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New Hospital Plans Leave Residents Skeptical

After half a decade of delays, a lawsuit and a broken deadline, some doubt the hospital will ever be built.

More than five years ago, the city approved plans to build a hospital in an empty field on Temecula Parkway at Margarita Road.

That field sits empty today.

Since it submitted its plans to Temecula in June, 2004, the company planning to build the facility was sued for it and lost, got numerous citations from the California Department of Public Health for breaking codes at the hospitals it runs in Murrieta and Wildomar, lost a lawsuit over its Temecula plans and missed a last-chance deadline to start building in October.

Its plans scrapped, Southwest Healthcare Systems filed plans for a whole new hospital in June.

The new plans are similar to the old plans in many ways, but new plans include a five-story, 140-bed facility. The last plan included six stories and accommodated 170 beds, records show.

The city's planning commission approved it Wednesday.

Doubts and fears linger

Some residents feel the hospital will never go up, despite the new plans.

"We're five years down the road, and we still don't have a hospital," said Temecula resident Evan Harbottle, who talked to the planning commission during the meeting Wednesday.

While the city and Southwest dealt with red tape, Loma Linda planned and built a . It's set to open in March.

Temecula officials chose the wrong company to partner with on this project, Harbottle said.

"If I performed like this for five years, nobody would talk to me," he said.

Commissioner John Telesio defended the decision.

The project faced such scrutiny because of the delays, so this time, the project must stay on track, he said.

"From here on out, the management understands the city council, this commission and the public are watching," he said.

The people in charge of the company when it was floundering were replaced, he added.

Some residents of rural eastern Temecula are afraid of what a hospital will do to their neighborhood.

Kenneth Ray, who lives less than half a mile from the site, is afraid it will be noisy.

"It's always been a quiet area," he said.

He fears the hospital, with its air conditioner and ambulance sirens, will destroy the serenity he enjoys. "You'll have all kinds of noises coming from this place 24 hours a day," he said.

Plans for the hospital will be on display at the City of Temecula Planning Department, 43200 Business Park Dr., 8am-5pm, Monday-Friday. Questions about the project should go to the case planner at 951-506-5159.

Fred Wilson December 20, 2010 at 06:15 PM
I think the hospital is a great idea .long overdue. FredWilson
deleted December 22, 2010 at 03:51 PM
I personally would rather see the hospital built west of Temecula creek up against the hill. The western bypass should be built to accomodate the project. This would be an ideal location because there is lots of property that has already been graded but has sat idle for years.
sue December 29, 2010 at 09:19 AM
I can not even believe that the same company that owns the southwest stuff is going to be allowed to build another one. They do not even have a clue of what it takes to run what they have now. How are they supposed to be able to set up something else. Pathetic, there needs to be a company that knows how to run a hospital and have enough money to get supplies and know how to choose the right staff etc. A new building is not the answer to the horrendous problems that these hospitals suffer from.
deleted January 04, 2011 at 04:39 PM
I agree with Sue, we need a top notch hospital facility in our city but it must be run by a company with a proven record of operating such facilities. Southwest Healthcare has proven they are not capable enough to operate such a facility.
Sandy Garcia February 11, 2011 at 03:41 PM
We moved here from Michigan twelve years ago and part of the reason was the fact that a hospital was going to be close bye......we were told that and thus the reason for buying a home in the area. Well twelve years later , still no hospital. Just a lot of talk and still NO HOSPITAL.....yet the need is tremendous.
Temecula Resident April 04, 2012 at 06:30 AM
sharp healthcare should buy the building and put their own staff in the new temecula hospital. Sharp Healthcare is a proven, top notch healthcare provider. The CEO of Sharp healthcare Mr. murphy is one of the top 10 CEO's in the nation.

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