Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, KY

Health

July 19, 2011

Final hurdle cleared for health pavilion

GLASGOW — The last hurdle has now been cleared for actual construction work to begin on the much-anticipated T.J. Health Pavilion in Barren River Plaza.

Members of the Joint City-County Planning Commission of Barren County voted to approve the final development plan by T.J. Samson Community Hospital for the new healthcare facility during their regular meeting Monday night at city hall.

The proposed development received preliminary approval on June 20 during last month’s commission meeting. Final approval means construction crews can get into the building and begin work on the project.   

“They can actually begin construction of the actual structure,” explained planning director Kevin Myatt after Monday night’s meeting. “Preliminary allows them to just move grade and do dirt work. Final allows them to actually get the building permit for any occupancy. They can’t get occupancy until they get final approval.”   

Tommy Gumm, commission chairman and president of Alliance Corporation,  said the company has contracted with the hospital to complete the project, recused himself from any of the discussions and the vote involving the pavilion.

Planning administrator Thom Kendall presented the points of the final development plan to commission members prior to their vote.

T.J. Health Pavilion will be located on a 13-acre lot at Barren River Plaza, 310 N. L. Rogers Wells Blvd. (US 31E), previously occupied by Walmart, which will be completely renovated. In addition, new construction will be added on the left-hand side of the existing building.

The property is currently zoned B3, or highway-serviced business, according to Kendall. Arrangements have been made with the Glasgow Water Company and Glasgow Fire Department pertaining to access to sanitary sewer, water and fire hydrant protection of the development.

There are four existing fire hydrants at the corners of the building. Another hydrant behind the existing building will be moved to a landscaped island to give better access to the fire department, which fire chief Bobby Bunnell has approved, according to Kendall.

Because the construction project will be taking place adjacent to existing businesses, several requirements must be met including 24-hour notification to officials before any construction takes place.

The development plan also takes into account city ordinances pertaining to lighting, parking and drainage.

“In an effort to reduce unnecessary lighting issues with adjoining property owners, the applicant has agreed to shoebox-style lighting,” said Kendall, which will keep the streetlights from shining on adjacent property.

According to current city ordinance, any vehicle usage area (VUA) that contains 6,000 square feet or more for parking spaces must maintain landscaped areas of at least 10 percent of the area. But when Barren River Plaza was built there was no such requirement. The pavilion’s plan will exceed the landscaping requirements for the addition, however.

“When the original Walmart development was constructed there was no such ordinance and very little landscaping was provided,” Kendall said.

Landscaping will be added for only new buildings, structures or VUAs over and above the existing development, but the hospital’s plan will provide additional landscape islands.

“So they’re going above and beyond,” Kendall explained.

In addition, a minimum of two trees is required for every 250 square feet of required landscape area and all service structures must be fully screened.

The required number of parking spaces for the facility is 777, according to ordinance guidelines, but the total number of spaces available on the property is only 726. To rectify the difference, T.J. Samson has entered into a property agreement with the adjoining property owners in the development, which gives the applicant a non-exclusive easement to utilize adjoining parking areas.

“Once those parking spaces are taken into consideration, the hospital is providing 1,124 parking spaces for the development,” Kendall said. “They’re still providing 93 percent of the spaces on their own property.”

A landscape buffer area (LBA) is also required between the development property and properties west of the site, which are residentially zoned. A minimum width of 25 feet is necessary, and Kendall told commission members the existing vegetation meets screening requirements behind the existing building.

Storm water drainage for the property will be emptying into an existing off-site retention basin located east of the shopping area, which was originally designed to accommodate development of the property.

T.J. Samson will provide for drainage in such a manner without disrupting existing drainage patterns or increasing runoff to adjacent properties including city-maintained driveways, according to Kendall.

Additional landscape islands will serve another purpose as well.

“Currently, there is little to no [curb] areas on the site. By adding additional landscaping islands, the developer is decreasing the amount of runoff from the subject property,” he said.  

During development and post-development, an erosion control plan must be in place. This will include the placement of stone around the perimeter of the construction area.

If existing power poles or water lines and manholes must be moved, those changes must be coordinated with the Glasgow Electric Plant Board or the Glasgow Water Company.

Kendall noted there was a variance to the 40-foot height requirement for the new construction that was granted by the Glasgow Board of Adjustments on June 20.

Commission members then approved final plans for the development subject to conditions being met for adequate soil erosion and sedimentation control.

The T.J. Health Pavilion development will consist of 126,000 square feet of space for physician offices as well as diagnostic, preventative treatment and educational services.

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