PLEASANT HILL -- A group seeking to preserve Pleasant Hill's domed movie theater wants the City Council to keep the wrecking ball at bay.

The group Save the Pleasant Hill Dome on Monday appealed the Planning Commission's approval of SyWest Development's proposed redevelopment of the southern half of the Crossroads Shopping Center.

However, the appeal does not affect the demolition permit for the theater that the city already issued. SyWest hasn't notified Pleasant Hill of its schedule for tearing down the building, according to city spokesman Martin Nelis.

The dome theater, formally known as the CinéArts at Pleasant Hill, reportedly is scheduled to close April 21. The City Council will hold a public hearing on the appeal on May 6 or 20.

"The Dome is a landmark of culture and cool, and it can continue to put Pleasant Hill on the map and make it a destination," the group writes in an introductory letter.

Last month, the commission approved a development plan permit and conditional use permit for SyWest Development's proposal to raze the landmark movie theater and replace it with a two-story 73,176-square-foot Dick's Sporting Goods store. The company also plans to renovate the adjacent 21,788-square-foot building that once housed the Bally Total Fitness Gym.

In its appeal, Save the Pleasant Hill Dome contends the project is inconsistent with the city's general plan. Specifically, the group says the city hasn't properly considered the 46-year-old movie theater's historical, cultural or landmark value.


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Although the dome theater is four years too young to qualify for possible listing on the California Register of Historical Resources, the City Council could designate it a local cultural resource. That label wouldn't automatically save the dome, but SyWest would need a demolition permit from the city's cultural resource management commission.

The appeal also challenges the claim that the SyWest development would revitalize the aging shopping center and provide long-term economic benefits to Pleasant Hill. While the appeal acknowledges that Dick's could generate additional sales tax revenue, the group suggests retaining the dome theater as a quality arts venue could give the city a sustainable economic boost by drawing new residents and businesses.

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