Summary of Changes to Children's MIP, Sept. 2010 PDF
LCC Comments on DPD's EIS Addendum for Children's MIMP, August 25, 2010 PDF
LCC Comment Letter to DPD Regarding Children's Inconsistencies with MIMP, August 6, 2010 PDF
LCC Comments to Seattle Design Commission on Draft Design Guidelines, April 2010 (downloads Word document to your desktop)
Now Alternative 7r Alternative 8
View from Sand Point Way NE looking southeast; Wells Fargo in foreground.
Feb. 10, 2010: Joint Press Release from LCC and Children's on Settlement
Seattle Children’s and Laurelhurst Community Club Find Balance on Hospital Master Plan
Master Plan Now Before Seattle City Council for Consideration
For further information, contact:
Jennifer Seymour, Seattle Children’s, 206-987-5207
Stan Sorscher, LCC Secretary, 206-255-4393
Jeannie Hale, LCC President, 206-525-5135
SEATTLE: February 10, 2010 ¡V Seattle Children’s Hospital and the Laurelhurst Community Club (LCC) announced that they have reached a settlement concerning the hospital’s proposed expansion. The settlement was jointly presented this morning to the City Council as providing a path forward for City approval of Children’s proposed Major Institution Master Plan.
The Settlement Agreement negotiated by Laurelhurst Community Club and Seattle Children’s Hospital acknowledges important principles on both sides of the debate over Children’s expansion in Laurelhurst. It achieves a compromise between the need for Children’s to expand and the livability of the adjacent neighborhoods, in response to the appeals of Laurelhurst and its co-appellants. The agreement is consistent with and builds upon the foundation of compromises that Children’s and LCC have developed with the Department of Planning and Development and the Citizens’ Advisory Committee Majority and Minority reports. Children’s and the Laurelhurst Community Club acknowledge the role that participants have played in achieving a solution that allows everyone to move forward. And, the parties hope that the City Council, after due consideration consistent with its controlling role, will recognize and include the provisions of the settlement agreement in its master plan decision.
“We believe the proposed terms in the agreement will further strengthen the balance between Children’s critical need for more beds and the livability of the neighborhood,” said Dr. Thomas N. Hansen, CEO at Seattle Children’s. “The agreement allows us to build the 600 beds we need while further aligning our needs and those of the community. We are hopeful it will ease some of the burden on the City Council. Still, we recognize that the City Council must weigh all information and plans along with this agreement before making their final decision.”
Stan Sorscher, a member of the Laurelhurst Community Club Trustee committee that negotiated the Agreement, commented:
“It took hard work and many weeks of careful listening by both sides to work out a settlement agreement. The agreement announced today allows the hospital to grow and meet its needs while providing long term protections for the surrounding residential community. The two sides’ success in settling represents a watershed in hospital/community relations. The Community Club now looks forward to building on that success as the settlement and its agreed Master Plan are implemented.”
Summary of Seattle Children’s/Laurelhurst Community Club Settlement Agreement provisions:
In addition to these new provisions, Children's remains fully committed to, and LCC supports, the mitigation measures and community benefits previously agreed to throughout the process to date including community transportation enhancements and pedestrian/bicycle improvements.
What Is LCC's Position on Children's Expansion Plans? Nov. 4, 2009 click here
City Council Meeting Schedule for Seattle Children's Proposed Master Plan (PDF)
Secret Agreement Between Children¡¦s and City, and Paid Media Blitz to Pressure City Council Mark Failure of Public Process
The Seattle Children¡¦s Major Institution Master Plan (MIMP) appeals now before the City Council are the most hotly contested quasi-judicial City land use matters in memory. By law, the Council must decide the appeals as judges, on the record, without outside pressure or influence. This makes it essential that the Council have unbiased legal advice as it adjudicates the appeals. Two recent revelations, described below, mark the failure of this public process.
The first revelation came when the City Attorney¡¦s Office stonewalled a routine LCC Public Records Act request for communications with Children¡¦s, revealing for the first time that the City Attorney¡¦s Office has been in a ¡§Common Interest and Joint Defense Agreement¡¨ with Seattle Children¡¦s since January 2009.
The Agreement is labeled ¡§confidential¡¨ as if it concerned national security rather than a public land use application. It commits the City Attorney¡¦s Office and the City¡¦s land use regulatory agency, the Department of Planning and Development (DPD) to an alliance with Children¡¦s specifically to obtain approval of Children¡¦s preferred MIMP. It was consummated months before the Hearing Examiner began hearings and months before she issued her August 2009 38-page denial recommendation, based on the record, that Children¡¦s plan should be denied. Yet, the City Attorney¡¦s Office and DPD agreed with Children¡¦s in January 2009 that, no matter what occurred, no matter what came out in the Hearing Examiner hearings, and no matter what the Hearing Examiner recommended and why, they would work together to obtain approval of Children¡¦s MIMP.
