A new court ruling indicates the city and Target can turn this sad, blighty corner into a functioning TargetA court ruling issued 8/24 sided with the city against neighborhood groups that sought to stop the project, and paves the way for the retail development to start construction again.
Judges for the Second Appellate District Court of Appeals today reversed an earlier ruling from the Los Angeles County Superior Court, which found that the city did not fully study the effects of new zoning rules created to make the 74-foot-tall Target allowable on a site where the height limit had previously been 35 feet.
In a hearing for the case on Tuesday, attorney Robert Silverstein argued something along those lines on behalf of the La Mirada Neighborhood Association. Silverstein said the city’s new rules created “an opportunity” for more tall developments like the Target to be built in the neighborhood, and that the city was “actively pursuing” those types of projects. If that were true, the new zoning rules should have been subject to their own, additional environmental review, Silverstein said.
But in his written judgment on the case, Court of Appeals Judge Brian Hoffstadt found that the city complied with laws and regulations when it examined the effects the taller Target store would have on the neighborhood.
Hoffstadt noted there was “substantial evidence” supporting the city’s claim that the change to the zoning code that permitted the store to be taller than normally allowed “would not have any reasonably foreseeable environmental consequences” for the neighborhood beyond the Target itself.
The saga of the Target goes back to 2012, when the La Mirada Neighborhood Association (again, represented by Silverstein) sued the city for building a 74-foot-tall Target on a site where heights were supposed to be capped at 35 feet tall. A judge agreed, causing construction to stop on the development, and creating the husk visible at the property today.
Then in 2016, the City Council decide to alter height limits for projects in a segment of the neighborhood that included the Target project site, a move that, in theory, made the building’s height permissible.
But then the La Mirada group disagreed and sued again—successfully. The ruling of the judge who found in favor of the association was reversed today.
Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell, whose district includes the Target site, said in a statement today that the ruling was a win for everyone, including local residents who would “soon have visual relief from the blight” of the incomplete project.
“With this path forward, we can complete the project and bring this long, unfortunate saga to a close,” O’ Farrell said.
Robert Silverstein and the city attorney’s offices have not been returned messages seeking comment.
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