The final glimmer of hope for opponents of the demolition of Parking Structure 3 has been snuffed out.
The parking structure, commonly known as PS3, has been undergoing demolition since mid-March, with destruction entering a new phase in late May featuring major demolition of the 50-year-old structure. Even while this demolition has been ongoing, a Hail Mary court case was proceeding through LA County Superior Court, launched by an organization of local business owners and spearheaded by business owner John Alle.
The case — Santa Monica Bayside Owners v. City of Santa Monica et al. — argued the demolition of PS3, located on 4th Street between Santa Monica Boulevard and Arizona Avenue, needed further study.
On Thursday, June 2, Appellate Court Justices Dennis Perluss, John Segal and Gail Ruderman Feuer granted the City of Santa Monica and California Coastal Commission’s motion to dismiss that case.
Santa Monica Bayside Owners (SMBOA)’s original case argued the project’s environmental impact report, or EIR, was not comprehensive and did not meet California Environmental Quality Act standards, since it did not address the housing project specifically, but had been done before there were plans to build housing at that location.
That filing, which also requested a stay in the demolition, was thrown out after an attorney from SMBOA’s legal counsel, the law office Ervin Cohen & Jessup LLP, missed a filing deadline.
It was then appealed, but Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff did not permit demolition to be stalled pending the appeal. Shortly thereafter, city contractors began demolition work.
As of Wednesday, June 1, major demolition had been underway for more than a week. Visually, it appeared about half of the 337-space structure had been turned to rubble.
According to court documents, in earlier filings arguing that demolition should be paused, SMBOA “unequivocally asserted” that, were demolition to be allowed, the case would be rendered moot. But, as demolition began, SMBOA’s argument shifted, the three judges wrote: “SMBOA asserts its appeal and underlying action are not moot because, if its appeal is successful, on remand the superior court may order measures that result in changes or modifications of the project. SMBOA’s current position is ‘totally inconsistent’ with its earlier position that ‘start[ing], if not complet[ing], demolition of Parking Garage #3[ ] [would] render[ ] any judgment in favor [of] Petitioner moot.’”
Perluss, Segal and Feuer, in their final decision, stated SMBOA’s new argument in its appeal, was “disingenuous,” offering “no persuasive argument.”
“Even if the appeal were successful and the matter remanded for further proceedings, in SMBOA’s own words, having been unable to prevent the demolition of Parking Garage #3, ‘judgment in Petitioner’s favor will be ineffectual,’” judges wrote. “The City’s motion to dismiss is granted.” The City and Coastal Commission were also able to recover their costs, judges wrote.