Under the Agreement only those elected officials who the City Attorney decides have a ¡§need to know¡¨ and who are committed to the Agreement¡¦s purpose ¡V approval of Children¡¦s MIMP ¡V are entitled to access information about the Children¡¦s application.
How could the City Attorney and DPD one year ago enter into an agreement to push for the applicant¡¦s plan, no matter what the City Hearing Examiner decided? How can the City Council fulfill its role as a court when its legal advice comes from a City Attorney¡¦s office that kept the Agreement hidden from the Council? To date, the Council has not responded to these questions. Nor has it responded to LCC¡¦s repeated request that it hire independent outside counsel. Meanwhile, Children¡¦s and the City Attorney¡¦s Office have been shrill in their opposition to independent legal advice for the Council. What are they afraid of?
The second revelation was obvious on our streets, in our newspapers, and from broadcast and Internet outlets: an unprecedented paid media campaign explicitly pressuring the judges (the City Council) to immediately approve Children¡¦s plan without qualification.
The ads demanded ¡§City Council: Approve the Expansion NOW¡¨ and urged the public to tell Councilmembers to do so. What¡¦s wrong with that? Everything when the rule is that the Council decision must be made on the record and the law, not in response to a public pressure campaign. Would it be acceptable in a lawsuit involving the City if there were a paid media campaign, aimed at the Judge, demanding that the Court immediately rule against the City and urging the public to pressure the Court to do so? Of course not. LCC therefore asked the Council to take forceful action including an independent investigation and discipline for parties and attorneys involved in the paid media blitz for Children¡¦s. But no meaningful action has been taken.
LCC continues to need your financial support as it works within the process to urge a sound and fair solution. Please consider an additional contribution to help cover the costs of our attorneys and consultants. Secure donations may be made online.
Thank you for your continued generosity and support.
Update on City Council Proceedings Regarding Children's Master Plan Application
Seattle City Council¡¦s Planning Land Use and Neighborhoods Committee met Nov. 18 to begin consideration of Children¡¦s Major Institution Master Plan. The next meetings will be in January 2010.
The key land-use decision before the City Council, is whether, under City Code, Children¡¦s is entitled to approval of its demand for a tripling in development, and acres of institutional boundary expansions, in one Seattle neighborhood. The Hearing Examiner answered this question with a carefully considered ¡§no.¡¨ LCC supports the decision.
In their appeals and replies to the City Council, Children¡¦s and their support groups have attacked both the Hearing Examiner¡¦s decision and LCC.
September 29, 2009
LCC's reply to claims by Children's and other appellants, submitted to the City Council. Download a PDF here.
September 21, 2009
LCC's response to the appeals of the Hearing Examiner's "Findings, Conclusions, and Recommendation" filed by Seattle Children's and their surrogates as well as DPD. Download a PDF here.
August 25, 2009
LCC's appeal of the Hearing Examiner's Fallback Provision and Conditions and Related Findings and Conclusions here. Download a PDF here.
August 19, 2009
LCC's Op-Ed "Hearing Examiner Made the Right Choice Rejecting Seattle Children's Expansion Plan," published in The Seattle Times.
August 11, 2009
City of Seattle Hearing Examiner recommends the City Council deny the proposed Master Plan for Children's Hospital. "Children's is asking that the proverbial 'square peg' be forced into a 'round hole,' but it does not fit." Read the "Findings, Conclusions, and Recommendations." Download a PDF here.
August 11, 2009
City of Seattle Hearing Examiner Recommends the City Council Deny the Proposed Master Plan for Children's Hospital
Download the full Findings and Recommendations (PDF).
Here are a few key highlights from the Conclusions section. (Note: PDF files do not cut/paste well, so some characters/numbers are only accurate in the original.)
Height District Rezone
36. As discussed above in the section on development standards and transitions, the requested rezones are inconsistent with two of the Code's zoning principles and two of the criteria that must be used to select appropriate MIO height districts.
38. Although greater than 40 feet, the proposed MIO 160/140 and MIO 160/125 districts may be considered outside an urban village, but only if the proposed heights would be consistent with an adopted neighborhood plan, a major institution's adopted master plan, or the existing built character of the area. SMC 23.34.008 8.4. Laurelhurst is outside an urban village and has no adopted neighborhood plan. The proposed heights are not consistent with Children's adopted MIMP, which caps heights at 74 feet. And the proposed heights are not consistent with the area's existing built character, which consists of one-and two-story single-family residences, lowrise multifamily development, and a small amount of lowrise commercial development. The only non-institutional development in the area that is not lowrise is the 100-foot nonconforming condominium west of Sand Point V/ay and south of Hartmann. However, that building is an anomaly, and is not immediately adjacent to any single-family or lowrise multifamily development. From the west and south, impact of towers 95 to 110 feet taller than the adjacent single family or lowrise development will be stunning
42. Children¡¦s was part of the Laurelhurst neighborhood when the Council designated urban centers and urban villages during the comprehensive plan process in the 1990s, yet the Laurelhurst area was not designated as an urban center or village.
