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Parking Structure Case Gets Brief Reprieve

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February 5, 2022 -- LA County Superior Court Judge Mitchell L Beckloff on Friday issued a short stay of of his order to dismiss a lawsuit seeking to halt the demolition of Parking Structure 3.

Beckloff's decision gives the Santa Monica Bayside Owners Association (SMBOA) until next Thursday to seek a further stay from the Court of Appeal before the City begins its scheduled demolition of the Downtown structure the following Monday.

On Friday, the plaintiff's attorney, Elia Thompson, filed a notice with the Court indicating SMBOA plans to appeal Beckloff's decision to dismiss the case on a technicality.

Thompson said she plans to ask the Court early next week to grant an emergency stay that would set the stage for the appeal.

John Alle, who heads the Association, greeted Friday's developments as a hopeful sign the case could continue.

"There is no final outcome on this lawsuit and the fate of Parking Garage 3 has not yet been decided," Alle said in an email Friday.

In a final ruling this week, Beckloff granted the City's motion to dismiss the case based on a technicality ("Judge Issues Tentative Ruling Tossing Parking Structure Lawsuit," January 28, 2022).

The ruling paved the way for the City to begin tearing down the 55-year-old-structure on Valentine's day.

City officials noted that on Friday, Beckloff denied SMBOA’s request "for a longer stay that would extend for (the) entire appeal period."

The request was denied "so that the City’s planned demolition schedule can remain in place," said Constance Farrell, the City's Public Information Officer.

Demolition is still set to begin February 14, Farrell said.

"The order outlines that the City can still close the parking structure and cease operations," she wrote in an email. "Demolition will commence once the stay is lifted, which we are hopeful will happen."

The City did not file a notice of demolition with the Air Quality Management District (AQMD) until today and cannot start demolition until February 18, agency officials said in response to a records request by community activist Sherry Martini.

The City's website shows the Building and Safety Department granted a demolition permit for Parking Structure 3 yesterday.

The planned demolition would clear the way for an affordable housing project targeting the homeless.

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