Officials for the Beverly Hills Unified School District and the city of Beverly Hills affirmed Thursday that they will pursue legal action to prevent the Metropolitan Transportation Authority from tunneling under the city's high school to reach a subway station on Constellation Boulevard in Century City.
The Metro Board of Directors voted 7-2 during its Thursday meeting to of the Westside Subway Extension, which involves tunneling under Beverly Hills High School. The project is an expansion of the Purple Line to Beverly Hills, Century City, Westwood and the Veterans Administration Medical Center.
The officials said their legal action could include filing lawsuits under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), challenging the accuracy of the reports and data in the subway project's Final Environmental Impact Statement/Report (FEIS/R).
"The next steps are very clear," BHUSD school board President Brian Goldberg told Patch after Thursday's Metro board meeting. "We have a CEQA challenge to the FEIS/R reports that were approved by the Metro board. We also have a NEPA challenge at the federal level.
"We're going to exercise all of our rights regarding the insufficiency of the FEIS/R. We're going to challenge the data, and we'll have our opportunity in court," Goldberg said.
Beverly Hills Mayor William Brien said he was disappointed Metro did not consider that the city had proposed at a . Those proposed routes would not require tunneling under BHHS.
"We are very disappointed that Metro proceeded with its decision without seriously considering the excellent scientific data and alternate routes presented by the city,” Brien said in a statement released Thursday afternoon. "Although we have no desire to pursue legal action, the board's decision leaves us very little choice."
Many Beverly Hills civic leaders and residents support the subway but are , while others in Century City and Los Angeles have of Metro's planned route, which calls for the subway to run under the school.
The Metro board approved plans in late April for the first phase of the Westside Subway Extension, but so it could consider Beverly Hills' objections.
Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich and Duarte Mayor John Fasana dissented on the Metro board vote. Antonovich offered a motion calling for more study on alternative subway routes to the Century City station, which Fasana seconded. That motion failed by the same 7-2 vote.
"I think we would have benefited by having some more study to really see if there were other options that were mutually beneficial to the city of Beverly Hills and to Metro as well," Fasana told Patch.
Metro board member Richard Katz told Patch that he supports the experts who say the subway can safely travel under BHHS. He said the project is going to be a positive addition to all communities
"I thinks it's unfortunate that, at a time when Beverly Hills schools are facing cutbacks, the school board, for political reasons, is spending millions of dollars on a lawsuit that makes no sense," Katz said.
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Do you think the city of Beverly Hills and the school district should file a lawsuit to stop Metro from tunneling under the high school? Tell us in the comments.