Tempers flared briefly Monday during a public hearing of the Fort Wayne Plan Commission after several residents spoke out against a proposal from Parkview Health to build a new facility at Inverness Centre.
The residents who spoke were primarily upset over the building's proposed height and lighting, claiming that the building would violate their privacy rights and drive nearby property values down. One resident, Todd Brookmyer, claimed Parkview representatives lied to neighbors regarding the site's planned use.
“I don't know about you, but I bought my home to be an investment so I could make money, not lose money,” Brookmyer said.
The proposed development is on about 6.2 acres across three lots at the southeast corner of Illinois Road and Glencarin Boulevard – including the site of the former Bandido's restaurant – in Inverness Centre, a commercial development approved by the Allen County Plan Commission in 2001. The property was annexed into the city in 2006.
Plans submitted to the Department of Planning Services call for a 130,000-square-foot medical building and includes a request for zoning ordinance waivers regarding lighting as well as building height, size and setback.
Attorney Peter Mallers, who represents Parkview Health, said the three-story facility will have various uses, including physician offices, an ambulatory surgery center, imaging, labs, rehab and a pharmacy that will not be open to the public.
Specifically, Parkview is requesting the building be 60 feet tall, as opposed to the 40-foot height allowed in the zoning ordinance. Additionally, Parkview has requested that it be allowed to increase the building size from 22,000 square feet to 130,000 square feet with a ground-floor footprint of about 50,000 square feet.
Parkview also wants to install a canopy covering an outpatient surgery drop-off lane off Glencarin Boulevard, which will exceed the 25-foot setback required in the zoning ordinance.
The final waiver request involves uplighting, or ground-level lights pointed upward, outside the proposed facility.
According to a staff report from the Department of Planning Services, “the proposal will match the lighting approved for other recently built or approved Parkview medical buildings.”
At one point, Brookmyer clashed with commission members Connie Haas Zuber and Don Schmidt, who tried to direct Brookmyer's comments away from Parkview's history with the neighbors toward specific issues with Parkview's proposal.
“We want to help the residents when we can,” Schmidt said. “It's already been rezoned, and what you've been talking about is past history. It cannot be changed. We would like to hear how the design of the building can be improved for the neighbors. That's what you need to speak to, and that is what we're trying to elicit.”
In response, Brookmyer accused the Plan Commission of having already made up its mind regarding whether to approve Parkview's primary development plan for the site.
“I'm going to now lose my right to privacy. I've lost it to the Lutheran Life Villages, and I'm going to lose it to Parkview, because I know you're not going to do anything, sir,” he said, addressing Schmidt. “You've already just made that very clear.”
The commission will discuss and vote on the proposal at its Jan. 27 business meeting.