Statement of Direction approved by council for Lincoln Medical Plaza

A view of the project site location on the border of both the Scottsdale and Paradise Valley municipalities. (Submitted graphic)

The Paradise Valley Planning Commission will soon consider a redevelopment application for the Lincoln Medical Plaza.

Town Council reviewed the Statement of Direction in a study session prior to a public hearing and vote later in the evening on June 14.

A Statement of Direction is a document issued by Town Council giving the Planning Commission guidelines of scrutiny for the pending medical facility overhaul, which includes a complete demolition of the existing site.

The council approved the document with a 6-0 vote, and agreed to strike the words “urgent care” from the SOD.

The Lincoln Medical Plaza at 7125 E. Lincoln Drive, which is owned by Jamel Greenway LLC, is a two-story, 25,444-square-foot facility.

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.

“Council did discuss this this evening, but also at your two work sessions in May,” said Interim Community Development Director Paul Michaud during a presentation to council.

“Most of the discussions were about height, quick turn-around uses, buffering on Lincoln Drive and traffic and parking circulation.”

The Lincoln Medical Plaza was approved in 1974, and few changes have been made to the building, Mr. Michaud said.

Quick turn-around uses that may create a high volume of in-and-out traffic were the main concern on June 14. Examples listed by council in the statement of direction included medical marijuana facilities, urgent care and retail.

The location is already approved for an urgent care facility, town officials say.

“The only thing I wanted to address, that I’ve discussed with Mr. Michaud, is the discouraging of uses,” Benjamin Tate, attorney at Phoenix-based Withey Morris said.

Mr. Tate says traffic, parking and quick turn-arounds are legitimate concerns. But he discouraged the council from considering certain restrictions of use.

Mr. Tate says his client plans to conduct a traffic impact analysis study, and hopes to evaluate whether an urgent care facility would support or disprove additional traffic on Lincoln Drive.

“The only request we have as it relates in the Statement of Direction is removing identified uses, while keeping in the concern with quick turn-around,” Mr. Tate said.

“Urgent care is a critical element of this project, of the modern medical office building, particularly if the tenants the applicant is trying to attract are these single-user, single-tenant hospital network clients.

“If urgent care were to be discouraged and ultimately prohibited from this SUP, it actually would be fatal to the project and unmarketable as the use,” he added.

Councilman Paul Dembow believes the government shouldn’t be restricting an applicant from a use already approved.

“We have an applicant that wants to redevelop in our town; they currently have an existing use and we’re discouraging what the current existing use is. They’re telling us that will be problematic, and I would hope that we would listen to the applicant,” said Mr. Dembow.

Councilwoman Julie Pace noted the applicant will have time to make its case to the Planning Commission, but ultimately agreed she is open to removing the urgent care example from the SOD.

During Town Council’s first discussion, held last month, on the Lincoln Medical Plaza Statement of Direction they also eyed plans for development at two other properties nearby: the Smoketree Resort and the soon-to-be-built Ritz-Carlton Paradise Valley resort.

While the plans of each project were discussed separately, to some degree, the council agreed they needed to look at things with a wider lens.

Of particular concern to the council was the heights of all of these buildings, the density impact and concern of future light signals near Quail Run Road.

In addition, it was revealed the abutting AJ’s Fine Grocery property had been sold recently, and future plans were not known for that property, while SmokeTree Resort had proposed density levels not seen before in the Town of Paradise Valley.

News Services Editor Melissa Rosequist can be reached by e-mail at mrosequist@newszap.com or follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Mrosequist_

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