BELOIT—A zoning amendment tied to recent changes in how medical facility developments are governed in Beloit will be reviewed by the Beloit City Council on Tuesday months after a contentious public process saw initial changes get approved in September.
On Sept. 20, the council voted unanimously to change the category of “hospital” as a use category with the broader term “medical facility,” and clarified that hospitals, medical clinics, ambulatory surgery centers and nursing homes are examples of potentially allowed developments. Another change removes emergency medical care as an example of retail service and medical and dental clinics as examples of office uses.
The issue arose after OrthoIllinois, a private orthopedic surgery company, submitted a request to build an ambulatory surgery center in the Gateway Business Park that caused city staff to address perceived deficiencies in the city’s zoning code.
OrthoIllinois submitted plans to the city on Sept. 30, 2021 for plans to develop a site in the 2100 block of Freeman Parkway in Beloit for a future surgery center. City staff confirmed on Monday that the plans are still under review, with the review expected to be completed in the near future.
Through the entire process, Beloit Health System administrators and staff sustained fierce opposition to the entire ordinance change process.
Following a vote by the Beloit Plan Commission on Aug. 18 that included two amendments to the ordinance change, city staff confirmed the changes were deemed “substantial” and require a public noticing process.
The commission made recommendations that would alter sections of the proposed changes. The recommendations proposed at Plan Commission would change C-1 office district zonings from conditional use to permitted and central business district core zonings from conditional to permitted use.
On Tuesday, the council will review the proposed amendments that were prompted by concerns raised by Beloit Health System officials about the need for conditional use permitting for four health system properties if the health system chose to expand the sites in the future.
The amendment was reviewed by the Plan Commission at meetings in October, November and December that drew lengthy discussions between staff, health system officials and commissioners.
At the Dec. 8, 2021 meeting, BHS CEO Tim McKevett asked the commission to approve the ordinance, a clear show of support in resolving the issue. Then later at the Dec. 21, 2021 Plan Commission meeting, commissioners voted unanimously to approve the stand-alone amendment.
It’s unclear whether the council will only review the ordinance or take action. By law, the council does have the ability to suspend the rules and rather than accept the amendment to be laid over for first reading, councilors could take a vote on Tuesday.
The council will meet at 6:30 p.m. for agenda review and 7 p.m. for a regular meeting. The meeting will take place at the first floor conference room and then the Forum space at City Hall, 100 State St.