Electronically Serving Monterey Park, Alhambra, San Gabriel, & Rosemead

Citizen About Town

Citizen About Town

By Nancy C. Arcuri, Editor and Publisher

Email: nancyarcuri@thecitizensvoice.net

During the March 7th Monterey Park City Council Meeting approximately ten residents address the council during Oral Communications regarding an agenda item on the Planning Commissions agenda.

Assistant City Attorney Karl Berger informed the residents several times that the council could not address the issue until the Planning Commission voted on the request from “OneLegacy” for a Conditional Use Permit to allow for a hospital with a heliport at 1977 Saturn Street.

“OneLegacy” is in the business of Organ Procurement and may use some of their building for clinical procedures for eye and heart surgeons.

Many residents were not informed by the city since only residents and businesses located within 350 feet were notified about this project in English. Many immigrant residents are not fluent in our native tongue.

We wonder why more residents located within the flight paths of these helicopters were not notified about this request for a heliport?

They plan to fly donated organs from their office in Monterey Park to other locations, which is a noble cause.

We ask if the city considered the health and safety of our residents with the additional noise, downdrafts and possible crashes of these helicopters in our neighborhoods?

We asked if the city considered the reduction in the property values of our homes based on the helicopter traffic skimming our rooftops?

We asked if the city considered the many dangers to the aircraft like Edison’s high-tension power lines and poles as well as the heavy airline traffic in and out of LAX?

We asked if “OneLegacy” carry enough liability insurance to cover the loss of life and property if one of these aircraft should fall from the sky?

We requested City Council have a joint public meeting with  “OneLegacy” and all of the residents and business owners located in our hometown.

We asked how the councilmembers would feel if this event was planned for their back yards?

Residents were upset that “OneLegacy” left invitations for the residents to attend their Open House in the Council Chambers. They are concerned that the applicant was trying to force a vote in their favor.

Since the council could not speak about this item until the Planning Commission voted on this project at their March13th meeting they instructed City Manager Ron Bow to have this meeting televised on the city’s cable stations.

If our city lets this tenant have a heliport then other hospitals will want the same benefits.

Our airspace is overcrowded with flights in and out of LAX can you imagine a crash between one of their helicopters and an airplane?

During the Planning Commission’s March 13th meeting the city disclosed that the applicant “OneLegacy” withdrew their request for a heliport on the roof of 1977 Saturn Street based on the city’s finding Ordinance No. 1627 which deletes “airport and heliport” and “helipad” from any request for a conditional use permit in all zones.  This ordinance was introduced on January 28, 1985 and passed, approved and adopted on February 11th, 1985 by all five members of the City Council (Chen, Briglio, Manibog, Peralta and Almada).

Margaret Leung brought this information on this ordinance to light and she requested documentation from our City Clerk’s office for this meeting.

This is the second time that staff failed to locate ordinances that were approved and passed by previous councilmembers or the voters over the years.

Thank goodness that the collective memory of our longtime residents have forced our staff to research and review our archives for old ordinances.

I understand that most of the old ordinances are on “micro-fish” and they are not able to replace any broken equipment.

Now is time for our councilmembers to budget funds to scan all of these documents into our computer files.

“OneLegacy” representative stated that they are now aware that they could not have a heliport by city law. Tonight they wanted the “hospital” Conditional Use Permit to be approved. They hoped to become good neighbors and part of the community with Monterey Park and our two hospitals: Garfield Medical Center and Monterey Park Hospital.

They said that it would not be a real hospital and would only harvest organs allowed by the families.

Two speakers supported the hospital for organ harvesting: an employee of Garfield Hospital and a surgeon who has harvested organs for “OneLegecy”.

The staff received 21 emails against the project. Seventeen residents spoke on this agenda issue. They expressed relief that the heliport was not allowed by our city’s law.  They were concerned that the chosen definition for a hospital was not a valid fact since this hospital would not treat ill people in time of need.

Several speakers reminded the commissioners and staff that our General Plan for zoning and land use does not allow a medical facility in this neighborhood that is zoned Office Professional in the commercial area.

Several other speakers asked why a “CEQA” report was not requested and the notices were only sent to properties within 350 feet in English.

