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Islamic center reaches settlement with Lomita over expansion project

Erika Aguilar/KPCC

Wedged in between a neighborhood and the Pacific Coast Highway is the Islamic Center of South Bay. Members want to renovate and expand the mosque complex, but the City of Lomita denied them a rezoning application to rebuild.

The city of Lomita has reached a conditional settlement with an Islamic worship center over an expansion plan that was turned down nearly three years ago, allowing the center to apply once more to complete the project.

In March of 2010, the Lomita City Council denied plans by the Islamic Center of South Bay to consolidate several older buildings into a new two-story structure off Pacific Coast Highway. Residents opposed to the plan cited traffic and other concerns, though the city hadn't identified those as issues during its review.

The new agreement allows the Islamic Center of South Bay to reapply to complete the expansion. It also calls for the city to process the new application promptly and to waive application fees, with a caveat that if the new application is denied again, the lawsuit may resume.

The denial of the rebuilding plans also prompted a civil rights investigation by the federal Department of Justice. Read the lawsuit here.

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