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Third Lawsuit Filed in Fight to Save Historic Raymond Theatre

by Raymond Reporter Sunday, Aug. 22, 2004 at 1:07 PM

Friends of the Raymond Theatre and the Forecast Foundation file new lawsuit against City of Pasadena over proposed project to redevelop Pasadena's Historic Raymond Theatre.

Third Lawsuit Filed ...
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Pasadena, CA  -- On August 3, 2004, Friends of the Raymond Theatre and Forecast Foundation filed a new joint lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court against the City of Pasadena and developers Buchanan/ Perkins/Symonds Limited Partnership. The new action marks the third lawsuit pertaining to the proposed mixed-use condominium project slated to redevelop Pasadena's Historic Raymond Theatre. The lawsuit alleges that the newly modified project currently being proposed is inconsistent with the project that was given approval by the City of Pasadena in 2002.

The Buchanan/Perkins/Symonds Limited Partnership applied for permits in 2000 to gut Pasadena's historic Raymond Theatre and convert it to a mixed-use housing project. All City decision-making bodies denied approval of the project until the City Council granted approval in 2002.  Immediately following that decision, Friends of the Raymond Theatre and Forecast Foundation filed separate lawsuits against the City of Pasadena. These lawsuits are now awaiting hearing by the appellate courts. 

The project resurfaced in February 2004 when the Buchanan/Perkins/Symonds Limited Partnership chose to gain permits to start construction before the appellate court decision was rendered. The project went before the Pasadena Design Commission twice: on March 15, and again on April 12, 2004.

The City of Pasadena Design Commission found the project to be radically modified from the original project City Council approved in 2002. The Design Commission requested the developers make changes so the project would remain consistent with original approvals.

Instead, the developers immediately appealed to City Council, where Design Review was approved and the project found consistent. 

In response, on August 3, 2004, Friends of the Raymond Theatre and the Forecast Foundation filed a third joint lawsuit against the City of Pasadena for violating the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), and for approving a modified project that is inconsistent with the Citywide Design Principles in the General Plan, the Design Guidelines for the Central District Specific Plan for the purposes of Design Review in the Municipal Code, and the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation and Guidelines for Rehabilitating Historic Buildings.

Friends of the Raymond Theatre and the Forecast Foundation also cite that the new, modified project is inconsistent with the guidelines originally set by the City Council for height, square footage, and parking. The modified project also breaches City Council's own guidelines set for this project under the Conditions of Approvals and Mitigation Monitoring Measures. 

The lawsuit also alleges that the Raymond Theatre project is moving forth without proper subdivision of the property, which is required by law.  The subdivision also directly contradicts the historic preservation easement held in the public trust by Pasadena Heritage which clearly states, "The property will not be subdivided." 

Acting on the public's behalf, Friends of the Raymond Theatre and Forecast Foundation have filed this new lawsuit in a continuing effort to ensure that due process is followed and that the historic preservation easement is enforced. 

Project History & Timeline:

The Raymond Theatre, also known as The Crown Theatre and Perkins Palace, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The 83-year old venue has presented entertainment ranging from vaudeville shows to movies, and in recent years has been one of LA's top concert venues.

Artists such as Phil Collins, Bruce Springsteen, Fleetwood Mac, Willie Nelson, Tina Turner and many others have performed at the theater.

A share of the Raymond Theatre property was sold by Marc Perkins in 1987 to Pasadena developers Gene and Marilyn Buchanan, with Symonds joining the Limited Partnership in 2004.

A 17-year battle by Friends of the Raymond Theatre has ensued, with Forecast Foundation joining the efforts over the past four years.  Friends of the Raymond Theatre has over 7,000 members worldwide and has stopped two prior attempts to redevelop this landmark venue in 1987 and 1994. From 1999 to present, Friends of the Raymond Theatre and Forecast Foundation continue individual and collective efforts pertaining to current development issues, protection and revitalization of the Raymond Theatre.
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Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 4 posted about this article.
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Save "Perkin's Palace" altadena resident Wednesday, Aug. 25, 2004 at 4:29 AM
Friends of the Raymond Theatre Receives 2004 President's Award from California Preservatio Gina Zamparelli Thursday, Dec. 23, 2004 at 9:06 PM
Friends of the Raymond Theatre Receives 2004 President's Award from California Preservatio Gina Zamparelli Thursday, Dec. 23, 2004 at 9:06 PM
YES, PLEASE LET'S SAVE THE RAYMOND THEATRE (PERKINS PALACE) Karen Willcott Saturday, Mar. 05, 2005 at 9:35 PM

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