ALLEN COUNTY, Ind. (WANE) — The public got its opportunity to voice support or opposition to a proposed development by IU Health in southwest Fort Wayne. The Fort Wayne Plan Commission on Thursday heard a rezoning request by IU Health to make way for a medical campus at 9616 Lower Huntington Road, near Airport Expressway and Interstate 69.
Plans submitted to the Department of Planning Services call for six buildings up to 50 feet tall, a 75-foot-tall cancer center, and a “hospital to serve the county and region” up to 150 feet tall – on the 137-acre site.
The land is already zoned for commercial use, but IU Health needs a waiver to build taller buildings than 40 feet.
Attorney Andy Boxberger represented IU Health at the meeting and addressed all concerns and questions from the plan commission.
Boxberger stated that they’re asking for up to 150 feet, but won’t build anything that isn’t serviceable by the local fire department. Additionally, the plan is to create a building design that doesn’t exceed Indiana’s code for a “high-rise”, which currently doesn’t allow for an occupied floor with a floor plate above 75 feet.
No one from the public spoke in favor of the project, but five people spoke in opposition. One of them was Andrea Milliman, who created a petition that asks the Plan Commission to not rezone the land because a tall hospital would look “out of place,” and because of the proximity to Lutheran Hospital.
“The east and southeast side of town, especially, has no hospital. They don’t have that convenient access to healthcare that we located on the southwest side of town already do. I feel to put a hospital three miles away from another one just does not make sense for all of Allen County to serve the county,” Milliman said.
WANE 15 asked Boxberger about the concerns of being close to another hospital. He cited being on the I-69 corridor and close to I-469 as a major factor.
“I understand that citizens are going to have concerns,” Boxberger said. “We think that the development of this site by IU Health is very purposeful. We’ve taken great time and consideration to try to hear those concerns. We tried to address them here today. We think this is an amazing opportunity for this community.”
The Plan Commission will vote on the proposed rezoning on Thursday, January 20th during its next business meeting.