43. lt is apparent from the FEIS Land Use section that Children's expansion under the proposed MIMP is inconsistent with the city¡¦s urban village strategy. Although major institutions are permitted outside urban villages/centers, Children's seeks heights that exceed those of any other major institution located outside an urban village or center. Exhibit 22, Attachments H *? l. The significant, unmitigated traffic, and height, bulk associated with Children's proposed expansion result largely from the fact that the MIMP proposes development outside an urban village at an intensity that is designed for development within an urban village. Children's is asking that the proverbial "square peg" forced into a "round hole," but it does not fit.
44. The city's general policy toward significant, unmitigatable traffic impacts stresses enhancement of non-SOV travel modes that could increase the person-carrying capacity of the transportation system without necessarily increasing vehicular capacity. However, the amount of time it takes to get to work and back, to shop, and to complete the other tasks of daily life, either by bus or by car, is a component of the vitality and livability of an area. When a major institution that produces thousands of daily trips during peak hours is located in an area with two severely congested transportation corridors that are utilized by 50 percent of its employees, it may be necessary to explore a less ambitious expansion. The same is true with respect to the significant height; bulk and scale impacts of the proposed MIMP at the west and south boundaries of the Laurelon Terrace site' as discussed above.
45. The MIMP approved for Children's may well be viewed as precedential by other institutions located outside urban growth areas. It may also send a signal to the owners of property at the perimeters of those major institutions about the stability of neighborhood zoning. It will clearly shape the character of the Laurelhurst neighborhood. And it will decide the future of some of the properties adjacent to the perimeter of the expanded campus.' See Exhibit 22, Attachment G.
46. In this situation, it is essential to scrutinize need relative to alternative development scenarios. Children's has avoided this scrutiny by not providing any alternatives that would afford less than 2.4 million square feet of development area. The Code provides that "appropriate" institutional growth within boundaries is to be permitted while minimizing associated adverse impacts. SMC 23.69.A02 A. And the major institution's ability to change, and benefits associated with that change, are to be balanced with the need to protect the livability and vitality of adjacent neighborhoods. SMC 23.69.002 B. The Code does not dictate what that balance should be. Therefore, even if Children's could demonstrate that it should absorb the entire statewide need for specialty pediatric care, it is not necessarily entitled to this intensity of development, in this place, at this time.
Seattle Hearing Examiner Upholds Laurelhurst Community Club Appeal of Children¡¦s Hospital Expansion Environmental Impact Statement
April 20, 2009
SUMMARY: In a decision dated April 20, 2009, Seattle Hearing Examiner Sue Tanner reversed the Director of the Seattle Department of Planning and Development¡¦s (DPD) determination of adequacy and ruled that the Seattle Children¡¦s Hospital final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) is inadequate. The decision came in response to an appeal by the Laurelhurst Community Club (LCC). In her decision, the Hearing Examiner stated that ¡§the FEIS fails to present a reasonably thorough discussion of probable significant housing and land use impacts¡K¡¨ The Hearing Examiner has remanded the matter back to DPD.
THE APPEAL: State law requires that an environmental impact statement (EIS) be prepared before a decision is made on a major project impacting the environment. By law, an EIS must be a ¡§hard look¡¨ at environmental issues and impacts. The EIS requirement was readily triggered by Children¡¦s proposal to virtually triple development on its Laurelhurst campus, adding 1.5 million square feet in buildings up to 160 feet high and at the same time expanding the campus by leapfrogging across Sand Point Way.
Throughout the EIS process, LCC protested that the Children¡¦s EIS avoided rather than acknowledged important land use issues, including the inconsistency of the proposal with the City¡¦s Growth Management Act Comprehensive Plan. LCC also pointed out that the EIS lacked basic data and analysis concerning Children¡¦s proposal to acquire and then demolish 136 affordable, garden style homes, an important housing resource for the City and the neighborhood. When the City and Children¡¦s rejected LCC¡¦s requests that the EIS be brought up to standard, LCC appealed. The appeal, filed in November 2008, was heard by the Hearing Examiner as part of the open public hearing on the Children¡¦s application, commencing on March 2, 2009.
