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Plano Residents Opposed To New Medical Center Helipad

By Sharrie Williams, CBS 11 News
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Cook Children's Medical Center Fort Worth

(Credit: Facebook)

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PLANO (CBSDFW.COM) – After implementing a Comprehensive Stroke Program, the Medical Center of Plano has seen a significant increase in the number of patients being flown in by helicopter and has asked the city for another helipad.

According to the hospital, the number of helicopter transportations has skyrocketed from 18 flights in 2008 to 107 in 2010.

While it may be positive growth for the hospital, residents living nearby, like Linda Gibson, have a different point of view.

“They come in low,” Gibson said. “I mean we can see the people in the helicopter now. We have no privacy in our back yard.”

To handle the growing volume of helicopter transports, the hospital is now asking the city for a second helipad. The move would require the city to approve a zoning change.

State law requires that property owners within 200 feet of the proposed rezoning be notified, which the city did.

But Gibson’s home and others in her neighborhood aren’t within the 200-foot area. But they are close enough to see the hospital.

“I’m upset they didn’t let us know that it was coming in,” Gibson said.

“We hear every helicopter. And there has been at least one so big it shook the china,” she added. “‘So what are you talking about? How could you have not informed us?'”

Royse Clayton, a homeowner in the area for 16 years, agrees.

“As a citizen I want to be informed by the city. What type of air traffic is it going to be and what the impact is going to be on the neighborhood?” he asked.

Although the state law only requires notice to those within 200 feet, the City of Plano says it reached out to homeowners associations within 1,500 feet out of courtesy but had no luck reaching that particular neighborhood.

“We checked and we do not have a contact person for homeowners in that area,” said Phyliss Jarrell, Director of Planning for the City of Plano.

“They are more than welcome to come to the meeting and get up and tell planning commission and council what they’re thoughts are.”

The Planning and Zoning Commission will vote on the measure Monday during a 7 p.m. meeting. If it passes, it will go before the city council next Monday.

“Seems to me 200 feet doesn’t quite cut it when the sound of helicopter transmits 1,000 feet,” Clayton said.

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