After receiving a 20-page letter attacking a plan to expand the Ventura County Medical Center, county officials Tuesday postponed a decision on whether an environmental review of the proposed project is adequate.
The Environmental Report Review Committee is scheduled to consider the issue again at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday at the county Government Center in Ventura.
The postponement marks the second time the committee has delayed voting on the project's draft environmental impact report in the face of opposition from residents who live near the hospital. The committee must give its blessing to the environmental review before it can be forwarded to the Planning Commission.
On Wednesday, attorney Mark Pachowicz, who has emerged as a leader of the opposition, restated the neighbors' concerns that the environmental review does not thoroughly address alternatives to the proposed project. He also said it does not go far enough in discussing the negative effects of the project on the neighborhood.
Earlier in the week, Pachowicz sent the county a letter--written by a San Francisco attorney Pachowicz paid to review the environmental report--that outlined his concerns. The committee postponed its vote because attorneys for the county have not had time to respond to that letter.
As detailed in the environmental review, the expansion includes building an ambulatory care center, a five-story parking structure, a mental health facility and new quarters for the medical examiner's office.
The county has said the project will eliminate overcrowding and consolidate much-needed clinics now housed in trailers and smaller buildings.
Opponents say they are not trying to defeat the entire project, but want it redesigned to move the proposed structures farther from their homes.
Agnus Drive resident Jean Bartel said she believes carbon monoxide fumes from cars in the proposed parking structure will worsen her health and that of her husband.
"We will never be able to open our windows, even on the hottest days of summer," she said at Wednesday's meeting. "What kind of existence is that?"