Kaiser appeals trailer decision

Commission cites design issues for imaging vehicle; Kaiser sees growing demand

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO — Kaiser Pemanente’s South San Francisco Medical Center is appealing a decision by the city’s Planning Commission that denied the medical group’s attempts to bring in a second mobile imagery trailer.

Due to increasing demand for scans driven by the capabilities of new technology and the aging population, Kaiser Medical Center anticipates future needs reaching beyond their abilities, but the Planning Commission denied their project application for a fire protection wall allowing such new mobile units.

The South San Francisco City Council will hear Kaiser’s appeal of the decision Wednesday night. In a staff report, Planning Department officials recommended the council uphold the decision because the trailer and wall are “inconsistent with the city’s design guidelines and are incompatible with the design of the Medical Center and the future Linear Park,” according to the report.

Kaiser wants to bring in a mobile CT imaging trailer that, due to fire protection requirements, needs an 18-foot-tall wall between the trailer and medical center.

The new trailer would occupy space vacated by a mobile magnetic resonance imaging unit, which is not needed now because of the center’s new MRI service inside the building.

“There will be a need over time to have this flexibility to bring in a truck to replace, say, when the CAT scan equipment needs replacement,” said Dr. Michelle Caughey, the physician-in-chief at Kaiser South San Francisco.

The medical center has an internal CT scan service and a mobile trailer, which sits on the other side of the building at 1200 El Camino Real. Caughey said that within the month they’d begin revamping the internal service but because they don’t have the needed firewall, the medical center would be cut down to one temporary CT scan trailer.

The Planning Commission “reluctantly” denied the firewall design Aug. 3, according to the staff report, because it believed any new structure should be in a “more permanent fashion,” said Susy Kalkin, the acting chief planner for South San Francisco.

Upgrading the space behind the medical center would provide the hospital more flexibility, Caughey said, because the new generation of imaging trailers requires such protections.

“It’s about meeting anticipated future needs because we know we’re going to have to continue to expand these services to our members and upgrade at intervals,” she said.

The South San Francisco City Council meets Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. in the Municipal Services Building, 33 Arroyo Drive.

dsmith@examiner.comBay Area NewsLocal

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