Children's Views Hearing Examiner Denial as Unreasonable

Today Seattle’s Hearing Examiner recommended in a 37-page report that the City Council should deny the proposed Major Institutions Master Plan to expand Children’s Hospital in their current Laurelhurst community.

Today Seattle’s Hearing Examiner recommended in a 37-page report that the City Council should deny the proposed Major Institutions Master Plan to expand Children’s Hospital in their current Laurelhurst community.

The Hearing Examiner’s findings are at odds with the Citizen’s Advisory Committee and the director of the Department of Planning and Development (DPD) who both recommended approval of the Master Plan and testified to its merits at two Hearing Examiner proceedings.

“We are surprised and concerned by the Hearing Examiner’s findings,” said Dr. Thomas Hansen, CEO at Seattle Children’s Hospital. “With all due respect, we feel the Examiner’s decision is just plain wrong. We are confident that the City Council will recognize the strength of our proposal and approve it.”

“Without this expansion we are compromising access to immediate, quality care for the children in our region who need it most,” added Hansen.

“In the last three weeks we have been near capacity with few beds available and we haven’t even hit flu season yet or the anticipated demands that will come from swine flu,” said Hansen. “This is a serious situation and it puts our region’s children in a vulnerable position.”

Based on the Findings and Recommendation report, Examiner Sue Tanner was favorable on many conclusions. Yet she recommended against approval of the Master Plan based on what she described as “balancing” issues. These issues included the expansion not happening within an urban village and the projected traffic impact.

“Our position and rationale for expansion has not changed,” said Hansen. “We feel we have gone above and beyond what is required in meeting neighborhood concerns and addressing both traffic and housing impacts. From a legal standpoint, we do not believe the City’s code is in conflict with our expansion plan.”

Children’s opened its Laurelhurst campus in 1953 and has worked closely with their neighbors over the years to minimize the impact of the hospital’s growth.

“We have tirelessly dedicated ourselves to minimizing the impact on our neighbors,” said Hansen. “We have significantly revised our master plan several times to address neighbors’ concerns and to minimize future housing impacts and traffic congestion.”

“We plan to immediately appeal the recommendation to the City Council,” said Hansen. “If we are unable to obtain a favorable decision on our Master Plan in a timely manner we will need to consider other options that would be extremely regrettable, including a gradual relocation of our hospital facilities - including our downtown research campus - to a single site outside the city of Seattle.”

About Seattle Children’s

Seattle Children’s Hospital, Foundation and Research Institute together deliver superior patient care, advance new discoveries and treatments through pediatric research, and raise funds to create better futures for patients. Consistently ranked as one of the top 10 children’s hospitals in the country by U.S. News & World Report, Seattle Children’s Hospital specializes in meeting the unique physical, emotional and developmental needs of children from infancy through young adulthood. Through the collaboration of physicians in nearly 60 pediatric subspecialties, Seattle Children’s Hospital provides inpatient, outpatient, diagnostic, surgical, rehabilitative, behavioral, and emergency and outreach services to families from around the world.

Located in downtown Seattle’s biotech corridor, Seattle Children’s Research Institute is pushing the boundaries of medical research to find cures for pediatric diseases and improve outcomes for children all over the world. Internationally recognized investigators and staff at the research institute are advancing new discoveries in cancer, genetics, immunology, pathology, infectious disease, injury prevention, bioethics and much more.

Seattle Children’s Hospital and Research Foundation and Seattle Children’s Hospital Guild Association work together to gather community support and raise funds for uncompensated care, clinical care and research. The foundation receives nearly 80,000 gifts each year, from lemonade stand proceeds to corporate sponsorships. Seattle Children’s Hospital Guild Association is the largest all-volunteer fundraising network for any hospital in the country, serving as the umbrella organization for 450 groups of people who turn an activity they love into a fundraiser. Support from the foundation and guild association makes it possible for Seattle Children’s care and research teams to improve the health and well-being of all kids.

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