Flagstaff City Council hears update on proposed Flagstaff Medical Center campus

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The Flagstaff City Council discussed Northern Arizona Healthcare’s (NAH) plans for the new Flagstaff Medical Center (FMC) campus on Thursday during a retreat.

NAH first submitted applications to build a new FMC campus near Fort Tuthill County Park in April 2021. Plans would include a hospital, an ambulatory care center (ACC), and a larger health and wellness village. -be to be built in stages.

Over the past year, NAH has held various community meetings about the project as it developed its plans and worked with the city to get them approved. Most recently, he submitted development review applications to the city, with the agency’s 60-day review of the specific plan beginning June 3.

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According to the schedule proposed by the NAH presented on Thursday, the project will be presented to the city’s planning and zoning commission for a working session on October 26. The commission then plans to hold two public hearings on November 9 and either November 16 or 23. before bringing it to the city council for two hearings currently set for December 6 and 13.

NAH is also planning another neighborhood project meeting for Monday, October 10. It is available here.

Flagstaff City Senior Planner Tiffany Antol presented the plan at the retreat, explaining the schedule for the city’s work with NAH on the project.

Applications must go through a full and thorough review before being approved by the city.

After five rounds of comments and submissions, she said, the application completed review for completeness on February 25 of this year.

Substantive review began the same day, and the application has been following this process for approximately seven months, with NAH and the city exchanging work on the document.

Assuming meetings go on schedule and the plan is approved at each, NAH now hopes to break new ground – with the hospital and ACC opening in 2027.

Antol’s presentation focused on the current progress of the plan, changes that are expected to be made to the city plan, and areas with outstanding issues.

City changes

Antol mentioned four minor changes that should be made to the regional plan: changing the type of hub area to a regional scale rather than a neighborhood scale to reflect the intended regional appeal of the proposed village, moving the center of a future center of suburban activity on that of the hospital location, rather than the road intersection of a former planned development, designating the center and the area to the south as the employment area, and – “le grand” – to realign the future corridor of Beulah Boulevard.

The regional plan currently moves Beulah west of its current alignment to allow for a future Interstate 17 underpass.

Antol said leaving Beulah at its current location would still allow the proposed intersection, although the location of the intersection will be depressed once it is built.

The project would also require modifications to the specific layout plan for the new campus. Changes include building location (moving the hospital away from I-17 to avoid noise), landscaping standards, bicycle parking (which would increase), parking lot layout and design. parking, as well as parking lots and definitions.

A specific plan amendment would also be required for building height, as the proposed hospital building is proposed at 160 feet, exceeding the maximum building height permitted in any zoning category by 100 feet.

Antol noted that the site plan lists the tallest part of the hospital building, at 142 feet. The majority of the hospital building is 112 feet tall and the parking garage would be 65 feet tall. The tallest section is also the elevator penthouse, she said — which isn’t usually factored into zoning height determinations.

“We usually allow these lift mass heights around 15 feet above normal height, but regardless, we’re going to exceed that height,” she said.

The zoning map would also require changes, as the 172.6-acre property is currently zoned as a mix of rural residences, residences and single-family residences. The majority (109.7 acres) would be rezoned as a commercial highway, with 27.8 acres being rezoned as research and development and 35.2 acres being rezoned as public facilities.

Ongoing concerns

Antol described the outstanding issues listed in his presentation as “places where we need to overcome, get direction, things we need to resolve in order to move forward.”

Many of these were related to traffic and transportation, although she also mentioned fires, the existing hospital, and the height of the hospital as needing more consideration.

Elements of the transportation impact analysis that require further examination include analysis of internal roads and intersections, roundabouts, the airport bridge over I-17, and traffic scenarios. special events.

Antol also discussed road design for the project’s four main roads: Beulah Boulevard, Healthcare Boulevard, Purple Sage Trail and Wellness Loop.

Beulah is expected to widen for the project, with a rural lane on one side bordering I-17 and bike lanes and a multimodal trail on the other side. Health care will eventually connect to Woody Mountain Road, and Purple Sage will be upgraded and moved.

Wellness Loop is missing a connection off NAH property.

“This has been one of the ongoing conversations between staff and [NAH]“Antol said. “Presently, planning documents have included roundabouts at the end of the healthcare loop and at the end of the wellness loop. The staff would still be pushing for these roads to be completed or for us to come to some kind of agreement as the utilities also need to be extended at least in It will be extremely important to put these utilities in conjunction with what will be a future bed of road so as not to place an additional burden on an adjacent development as they would have to move forward.

She also mentioned concerns that the signalized intersections planned for Beulah’s intersections with Purple Sage and Healthcare might be too close together. Roundabouts have been proposed as a potential solution.

The transportation mitigation currently proposed in the plan prioritizes impacts to areas closest to the new campus. This includes completing improvements in Beulah before the hospital or ACC is occupied. NAH will also “support the city with future grant funding opportunities” and conduct a second traffic impact analysis after the first buildings are occupied.

According to the presentation, NAH also proposes to provide public transport services with the development of the hospital and the ACC. In the development agreement, this will include paratransit services, free transportation for outpatients, and access to public transit or point-to-point transportation services.

“The project represents a significant increase in fire protection and service delivery demands from the city,” Antol said of outstanding fire service issues. “Essentially we’re taking what is now an urban facility and moving it further away from our urban core, an area where we didn’t anticipate perhaps the expansion or the intensity of use, but also the increase in the height of buildings. Improvement of current capabilities is necessary to support the rezoning of the property.

Both NAH and the city have agreed to work on coverage analysis standards for the city which have yet to be completed. Waiting to receive the information, Antol said, would mean exceeding the deadline requested by NAH to move the application forward.

Regarding the current location, Antol said his work has focused more on the health and wellness village plans, but that “there have been discussions about including language in development agreement for this current draft law, and efforts are underway”.

In his presentation of NAH’s plans, Steve Eiss, vice president of construction and real estate development, said the organization is in the process of establishing a redevelopment council that includes both municipal and community leaders.

NAH is under contract with Progressive Urban Management Associates (PUMA) to assist with this work.

“We believe that over the next few years we will be able to build what we believe will be a very successful community development process with the existing campus,” he said.

Antol’s presentation also included suggestions that various city employees would like to see included in the project, including a transportation demand management (TDM) program, active recreation facilities, and provisions to respond to climate emergencies. and housing.

“You are moving a major employer from the city center to the outskirts. This is a great opportunity for NAH to move forward in encouraging active modes of transportation,” she said, explaining GDT’s suggestion.

“We know that most patients will not be using these active modes of transportation when visiting this hospital. There are a lot of people who work here, there are a lot of administrative people, there are a lot of people who can use the alternate modes. Maybe not the emergency doctor, we understand that, but we still think it’s important that transport demand management is included in this project.

A recording of the meeting, which also includes a discussion of the project and a presentation by NAH, can be viewed here.

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