Council giving staff two months to find answers
At Tuesday night’s City Council meeting, the Council followed staff recommendation, and pushed back the Henry Mayo Campus Expansion debate to the August 28th meeting.
Henry Mayo has been trying to get some form of a Master Plan for expansion passed for several years, and have come under fire by residents because their expansion plan teams with G&L Realty to build a massive development of medical office buildings, a hospital facility and parking structures on a relatively undersized piece of land with only one access road.
After a long series of public comment and council discussion, a number of questions remained unanswered, and city staff acknowledged this, and asked for more time to fully report back to the Council.
During the city staff’s report, City of Santa Clarita Director of Community Development Paul Brotzman acknowledged that there is still a lot of confusion, and a high level of residents’ mistrust regarding Henry Mayo and G&L Realty’s relationship.
Following staff’s presentation, Henry Mayo had half an hour to make their case, and then David Gauny, head of Smart Growth SCV received half an hour to plead his case. Mayor Pro Tem Bob Kellar brought up the idea of
giving Gauny equal time because he represents the organized opposition, and Kellar said he believed it was fair to afford that to him.
One of the items Gauny addressed was that when the independent consultants (paid in part by the city of Santa Clarita) presented the results of their study, they insisted that they could find no other hospitals that had expressed any interest whatsoever in building a hospital in Santa Clarita.
Gauny pointed out that Providence Holy Cross was never included in the independent consultant’s query, a major oversight considering that Providence Holy Cross CEO Kerry Carmody has gone on the record with numerous media outlets saying that Providence indeed is committed to the long term health care of Santa Clarita.
In fact, Carmody even went before the council Tuesday night to say it again, noting that Providence is talking with developers to try and locate a sizable area in SCV to build a new hospital.
During Council comments, Councilmember TimBen Boydston asked many questions, and had a lengthy question and answer session with the Assistant City Attorney regarding the Developer Agreement. The first Developer Agreement included a “no obligation to build” piece, which effectively got out of guaranteeing any requirement to build a hospital. The Assistant City Attorney said that negotiations between the city and Henry Mayo/G&L Realty are still ongoing, and have not been included in an official agreement yet.
Laurene Weste echoed her comments from the last meeting, mainly that she believed there should be no other buildings until the hospital is built, and that the community’s concerns be addressed.Frank Ferry asked that Assistant City Manager Ken Striplin be the coordinator to get both sides together to talk about this issue.
Marsha McLean asked if any mitigation for homeowners in the area who will have to deal with seeing eye-level helicopter landings from their property. She also said that she could not agree to sign the current Developer Agreement as it stands today.
Because questions were still coming from council members past midnight, the council asked to finish their rounds of questioning at the July 10th meeting.
So now, the next two months will be spent by staff working with the hospital, as well as with Smart Growth SCV to identify and answer some lingering questions that still remain with regards to the Henry Mayo Campus Expansion Master Plan. Some of these questions include possible parking changes, aesthetic design changes, master plan revisions and overall clarity about what comes with this plan, and when it comes.
And then those answers will be reported to the City Council on August 28th.