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Dome Decision Heads to City Council

The Pleasant Hill City Council will consider an appeal filed by "dome" supporters. Meanwhile, a demolition permit for the 46-year-old theater has already been issued.

Monday was the last day to appeal a decision by the Pleasant Hill Planning Commission that would allow for the demolition of the "dome" theater and the construction of a new sporting goods store in its stead. 

Now, the Pleasant Hill City Council has 45 days to respond to an appeal to save the "dome." The council will likely address the matter in a May meeting, according to Public Information Officer Martin Nelis. But demolition of the theater could technically go ahead in the meantime.

"The proposed demolition of the theater is separate and not directly affected by this appeal," said Nelis in an email to Patch. "The Building Division has already issued the demolition permit for the theater building but at this time we have no information on a schedule for demolition by the property owner."

The Planning Commission has already approved the controversial project, which has drawn criticism from people who argue that the theater is a local landmark as well as a vital cultural institution.

"Dome" advocates gathered Saturday as part of a final effort to save the theater from demolition, which could take place as early as the end April.

The CinéArts theater, known as the "dome" for its shape, has been around since 1967. Locals remember watching movies there that would become classics in the years ahead, including "Star Wars", "Jurassic Park", "E.T." and more. 

Last Thursday, the city's Architectural Review Commission approved plans to demolish the CinéArts theater as part of the redevelopment of the Crossroads Shopping Center, with three members of the commission agreeing to the developer's project proposal. The fourth — Vice Chair John Hart — dissented. 

"I hate to see the 'dome' go, but I understand the developer's desire here," said Hart, who added that he has been watching movies at the theater since 1972. "I'm going to miss it."

"I've never liked the 'dome'," said Commissioner George Corrigan. "To me, it was always a mid-60s marketing gimmick. It was fun while we had it, but it's not something we should preserve."

More information about "save the dome" efforts is available on the group's Facebook page.

What do you hope will happen to the "dome" theater? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Susan Hedgpeth April 09, 2013 at 08:14 PM
I believe this article is not correct. The Planning Commission is done with the issue, they made their decision. An appeal HAS been filed (yesterday) and now it's up to the City Council. That's my understanding. Please check your facts! Thank you.
Martin Nelis April 09, 2013 at 10:55 PM
The first sentence of this article referring to the demolition permit as 'stalled' is incorrect. The issuance of the demolition permit is not directly affected by the appeal of the Planning Commission decision to approve the development plan for the center.
Karen April 09, 2013 at 11:20 PM
I hope that they save this wonderful theater!!! Why can't they incorporate it into the new design?? Another local icon that bites the dust. Where is the individuality in today's world?? Why does every city have to look the same......Save the Dome!!!
Carol Olmert April 09, 2013 at 11:30 PM
Here is a copy of my letter to members of the City Council: Cine Arts at the Dome Theater has been a wonderful venue - a treasure - for those of us in the area who enjoy foreign and independent films. Where else can we view 4-5 high quality films each week? As a frequent customer, I do not relish the idea of having to travel through the Caldecott Tunnel or BART into SF to support other movie theaters. That this building will become yet another sporting goods store strikes me as deplorable. Speaking for many avid film lovers in my circle of friends, I guarantee that I will never patronize Dick's Sporting Goods store. Please think very hard about the effects of your actions in the name of "progress". Sincerely, Carol Olmert
Susan Hedgpeth April 10, 2013 at 01:58 AM
Come to the rally this Saturday 4/13! Write to the City Council! Keep in touch via this Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Save-Independent-Film-and-the-Cin%C3%A9Arts-Dome-in-Pleasant-Hill/455592441143545?fref=ts
Glen Simmons April 10, 2013 at 02:20 AM
Also, come to the next City Council meeting on April 15th at 7:30 PM. We need as many people who want to save the dome there to show the Council our support. We also encourage people to speak at the meeting. If you cannot attend please go to the Pleasant Hill website and email the Mayor and Council. Thanks
Bob Wang April 11, 2013 at 04:56 AM
This building is long overview for demo, I hope they sell tickets to the show when it hits the ground. For those that try and claim that the Dome is a good venue for movies with its lousy sound system, I suggest you try going to the new Cinemark theatre here in Pleasant Hill, you will be surprised at how bad the dome really is, time for it to go.
Jenny Triana April 11, 2013 at 06:27 AM
This is a SHOPPING CENTER people, not a cultural preserve. Interesting that most of the people trying to save the dome and prevent renovation of the shopping center seem to be from Walnut Creek, where they can't build new stores fast enough.
JBN April 12, 2013 at 03:46 AM
Let them tear it down and build more of the same chain stores as everyone else has. Unique is NOT what this city is looking for. Go with the flow honey, stucco and tile strip malls. Then when they get old, fill them with Chinese BBQs, Arab Liquor stores, and trashy check cashing stores. Since Pleasant Hill GAVE away the mall and prime land to ghetto Concord, they seem to be lost in strip mall hell. Note that a strip of land on Contra Costa Blvd. belongs to Concord. Why is PH fooling around with small projects and not trying to annex land taken by Concord in order to have land to work with. Unbelievable.

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