Planning commission OKs rezoning for hospital campus

SCL Health purchased 25 acres near Park Meadows

Posted 10/15/19

SCL Health is closer to gaining approval for its proposal to construct a medical campus near Park Meadows mall. The public had a chance to formally address the Lone Tree Planning Commission regarding …

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Planning commission OKs rezoning for hospital campus

SCL Health purchased 25 acres near Park Meadows

Posted

SCL Health is closer to gaining approval for its proposal to construct a medical campus near Park Meadows mall.

The public had a chance to formally address the Lone Tree Planning Commission regarding a proposal to rezone property near Park Meadows to allow for a 25-acre medical campus.

SCL Health, a health care company based in Broomfield, purchased property between E-470 and Park Meadows Drive, just west of Yosemite Street, from a private owner of the land. The planning commission approved a rezoning application for the property purchased by SCL Health Oct. 8 by a vote of 4-3, with commissioners Kevin Spencer, Daryl Heskin and Kevin Shane in the minority.

A public hearing is scheduled for the Nov. 5 city council meeting. The proposal will be voted on by council Nov. 19.

After two hours of presentations and deliberation between the planning commission, city staff and representatives from SCL Health, many of those who spoke felt unsatisfied by the answers to their concerns regarding traffic, noise and the need for another hospital.

Marsha Jaroch questioned the need for a hospital near Park Meadows instead of the wide-open spaces east of I-25 as part of the RidgeGate East development, which is planned to be developed as residential and mixed-use.

“Not in Lone Tree,” said Jaroch, a Lone Tree resident of 20 years. “It seems as if they have a plot of land and they're going to stick something on it. They're going to build, build, build, build. And it's suffocating.”

There was a nearly full house at the beginning of the meeting, with many in attendance from Acres Green, the neighborhood just south of the proposed location. Acres Green is not an incorporated part of Lone Tree, but each commissioner said they were welcome as part of the community.

Hans Friedel, the city's senior planner, responded to residents' concerns about traffic volume in the area, specifically on Acres Green Drive near Quebec Street and Yosemite Street, near the mall. Friedel reported the medical campus would see less traffic if it were rezoned and approved than if it were developed using the current commercial zoning.

Friedel said the hospital would be responsible for about 8,000 more car trips per day, on average.

Justin Schmitz, public works director, seconded that, adding Park Meadows Drive, the road that would see the most traffic from the proposed hospital, sees about 9,000 trips per day.

“When you're looking at a street like that, there's a lot of capacity to add trips to it,” Schmitz said. “There is enough capacity on the roadway network to accommodate what we're seeing proposed.”

Heskin said he felt the greater size of the hospital, in comparison to the commercial use the property is currently zoned for, would create more traffic than the city estimated.

Steve Chyung, senior vice president of supply chain and real estate, answered questions on behalf of SCL Health.

Chyung revealed some early, conceptual plans for what the campus would look like. Per the request of city staff, the campus would “cluster” closer to C-470, with its tallest building against C-470. The original plan placed the tallest building closest to Park Meadows Drive.

The tallest point would not exceed 110 feet, down from the originally proposed 125 feet, limiting the building to five stories. The operating square footage was also reduced from 980,000 square feet to 930,000 square feet.

Additionally, Chyung announced the creation of a Citizens Advisory Board, which will be made up of representatives of local homeowners to work with the hospital administration on matters of the community.

Chyung said a helicopter will not be stationed at the hospital. The helicopter pad will be used for about three trips per month, Chyung said.

Chyung said SCL Health has about 19,000 patients in its system from the south metro region that would otherwise have to drive to Denver to receive a checkup. He said this property was designed to better serve those patients.

“We evaluated about eight locations that are south, slightly north, east and west, and we really centered in on this location as it was very consistent with the zoning we were looking for and the type vibrant community Lone Tree has,” Chyung said.

SCL Health is a nonprofit, faith-based hospital with locations in Colorado, Kansas and Montana. Chyung said 9% of SCL Health's revenues will go toward a community benefit program “specific to the needs of the City of Lone Tree.” Past programs SCL Health did included outside showers for the homeless at its downtown location or educating the public on topics like obesity or vaping.

Jim Stewart, a 32-year resident of Lone Tree, urged the commission to vote down the proposal, saying the city did not give enough notice and the hospital would impact residents' quality of life. Stewart, a former helicopter pilot in the Vietnam War, said he was concerned about seeing more helicopters in the area as well.

“I think they may be a great neighbor, but it's the wrong building for the wrong place,” Stewart said.

Bikram Mishra lived in Lone Tree for much of his life. He said he was born at St. Joseph Hospital and added that the SCL Health system saved many of his friends from drug and alcohol abuse.

“They're great community partners,” Mishra said. “Something's going to go there eventually someday. I'm happy they're putting something across the street to the church (World of Life Christian Center), that will focus on the spiritual and the physical healing as well.”

Sky Ridge CEO Susan Hicks said the proposed hospital would jeopardize Sky Ridge's ability to remain a Level II trauma center, saying a hospital needs volume to be good at trauma.

Additionally, Hicks said, the hospital “would force doctors to practice at even more locations, limit the expansion of our lifesaving services and disrupt traffic.”

“We want to continue to be able to provide that level of care when we opened our doors 16 years ago,” Hicks said. “I would ask you to really look at this.”

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