Raymond Theatre Hearings Continue

posted by Ross Melnick on June 2, 2005 at 1:21 pm

PASADENA, CA — The following was sent in by the Friends of the Raymond Theatre:

“Developers AJB Enterprises file for Conceptual Design Review to convert Pasadena’s landmark Raymond Theatre into a mixed-use housing development. Friends of the Raymond Theatre work to continue their 17-year effort to defend the embattled theatre.

AJB Enterprises have filed an application with the City of Pasadena for major modifications to their project which proposes to convert Pasadena’s landmark Raymond Theatre and its adjacent parking lot into a commercial/residential mixed-use development.

In 1999 AJB Enterprises unveiled their first proposal to convert the Raymond Theatre into a mixed-use housing development. All city decision-making bodies denied the project on the basis that it breached CEQA law, that the plans were based on a flawed feasibility study and that the project that did not adhere to city guidelines. The City Council ignored the recommendations of all city decision making bodies and approved the project in 2002.

Friends of the Raymond Theatre, a Pasadena-based nonprofit organization, filed a CEQA lawsuit against the City of Pasadena in 2002. A second lawsuit was filed by the Forecast Foundation regarding for alleged violations of zoning code and breech of the historic preservation easement held by Pasadena Heritage. Both lawsuits are currently awaiting a decision from the appellate courts.

In June 2004 AJB Enterprises announced that they where not going to wait for the outcome of the two lawsuits pending against their project and would start development.

Plans were presented before the Design Commission on June 16, 2004. The Design Commission found the project inconsistent with the original approvals given by City Council. The project was again found to breach CEQA law. Also, the increases in height, square footage, number of units, amount of commercial space and other new modifications were found inconsistent with prior city approvals. The new modified project also allowed for more interior destruction of the Raymond Theatre.

The project was again appealed to the City Council, who overtook the authority of the Design Commission and granted approval of Conceptual Design Review. A second joint lawsuit was filed by Friends of the Raymond Theatre and the Forecast Foundation, again based on breech of CEQA law and a modified project that was inconsistent with prior approvals.

In early 2005, variances for the project were about to run out. No building permits were to be issued until the project completed final design review. The City breached their own mitigation measures and allowed construction and restoration of the exterior facade of the Raymond Theatre to begin. The public was not given the opportunity to review changes to the facade.

AJB Enterprises is currently requesting to go back to Conceptual Design Review with major modifications to the project. The project has a new architect, the third architect since the project’s inception. This will be the fourth attempt by AJB Enterprises to come up with a design that will satisfy the Design Commission.

Friends of the Raymond Theatre, the Forecast Foundation, people from the Pasadena community and preservationists from all over Los Angeles will gather to defend the rights of the Raymond Theatre from violations of due process.

The Design Commission will review this application at a public hearing on:

DATE: Monday, June 6, 2005
TIME: 7:00 P.M.
PLACE: Pasadena Conference Center Building
(next to Civic Auditorium)
300 East Green Street, Room 211, Pasadena, CA.

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

Friends of the Raymond Theatre:
Phone: (818) 541-9522
Fax: (818) 541-9523
E-mail:
Website: www.raymondtheatre.com
Photos: http://homepage.mac.com/henrycjensen/PhotoAlbum1.html"

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