Newport Beach Residents Still in Hullabaloo Over Hoag Hospital

Residents of the Villa Balboa condominium complex in Newport Beach (background) say they are still bothered by noise from Hoag Hospital, despite remediation efforts like this noise barrier.

Adam Elmahrek

Residents of the Villa Balboa condominium complex in Newport Beach (background) say they are still bothered by noise from Hoag Hospital, despite remediation efforts like this noise barrier.

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Thursday, April 29, 2010 |For more than 20 years the residents of a Newport Beach condo complex have fought an adjacent hospital over the obstructed views and noise the hospital creates.

That battle is showing no signs of letting up, as evidenced by the lambasting council members and residents gave an official of Hoag Hospital at the regular city council meeting Tuesday.

Councilman Steven Rosansky blasted Hoag’s Sanford Smith from the dais, saying he was dodging a request to show how the hospital will comply with a development agreement that calls remediation of the noise created by its trash compactors.

“I was extremely disappointed in Hoag Hospital . . . they border on being flippant,” Rosansky said.

Smith said Hoag will come back with a definitive plan to remedy the trash compactor location within 60 days. “Certainly it was not my intent to seem flippant . . . and I think…to blow you off,” said Smith, head of the hospital’s facilities construction and operations, in response to Rosansky.

Hoag’s compliance with its development agreements have been an issue in the city for more than 20 years. Residents of Villa Balboa condominium complex, located near Newport Boulevard and Pacific Coast Highway, have continually complained about obstructed ocean views and high noise levels from the hospital’s loading dock.

Hoag signed off on an agreement with the city in May of 2008 to address the issues. And the hospital has spent $7.5 million to put up a sound wall, encase loading dock construction equipment and pay for agreement fees.

Hoag officials Hospital spokesperson Debra Legan says the hospital has made “a lot of progress” and that the money Hoag spent will impact patient care services. “It’s not like we sat around for two and a half years and approved it yesterday,” Legan said.

And city council Tuesday passed a resolution Tuesday that said the hospital was in “good faith” compliance with the agreement.

But condo residents say the hospital has not done enough. Resident Mary Petropoulos said she is still upset that city residents don’t get an ocean view from Sunset Ridge park, which is adjacent to the hospital and the condo complex.

“I refuse to roll over and play dead,” Petropoulos said.

Resident Ross Robado, says he is still bothered by noise coming from a second loading dock located near his condo and that Hoag did not build its sound wall long enough. “Another 60 ft. (of wall) would have solved the problem,” Robado said.

The hospital is also mandated to install sound-proof windows for condo residents who request them. However, Hoag just recently agreed — a few hours before the city council meeting — to a $500,000 bid secured by the Villa Balboa Homeowners Association. Before then it was insisting on a $400,000 bid it secured separately.

One thing Hoag has not complied with is the relocation of a large trash compactor away from the main loading dock. Hoag says it could not move the compactor because it scrapped plans to tear down the original 1952 building and build another tower.

The compactor was to be moved to the other side of that building. Now the hospital says it is not sure how to meet that point of the agreement.

Rosansky was not happy with their explanation.

“To say I don’t know and I don’t know when is not an acceptable answer,” he said.

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