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Angeles County | Community News File / Wilmington

Judge Rules That Land Can't Be Used for Housing

January 15, 1998

A Los Angeles Superior Court judge has tentatively ruled that a 1.8-acre parcel of land in the East Wilmington Greenbelt area, donated to the city for a park, cannot be used as a Habitat for Humanity housing project.

Judge Robert H. O'Brien ruled Monday that property donated in 1976 by Southern Pacific railroad and accepted by the city for "public recreation and beautification purposes" cannot be turned over to Habitat for a 26-unit complex to house low- and moderate-income families.

But court battle may not be over.

Senior Assistant City Atty. Julie Downey said she is reviewing the tentative decision and exploring legal arguments that could be used in an appeal.

The land is part of an eight-acre strip that Southern Pacific gave to Los Angeles in 1976. Half the strip was turned into a greenbelt. The other half was left undeveloped.

In 1992, Habitat officials saw the vacant space and thought it would be ideal for 13 duplexes. The city gave the land to Habitat and paid Southern Pacific $300,000 to remove the stipulation that the undeveloped portion be for recreation.

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