayside Owners Association.
By Dolores Quintana
The demolition of Parking Structure Three in Santa Monica has been delayed once again because LA County Superior Court Judge Mitchell L Beckloff has issued a stay on his previous order to dismiss the lawsuit filed by the Santa Monica Bayside Owners Association as reported by The Santa Monica Outlook. Demolishing the structure would clear the way for construction of an affordable housing project for the unhoused.
Judge Beckloff dismissed the lawsuit on a technicality in a ruling that would allow the City of Santa Monica to proceed with demolition of the parking structure on Valentine’s Day. However, on Friday, SMBOA attorney Elia Thompson, served notice to the court that she would appeal Beckloff’s decision and apply for an emergency stay with the Court of Appeals. Judge Beckloff granted the plaintiffs a brief stay, until Thursday, Feb. 10, to file and acquire a stay from the Court of Appeals.
John Alle, head of the SMBOA, said in an emailed statement to The Santa Monica Lookout that “There is no final outcome on this lawsuit and the fate of Parking Garage 3 has not yet been decided.”
While the short stay was granted, Judge Beckloff denied SMBOA’s request for a longer stay that would cover the entire process period of an appeal. Santa Monica Public Information Officer Constance Farrell said in an email that the longer stay wasn’t granted, “so that the City’s planned demolition schedule can remain in place.” She added that “The order outlines that the City can still close the parking structure and cease operation. Demolition will commence once the stay is lifted, which we are hopeful will happen.” as quoted by The Santa Monica Lookout.
The City of Santa Monica was granted a permit from the Building and Safety Department for the demolition, but had not filed for a permit with the Air Quality Management District (AQMD) until Feb. 5. The City cannot begin demolition until Feb. 18, according to the AQMD, who responded to a request for records from Sherry Martini, a community activist as reported by The Santa Monica Lookout.