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Polk planning board rejects zoning change for HCA hospital in South Lakeland. What's subsequent? – The Ledger

An overhead rendering of the HCA Florida Healthcare hospital proposed for South Lakeland. The Polk Planning Commission voted 4-3 against recommending approval. Now the County Commission will decide.

The Polk County Planning Fee on Wednesday voted in opposition to a zoning change that will permit a 60-bed hospital on County Street 540-A in South Lakeland.  

The 4-3 vote in opposition to the land-use change for the HCA Florida Healthcare venture adopted a two-hour, standing-room-only assembly throughout which board members heard first from HCA representatives after which from residents against the plan.  

The 29-acre web site at 540-A and Harrell’s Nursery Street, owned by June 35 LLC, an HCA company, had gained a supportive suggestion from county planners. However a number of planning board members expressed considerations about potential disruptions to the encircling neighborhoods and faculties. 

HCA representatives stated the hospital was deliberate to open with 60 beds and a medical workplace constructing, however then introduced architect renderings that confirmed a 120-bed hospital and two medical workplace buildings. The hospital campus would additionally comprise an emergency room and helicopter pad and a big stormwater retention pond alongside County Street 540-A. 

The doorway could be alongside the principle street with a smaller driveway to a car parking zone on the rear alongside Harrell’s Nursery Street.  

Regardless of the venture’s lack of approval from the planning fee, the subsequent step could be a choice by the Polk County Fee. That panel is about to resolve HCA’s destiny on Nov. 22 at 9:30 a.m. on the county administration constructing in Bartow.  

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Previously the homestead of Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd, the parcel is zoned for residential use and is sandwiched between Valleyview Elementary Faculty and George Jenkins Excessive Faculty alongside County Street 540-A.

Commissioners had been involved concerning the potential influence on faculty security in addition to the potential for noise to disrupt studying on the faculties.

Fee Chair Rebecca Troutman and panel members Angelic Sims, Jonathan Flemming and Brook Agnini all voted in opposition to the proposal.

Troutman stated she was battling the “compatibility difficulty. I am having a tough time with that.”

Sims additionally had a problem with compatibility and had raised the problem of sexual predators standing within the car parking zone. Flemming cited safety considerations and requested if the campus could be surrounded by a fence, which HCA stated they’d think about.  

A rendering of the proposed hospital site, viewed from the southeast.

HCA lawyer Jo Thacker instructed the board that the venture would generate 300 jobs initially and practically 600 if the variety of beds doubled. The typical pay could be $90,000 with one other $20,000 in worker advantages. Native and state tax revenues would vary from $1.1 million to $1.4 million. 

She additionally stated HCA was in talks with Polk County Public Faculties for studying applications at Valleyview, assist for the medical academy and an athletic coach program at George Jenkins. Shift modifications on the hospital would keep away from faculty visitors, and they might lengthen current sidewalks and construct crosswalks with flashers.  

As well as, left- and right-turn lanes could be constructed on the CR 540-A entrance and a southbound proper flip lane could be added at Harrell’s Nursery Street and CR 540-A. 

Jake Kirchner, vp of strategic planning and improvement at HCA Healthcare identified that the plans didn’t name for a trauma middle or organ transplant procedures.  

“We might be providing essentially the most frequent well being care providers that the group wants,” he stated. He added the proposed establishment would deal with offering fast responses to stroke and coronary heart assault sufferers to stabilize the affected person’s situation, amongst different wants.  

He introduced a number of charts, together with one displaying Polk County’s rising want for extra well being providers. HCA projected inpatient and outpatient medical instances would high 610,505 by 2026, when the inhabitants of Polk County is predicted to rise to 791,083 folks.  

Addressing considerations about noise, Kirchner stated the hospital could be corresponding to Bartow Regional Medical Middle, which receives a mean per week of seven.5 ambulances and solely two arrive with sirens on. A helicopter pad was mandated by legislation, and flights could be one to a few monthly based mostly on a comparability with one other HCA facility.

He additionally stated the campus would have safety guards inside and out of doors in response to security considerations.  

Vice chair Rennie Heath was essentially the most vocal in assist of the rezoning, which requires an modification to the county’s complete land use plan. He stated he had visited the realm and noticed that adjoining properties had been already zoned for institutional use and subsequently this parcel could be suitable with the county’s complete plan and a zoning change was allowed.

County planner Erik Peterson learn particulars from the county employees report. He stated the location has a slope, and soil shifting could be wanted to degree out the property and a 100-year, 24-hour stormwater occasion have to be contained inside the boundaries of the property. 

“This can be a closed basin,” he stated. “Rainfall doesn’t circulation to Polk’s waterways.”

A look at hospitals in Polk County.

The acreage is now zoned Residential Low-2 density, and the change sought by HCA is for Institutional-1, which additionally permits for church buildings and mining.  

Below the institutional zoning classes, the utmost measurement facility could be as much as 945,797 sq. toes on the present web site. “On common, a hospital that giant could have roughly 541 affected person beds,” the employees report stated.

Exterior the assembly room, resident Laura Coyle, who had testified earlier on the listening to, was happy with the choice, though the denial handed by one vote 

“We’re undoubtedly joyful that they clearly determined to hearken to the group, not simply take a look at what was on paper,” Coyle stated of Tuesday’s consequence. 

However the neighbors’ optimism was tempered by the subsequent step within the course of, a pending vote by county commissioners, she stated. 

Coyle led a petition drive at change.org to lend a voice to her neighbors who oppose the hospital. On Tuesday, 1,167 folks had signed it. The group of residents additionally repeatedly submit to a Fb group NO HOSPITAL at HARRELL’S NURSERY/540-A, which has 919 followers.  

She and her neighbors additionally positioned indicators in opposition to HCA’s plans with e mail handle of the planning and county commissioners after receiving notices from Polk County in June concerning the potential zoning change. 

Most residents had been from Highlands Ridge, Chatsworth and Eagles Pointe.  

The proposed hospital is inside the neighborhood of a number of different medical amenities both below building or already in operation.  

There may be Orlando Regional Well being, which just lately gained county approval for a facility on Lakeland Highlands Street; Bartow Regional on U.S. 98 simply north of Bartow; and Watson Clinic pressing care, lower than half a mile west of the proposed HCA facility.  

HCA additionally at present operates an emergency facility on South Florida Avenue throughout from the Retailers Stroll purchasing middle. All are inside a six-mile radius of the busy nook with a proposed land-use change. 

HCA Florida Healthcare has 400 websites throughout Florida, together with 52 hospital campuses and 48 free-standing emergency rooms.  

Paul Nutcher may be reached at [email protected].

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