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Lawsuit against Glendale Unified claims district-owned site diminishes value of neighboring residence

Trustees of this residential property located on Palmer Avenue have sued Glendale Unified, whose facilities operations site is located next door, for diminishing the quality of life and property values nearby.

Trustees of this residential property located on Palmer Avenue have sued Glendale Unified, whose facilities operations site is located next door, for diminishing the quality of life and property values nearby.

(Photo by Kelly Corrigan)

A Glendale Unified piece of property on Magnolia Avenue where school district employees oversee maintenance work for local schools has allegedly diminished the property value of a neighboring residence, whose trustees have sued Glendale Unified for intentionally causing dirt, dust and “vibration from noise” to encroach on their property, according to court documents.

James and Michael O’Donnell, who are trustees of the Edith O. McGee Trust and oversee two residential buildings nearby the school district’s property, filed the lawsuit against Glendale Unified in Los Angeles County Superior Court in August.

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School board members discussed the litigation during a closed-session meeting last week.

The O’Donnells allege that Glendale Unified has been “operating the Magnolia property in a manner that does not comply with existing planning and zoning ordinances and regulations of the city of Glendale,” ultimately making the district’s property a “nuisance” to their property and others, according to court records.

Their lawsuit also claims that Glendale Unified’s property at 333. W. Magnolia Ave. is “disruptive,” and has “substantially diminished the quality of life and property values in, around and adjacent to the Magnolia property,” including the plaintiffs’ residence, which is located next door to the back end of the school district’s lot and spans from 358 to 362 W. Palmer Ave.

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The O’Donnells are seeking a jury trial and financial damages for the “lost and diminished rental and/or permanent property values” caused by Glendale Unified’s property, according to court records.

In the school district’s response to the complaint, attorneys deny that the school district violated current codes and “acted reasonably, in good faith and without malice,” court records state.

“On information and belief, [Glendale Unified’s] operations at the subject property was compliant with applicable city of Glendale zoning codes when the operations commenced, and have become legal nonconforming due to changes in the city codes, thus prohibiting any recovery by plaintiff in this action,” according to the school district’s response.

The school district’s attorneys also state that Glendale Unified does not have to comply with city of Glendale zoning codes due to preemption provisions, court records show.

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Kelly Corrigan, kelly.corrigan@latimes.com

Twitter: @kellymcorrigan

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