Okay on Larger Cottage Hospital Development Plans

Brian Cearnal
Paul Wellman

Even though Cottage Hospital’s revised plans to build a 115-unit housing development for its employees at the site of the former St. Francis Hospital are 13,000 square feet larger than originally approved, members of the city’s Planning Commission concluded that they were still close enough. Critics of the proposed housing project contend the changed plans are not just bigger, but bulkier, more massive, and less compatible with the surrounding neighborhood. They complained the project had less open space, less landscaping, and almost no play space for kids and asked that the project be sent back for further environmental assessment. Bigger units, they argued, allow for more inhabitants, which in turn results in more traffic. Cottage countered the units were growing only because the square footage for balconies and stairways was now being included. Cottage architect Brian Cearnal explained the changes stemmed from nothing more sinister than a series of miscalculations in the original plans. Members of the commission said they did not think the changes in plans were sufficient to send Cottage back to environmental review. If anything, said commissioner John Jostes, the changes made the project even better. Neighborhood critics will take their case to the City Council on April 29.

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