THE DECISION: In her decision dated April 20, 2009, the Hearing Examiner agreed with LCC that: ¡§The FEIS must include an analysis of land use impacts that will enable the decision-makers to make the requisite balancing judgments and reach an informed decision on the proposed MIMP [major institution master plan].¡¨
She then concluded: ¡§Instead, much of the discussion of the land use section of the FEIS reads as an advocacy piece for the proposal.¡¨
The Hearing Examiner also ruled that the FEIS failed ¡§to provide necessary information on the scope and details of the impact of demolishing 136 units of moderate-income housing [the Laurelon Terrace garden condominium complex]¡K.¡¨
LCC REACTION: In responding to the Hearing Examiner¡¦s ruling, LCC President Jeannie Hale, stated: "It is not often that a community group can succeed on an EIS appeal especially when both the City itself and a major Seattle institution are lined up against it. LCC appreciates that the Hearing Examiner took the time to review the volumes of information about Children¡¦s proposed expansion and to validate key LCC concerns about the shortcomings in the EIS. Preparation of new EIS analysis that does not shrink from acknowledging the problems in Children¡¦s proposal is just the first step toward a more appropriate Children¡¦s expansion, consistent with the City¡¦s Code and Comprehensive Plan, and neighborhood concerns."
LCC attorney Peter Eglick, who has handled several other cases involving area major institution expansions, commented: "All Seattle citizens and communities benefit from this decision. What is telling about the Hearing Examiner¡¦s decision is her adoption of LCC¡¦s argument that the EIS improperly ¡§¡Kavoids responding to a potentially unfavorable policy by using a canned statement that appears to presume that approval of the [Children¡¦s Master Plan] is a foregone conclusion.¡¨ When the City¡¦s own hearing examiner condemns in such terms a lengthy City EIS, it is a wake-up call that the City cannot just go through the motions."
Ruling calls review of Children's Hospital expansion impacts inadequate
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
By AUBREY COHEN
Seattle Children's (formerly Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center) is located near the intersection of Sand Point Way and NE 45th Street in Seattle. It is a widely recognized regional center for pediatric care, research and education.
Children's Proposed Master Plan Hearing, March 2009
LCC Proposed Master Plan Conditions, March 2009
Laurelhurst Community Club Proposed Master Plan Conditions (PDF)
(Additional conditions may be suggested at hearing.)
LCC supports Recommendations 2 through 12* of the Citizens Advisory Committee’s February 3, 2009, Final Report and Recommendations regarding Children’s Hospital proposed expansion and master plan, with modifications, including those as indicated from CAC Minority Reports. Download the PDF to read the full document.
LCC supports the mission of Seattle Children’s, its important work, and reasonable expansion on its current site consistent with laws and state standards for hospital expansion.
An expansion of 1.5 million square feet with an additional 350 beds raises questions not only about the impacts of the massive expansion upon the surrounding communities but also calls in to question how Children’s has calculated its bed need for the future.
LCC hired independent hospital, land use, and transportation consultants to analyze and assess the plans. LCC¡¦s consultants¡¦ work demonstrates that a much more modest expansion plan ¡V one where the proposed bed expansion complies with the state board of health methodology regarding bed need ¡V could meet Children's proposed needs. A successful plan also would allow for mitigation of expansion impacts.
Public Hearing on Children¡¦s Begins March 2, 2009
In November, LCC appealed the adequacy of Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Children¡¦s to the Seattle Hearing Examiner. The Public Hearing to consider Seattle Children¡¦s application for approval of its Major Institution Master Plan is scheduled for the week of March 2 to 6; it begins Monday at 9 a.m. LCC's appeal hearing on the adequacy of the EIS is March 4. Hearing Examiner¡¦s Office, 700 Fifth Ave., Suite 4000.
The SEATTLE CHILDREN¡¦S HOSPITAL MAJOR INSTITUTIONS MASTER PLAN CITIZENS ADVISORY COMMITTEE Final Report and Recommendations was submitted on February 3, 2009, to Seattle City Council and the Hearing Examiner for the City of Seattle.
It is available at http://www.seattle.gov/neighborhoods/pubs/ChildrensAdvisoryRpt.pdf.
From the February 2009 Laurelhurst Letter:
Children¡¦s Plans Clear Advisory Committee
After 19 months of work, the committee finalized its recommendations on February 2 approving Children¡¦s request to allow 1.5 million square feet of new development, expansion of the hospital¡¦s boundaries to include Laurelon Terrace and the Hartmann property across Sand Point Way, and building heights up to 140 feet.
