Long battle coming to an end. Henry Mayo Hospital Master Plan Can Now Move Forward.
Smart Growth SCV, a community organization of Santa Clarita residents, has campaigned rigorously during the last four years for more favorable assurances of hospital expansion and medical services in the G&L Realty/Henry Mayo Campus Expansion Master Plan. Now, following the recent approval of the Master Plan by the Santa Clarita City Council, the leaders of Smart Growth SCV have decided that it is in the best interest of the community not to pursue litigation in the case.
“We have a very strong lawsuit on a case with many irregularities, but we have decided not pursue this controversial matter any further,” said David Gauny, Chairman of Smart Growth SCV. “This has been a very difficult decision, as we remain very concerned about the failed analysis, priorities and assurances provided in this plan. There remains no guarantee of an expanded hospital inpatient building but we have no desire to further delay any possibility that it may happen,” he added.
“I am proud and grateful for the hundreds of citizens that have committed many hours and thousands of dollars to prepare for this litigation,” Gauny said. “People across the valley stand ready to continue supporting our cause because we represent their concerns.”
Smart Growth SCV has been the primary opponent to the Hospital expansion project for nearly four years, arguing that massive impacts created primarily by 200,000 square feet of medical office space were not justified, since the project fails to guarantee additional inpatient beds or hospital services.
“With only 20 new hospital beds assured in reallocated space, the Hospital and its for-profit partner G&L Realty have argued that all three of G&L’s office buildings must receive building permit approvals prior to completion of the new hospital inpatient tower. Our hope was to strengthen the contractual language because, as written, G&L –or any potential buyers of its land– will receive a fully entitled property with no commitment to expanding our nonprofit hospital,” Gauny said.
Smart Growth SCV leaders had been asked to participate in an eleventh-hour meeting with Hospital CEO Roger Seaver on the eve of the City Council’s vote to see if any compromise could be reached to avoid future litigation. The meeting resulted in an “agreement in principal” to three changes in the project: (1) Requiring two floors of structural steel to be completed for the new inpatient tower before a permit could be issued for G&L’s final office building; (2) Doubling the amount of space committed to “Centers of Excellence” in the G&L Realty office buildings; and (3) Reducing the proposed inpatient tower by one level without reducing its square footage.
“We all agreed in the meeting to let our attorneys craft binding language for these terms,” Gauny said, “and the leaders of Smart Growth SCV were very disappointed that the Hospital partners did not uphold their commitment to request a continuance on the vote. Nevertheless, we have done our best to act in good faith and reach positive solutions for the community. Now, in the interest of the common good, we are determined not to cripple the project through a protracted lawsuit.”
“We also hope that the Hospital partners will act in good faith and the best interest of the community by honoring our proposed mutual agreement,” Gauny added. “Doing so would assure better protections for the public and fewer impacts for the surrounding communities. It’s the right thing to do.”