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Customers arrive for a movie on the final day of screenings at the domed CineArts theater in Pleasant Hill, Calif., on Sunday, April 21, 2013. A group called Save the Dome is trying to prevent the theater from being demolished in favor of shopping center renovation . (Theresa Harrington/Bay Area News Group)
Customers arrive for a movie on the final day of screenings at the domed CineArts theater in Pleasant Hill, Calif., on Sunday, April 21, 2013. A group
Customers arrive for a movie on the final day of screenings at the domed CineArts theater in Pleasant Hill, Calif., on Sunday, April 21, 2013. A group called Save the Dome is trying to prevent the theater from being demolished in favor of shopping center renovation . (Theresa Harrington/Bay Area News Group)

PLEASANT HILL -- An attorney for the group trying to save the dome movie theater on Tuesday asked the city to rescind the demolition permit.

Attorney Mark Wolfe, who represents the Save the Pleasant Hill Dome Theater group, contends that the city erred in issuing a permit for SyWest Development to tear down the theater before the City Council considers an appeal of the project on May 6.

Wolfe outlined his argument in an April 23 letter to Mike Nielsen, chief building official, Greg Fuz, city planner and City Attorney Janet Coleson.

"We received the letter and are reviewing it," Coleson wrote in an email.

The city issued the demolition permit on April 1 and on April 8 opponents filed an appeal of the Planning Commission's approval of permits for SyWest's development proposal, which calls for demolishing the theater and replacing it with a two-story Dick's Sporting Goods store. SyWest also plans to renovate the adjacent building that once housed the Bally Total Fitness Gym.

"When you have a project that involves tearing something down and replacing it with something else on the same site it's all supposed to be considered one project," Wolfe said.

"They messed up the timing, they weren't supposed to divide this up into two (projects). They were supposed to wait until the appeal runs its course," he added.

If the city doesn't rescind the permit, Wolfe said his clients may seek a preliminary injunction to stop SyWest from razing the theater until after the council rules on the appeal. Save the Pleasant Hill Dome Theater contends the project is inconsistent with Pleasant Hill's general plan. Specifically, the group maintains that the city hasn't properly considered the 46-year-old movie theater's historical, cultural or landmark value.

The movie theater closed on Sunday. Cinemark has until May 3 to remove its property, including seats, the concession stand, projectors and other equipment. SyWest President Bill Vierra has declined to say whether the company will wait to tear down the theater until after the May 6 hearing.

Lisa P. White covers Martinez and Pleasant Hill. Contact her at 925-943-8011. Follow her at Twitter.com/lisa_p_white.