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Revised McLaren plans Okd



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October 24, 2012 - The state denied McLaren hospital's Certificate of Need (CON) application for Clarkston and stripped it from Bill 1269, but McLaren's not giving up.

Bill 1269 was proposed by state Sen. Mike Kowall. Its amendments to state health code no longer include a provision to allow McLaren to relocate 200 beds from Pontiac to Clarkston, said McLaren Health Care's Senior Vice President Greg Lane said.

McLaren's new plan calls for a Level II Trauma center. Independence Township Board voted unanimously, Oct. 16, to approve second reading of the revised plans for McLaren's Sashabaw and Bow Pointe location.

Township's planner Dick Carlisle of Carlisle and Wortman Associates outlined the most significant amendments.

One revision to the plan is a permit condition "to ensure there's a level two trauma center," said Carlisle.

If McLaren does not stay on track to become a level II Trauma center, the township can enforce the provision by "withholding of building permits and certificates of occupancy all the way up to and including the initiation of court enforcement action for enforcement of the zoning regulations," said township attorney Steve Joppich.

Other changes to the previous McLaren Planned Unit Development (PUD) included required traffic improvements and additional stipulations on water system costs.

According to Trustee Neil Wallace, "there will be a traffic impact, there's no getting away from that, but McLaren has pledged dollars to help us design a way to soften the blow of that impact."

The designs would focus on the intersection of Waldon and Sashabaw and the I-75 interchange.

McLaren will also be responsible for any effect they have on the township's water system, as well as sewer and storm water system, Wallace said.

"To the extent that they are burdening our water system, [McLaren] will step up and pay for the cost to the township," he said.

"There would be no impact on the citizens' sewer rates," Wallace stated, but noted questions of traffic impact and water depend on whether or not McLaren gets past the roadblock of their CON denial.

"While they are confident, they aren't there yet. It's not a forgone conclusion that they're going to be approved," said Wallace.

However, Lane thinks once the bill is on the house or senate floor, "amendatory language allowing us to relocate the 200 beds will go into the legislation," he said. He also indicated McLaren has been conversing with the governor's office for support.

If the hospital isn't approved through Michigan state legislature, "we won't hesitate to pursue court action if we have to," said Lane.

According to current plans, building of the McLaren hospital will start in 2015, but "whether a hospital should be located here is really up to Lansing," Wallace said.

The Independence Township board approved first reading of the McLaren PUD on July 17.

Clarkston News reporter
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