As of February 4, 13 minority reports were filed by individual CAC members or coalitions of members. Minority reports addressed such issues as limiting building heights to 105 feet; not expanding institution boundaries across Sand Point Way; restricting vehicle access from residential streets to service and fire access; prohibiting vehicle access along 40th Avenue NE; building the SW Parking Garage below grade; increasing setbacks along NE 45th and 50th Streets to 75 feet; changing the phasing of when the Hartmann property would be rebuilt should it be included in Children¡¦s boundaries; and preparation of a new alternative with less than 1.5 million square feet. A separate minority report recommended that square foot expansion be limited to 704,000 square feet. Other reports addressed committee operations and procedures.
After the CAC finalized its reports, it was learned that, in its master plan, Children¡¦s had excluded ¡§circulation¡¨ and ¡§below grade¡¨ square footage in the maximum 2.4 million square feet of total campus development. This could add hundreds of thousands of square feet to the expansion. There was no clarification or correction from Children¡¦s over the last year and a half and this point did not come to DPD¡¦s attention until Carol Eychaner, LCC land use consultant, discovered it February 3. This impacts the CAC¡¦s final recommendations. The City agrees that the Committee was operating without correct information.
Read CAC member Mike Wayte's minority report, which provides a very candid overview of the process and challenges that CAC faced.
From the December 2008 Laurelhurst Letter:
LCC Appeals Children¡¦s Expansion EIS
LCC has appealed to the Seattle Hearing Examiner the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Children¡¦s Hospital Expansion. Children¡¦s proposes to virtually triple the size of its Laurelhurst campus, leapfrogging its current boundaries and crossing Sand Point Way. LCC¡¦s appeal, filed on November 24, charges that the Children¡¦s EIS understates the expansion¡¦s harmful impacts, including gridlock, and refuses to study any compromise alternatives that would help prevent them. The LCC appeal asks that the Hearing Examiner send the EIS back to the drawing board.
The Laurelhurst neighborhood¡¦s residences and businesses are the major community stakeholders in the City¡¦s review process for Children¡¦s proposed expansion. During the past year, throughout the Children¡¦s Advisory Committee process of public meetings and comment, Children¡¦s has refused to compromise on its demand that the City allow it to add 1.5 million square feet of new development at building heights of up to 160 feet ¡V heights never before allowed in Seattle¡¦s low-density, single-family areas such as Laurelhurst. At the same time, Children¡¦s has demanded approval for its institution boundary to leapfrog adjacent private property and spill over across Sand Point Way ¡V a major arterial. Both are strongly discouraged by City regulations.
LCC supports Children¡¦s core mission; however, LCC filed its appeal because Children¡¦s has refused to compromise on the scope and scale of their proposed expansion. Traffic gridlock and infrastructure have not been addressed; reasoning for a 140-bed psychiatric hospital on its campus has not be explained; and plans include unneeded beds and services. In filing the appeal, LCC also notes support for the City¡¦s regulations that call for a balance between hospital demands and Seattle¡¦s need for viable in-City neighborhoods.
LCC attorney Peter Eglick, who has handled several other cases involving area hospital expansions, explained: ¡§Unfortunately, hospitals are now businesses in cutthroat competition with each other as much as they are community institutions. Children¡¦s latest plan is a product of this competition to grab as many health care dollars as they can in as many fields as possible, regardless of specific need or costs to the health care system as a whole.¡¨
The City¡¦s EIS on the Children¡¦s expansion was prepared by outside consultants ultimately paid by the hospital. While it is supposed to reflect a balanced City perspective, the EIS instead presents as an advocacy piece for Children¡¦s. Even Children¡¦s proposed new psychiatric hospital, which is unprecedented in Washington and contrary to established public policy for de-institutionalization, is given no critical scrutiny. As a result, LCC has asked that the Hearing Examiner send the EIS back to the City and the hospital for correction and reissuance. n
At the September 9, 2008, CAC meeting, Children’s introduced two new alternatives in response to comments on the DEIS; both, however, still are based on an increase of 1.5 million square feet -- representing an unprecedented rezone and expansion in a low-density, single-family area.
Read the formal appeal.
Children's Action -- a community group that "encourages Children's to grow in a manner compatible with family-friendly neighborhoods" -- supports an "expansion of first-class care throughout Children's state-wide service area (including Laurelhurst) while discouraging excessive concentration of services at a single, congested site." Find current information about meetings, consultants' reports, summary of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), analysis, and more at this site.
From the September 2008 Laurelhurst Letter:
Partnerships Needed to Tackle Tough Issues Surrounding Expansion
The proposed 1.5 million square-foot expansion presents a particularly challenging and complex issue for Laurelhurst neighbors and nearby Northeast Seattle residents. What constitutes an acceptable balance between the public benefit from the proposed expansion and the legal requirement to protect the livability and vitality of the surrounding neighborhoods?
