Valley View Hospital expansion gets P&Z approval

John StroudPost Independent StaffGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – Valley View Hospital’s plans for a new five-story addition cleared the first hurdle Tuesday night, when the Glenwood Springs Planning and Zoning Commission voted to recommend approval of the major development and special use permit for the project.The plan is now scheduled to go before Glenwood Springs City Council on May 20, city planner Jill Peterson said.Although city planning staff had recommended denial based on concerns about a requested height variance and parking issues, P&Z members viewed the plan otherwise.Phase 2 of the hospital’s expansion plan calls for a 145,000-square-foot, five-story building that would be allowed a height of 91 feet, 7 inches at its highest point from Blake Avenue, based on the P&Z’s recommendation.”The variance does not the harm the public, but better serves the community good by providing a needed medical service to the citizens and region,” reads one of the findings included in the P&Z recommendation.P&Z’s vote was unanimous, except on the question of allowing the height to exceed the 35-foot limit stipulated in the city’s R/4 Residential Transitional zone district. That vote was 6-1.The new building would replace the original hospital building that was constructed in 1955 and the adjoining 1962 addition, and connect to the Phase 1 building addition completed in 2006.The primary use for the new section will be to house Valley View’s 29,600-square-foot cancer center, which will be on the main floor.Although planning staff opposed the height variance, it acknowledged the value the hospital and the planned cancer center expansion bring to Glenwood.”Staff does not dispute that a cancer center located within the city limits would benefit the community by providing needed additional health services,” Peterson wrote in her action report to P&Z members. “Additionally, the hospital is recognized for the services it provides to the community and for the economic benefits derived via its employment base.”However, it is the job of the planning staff and P&Z to evaluate land uses based on a demonstration of compatibility with the surrounding neighborhood. That was the basis for the staff recommendation, she wrote.In addition to the cancer center, the new building is also proposed to include ground-level parking, as well as a future new kitchen and cafeteria/dining area on the second floor, hospital administration and physician offices on the third and fourth floors, and mechanical equipment on the fifth floor.Valley View will now take its request to city council members, some of whom had also expressed concerns about the building height during a preliminary presentation last fall.The hospital contends in its development application that the extra building height is needed to accommodate the desired uses, and to allow the upper floors of the Phase I building to connect directly to the new

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