Maximum height for Mesa hospital proposed for 165 feet instead of 200A revised proposal for the planned Penrose-St. Francis Hospital on the Mesa - featuring a reduction in the maximum height - will go before the Colorado Springs Planning Commission at its meeting April 20.
The currently approved plan would allow buildings up to 200 feet high on part of the site. The new concept, worked out by Penrose-St. Francis after discussions in
Another part of the proposed revision is the planned addition of 28 acres to the anticipated 51-acre project area northeast of Fillmore Street and Centennial Boulevard.
Located adjacent to the 51 acres, the smaller parcel has been used for years as an asphalt batch-plant. Penrose-St. Francis officials have said they want to absorb that acreage to allow more development flexibility in laying out the complex as a whole - a flexibility that allows somewhat shorter buildings.
Prior to the original hospital proposal - approved by City Council in late 2015 - the maximum allowed building height on that property had been 45 feet.
Michael Schultz, the city planner assigned to the project, has recommended approval of the revised plan, saying it conforms to the city's Comprehensive Plan, including the elements titled "Encourage Infill and Redevelopment" (Chapter 4) and "Fit New Development into the Character of the Surrounding Area" (Chapter 6).
"This project can be categorized as a catalytic project along with the existing VA [Clinic] immediately to the south and the future extension of Centennial Boulevard," Schultz' report to Planning Commission states. "The hilltop (or Mesa) area at Fillmore Street and Centennial Boulevard could become a vital civic, office, commercial and retail center in the years to come."
However, an e-mail from Sara Poe of the Council of Neighbors and Organizations (CONO) shows that Mesa-area residents still have concerns, mainly regarding Chapter 6. The overriding conflict, as expressed by different citizens at past meetings, is between the Mesa's historic low-density, low-impact residential style and the kind of urban intensity that the hospital plan could lead to.
“A strong showing of Mesa neighbors at the planning hearing will convey to the Planning Commission and City Council the importance of integrating this development with the natural environment and the Mesa's character,” Poe writes.
The formal hospital applications seek approval for:
- A minor amendment to the Hill Properties Master Plan.
- A zone change from PUD (Planned Unit Development) and R (Residential Estate) to a new PUD (Planned Unit Development) zone district allowing a maximum building height of 165 feet, a maximum of 1,850,000 square feet of gross floor area and allowed uses including hospital, medical office, general office and general commercial.
- A major amendment to the Penrose-St. Francis New Campus planned unit development concept plan (reflecting the property addition).
Specific construction details - affecting such issues as traffic, noise, helicopter flights, drainage and land stability - are to be addressed in future submittals to the city as the project moves closer to actual development. However, a recently completed traffic analysis does predict that when the hospital complex is built, there would still be a "satisfactory level of service" on Fillmore and Centennial.
The Mesa complex would become Penrose-St. Francis' third hospital “campus” in Colorado Springs, taking over the acute-care responsibility from the North Cascade Avenue site, which has no more room to expand, P-SF officials have previously said.
The Planning Commission meeting will be in City Hall Council Chambers, 107 N. Nevada Ave., starting at 8:30 a.m. The hospital matter is one of several items on the agenda.
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