Two Superior Court judges have ruled against a Westwood resident's group that is trying to delay construction of two Wilshire Boulevard buildings until environmental impact reports have been filed.
Judge Warren Deering last week denied a request by Friends of Westwood for a court order to halt construction at a partially completed 16-story office building at 10866 Wilshire Blvd.
Judge John Cole on Monday denied a similar request that would have affected a proposed 26-story office building and shopping complex across the street at 10877 Wilshire Blvd., on the site of the old Ship's restaurant.
In both cases, lawsuits filed by Friends of Westwood contend that the city should not have issued building permits until environmental impact reports had been filed.
The suits claim that the buildings will add to Westwood's already overburdened sewer and street systems and that they do not comply with local zoning requirements.
They also contend that the proposed 26-story building also straddles two different zoning plans, the area's general plan and the Westwood Village specific plan.
In a written ruling, Judge Deering said that it did not seem probable that the Friends could win when the suit comes to trial or that the project violates zoning or the city's general plan.
The group also had not shown that granting a building permit was a discretionary act that required an environmental impact assessment, Deering said.
Judge Cole's order simply denied, without comment, the request for a temporary halt on construction.
Attorney Barry Fisher, who represented Friends of Westwood in Monday's hearing, said that Cole's decision will be appealed.
The principal issue in the lawsuit, Fisher said, is the contention that under the California Environmental Quality Act the city has discretion to conduct an environmental assessment before issuing a building permit.
Fisher said, "Los Angeles is one of the few cities in California that will never apply (terms of the environmental quality act to the issuance of building permits for projects that will have a major impact on the environment), no matter how large the project is."
Deputy City Atty. Roger Holt, who represented the city of Los Angeles in both cases, successfully argued at both hearings that the buildings meet zoning requirements, that the issuance of building permits is ministerial and that the city has no such discretion to order environmental studies.
Brad Burton of Held Properties said his company plans to continue construction on the 16-story building at 10866 Wilshire Blvd. Kambiz Heknat of Wilshire Glendon Associates said his company will commence construction immediately on the Ship's site.