The August Laurelhurst Letter provided facts from independent consultants that questioned how Children’s has calculated its bed need for the future – the entire basis for the size of any expansion. Children’s has not revealed the formulas used for arriving at their projections. However, an over-projection of bed need and excess capacity likely will result in increased health care costs, adverse impacts on other health care providers, and fewer services in areas closer to home where children’s inpatient health care is needed.
The expansion of the scope proposed for the Laurelhurst campus requires collaborative, critical thinking on issues of regional infrastructure, transportation, land use, growth management, and more. Compromises surely must be made. But, how can the size of any expansion exceed the ability of the infrastructure to support it and still serve the needs of Children’s patients and their families?
At the September 9 CAC meeting, Children’s planned to introduce an alternative in response to the City’s comments on the DEIS. Children’s CEO Tom Hansen, vice president Ruth Benfield, and Peter Steinbrueck were invited to attend the September 8 LCC Board of Trustees meeting to present the plan; however, they declined.
LCC looks forward to working with Children’s in partnership as discussions on how best to address these complex issues move forward and plans evolve for Children’s expansion.
From the August 2008 Laurelhurst Letter:
Just How Big Should Children’s Grow?
LCC supports the mission of Children’s Hospital, its important work, and reasonable expansion on its current site consistent with laws and the state standards for hospital expansion. But an expansion of 1.5 million square feet with an additional 350 beds raises questions not only about the impacts of the massive expansion upon the surrounding communities, but also calls in to question how Children’s has calculated its bed need for the future.
Children’s has proposed ten times the number of beds that it will need in the next 20 years according to one independent study.* According to this study, using the state Department of Health’s 12-step methodology, 40 beds may be needed by 2026 – nowhere close to the 350 proposed by Children’s. And, why has Children’s proposed nearly 200 of these beds for psychiatric needs when that specialty is not listed as a priority in its strategic plan?
With its current capacity of 250 beds, and using a 75% average occupancy, Children’s can provide 68,437 patient days of care in any given year and will not need any new beds until after 2015. This contrasts with Children’s estimate that it will need 228 additional beds by 2015 and 350 by 2026.*
In Seattle, Swedish Hospital’s inpatient pediatric services now care for more King County children than does Children’s. *
In 2005, Children’s appealed to the Department of Health to block Swedish Hospital from building a new hospital on the growing Eastside, claiming it would concentrate “too many beds” in one place and that “The need for Swedish’s pediatric beds is essentially nonexistent.” Former president and CEO Treuman Katz wrote: “Children’s is strongly opposed to Swedish’s proposal to establish a dedicated 8 bed inpatient pediatric unit. All available data suggests that the demand does not exist for such a unit, and that rates for inpatient pediatric care continue to decline within the service area....” The appeal is still pending. And now, just a couple of years later, Children’s insists that it must build 350 additional beds on its own site, for a grand total of 600 beds in one place.
Patients often require transfer to Children’s from area hospitals because of the scarcity of pediatric beds in the area. Why not add inpatient beds to the fast-growing Eastside and South Snohomish county regions?
Children’s proposal to add 350 beds would create an imbalance in the distribution of hospital beds among the institutions that provide inpatient pediatric care for Washington’s children and considerable economic burden on patients, health insurance purchasers, carriers, and taxpayers.*
Children’s projects its number of psychiatry beds will need to increase from its current capacity of 20 beds to 194 by 2026. The Field study projected approximately 13 beds for 2026 using the Department of Health method. It has been recommended that Children’s explore locating the psychiatric beds at a different facility as this type of care typically does not require the same medical equipment and staffing as acute care.
In the last master planning process, the City authorized Children’s to expand by 250,000 square feet. This plan appropriately addressed health care needs, provided open space, and mitigated the impacts of the expansion as required under the applicable laws.
Despite evidence to date, Children’s has refused to compromise and alter its plan to more than double its Laurelhurst campus. The result likely could mean excess bed capacity resulting in increased in health care costs, adverse impacts on other health care providers, fewer services in areas closer to home where children’s inpatient health services are needed. Children’s plan also does not address the estimated 42,000 trips per day to the hospital, as determined under the standard Institute of Transportation Engineers formula, and other environmental impacts associated with the proposed expansion.
Study of Bed Projections for Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center, Based on Department of Health 12-Step Method (PDF)
Field Associates, January 2008
Legislature Paves Way for Demolition of Laurelon Terrace
SHB 3071 permits a vote of 80 percent of Laurelon owners to terminate their 136-unit Laurelon Terrace garden condominium. Prior to passage of the bill, 100 percent agreement was required. Children?s Hospital has made an offer to purchase the property. Their offer to owners -- nearly three-times market value -- is contingent on multiple terms including approval of Children?s proposed Major Institution Master Plan. A sale will result in the loss of 21 percent of the moderate income housing in the Laurelhurst/Sand Point area.
