Plans for a new hospital in Green Valley are moving forward. But, so is the opposition.
The hospital would be located south of Continental Road in Green Valley and would serve thousands of people who would otherwise have to go to Tucson for medical care.
However, there's concern about the hospital's effects on surrounding areas.
The proposed hospital would be on 22 acres on the east side Frontage Road on Interstate 19, just south of Green Valley.
The developer asked for some size and height variances today and he got what he wanted.
Historic Canoa Ranch is about three-quarters of a mile south. A Green Valley neighborhood is about a quarter mile north.
The full-service hospital would be two stories high with 32 beds to start. Everyone who spoke at the public hearing today favored a hospital in the area, even those who spoke in opposition to the variances.
Their concerns ranged from worries about medical helicopters flying in and out, to their views, to their property values.
Lisa Pope, a Green Valley Resident said, "I feel a hospital is needed in this area. I am, however, opposed to this particular location and subsequent zoning amendment."
Another resident, Steve Gilbert said, "The speed at which this process is occurring is mind boggling to us."
"I understand all of you here are involved, but you don't live there. I do," said Pam Weston.
The Whipple Observatory on Mount Hopkins is about 11 miles away, the worry is light pollution affecting telescopes.
Dan Brocious, Whipple Observatory Mt. Hopkins Research Associate said, "Given the amount of open land elsewhere, and where the populations centers are, there might be a better location for this."
Pima County staff says hospital design would have to adhere to what are considered some of the most strict light pollution codes in the country. People who favored building the hospital had some very personal reasons, mainly the long trip to a Tucson hospital in an emergency.
Catherine Ross told of driving behind her husband's ambulance. "For 40 minutes, driving up there, I did not know if my husband was alive or dead," she said.
Paul LaCroix said, "Over the past two years I've had the privilege of two ambulance rides. One to St. Mary's and one to St. Joseph's. There are more of those in my future. It'd sure be nice if the ride was a bit shorter. "
Judi Monday, of Tubac said, "Your property values will increase. I am asked daily when I'm showing property why we don't have a hospital given that the average age is 72 years old."
The vote to recommend the variances, making the hospital slightly taller and slightly larger than current code, passed unanimously.
The developer has promised continued meetings with Green Valley and other residents.
The Pima County supervisors will make the final decision, but there are many more hurdles to jump before a hospital would open its doors in the Spring of 2014.
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