HUNTINGTON BEACH : Pierside Village Trial Is Delayed

Because of a backlog of cases in Orange County Superior Court, a suit filed by the State Lands Commission to block the Pierside Village development did not go to trial Monday as scheduled.

Superior Court Judge Leonard Goldstein told lawyers Monday that the case would be assigned to a court as soon as one is open.

The state is seeking to block Huntington Beach's attempt to get full title to land on the ocean side of Pacific Coast Highway so that Pierside Village can be built there. The land, about two acres, is a narrow paved strip between Main and 1st streets. Most of the land is used as parking lots.

The city proposes building a landscaped area of commercial restaurants on the land--if it can gain full title to the property. Since 1932, the city has held a public easement on the land, which allows public use of the area but does not give the city ownership.

The State Lands Commission opposes the plan, saying that the city has the duty to maintain public access to the beach rather than convert part of the land to more commercial use. Environmental groups have also vociferously opposed the Pierside Village project.

City officials, in rebuttal, have said the land will provide even greater public access if the redevelopment project is built.

Deputy Atty. Gen. Robert G. Collins, who is representing the State Lands Commission, said Monday that he does not expect the trial to begin for at least a week.

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