Save Our Chinatown Committee Celebrates Court Victory
March 28, 2012
News ReleaseSave Our Chinatown Committee
After nearly 3 ½ years of legal proceedings, the 4th Appellate District court has invalidated the approval of an office building project that threatened to destroy Riverside’s historic Chinatown. “We look forward to providing the City guidance during this process,” says Save Our Chinatown Committee (SOCC) Chair, M. Rosalind Sagara. “Together, we can find a way to protect the archaeological remains of Riverside’s historic Chinatown and we believe the best way of doing this is by developing a historic park at the site.”
The ruling, issued on March 21st, centered on the environmental impact report (EIR) and whether or not it complied with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), the state regulations protecting historic sites threatened with demolition.
A panel of three judges invalidated the EIR and the subsequent approval of the project having found that the City failed to consider reasonable alternatives to the proposed building plans and location. Also, it was decided that the EIR contained insufficient analysis for the City to consider accurately the environmental and cultural impacts of the proposed development. The Court of Appeal’s decision will cancel any construction permits issued based on that EIR. Any new EIR will require additional public review.
The Court of Appeal also reversed the Superior Court’s ruling that the sale of the property was improperly conducted. The Court of Appeal ruled that the Riverside County Office of Education is not technically a school district and therefore not subject to State Education Code’s rules for selling property. SOCC arguments that the RCBOE is subject to nearly identical rules in another state law were not considered by the Court of Appeal due to a timing issue. SOCC will monitor the agency’s actions regarding the historic property. ...