Medical campus proposal meets opposition in Acres Green

Residents in Acres Green are worried what it will mean to have a new hospital nearby

Posted 8/13/19

The City of Lone Tree is entertaining a proposal to bring a medical campus near the Park Meadows area, and residents of a nearby community have concerns about what that will mean for them. SCL Health …

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Medical campus proposal meets opposition in Acres Green

Residents in Acres Green are worried what it will mean to have a new hospital nearby

Posted

The City of Lone Tree is entertaining a proposal to bring a medical campus near the Park Meadows area, and residents of a nearby community have concerns about what that will mean for them.

SCL Health submitted a proposal to rezone and buy the land for a 25-acre hospital campus. The city reviewed its initial proposal and asked SCL Health to resubmit. The city is awaiting the modified proposal.

Some residents of an area just outside the city, in the Acres Green neighborhood, have voiced strong opposition to the proposal SCL Health brought to Lone Tree officials to rezone and develop the land, near C-470 and Park Meadows Drive, for a hospital and medical campus with a helicopter pad.

According to the rezoning application submitted to the city, SCL Health initially proposed to build a six-story, 440,000-square-foot hospital with about 200 beds. The proposal is still in the early stages and has not yet been approved by Lone Tree City Council or the planning commission. The proposed site is about a 2 1/2-mile drive from Sky Ridge Medical Center in southern Lone Tree and about 8 miles from Littleton Adventist Hospital.

Acres Green residents met with representatives from SCL Health Aug. 2 to discuss the issue. Roughly 60 people attended, according to Jean Henke, of the Acres Green HOA.

“When there have been rezoning requests and changes to the (planned developments) in the past, our concerns were not taken seriously (or) taken into account and changes were approved anyway,” Henke wrote in an email Aug. 8.

Many expressed concerns with the proposal to extend the height limitations for the proposed helicopter pad.

City officials said they have received no concerns from Lone Tree residents about the proposed project, located west of Yosemite and south of C-470 along Park Meadows Drive.

SCL Health issued a statement regarding the concerns:

“We have been working closely with our partners in Lone Tree and surrounding communities to understand and address any concerns about potential future development of the property we are looking to purchase. We are in the very early stages of planning and due diligence. Right now, we are only seeking approval to rezone the property to offer more flexibility for possible future development. We are committed to keeping an open dialogue with the local communities as this process unfolds."

Henke said some Acres Green residents' concerns include:

• Noise levels, primarily from the helicopters, may increase.

• Traffic through Acres Green Drive and Park Meadows Drive may increase.

• The height of the helipad could cause unwanted light to shine into the neighborhood.

• The residents of Acres Green will be impacted more than the citizens of Lone Tree.

Acres Green sits in unincorporated Douglas County, yet the 48-year-old neighborhood is almost surrounded by Lone Tree. It has a population about one-fifth the size of Lone Tree's 15,000 residents. Acres Green is just south of the proposed development. It is the only neighborhood close enough to the proposed area to be affected by it. There are no Lone Tree neighborhoods that would likely be affected by the development.

Many Acres Green residents who went to the July 31 meeting were hesitant to comment after the fact for various reasons. Some said they were still unsure or undecided about the proposal because, of all things, a medical campus is not the worst thing that could be built there, and the city is likely to develop the land anyway.

There are currently two medical office buildings near the proposed site, a Spine One and Universal Health Center just west on Park Meadows Drive.

City officials have long touted Lone Tree's health care industry. Lone Tree became home to the county's first hospital, Sky Ridge, in 2003. Now, roughly 40 percent of the businesses in Lone Tree are for health care or social services. Jeff Holwell, the city's economic development director, said many businesses — not just medical offices — choose Lone Tree for its centralized location along several major roadways.

“The central location, the visibility, obviously from C-470 and the south metro Denver population is a market they want to be part of,” Holwell said. “It's visible and accessible.”

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