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City Panel Says No To Change In Medical Zoning

Creve Coeur Planning and Zoning Commission members decide there are too many murky areas of legal definition regarding what constitutes a hospital to move forward with a proposed text amendment.

Creve Coeur's Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously voted Monday to oppose a proposal that would have allowed areas zoned "planned office" to house "Post-Discharge Surgical Recovery Clinics," after hearing from hospital interests who said the move would be the equivalent of a code workaround for someone who wanted to bring a hospital to Creve Couer without calling it one.

Also at issue is that the State of Missouri doesn't yet legally recognize what a "Post-Discharge Surgical Recovery Clinic is.

The request came from property owners at 450 North New Ballas, who say they are trying to make it more marketable in an effort to fill space there that has been vacant in some areas for as long as seven years.

Representatives for the property said several times Monday that their intention was not to turn the site into a hospital and that they have no specific project or tenant in mind.

Representatives from BJC, the Missouri Hospital Association and SSM Health Care either testified Monday or submitted letters to city leaders voicing their objection.

Commissioner Gary Eberhardt noted that the request wasn't asking the city to decide if the use constitutes a hospital, and therefore the state regulation that would come with such a facility, but that it was "patently obvious that it is."

"I think we're on the cutting edge of medical law," said Commissioner Ken Howard, who then openly asked, "what are we trying to approve?"

Besides the legal definition of a hospital, Howard cited his own concerns with the usage slipping into a kind of development for which nearby residents aren't prepared. That was one reason why city staff modified the original request to make the proposed use a conditional one, meaning the city would still have the ability to regulate a facility's traffic, parking, lighting and other impacts.

In the end, Commission members decided there were too many questions about the propoal, on top of questions raised by a similar proposal which was passed by the city of Chesterfield, apart from the lack of clarity at the state level regarding how to define a hospital.

The recommendation against the text amendment now goes before the Creve Coeur City Council. Property owners may also decide to pull their request.

Scott Simon September 18, 2012 at 01:52 PM
It's no secret that Creve Coeur government gets marching orders from Mercy Hospital. If they want something, they get it. Mercy hospital didn't want it and got want they wanted - less competition. This would be have been a nice business addition to Creve Coeur and would be in line what Mayor Glantz wants out of properties, based on his recent quote about the soon-to-be-opened thrift store, "disappointed that the site appeared not to be getting the best possible use of the property." Here's a highly-professional business wanting to locate here and we get a no answer. Chesterfield approved a post-discharge surgical recovery clinic but not Creve Coeur. I don't know what it is about Creve Coeur but it's ability to see the future isn't very good. Dates back a long time too; I can remember city opposition to DeSmet wanting lights for the football field in the late 80's. Fortunately, wiser-minds prevailed and Creve Coeur benefits. Then other issues like this come up and a new business market is told, "No, we don't want you here." The slippery-slide downhill continues.
Gregg Palermo September 18, 2012 at 02:15 PM
It's worth noting here that Mercy did not submit any documentation or testify against the proposal.
Scott Simon September 18, 2012 at 03:26 PM
Mercy wouldn't be submitting documents, they oppose it because PDSR's are competition. It's well-known Mercy has a regular telephone and email dialogue with city staff.

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