Construction of a $15-million cancer treatment center at Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian was approved by the City Council, despite protests by several residents who contend that it will be built over a pocket of methane gas and will lower their property values.
Approval of the 65,000-square-foot Hoag Cancer Center followed a unanimous decision by the council to reject an appeal by the Villa Balboa Community Assn. to halt building plans.
The association members argued that the three-story center--to be built on a bluff below the hospital at the northwest corner of Newport Boulevard and West Coast Highway--will block their view of the ocean and undercut property values.
They also said that the site is on unstable soil and sits above a large pocket of volatile methane gas.
City officials, however, said that the hospital will be required to build a collection system under the cancer center's foundation to trap any excess gas. Sensors also will be installed to detect any gas buildup under the center.
Hospital officials said the new center will allow the institution to expand facilities for radiation therapy, chemotherapy and oncology for cancer victims. Construction may begin by mid-February, city officials said.