The lawyer for groups opposed to the demolition of Smith Hall filed an appeal yesterday of a city ruling which allows the razing of the 99-year-old building. Alan Kaplan, an attorney with the Center City firm of Sugarman and Associates, said he filed the appeal of the September Licenses and Inspection Board decision with the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. Last month the board upheld a Philadelphia Historical Commission decision allowing the University to tear down Smith. In the case, the state Supreme Court ruled that the city's historic preservation law violates the state constitution. In an uncommon move, the court agreed last month to rehear part of the case. Kaplan said last month that the University would probably try to have his appeal dismissed immediately rather than go along with a delay of the appeal. He said the success of the appeal hinges on the possibility that the high court will modify or change its decision on the case. Smith Hall is at the center of a controversy between preservationists and the administration because it is the proposed site for the Institute of Advanced Science and Technology. Opponents of the planned institute argue that Smith Hall is a historic building and destruction of it will ruin that section of campus, which is currently filled with 19th century buildings. General Counsel Shelly Green said yesterday that she has not received a copy of the appeal yet. Green said she did not want to speculate on what action the University will take. This case will probably be more complicated than some others because the city is also involved, Green said. "I would not want to prejudge what our response would be," Green said. "I am not a great fan of delays as a general proposition."Comments powered by Disqus
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