Today is Thursday, March 01, 2007
Originally published Thursday, March 01, 2007
Updated Thursday, March 01, 2007
Hawthorne City Council approves homes, new Target
Vote signs off despite regulators' concerns that proposed 176-house
neighborhood and store will be too close to city's airport.
By Doug Irving
Hawthorne signed off this week on plans to build an entirely new
neighborhood of high-end homes alongside the municipal airport, waving
off concerns that runways and residents don't mix.
The homes and a new Target megastore will replace an abandoned
research center just east of the airport's runway, almost under the
flight path of arriving planes. City leaders have praised the project
as a way to bring new homeowners into the city and to recycle a patch
of blighted land.
But some aviation officials have questioned whether those homeowners
will put up with planes humming over their roofs. A county commission
opposed the project because a corner of the Target store will jut into
a special zone intended to limit development near the runway.
Hawthorne's City Council voted 4-0 Tuesday to override that opposition
and let the project proceed. The decision came with little discussion
and no debate, but after seven residents had taken turns applauding
the project as an upgrade for the city. "This is going to bring so
much class" to the neighborhood, said Darlene Love, who lives close to
the project site.
Plans for the project, called "Central Park," show a gated
neighborhood of 176 houses with private yards, landscaped walkways and
a community pool. The least expensive of the homes will likely sell
for about half a million dollars.
But it was the Target store that caught the attention of the county
commission, which reviews developments around airports, and other
regulators. The state Department of Transportation warned in a letter
that the store "creates a new safety problem" by encroaching on the
runway's protection zone.
City leaders, though, noted that the small airport is already
surrounded by buildings, and that only a small part of the Target
store intrudes on the runway zone. They concluded that the "overriding
benefits" of the project outweigh the issues raised by its proximity
to the airport, as well as concerns about traffic and the added strain
on city services.
Councilman Gary Parsons, who had cast the lone vote against the
project at an earlier meeting, was out of town Tuesday and did not
participate in the final vote.