PAMF Chimney Type Parking Garage Vents Dispel Hazardous Air Pollutants Adjacent to Residential Homes


How did the objectionable, massive, 94dBA Parking Garage Exhaust Vents for the Sunnyvale Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF),  fly under the radar without full public disclosure or analysis?

Architects Hawley Peterson Synder state the purpose of the imposing PAMF Garage Exhaust Vents, is to ventilate the carbon monoxide/air toxins/exhaust accumulating from vehicles circulating, parking and exiting PAMF’s two-level, 150,000 s.f. underground garage to total the capacity of 399 parking spaces.

Notably non-existent and missing from the PAMF Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) and the Final Environmental Impact Report(FEIR) were any identifiable Architectural Illustrations, discussions or analysis of the loud, powerful vent structures designed to be placed just a few feet away from residential homes.

PAMF Parking Garage Exhaust Vents

14 Foot Tower PAMF Parking Garage Exhaust Vents Adjacent to Residents Home

(Click image to enlarge)

The placement of the vents was discovered shortly before the June 8th Sunnyvale Commission Hearing, when, despite months of meetings with the Sunnyvale Planning Staff, a keen resident, Tynna Jones, pointed to the two empty boxes on an illustration, identified simply with an “x,” at both the northwest and northeast of the PAMF site design and asked “what are these?”

Trudi Ryan, serving as both PAMF EIR Lead Agency and Sunnyvale Planner, responded, oh, I don’t know, I’ll find out.”

Thus began a frustrating, perilous quest to find out what the function of the vents were for, what would be the intensity of the noise measured by dBA, what amount and how dangerous would the toxic emissions be (still not adequately answered), Air Quality impacts, the distance from each property lines, etc, only to be subject to vague and non-responsive answers from the Sunnyvale Planning Staff.

As a matter of fact, Sunnyvale Planner Steve Lynch replied to our inquires “Your comments will be forwarded to the Sunnyvale Commissioners.” “Comments?” we replied, “these are questions!”

Our questions were of little concern to the Sunnyvale Planning Staff and never fully answered.

This illustration of the vents, from Hawley Peterson Synder Architects, was presented and viewed for the first time on June 23, 2009 during the Council Hearing.

Both Sunnyvale Council Members John Howe and Melinda Hamilton remarked about the vents during the hearing, “I wouldn’t want to live near those . . .” yet approved and voted “yes” anyway.

Solely identified by decibel levels of the PAMF parking lot vents for each (east and west unit): FEIR Appendix J, pg 13 states 94 dBA at 5 feet. Both vents are 40-horsepower garage exhaust fans and very close to residential homes. According to Table 2, 94 dBA falls within the range of Night Club with live music.

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