Mercy plan advances to commission

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Saturday, September 17, 2011
— City staff says a site plan for a new Mercy Health System medical complex on the city’s northeast side answers residents’ concerns about traffic, screening and noise.

After a public hearing Monday, the plan commission will consider issuing Mercy the needed conditional-use permit to build a 24,000 square-foot facility at 3400 Deerfield Drive.

Mercy bought the 25-acre site between Walmart Supercenter and The Home Depot about 12 years ago.

City staff recommends the commission approve the request. Conditional-use permits do not need council approval.

The project has been on the fast track, with Mercy announcing its plans in June. Officials have said they hope to complete construction by year’s end. That would be just days before the new St. Mary’s Janesville Hospital and Dean Clinic Janesville opens just down Interstate 90/39.

The proposed Mercy facility is the first phase in an eventual 475,000 square-foot build-out that includes a hospital.

The conditional-use permit would allow Mercy to build a facility to house an emergency department, a clinic for five physicians and 108 parking stalls.

Mercy’s contractors already are moving dirt on the site. The city is allowing preliminary erosion and stormwater work with the understanding the land will be returned to a tillable state if the project doesn’t get final approval.

Staff said in a memo it has worked with Mercy to ease neighbors’ concerns. Staff does not believe the development will negatively impact the surrounding area, a key component in deciding whether to issue a conditional-use permit.

According to the requirements, Mercy must:

-- Secure flight plans so helicopters do not fly over homes to the east. Mercy officials have said they anticipate no more than one or two flights a year originating from the site. That could change with the future build-out, and that issue will have to be re-addressed then, said Brad Schmidt of the city’s planning department.

-- Design buildings no taller than three stories.

-- Assure residents that traffic will not be a problem. The results of a recent traffic study show no substantial traffic impacts on the surrounding road network are expected from a full build-out.

-- Manage stormwater on its own property to ease drainage problems in the areas. The stormwater retention facility built by Walmart does not work, and standing water remains a major concern for residents. Walmart is trying to repair its system.

-- Screen residents to the east. Those residents were angry after the trees that screened them from the Walmart development were removed with little notice. Staff is requiring Mercy to add evergreens and other trees to fill the gap.

Last updated: 6:19 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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