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Grosse Pointe City

February 12, 2014

Beaumont rezoning up for public hearing

By K. Michelle Moran
C & G Staff Writer

GROSSE POINTE CITY — After a lengthy period of discussion and negotiation, the City is on the verge of creating a hospital zoning district — bordered by Cadieux, Jefferson, Notre Dame and Maumee — for the Beaumont Hospital, Grosse Pointe property.

The change — which is in keeping with a master plan adopted by City leaders in 2012 — is expected to be the subject of a public hearing at the next regular City Council meeting Feb. 24.

City Planner John Jackson, of McKenna Associates, said that because of the state’s approval a few years ago of something called “conditional rezoning,” municipalities are now able to get rezoning applicants to place certain terms on the rezoning. The applicant can volunteer conditions, such as hours of operation, landscaping, access to adjacent roads and the like, he said.

“It’s a tool that’s available now to communities, but (the conditions) come from the applicant,” Jackson explained.

In recent months, City and hospital officials have been discussing issues of concern with regard to changes on the hospital campus, as hospital officials prepare over the next two years to expand parking and create a new, two-story outpatient service building next to the hospital on Cadieux.

The City and Beaumont are expected to agree on a number of conditions, such as cutting off traffic from accessing the hospital property via Notre Dame and paying $80,000 annually to the City in lieu of taxes to cover the cost of City services, City Manager Pete Dame said.

“That’s something that couldn’t be tied to zoning if we just went through (the conventional rezoning process),” he said.

The existing payment in lieu of taxes agreement between the City and Beaumont — which expires in five years — is for an annual payment of $60,000, Dame said. Under the existing agreement, property taxes from a for-profit entity on the hospital campus — such as medical offices — would have been subtracted from the $60,000 payment, he said. Under the new agreement, the hospital would pay $80,000 annually to the City, regardless of any for-profit development. Also unlike the current agreement, there is no end date for the new deal, Dame said.

City Council member Jean Weipert said she didn’t have a problem with the agreement, but she had a reservation about its length.

“I think in perpetuity is too long,” she said. She recommended adding a provision to account for inflationary increases.

Dame said the City has two payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreements with other nonprofits: one with Grosse Pointe Theatre that maintains a consistent annual amount despite having been signed in the 1970s, and the other more recently signed with St. John Providence Health System for the former Borders building in the Village, which includes an inflationary-increase provision.

City Council member Donald Parthum said the agreement with Beaumont should be in line with the one the City recently approved with St. John Providence, because that’s the most recent case. But Jackson said it would be up to Beaumont officials to amend their proposal.

“Our answer is yes or no, basically,” he said.

Dame concurred.

“It would be up to (Beaumont) to change their proposal,” the city manager told the council.

Beaumont was expected to hold a community meeting with its most immediate residential neighbors to talk about the proposal. This meeting was to be held before the council hosts the public hearing. Dame said Beaumont can agree to amend its proposal prior to the public hearing.

At press time, a copy of Beaumont’s proposed agreement with the City was posted on the City’s website, www.grossepointecity.org. Anyone interested in commenting on the agreement can do so in writing prior to the Feb. 24 meeting, or in person during the council meeting.

Dame said the City’s rezoning would pave the way for the hospital’s future development plans. However, each specific hospital project would still require separate site-plan approval, he said. And some projects might need special land-use approval and conditions, Jackson added.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer K. Michelle Moran at kmoran@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1047.