The family that owns El Mercado is suing the city and a nonprofit developer in its latest attempt to halt the construction of a controversial, 49-unit affordable and homeless housing development that has been stalled for years.
The Los Angeles Times reported that the lawsuit, filed Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court by El Mercado de Los Ángeles owner Tony Rosado, asks the City Council to go back on its approval of the project last month and to order a full environmental impact report.
Tony Rosado and his father –the late businessman Pedro Rosado– raised opposition to the project since it was first proposed in 2013. The project by developer A Community of Friends would raise a four- and five-story building on the corner of First and Lorena Streets, potentially blocking the view of the popular, Mexican-themed market next door.
The First and Lorena project has also raised opposition from area residents who oppose the developer’s intent to offer housing to mentally-ill homeless people and who have asked Metro –who owns the property– to put a park there instead.
The project had also been opposed by Councilman José Huízar, who last August stalled the project’s approval by the planning department he presides, granting the Rosado family an appeal of an environmental report and forcing the project to go to a vote before the full council.
In an unexpected reversal, Huízar joined the rest of the city’s governing body that last month voted unanimously to approve the project.
Huízar said then he changed his mind after the developer reduced the number of apartment units that would go to mentally ill homeless people and agreed to further environmental scrutiny,
The project, supported by homeless advocates, won the approval of the Boyle Heights Neighborhood Council after several revisions of the project.
City Attorney Mike Feuer’s office and A Community of Friend’s executive director Dora Leong Gallo told the Times on Friday that they had not had a chance to review the lawsuit that alleges that the city gave a green light to the project without adequate environmental study.