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Long Beach : Court Ruling Delays Razing of Homes for School Project

February 14, 1991

A court ruling has temporarily delayed the destruction of several houses to make way for a planned expansion of Wilson High School in Long Beach. Acting on a lawsuit filed two years ago by a group of renters and property owners in a four-acre parcel between 7th and 8th streets and Bennett and Ximeno avenues, the 2nd District Appellate Court ordered the Long Beach Unified School District to conduct a partial environmental impact report before proceeding with the demolitions.

"It's just a temporary setback," district spokesman Dick Van der Laan said. "It's not going to be a serious problem."

After announcing the expansion plan in 1989, the school district proceeded to acquire most of the property on the four-acre site through eminent domain. But a group of homeowners and renters opposing the expansion filed a lawsuit to require the environmental impact report. They lost their suit in July, 1989, but appealed to the 2nd District Appellate Court.

Van der Laan said it would take the district several weeks to complete the required report, but he is confident that in the end the court's concerns regarding the impact of the proposed project would be met. "It postpones the demolition," he said, "but once that gets back on schedule the project should move ahead as planned."

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