Hospital zoning request rejected PDF Print E-mail
Written by PETER KUEBECK Sentinel Staff Writer   
Thursday, 06 February 2014 10:20
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Wood County Hospital president Stan Korducki makes a statement in favor of rezoning properties where the hospital is located and the properties adjacent to the hospital. (Photo: Enoch Wu/Sentinel-Tribune)
After hearing a series of comments, the Bowling Green Planning Commission Wednesday night decided not to recommend a zoning change for the Wood County Hospital and adjacent properties along Conneaut Avenue.
The final vote was 5-3 in favor of keeping the current zoning.
The change would have made the properties I-1, institutional. Currently, the hospital and its buildings are zoned S-1, planned institutional, and the three homes it owns in the 900 block of Conneaut are zoned R-2, residential.
Hospital President Stan Korducki said the institution was seeking the change "not to relieve ourselves of any obligations in terms of conforming to any codes, zoning requirements, etc.," but to help make future projects move more efficiently through the approval process with the city.
"We really desire to have a little bit more efficiency and a less cumbersome process," he said.
Under the S-1 zoning, construction projects on the properties must go through a longer review process involving the planning commission and numerous public hearings. It can take as much as six months before a project moves to city council for final approval.
Korducki noted the hospital has a long-standing process for inviting neighbors in to discuss their construction plans.
"And we intend to continue that," he said.
Answering questions from commission members, he said the hospital doesn't have any new projects in mind, and the changes in zoning would benefit future projects.
Some in the audience rose to support the change, including Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Earlene Kilpatrick, hospital neighbor Marie Rogers, and Mayor Richard Edwards, who lives nearby in the Larch Landing development.
"I really applaud the fact that we can pick up the phone or walk across the street" and speak with the hospital about their projects, he said. He also applauded the hospital's assistance in the development of the Simpson Garden Park.
"The hospital has been wonderfully attentive and responsive to the needs of the residents."
"I find the hospital to be a fabulous neighbor," said Rogers.
Wendy Manning, of West Wooster, agreed that the hospital has been "a great neighbor" but said "if there's a change in the ownership or the leadership to the hospital I think it's important for the community to be involved in hospital development."
"I think it's important to consider the residents' view and allow us to have some input," she said
Jerry Trudeau, West Wooster, also presented concerns about the change, and showed the commission pictures of what he said was flooding on neighboring properties that occurred as the result of a previous construction project.
"And this isn't their fault," he said. "This is an issue the city has."
Bill Kidd, the hospital's facilities executive, addressed the water issue. He said that some of the high-water buildup seen in the images was actually part of the city-approved design of the parking lot, but that the specific flooding Trudeau spoke about was due to a drain put in near Trudeau's property that did not function correctly. The problem occurred after a spring thaw in 2010.
He said that the city engineer was quickly brought in and the issues was alleviated.
"I worry about the loss of democracy, the loss of input when the decision is taken away from you and elected public officials," said Ron Stoner, a Western Avenue resident.
After deliberation, Planning Commission chair Ryan Holley proposed a motion to change the hospital properties themselves to I-1, while leaving the residences as R-2.
Members Erica Sleek, Mark Hollenbaugh, Rick Michel, Gary Hess and Brady Gaskins voted against the measure, sending a negative recommendation to council. Members Jeff Betts, Holley, and Julie Burton favored the change.
The issue now goes to city council, which will be required to hold set its own hearing before its decision.
Last Updated on Thursday, 06 February 2014 10:52
 

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