Panel delays decision on hospital’s rezoning request

Planning Commission slated to meet on Monday, May 17.

By EVAN YOUNG

Residents who oppose a move by St. Anthony’s Medical Center to expand its campus may have some of their concerns alleviated next week.

The county Planning Commission voted unanimously during an executive session May 3 to delay a decision on St. Anthony’s request to rezone its property to an entirely commercial district from a mix of residential and commercial districts.

The medical center wants the nearly 104 acres along Kennerly and Tesson Ferry roads in Concord rezoned so it can proceed with what it contends is a 25-year master plan to add new medical offices, parking and other facilities.

But commissioners are asking St. Anthony’s to amend that plan to address concerns of residents who live just north of the campus.

Some residents of the Nottinghill subdivision believe the proposal could harm their property values as several of the proposed additions to the St. Anthony’s campus, such as surface parking lots and a parking garage, would abut their backyards.

Residents also are concerned about a higher volume of traffic and increased stormwater runoff onto their properties from the proposed parking lots.

Commissioners want the medical center to consider changing its plan so that no building or parking structure would be constructed between the Nottinghill boundary and an internal road that is proposed where Sunset Drive currently exists — a space of roughly 325 feet.

Under St. Anthony’s proposal, work would begin next year on the master plan’s first phase, which involves removing Anthony House and building a four-story, 120,000-square-foot medical office building to the northwest of the main hospital — one of five office buildings proposed in all.

Besides a 25-year window, though, there is no definitive timeline for building the remaining proposed additions; they would be added based on the needs of the community, St. Anthony’s officials have said.

Other proposed additions and changes to the medical center campus include:

• Removal of the two-story, 51,353-square-foot Hyland Center.

• Relocation of the existing heliport.

• Addition of a two-story, 50,000-square-foot wing of medical offices and a two-story, 20,000 square-foot emergency pediatrics wing to the main hospital.

• Construction of a one-story, 14,000-square-foot maintenance storage building.

• Construction of a 3,034-square-foot electric substation.

But after an April 19 public hearing at which 15 people raised their hands against the proposal, St. Anthony’s officials met with Nottinghill residents and submitted to the county a revised master plan that:

• Eliminates a 20,000-square-foot central utility plant that was 95 feet from the Nottinghill boundary, which residents have contended would’ve created noise.

• Increases the setback of surface parking lots from the Nottinghill boundary to 40 feet from 20 feet.

• Increases the setback of a four-story medical office building and conference center from the Nottinghill boundary to 100 feet from 50 feet.

• Reduces the height of one of three proposed parking garages — the structure closest to Nottinghill — from five stories to three stories.

• Increases the landscaping buffer between the subdivision and St. Anthony’s property.

• Reduces the amount of additional parking to 4.12 spaces per 1,000 square feet of medical offices from the normal 4.5 spaces per 1,000 square feet of medical offices, which would decrease stormwater runoff.

The Department of Planning has recommended approval of St. Anthony’s plan but has added its own suggestions:

• Increase the surface parking setback an additional 50 feet and include a landscape berm.

• Limit the height of parking lot lights located within 200 feet of the Nottinghill boundary to 16 feet, which is the standard for subdivisions, and 24 feet everywhere else. The lights also should incorporate a “shoe box” design to better direct the light into the lots and limit the amount of light visible from Nottinghill properties.

• Use environmentally friendly building and design concepts.

The Planning Commission’s next meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday, May 17, in the County Council chambers, 41 S. Central Ave. in Clayton.