ARCADIA — A citizens group has sued the city to stop the demolition of an Italian Renaissance-style historic mansion and estate to make way for a gated community.
Three residents representing the group called Friends of Anoakia are challenging the City Council's approval last month of a plan to raze the 50-room Anoakia mansion and its 20-acre estate.
In a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court last week, the residents ask that the council's decision be voided and, if necessary, a preliminary injunction be issued until the matter goes to a hearing. The estate is slated to be leveled in March by an Orange County developer to make way for by 31 luxury homes.
"This beautiful and historic mansion must be preserved," said Forrest Besocke, a lifelong resident, who filed suit along with his brother, Winston Besocke, and Michael Mulvehill.
The suit claims council members failed to consider feasible alternatives to the project that would preserve the Anoakia estate, located at the corner of Foothill Boulevard and Baldwin Avenue.
City officials said they complied with state law and explored all viable options.
Preservationists say they understand the need to develop the estate but believe any project should incorporate the existing 17,000-square-foot home, which is eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.
Built in 1913 by Anita Baldwin, the daughter of Arcadia's founder, Elias Jackson "Lucky" Baldwin, the estate has sat empty behind its towering walls for nearly a decade.