League for Protection v. City of Oakland (1997) 52 Cal.App.4th 896

The First District Court of Appeal reversed imminent demolition of the 1923 Montgomery Ward Building. The building was not listed on any historic register but there was a fair argument that it was an "historical resource." (at 829.) The Court explained that "... if historical resources were limited to properties actually listed, owner resistance to inclusion or mere government inaction might forestall preparation of an EIR for a worthy structure, a result certainly not sanctioned by CEQA." (at 907.)

The Court also found a fair argument that demolition would have a significant environmental impact despite mitigation measures. "The approved mitigation measures essentially include documentation of the structure in a report and survey, display of a commemorative plaque, and a new shopping center with design features which reflect architectural elements of the demolished building. Documentation of the historical features of the building and exhibition of a plaque do not reasonably begin to alleviate the impacts of its destruction. A large historical structure, once demolished, normally cannot be adequately replaced by reports and commemorative markers." (at 909.)

The Court required preparation of an EIR prior to consideration of demolition.

Montgomery Ward Building, Oakland

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