The residents want the city to notify all of us when a project like this is on the table since it would affect of our property values and all of us.

Residents are concerned if the Planning Commissions grants a Conditional Use Permit to “OneLegacy”, for their organ harvesting in our city then other businesses would request CUPs for their abortion clinics, Hemlock Society for early life termination or other special types of medical facilities.

Mike Huntley, Director of the Community and Economic Development explained to the commissioners and the residents why they selected to call their facility a hospital since it did not fit into any of the current categories allowed by the city.

The facility would be used process paperwork and to harvest organs from brain dead people, prepare them for shipment to other facilities and as a training facility for medical personnel.

Commissioner Eric Brossy De Dios, after asking why this project was designated as a hospital, why the “CEQA” process was not followed and more residents were not notified of this issue?

Commissioner Ricky Choi said he was ready to have several tough conditions be added to the CUP regarding the heliport. This issue is important to our community and the applicant needs to address the concerns of the community. He suggested the residents still fight against the low flying planes from and to LAX.

He also asked that any other notices be printed in English, Spanish and Chinese for the residents.

Commissioner Theresa Amador questioned the hospital and zoning issues. Why didn’t this agenda item follow the “CEQA” process?

Commissioner Delario Robinson complimented our staff for being highly educated. He said the city is not getting away with anything. He likes the “One Legacy” organization but not the heliport. Their staff is educated. Our city has educated people. He asked staff for a better clarification on the issue.

Commissioner Larry Sullivan said they could only review the company and not their business plan. He spoke about the aircraft noises from helicopters and planes from LAX. Our Police and Fire Departments have different set of rules. We can’t moderate everything.

Commissioner Eric Brossy De Dios said that the staff had to review the report and requested that the resolution be re-written for their review at the next meeting deleting the heliport data from it.

Assistant City Attorney Karl Berger asked the commissioners to vote on the changes for a new resolution be brought back to them at the next meeting.

The commissioners’ vote for a new resolution be brought back to them at their next meeting to be held on March 27th.

They also voted to have the council review Ordinance No 1627 at one of their meetings.

The residents filled up the Council Chambers with standing room only for the March 13th meeting to protest “OneLegacy”’s project that would violate our current zoning laws and reduce their property values.

In fact the residents do not trust “OneLegacy” not to push their heliport on us in the future.

For the first time in over100 years a Planning Commission meeting was televised live for the Monterey Park residents.

I am very happy to see my fellow Americans standup for our rights in a world that would rather you follow their directions and not your heart and dreams.

I wish you and yours a Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

I wish you and yours a Blessed Easter Season and a Happy Passover Season!

Planning Commission Meeting held on March 13th regarding the “OneLegacy” application.

I am glad to see that our city planner and staff did more homework on this request by “OneLegacy” to have an organ harvesting hospital and heliport at 1977 Saturn Street in our hometown.

Your definition of a hospital does not fit this type of facility since they will not be providing medical services to the general public.

Your definition of conflicts of interest only addresses the commissioners and councilmembers that their decisions would not promote a financial interest for them that maybe positive.

You did not address the negative impact on the financial interests of the residents and businesses located in our hometown. What about the possible reduction in our property values because of a heliport in our backyards?

Did your research on the residents’ safety and noise concerns addressed by an outside company stand in their backyards to see and hear these helicopters taking off and landing is a test area? Did they see and feel the downdrafts that raise dust and debris?

Did Southern California Edison validate your statement that their high voltage transmission lines will not be considered a flight risk for this planned heliport?

Did you advise the Federal Aviation Administration of your plans to allow these helicopters to fly below their regulated flight altitudes? Do we still complain to LAX about these low flying helicopters or city hall?

Did you check with our fire and police departments regarding the safety issues?  Are they prepared to protect us in the event of a helicopter accident?

Did you verify that “OneLegacy” has enough liability insurance to cover the cost of the loss of life and property in case of an accident?

The fiscal impart in your staff report states it maybe an increase in sales tax and business license revenues. I don’t believe that it is legal to sell harvested body parts in the United States of America.

Please consider the health and safety of our families, friends and neighbors first and foremost. Please vote NO on this Conditional Use Permit for “OneLegacy”.

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