Will Lee Memorial be allowed to build its new hospital, Lee Memorial South, in Estero?
Unfortunately, that decision is still up in the air—according to the Naples Daily News.
Lee Memorial initially planned a three-story, 80-bed hospital on land it owns south of Coconut Road. Based on prospective growth in the community, it wants the flexibility to someday increase the hospital to five stories with 160 beds, Lee Memorial spokeswoman Mary Briggs said.
According to county planning staff, the potential new medical digs asked that it be permitted to have buildings at the allowable 60 feet in height and a deviation to allow the hospital building at 90 feet.
It’s a Race Against Time
Lee Memorial needs the zoning amendments to proceed with the project and the height variation so the building foundation is done now to handle additional floors later, Briggs said.
On Jan. 29, Lee Memorial representatives presented a case for amending zoning in the Coconut Point area to allow for a hospital and a heliport for a helicopter landing.
Some Good Signs
Hearing Examiner Donna Marie Collins heard nine people speak in favor of the zoning amendments and no opposition, said Chip Block, a principal planner with Lee County government.
Many questions still remain, but one that has everyone waiting in anticipation is whether or not state health-care regulators will license the 80-bed hospital. The state Agency for Healthcare Administration in 2013 said more hospital beds aren’t needed in south Lee County, but the hospital system is appealing that motion.
The NCH Healthcare System in Naples agrees with the state that additional hospital beds are not needed and said a new hospital would be detrimental to its 261-bed NCH North Naples Hospital off Immokalee Road.
As always, we will keep you updated on this very exciting opportunity for the Estero community.