A few Rockport Colony subdivision residents unhappy about plans for a new 80-bed nursing and rehabilitation facility in their neighborhood learned Monday that those plans meet or exceed all city zoning and building requirements.
Stow City Council’s planning committee reviewed plans submitted by Altercare of Ohio for construction of a 51,680-square-foot facility to be built on a 5.89-acre parcel at 5000 Sowul Blvd. The land is located on the west side of Sowul between the /Towne Center driveway and the Hike and Bike Trail.
Altercare officials will be seeking site plan approval and a conditional zoning certificate during Thursday’s City Council meeting, to be held at 7 p.m. in council chambers at . The proposal has been recommended by the city’s planning commission.
Altercare’s main entrance, featuring a covered patient drop-off area, will be located on the Giant Eagle/Towne Center circulation “street,” about 300 feet west of Sowul. Since the facility’s address is on Sowul but the main entrance is actually on an undedicated street, signs will be posted around the property directing motorists to the main entrance.
Altercare will have a 24-foot wide circulation drive around the entire perimeter of its facility, with one of two emergency access driveways located at the southwest corner of the site, connecting to the Towne Center parking lot.
The Rockport Colony residents who addressed council Monday are unhappy with Altercare’s plans for a second emergency access driveway to be located on Sowul, aligned with Sandy Hook Drive, a private road in the condo development.
Rob Kurtz, assistant planning director for Stow, said city planners reviewed several location options for the Sowul emergency access drive – which was requested by officials – and determined the one aligning with Sandy Hook is best.
The drive would be barricaded with a chain that could easily be cut by fire personnel should the need arise to bring the department’s 48-foot ladder truck onto the property. EMS squads will use the facility’s main entrance for routine calls.
Kurtz said the emergency access driveway’s alignment with Sandy Hook Drive will ensure that no headlights will shine into homes along Sowul – a concern expressed by several residents during a planning committee meeting last month.
Altercare will be installing five- to six-foot-high landscape mounds along Sowul with a mix of deciduous trees and lower evergreen plantings to provide screening, addressing another concern of residents.
Altercare’s proposed one-story structure is comprised of a central core with four separate residential wings extending out from the center. The building’s central portion will house a kitchen, dining room, administrative offices, physical therapy rooms and an activities room.