I was big fan of the sitcom "Mash", a highly rated show from years back. The show opened with helicopters landing war wounded patients at an army field hospital as doctors and nurses ran out holding down their hats and skirts and screaming to each other over chopper noise and rotor spin.
Hawkeye and Hotlips, two main characters on the show, would have loved the latest episode of Overlook Hospital presenting its case to the Summit Zoning Board for putting a huge helipad on top of its building. If Overlook's presentation to the Board was a golf game its testimony last night was another shank in the woods, or as my father used to say, a doosy.
The Overlook attorney wanted to show the Board that the landings and take offs of it's own "Mash" chopper were not going to have a negative impact on property values in Summit. His expert witness was a certified real estate appraiser who put together a report to that effect. To qualify the witness the attorney asked the appraiser how many appraisals he had performed in his career. The witness proudly stated that he was involved in over three thousand of them.
Here's where it started going bad for the hospital.
The Board chairman interrupted and wanted to know how many of the three thousand appraisals had to do with helicopters or helipads. Uh oh! Not even one.
The Overlook attorney then asked the appraiser what method he used for his study. He went on to describe in great detail about pared data analysis models, updated kitchens, big houses, small houses, isolated major features, blah, blah.
Then the Board chairman interrupted again. He wanted to know how the appraiser got to the conclusion that helicopters were a factor in his methodology. The Overlook attorney wasn't looking too happy by now and the attorney representing the growing number of concerned citizens hadn't even cross- examined his witness yet.
When the turn for the residents' attorney came, we found out that the appraiser never interviewed any home owners, never polled realtors or brokers for their professional opinions, was not intimately familiar with the state realtor property disclosure form and didn't know the distances from the study hospitals to their surrounding neighborhoods. Oh, and he got his flight route information from guess who? Overlook Hospital.
The clock saved Overlook before the resident's attorney had a chance to come in for the kill as the bell sounded the end of the evening. The massacre continues at the next hearing if the appraiser isn't too afraid to come back.
Mash had great ratings but last night's Zoning Board meeting beat it by a country mile. I hear there's a new show creeping up in the ratings. It's called " The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight".
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