Parking Garage 3 to Stay, for Now
City of Santa Monica is ordered to stay demolition after business owners' lawsuit dismissed
February 10, 2022
By Alyssa Erdley
2/4/22 - Demolition has once again been stayed for Parking Garage #3 in downtown Santa Monica. Following the dismissal on a technicality of a lawsuit brought by the Santa Monica Bayside Owners Association against the demolition, the City of Santa Monica hastily scheduled demolition of the structure for February 14, ten days from now. The city reportedly did not give proper notification to the Air Quality Management Board of the demolition, nor did they have a separate Environmental Impact Report for the demolition, as required. Nevertheless, city officials issued a press release that a fence would go around the site on February 10 and demolition, a six-month process, would commence on February 14.
But this morning, the SMBOA obtained a new stay of demolition in court. SMBOA counsel is filing an appeal asking for a Writ of Supersedeas on the original, dismissed lawsuit.
The original stay of demolition was approved in December, when Superior Court Judge Michael Beckloff granted an injunction against demolition, on grounds that CEQA had not been complied with by the City. However, the City pointed out that according to the California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA, under which the lawsuit had been filed, the petitioner has 90 days after the initial filing to request a hearing. Lawyers for the petitioners, a group of business and property owners in Santa Monica, filed their lawsuit 22 days beyond the deadline.
The city wants to replace the garage, which has been deliberately kept in a state of disrepair, into an affordable housing project, contending this will help solve the "regional affordable housing crisis." The site is one block from the Third Street Promenade and four blocks from the beach. Market-rate rent for a one-bedroom apartment in this area would be upwards of $3,000. On January 11, 2022, the City Council approved an exclusive negotiating agreement with EAH Inc. to develop the project.
City Councilman Phil Brock's comment on the stay of demolition was disappointment. "The parking spaces won't matter a year from now but traffic circulation, a real dedication to cleaning up downtown by the city, and have the remaining parking garages be clean and safe is absolutely necessary."