Carroll Hospital brought two concept site plans to the Planning and Zoning Commission on Tuesday: the 40,700-square-foot expansion of its rehabilitative services building and relocation of Brinton Woods Health & Rehabilitation Center at Winfield to the main campus site in Westminster.
Carroll Hospital has expanded to almost double its size during the 38 years Maurice Spielman has overseen its design and construction — from about 250,000 square feet in 1980 to about 450,000 square feet today — and the request to expand the rehabilitative services building comes with renovation plans that will keep the facility up to date.
The commission reviewed the plans and approved a conditional use for the nursing home, but was not required to approve the plans themselves after the initial presentation.
“Basically it’s an expansion on to the existing hospital north and west wings which will allow us to renovate existing spaces within the hospital that are very small and do not meet today’s requirements for space,” Spielman told the Times this week. “We have some patient rooms in our critical care unit that are very small in today’s standards, so we are going to replace that patient wing within this new footprint.
“We have 12 [rooms for] beds we are going to replace it with 12 larger rooms,” he said. “We will also be creating a new pediatrics [emergency department]; we have an ED that can serve pediatric population, but this will be more of a dedicated unit for the pediatric patient.”
And the renovating and shifting of services into the new available space will be what he calls “a lot of domino projects.”
“[There will be] no new services,” Spielman said, “more so just improving the locations to be more efficient and provide adequate services.”
The last time the hospital made a large expansion was in 2003, he said, when it added 100,000 square feet for a second floor and operating rooms.
Planning and Zoning Commission members had no qualms with the proposal, except to add sidewalks as requested by the Architectural Review Committee.
“I think it’s a beautiful project,” said commission member Alec Yeo, “something when you look at it that makes you wonder why wasn’t this done before? It fits perfectly; it’s going to be nice, but it also sort of cleans up an area that isn’t all that nice. And it’s going to be beautiful.”
Additionally, Spielman discussed the concept site plan to move the Winfield nursing home up to Westminster.
The proposal lays a new 45,780-square-foot nursing home with 60 beds across three parcels adjacent to Carroll Hospital.
The Planning Commission was not required to take action on either concept site plan, but did approve a conditional approval for the nursing home’s density in a residential zone.
At the Dec. 18 meeting, Clay Black, bureau chief of development review, said access would be available only through a new road off of Stoner Avenue to improve sight distance for drivers.
“As far as the access to the hospital, none of it will occur off of the state road or the county road,” he said. “Private drives will be maintained by the hospital, 24-feet wide to accommodate two-way traffic, climbs uphill to the nursing home parking lot. The building will be in the back, with the parking lot in the front.”
And the nursing home would come with 80 parking spaces — more than the 30-space county requirement — split into two symmetrical parking lots, he said.
There would also be a retaining wall, added sidewalks, and landscaping included on the final site plan.
Dan Hoff said he was comfortable with the hospital’s request to put 60 rooms in the nursing home, but ex-officio member and County Commissioner Ed Rothstein, R-District 5, said he wanted to be clear that 60 was the maximum number of rooms.
“I don’t want to have the commission limit the number of beds, that’s not the subject matter,” Spielman said. “I don’t think that’s a fair limitation. At this time, the question is do we meet the criteria, and I think we do in many ways.”
Said Hoff: “We are approving it based on the fact that it’s 60 beds. We are here with 60 right now. If the number were to be different, they’d have to come back.”
And Yeo said he was happy about the change of traffic flow proposed.
“I think it’s going to be great, the relocation of access points,” he said. “Flow is going to be much, much nicer — not just for the people who are utilizing the facility, but those who are around it as well.
“It’s pretty choppy right now,” said Yeo. “I think that’s going to be a huge improvement. The sidewalk, between that and the bike-pedestrian plan in that area, is a huge plus — not just for the people who are utilizing it, but those around it.”
But although he said he was glad the hospital added extra parking spaces than necessary — Yeo asked for two of those spots to be dedicated solely for ambulance parking, in case there is traffic at the drop-off and pick-up area. He also wanted to see a larger awning for cars driving up.
“Oftentimes they are sitting for a longer time than emergency ambulances,” said Yeo. “[The spaces would] be wider, allow for doors to be open. … They could sit there for 30 to 40 minutes in some cases; it might be advantageous for them to sit there in the queue anyway.”
He said the plan was up to code, but that the suggestions were additions that could make the nursing home more accommodating.
The next steps for Carroll Hospital include preliminary and final site plans before the projects can get approval. A date for them to return to Planning and Zoning has not yet been established.