By Cassandra Clark, Project Communications Director
YOUR HELP IS NEEDED!
We are only a week away from the Alameda County Board of Supervisors hearing in which the Board will consider the Final Environmental Impact Report, zoning changes, and Castro Valley general plan changes. We are asking for your support at this critical step.
Local groups and some residents of San Leandro are applying fierce political pressure on the Board members to deny approval. Their reason? The future of San Leandro Hospital is unknown, and therefore they are pressuring the Board of Supervisors to require Sutter Health to keep San Leandro Hospital open as a condition of approving the land use for the new hospital in Castro Valley.
What wrong with this? First of all, the Board of Supervisors are not voting on the future of San Leandro Hospital—they are having a public hearing on the land use entitlements and certifying the EIR. To delay or deny approval based on pressure about San Leandro is wrong.
The future of San Leandro Hospital is not and should not be tied to the new hospital. Indeed, San Leandro Hospital is a critical issue that must be addressed—and it requires a regional solution, more careful planning, and a separate focus than this project. It’s an important issue that cannot be overlooked, for the sake of the staff, physicians and patients. But the complex issues at one hospital should not be tied to the land use entitlements for the new hospital project.
Simply stated, by delaying plans for the new hospital, the Board will jeopardize the future of Eden AND San Leandro hospitals.
I am asking you to attend the Board of Supervisors meeting on May 12 and SPEAK UP in favor of our new hospital. Speakers are limited to 3 minutes, but a simple 30-second statement is powerful. The Board needs to know that residents of Castro Valley and surrounding communities want and need this new hospital, without delays.
Tuesday, May 12
Board of Supervisors Meeting Chambers
1221 Oak Street, Oakland
If you cannot attend the meeting, we need to you to contact the Alameda County Board of Supervisors and have you voice your opinion. It is so important that the Board hears from everyone, especially since the majority of people in our community support this project (an astounding 80% of community members are in favor according to recent polls!).
Call your Supervisors today!
Supervisor Nate Miley — 510-272-6694
Supervisor Alice Lai-Bitker — 510-272-6693
Supervisor Gail Steele — 510-272-6692
Supervisor Keith Carson — 510-272-6695
Supervisor Scott Haggerty — 510-272-6691
Thank you for your continued support!
As always, we also appreciate your comments and questions on this blog, and we’ll respond as quickly as possible.
By Jesús Armas, Government Affairs Liaison
As we discussed in previous posts, acute care hospitals must meet certain earthquake standards by 2013. Failure to meet these standards means that hospitals must cease operations. Recognizing the critical role Eden Medical Center plays in meeting the health care needs of the community, Sutter Health previously expressed its commitment to build a new, state-of-the-art hospital in Castro Valley. Yet, this important project can move forward only if it obtains certain approvals from the County.
We are pleased to report that this project is getting closer to becoming a reality as a result of important decisions by the Alameda County Planning Commission.
On April 6, the Commission voted unanimously to recommend to the Board of Supervisors that it certify the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and modify various General Plan and zoning regulations to allow this project to advance closer to the start of construction.
During the Commission meeting some public speakers expressed concern about the future of San Leandro Hospital. While the Commissioners acknowledged the points expressed by the speakers, they also expressed their unwavering support for this project, and stressed the importance of not imposing obstacles to the start of construction.
With a favorable recommendation from the Commission, project consideration now advances to the Board of Supervisors. UPDATE: On May 12th, the Board will hold a public hearing on the project (postponed from the original date of April 28th). At that time, the Board will be asked to approve the project based on overwhelmingly favorable public testimony to date, and positive recommendations not only from the Alameda County Planning Commission but also the Castro Valley Municipal Advisory Council and County Planning Staff. Assuming a favorable Board action, site work will commence this summer. Overall, construction will take between 24 and 30 months.
We will update this blog with additional information about the Board of Supervisors meeting on May 12th when we are notified. As always, we welcome your questions, concerns and comments.
By Cassandra Clark, Project Communications Director
This week, the Alameda County Planning Department presented the final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for Sutter Castro Valley Medical Center and related documents to the Castro Valley Municipal Advisory Council for review and approval. The Council is an advisory board of seven community members who work on behalf of the unincorporated town of Castro Valley and serves as advisor to Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley.
This is one more essential step toward approvals to allow the new hospital project to move forward. The meeting drew a large crowd interested in the future of Eden Medical Center and in health care in the region. Many audience members spoke highly of the project and showed their support for Eden and the new hospital.
There were several members of the audience in attendance who voiced their concerns about the future of San Leandro Hospital, located 4.5 miles from Eden and struggling to survive in these tough economic times. The 93-bed hospital is part of Eden Medical Center and provides services to the San Leandro community.
There has been much discussion about the future of this hospital due to significant financial losses and decreased utilization. While the future of San Leandro Hospital is still unknown, it is clear that it cannot continue as it is today. Sutter Health and the Eden Township Health Care District (the owner of San Leandro Hospital) are working toward a solution for the hospital so that it continues to provide health care services in a way that meets the needs of the community.
While members voiced their concerns about San Leandro Hospital, they moved forward and approved the issue before them: the land use entitlements and EIR for the Castro Valley project. There was no opposition based on the merits of the project, the land use, nor the environmental impact. What the Council did ask was for the Board of Supervisors, in their approval process, to consider if San Leandro Hospital’s future has an impact on this project.
