Plans for Kettering Health Network’s new $30 million medical facility were approved by Middletown Planning Commission despite concerns raised by neighboring Atrium Medical Center.
Kettering Health Network plans to build Kettering Middletown, a 67,000-square-foot outpatient medical center, on 15 acres of land on Ohio 122 just southeast of Interstate 75.
FIRST REPORT: New $30M medical facility coming to Middletown
Kettering Middletown will offer a full-service emergency department, outpatient lab and imaging services as well as a medical office building for physician practices.
The land is less than one mile from Premier Health’s Atrium Medical Center.
Kettering Health was seeking approval of preliminary and final development plans along five variances pertaining to signage, setbacks, facade materials and pedestrian circulation.
The first floor will feature an outpatient emergency department clinic and imaging center along with a medical office building with the second floor being set aside as holding space for future growth, according to Chad Duren with Ascension Group Environments for Health, on behalf of Kettering Health Network.
The plan is also requesting a helipad at the rear of the building and Kettering Health Network is already working with Med Flight providers to review the location in accordance with Federal Aviation Administration requirements.
Duren said the landscaping around the facility would be enhanced.
City staff said some of the variances were being sought due to natural and man-made constraints at the site, which is bounded by Dicks Creek and another unnamed creek, Ohio 122 and I-75 as well as several existing
Robert Curry, an attorney representing nearby Atrium Medical Center, expressed objections to the proposed plan.
CLOSER LOOK: Health systems face off in Butler-Warren expansions
Curry said that a “clinic” shouldn’t have a second floor and doesn’t want to see that being used as a hospital.
The city’s current planning code defines a clinic as “a building used for the care, diagnosis, and treatment of sick, ailing, infirm, injured persons and those in need of medical or minor surgical attention, but who are not provided with room and board or kept overnight on the premises,” according to Curry.
He also questioned the legality of combining the preliminary and final development plans at the same time when they should be separate approvals.
City Planner Ashley Combs said the Law Department had reviewed the submission and had no objections.
Curry said the plan looked like suburban development instead of creating an urban pedestrian development that is sought for that district.
He also said the plan ignores the setback requirements, lack of sidewalks and building design issues concerning the use of architectural metals and increasing the vertical elements and size of the signing due to the unique features of the location.
KHN “completely ignored the code and went for the greatest highway visibility,” Curry said.
Curry also said it was “premature” for the helipad due to the proximity of I-75, overhead power lines and a CVS Pharmacy and no evidence Kettering Health has government approvals.
“Except for the creeks, the other variances were only for convenience,” he said.
SPECIAL REPORT: $1M pay for local hospital CEOs
Before the vote, Friedman asked about the effect of the Kettering Health Network facility on Atrium.
“What’s good for the city of Middletown, may not be good for Atrium and others,” he said.
Combs said that the city worked closely with Kettering Health Network throughout the process and that staff recommended approval of the combined plan and variances.
“Staff believes this project will be a great addition to the East End,” Combs said.
Kettering Middletown is expected to create 110 new jobs, including registered nurses, respiratory therapists, imaging and lab technicians and support staff.
The planning commission voted 4-0-1 to approve the variances. Commission member Mike Friedman abstained from the voted and commission member Gary Gross recused himself from the vote, citing personal ties. Commission member Todd Moore was absent from the meeting.