By DAVID GREEN
ProMedica Health System received a go-ahead Monday from the Morenci Planning Commission in its plan to move services into the vacant Charles Fay Village building.
Commissioners voted 5-0, with Scott Merillat abstaining, to approve a special use permit. Merillat stepped away from the planning commission table during the discussion because ProMedica hired his engineering firm to assist with planning.
ProMedica senior vice-president for continuing care, Lori Johnston, reviewed the proposal to move the medical office, laboratory services and physical therapy unit from the Morenci Medical Center (former hospital building) into the Charles Fay Village facility.
The senior citizen center, operated by the Lenawee Department on Aging in the medical center, would also move to the Fay building.
No external changes to the Fay building are planned, Johnston said, but additional parking areas would be added in front and in back of the building. The rear entrance will be used by the senior center guests and for food delivery.
Exterior lighting is planned in the back, but ProMedica representative Rich Laliberte told commissioners it would be shielded to avoid interference to residences in the area.
Signage would also be changed, Johnston said, to reflect the new use of the building, however, she added, Charles Fay will still be part of the name of the facility.
Commissioner Art Erbskorn asked about drainage on the site since problems already exist in the area.
“We’re not directly connecting to any storm sewer,” Merillat said.
Instead, water from the rear parking area will follow the natural flow taken by other surface water onto ProMedica’s property behind the health center. That property will eventually be given to the city.
After studying the situation, Merillat said, it was determined the best course of action would be to use the low ground [appearing as lot 45 on maps] for a temporary detention area. The quantity of water draining from the area will be no greater than it is now, he pointed out, but it will drain faster off pavement than grass.
If the old hospital is demolished, the existing roof area will return to grass, and that’s a larger surface than the proposed parking lot.
Morenci mayor Doug Erskin, who also sits on the planning commission, said the city has not yet determined if it wants to take possession of the health center building. ProMedica has offered two proposals: assume ownership of the building or allow ProMedica to demolish it and then take possession of the land.
Johnston said the wing of the Fay building to the right would house medical services. The dining area remains in the center and the left wing would serve the seniors group.
Some additional space would remain at the end of the seniors wing that could be available for other use in the future.
Commissioners approved the permit contingent on outdoor lighting meeting code and on the replacement of two trees that will be removed.
SALON—Leonie Leahy, who resides at 403 E. Main, was granted a special use permit for a one-chair salon at her residence, contingent on proof of licensure.
Leahy formerly managed a salon in Wauseon and is seeking a license to work in Michigan. She sought the permit in order to work at home.
“It’s a great way for me to have my own business while raising my family,” she said.
Leahy said she won’t be employing anyone else because the facility is small and would require a different license. She intends to place a sign in front of the house, but her business will operate only by appointment.
A neighbor was present at the meeting who stated that she fully supported the salon.