Valley View Hospital expansion plan goes before Glenwood Springs P&Z |

Valley View Hospital expansion plan goes before Glenwood Springs P&Z

John StroudPost Independent StaffGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
HFR Design rendering courtesy Valley View Hospital Association

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – City planning and zoning commissioners will get their first look at Valley View Hospital’s latest expansion plans tonight.The public hearing was postponed from last month after Glenwood Springs city planning staff recommended against a major height variance for the new hospital building.The plan calls for a 145,000-square-foot, five-story (up to 91 feet, 7 inches at its highest point from Blake Avenue) addition to the existing newer sections of the hospital complex.The building would replace the original hospital building that was constructed in 1955 and the adjoining 1962 addition.It is proposed to house the hospital’s new 29,600-square-foot cancer center on the main floor, along with ground-level parking, a 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.The Valley View Hospital Association, represented by architects HFR Design, contends in its development application that the extra building height is needed to accommodate the desired uses.It would also allow the upper floors of the 2006 hospital addition, which sits about 30 feet up hill from Blake Avenue, to connect directly to the new building.In order to accomplish that, the hospital is requesting a height variance from the city’s maximum 35-foot height limit stipulated for the residential R-4 zone district where the hospital is located.A variance was granted when the 2006 addition was approved by the city in 2002, allowing a maximum building height of 62 feet.However, city planners, in a staff report issued for the original March 23 P&Z meeting date, recommended denial of the latest height variance request.”Staff would opine that the increased height is not necessary to accommodate the cancer center,” city planner Jill Peterson wrote in the report. “While the increased height may be a critical component of the hospital’s fiscal model, it does not provide justification for the variance.”After receiving a copy of the report four days before the scheduled public hearing, project consultant Sam DiCarlo of HFR Design requested a continuance so that some of the issues could be worked through before making a presentation to P&Z.Although some sections of the application related to landscaping and parking have been revised, Peterson said Monday that the building height request remains the same, as does staff’s recommendation.Planning and zoning commissioners will weigh the benefits and impacts of the proposed height variance and may decide to approve the request.P&Z will eventually make a recommendation to City Council on the hospital plan. During a preliminary presentation of the plan last fall, some City Council members also expressed concern about the height request, although they were generally supportive of the expansion plans.Tonight’s meeting begins at 6 p.m. in the council chambers at Glenwood Springs City Hall, 101 W. Eighth

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