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Update: Sofitel Withdraws Application to Allow Commercial Helicopter Landings

Councilman Paul Koretz says the hotel has dropped its plans for its helipad.

UPDATE: The Sofitel Hotel will no longer pursue its plan to use its emergency evacuation helicopter landing pad for commercial landings, reports Los Angeles 5th District Councilman Paul Koretz, who has also changed his position on the matter.

“I have concluded that the community is not ready to support even a trial period [of commercial landings]," Koretz said in an announcement released Tuesday. "I therefore have strongly urged the hotel not to proceed with consideration of this potential service and am pleased that the hotel has agreed not to pursue approval of this service.” 

Koretz, who previously served on the West Hollywood City Council from 1988-2000 and also represented the California 42nd District in Sacramento from 2000-2006, represents the Sofitel area and lives less than a mile away. He sent a letter to Caltrans supporting the plan on March 25.

“I am comfortable with the granting of a temporary license while additional analysis is conducted on the permanent application,” he sad in the letter.

As , the 10-story Sofitel, located at 8555 Beverly Blvd. across from the Beverly Center, was in the early stages of applying to have the conditional use permit for its helipad changed to allow for commercial landings.

Although the hotel is within Los Angeles city limits, the West Hollywood city boundary is directly behind the hotel.

Residents in the West Hollywood West neighborhood, north of the hotel, were bitterly opposed to the idea. Noisy helicopter traffic from the nearby Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and the  is a regular concern.

Government leaders weighed in, opposing a luxury hotel’s plan to use its emergency evacuation helicopter landing pad for commercial purposes.

West Hollywood City Councilmen John Duran and John D’Amico, with California 42nd District Assemblyman Mike Feuer, sent letters to the California Department of Transportation, voicing strong opposition to the upscale Sofitel Hotel’s proposal to use the helicopter pad on its roof for nonemergency landings.

In a letter sent Monday to Caltrans, Duran and D’Amico said, “We want to emphatically convey to you our opposition to the issuance of a permit to allow nonemergency flights to land at the Sofitel hotel.” The letter goes on to say such landings would be “detrimental to the quality of life and health of our residents.”

Feuer, who represents the Sofitel’s district in Sacramento, joined by L.A. County 3rd District Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, also sent a letter to Caltrans. That letter, dated April 1, said that they “strongly oppose the issuance of a ‘helistop’ permit.”

Their letter also said that the helipad, while providing a luxury to a few, will impact residents in more than 1,000 homes in the area. "This concept is unacceptable even with the proposed limited hours of operation and the proposed requirement that these nonessential helicopter flights follow business corridors on their approaches and departures,” the letter states.

Additionally, West Hollywood Mayor John Heilman, while not opposing the hotel’s plan, did send an email to Caltrans on Monday asking that the City Council be allowed to “review and respond” to the Sofitel’s application.

Calls to Sofitel general manager Gunther Zweimuller asking for verification were not returned. Similarly, emails and phone calls to Mike Leary, the consultant the Sofitel hired to get the helistop approved, were also not returned.

Weho Patch will continue to try to get a comment from the Sofitel. Please check back for further updates.

Jerome Cleary April 06, 2011 at 04:42 PM
Helicoptors in that area are for hospitals and police emergency not for pampered execs trying to beat LA traffic
me April 06, 2011 at 05:15 PM
just read the good news in the LA Times!!!!!....congrats to all who fought this potential nightmare!!!!!
MarkD April 07, 2011 at 10:08 PM
Thanks to the Johns -- Duran and D'Amico -- but where in the heck was the rest of West Hollywood's City Council on this? Do the Sofitel and film execs from Malibu make campaign donations?
jimmy palmieri April 08, 2011 at 01:36 PM
Thanks John Duran and John D'amico, as they understand the current needs of the people. WHY IN THE HELL WOULD JOHN HEILMAN EVEN ENTERTAIN THE IDEA OF REVIEW? Is he that out of touch with the peoples needs? Where was Land and Prang? Do they not see the detrimental effect this "entitlement landing pad" would have on us mere mortals? SEE THE FOREST FOR THE TREES FOLKS. THERE IS A REASON WHY YOUR APPROVAL RATINGS ARE AT AN ALL TIME LOW.
me April 08, 2011 at 03:09 PM
YES!!....couldnt have said it better myself....and since we have to put up with these sneaky DOOFS until the next election, lets us watch their every move like white on rice!!
Edd Holman April 08, 2011 at 10:44 PM
"the hotel is within Los Angeles city limits, the West Hollywood city boundary is directly behind the hotel." Since the Hotel is NOT IN West Hollywood, the council of West Hollywood really has no legal say in the matter.
me April 10, 2011 at 03:09 AM
the city has as much "legal say" as we all do in the matter; the city and the residents "could" have sued....the helipad is legally to be used for emergencies only, by law....as it turns out, 2 west hollywood councilmen DID speak out publicly in opposition to this, and it carries a lot of weight locally....it would have been interesting to see what weho would have done had the hotel continued to persue it tho
Jerome Cleary April 10, 2011 at 03:16 AM
Everyone anywhere has their own "legal" say about anything they want to raise hell about and no city limits, boundaries or people should ever say anything about someone else's freedom of speech or view.

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