Proposed operations at Paradise Valley Lincoln Medical Plaza draws council concern

A graphic sketch of how the Lincoln Medical Plaza could look following redevelopment of the site. (Submitted graphic)

Paradise Valley Town Council continues to grapple with the appropriate use and scope of operations at the proposed installation of a revitalized Lincoln Medical Plaza at 7125 E. Lincoln Drive.

The local governing board deliberated tenets of the proposal — including an overview of updates to proposed plans encapsulating the major special use permit amendment application — Thursday, April 11 at Town Hall, 6401 E. Lincoln Drive.

The Lincoln Medical Plaza, which is owned by Jamel Greenway LLC, is 25,444 square feet with existing structures since 2011 housing both a pharmacy and an urgent care office.

Proposed is a 36,000-square-foot, two-story, 36-foot high structure. The existing height is 24 feet with some portion to add mechanical screening at 27 feet, the application shows.

Proposed setbacks are 67 feet in the front, but right-of-way — sidewalks, natural areas and public streets — dedication would be 35 feet, documents show. The existing structure is set back 62 feet with the full right-of-way dedication.

Town Council approved a statement of direction — marching orders for its Planning Commission, an advisory board — in June 2018.

The Town Council’s last update was mid-March, which follows a 6-1 approval recommendation from the Planning Commission in October 2018 and a handful of work session discussions beginning earlier this year, where coupled with council insights new stipulations were added to zoning and use deliberations.

Those items, although not limited to, include:

  • A time-delay safe in a locked storage room and the pharmacy tech area for addictive drugs;
  • Signage in the pharmacy stating controlled substances are in time-delay safes;
  • A 48-by-36-inch pharmacy counter; and
  • An additional barrier or obstacle between the parking lot and the main entrance to deter potential vehicles driving through the glass entrance.

The final proposed lot coverage is 35,660 square feet with 21,620 square feet of building coverage and 14,040 square feet of canopy coverage.
Paradise Valley Town Council is again expected to host a study session on this matter later this month.

An artist rendering of the proposed Lincoln Medical Plaza. (submitted graphic)

A sticking point

Despite the existence of approved pharmacy uses there today, Paradise Valley Town Council appears uneasy with the notion of prescribing and carrying certain substances on the medical facility premise.

“I have some real reservations with schedule 1 and schedule 2 drugs,” said Councilwoman Julie Pace at the April 11 work session. “I am not sure I can get to that level of comfortability. It certainly wasn’t there when we did the statement of direction language.”

Julie Pace

According to the town code, the existing uses of the facility do not allow for the sale of schedule 1 or schedule 2 drugs, which technically runs the gamut from methadone to percocet and could include medical marijuana dispensary stipulations.

However, the applicant penned a March 19 letter to Town Council alerting the governing board a medical marijuana dispensary would not be a part of the major special user permit amendment pursuit.

“I have a hard time getting there,” Ms. Pace said. “I have concerns about the pharmacy, given the information since the SOD stage, six months ago … it makes me more concerned that we just don’t have space for this at that corner.”

Ms. Pace along with proposed pharmacy uses — an activity she says is not occurring today at the location — traffic counts remain an unknown variable.

“This is a first ever-use of this facility, right?” she asked. “This was not existing, as it was never built so we really don’t know what those traffic counts are? We all go to a doctor’s office that doesn’t have an on-premise pharmacy, right?”

For Paradise Valley Councilwoman Ellen Andeen, the prospect of controlled substances prescribed is a major sticking point.

“I just can’t support this anymore,” she said of the prospect of schedule 1 or schedule 2 drugs being administered at the corner of Scottsdale Road and Lincoln Drive. “We are in the middle of an opioid crisis in American and would like to see that limited.”

Paradise Valley Mayor Jerry Bien-Willner echoes a similar sentiment.

“I am also not supportive of schedule 1 or schedule 2 drugs to be sold,” he said. “There is theft from pharmacies — that causes me a lot of concerns. Anything that creates a specialty for retail, which also draws some potential safety issues is a big issue for me.”

Independent Newsmedia Arizona Managing Editor Terrance Thornton can be contacted at tthornton@newszap.com

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