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Monday, March 25 , 2019, 5:19 am | Fair 47º


Letter to the Editor: Response to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital Update

Dear madam mayor and members of the council,

I attended the meeting for the Cottage Hospital update. I was disappointed that the City Council did not ask for audience response to the Cottage presentation.

I am taking this opportunity to respond. There are several areas where I believe that Cottage is taking liberty with the truth.

» 1. First, they presented a long video of a quiet helicopter landing, and as Councilwoman Cathy Murillo questioned, left out the sound. The noise is the issue! Cottage should play a similar video with sound played at actual decibels or arrange an actual helicopter flyover where the council could see and hear for yourselves — I will host.

» 2. Cottage stated that the helicopters come in at 1,000 feet. Maybe they are over the freeway, but as soon as they turn to the hospital they start descending fast, and at the middle of the first block of West Pueblo Street they are down to 500 feet or lower.

» 3. Cottage stated that some people have been confusing other flights with Cottage-bound helicopters. This is possible for those farther away from the hospital and the flight path. If you live under the flight path, there is no confusion.

» 4. Cottage stated that they are good neighbors — going above and beyond. This is not true. Four of the speakers all had the same negative experience as I did and most others in the neighborhood. Cottage’s response was, “It’s a done deal, nothing you can do.” Does this sound like a “good neighbor” policy?

» 5. Cottage’s mistreatment of Mr. Girling and the couple next to the day care center is a perfect example of their lack of a “good neighbor” policy.

» 6. Cottage, since the beginning, has steadfastly refused to meet with anyone in the neighborhood until several of you from the City Council showed up at the second mass meeting. They are still not willing to meet with the residents who are impacted day to day by their activities.

» 7. Councilman Bendy White stated to Cottage CEO Ron Werft, and I paraphrase (hopefully correctly), “I was on the planning committee ... such a massive project — some items may not have been reviewed correctly ... what looks good on paper may not work as expected in real life ... you have the permits, but if it is not working ... go to your neighbors, work together for a win win solution.” This will not happen without continued council pressure.

» 8. The sharp reduction in usage does not make logical sense. It seems that there must be some manipulation. We need something in writing so that we are assured that this lower usage will continue and is not temporary to assuage the council.

» 9. Cottage states that helipad use is now approximately what they predicted. I have asked Cottage and the company contracted by the city for the EIR for the original data and the methodology used to come to this conclusion and have been refused the data.

» 10. I have asked Cottage and the company that was contracted by the city for the EIR for the complete data and methodology on their analysis of helicopter noise and have been refused the data.

Thank you very much for taking the time to read this document.

Dana Schorr
Santa Barbara

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