Wednesday, November 12, 2008

HMNMH Countdown: Reason 9 To Say No

Reason 9: Rhymes with Fugly

The Henry Mayo campus expansion is going to be ferociously ugly. Dozens of mature trees will need to be ripped out, and it will take decades before anything comparable grows back. Parking structures will assault our aesthetic sensibilities with their massive concrete facades. A skyline once lush and leafy will be replaced by one barren and boxy. The reason that street-level renderings aren’t shown on Henry Mayo’s website is because they would drive home the point of just how grotesquely over-built the campus stands to become.

But ugliness is just part of the problem. With its 5-story parking structures and industrial looking medical office buildings, the expansion will forever change the character of this highly visible bit of Valencia. Until now, the well-planted berm along McBean and the Summit-ish hillside at the rear of the campus have done much to camouflage the hospital. This will no longer be possible with buildings twice or more as tall as present structures. People don’t want to look at such a scene, so home values in the vicinity will decrease, contrary to Mayor Pro-Tem Ferry’s people-love-to-buy-next-to-hospitals assertion. And it's not just the visible environment that will change for the worse. Echoes and increased traffic will flood nearby homes with sound pollution, and there will almost certainly be more odors from exhaust and waste. A precedent will be set for other businesses that want to build high and dense along McBean. In short, the area will stop looking and feeling like a pleasant, quiet neighborhood.

Most everyone would be OK with forever blemishing our landscape with the expansion if only we were assured that we’d get a bigger, better inpatient building. But there are no assurances, no guarantees. The City Council shouldn’t take destroying the character of whole neighborhoods lightly. The fugly factor: it’s the ninth reason to say “No!” to the Master Plan.

1 comment:

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