MERIDIAN TWP., Mich. — Sparrow Hospital wants to expand its facilities to Okemos, but needs the Meridian Township Board of Trustees and Planning Commission approve the latest plans for the project.
The township board introduced a resolution to rezone three parcels of land off Jolly and Kansas roads to accommodate office buildings.
“The proposal would rezone those properties which are current zoned industrial and residential to professional and office to allow for the potential development that Sparrow has proposed,” said Director of Community Planning and Development Timothy Schmitt.
Schmitt said the planning commission previously denied the request made by Martin Investment Properties.
“The original request was a straight rezoning," Schmitt said. "At the time, Sparrow was not publicly known to be the applicant behind the project.”
Sparrow got involved after the denial, according to Schmitt, and presented six changes to their original plan to accommodate some of the concerns.
These changes include environmentally friendly construction and measures to control traffic.
“The access will be extremely limited to force people on to Jolly Road to prevent traffic as much as possible from going on to Kansas,” Schmitt said.
Changes also include using the northern part of the property for landscaping to block residents' view rather than for parking, along with extending a water main onto Kansas Road to service the residents in that area who use well water.
“I think they had heard from at least one of the residents that their well test had failed a couple times, so they thought this would be a good benefit to the community,” Schmitt said.
Sparrow Spokesperson John Foren said the project will include "a 12,000-square-foot Emergency Department that will serve as a companion to our Emergency Department and Level 1 Trauma Center at Sparrow Hospital downtown."
The Okemos location will also have imaging equipment for CT scans, ultrasounds, and X-rays along with a lab and a new primary care practice for family physicians.
"This new project will improve access and convenience to a major population center in the Lansing area and also provide greater access and convenience to communities further east such as Williamston, Webberville, and Fowlerville," Foren said.
Schmitt said having additional healthcare in the township would be a good thing.
“I think the fire department has previously spoken on how this would have the ability to potentially free up some ambulance services within the township which is always good because, when you’re in a community that’s cut in half essentially by railroad, you need to be cognizant of those things,” Schmitt said.
If the township board approve the zoning changes, the planning commission will need to review the request again before final approval.
Schmitt said construction could begin as early as this fall.
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