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Can you help Walnut Creek's Eichler's?

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Joined: Aug 18 2003

Rancho San Miguel, home to some 500 homes, is about to get a new neighbor.

In 1998, John Muir Medical Center, whose property sits adjacent to the Eichler's on Los Cerros Drive and the San Miguel Neighborhood Park, presented plans for 'Phase IV' construction, based on the need to tear down one of it's seismically unsafe buildings.

At that time, an EIR was performed. A garage was also planned on the other side of JMMC's property. In the interim, JMMC has constructed a new surface lot (total surface parking now 8.5 acres) where the original parking garage was planned and last year presented it's new plan- for a surgi center/parking garage, an outpatient surgi center on the bottom level and 7 levels of parking (770 stalls) to be built directly adjacent to Los Cerros Drive, our park, and a county trail.

8 stories total, this garage/surgicenter is a real monstrosity for the entire neighborhood- but for 24 homes in particular. We have tried to be diplomatic, but JMMC has consistently stated reasons why it cannot place this garage anywhere else on it's site, or worse, last evening came up with 2 alternate plans (the Planning Commission requested alternatives) placing the surgicenter directly off one of the worst trafficed roads in the City, making the neighborhood association over there crazy (as I said, they have over 8 1/2 acres now of surface parking, and other areas that are not being used on their 22 acre campus. They consistently state that the 'footprint' needs to be 'tight' for their patients and visitors needs). They state they cannot place any portion of the garage underground because it would cause 1) too much vibration in the surgicenter 2) would be too costly and 3) would be too difficult to keep dry. Their current hospital building has a basement, which was pointed out to them, with no apparent moisture problems, they have boohoo bucks, and they certainly don't need to place a surgicenter in a garage- but. . .
The Planning Commission appears to be siding with them. Last night's meeting was horrible, the alternatives they proposed were ridiculous, and all the City did was thank them and say maybe they could cut one floor off the top for us, making it a huge 7 story structure. . .

Their attorney stated a new EIR would not be necessary because no 'substantial' changes were made since 1998. I looked at the California Environmental Quality Act website today, and found that a new EIR can be requested if the area impacted is a "Historical resource" with "substantial adverse change" The definition is "an historical resource is a resource listed in, or determined to be eligible for listing in, the California Register of Historical Resources. Historical resources included in a local
register of historical resources, as defined in subdivision (k) of
Section 5020.1, or deemed significant pursuant to criteria set forth
in subdivision (g) of Section 5024.1, are presumed to be historically
or culturally significant for purposes of this section, unless the
preponderance of the evidence demonstrates that the resource is not
historically or culturally significant. The fact that a resource is
not listed in, or determined to be eligible for listing in, the
California Register of Historical Resources, not included in a local
register of historical resources, or not deemed significant pursuant
to criteria set forth in subdivision (g) of Section 5024.1 shall not
preclude a lead agency from determining whether the resource may be
an historical resource for purposes of this section."

(I'm so sorry this is so long!!!)

Are we a(n) historical resource??? Is anyone out there familiar with any of this? (I'm a nurse, for goodness sake!) Can someone help us save our neighborhood from the ULTIMATE McMansion??

Please - if you can offer any help, suggestions, advice- do?

By the way- I don't hate hospitals, I don't hate parking garages- I just hate ridiculously huge towers in our backyards when 2 smaller, or 1 smaller with floors underneath, would do. . . it's the ultimate in vehicle-centered poor planning.

Joined: Mar 20 2003

that's a tough fight. I feel your pain. You'd have to pool together millions of bucks and a team of lawyers to just delay it. A shopping mall is one thing, but a hospital is another. Politicians don't like to go against sick people.

I think your money can be better spent on landscaping, like timber bamboo to block the view of the parking structure.

Sorry to be a downer.

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