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Torrance Hospital Told to File Land-Use Study

December 10, 1987|JEFFREY L. RABIN | Times Staff Writer

A detailed land-use study will be required before Torrance Memorial Hospital can move ahead with a $14-million project to expand its medical facilities and build a six-level parking structure.

Despite protests from hospital officials, the Torrance City Council voted 6 to 1 on Tuesday to study the expansion's potential impact on traffic, parking and growth in the southern part of the city. The study also will examine the project's potential impact on the operations of nearby Torrance Municipal Airport.

Once the information from the hospital-paid study is received, council members will decide if a full-fledged environmental impact statement should be required.

The hospital wants to build a 120-bed "skilled nursing facility"--something between a nursing home and a hospital--and convert a warehouse into a health education center. It also plans to build a 931-space parking structure that would be the tallest building near the airport's north runway.

Originally, the hospital also had a medical office building in its master plan but eliminated it in October when the city's Environmental Review Board said an environmental impact statement would be required if the medical building were part of the plan.

Council members were reluctant, however, to let the scaled-down project proceed without a study.

Councilman Bill Applegate said Lomita Boulevard in front of the hospital is gridlocked at certain times of day and the expansion could have "a major impact on an already congested area."

Mayor Katy Geissert noted that the hospital has not filed a master plan for the property and said she could not recall another instance where a major parking structure had been proposed without a master plan.

The Federal Aviation Administration has not objected to the garage, which would be 67 feet high.

Mark E. Costa, vice president of administration for the hospital, said the study may increase the project's cost.

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