From the February 2008 Laurelhurst Letter:
Children's Acquires Neighborhood Properties Valuing More Than $9.4 Million in Eight Months
The information, researched by LCC's land-use consultant Carol Eychaner, reflects King County records pertaining to property acquisitions near Children's Laurelhurst Campus as of January 24, 2008.
CHRMC has purchased five single-family houses around the perimeter of its campus. All purchases were made since June 2007. The total cost of these acquisitions is more than $4.1 million.
CHRMC has purchased 20 units in Laurelon Terrace, representing 15.2% of the total ownership. All purchases were made since October 2007. The total cost of the Laurelon Terrace acquisitions is more than $5.3 million.
The total acquisition cost of the single-family and Laurelon Terrace properties, since June 2007, is $9.4+ million.
Downtown Property Acquisitions
In three separate transactions, CHRMC acquired two adjacent city blocks in the underdeveloped, Denny Triangle urban center (downtown) -- one full block plus all except for the corner parcels of another block. The acquisitions were an 11-story biotech building with lab space (October 2006), a surface parking lot with a small, one-story retail building (May 2007), and a 7-story building (December 2007)
The underlying zoning of the two blocks is DMC 340/290-400 (340' height limit). Development of these properties would more than fulfill Children's long-term goal for a research center with a total of 1 million gross square feet, or 600,000 net square feet. The total acquisition cost of the downtown properties is approximately $188.5 million.
How Many Beds? An Independent Analysis
Using Washington state's standard methodology for calculating hospital's bed needs, Field Associates, specialists in healthcare and hospital planning, prepared "Study of Bed Projections for Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center Based on Department of Health 12-Step Method." This independent study on Children's need for beds, reported findings quite different from those proposed by Children's.
Two of the most surprising findings are:
CHRMC proposes ten times more new capacity than this study finds is warranted through application of the Department [of Health]'s method.
In Seattle, Swedish Hospital's inpatient pediatric services now care for more King County children than does CHRMC.
Further excerpts from the study:
Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center (CHRMC) is proposing ... approximately 350 new inpatient beds. ... Based on the Department's published method of distributing hospital beds across the state, this study finds no support for the addition of inpatient beds to CHRMC's current capacity of 250 beds until after the the year 2015. A small increase in beds -- up to 40 -- may be warranted by the year 2026. (This is at the very end of CHRMC's 15- to 20-year master plan planning horizon).
Under the Department of Health's projection method and using the data currently available, CHRMC's addition of any more than 40 pediatric inpatient beds before 2026 would create an oversupply of such beds in Washington. The CHRMC proposal to add 350 beds would create an imbalance in the distribution of hospital beds among the institutions that provide inpatient pediatric care for Washington's children. ...
In light of such an oversupply... the CHRMC Master Plan can be expected to have unwanted impacts on the financial and program viability of other hospitals and to unnecessarily increase the cost of health care both locally and in the state. ...?
A January 14, 2008, Seattle PI editorial cast doubt on the hospital's projected need to expand and raised questions about the wisdom of building heights that are only allowed in urban centers. The piece concluded that the hospital should be working with the Laurelhurst community to resolve differences.
Press Articles and Neighborhood Groups regarding the proposed Children's Expansion:
Letter from Carol Eychaner to DPD dated 07/25/08
EKW letter to DPD re: DEIS Comments: 07/25/08
Letter from LCC to Dept. of Planning re: Public Hearing - 07/09/08
LCC's comments at Public Hearing - 07/10/08
Field Associates comments on Children's DEIS: 07/28/08
Letter from Northeast District Council re: Comments on DEIS - 07/24/08
Northeast District Council comments on DEIS - 07/24/08
Final Traffic Comments on CDEIS from GTC - 07/15/08
Gibson's Traffic Consultants comments on Children's DEIS: 07/15/08
LCC Comments on the DEIS - 07/10/08
Study of Bed Projections Summary of Findings - June 2008
Letter to Fabiola Greenawalt re: Follow Up on Public Records Request - 05/27/08
Letter to Stella Chao, Director of the Department of Neighborhoods - 05/07/08
Letter to Ethics division re: Ethics Inquiry re Theresa Doherty - 05/06/08
Letter to City Council re: April 21 Briefings Meeting - 04/22/08
Letter to City Council re: Amendment to Resolution 31002 - 04/21/08
Letter to City Council re: Filling Vacancies on the Children?s Citizens Advisory Committee - 04/15/08
Letter to Stella Chao re: Filling Vacancies on the Children?s Citizens Advisory Committee - 04/10/08
Letter to Dept. of Neighborhoods re: March 18th CAC Meeting - 03/17/08
Letter to Senator Weinstein re: Yes SHB 3071 is about Property Rights ? Vote No - 02/27/08.
