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Red flags raised about courthouse construction

Report says work on the building could affect neighbors' air quality

September 15, 2011|By Veronica Rocha, veronica.rocha@latimes.com
  • The Glendale County Building will be making way for a courthouse. (Roger Wilson/Staff Photographer)
The Glendale County Building will be making way for a courthouse.…

Construction of a new Glendale courthouse could harm air quality and affect historical elements of the building, according to a state draft report.

Dust and other emissions during construction of the 110,000-square-foot courthouse on 600 E. Broadway could affect nearby residents and businesses, court officials said.

Representatives for the state Administrative Office of the Courts plan to maintain key historical elements in the courthouse, but construction could have an impact on “some of the character-defining features of the building,” said Laura Sainz, the agency's environmental program manager, at a public meeting on the draft report Wednesday.

“That is the first thing that we are going to try do as we continue to discuss with the community and the city, and it’s really our intent,” she said.

The two environmental issues were identified in the agency’s draft environmental report released in late August and will be circulated for 45 days. State officials solicited comments from the public during a June meeting at City Hall.

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If the agency can’t retain the courthouse’s character-defining element, it will create an interpretive piece about building’s historical significance. Much of the building is slated to be demolished.

At the meeting Wednesday, Adrian Scott Fine, director of advocacy for the Los Angeles Conservancy, suggested that state officials reuse much of existing facility and build out from it to construct the new courthouse.

Medical offices and homes near the court site also face short-term impacts, Sainz said, including exposure to dust and emissions during construction.

Crews will take necessary steps, including street sweeping and watering, to lessen any dust and emission impacts on the community, Sainz added.

State officials said they continue negotiations with the owners of the Board of Realtors site, 124 S. Isabel St., which they plan to purchase to use as a secured parking structure.

The agency also has its eyes on the Jewel City Bowl site, 135 S. Glendale Ave., which it also want to buy for parking.

State officials are seeking feedback from the public on its draft environmental report. The comment period ends Oct. 6.

FYI

Comments about the new courthouse’s draft environmental report can be sent to: Environmental Program Manager Laura Sainz at laura.sainz@jud.ca.gov. The report is also available at http://www.courts.ca.gov/facilities la glendale.htm.

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