What are the steps toward Helipad approval?
An Environmental Impact Report (EIR) is required by
state law and that is being prepared now. This
must discuss the effects a SFGH helipad on the environment,
which includes the effect upon people in their day-to-day lives.
Based upon the EIR findings, the San Francisco Planning Department will (probably) approve the helipad.
The Planning Department's decision will be appealed to the Board of Supervisors.
If the Supervisors vote to approve the helipad, then there
will be a legal challenge if there are significant errors in the Environment Impact Report.
Noise and Crash Danger will be the main EIR issues.
Both San Francisco ordinance and State of California law prohibit loud noise levels in residential areas. The Planning Department has hired a noise measurement firm,
which specializes in helicopter project approvals (Harris, Miller, Miller & Hansen), to complete the Noise Impact section of the EIR. That report will be released in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement in January 2007.
That Noise Report is expected to draw the same conclusions as the 2003 Feasibility Study, Chapter 6:
That the ambient background noise in the immediate neighborhood of the hospital is currently 65 dBs;
That the addition of up to 3
helicopter landings and 3 takeoffs a day would NOT increase this 65 dB ambient background noise level.
These numbers were obtained by:
Measuring the ambient noise at the loudest times of day at the loudest
locations near the hospital;
Measuring noise output from a smaller helicopter than the ones to be regularly used;
Averaging the sound of the helicopter landing into the total sound over a 24 hour day.
conclusions are necessary for the helipad project to
proceed. We must hire our own noise experts to
take more reliable noise measurements that will
produce accurate conclusions.