Letter to Senator Weinstein re: SHB 3071 -02/26/08
Letter to Stella Chao re: Filling Vacancies on the Children?s Citizens Advisory Committee - 02/25/08
Preliminary Review of Children's Offer - 02/21/08
Further letter to Ethic's Commission regarding Steinbrueck's Employment at Children's - 02/08/08
Letter to Ethic's Commission regarding Steinbrueck's Employment at Children's - 02/08/08
Memo to House Representatives further opposing HB 3071 - 02/07/08
Letter to Children's regarding Steinbrueck Employment at Children?s - 02/07/08
Memo to House Representatives opposing HB 3071 - 02/06/08
Memo from Carol Eychaner re: CHRMC Property Acquisitions - 01/29/08
Table of Property Acquisitions relating to Master Plan - 01/29/08
Field Associates Bed Study Report 01/22/08
Letter to Dept of Neighborhoods re: CAC Process Issues - 01/15/08
Hospital Consultant Report - Study of Bed Projections - 01/22/08
Cover Letter from Carol Eychaner: Handouts from January 8, 2008 CHRMC Meeting - 01/08/08
Seattle Major Institutions - Zoning Comparison Chart - 01/08/08
CHRMC Property Information - 01/08/08
CHMC Height Comparison Chart - 01/08/08
CHMC Properties Map - 01/08/08
Children's Bed Need Chart Analysis - 11/13/07
Memo from Children's to the CAC re: Status of Transportation Planning - 11/28/07 (Word document)
Letter to Dept of Neighborhoods re: Potential Violation of the City?s Ethics Code - 11/14/07
Letter to Mayor re: Neighbor Exclusion from Children?s Media Event - 10/30/07
Memo from Carol Eychaner re: Comments on DPD's EIS Scoping Letter - 10/22/07 (Word document)
Letter to Ruth Benfield (Children's) re: Children's Rejection of LCC's Alternatives - 10/22/07
Letter to Dept of Planning re: Study of LCC Alternatives in the Children?s EIS - 10/22/07
Letter from Dept of Planning to Children's re: the inclusion of LCC's Alternatives be included in EIS - 10/12/07 (Word document)
Letter to EnviroIssues re: Children's Expansion - 10/20/07
Letter to Children's requesting information about Survey - 10/09/07
Schedule of Upcoming Meetings - Progress and Prelim Draft Review Phases - added 10/21/07 (Word document)
List of Formal Document and/or Review Items in the Major Institutions Program - added 10/21/07 (Word document)
DPD Letter to Children's about inclusion of LCC's Alternatives - 10/05/07 (Word document)
Letter to Dept. of Neighborhoods regarding Open Public Meeting Law - 10/01/07
Letter to Children's on Follow Up of Availability of Model for Neighbors - 09/27/07
Flyer from LCC about Sept 26 Community Meeting.
Letter to Children's Citizen's Advisory Committee Chair Karen Wolf - 09/19/07
Comments from Carol Eychaner regarding EIS scoping - 09/05/07
Letter to Children's Hospital re: Misrepresentations in Children's Plan - 09/05/07
Letter to Children's Hospital re: Availability of Model for neighbors (second letter) - 08/28/07
Letter to Children's Hospital re: Availability of Model for neighbors - 08/24/07
LCC's Preliminary comments re: Concept Plan - 08/23/07
Letter to Dept. of Planning and Development about extension of comment period - 08/07/07
Letter to Scott Ringgold about extension of comment period - 08/07/07
Resolution before the Urban Development and Planning Committee - 07/25/07
Letter to Councilmember Peter Steinbrueck re: Planning Process - 07/23/07
Letter to Planning Committee re: CHMC's comments on resolution - 07/20/07
Children?s Master Plan Advisory Committee Draft Resolution (Word document)t
Letter to Dept of Neighborhoods regarding Request for Information about committee applicants - 05/20/07
Letter to Dept of Neighborhoods regarding composition of Master Planning Advisory Committee - 05/16/07
Letter to Dept. of Neighborhoods about Master Planning Advisory Committee - 05/05/07
Letter to Children's Hospital about LCC concerns over expansion plan - 03/29/07
Letter to Children's Hospital regarding the new expansion - 04/23/07
Letter to Dept. of Neighborhoods regarding educating neighbors about master planning - 04/04/07
Flyer about serving on the Children's Master Plan Advisory Committee (Word document)
Responsibilities of the Children's Hospital Citizens Advisory Committee - 02/22/07 (Word document)
From the Laurelhurst Letter:
Past Construction Updates
Medical helicopter landings - CHMC Reports to the community