Oxford, Beaumont moving forward

Conducting their monthly meeting on Dec. 12, the Oxford Township Planning Commission voted, 7-0, to recommend the approval of a proposed Beaumont medical facility to the Township Board of Trustees.
Set to be unveiled in two phases, Beaumont would first like to construct an up to three-story 100,000-square-foot ambulatory building as phase one, followed by a 225,000-square-foot hospital as phase two. The hospital will be five-to-seven stories high.
The 25-acre site approved by the Planning Commission is alongside the east side of Lapeer Rd., just north of downtown Oxford and south of Market St.
With Space and Planning Capital Director Joanna Janicka serving as their main speaker, Beaumont presented the safety, aesthetic and economic benefits this facility could provide the community.
“We will transform a vacant property that has been sitting there for quite a while into a magnetic property,” she said. In addition to the property transformation, Janicka and her team’s presentation indicated this development would result in the creation of roughly 825 jobs.
Having a medical campus of this quality in our town would also be beneficial to law enforcement and emergency responders. “Something this close would be easier for us,” Addison Township Fire Chief Jerry Morawski said.
Currently, Addison and Oxford firefighters and officers typically spend about an hour transporting victims and suspects to nearby medical facilities. If this plan is carried out, perhaps as much as 50 minutes could be shaved off these trips.
“I think the benefit of having a hospital here in the township far outweighs the burden it’s going to put on the sheriff’s office as far as answering calls there,” Oakland County Sheriff’s Sergeant Frank Lenz said.
Oxford Community Schools Superintendent Tim Throne added his support, as well, “We’re in full support of having emergency care so much closer to our buildings. We believe it would be a major win for our students.”
Of the 19 residents who spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting, 15 were in favor of the recommendation of the facility. The largest fear by the four detractors was an increase in traffic.
While an understandable hesitation, Township Planner Don Wortman eased these concerns. “The current C-2 (General Commercial) zoning could allow a more intensive development, such as a shopping center,” he said. “The proposed medical campus will be a less intensive land use and will conceivably generate less traffic volumes.”
Janicka added the “best case scenario” would be the completion of Phase One in late-2021, with early-2022 likely being “more realistic.”
Even if the township approves Phase 2, a 117 bed hospital, it will only become a reality if the state grants Beaumant a Certificate of Need (CON). This past October, Beaumont’s CON was denied by the state.
The Board of Trustees will next convene on Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020 at 6:30 p.m., to decide if they will accept the planning commission’s recommendation.

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