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Judge Rules State Can't Enter La Cienega Plant Case

April 12, 1987|JEFF BURBANK | Times Staff Writer

A Superior Court judge has denied a request by the state attorney general's office to enter a lawsuit brought by a preservationist group to save the La Cienega Water Treatment Plant in Beverly Hills.

Judge Jerry K. Fields Thursday refused to allow the attorney general's office to argue in favor of a preliminary injunction requested by the Friends of the Waterworks to prevent the city of Beverly Hills from demolishing the 60-year-old plant, which the group contends is historically significant.

The ruling does not prevent the state from entering the case at a later date, should the litigation continue.

The attorney general's office acted on behalf of the state Office of Historic Preservation, claiming that Beverly Hills should have consulted the office before deciding on March 3 to demolish the plant, at 333 S. La Cienega Blvd. The office, created by the state Legislature in 1984, reviews the historic significance of buildings built with public funds.

Pamela P. Cvitan, deputy state attorney general, said that the state also may claim that Beverly Hills failed to order an environmental impact report. Under state law, a report is required if a building is of historic significance, Cvitan said.

Friends of the Waterworks claims that the building, the oldest civic structure in Beverly Hills, is historically significant and that state law requires the city to conduct an environmental impact report. On March 13, the group obtained a temporary restraining order blocking the demolition.

The preservationist group urged the city to save the Spanish-style plant for use as a cultural or recreational center.

The city has argued that the plant, damaged in the 1971 earthquake and not used since, is a hazard to public safety, and has rejected proposals to rebuild the plant.

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