[Source: Save SunMerc Coalition] — On Friday, January 13, 2006, in order to preserve their right as citizens and associations to litigate and provide reasonable notice of their continuing claims and legal theories, a motion was filed in Maricopa County Superior Court by the following groups: Arizona Asian American Association, Arizona Asian American Museum Foundation, Arizona Preservation Foundation, Capitol Mall Association, Chinese United Association of Greater Phoenix, Downtown Voices Coalition, Garfield Neighborhood Association, NAILEM, Neighborhood Coalition of Greater Phoenix, Oakland University Park Neighborhood Association, Ong Ko Met Family Association, Organization of Chinese Americans (Phoenix Chapter), and Story Preservation Association. Other groups are considering joining the appeal. The groups’ sole concern is with the historic Sun Mercantile Building, not the W Hotel or adjacent new construction condominium. All parties want, advocate, and work for a vibrant, 24/7 downtown -– a downtown that looks to the future, but respects its heritage.
Legal counsel carefully researched and reviewed the Sun Mercantile Building issue. The appeal of the City Council’s decision is based on the following arguments:
- There is no credible evidence in the record supporting the City Council’s reversal of the decisions by its own Historic Preservation Commission and Historic Preservation Officer.
- The City Council’s decision is contrary to law. It directly contradicts the Phoenix Historic Preservation Ordinance and applicable state and federal historic preservation statutes, regulations, and rules.
- The City Council was obligated to review the decisions by the Historic Preservation Commission and Historic Preservation Officer as a quasi-judicial body, not as a legislative body. By approving the 11-story addition to the top of the Sun Mercantile Building the Council acted legislatively as opposed to quasi-judicially, thereby exceeding its legal authority and jurisdiction and abusing its discretion in approving a dramatic change to the Sun Mercantile Building.
- The City Council effectively removed the Historic Preservation zoning from the property (if left in place this action will likely result in the Sun Mercantile Building being removed from the National Register of Historic Places and/or the Arizona historic register) without adhering to the Phoenix Zoning Ordinance and proper notification process.
- The City Council’s approval of the 11-story tower atop the Sun Mercantile Building is contrary to the Conservation, Rehabilitation, and Redevelopment Element of the City of Phoenix General Plan. The illegal zoning change effected by the approval of the 11-story tower is inconsistent with the Phoenix General Plan.
The groups have requested a temporary restraining order, temporary injunction, and/or permanent injunction that would prohibit the City and City Council from taking any further action in regard to redevelopment of the Sun Mercantile Building as approved by the Council on December 14, 2005.