The only occupants of a vacant lot along the 1200 block of West Ocean Avenue are some trash, tires, and a few couches, but change is coming.
Construction is set to move forward on a new 28,000-square-foot Community Health Center (CHC) in Lompoc.
“CHC has looked at the area and determined there is a great need for additional medical services,” said Brian Halvorson, City of Lompoc planning manager.
The City Council approved a rezone and agreement for city services for the project at its Oct. 16 meeting after the deal appeared to have stalled at a previous meeting.
City officials say it will include 49 exam rooms, doctors’ offices, a blood draw area, laboratory, imaging room, restrooms, pharmacy and dental services. The services will help lower-income patients and those who commute for healthcare.
“I think of the biggest needs is the fact that a lot of people commute to Santa Barbara to go to medical appointments,” Halvorson said. “Now that those medical services will be provided in Lompoc, I think that’s a good thing to keep people in town for those medical services.”
The proposal has required some negotiating with the city to approve a zone change, killing the possibility of residential construction on that lot. After haggling over how much CHC would pay the city, both sides agreed to annual payments of $15,000 for city services when the project is completed with an increase of 2 percent each year.
The deal was welcomed by the city and residents.
“It’s going to be very, very useful here in Lompoc, so I’m happy we’re coming to some sort of consensus here,” said Councilmember Victor Vega during the Oct. 16 meeting. Councilmember Jim Mosby echoed Vega’s remarks. “I think it’s good to partner up and I appreciate that.”
Building plans are reportedly being reviewed for the new project now, and construction is expected to begin in 2019. Plans include commercial building space opportunity on the north side of the lot.
“I’d like to commend the applicant for acknowledging the concerns of the city, addressing those concerns and coming back with a viable project that I believe that is a win-win for the community all around,” said resident Nicholas Gonzales.