The Star Theater in La Puente is threatened with a residential development project that would replace the theater with 22 condominium units. As a direct result of the Conservancy’s advocacy efforts, the City of La Puente has acknowledged that the project must be reviewed through an environmental impact report (EIR). The first phase of the EIR was released in July 2018 and the Conservancy submitted comments on the Notice of Preparation (NOP) with a focus on the range of preservation alternatives and adaptive reuse options we’d like to see explored in the draft EIR.
The Conservancy previously met with the property owner and representatives from the City of La Puente in October 2017, and provided more information on CEQA and the obligation of the City and owner to consider and evaluate a range of preservation alternatives that could retain the Star Theater as part of the project. La Puente has no historic preservation ordinance or related policies in place, and received the grade of “F” on the Conservancy’s Preservation Report Card.
Following publication of an article detailing the proposed development in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune dated May 8, 2017, the Conservancy learned that the City of La Puente was not planning on preparing an EIR to evaluate the project. The Conservancy submitted a letter to La Puente in June 2017 highlighting the historic significance of the Star Theater and citing CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) case law that firmly establishes the city’s obligation to prepare an EIR for the project. The Conservancy also provided technical assistance to local advocates who have long considered the Star Theater a significant resource that should be preserved and adaptively reused rather than needlessly lost to development.