The next step in the approval process is the Alameda County Planning Commission (April 6) and the Board of Supervisors (April 28)—and both of these are opportunities for us to address how this project will serve the region’s health care needs. But without these land use approvals, the Castro Valley project cannot move forward. And, as we have stated so many times before, this essential project must advance on an accelerated timeline in order to meet the state-mandated deadline of January 1, 2013. After that date, the existing hospital can no longer function as an acute care hospital and must close its doors.
Solving health care problems requires intensive and collaborative efforts. It’s a regional issue, not one that can be solved by one organization alone. What is certain is that we have a new hospital project before us that is fully funded, without tax or public funds, and the first to come forward in Alameda County to meet the State’s earthquake safety standards. It is an amazing project, and one that should not be held back while health care providers in the region work toward a viable solution for San Leandro and other hospitals that are struggling to survive.
We’ll have more information on these issues as they evolve, from experts far more experienced than me. So, in the meantime, I encourage you to view the video prepared for the Castro Valley Municipal Advisory Council by our architects, the Devenney Group. The animation is a fly-over and fly-through of the new hospital and campus. Enjoy!
We’re hosting another Community Open House on Wednesday night, March 18th, from 7:00-8:30 p.m., at the Eden Hospital Conference Center, 20103 Lake Chabot Road, in Castro Valley, California. You’ll be able to see more of the architectural renderings of the beautiful new Sutter Medical Center Castro Valley and get an update on our progress. You’ll learn more about the proposed schedule for construction, and get answers to your questions and concerns. We’ll be serving refreshments, and members of our project team will be available to talk with you. We look forward to seeing you there!
You can also stay informed by reading this blog regularly, especially if you subscribe by email or RSS feed. Just click on the orange RSS icon on the right side of the blue bar above for simple subscription instructions.
If you’re on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, FriendFeed, or other social networks, you’re invited to connect with us online. The links to our social network communities are in the right side bar. Our blog is also now featured in Alltop, in the Health section!
Please let us know if you’re a member of another online neighborhood, health care or business network that members of our project team might join to discuss plans for the new medical center. We would be glad to participate!
By Jesús Armas, Government Affairs Liaison
Last December, the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for the Sutter Medical Center Castro Valley project was released for public review and inspection, and a 45-day public comment period commenced. During this time (the comment period ended January 20, 2009), the Castro Valley Municipal Advisory Council and the Alameda County Planning Commission held public hearings to present their comments and to receive comments from interested individuals and organizations.
Additionally, the County’s Planning Department made the document available for review in its offices and in the Castro Valley library, and we posted the document here on our site. The local media also helped get the word out that the report was available for public review and comment.
As one of our previous blog posts indicated, the DEIR contains relevant information documenting whether and how the project is expected to impact the environment and how the identified impacts will be lessened. Established procedures determine which issues must be addressed in an EIR, but among the most common are traffic, air quality and noise.
The Planning Department is charged with the responsibility to collect public comments, and to prepare responses to all comments submitted by interested parties. The responses to the comments, together with the Draft EIR, constitute what is called the Final EIR. It is this latter document that is presented to and considered by the governmental body with authority to act on a project.
Now that the environmental review process has been completed, it is possible for the Castro Valley MAC, Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors to consider the merits of the project and decide whether to grant approval to move forward with this important and critical project for our community.
The MAC is tentatively scheduled to consider the project on March 23rd, while the Planning Commission is expected to do so on April 6th. A meeting date for the Board of Supervisors has not yet been established.
Once meeting dates, times, and locations are confirmed, we will post that information. We invite you to return to this site to get the most current information about these important meetings.
Prior to the formal meetings, we will be hosting a community and neighborhood meeting to review the project and respond to your questions in a more informal setting. The meeting will be held at Eden Medical Center’s Conference Center, 20103 Lake Chabot Road in Castro Valley, on March 18th, at 7 p.m. We’ll have some exciting updates for you and a chance to meet and ask questions of the members of the project team.
As always, we welcome your comments at these meetings or on this blog.
By Cassandra Clark, Project Communications Director
On October 22, 2008, we invited the community—and particularly the neighbors—around Eden Medical Center to come to the hospital to learn about the new Sutter Medical Center Castro Valley project. We had representatives from the hospital, Devenney Group (the architectural team), Sutter Health, the social media team, and others available to meet our neighbors, hear their feedback and answer their questions. We’ll be posting video clips from the event in the next few days, so keep an eye on our Video Gallery and the featured video box in the right sidebar.
The good news was that the project was well-received, with high praise for the design and sensitivity to the community. We had great questions asked of us, and excellent comments for us to consider as we move ahead (regarding traffic patterns, noise abatement and other important concerns). While we had a very active and interested audience, we hope even more people in the community will join us at future events we plan to host in the coming year. Keep reading this blog, because we’ll announce upcoming community events here.
We realize that people are very busy, and going to the hospital isn’t something most people like to do even when they are healthy! So, we plan to take our presentation on the road, attending events and meetings to hear what folks have to say. We’ll post any future meeting dates and times in our News Room. And, of course, we will use this new blog site to reach a much wider audience, particularly those who live in our community who may not otherwise get involved.
There is a misperception that the people in Castro Valley, San Leandro, Hayward and beyond are not too familiar with social networks, blogs and all the new ways to communicate with each other over the Internet. I hope to change that perception by grabbing new readers and subscribers in our area and far beyond.
So, think of this site as our community meeting. Stay informed. Subscribe to this blog to get regular updates by email or RSS feed. Tell us what you think by commenting on individual posts. Together, we have a great opportunity to shape the future of our medical center.